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The Light of Divine Guidance (Volume 1)

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • Bahá’í Publishing Trust of Germany (Bahá’í-Verlag), 1982 edition
  • Pages:
  • 311
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Pages 122-125

Letter of 24 June 1947

24 June 1947
Dear Bahá’í Friends:
Your letter, dated June 16th, has been received, and our beloved Guardian has instructed me to answer it on his behalf.
He can quite well understand that after so many years of isolation from the rest of the Bahá’í world it came as a surprise to some of you to hear that we, as Bahá’ís, must not have any affiliations with churches or political parties. But he feels certain that when you meditate on this matter you yourselves will see the wisdom of it. We, as Bahá’ís, can never be known as hypocrites or as people insincere in their 123 protestations and because of this we cannot subscribe to both the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and ordinary church dogma. The churches are waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ; we believe He has come again in the Glory of the Father. The churches teach doctrines—various ones in various creeds—which we as Bahá’ís do not accept; such as the bodily Resurrection, confession, or, in some creeds, the denial of the Immaculate Conception. In other words there is no Christian church today whose dogmas we, as Bahá’ís can truthfully say we accept in their entirety—therefore to remain a member of the Church is not proper for us, for we do so under false pretences. We should, therefore, withdraw from our churches but continue to associate, if we wish to, with the church members and ministers.
Our belief in Christ, as Bahá’ís, is so firm, so unshakable and so exalted in nature that very few Christians are to be found nowadays who love Him and reverence Him and have the faith in Him that we have. It is only from the dogmas and creeds of the churches that we dissociate ourselves; not from the spirit of Christianity.
Very much the same reasons motivate us in withdrawing from all political movements, however close some of their ideals may be to ours. We Bahá’ís are one the world-over, we are seeking to build up a New World Order, Divine in origin. How can we do this if every Bahá’í is a member of a different political party—some of them diametrically opposed to each other? Where is our unity then? We would be divided because of politics, against ourselves, and this is the opposite of our purpose. Obviously if one Bahá’í in Austria, is given freedom to choose a political party and join it, however good its aims may be, another Bahá’í in Japan, or America or India, has the right to do the same thing, and he might belong to a party the very opposite in principle to 124 that which the Austrian Bahá’í belongs to. Where would be the unity of the Faith then? These two spiritual brothers would be working against each other, because of their political affiliations (as the Christians of Europe have been doing in so many fratricidal wars).
The best way for a Bahá’í to serve his country and the world is to work for the establishment of Bahá’u’lláh’s World Order, which will gradually unite all men and do away with divisive political systems and religious creeds.
He does not force you to do this at once; but urges you all to decide to withdraw from your churches and political groups within, say, a year, and then to help each other to do this. You will find your spiritual strength greater for taking this step.
Please assure dear Mrs. Schwarz of his loving prayers on her behalf.
He will also pray for you all in the Holy Shrines, and urges you to persevere in your services to our beloved Faith….
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers:
I was so pleased to receive your message and so thankful for the evidences of devotion, of determination and love it contained. The Austrian believers are dear and near to my heart, and I deeply sympathize with them in the ordeal and tribulations which they have suffered, and which have demonstrated the quality of their faith and the depth of their devotion. The funds accumulated for their relief and for the development of the Faith in their land will, I trust, be soon forwarded to them, and will no doubt greatly contribute to the rehabilitation and growth of their beloved community. Persevere in your meritorious labours, and rest assured that you are often in my thoughts and prayers, and that I will 125 continue to supplicate for you all the Master’s richest blessings.
Your true and grateful brother,
P.S. He feels that the German and Austrian believers are one in language and that the Austrian friends should consider the N.G.R. as their National Assembly, the same as before the war. We are Bahá’ís and have no nationalistic feelings in such matters. Our ties are purely spiritual. But you can consult the European Teaching Committee if the NGR is too difficult at present. The Guardian wishes you to know that as soon as there are a sufficient number of Bahá’í assemblies in Austria she will naturally have her own NGR.