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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 206-209

Letter of 24 October 1947

24 October 1947
Dear Bahá’í Brother,
Your letters to our beloved Guardian, dated May 18th and 27th; June 4th, 9th and 16th; July 5th, 8th (two of this date), 12th and 14th; August 9th and September 15th, 20th and 29th; and October 6th and 13th, have all been received, as well as their enclosures, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf….
He received a letter direct from the World Congress of Faiths, and wrote them offering full Bahá’í co-operation, and informing 207 them he was ready to appoint a Bahá’í representative to attend any conference they may hold.
The discovery of the Master’s letter to Andrew Carnegie is very interesting, in spite of the very poor translation of this Tablet, and he will be very pleased to receive a photostat of the original, or at least a faithful copy of the text in Persian.
He would be pleased to continue receiving the reports of the Assembly Development Committee.
Regarding the question you asked him: he feels that in the case of a believer who will be 21 years old on April 22nd, there is no objection, at this time, when the work of the Cause is so urgent and the workers so few, in permitting him to vote on April 21st.
The conduct of … is an excellent example of why he, (and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá before him), feels it so necessary to be very strict about the admission of Orientals into the communities of the Western world. The British people, being shrewd by nature and having had considerable experience with Orientals and peoples of all races, are far less vulnerable to the insidious influence of the insincere than are the more naive and less experienced Americans. People such as this young man, Bahá’í in name whenever it suits their convenience to be so, caring really nothing about the Faith at heart, and ready to abandon it at a moment’s notice if the pleasures to be gained outweigh the humiliation of ostracism, are a real menace to the Cause, especially to the faith of young and untried believers. It is to protect the Cause against such individuals that the Guardian is at present so strict about not permitting Persians to visit America at this time.
In regard to your question about qualifications of delegates and assembly members: the qualifications which he outlined are really applicable to anyone we elect to a Bahá’í office, whatever its nature. But those are only an indication, they do not mean people who don’t fulfil them cannot be elected to office. We must aim as high as we can. He does not feel the friends should attach so much importance to limitations—such as people perhaps not being able to attend assembly or convention meetings, because if they do, then the fundamental concept of everyone being willing to do Bahá’í service on administrative bodies will be weakened, and the friends may be tempted to vote for those who, because of independent means or circumstances in their lives, are freer to come and go but less qualified to serve. 208
Regarding “‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London”. Nothing can be considered scripture for which we do not have an original text. A verbatim record in Persian of His talks would of course be more reliable than one in English because He was not always accurately interpreted. However such a book is of value, and certainly has its place in our literature.
He assures you all of the deep appreciation of your valiant labours and his loving prayers on your behalf….
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
The gigantic task, now being so energetically and successfully carried out by the consecrated and firmly knit British Bahá’í community, constitutes a glorious landmark in recent Bahá’í history, and will, when viewed in proper perspective, deserve to be regarded as one of the most outstanding enterprises launched by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the opening years of the second Bahá’í century. Alike in its magnitude and significance, this momentous undertaking is unprecedented in the annals of the Faith in the British Isles, and deserves to rank as one of the most compelling evidences of the creative power of its Author, marking the rise and establishment of His institutions on the European continent. It is yet too early to assess the potentialities of this present Plan and those destined to follow it, or estimate their future benefits. The blessings they will confer, as the forces latent within them are progressively revealed, on the people dwelling within those Islands, and subsequently, as their sphere is enlarged and their implications are fully disclosed, on the diversified peoples and races inhabiting the widely scattered dependencies of a far-flung empire, in both the East and the West, are unimaginably glorious.
A staggering responsibility rests on the shoulders of those who have been called upon to assist in the operation of the initial stages of this heroic colossal enterprise, and to participate in the privilege of directing its course, and nursing its infant strength. Setbacks and reverses are inevitable as this mighty Plan progresses and expands. Critical stages in its unfoldment must be encountered with unswerving resolution and confident hope. Whatever hardships and sacrifices its future prosecution may involve must be borne with courage, pride and thankfulness. To insure its speedy advancement every issue must be subordinated to its vital requirements, and every individual effort co-ordinated with the agencies designed for its execution. 209
Its present and pressing needs in the virgin territories of Eire, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland must be met with concentrated attention, continuous, systematic effort and the utmost self-sacrifice. The goals to be achieved in the capitals and chief cities of these newly opened territories must be relentlessly pursued, no matter how hard and stony the path that must be trodden. The prizes already won in other towns in those islands must at all costs be preserved and subsequently further enriched by fresh spiritual conquests in neighbouring counties and farther afield. Indeed the steps preliminary to the formation of a Bahá’í administrative centre in every county throughout the British Isles, must sooner or later be taken, as an essential prelude to the effective proclamation of the Faith to the masses. That the English Bahá’ís, aided and reinforced gradually by fresh recruits from among their Irish, Welsh and Scottish countrymen, may hasten the advent of such a glorious day in British Bahá’í history is the dearest wish of my heart and the object of my constant supplication at the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh.