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Citadel of Faith

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1980 third printing
  • Pages:
  • 171
Go to printed page GO
Pages 142-161

Revitalize Entire Community

Urge intensification of efforts to revitalize entire community and expedite attainment of plans and objectives, particularly as related to purchase of Hazírás and endowments in America and Europe; translation into remaining languages; incorporation of assemblies; multiplication of centers and assemblies on home front; opening of Iceland, Spitzbergen, Anticosti and remaining islands of Pacific and Atlantic. Fervently supplicating for immediate signal victories.

[January 5, 1956]

Greater Consecration to Pressing Tasks

Deplore situation on home front. Praying ardently for rededication of entire community for greater consecration to pressing tasks. Approve all suggestions in recent letter. Urge that you redouble efforts, supplicate for unprecedented blessings.

[February 2, 1956]

Praying for Great Victories on Home Front

Fervently praying for great victories on the home front. Appeal to entire community to arise, participate and insure attainment of goals.

[June 22, 1956]

Inestimable Prizes Within Our Reach

As I survey, after the lapse of a little over three years, the vast range of historic and unforgettable achievements with which the stout-hearted, high-minded and wholly consecrated followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have, in the course of the operations of a World Spiritual Crusade, enriched, in every continent of the globe and in so many islands of the seven seas, the annals of the Formative Age of His Dispensation, I cannot but acknowledge, with feelings of pride, of joy, and of gratitude, the preponderating share which the American Bahá’í Community, faithful to its traditions, and in keeping with its high standard of stewardship to the Cause of God, has had in the conduct of this world-encircling enterprise and the discharge of its manifold, its pressing and sacred responsibilities. With one or two exceptions, greatly to be deplored, this valiant community has, ever since the inception of this Spiritual Crusade, and in every sphere of Bahá’í activities in which its participators have both individually and collectively been assiduously engaged, set an example of whole-hearted dedication, dogged perseverance, unstinting self-sacrifice and undeviating loyalty worthy of emulation by its sister, as well as its daughter, communities over the entire face of the globe.
The number, the character and the rapidity of the spiritual conquests achieved by its steadfast and intrepid members, in so many sovereign states of the globe, its chief dependencies and widely scattered islands, in the course of the one-year period, constituting the opening phase of a memorable Plan, will no doubt be universally acclaimed as a turning point of unimaginable consequence in Bahá’í history. Such feats, in so many territories, during so short a time, will rank, in the eyes of posterity, as superb and outstanding exploits, immortalizing the fame of the American followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, and as epoch-making events unsurpassed since the closing of the Heroic Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.


The reaction, so swift and so energetic, of the members of this same community, now deservedly recognized as the impregnable citadel of the Faith of God, and the cradle of the rising institutions of its World 144 Order, to the sudden onslaught made upon the institutions, the lives and the livelihood of their oppressed brethren, members of the numerically leading and the most venerable national Bahá’í community, by the traditional adversaries of a long-persecuted Faith, has been such as to deepen, to a marked extent, the feelings of genuine admiration and esteem, so strongly felt throughout the Bahá’í world, for the enduring and magnificent services rendered in the course of more than six decades by the American believers to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and its embryonic World Order. The spontaneity with which the rank and file of this community as well as the body of its elected representatives, have contributed to the “Save the Persecuted Fund” established for the succor of the victims of these savage and periodically recurring barbarities; the measure of publicity accorded them in the American press, as well as over the radio; the timely and efficacious intervention of men of prominence, in various walks of life, on behalf of the oppressed and the down-trodden; the repeated and direct appeals addressed by them to the highest authorities in Persia, as well as to their representative in the United States; the immense number of written and cabled appeals, made by the local as well as the national elected representatives of the community, to the chief magistrate of Persia, his ministers and parliament; the numerous messages addressed by the same representatives to the chief executive of the United States, urging his personal intervention, the pleading of the cause of an harassed, sorely-tried community in the course of repeated representations made to the State Department in Washington; the part played in the presentation of the Bahá’í case to the United Nations officials in both Geneva and New York; the allocation of a sizeable sum for the purpose of securing the assistance of an expert publicity agent, in order to reinforce the publicity already being received in the public press—these, as well as other measures which, by their very nature, must of necessity remain confidential—proclaim, in no uncertain terms, the dynamic and decisive nature of the aid accorded, in a hour of trial and emergency, by the champions of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, raised up in the great republic of the West, at such a crucial hour in the evolution of His Plan, for both His Faith and the world at large, to the vast body of the descendants of the dawn-breakers of the Apostolic Age of that same Faith in the land of its birth.


No less remarkable has been the share of this community, chiefly responsible, on the morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, for the fixing of the pattern, the elaboration of the national constitution, and the erection of the basic institutions, of a divinely conceived Administrative Order, in the acquisition and establishment, in the course of two brief years, constituting the second phase of the Ten-Year Plan, of practically all of the future national administrative headquarters—numbering over thirty—of Bahá’í national assemblies in four continents of the globe, involving the expenditure from the National Fund of over a hundred thousand dollars.
An effort, hardly less meritorious and equally efficacious and astonishing, has been exerted by the members of this alert, forward-looking, ceaselessly laboring community, in the course of the same two-year period, for the establishment of national Bahá’í endowments in more than twenty countries of both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, entailing the expenditure of over twenty thousand dollars.
In other spheres of Bahá’í activity, related to the prosecution of the Ten-Year Plan, all of vital importance to the teaching work initiated under that same Plan, and to the enlargement and consolidation of the administrative structure of the institutions to be erected in the future, the accomplishments of the members of this community, during the first two phases of this world Crusade, have been no less significant. The establishment of the Bahá’í Publishing Trust; the translation of Bahá’í literature into more than fifteen languages, both within the scope of the Ten-Year Plan and outside it, spoken in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the North American continent; the purchase of the site of the first dependency of the Mother Temple of the West; the practical completion of the landscaping of its gardens; the provision of a considerable part of the material resources required for the purchase of the sites of future Bahá’í Temples in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, as well as for the construction of the two projected Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs in the European and African continents; the guidance given and the aid extended to newly elected national assemblies, for the efficient conduct of Bahá’í administrative activities and the prosecution of Bahá’í national plans; the initial visits made by Bahá’í 146 teachers to countries within the Soviet orbit, foreshadowing the launching of systematic teaching enterprises in both Europe and Asia; the assistance given, through financial help as well as through the dispatch of Bahá’í pioneers, to various Bahá’í communities for the enlargement of the limits of the Faith and the consolidation of its institutions; and, last but not least, the purchase of the sacred site of the Síyáh-Chál of Ṭihrán, the scene of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Prophetic Mission, by a member of that community of Persian descent—these stand out as further evidences of the enormous share the firmly knit, highly organized, swiftly advancing, fully dedicated American Bahá’í Community has had in the prosecution and triumphant progress of the three year old Ten-Year Plan, and augur well for a no less splendid contribution to be made, in the years immediately ahead, for the attainment of its remaining objectives.


Supplementing this noble record of service have been the constant and fruitful efforts exerted by the Hands of the Cause, nominated from among the members of that community, in both the United States and the Holy Land, efforts that have lent a considerable impetus to the expansion and consolidation of the far-reaching enterprises initiated at the World Center of the Faith, and which have, particularly through the instrumentality of the recently appointed American Auxiliary Board, stimulated, to a noticeable extent the progress of the teaching work and the advancement of the Plan itself.


Particular tribute should, I feel, at this juncture, be paid to the stupendous work achieved, since the launching of the World Crusade, by the representatives of this highly privileged community, in their capacity as members of the International Bahá’í Council, in connection with the prosecution of a variety of enterprises embarked upon in recent years, aiming at the expansion and consolidation of the international institutions of the Faith, the enhancement of its prestige, the embellishment of the surroundings of its Shrines, the efficient conduct 147 of its internal affairs, and the forging of fresh links binding it still more closely to the civil authorities in the Holy Land. The erection of the International Archives in the close neighborhood of the Báb’s holy Sepulcher; the extension of the international Bahá’í endowments on the slopes of Mt. Carmel; the formation of several Israel Branches of Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies; the embellishment of the precincts of the resting-place of both the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh; the purchase of the site of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the Holy Land; the preparation of the designs for the International Bahá’í Archives on Mt. Carmel; and of the Mother Temples of Persia and of Africa; the inauguration of the preliminary steps for the eventual construction of Bahá’u’lláh’s holy Sepulcher; the measures adopted, with the assistance of various officials of the State of Israel, for the eviction of the covenant-breakers from the immediate precincts of the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh and the elimination of any influence they still exercise, after the lapse of over sixty years, in the close vicinity of that Most Holy Spot—in these, as well as in other various subsidiary activities, constantly increasing in number as well as in diversity at the spiritual and administrative center of the Bahá’í world, have the members of the little band, assiduously laboring under the shadow of the Holy Shrines, and befittingly representing the American Bahá’í Community, conspicuously participated, and through their dedicated services, added fresh luster to the annals of the community to which they belong.


So splendid a record of service, rendered within the brief span of a little over three years, extending over so vast an area of the globe, so highly diversified, so pregnant with promise, in the face of such formidable obstacles, and by so limited a number of participants, has, much to my deepest regret, been marred by a progressive devitalization of the home front, constituting so momentous an aspect of the Ten-Year Plan, and upon which its continued and effective prosecution by the American Bahá’í Community, in the course of the present and third phase of the World Spiritual Crusade, so largely depends.
Constituting as it does the base of the multiple operations now being conducted to ensure the success of the North American, the Latin American, the African, the European and Asiatic campaigns of a global crusade, no sacrifice can be deemed too great for its revitalization 148 and the broadening and consolidation of its foundations. The manpower of the community, so essential to the further deployment of its forces must, rapidly and at all costs, increase. The material resources, now at its disposal, which are so bountifully poured forth and so generously distributed to the four corners of the globe, must be correspondingly augmented to meet the pressing and ever-swelling demands of a constantly and irresistibly advancing Crusade. A far greater proportion of the avowed supporters of the Faith must arise, ere the Crusade suffers any setback, for the fourfold purpose of winning over an infinitely greater number of recruits to the army of Bahá’u’lláh fighting on the home front, of swelling to an unprecedented degree the isolated centers now scattered within its confines, of converting an increasing number of them into firmly founded groups, and of accelerating the formation of local assemblies, while safeguarding those already in existence.


There can be no doubt whatever that to achieve this fourfold purpose is the most strenuous, the least spectacular, and the most challenging of the tasks now confronting the American Bahá’í Community. It is primarily a task that concerns the individual believer, wherever he may be, and whatever his calling, his resources, his race, or his age. Neither the local nor national representatives of the community, no matter how elaborate their plans, or persistent their appeals, or sagacious their counsels, nor even the Guardian himself, however much he may yearn for this consummation, can decide where the duty of the individual lies, or supplant him in the discharge of that task. The individual alone must assess its character, consult his conscience, prayerfully consider all its aspects, manfully struggle against the natural inertia that weighs him down in his effort to arise, shed, heroically and irrevocably, the trivial and superfluous attachments which hold him back, empty himself of every thought that may tend to obstruct his path, mix, in obedience to the counsels of the Author of His Faith, and in imitation of the One Who is its true Exemplar, with men and women, in all walks of life, seek to touch their hearts, through the distinction which characterizes his thoughts, his words and his acts, and win them over tactfully, lovingly, prayerfully and persistently, to the Faith he himself has espoused. 149
The gross materialism that engulfs the entire nation at the present hour; the attachment to worldly things that enshrouds the souls of men; the fears and anxieties that distract their minds; the pleasure and dissipations that fill their time, the prejudices and animosities that darken their outlook, the apathy and lethargy that paralyze their spiritual faculties—these are among the formidable obstacles that stand in the path of every would-be warrior in the service of Bahá’u’lláh, obstacles which he must battle against and surmount in his crusade for the redemption of his own countrymen.
To the degree that the home front crusader is himself cleansed of these impurities, liberated from these petty preoccupations and gnawing anxieties, delivered from these prejudices and antagonisms, emptied of self, and filled by the healing and the sustaining power of God, will he be able to combat the forces arrayed against him, magnetize the souls of those whom he seeks to convert, and win their unreserved, their enthusiastic and enduring allegiance to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.
Delicate and strenuous though the task may be, however arduous and prolonged the effort required, whatsoever the nature of the perils and pitfalls that beset the path of whoever arises to revive the fortunes of a Faith struggling against the rising forces of materialism, nationalism, secularism, racialism, ecclesiasticism, the all-conquering potency of the grace of God, vouchsafed through the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, will, undoubtedly, mysteriously and surprisingly, enable whosoever arises to champion His Cause to win complete and total victory.
The history of a century-old Faith eloquently bears witness to similar unnumbered successes won, in both the Apostolic and Formative Ages of the Bahá’í Dispensation, in circumstances even more challenging than those in which the American Bahá’í Community now finds itself.
So magnificent a victory, won collectively, at such a time, in a country so vitally affecting the immediate destinies of mankind, singled out to play so predominant a role in the unification and spiritualization of the entire human race, by a community which in every other field can boast a brilliant and unbroken record of victories, will, no doubt, exert not only a profound influence on the ultimate destinies of an entire nation and people, but will galvanize, through its repercussions, the entire Bahá’í world. 150


The prizes within the reach of this community are truly inestimable. Much will depend on the reaction of the rank and file of the believers to the plea now addressed to them with all the fervor of my soul.
To act, and act promptly and decisively, is the need of the present hour and their inescapable duty. That the American Bahá’í Community may, in this one remaining field, where so much is at stake, and where the needs of the Faith are so acute, cover itself with a glory that will outshine the splendor of its past exploits in the far-flung territories of the globe, is a prayer which I never cease to utter in my continual supplications to Bahá’u’lláh.

[July 19, 1956]

Intensification of Efforts

Welcome pledge by delegates. Fervently supplicating Bahá’u’lláh’s sustaining grace. Urge intensification of efforts, rededication and achievement of goals of Plan in order to discharge befittingly the sacred, manifold, inescapable, urgent responsibilities confronting the entire American Bahá’í Community. Appeal for unprecedented increase in pioneers on the home front and all continents of the globe, on which the prosperity, security and destiny of the American believers must ultimately rest.

[April 29, 1957]

Dual, Inescapable, Paramount Responsibilities

Assembly’s dual, inescapable, paramount responsibilities for current year are to ensure expansion and consolidation of the home front and the rapid multiplication of pioneers abroad to reinforce Latin American, African, European and Pacific campaigns of World Crusade. Fervently supplicating for signal success in fulfillment of dearest hopes.

[May 7, 1957]

Heights Never Before Attained

The American Bahá’í Community has, ever since the launching of the global Spiritual Crusade, in which it has been assigned the lion’s share in view of the primacy conferred upon it by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, exerted itself, in numerous and widely scattered areas of the globe, with commendable perseverance, a high sense of undeviating loyalty and exemplary consecration. The inexorable march of events, hastening its members along the path of their destiny, is steadily carrying them to the stage at which the momentous Plan, to which they have dedicated their resources, will have reached its midway point.


A prodigious expenditure of effort, a stupendous flow of material resources, an unprecedented dispersal of pioneers, embracing so vast a section of the globe, and bringing in their wake the rise, the multiplication and consolidation of so many institutions, so divers in character, so potent and full of promise, already stand to their credit, and augur well for a befitting consummation of a decade-long task in the years immediately ahead.
The opening of a large percentage of the virgin territories, scattered over the face of the planet, and assigned, under the provisions of the Ten-Year Plan, to this community and its sister and daughter communities in all continents of the globe; the allocation of vast sums, for the founding of national Hazíratu’l-Quds, for the establishment of national Bahá’í endowments; and for the purchase of the sites of future Bahá’í Temples; the financial aid extended and the moral support accorded to a still persecuted sister community, struggling heroically for its emancipation, in the cradle of the Faith; the steady progress in the vital process of incorporating firmly grounded local spiritual assemblies in various states of the union; the translation of Bahá’í literature into the languages listed in the Ten-Year Plan, as well as into a number of supplementary languages, spontaneously undertaken by American Bahá’í pioneers in territories far beyond the confines of their homeland; the completion of the landscaping of the area immediately surrounding the Mother Temple of the West, in conformity with the expressed, often repeated wishes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, contributing so greatly to the 152 beauty of an edifice, the spiritual influence of which He, repeatedly and unequivocally, emphasized; the acquisition of the site of the first dependency of that same edifice, designed to pave the way for the early establishment of the first of several institutions, which, as conceived by Him, will be grouped around every Bahá’í House of Worship, complementing, through their association with direct service to mankind, in the educational, the humanitarian and social fields, its spiritual function as the ordained place of communion with the Creator and the Spirit of His appointed Messenger in this day; the establishment of the Bahá’í Publishing Trust; the generous financial assistance extended, the administrative guidance vouchsafed and the unfailing encouragement given, by the elected representatives of this same community to the newly fledged assemblies, emerging into independent existence in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres; the substantial share which one of its members has had in the acquisition of one of the holy sites in the capital city of Bahá’u’lláh’s native land; the preponderating role played by the various agencies, acting under the direction of its national elected representatives, in giving publicity to the Faith, through the proclamation of the fundamental verities underlying the Bahá’í Revelation, the airing of the manifold grievances weighing so heavily on the overwhelming majority of their coreligionists, and the appeals directed, on their behalf, to men of eminence in various walks of life, as well as to different departments of the United Nations, both in New York and Geneva; and, finally, ranking as equally meritorious to anything hitherto achieved by the members of this privileged community, the magnificent and imperishable contribution made by them, singly and collectively, to the rise and establishment of the institutions of their beloved Faith at its World Center; through the assistance given by their distinguished representatives serving in the Holy Land, in hastening the erection of the Bahá’í International Archives, through the purchase of the site of the Mother Temple of the Holy Land, the enlargement of the scope of Bahá’í international endowments on the slopes of Mt. Carmel and in the Plain of ‘Akká, the embellishment of the sacred precincts of the two holiest Shrines of the Bahá’í world; the formation of the Israel Branches of four national spiritual assemblies, the preparation and completion of the designs of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs to be erected in the Asiatic, the African and Australian continents, and the setting in motion, through the 153 instrumentality of various departments of the Israeli government, of a long-drawn-out process, culminating in the expropriation by the state of the entire property, owned and controlled by the remnants of the breakers of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, immediately surrounding His resting-place and the Mansion of Bahjí, the evacuation of this property by this ignoble band, and the final and definite purification, after the lapse of no less than six decades, of the Outer Sanctuary of the Most Holy Shrine of the Bahá’í world, of the defilement, which had caused so much sorrow and anxiety to the heart of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—these are among the enduring achievements which four brief years of unremitting devotion to the interests of the Ten-Year Plan have brought about, and which will eternally redound to the glory of the champion-builders of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Order, holding aloft so valiantly the banner of His Faith in the great republic of the West.


Though much has been achieved in the space of less than five years, though the objectives of the Ten-Year Plan, in most of its essential aspects, may be said to have been triumphantly attained long before the time appointed for its termination, through a striking display, and a remarkable combination, of American Bahá’í initiative, resourcefulness, generosity, fidelity and perseverance, the Plan, prosecuted hitherto so vigorously by the rank and file of this community, may be said to be still suffering in some of its vital aspects, from certain deficiencies, which, if not speedily and fundamentally remedied, will not only mutilate the Plan itself, but jeopardize the prizes won so laboriously since its inauguration.
As I have already forewarned the energetic prosecutors of the global Crusade in the North American continent, the home front, from which have sprung, since the inception of the Formative Age of the Faith, the dynamic forces which have set in motion, and directed the operation, of so many processes, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity, and which must continue to act as a base for the steady expansion of future operations in every continent of the globe, and the extension of their ramifications to the uttermost corners of the earth, and which must be increasingly regarded, as the forces of internal disruption and the stress and danger of aggressiveness from without gather momentum, as the sole stronghold of a Faith which cannot hope 154 to escape unscathed from the turmoil gathering around it—such a home front must, at all costs, and in the shortest possible time, be spiritually reinvigorated, administratively expanded, and materially replenished. The flame of devotion ignited and the enthusiasm generated, during the celebrations which commemorated the centenary of the birth of the Mission of the Divine Author of our Faith, and which, in the course of the years immediately following it have carried the members of the American Bahá’í Community, so far and so high, along the road leading to their ultimate destiny, must, in whatever way possible, be fanned and continually fed throughout the entire area of the Union, in every state from the Atlantic to the Pacific seaboards, in every locality where Bahá’ís reside, in every heart throbbing with the love of Bahá’u’lláh. The spirit that sent forth, not so long ago, in such rapid succession, so many pioneers to such remote areas of the globe, must at all costs and above everything else, be recaptured, for the twofold purpose of swelling the number, and of ensuring the continual flow, of pioneers, so essential for the safeguarding of the prizes won in the course of the several campaigns of a world-girdling Crusade, and of combatting the evil forces which a relentless and all-pervasive materialism, the cancerous growth of militant racialism, political corruption, unbridled capitalism, wide-spread lawlessness and gross immorality, are, alas, unleashing, with ominous swiftness, amongst various classes of the society to which the members of this community belong.
The administrative strongholds of a Faith, bound to be subjected on the one hand, to a severe spiritual challenge from within, through the inevitable impact of these devastating influences on its infant strength, and, on the other, to the onslaught of ecclesiastical leaders, the traditional defenders of religious orthodoxy from without, must be multiplied and reinforced for the purpose of warding off the inevitable attacks of the assailants, of vindicating the ideals and principles which animate their defenders, and of ensuring the ultimate victory and ascendency of the Faith itself over the nefarious elements seeking to undermine it from within, and its powerful detractors aiming at its extinction from without.
Nor must the material resources, so vitally required to meet the challenge of a continually expanding Faith, be, for a moment, either ignored, neglected, or underestimated—resources which a home front, materially and adequately replenished by a steady and marked influx of 155 active and wholehearted supporters from all ranks of society, can, in the long run, provide. As the imperative needs of a Faith, now irresistibly advancing in every direction, multiply, a corresponding increase in the financial means at the disposal of its national administrators directing and controlling its operations, within and beyond the confines of their homeland, to meet these essential and urgent requirements, must be ensured, if its onward march is not to be either halted or slowed down.


It is upon the individual believer, constituting the fundamental unit in the structure of the home front, that the revitalization, the expansion, and the enrichment of the home front must ultimately depend. The more strenuous the effort exerted, daily and methodically, by the individual laboring on the home front to rise to loftier heights of consecration, of self-abnegation, to contribute, through pioneering at home, to the multiplication of Bahá’í isolated centers, groups and assemblies, and to raise, through diligent, painstaking and continual endeavor to convert receptive souls to the Faith he has espoused, the number of its active and wholehearted supporters, the sooner will the vast and multiple enterprises, launched beyond the confines of the homeland, and now so desperately calling for a greater supply of men and means, be provided with the necessary support that will ensure their uninterrupted development and hasten their ultimate fruition, and the lighter will be the burden of the impending contest that must be waged, sooner or later, within the borders of the Union itself, between the rising institutions of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic divinely appointed Order, and the exponents of obsolescent doctrines and the defenders, both secular and religious, of a corrupt and fast-declining society.
The fourth phase of the Ten-Year Plan, which the prosecutors of a world-encompassing Crusade are about to enter, must witness on the one hand, on every home front, and particularly within the confines of the American homeland, this same spiritual reinvigoration, administrative expansion, and material replenishment, constituting the triple facets of a task which can brook no further delay, and, on the other, an acceleration, particularly in connection with the construction of the Mother Temples of Australia and Germany (the needs of the Mother Temple of Africa having, to all intents and purposes, been met) in the 156 contributions to be made, by individual believers as well as national spiritual assemblies, to ensure the uninterrupted progress and the early completion of these mighty and historic enterprises.
As the members of the valiant American Bahá’í Community have, in the space of more than four years, blazed the trail, and vindicated their primacy, through the share they have had in opening the chief remaining virgin territories of the globe, in contributing to the furtherance of the interests of the institutions of the Faith at its World Center, and in hastening the acquisition of national Hazíratu’l-Quds, the establishment of Bahá’í national endowments, and the purchase of sites for future Bahá’í Temples, so must they, if they be intent on safeguarding that primacy, and on preserving, intact and untarnished, the noble example they have already set the Bahá’í world, maintain their enviable position, as the vanguard of the army of Bahá’u’lláh’s crusaders, in rescuing, while there is yet time, their home front from the precarious position in which it now finds itself, and in displaying for the purpose of ensuring the erection of the Mother Temples of three continents—tasks which tower far above any of the national enterprises hitherto undertaken—be they Hazíratu’l-Quds, endowments or Temple sites—that selfsame generosity and self-abnegation which have distinguished their stewardship to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in the past.
The year, the opening of which will mark the midway point of this World Spiritual Crusade, must be distinguished from all previous years, by the special allotment of a substantial sum from the national budget that will adequately meet the urgent needs of these Houses of Worship, and particularly those that are to be erected in the European and Australian continents.


The forthcoming convocation of no less than five intercontinental conferences, marking the passing of half of the time allotted for the prosecution of a World Crusade, and to be held, in five continents of the globe, for the purpose of paying homage to the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation for His protection, guidance and blessings, of focusing attention on the achievements of the immediate past and the pressing requirements of the immediate future, will, it is my ardent hope and prayer, provide a fresh stimulus for the adequate discharge of these two afore-mentioned responsibilities, which constitute the distinguishing features of the fourth phase of a rapidly unfolding Plan. 157
At four of these five conferences, in the proceedings of which four, the members of the American Bahá’í Community—the principal executors of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Divine Plan and the keepers and defenders of the stronghold of the Bahá’í Administrative Order—will participate, through their official representatives, the voice of the champion-builders of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Order, who can well claim to have had a decisive share in the great strides made by this Crusade, should be raised in a spirit and manner that will galvanize these conferences into action, and produce such results as will reverberate round the world.
A golden opportunity, a glorious challenge, an inescapable duty, a staggering responsibility, confront them, at this fresh turning point in the fortunes of a Crusade, for which they have so unremittingly labored, whose Cause they have so notably advanced, in the further unfoldment of which they must continue to play a leading part, and in whose closing stages, they will, I feel confident, rise to heights never before attained in the course of six decades of American Bahá’í history.
Once again—and this time more fervently than ever before—I direct my plea to every single member of this strenuously laboring, clear-visioned, stout-hearted, spiritually endowed community, every man and woman, on whose individual efforts, resolution, self-sacrifice and perseverance the immediate destinies of the Faith of God, now traversing so crucial a stage in its rise and establishment, primarily depends, not to allow, through apathy, timidity or complacency, this one remaining opportunity to be irretrievably lost. I would rather entreat each and every one of them to immortalize this approaching, fateful hour in the evolution of a World Spiritual Crusade, by a fresh consecration to their God-given mission, coupled with an instantaneous plan of action, at once so dynamic and decisive, as to wipe out, on the one hand, with one stroke, the deficiencies which have, to no small extent, bogged down the operations of the Crusade on the home front, and tremendously accelerate, on the other, the progress of the triple task, launched, in three continents, and constituting one of its preeminent objectives.


May He, Who through the irresistible operation of the will of His almighty Father, called this community into being, nursed it in its infancy through the inestimable benefits conferred by a divinely appointed Covenant, infused through His personal contact with its 158 members, and the proclamation of His Own Station, a new spirit into their souls; conferred, subsequently, through the revelation of His Tablets, the spiritual primacy designed to enable them to assume a preponderating role in the propagation of His Father’s Faith; graciously aided them, following His ascension, to inaugurate their God-given mission by fixing the pattern, creating the institutions, and vindicating the purpose, of a divinely appointed Administrative Order and by launching subsequently the preliminary undertakings in their homeland, as well as in all the republics of Latin America, in anticipation of the formal inauguration of a systematic World Crusade for the furtherance of His Father’s Cause; and more recently assisted them to embark, in concert with their brethren in other continents of the globe, upon the first stage of their world-encompassing mission, and to win a series of victories unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in their homeland—may He, through His watchful care and unfailing grace, continue to sustain them, individually and collectively, in the course of the remaining stages of the Plan, and enable them to bring to a triumphant termination the initial epoch in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan which He has primarily entrusted to them and on the successful prosecution of which their entire spiritual destiny must depend.

[September 21, 1957]


Frank Ashton

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Praying for progress of his soul in the Kingdom. His services meritorious.

[March 1956]