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SHOGEIT.  

May be both individually and as members of local communities or groups pray for such purity of vision that we may be wholly 

 



 

 

 



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CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

155 

 

obedient to the Guardian’s appeal, which means nothing else than protecting the light of faith from the storms and tempests of the 



world!  

The Bahã’i law under which believers must obey their civil government involves the important question of the performance of 

military service by Bahã’is when conscripted during time of war.  

We find, among others, three passages bearing directly upon this question: “Bahã’is and War,” 



Bahd’I Procedure, Section One, 

Sheet 11; 

“Collective Action By League of Nations,” 



Bahd’i Procedure, Section One, Sheet 12; 

and the Guardian’s letter to an 

individual believer explaining the Bahá”i view of absolute pacifists and conscientious objectors, pubhshed in BAHA’I NEWS, 

January, 1938.  



A review of these passages and agreement as to their meaning is most desirable by members of local communities. Nothing save 

understanding of true justice—the balance characterizing divine truth—will save the Bahá’i communities from danger of disruption 

under the impact of personalities taking extreme views which result in controversy and dissension.  

“The Bahá’i conception of social life is essentially based on the subordination of the individual will to that of society. It neither 

suppresses the individual nor does it exalt him to the point of making him an antisocial creature  

“The Guardian instructs us that the obligation to render military duty placed by governments upon their citizens is a form of loyalty to 

one’s government which the Bahá’i must accept, but that the behevers can, through their National Assembly, seek exemption from 

active army (combatant) duty provided their government recognizes the right of members of religious bodies making peace a matter of 

conscience to serve in some non-combatant service rather than as part of the armed force.”  

“The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared.”  

—BAHA’u’LLAH.  

As to the details of coming events, these are not made known to us in the Teachings, save for the large outlines which mark the death 

of the old era and the birth of the 

 

new. But we know that profound changes will take place, and human emotion and thought subjected to every conceivable influence.  



The Bahá’is can and must anticipate tests in the form of pressure exerted through pubhc opinion, tests in the form of psychic 

experience claiming to be spiritual guidance, and tests which would sway us emotionally away from the continuity of plan and effort 

provided by the Guardian.  

“For no less than six consecutive years (from April, 1938) this twofold and stupendous enterprise, which has been set in operation, 

must, if the American behevers are to prove themselves worthy of their high calling, be wisely conducted, continually reinforced and 

energetically prosecuted to its very end. Severe and unprecedented as may be the internal tests and ordeals which the members of this 

Community may yet experience, however tragic and momentous the external happenings which might well disrupt the fabric of the 

society in which they live, they must not throughout these six remaining years, allow themselves to be deflected from the course they 

are now steadily pursuing. Nay, rather, as the impelling forces which have set in motion this mighty undertaking acquire added 

momentum and its potentialities are more fully manifested, they who are responsible for its success must as time goes on evince a 

more burning enthusiasm, demonstrate a higher sense of sohdarity, reveal greater depths of consecration to their task, and display a 

more unyielding determination to achieve its purpose.” (April  

14, 1938.)  

The Assembly also acted to publish in pamphlet form the text of the letter which had been submitted to the civil authorities both in the 

United States and Canada in order to establish the status of Bahá’is as noncombatants in time of war. The title of the pamphlet is 

The 

Bahd’I Teachings on Universal Peace.  

A Brief Summary  

Among the activities of the Assembly during the year there might be mentioned briefly the following:  

On two occasions the Assembly cabled the Guardian an expression of the hope of 

 

156 

 

THE BAHA’j WORLD 



 

the Baha’is that he might bless America with his presence.  

Action was taken to increase by one-third the amount which the Assembly, for the American Bahá’is, contributes regularly to the 

International Bahá’i Fund administered by Shoghi Effendi.  

The first meeting of the Assembly in its HazIratu’l-Quds was held on January 20, 21 and 22, 1940. The occasion was signalized by a 

special dedicatory gathering held at 



536 

Sheridan Road, Wilmette, and then in the Auditorium of the House of Worship, at which the 

nine members participated in reading passages from Writings of Bahá’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and from the words of Shoghi 

Effendi.  

An action taken in connection with the establishment of this Office was to amend Article V of the Declaration of Trust to read as 

follows: The central office of this Trust shall be located in the Village of Wilmette, State of Illinois, U. S. A., the site of the Bahá’i 

House of Worship.  

The Assembly conducted public meetings this year in Toronto, San Francisco, New York and Chicago, and held regional conferences 

with Baha’is in those four areas.  

The report submitted by the Properties Representative deals with the subject of the Bahá’i properties held by Trustees for the benefit 

of the National Spiritual Assembly, and supplements the present statement in recording the activities touching the national Bahá’i 

institutions. From that report is taken for emphasis the fact that the Baha’i community has this year received three valuable property 

gifts: the Mathews property at Colorado Springs, to be used as an International Bahá’i School, property from Mr. and Mrs. John Bosch 

and Mrs. Thomas Collins which will augment the School property already held in that city; and the donation of her house in Berkeley, 

California, by Mrs. Katherine Frankland in memory of the late Mr. Frankland. A valuable part of this donation is represented by Miss 

Julia Culver’s cancellation of mortgage she had held. The legal steps are being taken for the transfer of this property to the Spiritual 

Assembly of Berkeley.  

The first American local Assembly to own its meeting place and Bahá’i Center is Cm- 

 

cinnati, which holds title to a house transferred to the corporate body by a local Bahá’i.  



Action has been taken to make possible the purchase of reproductions of the moving picture film showing ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Brooklyn 

during His American visit of 1912, and reproductions of the Master’s voice record are also being prepared.  

Matters of Bahá’i procedure published in BAHA’i NEWS this year have been on the following subjects: the review of manuscripts; 

truth and rumor; teaching in the Southern States; credentials for traveling believers; credentials of believers from the Orient; the listing 



of Baha’i publications; brief outline of procedure on appeals; committee reports; the status of pilgrim’s notes; the determination of 

membership; explanation of transfer of membership; and formation of new Assemblies.  

No final selection has yet been made of design for the memorial to be erected at the grave of Martha L. Root in Honolulu, but an 

appropriation has been made and the most suitable material will be chosen as soon as possible.  

A special contribution has been made this year for the relief of Bahá’is in Turkistan and Caucasus, become tragically destitute due to 

the shattering of their lives under the compulsion of a war era. The American Bahá’is likewise have felt a special and deep anxiety 

over the unknown fate of Miss Lidia Zamenhof, whose visit in America during 1937 and 1938 won her the respect and admiration of a 

host of Baha’j friends.  

The appointment of a Properties Representative makes possible an improvement in the records and maintenance of the various Bahá’i 

properties.  

Aside from the Guardian’s general letters and his communications to the National Assembly on subjects concerning general policy, 

there are communications written through his secretary which bring answers to specific questions. Such answers are, whenever 

possible, published in BAHA’i NEWS. Subjects covered in this way during the current year have been: the right of any believer to 

volunteer for pioneer work; 



request 

that newly-incorporated Assemblies send a photograph to transmit to the Guar 

 

CURRENT BAHA’t ACTIVITIES 



 

157 


 

THE  


dian; importance of the Race Unity Corn- Their reports are to be considered as extenrnittee (in letter of July 4, 1939) ; request sions of 

the record which the National As- that associate members are not to be ap- sembly places in the hands of the Bahá’is. pointed in 

future; approval of effort by in- 

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY  

corporated Assemblies to exercise the legal 



ALLEN 

B. 


MCDANIEL, 

Chairman  

right to conduct Bahá’i marriage service; the 



DOROTHY BAKER, 

Vice-Chairman  

fact that the consent of parents is a binding 



HORACE HOLLEY, 

Secretary  

condition; explanation of time for holding Louis G. 



GREGORY, 

Recording  

Nineteen Day Feasts (letter of December 



Secretary  

24, 1939). Roy C. 



WILHELM, 

Treasurer  

Gratitude in full measure is due all those 



SIEGFRSED SCHOPFLOCHER,  

members of the active National Committees 



Assistant Treasurer  

whose energy and devotion are such vital 



AMELIA 

E. 


COLLINS  

factors in the total accomplishment of the 



LEROY I0AS  

American Bahá’i community year by year. 



HARLAN OBER  

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT  

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF  

BAHA’iS OF THE UNITED STATES  

AND CANADA—1939-1940  

Beloved Friends: sult of these investigations, not determined A few days before the opening of the at the date of this writing, can be 

reported  

Thirty-second Annual Convention, work orally to the delegates and later issued to was resumed on the exterior decoration of the entire 

Bahá’i community.  

the House of Worship. The nine pylons The important matter at this time is to will be completed during the next few realize the 

present status of the amount of months under a contract made possible by Temple construction work definitely allothe balance in the 

Bahiyyih Khánum Fund. cated to the seven years ending 1944. FinanThose attending the Convention, moreover, cially, the work to be 

undertaken amounted have noted that the grounds have been filled to $350,000 in June, 1937. The work to be in and a new level 

attained corresponding to completed henceforth amounts to $ 79,- the level of the exterior stairs, almost around 680.50, plus an 

estimated $50,000 for metal the edifice. The approach to Foundation doors, grilles and landscaping. Within three Hall from Linden 

Avenue is being left un- years of a period covering seven years the graded for a time, as it will be necessary to American Bahâ’is, with 

those munificent do- provide a tunnel from the street to the en- nations made by the Guardian himself, have trance into what will then 

be the under- thus accomplished Temple construction ground basement of the Temple. The Tem- work amounting to about 

$220,000.00. plc Maintenance Committee has been able to Through contracts amounting to less than obtain all this fill at a cost of 

only one-third $40,000 a year for the next two years, the the quotation obtained a year ago. exterior of the House of Worship can be  

In the April bulletin the friends were completed two years before the termination informed of the Guardian’s cablegram re- of the 

Seven Year Plan. This, truly, is a ceived March 31: “Suggest if feasible place notable achievement to contemplate, and a immediate 

contracts for completion (of) high standard to set for future generations pylons and ornamentation (of) one whole of believers.  

face. Praying early success.” Investigations Another current accomplishment comhave been made to determine how best to parable in 

importance is the addition to the carry out this wish, and how to proceed with number of local Spiritual Assemblies made the balance 

of construction as funds are at the time of the annual election on April made available from time to time. The re- 21. While all reports 

are not yet received, 

 

158 

 


THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

the National Assembly can state that since mentioning the eleven applications on hand by the middle of March, groups in Oak Park, 



Illinois, North Augusta, South Carolina, Hamilton, Ontario, Salt Lake City, Utah, and Alhambra, California, have developed to the 

point of electoral capacity, the group at La Crescenta, California, may have likewise qualified, while Knoxville, Tennessee, has 

resumed Assembly status and Scranton, Pennsylvania, has emerged from the difficulties caused by the loss of two active believers 

who moved to another city. These conditions mean that the American Bahá’is have in all probabihty met the Guardian’s expressed 

hope that one hundred Assemblies exist after April 21, 1940.  

In a previous section of the report, reference was made to the new properties donated to the Faith this year. This information can now 

be amplified by the news that Mr. and Mrs. Schopfiocher are prepared to execute an Indenture transferring to the Green Acre Trustees 

title to their property in Eliot, Maine, with the provision that they retain full use and control during their hf etime, the same provision 

written into the gift of properties at Geyserville and at Colorado Springs. The Eliot property includes the cottage known as “Ole Bull” 

and the famous “Nine Gables” house, studios and farm.  

The Assemblies of Boston, Honolulu, Peoria, Binghamton and Helena have recently incorporated, and By-Laws have been approved 

for the Newark Assembly.  

Beginning with the April number, 

World Order Magazine 

has worked out a more directly Bahá’i function and is prepared to 

provide material for study as well as articles based on the Teachings or on personal experience of avowed Bahá’is. This change was 

made under authority given by the National Assembly, with the twofold aim of serving the believers and of making the magazine self-

supporting. The essential point to note in the change is that experience has proved the only effective way to reach non-Bahá’is is 

through Bahá’is.  

The two World’s Fair Baha’i exhibits, at New York and San Francisco, will be conducted again this year. New exhibit material has 

been prepared by the Baha’i Exhibit Committee and is to be seen at the Conven tion 

 

The element of visual education is being rapidly developed for Bahá’i teaching, and no doubt the number of regional and local 



exhibits will greatly increase during the coming year.  

Material on Bahá’i marriage certificates, with request for advice and instruction, has been sent to the Guardian. The National 

Assembly hopes that it will soon be able to provide a proper form for use by those Assemblies which have satisfied the legal 

requirements laid down by their state codes. The Guardian is also being consulted concerning any changes in the local By-Laws 

necessary to define this new authority of local Assembhes. A standard By-Law will be added to the approved local By-Laws when the 

Guardian’s instructions have been received.  

The Assembly is pleased to report that through its Chairman, Bahá’i Teachings on peace have been conveyed to the President through 

his Secretary, and assurance received that the material was placed in the President’s hands.  

New publications under way since the publication of the Annual Reports include:  

Spanish edition of Esslemont’s 



Bahd’u’lldh and the New Era; 

Spanish edition of excerpts from the Master’s 



Will and 

Testament; Study Outline and Aids for the Guardian’s World Order Letters, 

prepared by the Study Outline Committee; a 



Corn prehensive Study Course 

for children, prepared by the Child Education Committee; and three 



Bahd’I Reprints 

which make 



it possible to hand out important excerpts from the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and words of Shoghi Effendi in attractive and convenient 

form.  


Actions taken at the meeting of the National Assembly held immediately prior to the Convention include authorizations for 

continuance of Temple work, decision to transfer the Treasurer’s Office to the National headquarters at Wilmette, and approval of the 

brief prepared by the attorney in connection with the legal suit against the parties misusing the name “Bahã’i.”  

The friends are urged to give their careful attention to the passages in which the Guardian refers to the nature of attacks against the 

Master and His Will and Testa 

 

CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES 



 

159 


 

ment, appearing on pages 89 and 90 of Tide World Order of Bahd’u’lláb. Here we find the clearest statement in the 

writings for discussion of the New History publication dated April, 1940, with new believers and with those attracted to 

the Faith who have not yet gained the background of understanding and experience to discern the hollowness of any 

argument and claim based upon failure to accept the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The matter will soon come 

to trial, and the friends can rest assured that the true nature of the Bahã’i Faith and of its Administrative Order will be 

estabhshed in accordance with the power and scope of the written and authentic Teachings.  

Let us realize now the significance of the first collective spiritual gathering of the Bahá’is of all the Americas as 

meetings are held in all Bahâ’i Centers on April 26 to commemorate the martyrdom of Mrs. May Maxwell. It is indeed 

a historic occasion, a point of renewal and fresh beginning in the Inter-America teaching work. We recall Bahâ’u’lláh’s 

mighty Tablet to the Presidents of these Republics, the Master’s call sounded in the Tablets of America’s Spiritual 

Mission, and the Guardian’s vision of the f uture expounded in The Advent of Divine Justice. The Bahá’is of America 

stand at the converging center of the most tremendous power ever to stream into the hearts of mankind. This is the 

power ordained to remove mountains of prejudice and cross all the seas of ignorance and division. Ours but 

 

to make ourselves instruments to serve those ends and be used by that power! While the world is engaged in pohtical 



debate and struggle, may the friends of God drink the cup of unity which contains the mysterious ingredient of all 

success.  

In conclusion, the recent messages from the Guardian are recorded.  

Cablegram received February 27: “Congratulate alike (the) National Representatives, (the) newly fledged Assemblies, 

(the) recently despatched pioneers (and the) freshly enrolled believers all concurring (in) common mission (to) energize 

processes propelling Plan along destined course. Appeal once again (to) every participant, notwithstanding (the) 

threatening tempest, (to) steadily maintain high aim, dare greatly, toil unremittingly, sacrifice worthily, endure 

radiantly, unflinchingly till very end. Harvest to be reaped (is) fore-ordained, incalculably rich, everlasting glorious, 

visibly approaching.  

In a letter sent to the Treasurer on January 3, but delayed in transmission, Shoghi Effendi, through his secretary, 

emphasized again the Memorial to be raised in honor of Martha L. Root: “With regard to the Memorial which the N. S. 

A. is proposing to erect in honor of our beloved Martha, the Guardian is hopeful that the fund which is now being 

raised for that purpose will receive the full support of the believers, and that the donations which will be sent in will be 

sufficient to enable your Assembly to erect a befitting monument in memory of our de w 

 

The well used by the Bábis in the fortress of Shaykh Tabarsi in Mázindarán, Iran. 



 

 

 



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160 



 

THE BAHA’j WORLD 

 

parted sister. The friends should be impressed with the importance and significance of this undertaking, and should seize this 



opportunity of paying their last tribute to so outstanding and indeed matchless a pioneer and servant of the Cause in the West.”  

A letter dated February 23 made it clear that the Teaching and Inter-America Committees have different jurisdictions and distinct 

fields of work.  

Excerpts from a number of letters written by the Guardian to individual believers were published with his consent in the March issue 

of BAHA’f Nuws. These explanations cover a wide field of Bahá’i interest, and add to our understanding of the Faith.  

The most recent communication at this date (April 23) is the cablegram received  

HE annual Convention last year marked a new departure in the work of the Bahi’i community of the British Isles. It was 

recommended at that time that we should function as a teaching organism for the ensuing year with the objective of establishing new 

Spiritual Assemblies. This suggestion was communicated to the Guardian who replied by cable: “Delighted urge incoming National 

Assembly perseverance subordinate all activities teaching objective.”  

Thus, our course for the year was outlined at its very beginning.  

At its first meeting the National Spiritual Assembly considered this matter and pledged itself to carry out the Guardian’s wish, 

determining that all activities should be considered in the light of teaching. Bradford and Torquay were selected as the two most 

promising places for the estabhshment of new Assemblies. The believers in those centres were consulted and plans of campaign 

mapped out. We are happy to report that owing to the persistent efforts of the resident believers, to the work of visiting teachers, to the 

sacrifices of all who have contributed to the Fund, and to the unfailing assistance of the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Assemblies were 

 

April 11: “Delighted immediate action (on) pylons. Prompted urge, if not too uneconomical, (to) proceed (with the) completion (of) 



one face. Complete (the) remainder (in) manner most advisable. Welcome contemplated memorial gathering. Moved (to) invite 

national representatives (and) community join me contribute (to) construction (of) grave being designed (by) Mr. Maxwell at such (a) 

significant spot for so outstanding (a) pioneer during such momentous stage (in the) dynamic expansion (of the) Faith (of) 

Baha’u’lláh.”  

It is in the spirit of such words that the Bahá’is convene at their Annual Convention and prepare themselves to enter the fourth year of 

the Guardian’s Plan.  

Faithfully yours,  

NATIONAL SPIRITUAL AssEMnLv.  

elected in both places on April 2 1st. Both communities are represented by delegates at this Convention. We take this opportunity of 

conveying, through them, our welcome and sincere congratulations.  



The experience gained through teaching in these two cities has been, and will be, invaluable. Each place presented a different problem. 

One is in the industrial north, the other in the residential south; climatic, occupational, and temperamental differences are clearly 

marked. And yet, such is the all embracing power of Bahá’u’lláh, both communities have grown and become self governing units in 

the national community, and therefore in the Baha’i world. Some measure of this success must be attributed to the fact that in each 

case the ground was surveyed before the final plan was made. We receord this procedure for future guidance.  

As a reinforcement to the teaching campaign the N. S. A. welcomed the suggestion of a regular publication, which should be made 

attractive to the public and serve as a means of interesting people in the Faith. 

New World Order 

was launched as a monthly 

magazine and has received favourable comment from the Guardian; it has 

 

ANNUAL REPORT—NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BAHA’IS OF 



THE  

BRITISH ISLES—19381939  

CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES 

 

161 



 

been welcomed by Bahá’is in other countries. The English believers have supported it fairly well and its circulation is steadily 

increasing, but a large expansion is required to make it self-supporting. It maintains a high standard and is capable of becoming a very 

powerful teaching medium.  

The N. S. A. which went out of office at Rizwan, 1938, that is at the last Convention, had established three annual rallying points for 

the believers throughout the country. They were Convention, Summer School, and mid-winter Teaching Conference. Convention had 

already provided the soil for the new teaching campaign, and it was decided to make the other two occasions of especial service.  

Summer School  

Summer School was a notable success, both from the point of view of attendance and of the standard of the lectures and discussions. 

This was its third year and the attendance was about ninety, nearly three times as many as the first year.  

The great value of this institution lies in its unifying atmosphere and in the fact that it provides the only Bahá’i community hfe at 

present obtainable in England. Local Bahá’i communities have a community life, it is true, but at Summer School, everyone lives, 

works and plays together; Summer School gives physical shape to the Bahá’i community.  

In addition to the morning lectures excellent talks were given in the evening by Miss Ninette de Valois on 

The Ballet, 

by Captain 

Basil Hall on 

Peace Duties of the Navy 

and by Captain St. Barbe Baker on 



The Soul of Africa.  

Plans for this year are complete and have been published. A much larger place has been taken and the N. S. A. has guaranteed an 

attendance of fifty during the bank holiday week-end.  

Teaching Conference  

This was a true Bahá’i occasion, marked by earnest discussion, unity of purpose, and true happiness. As a conclusion to the Feast of 

Sharaf (Honour) the twenty-first birth- 

 

when he declared himself a Bahá’i. At the same time the friends heard of the birth of a son to Mrs. Weeks. Believers from Bradford, 



London, Manchester and Torquay were present, and one isolated believer, Mrs. Cooper of Blackburn.  

The Conference made the following suggestions to the National Spiritual Assembly.  

1. “That the N. S. A. should communicate more frequently with the local Assemblies, in the form of a more personal letter than the 

Journal.” This was agreed to and the chairman of the N. S. A., Miss Challis, undertook to write to each community in the intervals of 

issues of the Journal. Her letters have been greatly welcomed by the friends.  

2. “That the Administration should be clarified in the Journal, especially with regard to the relationship of local Spiritual Assemblies 

to the N. S. A. A copy of Bahá’i procedure should be sent to all Assemblies and Groups.” Both these suggestions were accepted and 

acted upon.  

3. “That a five year plan should be adopted, with the aim of having at least one believer in every county of England by Rizwan 1944.” 

This suggestion was held over for discussion by the Convention.  

Our function as a teaching organism has been further marked by the appearance of a pioneer spirit. A Bahá’i family, Mr. and Mrs. Lee 

with their two children, have moved from Manchester to Brighton. They advised the N. S. A. of their willingness to go to some other 

district, and moved to Brighton at the N. S. A.’s recommendation. Mr. Lee is making efforts to establish himself in business there, and 

hopes to be the means of promoting the Faith. The N. S. A. has extended practical help and is confident that Bahã’u’lláh will bless this 

family and fulfil its hopes.  

Incorfroration  

Parallel with the teaching campaign has been a persistent effort to achieve legal status and recognition of the Faith. The Guardian has 

continually urged the prosecution of this task, both by letter and cable. We were fortunate in securing the services of a lawyer who is 

particularly interested in 

 

day of Hosein Mukhless was celebrated, 



 

this type of work, and who has shown a 

 

162 


 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

sympathetic understanding of the position of the Faith. We wish to record our gratitude to the thorough work and 



interest of Mr. Drury, of the law firm of 



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