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Letter of 26 June 1956
26 June 1956
To the National Spiritual Assembly
Dear Bahá’í Friends:
Your communications with their enclosures and material sent under separate cover have all been safely received by the beloved Guardian; and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf, and to acknowledge receipt of your letters dated: June 1 and 29, July 5, August 5, September 1, October 6 (two), November 29 and December 2 (three), 1955, and January 30, February 11 and 29, May 1 (two).
The remarkable achievements of the friends during the last three years in opening the virgin areas no doubt will be looked back upon by posterity with astonishment and admiration; and the Canadian friends have certainly played an active part in this process and forged ahead in carrying out their own Plan.
Another achievement during the past year of the Canadian friends has been the publication of literature in Ukrainian and in some of the Indian languages. He feels sure that this will speed up their teaching work immensely amongst both of these minorities; and he hopes that more of the Bahá’ís will make a special effort to get jobs in the reservations or amongst Indian people, so that they can carry to them the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.
He was glad to know that a number of Spiritual Assemblies have been incorporated, and hopes that this process will also be accelerated during the coming months, and that all of the Assemblies that seem to have a firm foundation, however small the community may be, will take out their incorporation papers.
He hopes that it has been possible to make the arrangements to have Miss Jack’s3 grave built. This is a task which is indeed a precious trust for your Assembly. When the friends realize that her grave will become in the future a place of visitation, they will appreciate the bounty bestowed upon the Canadian Community through being able to claim one of the most distinguished of all pioneers as a member of their Community.
He was very sorry to hear of the prolonged inharmony in the ... Bahá’í Community.... Some of the younger believers, from letters and reports received here, seem to lack a firm grounding on such matters as the Will and Testament and the deeper spiritual teachings of the Faith. Whenever the grasp of these fundamentals is weak, the friends are almost sure to pay undue attention to secondary procedures, to quibble over details, to lose themselves in personalities, and to founder in a sea of unnecessary inharmony. This has nothing to do with their devotion, their loyalty, their zeal, their eagerness to serve. It is merely a question of not having received, perhaps through lack of sufficient teachers to carry on the all-important work of deepening the friends in their own faith, a strong enough education in the Covenant before the duties and responsibilities of the Administrative Order were thrust upon them.
He has the greatest confidence in the abilities, and the loyalty and devotion of the Canadian friends. They have proved themselves over and over again, and distinguished their community through acts of great sacrifice, vision, courage and devotion. He hopes that, during the coming year, your Assembly will be able to send out more teachers, to assist the friends in grasping the fundamentals of the Faith, in uniting them, and stimulating their desire to do more in the teaching field. If the supply of teachers is limited in Canada—and the area to be covered is certainly vast!—perhaps your Sister Assembly in the United States can help through lending visiting teachers.
He assures all the members of the National Assembly of his loving prayers for the success of your indefatigable labours.
With warm Bahá’í love,
Regarding your question of applying the sanction of suspension of voting rights to people who marry without the consent of parents, this should be done from now on. The law of the Aqdas is explicit and not open to any ambiguity at all. As long as the parents are alive, the consent must be obtained; it is not conditioned on their relationship to their children. If the whereabouts of the parents is not known legally, in other words, if they are legally dead, then it is not necessary for the children to obtain their consent, obviously. It is not a question of the child not knowing the present whereabouts of its parents, it is a question of a legal thing—if the parents are alive, they must be asked.
As regards the question of alcohol, the Guardian explained this to Mr. Raynor,5 and he feels that his understanding of it is quite correct. The Assemblies must be wise and gentle in dealing with such cases, but at the same time must not tolerate a prolonged and flagrant disregard of the Bahá’í Teachings as regards alcohol.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
The Canadian Bahá’í Community, whose members are so
valiantly participating in the furtherance of the World Spiritual
Crusade, now claiming the attention of the entire body of
followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in all continents of the
globe, has ever since the inception of this world-embracing
enterprise, proved itself capable of carrying its share of responsibility
in the accomplishment of this collective, colossal
task, and has rendered services that have enriched the annals
Ever since the emergence of this progressive, youthful and dynamic community, as an independent entity, and particularly since the inception of the Ten Year Plan, it has demonstrated, on several occasions, those qualities which alone can provide the guarantee of success in carrying out, as a worthy ally of her sister community in the Great Republic of the West, the sacred and historic Mission assigned to it by the Author of the Tablets of the Divine Plan. The staunchness of the faith of its members, their unyielding resolve, their ceaseless efforts, their willingness to sacrifice, their exemplary loyalty, their steadfast courage, have, time and again, been strikingly displayed, and served to fortify the hopes which I have always cherished for their future destiny.
The vastness of the field in which this firmly knit, irresistibly advancing, steadily consolidating community now operates, stretching as it does from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboards, and touching, on the one hand, the fringes of the Arctic Region, and extending, on the other, as far as the islands of the South Pacific, contrasts with the extremely restricted area, in which, for so many years, and until recently, the administrative activities of this community were confined. The diversity and multiplicity of the enterprises in which it finds itself now engaged, the manner in which it is consolidating its strength, enlarging its membership, safeguarding the unity of its members, and noising abroad its fame, may be regarded as additional evidences of its spiritual vigour, and of its rapid rise to maturity at so significant a period in the evolution of the Faith throughout the Western Hemisphere.
At this crucial hour, when the Plan to which this highly
promising community stands committed is entering on the
third phase in its unfoldment, the responsibilities confronting
its members are at once manifold, pressing and inescapable.
The situation on the homefront, so extensive and so varied in
character, calls for careful consideration and energetic action
on the part of your Assembly. The steady increase in the number
Of equal importance is the strenuous yet highly meritorious obligation to add, steadily and rapidly, to the number of the American Indian and Eskimo adherents of the Faith, and to ensure their active participation in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity—a task so clearly emphasized by the Pen of the Centre of the Covenant, and in the consummation of which the Canadian Bahá’í Community is destined to play so conspicuous a part.
Above all, the utmost endeavour should be exerted by your
Assembly to familiarize the newly enrolled believers with the
fundamental and spiritual verities of the Faith, and with the
origins, the aims and purposes, as well as the processes of a
divinely appointed Administrative Order, to acquaint them
more fully with the history of the Faith, to instil in them a
deeper understanding of the Covenants of both Bahá’u’lláh and
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to enrich their spiritual life, to rouse them to
a greater effort and a closer participation in both the teaching
of the Faith and the administration of its activities, and to
inspire them to make the necessary sacrifices for the furtherance
of its vital interests. For as the body of the avowed supporters
of the Faith is enlarged, and the basis of the structure
of its Administrative Order is broadened, and the fame of the
rising community spreads far and wide, a parallel progress
must be achieved, if the fruits already garnered are to endure,
in the spiritual quickening of its members and the deepening
The duties incumbent upon this community, and particularly its elected national representatives, multiply with every passing day. Heavy is the burden they carry. Rich and immense are the possibilities stretching before them. Priceless are the rewards which a befitting discharge of their multiple responsibilities must bring in its wake. Boundless are the favours and bestowals which a loving and watchful Providence is ready to confer upon those who will arise to meet the challenge of the present hour.
May the members of this community, as well as its elected representatives, consecrate themselves anew to the mission which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has conferred upon them, and immortalize their stewardship to the Faith of His Father through acts which future generations will unanimously acclaim and for which they will feel eternally grateful.
|1.||Mary Zabolotny (McCulloch)—Knight of Bahá’u’lláh for Anticosti Island (1956), passed away 1996. [ Back To Reference]|
|2.||Iceland appears to have been visited first by Amelia Collins in 1924. Martha Root spent a month in Iceland in 1935. [ Back To Reference]|
|3.||Marion Jack—“immortal heroine”and “shining example to pioneers”, who remained at her post in Sofia, Bulgaria from 1930 until her death in 1954. Her imperishable services are recorded in The Bahá’í World Vol. XII, 674–677, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|4.||Allan Raynor—member of the National Spiritual Assembly 1954–60 and 1963–64, passed away in 1979. See The Bahá’í World Vol. XVIII, 696–698, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|
|5.||Allan Raynor—member of the National Spiritual Assembly 1954–60 and 1963–64, passed away in 1979. See The Bahá’í World Vol. XVIII, 696–698, In Memoriam. [ Back To Reference]|