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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 212-216

Letter of 29 April 1948

29 April 1948
Dear Bahá’í Brother,
Your letters to our beloved Guardian, written on behalf of the British N.S.A., and dated as follows: Oct 20th, 22nd, 24th and 29th, Nov. 10th and 17th, Dec. 1st and 15th of 1947, and Jan. 13th, Feb. 8th, 9th, 13th, and 27th, and March 1st and 4th of 1948 and April 5th, 1948, together with various enclosures, have been received, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.
A number of matters referred to in them have been answered by cable, so I will not go into them again.
He was specially pleased to receive the copies of the Tablet of the Master to Andrew Carnegie, as this is yet another authentic and interesting Bahá’í document.
He was, likewise, very pleased to receive the statement of Sir A. Ramaswami Mudaliar testifying to his appreciation of the Faith, and he will use it in the appropriate section of “Bahá’í World” in the forthcoming edition.
The instruction he gave to the effect that committees should elect their own officers, he feels, is universal in scope and should, therefore, apply to Great Britain as well….
Regarding the matter of the budget of the N.S.A. he feels that both wisdom and courage is required in this matter. You should not fix a budget which is too heavy for the community to meet, even with sacrifice. Both the pressing needs of the Cause and your Plan, as well as the foreseeable possibilities of your income should guide you.
He has no objection to extracts from his letters to … being published. He feels that in the future it is not necessary to ask his permission to publish such extracts. As long as the person who has received a letter, such as he would wish to share with others, from the Guardian, has no objection to its publication, he has no objection either. Anything confidential he always specifies as being such.
He feels that the question of Mrs. Hofman giving up the secretaryship of the National Teaching Committee, and who is to be chairman of it, etc. is something to be decided there by those responsible for the work.
In one of your letters you mentioned some … who have 213 visited the London Centre and their attitude: great patience must be used in dealing with the child-like members of some of these primitive races. They are innocent in heart and have certainly had a very bad example, in many Christians, of a purely mercenary approach to religion, but if their hearts and minds once become illumined with the Faith they could make very fine believers.
Regarding the matter of believers who have been deprived of their voting rights: just as no one should ever be deprived of his voting right lightly, it should likewise be realised that to be deprived of it is a grave matter, and involves heavy penalties spiritually. People who have been so deprived should not be permitted to attend any meetings involving the administration of the Cause, such as an election or a 19 Day Feast. They can attend the 9 Holy Days, however; they should not be married by Bahá’í law, no money should be accepted from them, they should not be given credentials (which imply a member of the community in good standing) nor should they be used officially as teachers or speakers.
He has no objection to your getting out a book on Bahá’í Procedure similar to the synopsis you enclosed for his information. He wishes you, however, to stick to essentials and, as far as possible, avoid—not only in the book but in your Assembly’s decisions—binding the friends by a lot of procedure on minor matters which he always urges should be, as much as possible, dealt with according to each case that comes up. He wishes to keep the administration of the Cause as flexible as possible and not impede the work by a codified set of rules.
As to the attitude of the Bahá’ís in the British Isles towards the World Government Movement: he thinks that as this Movement, so far, seems to be working for what we believe in, and not for anything we do not subscribe to, the Bahá’ís should by all means support it, vote for the representatives to be sent to its constituent Assembly in 1950, and stand for election if they wish to. However, he feels your Assembly should keep a careful watch on this Movement, and if it becomes in any way imperialistic, anti-Russian, or in any other field starts sponsoring attitudes partizan or political in nature, the believers should be advised to withdraw their support and help. He does not think your Assembly should take any initiative in this Movement 214 outside of its jurisdiction, such as in the Middle East, through asking the friends to send in non-Bahá’í names, etc.
He does not advise you to try and create more than one Assembly, i.e. the present one, in the London area.
The work being accomplished in the British Isles is not only a source of pride to him, but is increasingly being recognised and admired by the Bahá’í communities throughout the World, and is greatly encouraging them in their own struggles. For people are prone to thinking that the American Bahá’ís accomplish so much solely because of the great advantages they enjoy in their very fortunate country, whereas now the friends, knowing full well how much England suffered during the war, and is still suffering, are forced to acknowledge that it is spirit, determination, faith and devotion which bring victories into being, one after another, in Britain, and not luxury and leisure. Your achievements are heartening the friends in many places where their numbers are few, and the obstacles to be overcome great! In fact the American Bahá’ís who have visited England feel there is much to be copied at home in your spirit and methods.
He, therefore, urges you all to persevere courageously, knowing what you are accomplishing is infinitely precious and great. You are witnessing with your own eyes the fruition of your plans, the nearing of the moment when your hopes will be fully realised.
He assures you all of his very loving prayers on your behalf, and for the speedy progress of your work.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
The successful conclusion of the Initial Phase of the first collective enterprise launched by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the British Isles during the first year of the second Bahá’í century constitutes a milestone of the utmost significance on the road leading the British Bahá’í community to the glorious destiny ordained for them by Divine Providence. The efforts exerted, the magnitude of the success which has been achieved, the spirit of consecration that has been demonstrated, the solidarity, determination and perseverance evinced by individuals, groups and assemblies during the opening years of this century are indeed unprecedented in British Bahá’í history, and may be regarded next to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s twice repeated visit to the British Isles, as the most potent period in the annals of the British Bahá’í community. 215
The establishment of the structural basis of the Administrative Order of the Faith in Scotland, Wales and Eire—an accomplishment of tremendous spiritual significance in itself—has greatly enhanced the momentous character of this period, and will lend a mighty impetus to the evolution of the Faith in the days to come.
The Final Phase of the Plan must now be carried forward with still greater energy, with still nobler self-sacrifice, with a clearer vision of the historic import of the work which is to be accomplished, with a mightier determination to bring it to a successful conclusion. The resources at the disposal of the community must, as a result of its expansion, be continually augmented and carefully extended. The prizes so painstakingly won must, at all costs, be safeguarded and consolidated. The newly enrolled believers must be constantly encouraged to assume an increasing share of the responsibilities and of the administrative functions devolving upon the members of the community. The pioneer activities undertaken by its members must, however great the sacrifices involved, be increasingly developed, systematised and accelerated. The needs of the Faith in the newly opened territories in the west, in the north, and in the south, must, while the specific goals of the Plan are being pursued, be given special attention, in order to enrich the life of the entire community, to increase the diversity of its constituent elements, to demonstrate the welding and assimilative power of the Faith, and to stimulate the processes now set in motion for the spiritual regeneration of all the ethnic elements within the British Isles.
In token of my gratitude for the work already accomplished, as a recognition of the status achieved by the British Bahá’í community in the Western Hemisphere, in anticipation of the tasks that still remain to be undertaken, I feel moved to initiate, as soon as the situation here permits, measures that will enable me, through the institution of a Palestine Branch of the British Bahá’í National Assembly, to register in the name of the body of the elected representatives of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh throughout the British Isles, a portion of Bahá’í international endowments dedicated to the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel. May this step, associating it with its sister national assemblies in the United States and India in the possession of so sacred a trust, lend its share to the consolidation and distinction of the central institution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the British Isles.
Shoghi 216