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- The cablegram of July 4, 1937, previoosly referred
- NATIONAL SPIRITUAL AssEMBLy
stated, in part: “Recent swift
progress (of) Temple ornamentation prompts me entreat American Community (to) focus immediate attention (and) center energies
(upon) corresponding acceleration (in the) Teaching enterprise (in) Seven Year Plan
. . .
End of First Century rapidly approaching.
Alaska, Delaware, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Manitoba (and) Nova Scotia still unsettled. Universal,
prolonged intensification (in) pioneer activity (is the) crying need (of this) fateful hour. (The) establishment (of) one resident believer
(in) each virgin territory (is the) precondition (to the) full launching (of the) subsequent, eagerly-anticipated stage aiming (at the)
spiritual conquest (of the) southern half (of the) Western Hemisphere. (The) Concourse on high expectantly await, ready (to) assist
(and) acclaim (the) nine holy souls who, independently or as deputies, will promptly, fearlessly volunteer (to) forsake (their) homes,
cast away (their) attachments (and) definitely settle (in) these territories (to) lay firm anchorage (of the) Administrative Order (of this)
undefeatable Faith. (I am) irresistibly urged (and) proud (of the) privilege (to) pledge nine hundred pounds (to) facilitate (the)
permanent settlement (of) pioneers (in) these States and Provinces whose acts (and) heroic self-abnegation will mark (the) Conclusion
(of this) Shining Epoch (in) American Bahá’i History.”
Two days later, Shoghi Effendi wrote:
“The twofold aim you are now pursuing should at no time become obscured, nor should either one of the dual responsibilities you
have assumed be allowed to preponderate over the other. The urgency of the task connected with the ornamentation of the Mashriqu’l-
Adhkár has been rightly recognized, and its immediate needs have been generously and promptly met. A similar, nay a mightier effort
should now be deliberately and persistently exerted in the field of pioneer teach1
The cablegram of July 4, 1937, previoosly referred
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
ing, in both the United States and Canada.
“Very soon we shall be entering the second half of the last decade of this, the first century of the Bahá’i Era. The five remaining years
should essentially be consecrated to the imperative, the spiritual needs of the remaining Republics of both Central and South America,
for whose entry into the fellowship of Bahá’u’lláh the Plan was primarily formulated.
“The period ahead is short, strenuous, fraught with mortal perils for human society, yet pregnant with possibilities of unsurpassed
triumphs for the power of Bahá’u’lláh’s redemptive Cause. The occasion is propitious for a display, by the American Bahi’i
Community, in its corporate capacity, of an effort which in its magnitude, character, and purpose, must outshine its past endeavors.
“Dearly-beloved friends! “What better field than the vast virgin territories, so near at hand, and waiting to receive, at this very hour,
their full share of the onrushing tide of Bahá’u’llâh’s redeeming grace?”
At this date of writing, the latest communication from the Guardian is the following cablegram received March 24, 1939:— “Fresh,
ominous rumblings demonstrate (the) inevitability (and) foreshadow (the) approach (of the) final eruption involving (the) dissolution
(of a) lamentably defective international order. (The) privileged community (of) American believers forewarned, undismayed,
spiritually equipped. Notwithstanding (the) gravity (of the) times, (they) will pursue unswervingly (the) divinely-chartered course their
distracted, (their) objective unobscured, (their) resolve unimpaired, (their) support undiminished, (their) loyalty unsullied. (The)
immediate obligation (is to) complete settlement (of) Delaware, Utah, Manitoba, (and) Nova Scotia before termination (of) Bahá’i
administrative year. Responsibility solemn, pressing, unavoidable.”
Progress of Seven Year Plan
It is in the light of all the foregoing messages, and fully conscious of the import of that general communication published as
Advent of Divine Justice,
that the salient features of the development of the
twofold activities of the Seven Year Plan must be traced.
Turning first to Temple construction.
When the year opened, the gallery contract was in full force, with the necessary funds on hand. By April 30, 1939, work will have
been resumed on the exterior decoration of the few units uncompleted in December, 1938. The responsibility defined for the current
year was the accumulation of funds amounting to one-half the estimated cost of the exterior decoration of the first story. By March 15,
1939, the National Spiritual Assembly had found it possible to authorize the Temple Trustees to contract for the production of the
models and molds, and to purchase the supply of quartz. These two new contracts were approved and welcomed by Shoghi Effendi.
Of the $75,000 incorporated in the annual Budget as the goal, approximately $60,000 has been contributed so far.
The March, 1939 issue of BAHA’i NEWS reported that the balance needed for the molds contract was $6,862.64, and that the
estimated cost of casting and applying the units to the first story is $95,000. As the models and molds will be finished before the end
of the summer, the matter of accumulating funds for the next contract is already imminent, and will be a responsibility to be assumed
by the incoming National Assembly.
In the teaching field, the great accomplishment has been the settlement of the nine areas for which the Guardian made supreme appeal
in his cablegram received January 26, 1939.
This subject engaged the deep attention of the Teaching Committee, and consultation and correspondence with that committee has
made it possible to inform Shoghi Effendi that his wishes and instructions have been met.
The response of the believers has been truly inspiring, and the full story can not even yet be recorded, as fresh offers are being
received. The settlement of the nine areas, however, has been effected through plans under which the following Bahá’is have already,
or soon will, proceed to the field:— Miss Honor Kempton, Alaska; Miss N.
Grace Bissell, Vermont; Miss Helen Griffing, Nevada; Mr. and Mrs. Hilbert DahI, West
THE BAHA’I WORLD
Virginia; Mr. Harold Hunt, West Virginia; Mrs. Marguerite Reimer Sears, Utah; Mr. and Mrs. Allah K. Kalantar, Delaware; Mr.
Rowland Estall, Winnipeg; Miss Doris Skinner, Calgary; Mrs. Beulah S. Proctor, Nova Scotia; Miss Evelyn Cliff, Nova Scotia; Mr.
and Mrs. Thomas McNally, Rhode Island; Mrs. H. Emogene Hoagg, South Carolina.
A significant spiritual victory has been achieved, for now the prerequisite condition laid down by the Guardian for concentrated effort
in the other American countries has been fulfilled, and the blessings from the spiritual Kingdom will surely pour forth in greater
abundance upon every Bahã’i activity we undertake from now on.
The record of success in South America and in the West Indies reported by the Inter- America Committee is also impressive. The
Bahá’i community of Mexico City is vibrant with enthusiasm, and will take an increased part in the Inter-America teaching work, not
only through participation in the required Spanish translations but also no doubt through traveling teachers.
In a letter dated February 8, 1939, the Guardian graciously acknowledged the progressive steps taken under the Seven Year
Plan in the following words: “The illustrious community of the American believers, contemptuous of risk or peril, is driving ahead,
relentlessly and with its whole vigor, toward the dual goal which the Seven Year Plan has set before it. The virtual completion of the
contract for the gallery section of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, the inauguration of the First Story Construction Fund, the signature of the
contract for the models of the Main Story, the prompt response to the Fund newly associated with the memory of the Greatest Holy
Leaf, the consequent placing of a further contract for the construction of the molds, the acceleration of pioneer teaching and the
resultant penetration of the Faith into practically every State and Province in the United States and Canada—all these have, in the
course of the second year of the Seven Year Plan, followed in amazingly swift succession. With dramatic swiftness, with unyielding
resolve, with uncompromising fidelity and superb courage, the community responsible for such a unique demonstration of Bahá’i
initiative and enterprise is overcoming the barriers, whether material or moral, that threaten to interfere with the execution of its
The bath of Urflmiyyih where the Báb bathed during His visit to that town. It has been recently purchased by the
Bahá’is of Iran as an historic site.
CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES
The Nature of Maturity
The Unfoldment of World Civilization
Shoghi Effendi identified the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh with the maturity of the human
race, an assurance, yet also a challenge, that has special significance for the members of the Bahá’i Community.
These larger and more responsible tasks which the American behevers have since assumed are essentially characteristic of maturity in
contrast to childhood and youth. They call for a true inward poise and assurance, a capacity for true consultation, and a degree of
trustworthiness which we have never before attained. The bounty of the task brings the worthiness to achieve it, if we be completely
loyal to its implications for both the community and the individual soul.
In consultation, whether local or national, Bahá’is meet in consciousness consecrated to the achievement of unified understanding and
action. Bahá’i consultation produces communication and cooperation among types and personalities which in the world are separated
by abysms of ignorance, antagonism and military force. Our victory over the tendency to exclude other views, other values and other
forms of capacity from the final outcome of consultation is our contact with the higher powers which alone can enable us to attain the
goal. Bahá’i unity is not the result of self-suppression any more than of suppression by others, but a balance between initiative and
sacrifice to the suajority decision which stands as one of the new attributes of life in this Dispensation.
As we perceive the differences in the rate of growth and maturity among the local communities, we can realize that confirmation does
not depend upon numbers nor upon rhe size of the city nor upon its geographical location, but upon its degree of unity and its power
for consultation. The forces of confirmation, we are told, lie everywhere about us, awaiting the conditions under which they can enter
into the operation of community hfe. May we not make a higher resolve, as individuals, to permit no further continuance of any latent
tendency to feel aloof from any fellow-believer, and as communities hasten to remove any condition of disunity which may have been
perpetuated from former
times. The conscious soul lives in the eternal present, and the present need not be a repetition of the past but a spiritual conquest
unique and ever-renewed.
The time has come for unexampled effort. To meet the tests imposed by Bahá’u’lláh Himself we must turn resolutely from those
artificial tests which sometimes we have imposed upon other behevers or resented their imposition upon ourselves. An entire Bahá’i
community can be made radiant by a changed attitude on the part of two or three believers.
In that same letter of February 8, the Guardian declared: “Though much has thus far been achieved, yet the processes now set in
motion through the evolution of the Plan are still too rudimentary to permit even a faint glimpse of the brilliancy of the epoch in which
‘Ablu’l-Bahá’s own Plan must come to fruition.
. . .
Ours is the solemn, the inescapable duty to labor faithfully and unremittingly to
insure that no opportunity is being missed, that no avenues are left unexplored, that might, however indirectly, contribute to the
furtherance of those tasks that claim so insistently our immediate attentson.”
The communication addressed to the American believers by Shoghi Effendi under date of December 25, 1938, and published with the
brought to us the supreme blessing of the current Bahá’i year. In its clear unfoldment of the
future, its directions for concentration of effort upon specific tasks for a long period of time, its exposition of the prerequisites for the
success of our collective action, and its unification of the inner and outer aspects of Bahá’i life at this crucial hour, this message
conveys to us that spiritual food our souls and minds and hearts so poignantly require.
Its assimilation into the very depths of our being will prepare us for victory over the tasks and trials that must signalize the
establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’llah upon earth.
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL AssEMBLy
THE BAHA’I WORLD
month covered by this supplementary report has been notable in the swift development of events, signifying a great
acceleration in the field of Bahã’i action.
Communications from the Guardian received in this period include, first, the following cablegram dated April 1: “Assure each pioneer
immeasurable gratitude. Such vigorous response, in such perilous times, to so vital a call, opens brilliant epoch in the formative age of
the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. Impelled congratulate Assembly for its wise, efficient stewardship.”—And second, a letter dated March 17,
which informs us that the roll of pioneers has been augmented by the names of Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Bidwell, who had informed Shoghi
Effendi that they have established residence in Greenville, South Carolina, in order to raise up a Bahá’i community in that State.
To the number of local groups qualified to form new Assemblies, the groups at Albuquerque can now he added.
From Miss Martha Root has come a bundle of newspaper clippings describing her activities in Australia, with a schedule indicating
some thirty public meetings during the first few weeks after her arrival from India.
The far country of Lapland has been illumined with the light of the Faith by the indomitable energy of Mrs. Lorol Schopflocher, who
has been traveling in that land and spreading the Message in recent months.
The reprint of the Master’s address at the Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Chicago
in 1912, already mentioned, has now been made, and copies are available to delegates and friends. In a few words, ‘Abdu’lBahá gave
the American people so many years ago the reality of human oneness, and now it is our privilege to ponder His message on race amity
with deeper understanding, and share it with the leaders of opinion throughout the country. Similar reprints of
striking Bahi’i texts are to follow as rapidly as conditions justify, thus adding to our teaching literature a series of expositions that
cannot fail to command the attention of awakened souls.
The present Convention is privileged to receive visits from co-workers from other lands. Mr. and Mrs. Sabet are here from Tihran, on
a visit that will take them to a few of the larger cities and perhaps also include both World’s Fairs.
Moreover, we have as honored guests not one, as had been anticipated, but four members of the new Spiritual Assembly of Mexico
City: Pedro Espinosa, Mrs. Refugio Ochoa, Miss Zenay da Jurado, and Mrs. Maria Luisa Jurado, radiant in their enthusiasm and
ardent in their service to the Faith. This visit is a great historic event, for it marks the true beginning of that new inter-continental
teaching task which the Guardian has expounded for us in
We join hands and hearts with these co-
workers from Bahá’u’lláh’s own native land, and with the co-workers from the newest country blessed with the institution of a
Spiritual Assembly. The Master, surely, beholds with joy from on high a gathering so blessed and so pregnant with promise of future
Our foundation has been firmly laid in nearly ninety local Spiritual Assemblies, in the House of Worship rapidly nearing completion,
in three Summer Schools, and in a Bahi’i community which has acquired a great diversity of experience and manifests a rich variety
of gifts. Each successive general communication from the Guardian has clarified our vision, deepened our aims and extended our
horizon of consciousness. And now, as the world trembles on its collapsing basis, the American Bahá’i community numbering some
thirty-five hundred souls, is bidden to exemplify the coming of the Kingdom to mankind. In reverence and in true humility we can but
turn to the words of
NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
BAHA’iS OF THE UNITED STATES
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
people of Bahá! Ye are the breezes of spring that are wafted over the world. Through you We have adorned the world of being
with the ornament of the knowledge of the Most Merciful. Through you the countenance of the world hath been wreathed in smiles,
and the brightness of His light shone forth. Cling ye to the cord of steadfastness, in such wise that all vain imaginings may utterly
vanish. Speed ye forth from the horizon of power, in the name of your Lord, the Unconstrained, and announce unto His
servants, with wisdom and eloquence, the tidings of this Cause, whose splendor hath been shed upon the world of
“This is the day in which to speak. It is incumbent upon the people of Bahá to strive, with the utmost patience and
forbearance, to guide the peoples of the World to the Most Great Horizon. Every body calleth aloud for a soul.
Heavenly souls must needs quicken, with the breadth of the Word of God, the dead bodies with a fresh spirit.”
HORACE HOLLEv, Secretary.
ANNUAL REPORT—NATIONAL SPIRITUAL
ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’TS OF THE
UNITED STATES AND CANADA
OR three successive years the American Bahá’i community has responded with all its force to the requirements of
the world mission which ‘Abdu’l-Bahi defined and the Guardian has made a matter of spiritual and administrative
action. Only during the current year have we realized the vital importance of that mission and its role in making
possible the advent of Divine Justice. The Guardian’s letter on Divine Justice, pubhshed shortly before the 1939
Convention, has raised our spirits to the exalted plane on which alone so consecrated a task can be undertaken.
Significant it is that in growing more conscious of the scope and arena of the Faith of Bahá’u’llah, we have begun to be
somewhat aware of what is meant by the endeavor to be a Bahá’i.
Above and beyond the realm of outer achievement, therefore, the year now ending has brought us face to face with the
spiritual privilege of becoming mature in our faith, firm in our understanding, reverent in our attitude, humble in our
feeling, consciously active in our daily lives.
Immersed in the depths of the Guardian’s call for consecration to be instruments for the establishment of true justice on
earth, active in response to the definite plans adopted for the third year of the seven year plan, we came this year to that
hour of fatahty for man, the beginning of the final phase of the titanic struggle between the nations, the outbreak of
savagery in human life, the dread
encounter with Destiny, the Armageddon wherein the perverted will of man is at last to be overthrown. Thus a quality
of responsibility has been quickened during the current year which betokens a more mature stage in the life of the
The significance of this period was anticipated and defined for us by the Guardian’s reply to the message cabled to him
by the Thirty-first Annual Convention: “Momentous deliberations of Thirty-first Convention opening sterner, more
glorious chapter in corporate life of ever-advancing, steadily-expanding American Bahá’i community.” For the greater
difficulties to be met, a greater power and capacity has been assured.
“Sterner More Glorious Chapter”
The year has brought forth a number of great events and conditions to bear witness to the swift working of a
The outbreak of armed hostilities has already been mentioned. We know that nothing can stay this world conflagration
except the universal principles of human relations created by Bahá’u’llah. Day by day the people come nearer to a
conscious understanding of the dire need in which they stand. The work of Bahâ’i teaching deepens and augments day
by day to meet this desperate need. The inner peace and assurance of a Bahá’i is a candle burning in the dark. People
will turn to the light when they real-
THE BAHA’t WORLD
ize that the sun of their worldly hopes has set forever.
But the condition of international disturbance has its grave effects upon the Bahá’i community itself. Here in North America, for
example, our community forms part of two distinct political systems, one of them part of an international commonwealth, the other
localized to one continent. To maintain perfect spiritual communication, active cooperation and identity of common purpose
throughout this Bahá’i community, we must rise more and more above the pressure of public opinion and stand upon the sacred and
inviolable ground of faith in His Message and in the World Order He has ordained.
But of far more gravity is the implication conveyed to us by Shoghi Effendi in his cablegram of August 30, 1939: “Shades (of) night
descending (upon) imperilled humanity inexorably deepening. American believers, heirs (of) Baha’u’lláh’s Covenant, prosecutors (of)
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Plan, (are) confronted (by) supreme opportunity (to) vindicate indestructibility (of their) Faith, inflexibility (of their)
resolution, incorruptibility (of their) sanctity (for the) appointed task. Anxiously, passionately entreat them, whatever obstacles (the)
march (of) tragic events may create, however distressing (the) barriers (which the) predicted calamities raise between them and (their)
sister communities, and possibly (their) Faith’s World Center, unwaveringly hold aloft (the) Torch whose infant Light heralds the birth
(of the) effulgent World Order destined (to) supplant disrupting civihzation.”
Must we repeat in our hves that tragic separation from the creative Center of the Faith which was the tragic result of the European War
in cutting off the beloved Master from the American Bahá’is? Are we to vindicate our more matured faith and the power of our
administrative order by proving that interruption of outer, physical intercourse can not produce any deterioration in the quality of our
understanding nor in the character of our collective effort? Will not the Guardian be with us always in the principles he has clarified,
the institutions he has fostered, the unity he has built and the inspiration he has released? Whatever betide, he has given to the Bahá’is
all that they need
to press forward to the goals he pointed out in
The Advent of Divine Justice,
that source of inexhaustible guidance for the Bahá’is
of the West.
The passing of Martha L. Root, first to respond to Abdu’l-Bahã’s unveiling of the Divine Plan, has placed its indelible mark upon the
current Bahá’i year. Of this soul Shoghi Effendi declared in his cablegram of October 3: “Martha’s unnumbered admirers throughout
Bahá’i world lament with me (the) earthly extinction (of) her heroic life. Concourse on high acclaim her elevation (to) rightful
position (in) galaxy (of) BahI’i immortals. Posterity will estabhsh her as foremost Hand which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s will has raised up (in)
first Bahá’i century. Present generation (of) her fellow-believers recognize her (to be the) first, finest fruit (which the) Formative Age
(of the) Faith (of) Bahá’u’lláh has as yet produced. Advise hold befitting memorial gathering (in) Temple (to) honor one whose acts
shed imperishable lustre (on) American Bahá’i community. Impelled share with National Assembly expenses (of) erection (of)
monument (in) symbolic spot, (the) meeting- place of East (and) West, to both of which she unsparingly dedicated (the) full force (of
her) mighty energies.”
Indeed, through the travels and unstinted teaching of Martha Root the American Bahá’i community attained the honor of serving the
Faith throughout the world. In her a basis was laid for Bahá’i teachings in South America. In her the nations of Europe, Africa, the
Near East, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and the isles of the sea even to Iceland made contact with the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.
But only the Guardian’s words can pay to such a spirit the tribute its accomplishments in this world have earned. It is for us to realize
what faith can do when it comes to dominate a human personality and open doors to the entrance of higher than human aims and
powers. Once again is a memorial to be built for the grave of an America Bahã’i who died on the very field of spiritual battle, whose
services had made her a Hand of the Cause. To the reverence we have paid to the passing of Keith Ransom-Kehler in Isphahan we add
now a deeper reverence as Martha Root’s frail
CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES
remains go back to earth in Honolulu, meeting-place of East and West.
The decision to take legal action for the protection of the sacred rights of the Bahá’i community represents a culmination of one aspect
of the evolution of the Faith in recent years which the newer believers have had little occasion to consider or understand. To the older
Bahl’is, however, the preservation of the basis of the unity and integrity of the community is a matter vital to faith and inseparable
from the experience of loyalty and service to the Cause. For they have witnessed actual efforts to deny the validity of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s
mission and question the authority of His station. They have realized vividly and poignantly how the very existence of the Faith
depends on loyalty to whosoever has received appointment from the Manifestation. They have experienced the necessity of gathering
their forces in order to assert the truth and preserve the community from destruction. Such an experience is forever unforgettable, for it
means that conscious choice has been made between light and darkness in the spiritual world.
In one form or another, no doubt, no generation of true believers can be spared the necessity of that supreme decision, the recurrence
of which seems so essential if the deeper elements of the spiritual life—the struggle and the victory—are to be preserved on earth.
Thus has the privilege come for the newer Bahã’is to realize that the universe is founded on reward and punishment, and not on a
superficial idea of divine benevolence, and that the spirit of faith in choosing the good rejects the evil, and that understanding of the
Faith must include knowledge of the working of its deniers.
The occasion for the legal action is definite and clear: the claim on the part of nonBahá’is that there are no qualifications of faith in
this Cause, but any one is a Bahá’i who asserts that he is; and that there is no criterion by which to distinguish between authentic
Bahá’i literature and literature which some one assumes is Bahá’i; and that there is no basis nor foundation in the Revelation of
Baha’u’llah for the Bahá’i community, with its institutions, its functions and its collective powers and responsibilities grounded in
authentic Books and Tablets.
In brief, the situation which has arisen is that persons who formerly were believers but who withdrew from the Cause have denied the
authority of the Master’s Will and Testament. On no other grounds than denial of that mighty Testament can their actions be
understood. No compromise is possible. The Bahl’i community will assert the truth, and the issue can be left to God. The Will and
Testament itself is a victory over those who violated the Covenant in the Master’s lifetime, and the Will and Testament invokes divine
wrath upon all who seek to destroy what He sacrificed His entire life and being to build.
It would be well if local Assemblies could arrange meetings for the study of the Tablets which interpret the meaning of the Covenant.
Those Tablets are a vital part of the teachings which in recent years have been neglected through our need to concentrate upon
Another expression of the character of this Bahf’i year has been the action of the National Spiritual Assembly in transferring its
headquarters to the Temple area, an action conforming to statements in the Master’s Tablets known as
and to passages in the Guardian’s general communications. Thus, in
The World Order of Bahá’u’lldh,
this passage: “The seat round which its humanitarian and administrative activities will cluster are the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and its
Dependencies.” The project was adopted subject to the Guardian’s specific as well as general approval, and this arrived in a cablegram
received June 22, 1939: “Delighted welcome transference (to) Temple area. Loving appreciation.”
Something of the inner significance of the move appears in a passage which Shoghi Effendi wrote as long ago as October
when teaching us the importance of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as a Bahá’i institution:
“Divorced from the social, humanitarian, educational and scientific pursuits centering around the Dependencies of the
Mashriqu’lAdhkár, Bahá’i worship, however exalted in its conception, however passionate in fervor, can never hope to achieve
beyond the meagre and often transitory results produced by the contemplations of the ascetic or the
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