Read: Messages 1963 to 1986


MESSAGES FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 1963-1986
THE THIRD EPOCH OF THE FORMATIVE AGE

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This etext is based on:
"Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986"
Compiled by Geoffry W. Marks

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-2844
Copyright (c) 1986 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States
All Rights Reserved


Availability of this etext in no way modifies the copyright status of the above publication.
This etext is freely available through anonymous internet file-sharing.
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OCCASION WORLD-WIDE CELEBRATIONS MOST GREAT JUBILEE COMMEMORATING CENTENARY ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH THRONE HIS SOVEREIGNTY WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE HIS UNFAILING PROTECTION OVERFLOWING BOUNTIES JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EAST WEST ELECTION SUPREME LEGISLATIVE BODY ORDAINED BY HIM IN HIS MOST HOLY BOOK PROMISED BY HIM RECEIVE HIS INFALLIBLE GUIDANCE. MEMBERS FIRST HISTORIC HOUSE JUSTICE DULY ELECTED BY DELEGATES COMPRISING MEMBERS FIFTY-SIX NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ARE CHARLES WOLCOTT 'ALI NAKHJAVANI H. BORRAH KAVELIN IAN SEMPLE LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DAVID HOFMAN HUGH CHANCE AMOZ GIBSON HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM. TO JUBILATION ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD VICTORIOUS COMPLETION BELOVED GUARDIAN'S UNIQUE CRUSADE NOW ADDED HUMBLE GRATITUDE PROFOUND THANKSGIVING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH FOR ERECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AUGUST BODY TO WHOM ALL BELIEVERS MUST TURN WHOSE DESTINY IS TO GUIDE UNFOLDMENT HIS EMBRYONIC WORLD ORDER THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS PRESCRIBED BY BAHA'U'LLAH ELABORATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA LABORIOUSLY ERECTED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI AND ENSURE EARLY DAWN GOLDEN AGE FAITH WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD WILL COVER THE EARTH AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA. HAIFA, 22 APRIL 1963

HANDSFAITH

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Foreword

On 21 April 1963, one hundred years after Baha'u'llah's public declaration of His world-redeeming mission, the first International Baha'i Convention was held on the majestic slopes of Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The purpose of this momentous gathering was to elect, for the first time, the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing and legislative body of the Baha'i Faith.

The election of the Universal House of Justice was greeted with great joy by the world-wide Baha'i community, for it ensured the continuation of divine guidance until the advent of the next Manifestation of God, thereby fulfilling the prophecy that there would come a "Day which shall not be followed by night."

The continuation of divine guidance-the primary theme of this Book is a unique feature of the Baha'i Faith. Unlike any of the Manifestations of God Who preceded Him, Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, made a Covenant with His followers to direct and channel the forces released by His Revelation, guaranteeing the continuity of infallible guidance after His death through institutions to which all of His followers must turn.

In His will and testament Baha'u'llah designated His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Baha, His successor, the authoritative Interpreter of His Writings, and the Centre of His Covenant. In His own will and testament 'Abdu'l-Baha perpetuated the Covenant through the Administrative Order ordained in Baha'u'llah's Writings. 'Abdu'l-Baha appointed as His twin successors the institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. He named His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God and expounder of the Word of God, while giving the Universal House of Justice the role of legislating on matters not explicitly revealed in the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l- Baha or dealt with by Shoghi Effendi.

Writing about the Universal House of Justice, Baha'u'llah explained that, "Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. ... It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them." Moreover, <pxxviii> 'Abdu'l-Baha asserts in His Will and Testament that "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself." Thus the fundamental purpose of the Universal House of Justice is to ensure the continuity of the divine guidance that flows from the Source of the Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers, and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Its origin, its authority, its duties, and its sphere of action are all derived from the Writings of Baha'u'llah. His Writings, along with those of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of Shoghi Effendi constitute its bedrock foundation and its binding terms of reference.

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age brings together letters, cables, telexes, and electronic mail messages sent to Baha'i institutions and individuals during a twenty-three-year period that the Universal House of Justice has called the Third Epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith. The Formative Age stands between the Heroic Age (1844-1921), which is associated with the Ministries of the Bab (the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith), Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l- Baha, and the Golden Age, which will witness the dawning of the Most Great Peace, the emergence of a commonwealth of all the nations of the world, and the advent of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The First Epoch of the Formative Age (1921-44/46) saw the birth of the Baha'i Administrative Order and the primary stages in the erection of its framework. This epoch was characterized by its focus on forming local and national institutions in all the continents, thereby laying the foundation needed to support future systematic teaching activities. The First Epoch also witnessed the initiation of the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44), at the direction of Shoghi Effendi, by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. This plan, inspired by 'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets of the Divine Plan, constituted the Baha'i community's first systematic teaching campaign and began the initial stage of carrying out 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan in the Western Hemisphere.

The Second Epoch of the Formative Age (1946-63) witnessed the further development and maturation of the Administrative Order and the execution of a series of teaching plans that carried the Faith beyond the confines of the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Its two most distinguishing characteristics were the rise and steady consolidation of the World Centre of the Faith in Haifa, including the appointment of the Hands of the Cause of God, the introduction of the Auxiliary Boards, and the establishment of the International Baha'i Council, and the simultaneous and often spontaneous prosecution of Baha'i national plans in both the East and the West. Shoghi Effendi now used the internally consolidated and administratively experienced National <pxxix> Spiritual Assemblies to launch the Ten Year World Crusade (1953-63) in which he summoned the twelve existing National Spiritual Assemblies to participate in one concentrated, united effort to spread the Faith more widely throughout the world. This enterprise resulted in the opening of 131 countries to the Faith, the formation of forty- four National Spiritual Assemblies, and a vast increase in the ethnic diversity of the Baha'i community.

However, the victorious completion of the Ten Year World Crusade came with a heavy price. In 1957, midway through the Crusade, Shoghi Effendi died unexpectedly of a heart attack. The Baha'is were devastated. Not only were they deprived of their Guardian, but they were also deprived of their source of divine guidance. The Guardianship was a hereditary office, and Shoghi Effendi had left no heir. How would the unity of the Faith be preserved? How could the conflict and contention that has divided other religions be prevented? Clearly, unless the Baha'i Faith could safeguard its unity, it could never hope to unify a sorely divided world. Into this chasm of doubt and despair stepped the Hands of the Cause of God, whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed and to whom he had referred as the "Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth who have been invested by the unerring Pen of the Centre of His Covenant with the dual function of guarding over the security, and of insuring the propagation, of His Father's Faith." Through their heroic stewardship they guided the community along the course Shoghi Effendi had set. By the end of the nearly six-year interregnum they had not only preserved the unity of the Faith but also inspired a surge of sacrificial service leading to the Ten Year Crusade's victorious conclusion and crowning achievement, the culminating event of the Second Epoch-the election of the Universal House of Justice.

The Universal House of Justice proclaimed in a letter dated October 1963 that the Third Epoch of the Formative Age had begun. Outlining what would become the distinctive characteristics of the new epoch, it said the Baha'i Faith "must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society." Moreover, "its members, must, by constant study of the life-giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society."

The Third Epoch called the Baha'is of the world to a yet more mature level of functioning that would be consistent with expected vast increases in the community's size and diversity, its emergence as a model to humankind, and the extension of its influence in the world at large. <pxxx>

The nature of individual and community maturity for which the Universal House of Justice called is evident as one reads the book. Through the release of translations and compilations of Baha'i writings and through a voluminous correspondence in which perplexing questions about various personal and social problems are discussed, the Universal House of Justice guides individuals and communities in their efforts to live a Baha'i life. Matters of spiritual growth, sexual morality, relations between husband and wife, family life, prejudice, politics, possession of firearms, ranks and stations in the Faith, the tests of Baha'i community life, and the suffering of humanity are a few of the topics of individual and community life that are addressed.

Numerous accounts of the vicious persecution of the Iranian Baha'is and of their efforts and the efforts of the Baha'i communities around the world to help them testify to the spiritual and administrative maturation of the world-wide Baha'i community.

The increasing maturity of the world-wide Baha'i community is further evidenced as the Universal House of Justice guides the Baha'i community to progressively more mature levels of functioning through three major world teaching plans conducted during the Third Epoch of the Formative Age: the Nine Year Plan (1964-73), the Five Year Plan (1974-79), and the Seven Year Plan (1979-86). Among the results and achievements won during these three plans are the Faith's gradual emergence from obscurity, its assumption by the Universal House of Justice of the role of a promoter of world peace, the initiation of activities intended to foster social and economic development, the establishment of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the International Teaching Centre, the introduction of assistants to the Auxiliary Boards, and one of the crowning events of the Third Epoch-the construction and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice at the World Centre of the Faith.

The publication of Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986. The Third Epoch of the Formative Age comes ten years after the inauguration of the Fourth Epoch. Although the Baha'i Faith is well into this new stage of development, and new patterns of growth and change are evident, yet the study of the messages contained in this volume yields a treasure of insight, knowledge, and understanding of the principles guiding the unfoldment of the Baha'i Faith and the efforts of individuals and communities as they strive to adopt the pattern of life prescribed by Baha'u'llah. Moreover, the inclusion of virtually every major message of the Third Epoch enables one to survey significant developments in the organic growth of the Baha'i world community, to follow its increasing maturity and acquisition of new powers and capacities, to perceive a continuity in its development, and to detect patterns in the interplay between the forces of light and darkness, between crisis and victory. <pxxxi> Individuals, communities, and institutions will find the book an important aid in making decisions as they apply themselves to meeting current challenges and will derive continual inspiration and encouragement from the majestic pronouncements, authoritative elucidations, and ennobling, luminous, and loving counsels of the Universal House of Justice. The messages themselves are sufficient proof that the Covenant of Baha'u'llah is unbroken, that the channel of divine guidance remains open, and that "the Day which shall not be followed by night" has at last dawned upon the world. National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

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A note from the compiler

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age brings under one cover 456 letters, cables, telexes, and electronic mail messages from the Universal House of Justice to Baha'i institutions, to Baha'is gathered at special events, to individuals, or -- in one case -- to the peoples of the world. A volume long overdue, it enlarges upon and replaces two earlier compilations of messages: Wellspring of Guidance: Messages, 1963-1968, published in 1969, and Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973, published in 1976. In preparing the new volume several factors where considered. First was the need to make available the messages contained in the first two compilations and to add thirty-six messages from the 1963 through 1973 period that had not been included. Second was the need to publish messages received after 1973. Thus it was decided to publish a new volume that would encompass and expand upon the first two books.

The time frame of the new volume became clear in January 1986 when the Universal House of Justice announced the closing of the Third Epoch (1963-1986) and the inception of the Fourth Epoch, signalled by new developments in the maturation of the institutions of the Faith. Hence Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986 enables the reader to survey the full sweep of the Third Epoch, beginning with the first message issued by the Universal House of Justice after its establishment in 1963 and ending with the annual Ridvan message of 1986. The messages record the progress of the Faith through the Nine, Five, and Seven Year Plans, chronicling extraordinary advances in proclamation, expansion, and consolidation. They reach a climax in the last two years of the Seven Year Plan with the Faith's emergence from obscurity, the release of a statement on peace addressed to the peoples of the world, and the inception of the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age. These and countless other achievements stand in marked contrast to the contemporaneous persecution of the Baha'is of Iran, throwing into sharp relief the interplay between crisis and victory. The dynamic interaction between these two forces is a chief characteristic of the unfoldment of the Baha'i Faith and a prominent theme in this volume.

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986 includes numerous features that have been introduced for the reader's convenience. A table of epochs of the Heroic and Formative Ages of the Baha'i Faith and a list of significant <pxxxiv> milestones, anniversaries, and events in the Third Epoch offer a brief overview of recent Baha'i history. Each message has been given a heading and assigned a number, and the paragraphs or other divisions of text within the messages have been numbered to facilitate reference. An extensive index is included, its locators corresponding to the numbering system used in the text. Subheadings have been added to many longer messages; spellings have been Americanized1; and, for consistency, dates have been given in a day-month year format. Addressees, salutations, and complimentary closings have been retained, except for a few cases in which confidentiality required their omission. Because the compilation of messages covers almost a quarter of a century, footnotes have been added to explain historical details, allusions, technical terms, sources of most quotations, cross references to other messages on the same topic, and references to further details in the glossary or in other books. To help keep the notes as brief as possible, the titles of many Baha'i books were abbreviated. A list of abbreviations and the titles they stand for appears at the front of the book. A glossary has been included to give background information and define technical Baha'i terms. A bibliography provides information about books and compilations referred to in the text and footnotes.

No changes have been made to the texts of the messages without explicit permission from the Universal House of Justice. Extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha that are quoted in the messages have been checked against authenticated sources and authorized translations and have been updated accordingly where appropriate. Noticeable changes in the translations of such extracts are footnoted. The dates of certain cables may differ slightly from those of the same cables published elsewhere because cables of general interest that were addressed to a specific National Spiritual Assembly were usually conveyed to other National Spiritual Assemblies by mail a few days later. In such cases the date of the original cable is used.

Occasionally the reader will encounter references to enclosures or attachments, such as compilations and lists of pioneer assignments given to National Spiritual Assemblies. Such enclosures have been omitted because of space limitations. Most of the compilations have already been published, and, wherever possible, a reference to the published work is given.

We would like to express our deepest appreciation to the Universal House of Justice for its assistance in making available many messages that were previously unpublished and particularly for its direction in all phases of the production of this volume. Thanks are due to Ivor Stoakley, Diane Taherzadeh, and Lewis Walker for their assistance with footnotes and glossary entries; to John Walbridge for helpful comments on the glossary; to Dr Manuchehr Derakhshani for assistance with Persian and Arabic transliterations; to Dr Betty <pxxxv> J. Fisher and Terry J. Cassiday of the Baha'i Publishing Trust whose insights, scholarship, hard work, and close attention to detail have been invaluable; and to my wife, Amy, for her unwavering encouragement and support. We hope this book will prove to be a useful and convenient source of guidance and inspiration for both individuals and institutions the world over as they strive to serve the Cause of Baha'u'llah and carry the healing balm of His teachings to all humanity.

Geoffry W. Marks

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List of abbreviations

ABL 'Abdu'l-Baha in London
ADJ The Advent of Divine Justice, 1990 ed.
BA Baha'i Administration
BN Baha'i News
BNE Baha'u'llah and the New Era
BP Baha'i Prayers, 1991 US ed.
BW 9 The Baha'i World, Volume IX
BW 13 The Baha'i World, Volume XIII
BW 14 The Baha'i World, Volume XIV
BW 15 The Baha'i World, Volume XV
BW 16 The Baha'i World, Volume XVI
BW 17 The Baha'i World, Volume XWI
BW 18 The Baha'i World, Volume XVIII
BW 19 The Baha'i World, Volume XIX
CC The Compilation of Compilations
CF Citadel of Faith
CUHJ Constitution of the Universal House of Justice
DB The Dawn-Breakers
DND Dawn of a New Day
ESW Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
FSTS From Strength to Strength
GPB God Passes by
GWB Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah
KA The Kitab-i-Aqdas
KI The Kitab-i-Iqan
LFG Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand
LG Lights of Guidance
MA Messages to America
MBW Messages to the Baha'i World <pxxxviii>
MC Messages to Canada
MF Memorials of the Faithful
PB The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah
PDIC The Promised Day Is Come, 1996 ed.
PM Prayers and Meditations
PP The Priceless Pearl
PT Paris Talks
PUP The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 1982 ed.
SAQ Some Answered Questions, 1984 ed.
SBS Selections from Baha'i Scriptures
SC Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas
SDC The Secret of Divine Civilization
SWAB Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha
TABA Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Vols I-III.
TB Tablets of Baha'u'llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas
TDP Tablets of the Divine Plan, 1992 ed.
TN A Traveller's Narrative
UD Unfolding Destiny
WOB The World Order of Baha'u'llah
WT Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha


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Epochs of the Heroic Age [2]
[2. Based on the attachment to the letter dated 5 February 1986 from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies. See message no. 451.]


1844-1853
The First Epoch
The Babi Dispensation

1853-1892
The Second Epoch
The Ministry of Baha'u'llah

1892-1921
The Third Epoch
The Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha


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Epochs of the Formative Age [3]
[3. Based on the attachment to the letter dated 5 February 1986 from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies. See message no. 451.]


1921-1944/46
The First Epoch

1921-1936
Period of Preparation
1937-1944
The first Seven Year Plan of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada
1944-1946
Consolidation of victories


1946-1963
The Second Epoch

1946-1953
The second Seven Year Plan of the Baha'is of the United States and
plans of varying duration pursued by nine other regional and national
Baha'i communities (Canada; Central America and South America;
Australia and New Zealand; India, Pakistan, and Burma; the British
Isles; Germany and Austria; Persia; Egypt; 'Iraq) [4]
[4. See FSTS, pp. 33-38.]
1953-1963
The Ten Year World Crusade


1963-1986
The Third Epoch

1963-1964
Year of Preparation
1964-1973
Nine Year Plan
1973-1974
Year of Preparation
1974-1979
Five Year Plan
1979-1986
Seven Year Plan <pxlii>

1986-
The Fourth Epoch

1986-1992
Six Year Plan
1992-1993
Holy Year Commemorating the Ascension of Baha'u'llah and the Inauguration of His Covenant
1993-1996
Three Year Plan
1996-2000
Four Year Plan <pxliii>



The Third Epoch

Significant Milestones, Anniversaries, and Events

Milestones
Ridvan 1963
First election of the Universal House of Justice April
28 April-2 May 1963
First Baha'i World Congress commemorating Baha'u'llah's
declaration of His mission and the victorious consummation of
the Ten Year World Crusade
Ridvan 1964
Inauguration of the Third Epoch with the launching of the Nine
Year Plan
Ridvan 1973
End of the Nine Year Plan
Naw-Ruz 1974
Beginning of the Five Year Plan
Ridvan 1979
End of the Five Year Plan
Beginning of the Seven Year Plan
January 1986
Inauguration of the Fourth Epoch
Ridvan 1986
End of the Seven Year Plan
Beginning of the Six Year Plan

Significant Anniversaries
April 1963
Centenary of Baha'u'llah's public declaration of His Mission
26 March 1966
Fiftieth anniversary of the revelation of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan
September/October 1967
Celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the Kings
27 September 1967
Celebration of the centenary of the revelation of the Suriy-i- Muluk
12 November 1967
Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Baha'u'llah
31 August 1968
Centenary of the arrival of Baha'u'llah in the Holy Land
23 June 1968
Centenary of the passing of Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch <pxliv>
28 November 1971
Fiftieth anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha
1973
Centenary of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas
June 1977
Centenary of the termination of Baha'u'llah's confinement in 'Akka
July 1982
Fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf
4 November 1982
Twenty-fifth anniversary of the passing of Shoghi Effendi

Significant Events

Ridvan 1963
Convening of 1st International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and
election of the Universal House of Justice
Ridvan 1964
Launching of the Nine Year Plan
July 1964
Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany
November 1965
Purification of the Most Holy Tomb
October 1967
Opening of a period of proclamation inaugurated by the
presentation by the Universal House of Justice to 140 heads of state of a
special edition of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah

Commemoration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to
the kings with the holding of six intercontinental conferences in
Panama City, Panama; Wilmette, Illinois, USA; Sydney, Australia;
Kampala, Uganda; Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and New Delhi, India

Assumption by the Universal House of Justice of representation
of the Baha'i International Community at the United Nations

October 1967
Laying of the foundation stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama
February 1968
Embracing of the Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa
Ridvan 1968
Convening of the 2nd International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice
June 1968
Establishment of the Continental Boards of Counsellors
August 1968
Commemoration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the
Holy Land with the holding of First Oceanic Conference, Palermo,
Sicily <pxlv>
February 1970
Baha'i International Community's attainment of consultative
status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council
August 1970-September 1971
Holding of eight oceanic and continental conferences in La Paz,
Bolivia; Rose Hill, Mauritius; Monrovia, Liberia; Djakarta, Indonesia;
Suva, Fiji; Kingston, Jamaica; Sapporo, Japan; Reykjavik, Iceland
28 April-2 May 1972
Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama
June 1972
Announcement of the decision to build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice
September 1972
Murder of three Iranian Baha'i students in the Philippine Islands
November 1972
Adoption of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice
March 1973
Purchase of the Mazra'ih Mansion
Ridvan 1973
Convening of the 3rd International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and
election of the Universal House of Justice Publication of A Synopsis and
Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas
May 1973
Announcement of the embracing of the Baha'i Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa
June 1973
Establishment of the International Teaching Centre
February 1974
Acceptance of the design for the Seat of the Universal House of Justice
Ridvan 1974
Launching of the Five Year Plan
January 1975
Acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha in 'Akka
April 1975
Excavation of the site of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice
July 1976-January 1977
Holding of eight international teaching conferences in Helsinki,
Finland; Anchorage, Alaska; Paris, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Hong Kong;
Auckland, New Zealand; Bahia, Brazil; and Merida, Mexico.
September 1976
Visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II to the
resting-place of Shoghi Effendi in London, England
May 1977
Murder of Ruhu'llah Taymuri-Muqaddam, an Iranian home-front pioneer, in his home by fanatics <pxlvi>
October 1977
Laying of foundation stone for Mother Temple of Indian subcontinent, New Delhi, India
December 1977
Initiation of broadcasting by the first Baha'i radio station, Otavalo, Ecuador
Ridvan 1978
Convening of the 4th International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice
August 1978
Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Ecuador
December 1978-January 1979
Intensification of the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran
January 1979
Laying of the foundation stone of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands
Naw-Ruz 1979
Launching of the Seven Year Plan
June 1979
Fixing of Counsellors' term of service at five years
June-July 1979
Numerous appeals made by Local Spiritual Assemblies around the
world to Ayatollah Khomeini, asking him to stop the persecution of the
Baha'is of Iran
June-August 1979
Addresses by H. Borrah Kavelin, representative of the Universal
House of Justice, at a series of significant meetings in North America
and Europe about the importance of redeeming the Iranian Baha'is
sacrifices through service to the Faith
September 1979
Demolition of the House of the Bab in Shiraz
November 1979
Arrest of a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran
December 1979
Commencement of excavation of the site of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands, Apia, Western Samoa
July 1980
Commencement of construction of Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent, New Delhi, India
August 1980
Arrest of all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran and two Auxiliary Board members
November 1980
Appointment of a new contingent of Continental Counsellors to a five-year term of service
January 1981
Execution of chairman of National Spiritual Assembly of Iran
May 1981
Establishment of a European Branch Office of the Baha'i International Community
August 1981
Increase in the severity of the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran <pxlvii>
November 1981
Arrest of six members of National Spiritual Assembly of Iran Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Peru
December 1981
Demolition of the House of Baha'u'llah in Takur Arrest and
execution of eight members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran
May-September 1982
Holding of five international conferences in Lagos, Nigeria;
Montreal, Canada; Quito, Ecuador; Dublin, Ireland; and Canberra, Australia
July 1982
By-election to replace one member of the Universal House of Justice
December 1982
Establishment of first Baha'i radio station in North America
January 1983
Occupation by the Universal House of Justice of its permanent Seat
April 1983
Opening of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha to pilgrims
Ridvan 1983
Convening of the 5th International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice
May 1983
Increase in the responsibilities of the International Teaching
Centre Public defence of the Baha'is of Iran by the President of the
United States
June 1983
Execution of seventeen Baha'is in Shiraz, including ten women
Call for the youth of the world to vindicate the martyred youth of
Shiraz
August 1983
Banning of Baha'i administration in Iran
September 1983
Sending of an open letter from the National Spiritual Assembly
of Iran to the authorities responding to the false charges made
against the Baha'i community
October 1983
Call for Baha'i involvement in social and economic development activities
April 1984
Attempt to achieve false confessions from the Baha'is of Iran by use of torture
Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Bolivia
August 1984
Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands, Apia, Western Samoa <pxlviii>
July 1985
Release of compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah
Establishment of Public Information Office at the Baha'i World Centre
October 1985
Release by the Universal House of Justice of a statement on
peace addressed to the peoples of the world

Appointment of a new and expanded contingent of members of the
Continental Boards of Counsellors
November 1985
Presentation of the peace statement to the Secretary General of the United Nations
December 1985
Emergence of the Baha'i Faith from obscurity signalled by
adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly
supporting the Iranian Baha'i community
December 1985-January 1986
Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellor in the Holy
Land with Hands of the Cause of God, members of the Universal House
of Justice, and the International Teaching Centre
January 1986
Announcement of the beginning of the Fourth Epoch of the
Formative Age by the Universal House of Justice in a letter to the Baha'is
of the world

Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Panama
February 1986
Setting of date for dedication of Mother Temple of the Indian
Subcontinent, New Delhi, India Invitation from the Universal House of Justice
to National Spiritual Assemblies and Continental Counsellors to
consult about national goals within the framework of the major
objectives of the Six Year Plan set by the Universal House of Justice
Ridvan 1986
Review by the Universal House of Justice of achievements of the
Seven Year Plan, comments on the Faith's emergence from obscurity and
the maturation of the institutions of the Cause and announcement of
World Centre goals of publishing an English translation of the
Kitab-i-Aqdas, education of the Baha'is about the law of Huququ'llah, planning
for the completion of the remaining buildings on the Arc, and
broadening the basis of the international relations of the Faith Launching
of the Six Year Plan


MESSAGES FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 1963-1986

<p3>

1963-1964

A year of preparation


<p5>

1 Statement of the Universal House of Justice to the First Baha'i World Congress[5]
[5. The statement was presented by Mr David Hofman, a member of the Universal House of Justice, to the Baha'is assembled in Royal Albert Hall, London, 28 April-2 May 1963, at the Baha'i World Congress, which commemorated the Most Great Jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission, and also marked the victorious completion of the Ten Year Crusade launched by Shoghi Effendi in April 1953.]

30 April 1963

1.1 "All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honour, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou wiliest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean, and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honour of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name. Of all who are in heaven and on earth, none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will. From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation, and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise."+F6
[F6. Baha'u'llah, in BP, p. 120.]

1.2 Beloved friends: On this glorious occasion, the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee, we raise our grateful thanks to Baha'u'llah for all His bounties showered upon the friends throughout the world. This historic moment marks at one and the same time the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy, the Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Promised One of all ages, the termination of the first epoch of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha designed to establish the Faith of God in all the world, and the successful conclusion of our beloved Guardian's world-encircling Crusade, enabling his lovers and loved ones everywhere to lay this glorious harvest of victory in his name at the feet of the Blessed Beauty.+F7 This Most Great Jubilee is the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Cause of God. He it was, and he alone, who unfolded the potentialities of the widely scattered, numerically small, and largely unorganized Baha'i community which had been called into <p6> being during the Heroic Age of the Faith.+F8 He it was who unfolded the grand design of God's Holy Cause, set in motion the great plans of teaching already outlined by 'Abdu'l-Baha, established the institutions and greatly extended the endowments at the World Centre, and raised the Temples of America, Africa, Australasia and Europe, developed the Administrative Order of the Cause throughout the world, and set the Ark of the Cause true on its course. He appointed the Hands of the Cause of God.
[F8. The Heroic Age, the first of three Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation, began in 1844 with the Declaration of the Bab, ended in 1921 with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and spanned the Ministries of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. It was followed by the Formative Age, which in turn will be followed by the Golden Age. For a fuller discussion of the Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation, see the Glossary.]
[F7. 'Abdu'l-Baha explained that Daniel's prophecy ("Blessed is he who cometh unto the thousand three hundred and thirty five days," Dan. 12:12) points to one century after Baha'u'llah's appearance and declaration of His mission in 1863 and refers to the spread of the teachings of the Baha'i Faith across the world. The first epoch of the Divine Plan, 'Abdu'l-Baha's programme of action for the world- wide propagation of the Faith, began in 1937 and ended in 1963, with the conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63). For further information, see Glossary entries on Divine Plan; Crusade, Ten Year World; Epochs; Plans; Tablets of the Divine Plan. "Blessed Beauty' refers to Baha'u'llah.]

1.3 The paeans of joy and gratitude, of love and adoration which we now raise to the throne of Baha'u'llah would be inadequate, and the celebrations of this Most Great Jubilee in which, as promised by our beloved Guardian, we are now engaged, would be marred were no tribute paid at this time to the Hands of the Cause of God. For they share the victory with their beloved commander, he who raised them up and appointed them. They kept the ship on its course and brought it safe to port. The Universal House of Justice, with pride and love, recalls on this supreme occasion its profound admiration for the heroic work which they have accomplished. We do not wish to dwell on the appalling dangers which faced the infant Cause when it was suddenly deprived of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, but rather to acknowledge with all the love and gratitude of our hearts the reality of the sacrifice, the labour, the self-discipline, the superb stewardship of the Hands of the Cause of God. We can think of no more fitting words to express our tribute to these dearly loved and valiant souls than to recall the Words of Baha'u'llah Himself: "Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of fortitude hath shone forth and the truth hath been established that the authority to choose rests with God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Unconstrained, through whom the ocean of bounty hath surged and the fragrance of the gracious favours of God, the Lord of mankind, hath been diffused."+F9
[F9. TB, p. 83.]

1.4 The members of the Universal House of Justice, all being in Haifa at the time of the election, were able to visit the Holy Shrines of Baha'u'llah, the Bab and of 'Abdu'l-Baha where they prostrated themselves at the Sacred Thresholds and humbly sought strength and assistance in the mighty task before them. Later in London they have paid homage at the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, the blessed and sacred bough of the Tree of Holiness.

1.5 As soon as the House of Justice is able to organize its work and deploy its forces it will examine carefully all the conditions of the Cause of God, and <p7> communications will be made to the friends. At this time we call upon the believers everywhere to follow up vigorously the opportunities opened up by the World Crusade. Consolidation and deepening must go hand in hand with an eager extension of the teaching work so that the onward march of the Cause may continue unabated in preparation for future plans. Now that the attention of the public is becoming more and more drawn to the Cause of God the friends must brace themselves and prepare their institutions to sustain the gaze of the world, whether it be friendly or hostile, eager or idle.

1.6 The Universal House of Justice greets you all lovingly and joyfully at this time, and asks you to pray fervently for its speedy development and the spiritual strengthening of its members.


2
Message to National Conventions 1963

7 May 1963

To the annual National Conventions of the Baha'i World

Beloved friends,

2.1 The marvellous happenings which have transpired during and immediately after the twelve days of Ridvan attest the greatness of the Cause of God, and fill every Baha'i heart to overflowing with joy and gratitude.+F10 It was in obedience to the summons of the Lord of Hosts Himself that the elected representatives of the fifty-six national and regional communities of the Baha'i world were called to elect, in the shadow of God's Holy Mountain and in the house of the Centre of His Covenant, the members of the Universal House of Justice.+F11 It was the Sign of God on Earth, the Dayspring of Divine Guidance, <p8> the Guardian of the Cause of God, who gathered more than six thousand Baha'is from all parts of the earth to the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee in London.+F12
[F12. the following day, and the Hands of the Cause of God announced the results in a cable to the Baha'i world (see epigraph).]
[F11. Baha'u'llah wrote, in Tablets of Baha'u'llah (pp. 27, 68): "Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. ... It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them." "It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them. God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient." 'Abdu'l-Baha, in His Will and Testament (p. 19), wrote: "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice." The election of the Universal House of Justice was held in the House of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, 7 Haparsim Street, at the foot of Mount Carmel, on 21 April 1963. The results of the election were announced to the delegates]
[F10. The happenings referred to were the First International Baha'i Convention held 21-23 April 1963 at the Baha'i World Centre, during which the Universal House of Justice was first elected, and the first Baha'i World Congress, held in London 28 April through 2 May 1963. Immediately following the World Congress the Universal House of Justice met for several days in the council room of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles at 27 Rutland Gate, dealing with essential matters concerning its establishment and initial functioning. At the same time, the Hands of the Cause of God were meeting in conclave in another room of the same Haziratu'l-Quds, preparing a first draft of the next teaching plan for submission to the Universal House of Justice and arranging the future disposition of their own work. For the message issued by the Hands of the Cause of God announcing the results of the election of the Universal House of Justice, see the epigraph.]

Events of Spiritual and Administrative Significance

2.2 The first of these historic occasions was marked by events of extreme spiritual and administrative significance at the World Centre of the Faith. The daily visits of large groups of believers, of many varying backgrounds, to the sacred Shrines in the twin holy Cities;+F13 the holding of the First International Baha'i Convention and the successful accomplishment of its main task; the celebration of the Ridvan Feast by some three hundred believers in the company of the Hands of the Cause of God in the precincts of the Haram-iAqdas,+F14 are events of unique character and untold significance in the history of our beloved Faith.
[F14. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the northwestern quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji.]
[F13. Haifa and 'Akka.]

2.3 The celebration of the Most Great Jubilee in London must be described elsewhere. Suffice it to say now that this greatest gathering of Baha'is ever held in one place was permeated by a spirit of such bliss as could only have come from the outpourings of the Abha Kingdom. The review of the progress of the Cause, the presentation of believers from the new races and countries of the world brought within the pale of the Faith during the Beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, those valiant souls who carried the banner of Baha'u'llah to the unopened and often inhospitable regions of the earth, the spontaneous outbursts of singing of "Allah-u-Abha," the informal gatherings, the constant greetings of Baha'u'llah's warriors known to each other only by name and service, the youth gatherings, the unprecedented publicity in the press, on radio and television, the daily stream of visitors to the beloved Guardian's resting-place, the radiant faces and heightened awareness of the true and real brotherhood of the human race within the Kingdom of the Everlasting Father, are among the outstanding events of this supreme occasion, the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi.

Reaffirmation of Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

2.4 The Universal House of Justice wishes to reaffirm at this time the tribute which it felt moved to pay to the Hands of the Cause of God at the World <p9> Congress, those precious souls who have brought the Cause safely to victory in the name of Shoghi Effendi. We wish also to remember the devoted work of their Auxiliary Board members, as well as the services of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, of the army of pioneers, the members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies, the services and prayers and sacrifices of the believers everywhere, all of which in the sum total have attracted such bounties and favours from Baha'u'llah.

2.5 The Universal House of Justice, in several sessions held in the Holy Land and in London, has been able to initiate its work and to make arrangements for the establishment of the Institution in Haifa. It has no officers, and henceforth its communications to the Baha'i World will be signed Universal House of Justice over an embossed seal.

Second Epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan

2.6 The Cause of God, launched on the sea of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, has achieved, under the superb leadership of its beloved Guardian, a spread throughout the world and a momentum which must now carry it forward on the next stage of its world- redeeming mission, the second epoch of the Divine Plan.+F15 The Universal House of Justice, in close consultation with the Hands of the Cause, is examining the vast range of Baha'i activity and growth in order to prepare a detailed plan of expansion for the whole Baha'i community, to be launched at Ridvan 1964. But there are some objectives to be achieved at once.
[F15. For information on the epochs of the Divine Plan, see message no. 451.]

Immediate objectives

2.7 The consolidation of the goals and new communities of the Baha'i world is an urgent and immediate task facing the fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies, and an essential preparation for the launching of the new plans. Pioneers must be maintained at their posts and all the Local Spiritual Assemblies strengthened through a firm establishment of Baha'i community life and an active teaching programme. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which rest on the basis of a small number of Local Spiritual Assemblies must make great efforts to insure that this number will be increased at Ridvan 1964. Pioneers ready to go to consolidation areas, as well as those eager to open new territories, should make their offers through their National Spiritual Assembly.

2.8 The great work of teaching must be extended, not only in those areas where mass conversion is beginning, but everywhere. The high intensity of teaching activity reached at the end of the World Crusade, far from slackening, must now be increased as the friends everywhere draw on the vast spiritual powers released as a result of the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee and the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.

<p10>

2.9 The Ten Year Crusade witnessed the completion of the structure of the Mother Temple of Europe.+F16 It is now imperative to complete, without delay, the interior decoration, to install utilities and lay access roads, to landscape grounds and to construct the caretaker's house. This work will cost not less than $210,000.00, but if delayed it will cost considerably more. The House of Justice calls upon the National Spiritual Assemblies to allocate substantial budgets for the immediate completion of this work.
[F16. The Mother Temple of Europe is the Baha'i House of Worship in Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Its cornerstone was laid on 20 November 1960; construction was completed in the spring of 1963. It was dedicated in July 1964 (see message no. 17).]

Preview of the new plan

2.10 The plan to be embarked upon next Ridvan,+F17 the details of which will be announced during the coming year, will include such projects as the extension and embellishment of the endowments at the World Centre; collation of the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi; continual reinforcement of the ties binding the Baha'i World to the United Nations;+F18 formation of many more National Spiritual Assemblies, both by division of existing Regional Spiritual Assemblies and the development of new Baha'i communities, together with the purchase of national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and national endowments; the opening of new territories to the Faith; detailed plans for National Spiritual Assemblies involving, in some areas, consolidation goals, in others the multiplication of Baha'i institutes and schools, in others a great enrichment of Baha'i literature, and in all a vast increase in the number of Baha'is, and the holding of oceanic and intercontinental conferences.
[F18. For more details on the development of the relationship between the Baha'i community and the United Nations, see messages nos 49, 78, 263, 283.]
[F17. The Nine Year Plan, 1964-73.]

2.11 All such expansion and development of the Faith will be dependent upon the Baha'i Fund. The Universal House of Justice calls the attention of every believer to this vital and pressing matter, and asks the National Spiritual Assemblies to pay special attention to the principle of universal participation, so that every single follower of Baha'u'llah may make his offering, however small or great, and thereby identify himself with the work of the Cause everywhere. It is our hope that a constant flow of contributions to the International Fund will make it possible to build up sufficient reserves for the launching of the new plan in 1964.

2.12 Beloved friends, we enter the second epoch of the Divine Plan blessed beyond compare, riding the crest of a great wave of victory produced for us by our beloved Guardian. The Cause of God is now firmly rooted in the <p11> world. Forward then, confident in the power and protection of the Lord of Hosts, who will, through storm and trial, toil and jubilee, use His devoted followers to bring to a despairing humanity, the life-giving waters of His supreme Revelation. The Universal House of Justice


3
Seat of the Universal House of Justice; New Arrangements for Pilgrims

16 June 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

3.1 The Universal House of Justice has been deeply moved and its hopes have been raised high by the many messages of love, devotion and eager anticipation which have been received from National Conventions and National Spiritual Assemblies.

3.2 Two decisions have been taken by the Universal House of Justice involving a further development of the institutions at the World Centre. The former offices of the International Baha'i Council at 10 Haparsim Street being inadequate for the far greater volume of work facing the Universal House of Justice, it has been decided to take over the whole of this building (until now called the Western Pilgrim House) as the seat, for the present time, of the Universal House of Justice.+F19
[F19. The International Baha'i Council, a body first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and elected in 1961 after his passing by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. The Universal House of Justice made 10 Haparsim Street its seat until 1 February 1983; the building now houses the International Teaching Centre. For more information on the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

3.3 This decision made it necessary to find other accommodation for the western pilgrims and led directly to the second decision. After careful consideration of the alternatives the House of Justice has decided that the time has come to take the significant step, anticipated by our beloved Guardian, of housing all pilgrims in one place.+F20 It was found possible, by slight alterations, to accommodate all pilgrims, without lessening the number, in the former Eastern Pilgrim House and its adjacent buildings. We have therefore established one Pilgrim House, at the Baha'i Gardens on Mount Carmel. The friends should note that this is where they should go on arrival.
[F20. In April 1969, during the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice took a new action, opening the door of pilgrimage to a greater number of believers and instructing the National Spiritual Assemblies in procedures to be followed. See the Ridvan 126 (1969) message, no. 68.]

<p12>

3.4 All friends whose pilgrimages have been confirmed for 1963-64 are therefore expected. There are still vacancies after December 1963, but only a very few before that date.

3.5 We have asked the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land to continue to be responsible for the programme of the pilgrims while they are here, but letters requesting permission to come should be addressed to the Universal House of Justice.

With loving greetings,

In His Service,
The Universal House of Justice


4
Destruction of the 'Ishqabad Temple

25 August 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i World

Dear Baha'i friends,

4:1 The whole Baha'i World will be grief-stricken at the news of the sad fate which has overtaken the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, the first Temple raised to the glory of Baha'u'llah.+F21 Due to its unsafe condition, resulting from earthquakes, the building has been entirely demolished and the site cleared.
[F21. The temple was located in Turkmenistan, near the Iranian border, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan.]

4.2 The building of this edifice, the only structure of its kind to be raised and completed in the lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Baha, was described by the beloved Guardian as "a lasting witness to the fervour and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers." This "enterprise," the Guardian further wrote, "must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Baha'i century."+F22
[F22. GPB, p. 300. The first Baha'i century ended in 1944.]

4.3 The Baha'i centre in 'Ishqabad was founded in the days of Baha'u'llah. Already during His lifetime preliminary steps had been adopted by the friends of that community to build, in accordance with the provisions of the Most Holy Book, a Mashriqu'l- Adhkar.+F23
[F23. The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'u'llah's book of laws.]

4.4 However, the project had to be postponed until 1902, at the end of the first decade of the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha, when He initiated its construction, called on the friends in the East to offer their contributions towards the <p13> fulfilment of this goal, and personally encouraged and directed its development at every stage. The Bab's cousin, the venerable Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the Vakilu'd- Dawlih, offered his total wealth towards this meritorious enterprise, established his residence in that city, and personally supervised its construction.

4.5 The laying of the cornerstone of this edifice at a ceremony attended by the delegate of the Czar -- the Governor-general of Turkistan -- and the initial steps taken to raise this first House of Worship of the Baha'i World, inspired the friends in America, who, in 1903, eager to demonstrate the quality of their faith, petitioned 'Abdu'l-Baha for permission to erect the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the West.

4.6 In addition to the Temple itself, two schools, one for boys and one for girls, and a pilgrim house were built. The local community, and the activities of the friends throughout the provinces of Turkistan expanded and developed in stature until 1928, when the law expropriating religious edifices was applied to this Temple. However, under the terms of two five-year leases, the Baha'i community was permitted to continue to use the building as a house of worship. In 1938 the Temple was completely expropriated and converted into an art gallery.

4.7 In 1948 violent earthquakes shook the whole town causing devastation and ruin. The building was seriously damaged. The only section which remained relatively secure was the central rotunda. Heavy yearly rains further weakened the structure to such a degree as to endanger the safety of houses in the vicinity. It was at this point that the authorities decided to demolish the remaining edifice and clear the site.

4.8 A reliable report, recently received, indicates that had the Temple been restored to us at this point, we should have had no option but to raze the building ourselves.

4.9 Please share this news with the friends but we do not wish National Assemblies, Local Assemblies or individual believers to take any action.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p14>

5
The Guardianship

6 October 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

5.1 We wish to share with you the text of the following resolution: After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts bearing upon the question of the appointment of the successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, and after prolonged consideration of the views of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.

5.2 Please share this message with the friends in your jurisdiction.

With loving greetings.
The Universal House of Justice


6
Announcement of the Nine Year Plan

October 1963

To the Followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the World

Fellow believers in the Cause of God,

6.1 Six years ago when nearing the midway point of the Ten Year Crusade, the Baha'i World found itself abruptly deprived of the guiding hand of its beloved Guardian. The anguish which then seized our hearts, far from paralyzing the progress of the Cause, stiffened our resolve and fired our zeal to complete the tasks which God, through His Chosen Branch, had laid upon us.+F24 The august institution of the Hands of the Cause of God which he had, but recently, in compliance with the instructions of the Master's Will, raised up, kept the people of this Cause faithfully to the path which had been shown to us by the pen of divine guidance, and brought us not only to the triumphal conclusion of that Crusade but to the culminating point of the construction of the framework of Baha'u'llah's World Order.+F25
[F25. 'Abdu'l-Baha included in His Will and Testament a provision for the appointment of Hands of the Cause of God (see WT, pp. 12-13).]
[F24. The Chosen Branch is Shoghi Effendi, Baha'u'llah's great-grandson.]

<p15>

6.2 In March 1930 Shoghi Effendi wrote that Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha had "in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world." After long and prayerful consultation, the House of Justice, as the friends have already been informed, found that there is no way in which it can legislate for a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.+F26 The Universal House of Justice has therefore begun, in humble obedience to the Will of God, and strengthened by daily prayer in the Holy Shrines, to undertake the heavy tasks laid upon it. In the words of our beloved Guardian it "will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement throughout the world" and "will have to consider afresh the whole situation, and lay down the principle which shall direct, so long as it deems advisable, the affairs of the Cause."+F27
[F27. BA, pp. 39, 41.]
[F26. See message no. 6.]

The Covenant of Baha'u'llah

6.3 The Covenant of Baha'u'llah is unbroken, its all-encompassing power inviolate. The two unique features which distinguish it from all religious covenants of the past are unchanged and operative. The revealed Word, in its original purity, amplified by the divinely guided interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, remains immutable, unadulterated by any man-made creeds or dogmas, unwarrantable inferences or unauthorized interpretations. The channel of divine guidance, providing flexibility in all the affairs of mankind, remains open through that Institution which was founded by Baha'u'llah and endowed by Him with supreme authority and unfailing guidance, and of which the Master wrote: "Unto this body all things must be referred."+F28 How clearly we can see the truth of Baha'u'llah's assertion: "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure."+F29
[F29. Quoted in WOB, p. 109.]
[F28. WT, p. 14.]

Responsibility of the Institutions

6.4 As the significance of the Cause of God continues in the years ahead to become more clearly apparent to the eyes of men, a great responsibility to watch over its security rests upon all of its institutions. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, charged in the sacred Texts with the specific <p16> duties of protecting and propagating the Faith, has a particularly vital responsibility to discharge. In their capacity as protectors of the Faith, the Hands will continue to take action to expel Covenant-breakers and to reinstate those who sincerely repent, subject in each instance to the approval of the Universal House of Justice.+F30 Exercising their function of propagating the Faith, the Hands of the Cause will inspire, advise and assist the National Spiritual Assemblies in the work as they did in the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, assisted by the members of their Auxiliary Boards who will continue to fulfil those functions outlined for them by him.
[F30. To maintain the unity and incorruptibility of the Faith, the Covenant of Baha'u'llah established a Centre of authority to which all are to turn. This Centre has been, successively, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who is uniquely the Centre of the Covenant; Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith; and the Universal House of Justice, which is the apex of its Administrative Order. A Baha'i who turns against and defies this Centre breaks the Covenant and, if he is adamant in his disobedience, is expelled from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker.]

6.5 We stand now upon the threshold of the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan, with the outposts of the Cause established in the remotest corners of the earth, and having already witnessed the beginnings of that entry into the Faith by troops promised by the Master Himself. The foundation of the Kingdom has been securely laid, the framework has been raised. The friends must now consolidate these achievements, safeguard their institutions and gather the peoples and kindreds of the world into the Ark which the Hand of God has built.

Second Global Plan

6.6 Next Ridvan will be launched the second of those world-encircling enterprises destined in the course of time to carry the Word of God to every human soul. The Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan are the Hands of the Cause of God. The responsibility for directing the work will rest upon the shoulders of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the generals of the Army of Light, under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

6.7 As the first step inaugurating this great undertaking we rejoice to announce the formation next Ridvan of nineteen National Spiritual Assemblies, resulting in the dissolution of six of the existing Regional National Spiritual Assemblies, and bringing the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to sixty-nine. The National and Regional National Assemblies now to be formed are:

1. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of North West Africa, with its seat in Tunis, comprising Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Rio de Oro, Mauritania, the Canary Is., and Madeira.

2. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of West Africa, with its seat in Monrovia, comprising Liberia, Senegal, Gambia, Portuguese <p17> Guinea, Guinee, Sierra Leone, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast and Cape Verde Is.

3. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of West Central Africa, with its seat in Victoria, comprising Cameroon, Spanish Guinea, St. Thomas I., Fernando Po I., Corisco I., Nigeria, Niger, Dahomey, Togo, and Ghana.

4. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Uganda and Central Africa, with its seat in Kampala, comprising Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo (ex-Belgian), the Congo Republic (ex-French), Central African Republic, Gabon and Chad.

5. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Kenya, with its seat in Nairobi.

6. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with its seat in Dar-es-Salaam, comprising Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Mafia I., and Pemba I.

7. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of South Central Africa, with its seat in Salisbury, comprising Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Bechuanaland.

8. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of South and West Africa, with its seat in Johannesburg, comprising Angola, Southwest Africa, South Africa, Zululand, Swaziland, Basutoland, Mozambique and St. Helena.

9. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Indian Ocean, with its seat in Port Louis, comprising Mauritius, the Malagasy Republic, Reunion I., Seychelles Is., Comoro Is., and the Chagos Archipelago.

10. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands, with its seat in Honolulu.

11. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the South Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Suva, comprising the Gilbert and Ellice Is., Nauru I., Fiji, Samoa Is., Tonga Is., and Cook Is.

12. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the South West Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Honiara, comprising the Solomon Is., New Hebrides Is., New Caledonia and Loyalty Is.

13. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of North East Asia, with its seat in Tokyo, comprising Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong and Macau.

14. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Korea, with its seat in Seoul.

15. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Malaysia, with its seat in Kuala Lumpur, comprising Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.

16. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Indonesia, with its seat in Djakarta, comprising Indonesia, the Mentawai Is., Portuguese Timor and West Irian

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17. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Vietnam, with its seat in Saigon, and having jurisdiction over the Baha'is of Cambodia.

18. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Thailand, with its seat in Bangkok, and having jurisdiction over the Baha'is of Laos.

19. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Philippines, with its seat in Manila.

6.8 The detailed goals of the Plan, which will include sixty-nine national plans, have yet to be announced, but they must be such as to develop still further the World Centre of the Faith and the work of its institutions; to consolidate those territories which have already been opened to the Faith; to bring God's healing Message to many more of the peoples and territories of the world including all the unopened territories of the Ten Year Crusade and all the remaining independent states of the planet; and to achieve world-wide proclamation of the Faith to mark the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers in 1867-1868.+F31
[F31. For details on Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the kings and rulers of the world and a description of the events held throughout the Baha'i world to commemorate its anniversary, see letters dated Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (messages nos 24, 41, and 46). For the Tablets Baha'u'llah sent to the kings and rulers of the world, see The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah.]

6.9 In the spring of 1968 the next election for the Universal House of Justice will take place.

Third Epoch of the Formative Age

6.10 Beloved friends, the Cause of God, guarded and nurtured since its inception by God's Messengers, by the Centre of His Covenant and by His Sign on earth, now enters a new epoch, the third of the Formative Age.+F32 It must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society. We, its members, must, by constant study of the life- giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society. Relying upon God alone, we can promote His Cause and establish His Kingdom on earth. Only thus can we prove our love for Those Who brought this new day into being. Only thus can we prove the truth of Their Divine Mission and demonstrate how valid was Their Sacrifice.
[F32. For information on the Formative Age, see entries on Ages and Epochs in the Glossary.]

The Universal House of Justice

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7
Request for Prayers for Moroccan Baha'i Prisoners

17 October 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

7.1 Our Baha'i friends who were tried at Nador, Morocco, last year and who received sentences of death or life imprisonment are still being held in prison.+F33 Their appeal which has been pending for nearly a year still has not been heard. However, we are pleased to report that another Baha'i prisoner, Muhammad Mannan,+F34 of Tangier was recently provisionally released.
[F34. Spelt Manaan here and Ma'anan in message no. 8. -- M.W.T.]
[F33. In April 1962 fourteen Moroccan Baha'i men were arrested in Nador. On 31 October 1962, after more than six months of imprisonment, they were tried before the Criminal Court of Nador on charges of rebellion and disorder, attacks on public security, constitution of an association of criminals, and attacks on religious faith. On 10 December 1962 they were found guilty and sentenced. Their cases were then appealed to the Supreme Court of Morocco, which overruled the lower court's verdict and released the men. A world-wide campaign to publicize the plight of the Baha'i prisoners focused public opinion, favourable to the Baha'is, on the Moroccan authorities. For further information, see BW 13:288-89, and messages nos 8 and 12.]

7.2 We are calling for believers throughout the world to pray at the Feast of Qawl (23 November) that early favourable action may be taken in the cases of these devoted and steadfast friends whose long suffering on behalf of our Faith has been an inspiration to Baha'is everywhere.

7.3 The friends at the World Centre will join you on that day by saying prayers at the Holy Shrines for our Moroccan friends.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

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8
Report on Moroccan Baha'i prisoners

15 November 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the British Isles, France, and the United States

Dear friends,

8.1 The case of the Baha'i prisoners in Morocco has passed through three stages:

a) The arrest, detention and trial which began in April, 1962 and ended on 15 December 1962 when they appeared in court and received their respective sentences.

b) The second stage began when the verdict was known and widely publicized, attracting the attention of many influential people both within and without Morocco resulting in widespread sympathy on behalf of the prisoners and many petitions to the Moroccan government.

c) The third stage has been characterized by relative quiet and lack of publicity while all are waiting for the appeal to be heard. We are now in this stage, the most difficult of all.

8.2 The Universal House of Justice wishes to share with you a summary of the present situation as it appears from reports received from many sources, and to outline the policies which it believes should govern our immediate actions.

8.3 The prisoners, except for one who will be referred to later, are still in prison awaiting their unknown fate with great firmness and patience. For more than a year and a half they have withstood all manner of harassment and difficulty. We are informed that the three sentenced to death have been kept in solitary confinement for twenty-three hours of every day. Because of recent political developments it has become more and more difficult for Baha'i friends to meet these dear souls in prison, but when it has been possible the Baha'is and non-believers alike are astonished that the prisoners are able to demonstrate such exemplary steadfastness and patience.

8.4 It is still not known when the appeal will be heard. At first it was promised that it would be among the first cases taken up after the courts reconvened in October. Again, some felt that it would be delayed until the opening of parliament in November. Now it is thought that the appeal will be heard very soon because it has been presented to the Court in such a way that they cannot delay it longer than one month. A favourable result is also anticipated.

8.5 The prisoner in Tangier, Mr Mannan,+F35 has been provisionally released. His release followed a finding by the magistrate of that city that he could not find any convincing evidence in the file proving the charges regarding political sub- <p21> version and incitement against Islam were justified. In the view of the magistrate the prisoner is guilty of no other crime than that of being a Baha'i. Nevertheless, the prosecution appealed from this finding, and it was only after later efforts on the part of the legal committee in Morocco that Mr Mannan was released.
[F35. Spelt Ma'anan here and Manaan in message no. 7. -- M.W.T.]

8.6 Recently there has been a proposal for a change in the law which would provide a penalty of up to three years in prison for persons who are convicted of enticing Muslims to change their faith. While this law cannot be applied retroactively to the Baha'i prisoners, it is felt that this change in the law together with the result in the Tangier case will have a favourable effect on the other cases since it indicated the injustice of the convictions and the harshness of the penalties meted out.

8.7 We have had many excellent suggestions from all of you as to courses of action which might be taken to secure the release of our fellow Baha'is. All have been carefully considered and weighed together in arriving at our present course of action ...

8.8 If the appeal should be further delayed, we must reconsider our present policy and do whatever is reasonably required to bring about an early hearing of the appeal. In the meantime the entire Baha'i world is offering prayers on behalf of the prisoners at the Feast of Qawl.

8.9 This letter is for your own information and is not to be circulated.

8.10 With grateful appreciation and with warm Baha'i love and greetings,

The Universal House of Justice


9
Development of National Baha'i Funds

15 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

9.1 While it is understood that many communities do not have the resources to fully sustain their administrative and teaching work, it is important that each National Assembly make every effort to work out a programme and budget which will enable it to become self-sustaining as rapidly as possible.

9.2 To accomplish this, the friends should be made to appreciate the bounties which come from regular and systematic contribution to the National Fund. The amount of the contribution is not as important as universal participation. In a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa dated 8 August 1957 the beloved Guardian said:

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9.2a The institution of the National Fund, so vital and essential for the uninterrupted
progress of these activities must, in particular, be assured of the wholehearted the ever-increasing and universal support of the mass of believers, for whose welfare, and in whose name, these beneficent activities have been initiated and have been conducted. All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. ...

9.3 National Assemblies needing supplemental assistance for budgets after Ridvan, 1964 should direct their appeal to the Universal House of Justice. They should not appeal to another National Assembly except in specific cases authorized by the Universal House of Justice.

9.4 We shall pray that the bounties of the Almighty will descend upon the growing Administrative Order of His promised Kingdom on Earth so that we may be enabled to take His healing message to all peoples everywhere.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


10
Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and National Spiritual Assemblies

19 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

10.1 The relationship of the Continental Hands+F36 and their respective National Assemblies was clearly delineated in the Message of the beloved Guardian dated 4 June 1957:
[F36. Hands of the Cause of God to whom continental responsibilities are assigned as distinct from those whose responsibility it is to serve in the Holy Land.]

10.1a CALL UPON HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EACH CONTINENT SEPARATELY ESTABLISH HENCEFORTH DIRECT CONTACT DELIBERATE WHENEVER FEASIBLE AS FREQUENTLY POSSIBLE EXCHANGE REPORTS TO BE SUBMITTED THEIR RESPECTIVE AUXILIARY BOARDS NATIONAL COMMITTEES EXERCISE UNRELAXING VIGILANCE CARRY OUT UNFLINCHINGLY SACRED INESCAPABLE DUTIES. SECURITY PRECIOUS FAITH PRESERVATION SPIRITUAL HEALTH BAHA'I COMMUNITIES VITALITY FAITH ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS PROPER FUNCTIONING ITS LABORIOUSLY ERECTED INSTITUTIONS FRUITION ITS WORLD-WIDE ENTERPRISES FULFILMENT ITS ULTIMATE DESTINY ALL DIRECTLY DEPENDENT BEFITTING DISCHARGE <p23> WEIGHTY RESPONSIBILITIES NOW RESTING MEMBERS THESE TWO INSTITUTIONS OCCUPYING WITH UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE NEXT INSTITUTION GUARDIANSHIP FOREMOST RANK, DIVINELY ORDAINED ADMINISTRATIVE HIERARCHY WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

10.2 These highly significant words of the beloved Guardian clearly foreshadow the tremendous importance of the joint responsibility which he placed upon the Hands and the National Assemblies in protecting the believers and fostering the world-wide development of the Faith.

10.3 We stress the necessity of doing everything possible to expedite and facilitate this free play of consultation between the Hands and the National Assemblies within the spirit and framework of these instructions of Shoghi Effendi. The two institutions have joint and complementary functions which can be discharged successfully only if the greatest degree of understanding and co-operation exists between them.

10.4 We are confident that this relationship will be further strengthened and developed in the manner envisioned by the Guardian, and that it will contribute in large measure to the successful achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan which is to be inaugurated this coming Ridvan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

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11
Auxiliary Board members on National Spiritual Assemblies

25 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

11.1 The Hands of the Cause at their London Conclave last May decided that Auxiliary Board members should be free of administrative responsibilities in order to devote their full energies to their work as Board members.+F37 Those Board members serving on National Assemblies were therefore requested to decide, before Ridvan 1964, in which capacity they could best serve the Cause.
[F37. After Shoghi Effendi's passing in 1957, the functions of preserving the unity of the Baha'i community, guiding it to the victorious conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade, and calling the election of the Universal House of Justice fell to the Hands of the Cause of God in their capacity as "the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth" (MBW, p. 127). In order to carry out these vital functions, the Hands of the Cause of God met periodically in conclaves at the World Centre to confer on the affairs of the Cause. After the Most Great Jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission, the Hands of the Cause of God met in London to discuss a number of matters, among those being the evolving role of the members of the Auxiliary Board in light of the increasing maturity of the Baha'i Administrative Order, as evidenced by the formation of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1963 and the existence of fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies. The Hands of the Cause of God submitted their views to the Universal House of Justice, which made the decisions enumerated in this letter.]

11.2 In view of this request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Auxiliary Board members, the Universal House of Justice has reached the following decisions:

11.2a 1. National Assemblies in whose areas of jurisdiction Board members reside, should point out to the delegates at Convention that whilst teaching and administrative duties are not mutually exclusive, it is desirable that Auxiliary Board members, whether for teaching or protection, be left free to concentrate on the work allotted to them by the Hands of the Cause in each Continent. The following extract from the Guardian's letter, written through his secretary, could be shared with the delegates for their guidance when casting their votes:

11.2b "The teachers of the Cause can surely become members of any Assembly or committee. There should be no incapacity attached to them. But Shoghi Effendi would just prefer to see them devote all their time to teaching and leave the administrative functions for those who cannot serve as teachers." (Baha'i News, October 1932)

11.2c 2. Should Board members still be elected on National Assemblies after the above explanation, it should rest with each Board member to decide <p25> which of the two functions he feels best suited to perform. The Universal House of Justice, therefore, approves the request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Board members that they choose between the two functions.

11.2d 3. In the event of the resignation of Auxiliary Board members from National Assemblies, this should be considered as good reason for resignation. If, however, the National Assembly, in view of special conditions, should consider such resignations to be detrimental to the interests of the Faith of that National Community, and the Board member should insist upon resigning on the grounds of his membership on the Board, the matter should be at once referred to the Universal House of Justice by the National Spiritual Assembly for examination and final decision. Pending such a decision, the Board member should continue his membership on the National Assembly, and explain his position to the Hands of the Cause in his continent.

11.2e 4. Measures will have to be taken by National Assemblies according to normal procedure to fill any vacancies created in this way. If the vacancy is recognized while Convention is still in session, a by-election could be arranged before Convention disbands.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


12
Release of Moroccan Baha'i prisoners

18 December 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

12.1 Following twenty months of close confinement, and one year after hearing sentences of death and imprisonment imposed on them, our brave and steadfast brother believers in Morocco were set free on Friday, 13 December 1963. The long-sought objective has been obtained.

12.2 As we prayed for their release during the Feast of Qawl, now let the entire Baha'i world join in prayers of thanksgiving for this joyful outcome and that the Blessed Beauty enabled these devoted friends to remain firm in their faith through this trying ordeal.+F38
[F38. See message dated 17 October 1963 (no. 7) requesting prayers world-wide at the Feast of Qawl (Speech), 23 November.]

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12.3 In view of the situation which continues to be delicate in Morocco, you are urged not to seek publicity in this matter. If you are contacted by the press, make no statement beyond expressing thankfulness for the just decision.

12.4 Each National Assembly is requested, wherever possible, to express gratification to King Hassan II of Morocco for this just decision of the Supreme Court. This should be done in writing through the Moroccan Embassy, or Consulate, serving your area.

12.5 We also request that wherever you consider it advisable you write letters of appreciation to individuals and organizations within your jurisdiction who offered assistance in connection with this case.

With warm and loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


13
The Baha'i Funds

18 December 1963

To the Baha'is of East and West

Dear friends,

13.1 With the rapid approach of the launching of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice feels that it is timely to lay clearly before the Baha'is of all countries, the needs of the Fund at all its levels: local, national, continental and international.

13.2 The continual expansion of the Faith and the diversification of the activities of Baha'i communities make it more and more necessary for every believer to ponder carefully his responsibilities and contribute as much and as regularly as he or she can. Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations. As the beloved Guardian wrote in August 1957: "All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Baha'u'llah, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Centre of His Covenant, will exert."+F39
[F39. The nascent administrative institutions referred to are the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. Baha'u'llah ordained the institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (KA P130, n. 49.); 'Abdu'l-Baha established the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly (see WT, pp. 14-15). The design conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha is embodied in His Will and Testament, the Charter of the New World Order.]

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13.3 Not only the individual's responsibility to contribute is important at this time, but also the uses to which the fund is put and the areas in which it is expended.

13.4 Much of the present rapid expansion of the Faith is taking place in areas of great poverty where the believers, however much they sacrifice, cannot produce sufficient funds to sustain the work. It is these very areas which are the most fruitful in teaching, and a sum of money spent here will produce ten times -- even a hundred times -- the results obtainable in other parts of the world. Yet in the past months the Universal House of Justice has had to refuse a number of appeals for assistance from such areas because there just was not enough money in the International Fund.

13.5 It should therefore be the aim of every local and national community to become not only self-supporting, but to expend its funds with such wisdom and economy as to be able to contribute substantially to the Baha'i International Fund, thus enabling the House of Justice to aid the work in fruitful but impoverished areas, to assist new National Assemblies to start their work, to contribute to major international undertakings of the Nine Year Plan such as Oceanic Conferences, and to carry forward the work of beautifying the land surrounding the Holy Shrines at the World Centre of the Faith.

13.6 Nor should the believers, individually or in their Assemblies, forget the vitally important Continental Funds which provide for the work of the Hands of the Cause of God and their Auxiliary Boards. This divine institution, so assiduously fostered by the Guardian, and which has already played a unique role in the history of the Faith, is destined to render increasingly important services in the years to come.

13.7 In the midst of a civilization torn by strifes and enfeebled by materialism, the people of Baha are building a new world. We face at this time opportunities and responsibilities of vast magnitude and great urgency. Let each believer in his inmost heart resolve not to be seduced by the ephemeral allurements of the society around him, nor to be drawn into its feuds and short-lived enthusiasms, but instead to transfer all he can from the old world to that new one which is the vision of his longing and will be the fruit of his labours.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

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1964-1973

The Nine Year Plan

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14
Launching of the Nine Year Plan

April 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

14.1 The divinely propelled process, described in such awe-inspiring words by our beloved Guardian, which began six thousand years ago at the dawn of the Adamic cycle and which is destined to culminate in "the stage at which the light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all its power and glory will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet," is now entering its tenth and last part.+F40
[F40. MBW, p. 155. The Baha'i teachings assert that Adam was a Prophet of God and that He inaugurated the Adamic, or prophetic, cycle that ended with the advent of the Bab and that is followed by the cycle of fulfilment Baha'u'llah inaugurated. Shoghi Effendi explains that "The Faith of Baha'u'llah should indeed be regarded, if we wish to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of preliminary and progressive revelations. These, beginning with Adam and ending with the Bab, have paved the way and anticipated with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made manifest" (WOB, p. 103). For a full description of the ten-part, divinely propelled process and for a discussion of the nature of cycles, see entries on Ten-Part Process and Cycles in the Glossary.]

14.2 The Ten Year Crusade, so recently consummated in a blaze of victory and rejoicing, constituted the entire ninth part of this process. It saw the Cause of God leap forward in one mighty decade-long effort to the point at which the foundations of its Administrative Order were laid throughout the world, thus preparing the way for that awakening of the masses which must characterize the future progress of the Faith.

14.3 From the beginning of this Dispensation the most urgent summons of the Word of God, voiced successively by the Bab and Baha'u'llah, has been to teach the Cause. 'Abdu'l-Baha, in His own words, "spent His days and nights in promoting the Cause and urging the peoples to service."+F41 Shoghi Effendi, discharging the sacred mission laid upon him, raised the Administrative Order of the Faith, already enshrined within the Sacred Writings, and forged it into a teaching instrument to accomplish through a succession of plans, national, international, and global, the entire Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l- Baha, and he clearly foresaw in the "tremendously long" tenth part of the process already referred to, a series of plans to be launched by the Universal House of Justice, extending over 'successive epochs of both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith."+F42
[F42. MBW, pp. 153, 155.]
[F41. WT, p. 10.]

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14.4 The first of these plans is now before us. Opening at Ridvan 1964, while the memories of the glorious jubilee of 1963 still surge within our hearts, it must, during its nine-year course, witness a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause.

World Centre goals

14.5 At the World Centre of the Faith the tasks of the Plan include publication of a synopsis and codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book; formulation of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice; development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation; continued collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures as well as of the writings of Shoghi Effendi; continued efforts directed towards the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy and its recognition as an independent religion; the preparation of a plan for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Baha'i property surrounding the Holy Shrines; extension of the existing gardens on Mount Carmel; development of the relationship between the Baha'i Community and the United Nations; the holding of Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences; the co-ordination of world-wide plans to commemorate, in 1967/68, the centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which centred round His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.+F43
[F43. Tablet to the Kings, referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah" (GPB, p. 171). For passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English, see PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03. For details on the celebration of the centenary, see messages dated October 1963, Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (nos. 6, 24, 41, and 46).]

International Goals

14.6 In the world community the Plan involves the opening of seventy virgin territories and the resettlement of twenty-four; the raising of the number of National Spiritual Assemblies, the pillars sustaining the Universal House of Justice, to one hundred and eight, nine times the number which embarked on the first historic World Crusade in 1953; increasing the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies to over thirteen thousand seven hundred, scattered throughout the territories and islands of the world, at least one thousand seven hundred of them to be incorporated; the raising of the number of localities where Baha'is reside to over fifty-four thousand; the building of two more Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, one in Asia and one in Latin America;+F44 the acquisition <p33> of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, fifty-two national Haziratu'l-Quds, fifty-four national Endowments, and sites for sixty-two future Temples; wide extension of recognition by civil authorities of the Baha'i Holy Days and Baha'i Marriage Certificates; the translation of literature into one hundred and thirty-three more languages, and its enrichment in major languages into which translations have already been made; the establishment of four new Baha'i Publishing Trusts, and a vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith.
[F44. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Asia was to be located in Tihran, Iran. Antagonism toward the Baha'i Faith caused the plans for its construction to be held in abeyance. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America is in Panama and was dedicated in 1972.]

The Role of the Individual

14.7 The healthy development of the Cause requires that this great expansion be accompanied by the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Baha'i life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, "One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah."+F45
[F45. BA, p. 66.]

Twin objectives of the Plan

14.8 Expansion and universal participation are the twin objectives of this initial phase of the second epoch of the Divine Plan, and all the goals assigned to the sixty-nine National Communities are contributory to them. The process of co-operation between National Spiritual Assemblies, already initiated by the beloved Guardian, will, during the course of this Plan, apply to over two hundred specific projects and will further strengthen this process which may well assume great importance in future stages of the Formative Age.

14.9 Once more, dear friends, we enter the battle but with an incomparably greater array than that which embarked upon the World Crusade in 1953. To that small force of twelve national communities, now veteran campaigners, have been added fifty-seven new legions, each under the generalship of a National Spiritual Assembly, each destined to become a veteran of this and future campaigns. That Crusade began with slightly more than six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies, the greater part of which were situated in Persia, North America and Europe; the home-fronts now comprise nearly four thousand six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies scattered throughout the continents and islands of the world. We begin this Plan with a tremendous momentum, exemplified by the addition, since last Ridvan, of over four thousand new centres and thirteen National Spiritual Assemblies, and by the beginning, in several countries, of that entry by troops into the Cause of God prophesied by 'Abdu'l-Baha and so eagerly anticipated by Him.

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Standard-bearers of the Plan

14.10 The Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan are those same divinely appointed, tried and victorious souls who bore the standard of the World Crusade, the Hands of the Cause of God, whose advice and consultation have been invaluable in the working out of this Nine Year Plan. Supported by their "DEPUTIES, ASSISTANTS [and] ADVISERS,"+F46 the members of the Auxiliary Boards, they will inspire and protect the army of God, lead through every breach to the limit of available resources and sustain those communities struggling over intractable or stony ground, so that by 1973 the celebrations befitting the centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book may be undertaken by a victorious, firmly established, organically united world community, dedicated to the service of God and the final triumph of His Cause.
[F46. Shoghi Effendi, MBW, p. 59.]

14.11 Therefore let each of the sixty-nine communities seize its tasks, at once consider how best to accomplish them within the allotted span, raise its band of pioneers, consecrate itself to unremitting labour and set out on its mission. Now is the golden opportunity. For whatever convulsions the waywardness of a godless and materialistic age may yet precipitate in the world, however grievous may be the effects of the rolling up of the present order on the plans and efforts of the Community of the Most Great Name, we must seize the opportunities of the hour and go forward confident that all things are within His mighty grasp and that, if we but play our part, total and unconditional victory will inevitably be ours.

The Universal House of Justice


15
Convention greetings 1964

19 April 1964

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

15.1 OCCASION RIDVAN FESTIVAL EXTEND LOVING GREETINGS HANDS DELEGATES FRIENDS PRESENT HISTORIC CONVENTIONS LAUNCHING FIRST ENTERPRISE SECOND EPOCH UNFOLDMENT 'ABDU'L-BAHA'S DIVINE PLAN. HAIL FORMATION THIRTEEN ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TESTIFYING RESISTLESS DEVELOPMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH. CONVEY ALL FRIENDS JOYFUL NEWS DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE JULY FOURTH. ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS VICTORIES BOUNTIFUL FAVOURS COURSE PLAN NOW LAUNCHED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

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16
Guidelines for the Nine Year Plan

14 May 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

16.1 We have been receiving with deep joy and gratification, reports of the Conventions held throughout the Baha'i world during the Ridvan period just concluded and the national and regional elections resulting in the formation of sixty-nine National Spiritual Assemblies.

16.2 The announcement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan has received universally a warm response. Individuals, Conventions and Assemblies have pledged loyalty and given assurance of the execution of the assigned goals with determination and dedication. In two cases a goal has already been declared accomplished.

16.3 If your Assembly has been given what appears to be a heavy task, particularly in terms of home-front goals, you should consider how this can be phased so that your teaching programme is conducted systematically. When you do work out such an internal plan we would appreciate receiving a copy.

16.4 We feet that at this time certain guidelines could be given to the National Spiritual Assemblies to assist them in the understanding and attainment of the goals assigned to them.


16.5 New and Unsettled Territories: this aspect of the Plan is of vital importance. It involves the establishment of points of light in new territories, the further diffusion of the radiance of the Faith of God and is directly linked with the prestige and international status of the Faith. It is essential that the enthusiasm generated at the Conventions be capitalized upon and the pioneers who have offered their services are directed wisely and energetically to the posts to be opened and resettled.

16.6 Acquisition of Properties: as prices generally are soaring everywhere it is important that properties called for in the Plan be purchased as soon as funds are made available. Your National Assembly is no doubt conscious of the fact that wherever a Haziratu'l-Quds has been allocated it should be a modest structure, acquired in a dignified location within the civil limits of the town or city named in the Plan. However, a Temple site could be near the city, as it is not essential that it be located within the civil limits of the city.

16.7 National Endowments: the object here is not to buy an extensive property. A token piece of land, possibly donated by a believer, is all that is required for the moment.

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16.8 Teaching Institute: this is essentially an activity aimed at deepening the knowledge of the friends to prepare them for active participation in the teaching work. In some countries it may continue to be an activity conducted either in local Baha'i Centres or possibly housed in hired quarters, like most Summer Schools. However, in other countries, and particularly in mass teaching areas, it may have to be a modest structure acquired or erected in the rural areas where the majority of the believers reside rather than in capital cities, to obviate transportation expenses for those attending.

16.9 Recognition of the Faith: such goals as national and local incorporations, as well as applications to obtain recognition of the Baha'i Marriage Certificate and Baha'i Holy Days, should be embarked upon only when circumstances are propitious and there is reasonable assurance that the goal can be attained.

16.10 New Languages: the translation of Baha'i literature into new languages should be carefully co-ordinated with the settlement of pioneers in areas using such languages. Therefore, this is a goal which must be pursued vigorously and without delay so that the teaching work may proceed effectively in these areas.

16.11 If in the pursuit of any of the above or other goals your Assembly should experience any difficulty or need any clarification, you are welcome to write to us at once.

16.12 We assure you of our constant prayers at the Holy Shrines for the befitting discharge of your responsibilities under the Nine Year Plan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

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17
Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, Langenhain, Germany

July 1964

To the beloved of God gathered in the European Teaching Conference called on the occasion of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe

Dear Baha'i Friends,

17.1 We have just witnessed the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe -- a project of untold significance and tremendous potential for the spread of the light of God's Faith in that Continent. One of the major achievements called for by our beloved Guardian at the outset of the Ten Year Crusade, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar was triumphantly raised during its closing years as the fruit of long and arduous labours in the face of determined opposition and upon the sacrificial gifts of believers from all parts of the world. Now dedicated in the opening months of the Nine Year Plan; it forms a striking link between these two great crusades, demonstrating afresh the organic progress of the Cause whereby the efforts exerted in one period bear fruit in the next, which in turn endow the Baha'i Community with new and greater capacities for the winning of still greater victories.

17.2 You are now gathered in this Conference to deliberate on ways and means of accomplishing the goals which are set before you. Let every believer, as he considers in detail these various goals, bear in mind four supreme objectives: to carry the Message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of society, not only in the towns and cities but also in the villages and country districts where the virus of materialism has had much less effect on the lives of men; to take urgent, wise and well-considered steps to spread the Faith to those countries of Eastern Europe in which it has not yet become established; to reinforce strongly the heroic band of pioneers in the islands of the Mediterranean and the North Sea -- islands which are to play such an important role in the awakening of the entire continent -- as well as to prosecute energetically the goals you are called upon to achieve in other continents and oceans; and to foster the co-operation between National Communities and between National Spiritual Assemblies and the Hands of the Cause of God which has contributed so markedly to the work of the Faith on that Continent and is so essential for its future development.

17.3 Above all let every European Baha'i have ever-present in his mind that these are the five years during which Baha'u'llah sojourned on the soil of that Continent <p38> a century ago.+F47 Let him resolve so to deepen his knowledge of the Faith and so to increase his standards of self-sacrifice and dedication to the Cause as to play his part in building a Community which will be worthy of this supreme bounty and which will be a beacon light to the peoples of this fear-wracked world.
[F47. Baha'u'llah was exiled from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), where He remained from 12 December 1863 through 12 August 1868. Edirne lies West of the Bosphorus, near Turkeys border with Greece.]

17.4 In 1953 Shoghi Effendi wrote that the Continent of Europe had "at last at this critical hour -- this great turning point in its fortunes -- entered upon what may well be regarded as the opening phase of a great spiritual revival that bids fair to eclipse any period in its spiritual history."+F48 Those who have been privileged to witness the extraordinary strengthening and consolidation of the Cause in Europe during the course of the last eleven years are well aware of the reservoir of spiritual potential that has been building up and the transformation of the life of the European Baha'i Community that has ensued. May the completion and dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar be the signal for the unleashing of this potential, bringing about on the European mainland and in the islands around its shores a quickening of the process of individual conversion comparable to those events which have transpired with such astonishing suddenness in other continents of the globe.
[F48. MBW, p. 161.]

The Universal House of Justice


18
Teaching the Masses

13 July 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

18.1 When the masses of mankind are awakened and enter the Faith of God, a new process is set in motion and the growth of a new civilization begins. Witness the emergence of Christianity and of Islam. These masses are the rank and file, steeped in traditions of their own, but receptive to the new Word of God, by which, when they truly respond to it, they become so influenced as to transform those who come in contact with them.

18.2 God's standards are different from those of men. According to men's standards, the acceptance of any cause by people of distinction, of recognized fame and status, determines the value and greatness of that cause. But, in the words <p39> of Baha'u'llah: "The summons and the message which We gave were never intended to reach or to benefit one land or one people only. Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it." Or again, "He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts."+F49 In countries where teaching the masses has succeeded, the Baha'is have poured out their time and effort in village areas to the same extent as they had formerly done in cities and towns. The results indicate how unwise it is to solely concentrate on one section of the population. Each National Assembly therefore should so balance its resources and harmonize its efforts that the Faith of God is taught not only to those who are readily accessible but to all sections of society, however remote they may be.
[F49. GWB, pp. 96, 105-06.]

18.3 The unsophisticated people of the world -- and they form the large majority of its population -- have the same right to know of the Cause of God as others. When the friends are teaching the Word of God they should be careful to give the Message in the same simplicity as it is enunciated in our Teachings. In their contacts they must show genuine and divine love. The heart of an unlettered soul is extremely sensitive; any trace of prejudice on the part of the pioneer or teacher is immediately sensed.

18.4 When teaching among the masses, the friends should be careful not to emphasize the charitable and humanitarian aspects of the Faith as a means to win recruits. Experience has shown that when facilities such as schools, dispensaries, hospitals, or even clothes and food are offered to the people being taught, many complications arise. The prime motive should always be the response of man to God's message, and the recognition of His Messenger. Those who declare themselves as Baha'is should become enchanted with the beauty of the Teachings; and touched by the love of Baha'u'llah. The declarants need not know all the proofs, history, laws, and principles of the Faith, but in the process of declaring themselves they must, in addition to catching the spark of faith, become basically informed about the Central Figures of the Faith, as well as the existence of laws they must follow and an administration they must obey.

18.5 After declaration, the new believers must not be left to their own devices. Through correspondence and dispatch of visitors, through conferences and training courses, these friends must be patiently strengthened and lovingly helped to develop into full Baha'i maturity. The beloved Guardian referring to the duties of Baha'i Assemblies in assisting the newly declared believer has written: "... the members of each and every Assembly should endeavour, by their patience, their love, their tact and wisdom, to nurse, subsequent to his <p40> admission, the newcomer into Baha'i maturity, and win him over gradually to the unreserved acceptance of whatever has been ordained in the teachings."+F50
[F50. MA, p. 11.]

Expansion and consolidation -- simultaneous processes

18.6 Expansion and consolidation are twin processes that must go hand in hand. The friends must not stop expansion in the name of consolidation. Deepening the newly enrolled believers generates tremendous stimulus which results in further expansion. The enrolment of new believers, on the other hand, creates a new spirit in the community and provides additional potential manpower that will reinforce the consolidation work.

18.7 We would like to share with you some of the methods used by National Assemblies in various continents that have proved useful in teaching the masses, and attach a list. Certain of these may be valuable in your area, in addition to any methods you may yourself devise.

18.8 We are fervently praying that all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, supported by the individual believers, will achieve outstanding success in the fulfilment of this glorious objective.

18.9 Please share this communication with all the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


Teaching the masses
Annex

18.10 1. Materials are sent at once to the new believers. In some places this material is in the form of printed cards, mainly in colour, portraying a Baha'i theme or principle. This helps the new believer to know that his declaration has been accepted and to feel that he now belongs to the new Faith.

18.11 2. Training courses of about 2 weeks duration are held. To facilitate attendance and reduce cost, a number of villages are grouped together as one zone in which the course is held. The students to the courses are usually selected, so that the more capable participate, and teaching is facilitated. Transportation expenses, feeding and accommodation are provided, if it is found that the participants are unable to cover such expenses themselves. The material to be taught is prepared ahead of time, presented in simple language, and translated into the vernacular. After the course, the more promising students are picked out, and with their consent, are requested to undertake teaching projects for a limited period. It is sometimes found that long-term projects are also useful. These projects generally are carefully planned as to their duration, places to be visited, and material to be taught. If the travelling teachers are not able to cover their expenses, travelling <p41> and living expenses are provided by the Fund for the execution of a given and temporary teaching project.

18.12 3. Shorter training courses in the form of conferences over a long weekend are held.

18.13 4. These activities -- training courses and conferences -- are repeated as frequently as possible and are not dependent upon the acquisition of Teaching Institutes. In the absence of such Institutes, these courses and conferences are normally held in Baha'i homes or hired quarters, such as schools, etc. In order to facilitate the physical catering and accommodation of the participants they are sometimes asked to come to the course with their eating utensils and bedding.

18.14 5. In the visits made to the villages, the visiting teacher meets with the Local Communities to give them basic Baha'i knowledge, such as living the Baha'i life, the importance of teaching, prayer, fasting, Nineteen Day Feasts, Baha'i elections, and contributions to the Fund. The question of contributions to the Fund is of utmost importance, so that the new believers may quickly feel themselves to be responsible members of the Community. Each National Assembly must find ways and means to stimulate the offering of contributions, in cash or kind, to make it easy for the friends to contribute and to give proper receipts to the donors.

18.15 These are but suggestions based on experience which may help you in your efforts to teach and deepen the spiritually starved multitudes in your area.

18.16 In the course of carrying out such a tremendous spiritual campaign among the masses, disappointments will well be encountered. We tabulate a few instances that have been brought to our notice:

a) Visiting pioneers or teachers may find in some places newly enrolled believers not so enthusiastic about their religion as expected, or not adjusting to standards of Baha'i life, or they may find them thinking of material benefits they may hope to derive from their new membership. We should always remember that the process of nursing the believer into full spiritual maturity is slow, and needs loving education and patience.

b) Some teaching committees, in their eagerness to obtain results, place undue emphasis on obtaining a great number of declarations to the detriment of the quality of teaching.

c) Some travelling teachers, in their desire to show the result of their services, may not scrupulously teach their contacts, and in some rare cases, if, God forbid, they are insincere, may even give false reports.

18.17 Such irregularities have happened and can be repeated, but must not be a source of discouragement. By sending a team of teachers to an area, or by sending at intervals other teachers to those areas, and through correspondence and reports, such situations can be detected and immediately adjusted. The <p42> administration of the Faith must at all times keep in close touch with the teaching work.

18.18 To sum up:

1. Teaching the waiting masses is a reality facing each National Assembly.

2. The friends must teach with conviction, determination, genuine love, lack of prejudice, and in a simple language addressed to the heart.

3. Teaching must be followed up by training courses, conferences, and regular visits to deepen the believers in their knowledge of the Teachings.

4. The close touch of the National Office or Teaching Committees with the work is most essential, so that through reports and correspondence not only is information obtained and verified, but stimulation and encouragement is given.

5. Expansion and consolidation go hand in hand.


19
Universal participation

September 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

19.1 In our message to you of April, 1964, announcing the Nine Year Plan, we called attention to two major themes of that Plan, namely "a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause."

19.2 The enthusiastic vigour with which the believers throughout the world, under the devoted guidance of their National Spiritual Assemblies, have, arisen to meet the challenge of the Plan, augurs well for the huge expansion called for. We now ask you to bend your efforts and thoughts, with equal enthusiasm, to the requirements of universal participation.

19.3 In that same message we indicated the meaning of universal participation: "the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Baha'i life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, 'One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.'"+F51
[F51. BA, p. 66.]

19.4 "Regard the world as the human body," wrote Baha'u'llah to Queen Victoria.+F52 <p43> We can surely regard the Baha'i world, the army of God, in the same way. In the human body, every cell, every organ, every nerve has its part to play. When all do so the body is healthy, vigorous, radiant, ready for every call made upon it. No cell, however humble, lives apart from the body, whether in serving it or receiving from it. This is true of the body of mankind in which God "hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties,"+F53 and is supremely true of the body of the Baha'i World Community, for this body is already an organism, united in its aspirations, unified in its methods, seeking assistance and confirmation from the same Source, and illumined with the conscious knowledge of its unity. Therefore, in this organic, divinely guided, blessed and illumined body the participation of every believer is of the utmost importance, and is a source of power and vitality as yet unknown to us. For extensive and deep as has been the sharing in the glorious work of the Cause, who would claim that every single believer has succeeded in finding his or her fullest satisfaction in the life of the Cause? The Baha'i World Community, growing like a healthy new body, develops new cells, new organs, new functions and powers as it presses on to its maturity, when every soul, living for the Cause of God, will receive from that Cause, health, assurance and the overflowing bounties of Baha'u'llah which are diffused through His divinely ordained order.
[F53. 'Abdu'l-Baha, in BP, p. 103.]
[F52. ESW, p. 62.]

19.5 In addition to teaching every believer can pray. Every believer can strive to make his "own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah."+F54 Every believer can contribute to the Fund. Not all believers can give public talks, not all are called upon to serve on administrative institutions. But all can pray, fight their own spiritual battles, and contribute to the Fund. If every believer will carry out these sacred duties, we shall be astonished at the accession of power which will result to the whole body, and which in its turn will give rise to further growth and the showering of greater blessings on all of us.
[F54. BA, p. 66.]

19.6 The real secret of universal participation lies in the Master's oft expressed wish that the friends should love each other, constantly encourage each other, work together, be as one soul in one body, and in so doing become a true, organic, healthy body animated and illumined by the spirit. In such a body all will receive spiritual health and vitality from the organism itself, and the most perfect flowers and fruits will be brought forth.

19.7 Our prayers for the happiness and success of the friends everywhere are constantly offered at the Holy Shrines.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

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20
Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God

November 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Beloved friends,

20.1 Once again the World Centre of our Faith has been the scene of historic events, affecting profoundly the immediate prosecution of the Nine Year Plan and the future development of the World Order of Baha'u'llah. The occasion was the gathering in the Holy Land, for a period of fourteen days, of the Hands of the Cause of God to discuss their vital responsibilities, and particularly as Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan.

20.2 The Universal House of Justice took advantage of this opportunity not only to receive the advice, opinions and views of the Hands on the progress of the Nine Year Plan but to consult them on the highly important goal announced at Ridvan 1964 under World Centre Goals as "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation."

20.3 It was apparent that the elucidation of this vital goal, affecting as it does the relationship of the Hands of the Cause of God to all other institutions of the Cause, was imperative to the prosecution of the all-important teaching work and the development of the Baha'i World Order.

20.4 Accordingly, the Universal House of Justice gave its full attention to this matter and, after study of the sacred texts and hearing the views of the Hands of the Cause themselves, has arrived at the following decisions:

20.4a There is no way to appoint, or to legislate to make it possible to appoint, Hands of the Cause of God.

20.4b Responsibility for decisions on matters of general policy affecting the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn.

20.5 It is with great joy that we are able to share with you the initial steps now taken to attain the goal.

Continental zones

20.6 The assignment of the Hands to various continents remains unchanged but, in order to expedite the work, the continents of Asia and the Western Hemisphere will each be divided into zones for the day-to-day work of the <p45> Hands, one or more Hands being responsible for each zone. Asia will consist of two zones: the Middle East comprising the countries from and including Pakistan westwards and also Asiatic USSR; and South and East Asia comprising the remainder of the continent. The Western Hemisphere will consist of three zones: North America, Central America (including Mexico) and the Antilles, and South America. The Hawaiian Islands will be in the Australasian continental area, as listed in the recently issued statistical summary.

Increases in membership of Auxiliary Boards

20.7 The number of members of the Auxiliary Boards for the propagation of the Faith will be increased in every continent, raising the total number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa from eighteen to twenty-seven; in Asia from fourteen to thirty-six; in Australasia from four to nine; in Europe from eighteen to twenty-seven; and in the Western Hemisphere from eighteen to thirty-six.

20.8 The Hands of the Cause in each continent are called upon to appoint one or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work.

Freeing Hands of the Cause from elected or appointed positions

20.9 The exalted rank and specific functions of the Hands of the Cause of God make it inappropriate for them to be elected or appointed to administrative institutions, or to be elected as delegates to national conventions. Furthermore, it is their desire and the desire of the House of Justice that they be free to devote their entire energies to the vitally important duties conferred upon them in the Holy Writings. The importance of close collaboration between the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies cannot be over-stressed, and a separate communication is being addressed to National Assemblies on this subject, supplementing guidance given in earlier letters.+F55
[F55. See messages dated October 1963 (no. 6) and 19 November 1963 (no. 10). See also the message dated November 1964 that follows.]

20.10 We anticipate announcing at Ridvan 1965 plans for Oceanic and Inter-continental Conferences, an overall plan for world-wide proclamation of the Faith during 1967-68, the centenary year of the revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk,+F56 involving co-operation of National and Local Assemblies throughout the world, and conditions of entry for a competition for the design of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama.
[F56. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Baha'u'llah's Tablet to the Kings, portions of which are published in The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03.]

20.11 Teaching the masses is the greatest challenge now facing the followers of Baha'u'llah. No work is more important than that of carrying His Message with utmost speed to the bewildered and thirsting peoples of a spiritually <p46> parched world. Now, as the Hands return to their various continents, reinforced by a wider and more efficient organization of their work, we are confident that the whole Baha'i world will, with rising enthusiasm and ever-increasing success, press forward with the teaching work, greatly increase the flow of pioneers, more widely participate in the financial support of the work of the Cause and add rapidly to the list of goals already accomplished.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


21
Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and the National Spiritual Assemblies

November 1964

To National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i World

Dear Baha'i friends,

21.1 The gathering in the Holy Land of the Hands of the Cause of God has been an occasion of vital significance to the Faith. Please share the enclosed general message, as soon as possible, with all believers under your jurisdiction.+F57
[F57. See message no. 20.]

21.2 We now wish to elaborate the recent decisions as they affect the relationship between the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and yourselves, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world.

21.3 It is of the utmost importance that the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in the areas for which they are responsible. We ask you therefore to work out with the Hands in your continent more efficient and easier methods of communication. The sharing of National Assembly minutes with the Hands of the Cause is entirely a matter for each National Spiritual Assembly to decide, but it is vitally important for you to regularly provide the Hands of the Cause with all information which is necessary to their work, including copies of pertinent committee reports.

21.4 The Hands of the Cause are preparing a schedule of proposed meetings with National Assemblies and will also be inviting members of National Assemblies to meet them in conferences with their Board members from time to time, a form of consultation which has been found most effective wherever it has been practised.

21.5 Members of Auxiliary Boards should be freed from administrative responsibilities including serving on Committees and as delegates to conventions. In <p47> the event of any member of a National Assembly accepting appointment to a Board, the National Assembly should accept this as valid reason for that member's resignation from the Assembly; should a Board member be elected to a National Assembly, he must choose on which body he will serve.

21.6 We ask each National Assembly to extend a warm and cordial invitation to the Hands of its continent to attend its national convention. All Hands of the Cause present should be given the freedom of the convention. If no continental Hands can attend a convention they may appoint one or two Board members to act as special deputies for that convention, who will, of course, be warmly welcomed and given the courtesy of taking part in convention as deputies of the Hands.

21.7 The increase in the numbers of Board members will inevitably be reflected in an increase in the needs of the Continental Funds. This is a matter for discussion with the Hands in your continent, and we feel sure that you will do your utmost to meet the new requirements, bearing in mind the importance which the beloved Guardian attached to direct contributions to these Funds by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, as well as by individual believers.

21.8 The fostering of this important relationship between the exalted body of the Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world will inevitably strengthen the foundation and functioning of the Cause of God and enable its embryonic world order to grow as a healthy tree under whose shade all mankind will eventually find security and peace.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


22
Appointment of five Continental Pioneer Committees

8 February 1965

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, the British Isles, Germany, Persia and the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

22.1 To intensify the prosecution of the Nine Year Plan we call upon your Assemblies to appoint Pioneer Committees respectively for Australasia, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas for raising up and deploying the huge army of pioneers necessary to win the goals of the Plan.

22.2 The importance of this step is emphasized by the need, during the coming Baha'i year, to settle no less than four hundred and two pioneers in teaching and consolidation areas -- twenty-eight for Australasia, seventy-one for Africa, <p48> sixty-seven for Europe, one hundred and sixty-eight for Asia, and sixty-eight for the Americas.

22.3 These Pioneer Committees, to be appointed by and be responsible to your respective National Assemblies, will have functions set forth in the enclosed outline.+F58 Since they are essentially service committees, a membership of three will suffice. The secretary should be a competent and knowledgeable Baha'i having time, ability and facilities for carrying on a volume of correspondence. All members of the committee should have organizing ability as well as an aptitude for dealing with problems in a warm and loving Baha'i way.
[F58. The Universal House of Justice later assumed responsibility for appointing the members of Continental Pioneer Committees and transferred responsibility for directing their work to the International Teaching Centre (see message dated 19 May 1983, no. 361). For other letters on the evolving duties of Continental Pioneer Committees, see messages dated Ridvan 1965, 18 March 1966, Ridvan 1966, and 22 July 1974 (nos. 24, 31, 34, and 148).]

22.4 The Pioneer Committees will in no way infringe upon or substitute for existing committees which your Assemblies may have already appointed to deal with the teaching and pioneer requirements of either internal or external goals assigned to your Assembly. Rather they will supplement the work of existing committees of all National Assemblies in the respective continental areas, provide an effective means of exchange of vital information, and assist in the processing of pioneer applications and the transfer of pioneers to goal areas.

22.5 The Pioneer Committees should be appointed immediately, and, as soon as acceptances have been received and the committees organized, you should send us the names of the committee members and the address of the committee for inclusion in a dossier to be sent to all National Assemblies as an addendum to the Ridvan message.

22.6 The Pioneer Committees should be prepared to assume their full responsibilities and functions at Ridvan so that no time will be lost in the rapid transfer of pioneers to their posts, thus avoiding any possible dampening of their spirits.

22.7 In the meantime, we will be forwarding additional information and instructions which will enable the committees to swing into action at Convention time. Since announcement of the appointment of these committees will be a part of the Ridvan message, your Assembly should wait until the Convention to inform the friends of these plans.

22.8 Time is of the essence. It is imperative that we have the names of Pioneer Committee members and the address of the committee within thirty days of your receipt of these instructions.

22.9 Assuring you of prayers at the Holy Shrines.

Deepest love,
The Universal House of Justice <p49> Pioneer Committees

Responsibilities and Functions

22.10 I. To assist National Spiritual Assemblies and their relevant committees in the following respects:

a. Information on availability and qualifications of pioneers.

b. Act as a clearing house for information both continentally and inter- continentally.

c. Determine travel and subsistence budgets needed.

d. Supply information on needs for pioneers in various localities within their respective continental areas, this information to be furnished initially by the Universal House of Justice, and any later needs to be cleared through the Universal House of Justice.

e. Supply information on the types of pioneering service needed in specific localities, such as: for teaching in mass conversion areas, or for deepening in administration; also special qualifications for pioneers to specific localities (e.g., language, ethnic background, work opportunities, etc.), and useful information about the territory itself (e.g., climate, geography, living conditions, visas and governmental regulations).

22.11 II. To assist prospective pioneers in the following respects:

a. Place them in contact with the National Assemblies and/or national committees responsible for settling or consolidating specific localities in which pioneers would like to serve or are qualified to serve.

b. Furnish useful information (such as that set forth in items I. d and e above) which will enable the prospective pioneers to determine where, when and how they can best volunteer their services.

c. Work out, in consultation with the relevant National Assembly and the prospective pioneer, such assistance budgets as may be necessary.

22.12 The Committee will obtain the information called for above from the various National Assemblies (or their committees) in their continental areas, and there should be an exchange of vital information between the five Pioneer Committees.

22.13 Pioneer Committees will in no case assume direct responsibility for filling goals. Their function is in the nature of secondary assistance to the responsible or assisting National Assembly (or national committee). If a National Assembly can fill a goal without assistance, it need not consult a Pioneer Committee, but should keep the relevant Pioneer Committee informed as to the status of pioneer goals.

22.14 Pioneer Committees will clear with the prospective pioneer's own National Assembly before offering his services.

<p50>

22.15 Foremost is the Pioneer Committee's responsibility to expedite and facilitate the transfer of pioneers from the place where they are to the goal areas where they will serve. Only such procedures as will be useful to this purpose should be adopted.


23
Election and infallibility of the Universal House of Justice

9 March 1965

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Netherlands

Dear Baha'i friends,

23.1 We are glad that you have brought to our attention the questions perplexing some of the believers. It is much better for these questions to be put freely and openly than to have them, unexpressed, burdening the hearts of devoted believers. Once one grasps certain basic principles of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah such uncertainties are easily dispelled. This is not to say that the Cause of God contains no mysteries. Mysteries there are indeed, but they are not of a kind to shake one's faith once the essential tenets of the Cause and the indisputable facts of any situation are clearly understood.

23.2 The questions put by the various believers fall into three groups. The first group centres upon the following queries: Why were steps taken to elect a Universal House of Justice with the foreknowledge that there would be no Guardian? Was the time ripe for such an action? Could not the International Baha'i Council have carried on the work?

The Election of the Universal House of Justice

23.3 At the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi's death it was evident, from the circumstances and from the explicit requirements of the Holy Texts, that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha. This situation, in which the Guardian died without being able to appoint a successor, presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text, and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice. The friends should clearly understand that before the election of the Universal House of Justice there was no knowledge that there would be no Guardian. There could not have been any such foreknowledge, whatever opinions individual believers may have held. Neither the Hands of the Cause of God, nor the International Baha'i Council, nor any <p51> other existing body could make a decision upon this all-important matter.+F59 Only the House of Justice had authority to pronounce upon it. This was one urgent reason for calling the election of the Universal House of Justice as soon as possible.
[F59. The International Baha'i Council, first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and, after his passing, elected in 1961 by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, was a precursor of the Universal House of Justice. It ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.]

23.4 Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the international administration of the Faith was carried on by the Hands of the Cause of God with the complete agreement and loyalty of the National Spiritual Assemblies and the body of the believers. This was in accordance with the Guardian's designation of the Hands as the "Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth."+F60
[F60. MBW, p. 127.]

23.5 From the very outset of their custodianship of the Cause of God the Hands realized that since they had no certainty of divine guidance such as is incontrovertibly assured to the Guardian and to the Universal House of Justice, their one safe course was to follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi. The entire history of religion shows no comparable record of such strict self-discipline, such absolute loyalty and such complete self-abnegation by the leaders of a religion finding themselves suddenly deprived of their divinely inspired guide. The debt of gratitude which mankind for generations, nay, ages to come, owes to this handful of grief-stricken, steadfast, heroic souls is beyond estimation.

23.6 The Guardian had given the Baha'i world explicit and detailed plans covering the period until Ridvan 1963, the end of the Ten Year Crusade. From that point onward, unless the Faith were to be endangered, further divine guidance was essential. This was the second pressing reason for the calling of the election of the Universal House of Justice. The rightness of the time was further confirmed by references in Shoghi Effendi's letters to the Ten Year Crusade's being followed by other plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice. One such reference is the following passage from a letter addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles on 25 February 1951, concerning its Two Year Plan which immediately preceded the Ten Year Crusade:

23.6a On the success of this enterprise, unprecedented in its scope, unique in its character and immense in its spiritual potentialities, must depend the initiation, at a later period in the Formative Age of the Faith, of undertakings embracing within their range all National Assemblies functioning throughout the Baha'i world -- undertakings constituting in <p52> themselves a prelude to the launching of world-wide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same Age, by the Universal House of Justice, that will symbolize the unity and co-ordinate and unify the activities of these National Assemblies.+F61
[F61. UD, p. 261.]

23.7 Having been in charge of the Cause of God for six years, the Hands, with absolute faith in the Holy Writings, called upon the believers to elect the Universal House of Justice, and even went so far as to ask that they themselves be not voted for. The sole, sad instance of anyone succumbing to the allurements of power was the pitiful attempt of Charles Mason Remey to usurp the Guardianship.+F62
[F62. Charles Mason Remey, a prominent early American believer who was much loved by 'Abdu'l-Baha, travelled widely in service to the Faith. In January 1951 he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi to be President of the International Baha'i Council and, the following year, was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God to serve in the Holy Land. After the passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, Charles Mason Remey served as one of the nine Custodian Hands designated by the body of the Hands of the Cause to administer the Faith from Haifa. In April 1960 he proclaimed himself to be the Second Guardian of the Cause (see BW 13:353 n). This attempt to usurp the Guardianship resulted in his expulsion from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker. For the announcement of his passing, see the message dated 5 April 1974 (no. 144).]

Principles governing the election of the House of Justice

23.8 The following excerpts from a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha state clearly and emphatically the principles with which the friends are already familiar from the Will and Testament of the Master and the various letters of Shoghi Effendi, and explain the basis for the election of the Universal House of Justice. This Tablet was sent to Persia by the beloved Guardian himself, in the early years of his ministry, for circulation among the believers.

23.9 ...for 'Abdu'l-Baha is in a tempest of dangers and infinitely abhors differences of opinion... Praise be to God, there are no grounds for differences.

23.10 The Bab, the Exalted One, is the Morn of Truth, the splendour of Whose light shineth through all regions. He is also the Harbinger of the Most Great Light, the Abha Luminary. The Blessed Beauty is the One promised by the sacred books of the past, the revelation of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush. We are, one and all, servants of Their threshold, and stand each as a lowly keeper at Their door.

23.11 My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned <p53> in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. There will be no grounds for difference ... Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated.

23.12 The Supreme House of Justice should be elected according to the system followed in the election of the parliaments of Europe. And when the countries would be guided, the Houses of Justice of the various countries would elect the Supreme House of Justice.

23.13 At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme House of Justice.

23.14 The establishment of that House is not dependent upon the conversion of all the nations of the world. For example, if conditions were favourable and no disturbances would be caused, the friends in Persia would elect their representatives, and likewise the friends in America, in India, and other areas would also elect their representatives, and these would elect a House of Justice. That House of Justice would be the Supreme House of Justice. That is all.

(Makatib-i-'Abdu'l-Baha, Vol. III, pp. 500-501)

23.15 The friends should realize that there is nothing in the Texts to indicate that the election of the Universal House of Justice could be called only by the Guardian. On the contrary, 'Abdu'l-Baha envisaged the calling of its election in His own lifetime. At a time described by the Guardian as "the darkest moments of His [the Master's] life, under 'Abdu'l-Hamid's regime, when He stood ready to be deported to the most inhospitable regions of Northern Africa," and when even His life was threatened, 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote to Haji Mirza Taqi Afnan, the cousin of the Bab and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, commanding him to arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice should the threats against the Master materialize.+F63 The second part of the Master's Will is also relevant to such a situation and should be studied by the friends.
[F63. WT, p. 20; WOB, p. 17.]

<p54>

The Authority of the Universal House of Justice

23.16 The second series of problems vexing some of the friends centres on the question of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice and its ability to function without the presence of the Guardian. Particular difficulty has been experienced in understanding the implications of the following statement by the beloved Guardian:

23.16a Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. "In all the Divine Dispensations," He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, "the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright." Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperilled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148)

23.17 Let the friends who wish for a clearer understanding of this passage at the present time consider it in the light of the many other texts which deal with the same subject, for example the following passages gleaned from the letters of Shoghi Effendi:

23.17a They have also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world.

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 20)

23.17b It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Baha'u'llah, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions. It <p55> enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures the continuity of its labours, without presuming in the slightest to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction. We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries it undoubtedly contains. ...

(Letter dated 27 February 1929, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 8)

23.17c From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested. ("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp.

149-50)

23.17d Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies.

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148)

23.17e Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow- members ...

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 150)

23.18 Above all, let the hearts of the friends be assured by these words of Baha'u'llah:

23.18a The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to, undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure.

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 109)

<p56>

and these of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

23.18b Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favour nor oppose His Cause! He doeth with His will that which pleaseth Him and He is powerful over all things! ...

(Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Vol. III, p. 598)

23.19 It should be understood by the friends that before legislating upon any matter the Universal House of Justice studies carefully and exhaustively both the Sacred Texts and the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the subject. The interpretations written by the beloved Guardian cover a vast range of subjects and are equally as binding as the Text itself.

Interpretations of the Guardian and Elucidations of the Universal House of Justice

23.20 There is a profound difference between the interpretations of the Guardian and the elucidations of the House of Justice in exercise of its function to "deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book." The Guardian reveals what the Scripture means; his interpretation is a statement of truth which cannot be varied. Upon the Universal House of Justice, in the words of the Guardian, "has been conferred the exclusive right of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the Baha'i writings."+F64 Its pronouncements, which are susceptible of amendment or abrogation by the House of Justice itself, serve to supplement and apply the Law of God. Although not invested with the function of interpretation, the House of Justice is in a position to do everything necessary to establish the World Order of Baha'u'llah on this earth. Unity of doctrine is maintained by the existence of the authentic texts of Scripture and the voluminous interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi together with the absolute prohibition against anyone propounding "authoritative" or "inspired" interpretations or usurping the function of Guardian. Unity of administration is assured by the authority of the Universal House of Justice.
[F64. WOB, p. 153.]

23.21 "Such," in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society."

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 23)

<p57>

23.22 Every true believer, if he is to deepen in his understanding of the Cause of Baha'u'llah must needs combine profound faith in the unfailing efficacy of His Message and His Covenant, with the humility of recognizing that no one of this generation can claim to have embraced the vastness of His Cause nor to have comprehended the manifold mysteries and potentialities it contains. The words of Shoghi Effendi bear ample testimony to this fact:

23.22a How vast is the Revelation of Baha'u'llah! How great the magnitude of His blessings showered upon humanity in this day! And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their significance and glory! This generation stands too close to so colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence.

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 24)

23.22b We are called upon by our beloved Master in His Will and Testament not only to adopt it [Baha'u'llah's new world order] unreservedly, but to unveil its merit to all the world. To attempt to estimate its full value, and grasp its exact significance after so short a time since its inception would be premature and presumptuous on our part. We must trust to time, and the guidance of God's Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller understanding of its provisions and implications. ...

(Letter dated 23 February 1924, published in Baha'i Administration, p. 62)

23.22c As to the order and the management of the spiritual affairs of the friends, that which is very important now is the consolidation of the Spiritual Assemblies in every centre, because on these fortified and unshakeable foundations, God's Supreme House of Justice shall be erected and firmly established in the days to come. When this most great Edifice shall be reared on such an immovable foundation, Gods purpose, wisdom, universal truths, mysteries and realities of the Kingdom, which the mystic revelation of Baha'u'llah has deposited within the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, shall gradually be revealed and made manifest.

(Letter dated 19 December 1923 -- translated from the Persian)

23.23 Statements such as these indicate that the full meaning of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, as well as an understanding of the implications of the World Order ushered in by that remarkable document can be revealed only gradually to men's eyes, and after the Universal House of Justice has come into being. The friends are called upon to trust to time and to await the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, which, as circumstances require, will make pronouncements that will resolve and clarify obscure matters.

<p58>

The Authority to Expel Members of the House of Justice

23.24 The third group of queries raised by the friends concerns details of functioning of the Universal House of Justice in the absence of the Guardian, particularly the matter of expulsion of members of the House of Justice. Such questions will be clarified in the Constitution of the House of Justice, the formulation of which is a goal of the Nine Year Plan. Meanwhile the friends are informed that any member committing a "sin injurious to the common weal," may be expelled from membership of the House of Justice by a majority vote of the House itself.+F65 Should any member, God forbid, be guilty of breaking the Covenant, the matter would be investigated by the Hands of the Cause of God, and the Covenant-breaker would be expelled by decision of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, subject to the approval of the House of Justice, as in the case of any other believer. The decision of the Hands in such a case would be announced to the Baha'i world by the Universal House of Justice.
[F65. WT, p. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.]

23.25 We are certain that when you share this letter with the friends and they have these quotations from the Scriptures and the Writings of the Guardian drawn to their attention, their doubts and misgivings will be dispelled and they will be able to devote their every effort to spreading the Message of Baha'u'llah, serenely confident in the power of His Covenant to overcome whatever tests an inscrutable Providence may shower upon it, thus demonstrating its ability to redeem a travailing world and to upraise the Standard of the Kingdom of God on earth.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p59>

24
Ridvan Message 1965

Ridvan 1965

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

24.1 The tide of victory which carried the Baha'i World community to the celebrations of the Most Great Jubilee is still rising. A ceaseless shower of divine confirmation rains upon our efforts, its evidences apparent in the many noteworthy achievements of the few brief months since the launching of the Nine Year Plan. The most spectacular of these is the increase in the number of centres where Baha'is reside from fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-eight at Ridvan 1964 to twenty-one thousand and six at the present time, an increase of nearly six thousand in one year. No less remarkable is the progress of the teaching work in India where the number of believers now exceeds a hundred and forty thousand, an increase of more than thirty thousand since Ridvan 1964. Pioneers are moving to those few remaining territories of the earth as yet un-illumined by the light of God's new Revelation; "the vast increase" in the size of the Cause, called for at the launching of the Plan, appears to be developing, while in country after country the institutions and endowments of the Faith are being steadily and firmly established.

World Centre Goals

24.2 During the past twelve months the goals assigned to the World Centre have been actively pursued. Basic decisions and actions to implement the goal of "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," have already been conveyed to the friends. Following their meeting in the Holy Land last October, the members of this august body, the Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan as well as of the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, already laden with honours and services, have arisen with renewed and matchless vigour to rouse the spirits of the friends to meet the supreme teaching challenge, to lend their counsel and assistance to the administrative bodies, and to diffuse the divine fragrances and love of God through all the world. The increase in the numbers of Board members and the new executive arrangements will, it is confidently anticipated, enable the beloved Hands to discharge their important duties with even greater effectiveness and give them more time to travel and teach.

24.3 A preliminary survey of the conditions affecting the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America, one of the two edifices to be erected during the Plan, has already been undertaken, and we now invite Baha'i and <p60> non-Baha'i architects to submit designs for the Panama Temple.+F66 The terms and conditions of the submission, and the specifications of the structure, may be obtained from the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama, whose choice of design will be subject to the ultimate approval of the Universal House of Justice. It is our hope that the construction of this sacred House of Worship, in a location accorded such special significance by both the Master and the Guardian, will be speedily accomplished, so that its beacon of spiritual light may radiate to all the Americas.
[F66. The other edifice that was to be erected during the Nine Year Plan was the Mashriqu'l- Adhkar planned for Tihran, Iran. Due to antagonism toward the Baha'i Faith in that country, plans for its construction were held in abeyance.]

World-Wide Achievements

24.4 During the past twelve months the following new territories have been opened to the Faith: in the continent of Africa, Gabon, Ifni, Mali, Mauritania, Rodrigues Island and Upper Volta; in the continent of America, Aruba Island, Cozumel Island, Guadeloupe, Las Mujeres Island, Prince of Wales Island and St. Vincent; in the continent of Asia, the Ryukyu Islands; in the continent of Australasia, the Line Islands; in the continent of Europe, the Isle of Wight, the East and West Frisian Islands. The following territories have been reopened: in the continent of Africa, Mafia Island; in the continent of America, Antigua, French Guiana and Martinique; West Irian in the continent of Asia; and Admiralty Islands in Australasia. National Haziratu'l-Quds have been acquired in nine places, the seats of National Spiritual Assemblies, and land has been acquired in two others on which to build this institution. Six National Spiritual Assemblies have become incorporated and the Faith has been recognized in Cambodia, a country destined to have its own National Spiritual Assembly during the Nine Year Plan. National Endowments have been acquired in eight countries; six Teaching Institutes have been established, and land has been acquired for six others; a Baha'i Publishing Trust for the provision of literature in the French language has been established in Brussels; Baha'i Holy Days have been recognized in three territories; Baha'i literature has been published in the following eleven new languages: lbibio-Efik in the continent of Africa, Aguacateca, Athabascan, Carina and Motilon-Yukpa in the continent of America, Kenyah, Melanau and Temiar in the continent of Asia, and Ghari, Marshallese and Motua in Australasia. The progress of the Cause in Borneo makes possible the achievement of a goal supplementary to the Plan, namely the establishment at Ridvan 1966 of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Brunei.

Two Conditions of the Baha'i World Community

24.5 The passage of the first year of the Plan discloses two conditions in the Baha'i World community. The first, within the Faith itself, is its capacity to <p61> accomplish all and any definitive goals assigned to it, goals such as the purchasing of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, Endowments, or the incorporation of Spiritual Assemblies; such objective and highly important goals as these, by which the Cause is established physically, legally and socially in the world, are now taken in its stride by the Administrative Order. It should be noted, moreover, that the accomplishment of many goals of this type, involves inter-Assembly co-operation, an international activity vital to the development of world order.

24.6 The second condition apparent after the passage of the first year of the Plan, involves the relationship of the Cause to humanity. Almost universally there is a sense of an impending breakthrough in large-scale conversion. Reports of the Hands of the Cause and of Board members constantly mention it; many National Spiritual Assemblies believe that they have reached the shores of this ocean. And, indeed, entry into the Cause by troops has been a fact in some areas for a number of years. But greater things are ahead. The teaching of the Faith must enkindle a world-encircling fire in whose light the Cause and the world-protagonists of the greatest drama in human history are clearly illumined. Destiny is carrying us to this climax; we must gird ourselves for heroism. Four immediate tasks

24.7 Four challenging and immediate tasks present themselves. The first is to raise and dispatch, during the coming year, no less than four hundred and sixty pioneers who will open the fifty-four remaining virgin territories of the Plan, resettle the eighteen unoccupied ones, reinforce areas where the numbers and cohesion of the Baha'i communities are at present inadequate to launch effective teaching plans, and support and extend the work in the areas of mass teaching. Let every believer consider this challenge, be he, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "in active service or not, of either sex, young as well as old, rich or poor, whether veteran or newly enrolled ..."

24.8 To assist the pioneer efforts of the friends and their transfer to their Posts during the next twelve months we announce the formation of five Continental Pioneer Committees, namely: Pioneer Committee for Africa appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles; Pioneer Committee for the Americas appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States; Pioneer Committee for Asia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Persia; Pioneer Committee for Australasia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Australia; Pioneer Committee for Europe appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Germany.

24.9 These Committees will in no way infringe the responsibilities of other Pioneer Committees, or of National Spiritual Assemblies, who are in charge of the teaching work, and under whose jurisdiction they will function. They are <p62> established to facilitate and assist the work of these national bodies by providing effective exchange of vital information, both continentally and inter-continentally, by assisting in the routing of pioneer offers and in the transfer of pioneers to their posts.

24.10 A careful estimate has been made of the pioneer needs of every area during the next twelve months and the result, including those for the seventy-two areas mentioned above, is a call for four hundred and sixty-one pioneers; eighty-six for Africa, ninety-six for the Americas, one hundred and ninety-one for Asia, twenty-nine for Australasia, and fifty-nine for Europe. Each National Spiritual Assembly has been consulted as to its pioneer needs and these have been made known to all National Spiritual Assemblies as well as to the five Continental Pioneer Committees, who will be kept currently informed of progress by the National Spiritual Assemblies. The friends, therefore, are urged to consult their National Spiritual Assemblies for information about pioneer needs and responsibilities both of their own communities and in general.

24.11 For the first time in Baha'i history, an International Deputization Fund has been established at the World Centre under the administration of the Universal House of Justice. From it supplementary support will be given to specific pioneering projects when other funds are not available. All friends, and particularly those who are unable to respond to the pioneer call are invited to support this Fund, mindful of the injunction of Baha'u'llah, "Centre your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation, Whose power hath caused the foundations of the mightiest structures to quake, every mountain to be crushed into dust, and every soul to be dumbfounded."+F67
[F67. GWB, pp. 196-97.]

24.12 The second challenge facing us is to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that "vast increase" called for in the Plan. Universal participation and constant action will win this goal. Every believer has a part to play, and is capable of playing it, for every soul meets others, and, as promised by Baha'u'llah, "Whosoever ariseth to aid Our Cause God will render him victorious ..."+F68 The confusion of the world is not diminishing, rather does it increase with each passing day, and men and women are losing faith in human remedies. Realization is at last dawning that "There is no place to flee to" save God.+F69 Now is the golden opportunity; people are willing, in many places eager, to listen to the divine remedy.
[F69. GWB, p. 703.]
[F68. Quoted in MBW, p. 101.]

24.13 The third challenge is to acquire as rapidly as possible all the remaining National Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes called for in the Plan. The speedy conclusion of these projects will <p63> save tremendous expense later and endow the Faith with increasingly valuable properties. These basic possessions are the embryos of mighty institutions of the future, but it is this generation, which, for its own protection and as its gift to posterity, must acquire them. We call upon the National Spiritual Assemblies charged with responsibility in this field to accord it high priority. A further, but equally important consideration, is, that the achievement of this goal in the early years of the Plan will liberate the energies and resources of the growing world community for a concentrated, resolute and relentless pursuit in its later stages of great victories whose foundations are now being laid.

The Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the Kings

24.14 The fourth challenge is to prepare national and local plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation of His Message in September/October, 1867, to the kings and rulers of the world, celebrations to be followed during the remainder of the Nine Year Plan by a sustained and well-planned programme of proclamation of that same Message to the generality of mankind.

24.15 A review of the historic proclamation by Baha'u'llah, as described by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By, reveals that its "opening notes" were "sounded during the latter part of Baha'u'llah's banishment to Adrianople," and that, six years later, it "closed during the early years of His incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akka." These "opening notes" were the mighty and awe-inspiring words addressed by Him to the kings and rulers collectively in the Suriy-i-Muluk, "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah." It was penned some time during the months of September and October, 1867, and was followed by "Tablets unnumbered ... in which the implications of His newly-asserted claims were fully expounded." "Kings and emperors, severally and collectively; the chief magistrates of the Republics of the American continent; ministers and ambassadors; the Sovereign Pontiff himself; the Vicar of the Prophet of Islam; the royal Trustee of the Kingdom of the Hidden Imam; the monarchs of Christendom, its patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests and monks; the recognized leaders of both the Sunni and Shi'ah sacerdotal orders; the high priests of the Zoroastrian religion; the philosophers, the ecclesiastical leaders, the wise men and the inhabitants of Constantinople -- that proud seat of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate; the entire company of the professed adherents of the Zoroastrian, the Jewish, the Christian and Muslim Faiths; the people of the Bayan; the wise men of the world, its men of letters, its poets, its mystics, its tradesmen, the elected representatives of its peoples; His own countrymen"; all were "brought directly within the purview of the exhortations, the warnings, the appeals, the declarations and the prophecies which constitute the theme of His momentous summons to the leaders of mankind ..." "Unique and stupendous as was this proclamation, it proved <p64> to be but a prelude to a still mightier revelation of the creative power of its Author, and to what may well rank as the most signal act of His ministry the promulgation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas."+F70 In this, the Most Holy Book, revealed in 1873, Baha'u'llah not only once more announces to the kings of the earth collectively that "He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared" but addresses reigning sovereigns distinctively by name and proclaims to the "Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein" that "the Promised One hath appeared."+F71 Such was the proclamation of Baha'u'llah to mankind. As He Himself testified, "Never since the beginning of the world hath the Message been so openly proclaimed."+F72
[F72. Quoted in GPB, p. 212.]
[F71. GWB, p. 211; PB, p. 63; KA P88.]
[F70. See GPB, pp. 171, 212, 213.]

24.16 The celebration of this fate-laden centenary period will open with a visit, in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, by a few appointed representatives of the Baha'i World to the site of the house in Adrianople, where the historic Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed.

Six Intercontinental Conferences

24.17 Immediately following this joyful and pious act, six Intercontinental Conferences will be simultaneously held during the month of October in Panama City, Wilmette, Sydney, Kampala, Frankfurt, and New Delhi. The host and convenor of each Conference will be the National Spiritual Assembly in whose area it takes place. The following Hands of the Cause of God will represent the Universal House of Justice at these Conferences: Panama City -- Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, who will, on that occasion, lay the foundation stone of the Temple; Wilmette -- Leroy Ioas; Sydney -- Ugo Giachery; Kampala -- 'Ali-Akbar Furutan; Frankfurt -- Paul Haney; New Delhi -- Abu'l- Qasim Faizi.

24.18 All National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to arrange befitting observances, on a national and local scale, of the opening of the centenary period during September/October, 1967, and between the above Conferences and Ridvan 1968, at which time the second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice will be held at the World Centre.

24.19 The successful carrying out of all these plans will constitute a befitting commemoration, commensurate with the resources of the Baha'i World community, of the sacred event they recall.

A Period of Proclamation

24.20 These six Conferences, like the epoch-making event whose centenary they commemorate, will sound the "opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and <p65> activity which calls for the ardent and imaginative study of all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

24.21 The international scene will witness the holding of Oceanic Conferences forecast by Shoghi Effendi. The first one will be held during August 1968 on an island in the Mediterranean Sea to commemorate Baha'u'llah's voyage upon that sea, a hundred years before, from Gallipoli in Turkey to the Most Great Prison in 'Akka. In the subsequent years of the Nine Year Plan, others will be held in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

24.22 In calling upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to consider now the appointment of National Proclamation Committees charged with laying feasible and effective plans for the proclamation of the Faith throughout the entire centenary period, we can do no better than call attention to the following passage from a letter written by our beloved Guardian in connection with the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of the Baha'i Era:

24.22a An unprecedented, a carefully conceived, efficiently co-ordinated, nation-wide campaign, aiming at the proclamation of the Message of Baha'u'llah, through speeches, articles in the press, and radio broadcasts, should be promptly initiated and vigorously prosecuted. The universality of the Faith, its aims and purposes, episodes in its dramatic history, testimonials to its transforming power, and the character and distinguishing features of its World Order should be emphasized and explained to the general public, and particularly to eminent friends and leaders sympathetic to its cause, who should be approached and invited to participate in the celebrations. Lectures, conferences, banquets, special publications should, to whatever extent is practicable and according to the resources at the disposal of the believers, proclaim the character of this joyous Festival.+F73
[F73. MA, p. 62.]

Gathering Momentum of the Process Launched in 1953

24.23 The majestic process launched by our beloved Guardian in 1953, when he called the widely scattered, obscure Baha'i World community to embark upon that first, glorious, world-encompassing crusade, is gathering momentum, and posterity may well gaze with awe upon the development, by so small a fraction of the human race and in a world entangled in opposition, enmity and disruption, of the very pattern and sinews of world order. This divinely propelled and long-promised development must continue its historic course until its final consummation in the glories and splendours of the World Order of Baha'u'llah, the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Universal House of Justice

<p66>

25
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Leroy Ioas

22 July 1965
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

25.1 GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING OUTSTANDING HAND CAUSE LEROY IOAS. HIS LONG SERVICE BAHA'I COMMUNITY UNITED STATES CROWNED ELEVATION RANK HAND FAITH PAVING WAY HISTORIC DISTINGUISHED SERVICES HOLY LAND. APPOINTMENT FIRST SECRETARY GENERAL INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE GUARDIAN FAITH TWO INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ASSOCIATION HIS NAME BY BELOVED GUARDIAN OCTAGON DOOR BAB'S SHRINE TRIBUTE SUPERVISORY WORK DRUM DOME THAT HOLY SEPULCHRE NOTABLE PART ERECTION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING ALL ENSURE HIS NAME IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH. LAID TO REST BAHA'I CEMETERY CLOSE FELLOW HANDS ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL SERVICES. ...+F74
[F74. For an account of the life and services of Leroy Ioas, see BW 14:291-300. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


26
Purification of the Most Holy Shrine of Baha'u'llah, the Qiblih of the Baha'i World

11 November 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

26.1 ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD REMOVAL FROM IMMEDIATE PRECINCTS HOLY SHRINE BAHA'U'LLAH REMAINS MIRZA DIYA'U'LLAH YOUNGER BROTHER MIRZA MUHAMMAD-'ALI HIS ACCOMPLICE IN EFFORTS SUBVERT FOUNDATIONS COVENANT GOD SOON AFTER ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH. THIS FINAL STEP IN PROCESS PURIFICATION SACRED INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENTS FAITH IN BAHJI FROM PAST CONTAMINATION WAS PROVIDENTIALLY UNDERTAKEN UPON REQUEST FAMILY OLD COVENANT-BREAKERS A PROCESS WHOSE INITIAL STAGE WAS FULFILLED BY 'ABDU'L- BAHA WHICH GATHERED MOMENTUM EARLY YEARS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MINISTRY THROUGH EVACUATION MANSION ATTAINED CLIMAX THROUGH PURIFICATION HARAM- I-AQDAS AND NOW CONSUMMATED THROUGH CLEANSING INNER SANCTUARY MOST HALLOWED SHRINE QIBLIH BAHA'I WORLD PRESAGING EVENTUAL CONSTRUCTION BEFITTING MAUSOLEUM AS ANTICIPATED BELOVED SIGN GOD ON EARTH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p67>

27
Reasons for delay in translating and publishing the Kitab-i-Aqdas

6 December 1965

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

27.1 We have received a number of inquiries as to the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas from friends who are unable to read it in its original form. We feel the following extract from a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary dated 27 December 1941, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma clarifies this question:

27.1a The reason it [the Kitab-i-Aqdas] is not circulated amongst all the Baha'is is, first, because the Cause is not yet ready or sufficiently matured to put all the provisions of the Aqdas into effect and, second, because it is a book which requires to be supplemented by detailed explanations and to be translated into other languages by a competent body of experts. The provisions of the Aqdas are gradually, according to the progress of the Cause, being put into effect already, both in the East and the West. ...

27.2 As is well known, the beloved Guardian has already given in God Passes By, pp. 214-15, a summary of the contents of this Most Holy Book, and included the codification of all the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas as one of the objectives of the Ten Year Crusade. It is the intention of the Universal House of Justice to achieve this objective by publishing a synopsis and codification of these laws during the current Nine Year Plan.

27.3 Much of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has already been translated by the beloved Guardian and has been given to the friends in the West, although not designated, in every case, as coming from the Most Holy Book.+F75 We give you below a list of such references for your guidance:
[F75. In 1973, the last year of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice published A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The volume includes all of the extracts in the list of references that follows. The Baha'i World Centre published a copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts in 1992.]

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah
Sections XXXVII, LVI, LXX, LXXI, LXXII, XCVIII, CV, CIV, CLIX, and CLXV

The Promised Day is Come
pp. 26 (1st para.), 36-37 (until the end of 2nd para.), 40 (2nd para.), and 84-85 (until the end of 1st para.)

<p68>

The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour+F76
[F76. This message of Shoghi Effendi was later published in CF, pp. 4-38; the passage from the Kitab-i-Aqdas appears on pp. 18-19 (see also PB, p. 63).]
pp. 16-17 (until the end of 1st para.)

Baha'i Administration
p. 21 (1st para.)

The World Order of Baha'u'llah
p. 134 (2nd para.)

The Baha'i Community (1963 edition)
p. 4 (2nd & 3rd paras)

Star of the West, XIV
pp. 112-14

27.4 The two reasons given by the Guardian in the extract of the letter quoted above need further amplification:

27.4a 1. As regards the first reason, regarding the timeliness of putting into effect all the provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, it must be borne in mind that the beloved Guardian further stated:

... the Laws revealed by Baha'u'llah in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every believer or Baha'i institution whether in the East or in the West. Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory prayers, the consent of the parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks, monogamy, should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic conditions that prevail today. When the Aqdas is published this matter will be further explained and elucidated. What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the application of the Laws already formulated by Baha'u'llah, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice. ...

(Baha'i News, October 1935)

The Guardian has further written:

It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Baha'u'llah has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances. Therein lies the secret of its strength, its fundamental distinction, and the guarantee against disintegration and schism. ...

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 145)

<p69>

27.4b 2. As to the second reason given by the beloved Guardian in the extract referred to above, it must be noted that the supplementary material to go with the publication of the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas may well include the following items, all of which require careful research and translation:

a. The Annex to the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Questions and Answers. (God Passes By, p. 219)

b. Tablets of Baha'u'llah in "elaboration and elucidation of some of the laws He [Baha'u'llah] had already laid down." (God Passes By, p. 216)

c. Tablets of Baha'u'llah establishing "subsidiary ordinances designed to supplement the provisions of His Most Holy Book." (God Passes By, p. 216)

d. The Letters and Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi in interpretation of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

e. Other explanations and footnotes that may be required in elucidation of the provisions of that Book.

27.5 We hope the foregoing will clarify the matter for the friends. ...

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


28
Call for pioneers

10 December 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

28.1 ANNOUNCE ALL BELIEVERS REJOICE RESPONSE BAHA'I WORLD PIONEER CALL RAISED RIDVAN MESSAGE REQUIRING 460 PIONEERS COURSE CURRENT YEAR. THUS FAR 93 SETTLED POSTS INCLUDING 15 VIRGIN TERRITORIES ST. ANDRES ISLAND PROVIDENCIA ISLAND MARMARA ISLAND CHAD NIGER CAYMAN ISLANDS TURKS AND CAICOS ISCHIA GOTLAND ALASKA PENINSULA BARBUDA ST. KITTS-NEVIS INNER HEBRIDES BORNHOLM CAPRI 35 ADDITIONAL SETTLED SAME GOALS 167 MORE ARISEN AND IN PROCESS SETTLING TOTALLING 295 SOULS RESPONDED CALL. FURTHER 200 BELIEVERS NEEDED NEXT FOUR SWIFTLY PASSING MONTHS FILL REMAINING GOALS. FATE PIONEER PLAN HANGING BALANCE PRAYING FERVENTLY HOLY SHRINES REQUIRED NUMBER HEROIC SOULS PROMPTLY ARISE MEET CHALLENGE CRITICAL HOUR URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES NEEDING FUNDS EXECUTE ASSIGNMENTS APPLY IMMEDIATELY INTERNATIONAL DEPUTIZATION FUND. IMPERATIVE SETTLE ALL TERRITORIES ANNOUNCED RIDVAN EXCEPT THOSE DEPENDENT FAVOURABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. VIRGIN AND RESETTLEMENT TERRITORIES PRIORITY CONFIDENT SPIRIT DEVOTION FRIENDS GLORIOUS FAITH ENSURE BRILLIANT VICTORY THIS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE SO VITAL NINE YEAR PLAN.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p70>

29
Observance of Baha'i' Holy Days

28 January 1966

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

29.1 From time to time questions have arisen about the application of the law of the Kitab-i-Aqdas on the observance of Baha'i Holy Days. As you know, the recognition of Baha'i Holy Days in at least ninety-five countries of the world is an important and highly significant objective of the Nine Year Plan, and is directly linked with the recognition of the Faith of Baha'u'llah by the civil authorities as an independent religion enjoying its own rights and privileges.

29.2 The attainment of this objective will be facilitated and enhanced if the friends, motivated by their own realization of the importance of the laws of Baha'u'llah, are obedient to them. For the guidance of believers we repeat the instructions of the beloved Guardian:

29.2a He wishes also to stress the fact that, according to our Baha'i laws, work is forbidden on our nine Holy Days. Believers who have independent businesses or shops should refrain from working on these days. Those who are in government employ should, on religious grounds, make an effort to be excused from work; all believers, whoever their employers, should do likewise. If the government, or other employers, refuse to grant them these days off, they are not required to forfeit their employment, but they should make every effort to have the independent status of their Faith recognized and their right to hold their own religious Holy Days acknowledged.

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 7 July 1947 -- Baha'i News, No. 198, p. 3)

29.2b This distinction between institutions that are under full or partial Baha'i control is of a fundamental importance. Institutions that are entirely managed by Baha'is are, for reasons that are only too obvious, under the obligation of enforcing all the laws and ordinances of the Faith, especially those whose observance constitutes a matter of conscience. There is no reason, no justification whatever, that they should act otherwise ... The point which should be always remembered is that the issue in question is essentially a matter of conscience, and as such is of a binding effect upon all believers. ...

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 2 October 1935 -- Baha'i News, No. 97, p. 9)

<p71>

29.3 In addition, steps should be taken to have Baha'i children excused, on religious grounds, from attending school on Baha'i Holy Days wherever possible. The Guardian has said:

29.3a Regarding children: at fifteen a Baha'i is of age as far as keeping the laws of the Aqdas is concerned -- prayer, fasting, etc. But children under fifteen should certainly observe the Baha'i Holy Days, and not go to school, if this can be arranged, on these nine days.

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 25 October 1947)

29.4 National Assemblies should give this subject their careful consideration, and should provide ways and means for bringing this matter to the attention of the believers under their jurisdiction so that, as a matter of conscience, the mass of believers will uphold these laws and observe them.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


30
Further thoughts about mass teaching

2 February 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in mass teaching work

Dear Baha'i friends,

30.1 Since writing to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world regarding the importance of teaching the masses, we have received reports from all over the world indicating the steady increase in the number of believers, the concentration of the friends on the more receptive areas, however remote these may have been, and the opening up of new and challenging fields for expansion and service. In this letter we wish once again to stress the importance of this subject, share with you our thoughts regarding the supreme need to preserve the victories you have already won and the necessity to pursue the vital work in which you are engaged and to which the eyes of your sister communities in East and West are turned with admiration.

30.2 It has been due to the splendid victories in large-scale conversion that the Faith of Baha'u'llah has entered a new phase in its development and establishment throughout the world. It is imperative, therefore, that the process of teaching the masses be not only maintained but accelerated. The teaching committee structure that each National Assembly may adopt to ensure best results in the extension of its teaching work is a matter left entirely to its discretion, <p72> but an efficient teaching structure there must be, so that the tasks are carried out with dispatch and in accordance with the administrative principles of our Faith. From among the believers native to each country, competent travelling teachers must be selected and teaching projects worked out. In the words of our beloved Guardian, commenting upon the teaching work in Latin America: "Strong and sustained support should be given to the vitally needed and highly meritorious activities started by the native ... travelling teachers, ... who, as the mighty task progresses, must increasingly bear the brunt of responsibility for the propagation of the Faith in their homelands."+F77
[F77. CF, p. 15.]

30.3 While this vital teaching work is progressing each National Assembly must ever bear in mind that expansion and consolidation are inseparable processes that must go hand in hand. The interdependence of these processes is best elucidated in the following passage from the writings of the beloved Guardian: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Baha'i institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Baha'i administrative institutions. That this community ... may maintain a proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development ... is the ardent hope of my heart."+F78 To ensure that the spiritual life of the individual believer is continuously enriched, that local communities are becoming increasingly conscious of their collective duties, and that the institutions of an evolving administration are operating efficiently, is, therefore, as important as expanding into new fields and bringing in the multitudes under the shadow of the Cause.
[F78. LFG, p. 76.]

30.4 These objectives can only be attained when each National Spiritual Assembly makes proper arrangements for all the friends to be deepened in the knowledge of the Faith. The National Spiritual Assemblies in consultation with the Hands of the Cause, who are the Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan, should avail themselves of the assistance of Auxiliary Board members, who, together with the travelling teachers selected by the Assembly or its Teaching Committees, should be continuously encouraged to conduct deepening courses at Teaching Institutes and to make regular visits to Local Spiritual Assemblies. The visitors, whether Board members or travelling teachers should meet on such occasions not only with the Local Assembly but, of course, with the local community members, collectively at general meetings and even, if necessary, individually in their homes.

<p73>

30.5 The subjects to be discussed at such meetings with the Local Assembly and the friends should include among others the following points:

1. the extent of the spread and stature of the Faith today;

2. the importance of the daily obligatory prayers (at least the short prayer);

3. the need to educate Baha'i children in the Teachings of the Faith and encourage them to memorize some of the prayers;

4. the stimulation of youth to participate in community life by giving talks, etc. and having their own activities, if possible;

5. the necessity to abide by the laws of marriage, namely, the need to have a Baha'i ceremony, to obtain the consent of parents, to observe monogamy; faithfulness after marriage; likewise the importance of abstinence from all intoxicating drinks and drugs;

6. the local Fund and the need for the friends to understand that the voluntary act of contributing to the Fund is both a privilege and a spiritual obligation. There should also be discussion of various methods that could be followed by the friends to facilitate their contributions and the ways open to the Local Assembly to utilize its local Fund to serve the interests of its community and the Cause;

7. the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and the fact that it should be a joyful occasion and rallying point of the entire community;

8. the manner of election with as many workshops as required, including teaching of simple methods of balloting for illiterates, such as having one central home as the place for balloting and arranging for one literate person, if only a child, to be present at that home during the whole day, if necessary;

9. last but not least, the all-important teaching work, both in the locality and its neighbouring centres, as well as the need to continuously deepen the friends in the essentials of the Faith. The friends should be made to realize that in teaching the Faith to others they should not only aim at assisting the seeking soul to join the Faith, but also at making him a teacher of the Faith and its active supporter.

30.6 All the above points should, of course, be stressed within the framework of the importance of the Local Spiritual Assembly, which should be encouraged to vigorously direct its attention to these vital functions and become the very heart of the community life of its own locality, even if its meetings should become burdened with the problems of the community. The local friends should understand the importance of the law of consultation and realize that <p74> it is to the Local Spiritual Assembly that they should turn, abide by its decisions, support its projects, co-operate wholeheartedly with it in its task to promote the interests of the Cause, and seek its advice and guidance in the solution of personal problems and the adjudication of disputes, should any arise amongst the members of the community.

30.7 As the Universal House of Justice intends to have on file a full record of the progress of the teaching work in large-scale conversion areas, we request you to send us any published material, such as forms, cards, pamphlets, pictures, audio-visual aids, deepening booklets, etc. that you are currently using, with adequate explanations by your Assembly as to how they are being used, and any comments you may wish to make about their usefulness. Your National Assembly should also feel free to share with us your problems and needs as well as any recommendations you may have. We are looking forward to receiving a prompt reply to this letter, as we feel that an early evaluation of the methods used in various fields of teaching is vital and essential at this time.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


31
Call for pioneers and travelling teachers

18 March 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

31.1 The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'i world this Ridvan will raise a call for volunteers to engage in travelling teaching in all parts of the world and for whatever periods of time are possible. The purpose is to develop a band of international teachers who will, by the very fact of being visitors from other countries, stimulate interest on the various home-fronts which they visit.

31.2 The Continental Pioneer Committees for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe have been given the additional function of assisting National Assemblies to make the most efficient use of any who may volunteer to travel and teach in countries other than their own.+F79 The procedures to be followed are attached to this letter. As you will note we are extending the use of the International Deputization Fund to deserving international teaching projects which cannot otherwise be financed.
[F79. See message no. 22.]

<p75>


31.3 This advanced information is given to National Assemblies so that they may be prepared to accept and utilize the offers of travelling teachers as soon as they arise.

31.4 It is requested that the subject of travelling teachers be placed on the Agenda for consultation at the National Convention, and that the friends be given every encouragement to respond to this call.

31.5 Since the announcement of this plan is a part of the Ridvan message, your Assembly should wait until the Convention before announcing it to the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

31.6 P.S. The locale of the Pioneer Committee for Africa is being changed to Uganda effective at Ridvan. For the time being please contact the Committee in care of that National Assembly.


32
Fiftieth anniversary of the Revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan

22 March 1966

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

32.1 JOYOUSLY HAIL FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION FIRST OF TABLETS DIVINE PLAN CHARTER PROPAGATION FAITH THROUGHOUT WORLD.+F80 PRAYING SHRINES OBSERVANCE OCCASION MAY BE SOURCE RENEWED ENTHUSIASM DEDICATION FRIENDS ACCOMPLISH GOALS WIN FRESH LAURELS SHARE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES CANADA ALASKA HAWAII.
[F80. The Tablets of the Divine Plan are fourteen Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha revealed in 1916 and 1917 to the Baha'is of the United Sates and Canada. In them He conveys His mandate for the transmission of the Faith of Baha'u'llah throughout the world.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p76>

33
Passing of Jessie Revell, member of the International Baha'i Council

15 April 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

33.1 WITH PROFOUND GRIEF ANNOUNCE PASSING JESSIE REVELL HER TIRELESS STEADFAST DEVOTION FAITH SINCE BEFORE MASTER'S VISIT AMERICAN CONTINENT EARNED LOVE TRUST ADMIRATION SHOGHI EFFENDI CROWNED BY APPOINTMENT INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL DISTINGUISHED BY SERVICE TREASURER BOTH APPOINTED ELECTED COUNCILS.+F81 URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS TRIBUTE UNFORGETTABLE EXEMPLARY SERVICES FAITH. ...
[F81. For an account of the life and services of Jessie Revell, see BW 14:300-03. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


34
Ridvan Message 1966

Ridvan 1966

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

34.1 The Fiftieth Anniversary of the revelation by 'Abdu'l-Baha, in March and April 1916, of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan, has witnessed the conclusion of a feat of pioneering unparalleled in the annals of the Cause. A year ago the call was raised for four-hundred-and-sixty-one pioneers to leave their homes within twelve months and scatter throughout the planet to broaden and strengthen the foundations of the world community of Baha'u'llah. There is every hope that with the exception of thirty-four posts whose settlement is dependent upon favourable circumstances all the pioneer goals will be filled by Ridvan or their settlement will be assured by firm commitments. The gratitude and admiration of the entire Baha'i world go out to this noble band of dedicated believers who have so gloriously responded to the call. These pioneers, who have arisen for the specified goals, have been reinforced by a further forty-five believers who have settled in the goal territories, while sixty-nine more have left their homes to reside in twenty-six other countries already opened to the Faith. All told, in the course of the year, five-hundred-and-five Baha'is have arisen to pioneer beyond their homelands, the largest number ever to do so in any one year in the entire history of the Cause.

<p77>

34.2 This is a resounding victory, and in the light of the Master's statement in the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, "It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation," of wonderful portent for the future.+F82 Its immediate results are the opening of twenty-four new territories to the Faith, the resettlement of four others, and the consolidation of ninety-three more. The newly opened territories are: Chad and Niger in Africa; Alaskan Peninsula, Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Chiloe Island, Providencia Island, Quintana Roo Territory, Saba, St. Andres Island, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lawrence Island, Tierra del Fuego, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the Americas; Laccadive Islands and Marmara Island in Asia; Niue Island in Australasia; and Bornholm, Capri, Elba, Gotland, Inner Hebrides, and Ischia in Europe.
[F82. TDP 10.3.]

34.3 The resettled territories are: Corisco Island and Spanish Guinea in Africa and Maldive Islands and Nicobar Islands in Asia.

34.4 As announced last Ridvan, the first Convention of the Baha'is of Brunei will be held this year, during the second weekend of the Ridvan period, when the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Brunei will be elected. Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone will represent the World Centre of the Faith on this historic occasion.

Formation of Nine National Assemblies at Ridvan 1967

34.5 A further result of the confirmations which have rewarded the tremendous teaching effort of the past two years is the call now made by the House of Justice for the formation at Ridvan 1967 of the following nine National Spiritual Assemblies: in Africa -- the National Spiritual Assembly of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; the National Spiritual Assembly of Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria and with Spanish Guinea, Fernando Po, Corisco and Sao Tome and Principe Islands assigned to it; the National Spiritual Assembly of Swaziland, Mozambique and Basutoland with its seat in Mbabane; the National Spiritual Assembly of Zambia with its seat in Lusaka. In the Americas -- the National Spiritual Assembly of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie. In Asia -- the National Spiritual Assembly of Cambodia with its seat in Phnom Penh; the National Spiritual Assembly of Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn; the National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan with its seat in Taipei. In Australasia -- the National Spiritual Assembly of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. These nine new National Spiritual Assemblies constituting, together with the new National Spiritual Assembly of Brunei, ten additional pillars of the Universal House of Justice, will bring to seventy-nine the number which will take part during Ridvan 1968 in the second International Convention for the election of that Institution.

<p78>

Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

34.6 This momentous year cannot be allowed to pass without mention of the tireless and dedicated services of the beloved Hands of the Cause, the Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan, and the able support rendered them by their Auxiliary Boards. The special missions which they have discharged on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the teaching tours they have undertaken, the conferences they have organized, their constant work at the World Centre, and above all their never-ending encouragement of the friends and watchfulness over the welfare of the Cause of God, have given distinction and effective leadership to the work of the entire community. The grievous loss which they sustained in the passing of Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas is shared by the whole Baha'i world.

Threefold Purpose of the Intercontinental Conferences

34.7 The splendid achievements in the pioneering and teaching fields, together with the enthusiastic attention given to the preparation of plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation of His Message to the kings and rulers of the world, have sealed with success the first, and opened the way for the second phase of the Nine Year Plan, a phase in which the Baha'i world must prepare and arm itself for the third phase, beginning in October 1967 when the six intercontinental conferences will sound the "opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.+F83 The threefold purpose of these conferences is to commemorate the centenary of the opening of Baha'u'llah's Own proclamation of His Mission, to proclaim the Divine Message, and to deliberate upon the tasks of the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan. Five tasks of the second phase of the Nine Year Plan
[F83. GPB, p. 212.]

34.8 Five specific tasks face the Baha'i world as it enters this second phase of the Plan:

The first is to complete the settlement of the pioneers, and the dispatch of others wherever needed.

The second is intensive preparation for the third phase of the Plan through development of new teaching measures and expansion of the various Baha'i funds at international, national and local levels.

The third is acceleration of the provision of Baha'i literature, particularly its translation and publication in those languages in which, as yet, none has been published or the supply is inadequate.

<p79>

The fourth is the acquisition of the remaining national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites, national endowments and teaching institutes called for in the Plan, before the developing inflation now affecting nearly the whole world adds too greatly to the financial burden of acquiring these properties.

The fifth is development of the Panama Temple Fund. The Universal House of Justice is initiating this Fund with a contribution of $25,000, and now calls upon the believers and Baha'i communities to contribute liberally and continuously until the funds for the completion of this historic structure are assured. Such contributions should be sent directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama. More than fifty designs have been received, and the House of Justice is now considering the recommendations of the National Assembly. The choice will be announced and the friends will be kept fully informed of the progress of this highly significant and inspiring project.

Our Challenge -- To Raise the Intensity of Teaching

34.9 Every individual follower of Baha'u'llah, as well as the institutions of the Faith, at local, national, continental and world levels, must now meet the challenge to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that vast increase called for in the Plan. For those believers living in countries where they have freedom to teach their Faith, this challenge is the more sharply pointed by the oppressive measures imposed on the Faith elsewhere. In Persia the believers are denied their elementary rights and the Faith is still largely proscribed. In 'Iraq the national and one local Haziratu'l- Quds have been seized and the activities of the friends severely restricted. In Egypt Baha'i properties are still confiscated and recently several believers were imprisoned for a period, and are now awaiting trial. New oppression has broken out in Indonesia where the national Haziratu'l-Quds has been seized and organized activities of the believers have been forbidden. In yet other countries the believers are subject to restrictions and surveillance. The friends in all cases are steadfast and confident, looking forward to their emancipation and the eventual triumph of the Cause.

34.10 The challenge to the local and national administrative institutions of the Faith is to organize and promote the teaching work through systematic plans, involving not only the regular fireside meetings in the homes of the believers, the public meetings, receptions and conferences, the weekend, summer and winter schools, the youth conferences and activities, all of which are so vigorously upheld at present, but in addition through a constant stream of visiting teachers to every locality. The forces released by this latter process have been extolled by Baha'u'llah in these words:

<p80>

34.10a The movement itself from place to place, when undertaken for the sake of God, hath always exerted, and can now exert, its influence in the world. In the Books of old the station of them that have voyaged far and near in order to guide the servants of God hath been set forth and written down.+F84 while 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, says:
[F84. Quoted in ADJ, p. 84.]

34.10b Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world ...+F85
[F85. TDP 8.11.]

34.11 Such plans must be initiated and developed now, during this period of preparation, so that they may be fully operative by the beginning of the proclamation period from which time they must be relentlessly pursued until the end of the Plan.

34.12 The Universal House of Justice attaches such importance to this principle of travelling teaching that it has decided to develop it internationally, and now calls for volunteers to offer their services in this field. By their visits to lands other than their own, these friends will lend a tremendous stimulus to the proclamation and teaching of the Cause in all continents. It is hoped that such projects will be self-supporting, since the International Deputization Fund will still be needed for pioneering. However, when a proposal which is considered to be of special benefit to the Faith cannot be financed by the individual or the receiving National Assemblies, the House of Justice will consider a request for assistance from the Deputization Fund. Offers, which may be for any period, should be made to one's own National Spiritual Assembly or to the Continental Pioneer Committees, which have been given the additional task of assisting National Assemblies to implement and co-ordinate this new enterprise. Let those who arise recall the Master's injunction to "travel like 'Abdu'l-Baha ... sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance."+F86
[F86. TDP 8.11.]

Consolidation -- Coequal with Expansion

34.13 Simultaneous and coequal with this vast, ordered and ever-growing teaching effort, the work of consolidation must go hand in hand. In fact these two processes must be regarded as inseparable parts of the expansion of the Faith. While the work of teaching inevitably goes first, to pursue it alone without consolidation would leave the community unprepared to receive the masses who must sooner or later respond to the life-giving message of the Cause. The guidance of our beloved Guardian in this vital matter is, as ever, clear and <p81> unambiguous: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Baha'i institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever- present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Baha'i administrative institutions."+F87 A proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development must, from now on, as we enter the era of large-scale conversion, be maintained by the Baha'i Community. Consolidation must comprise not only the establishment of Baha'i administrative institutions, but a true deepening in the fundamental verities of the Cause and in its spiritual principles, understanding of its prime purpose in the establishment of the unity of mankind, instruction in its standards of behaviour in all aspects of private and public life, in the particular practice of Baha'i life in such things as daily prayer, education of children, observance of the laws of Baha'i marriage, abstention from politics, the obligation to contribute to the Fund, the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and opportunity to acquire a sound knowledge of the present-day practice of Baha'i administration.
[F87. LFG, p. 76.]

The Urgent Need for an Increased Flow of Funds

34.14 The onward march of the Faith requires, and is indeed dependent upon, a very great increase in contributions to the various funds. All the goals assigned to the World Centre of the Faith, and particularly those dealing with the development and beautification of the properties surrounding the Holy Shrines and the extension of the gardens on Mount Carmel entail heavy expenditures. The building of the two Temples called for in the Plan will require further large sums,+F88 and the world-wide process of teaching and consolidation now to be intensified must be sustained by a greatly increased and uninterrupted flow of funds. The International Deputization Fund must be maintained and expanded, not only for further pioneering needs, but in order to assist and develop the travelling teacher programme now called for. Since only those who have openly proclaimed their recognition of Baha'u'llah are permitted to contribute financially to the establishment of His World Order, it is apparent that more, much more is required from the few now so privileged. Our responsibilities in this field are very great, commensurate indeed with the bounty of being the bearers of the Name of God in this day.
[F88. The two Temples referred to are the Houses of Worship that were to be built in Asia and Latin America. Plans for the construction of a Temple in Asia, to be located in Iran, had to be held in abeyance, due to antagonism toward the Faith in that country. The Temple for Latin America, completed in 1986, is in Panama.]

<p82>

The Individual's Challenge

34.15 The challenge to the individual Baha'i in every field of service, but above all in teaching the Cause of God is never-ending. With every fresh affliction visited upon mankind our inescapable duty becomes more apparent, nor should we ever forget that if we neglect this duty, "others" in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world."+F89 Now, it seems, we may well be entering an era of the longed-for expansion of our beloved Faith. Mankind's growing hunger for spiritual truth is our opportunity. While reaching forth to grasp it we would do well to ponder the following words of Baha'u'llah:
[F89. BA, p. 66.]

34.15a Your behaviour towards your neighbour should be such as to manifest clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to be recreated by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory.+F90
[F90. GWB, p. 316-17.]

34.16 As humanity plunges deeper into that condition of which Baha'u'llah wrote, "to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly," so must the believers increasingly stand out as assured, orientated and fundamentally happy beings, conforming to a standard which, in direct contrast to the ignoble and amoral attitudes of modern society, is the source of their honour, strength and maturity.+f91 It is this marked contrast between the vigour, unity and discipline of the Baha'i community on the one hand, and the increasing confusion, despair and feverish tempo of a doomed society on the other, which, during the turbulent years ahead will draw the eyes of humanity to the sanctuary of Baha'u'llah's world-redeeming Faith.
[F91. GWB, p. 118.]

34.17 The constant progress of the Cause of God is a source of joy to us all and a stimulus to further action. But not ordinary action. Heroic deeds are now called for such as are performed only by divinely sustained and detached souls. 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Commander of the hosts of the Lord, in one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, uttered this cry: "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it." And He concluded with this heart-shaking appeal, "Please God, ye may achieve it."+F92
[F92. TDP 7.8.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p83>

35
The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice

27 May 1966

To an individual Baha'i+F93
[F93. Passages from a letter written by the Universal House of Justice on 27 May 1966 in response to questions asked by an individual believer on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice.]

Dear Baha'i friend,

35.1 ... You query the timing of the election of the Universal House of Justice in view of the Guardian's statement: "... given favourable circumstances, under which the Baha'is of Persia and of the adjoining countries under Soviet rule, may be enabled to elect their national representatives ... the only remaining obstacle in the way of the definite formation of the International House of Justice will have been removed."+F94 On 19 April 1947 the Guardian, in a letter written on his behalf by his secretary, replied to the inquiry of an individual believer about this passage: "At the time he referred to Russia there were Baha'is there, now the Community has practically ceased to exist; therefore the formation of the International House of Justice cannot depend on a Russian National Spiritual Assembly. But other strong National Spiritual Assemblies will have to be built up before it can be established."
[F94. WOB, p. 7.]

The Provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will

35.2 You suggest the possibility that, for the good of the Cause, certain information concerning the succession to Shoghi Effendi is being withheld from the believers. We assure you that nothing whatsoever is being withheld from the friends for whatever reason. There is no doubt at all that in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha Shoghi Effendi was the authority designated to appoint his successor, but he had no children and all the surviving Aghsan had broken the Covenant.+F95 Thus, as the Hands of the Cause stated in 1957, it is clear that there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will. To have made an appointment outside the clear and specific provisions of the Master's Will and Testament would obviously have been an impossible and unthinkable course of action for the Guardian, the divinely appointed upholder and defender of the Covenant. Moreover, that same Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the <p84> Guardian's appointment of his successor, as you are aware. The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian's choice. In 1957 the entire body of the Hands, after fully investigating the matter, announced that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and left no will. This is documented and established.
[F95. Aghsan (Branches) are the sons and male descendants of Baha'u'llah. In His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote, 'should the firstborn of the Guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: 'The child is the secret essence of its sire,' that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the Guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he (the Guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch [Aghsan] to succeed him" (WT, p. 12).]

A Sign of Infallible Guidance

35.3 The fact that Shoghi Effendi did not leave a will cannot be adduced as evidence of his failure to obey Baha'u'llah -- rather should we acknowledge that in his very silence there is a wisdom and a sign of his infallible guidance. We should ponder deeply the writings that we have, and seek to understand the multitudinous significances that they contain. Do not forget that Shoghi Effendi said two things were necessary for a growing understanding of the World Order of Baha'u'llah: the passage of time and the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

The Infallibility of the Universal House of Justice

35.4 The infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, operating within its ordained sphere, has not been made dependent upon the presence in its membership of the Guardian of the Cause. Although in the realm of interpretation the Guardian's pronouncements are always binding, in the area of the Guardian's participation in legislation it is always the decision of the House itself which must prevail. This is supported by the words of the Guardian: "The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.

35.5 "Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha'u'llah's revealed utterances."+F96
[F96. WOB, p. 150.]

35.6 However, quite apart from his function as a member and sacred head for life of the Universal House of Justice, the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, had the right and duty "to define the sphere of the legislative action" of the Universal House of Justice.+F97 In other words, he had the authority <p85> to state whether a matter was or was not already covered by the Sacred Texts and therefore whether it was within the authority of the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon it. No other person, apart from the Guardian, has the right or authority to make such definitions. The question therefore arises: In the absence of the Guardian, is the Universal House of Justice in danger of straying outside its proper sphere and thus falling into error? Here we must remember three things: First, Shoghi Effendi, during the thirty-six years of his Guardianship, has already made innumerable such definitions, supplementing those made by 'Abdu'l-Baha and by Baha'u'llah Himself. As already announced to the friends, a careful study of the Writings and interpretations on any subject on which the House of Justice proposes to legislate always precedes its act of legislation. Second, the Universal House of Justice, itself assured of divine guidance, is well aware of the absence of the Guardian and will approach all matters of legislation only when certain of its sphere of jurisdiction, a sphere which the Guardian has confidently described as "clearly defined." Third, we must not forget the Guardian's written statement about these two Institutions: "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other."+F98
[F98. WOB, p. 148, 150.]
[F97. WOB, p. 148.]

35.7 As regards the need to have deductions made from the Writings to help in the formulation of the enactments of the House of Justice, there is the following text from the pen of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

35.7a Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly.

35.7b Let it not be imagined that the House of Justice will take any decision according to its own concepts and opinions. God forbid! The Supreme House of Justice will take decisions and establish laws through the inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, because it is in the safekeeping and under the shelter and protection of the Ancient Beauty, and obedience to its decisions is a bounden and essential duty and an absolute obligation, and there is no escape for anyone.

35.7c Say, O people: Verily the Supreme House of Justice is under the wings of your Lord, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful, that is, under His protection, His care, and His shelter; for He has commanded the firm believers to obey that blessed, sanctified and all-subduing body, whose sovereignty is divinely ordained and of the Kingdom of Heaven and whose laws are inspired and spiritual.

<p86>

35.7d Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islam, similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text; although all matters of major importance were specifically referred to, there were undoubtedly thousands of laws which were unspecified. These were devised by the divines of a later age according to the laws of Islamic jurisprudence, and individual divines made conflicting deductions from the original revealed ordinances. All these were enforced. Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority, unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the world-wide Baha'i community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the Word would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken.+F99
[F99. Rahiq-i-Makhtum 1:302-04; BN, no. 426 (September 1966): 2.]

The Continuity of Authority

35.8 In the Order of Baha'u'llah there are certain functions which are reserved to certain institutions, and others which are shared in common, even though they may be more in the special province of one or the other. For example, although the Hands of the Cause of God have the specific functions of protection and propagation, and are specialized for these functions, it is also the duty of the Universal House of Justice and the Spiritual Assemblies to protect and teach the Cause -- indeed teaching is a sacred obligation placed upon every believer by Baha'u'llah. Similarly, although after the Master authoritative interpretation was exclusively vested in the Guardian, and although legislation is exclusively the function of the Universal House of Justice, these two Institutions are, in Shoghi Effendi's words, "complementary in their aim and purpose." "Their common, their fundamental object is to ensure the continuity of that divinely appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings."+F100 Whereas the Universal House of Justice cannot undertake any function which exclusively appertained to the Guardian, it must continue to pursue the object which it shares in common with the Guardianship.
[F100. WOB, p. 148.]

<p87>

The Principle of Inseparability

35.9 As you point out with many quotations, Shoghi Effendi repeatedly stressed the inseparability of these two institutions. Whereas he obviously envisaged their functioning together, it cannot logically be deduced from this that one is unable to function in the absence of the other. During the whole thirty-six years of his Guardianship Shoghi Effendi functioned without the Universal House of Justice. Now the Universal House of Justice must function without the Guardian, but the principle of inseparability remains. The Guardianship does not lose its significance nor position in the Order of Baha'u'llah merely because there is no living Guardian. We must guard against two extremes: one is to argue that because there is no Guardian all that was written about the Guardianship and its position in the Baha'i World Order is a dead letter and was unimportant; the other is to be so overwhelmed by the significance of the Guardianship as to underestimate the strength of the Covenant, or to be tempted to compromise with the clear texts in order to find somehow, in some way, a Guardian."

Our Part -- Fidelity, Integrity, And Faith

35.10 Service to the Cause of God requires absolute fidelity and integrity and unwavering faith in Him. No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God's Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations. It is His Cause. He has promised that its light will not fail. Our part is to cling tenaciously to the revealed Word and to the Institutions that He has created to preserve His Covenant.

35.11 It is precisely in this connection that the believers must recognize the importance of intellectual honesty and humility. In past dispensations many errors arose because the believers in God's Revelation were overanxious to encompass the Divine Message within the framework of their limited understanding, to define doctrines where definition was beyond their power, to explain mysteries which only the wisdom and experience of a later age would make comprehensible, to argue that something was true because it appeared desirable and necessary. Such compromises with essential truth, such intellectual pride, we must scrupulously avoid.

35.12 If some of the statements of the Universal House of Justice are not detailed the friends should realize that the cause of this is not secretiveness, but rather the determination of this body to refrain from interpreting the teachings and to preserve the truth of the Guardian's statement that "Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions ... need have no doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin, or validity of the institutions which the adherents of the Faith are building up throughout the world. For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, unadulterated and <p88> unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, or unauthorized interpretations of His Word."+F101
[F101. WOB, p. 24.]

Authoritative Interpretation and Individual Understanding

35.13 A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings. As Shoghi Effendi explained: "To deepen in the Cause means to read the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Master so thoroughly as to be able to give it to others in its pure form. There are many who have some superficial idea of what the Cause stands for. They, therefore, present it together with all sorts of ideas that are their own. As the Cause is still in its early days we must be most careful lest we fall under this error and injure the Movement we so much adore. There is no limit to the study of the Cause. The more we read the Writings, the more truths we can find in them and the more we will see that our previous notions were erroneous."+F102 So, although individual insights can be enlightening and helpful, they can also be misleading. The friends must therefore learn to listen to the views of others without being overawed or allowing their faith to be shaken, and to express their own views without pressing them on their fellow Baha'is. The Covenant -- the cord to which all must cling
[F102. Written by the Guardian's secretary on his behalf to an individual believer, on 25 August 1926.]

35.14 The Cause of God is organic, growing and developing like a living being. Time and again it has faced crises which have perplexed the believers, but each time the Cause, impelled by the immutable purpose of God, overcame the crisis and went on to greater heights.

35.15 However great may be our inability to understand the mystery and the implications of the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the strong cord to which all must cling with assurance is the Covenant. The emphatic and vigorous language of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament is at this time, as at the time of His own passing, the safeguard of the Cause:

<p89>

35.16 Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whose, doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. ..." And again: "... All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error."+F103
[F103. WT, pp. 19-20, 26.]

The Universal House Of Justice: Recipient of Divine Guidance

35.17 The Universal House of Justice, which the Guardian said would be regarded by posterity as "the last refuge of a tottering civilization," is now, in the absence of the Guardian, the sole infallibly guided institution in the world to which all must turn, and on it rests the responsibility for ensuring the unity and progress of the Cause of God in accordance with the revealed Word.+F104 There are statements from the Master and the Guardian indicating that the Universal House of Justice, in addition to being the Highest Legislative Body of the Faith, is also the body to which all must turn, and is the "apex" of the Baha'i Administrative Order, as well as the "supreme organ of the Baha'i Commonwealth."+F105 The Guardian has in his writings specified for the House of Justice such fundamental functions as the formulation of future world-wide teaching plans, the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Faith, and the guidance, organization and unification of the affairs of the Cause throughout the world. Furthermore in God Passes By the Guardian makes the following statement: "the Kitab- i-Aqdas ... not only preserves for posterity the basic laws and ordinances on which the fabric of His future World Order must rest, but ordains, in addition to the function of interpretation which it confers upon His Successor, the necessary institutions through which the integrity and unity of His Faith can alone be safeguarded."+F106 He has also, in "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," written that the members of the Universal House of Justice "and not the body of those who either directly or indirectly elect them, have thus been made the recipients of the divine guidance which is at once the lifeblood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation."+F107
[F107. WOB, p. 153.]
[F106. GPB, pp. 213-14.]
[F105. GPB, p. 332; WOB, p. 7.]
[F104. WOB, p. 89.]

35.18 As the Universal House of Justice has already announced, it cannot legislate to make possible the appointment of a successor to Shoghi Effendi, nor can it legislate to make possible the appointment of any more Hands of the Cause, but it must do everything within its power to ensure the performance <p90> of all those functions which it shares with these two mighty Institutions. It must make provision for the proper discharge in future of the functions of protection and propagation, which the administrative bodies share with the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause; it must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huququ'llah, in accordance with the following statement of 'Abdu'l-Baha: "Disposition of the Huquq, wholly or partly, is permissible, but this should be done by permission of the authority in the Cause to whom all must turn";+F108 it must make provision in its Constitution for the removal of any of its members who commits a sin "injurious to the common weal."+F109 Above all, it must, with perfect faith in Baha'u'llah, proclaim His Cause and enforce His Law so that the Most Great Peace shall be firmly established in this world and the foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth shall be accomplished.
[F109. WT, p. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.]
[F108. See CC I:512. For information on Huququ'llah, see the Glossary.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


36
Pioneering and a programme of consolidation

5 June 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

36.1 The historic and dazzling accomplishment last year of a feat in pioneering unparalleled in the annals of our Faith should not blind us either to the need of filling the remaining gaps which are still open, or to the ever-present necessity of reinforcing the settled territories with a well-conceived programme of consolidation.

36.2 The tasks that lie ahead of us in this particular field of Baha'i activity are as follows:

1. As pointed out in the Ridvan Message, the settlement of the minimum number of pioneers called for under last year's goals should be completed. A recent letter has been sent to all National Assemblies responsible for supplying manpower, calling on them to find and dispatch as soon as possible the pioneers to the few remaining territories for which no offers have as yet been received and to expedite the completion of those projects which are in process.

<p91>

2. The pioneers who have already settled or are settling in their posts, particularly in virgin and unoccupied territories must be reminded that their movement to their goals is far from being a short stay designed to class a particular territory or island as opened, or label it as having received one or more pioneers, even if, in some cases, new believers native to the land have been enrolled. It is basically and clearly intended to establish the Faith of God securely and firmly in the hearts of people of the area and to ensure that its divinely ordained institutions are understood, adopted and operated by them. The perseverance of the pioneers in their posts, however great the sacrifices involved, is an act of devoted service, which, as attested by our teachings, will have an assured reward in both worlds. The admonitions of the Guardian on this subject are too numerous to cite and amply demonstrate the vital nature of this clear policy.

3. The pioneers and settlers, as well as the National Assemblies responsible for the administration of the Faith in areas assigned to them, should ever bear in mind that in the initial stages of the establishment of the Faith in any territory, the obscurity surrounding the work of the pioneer or the local Baha'is is in itself a protection to the Faith. Patience, tact and wisdom should be exercised. Public attention should not be attracted to the Faith until such time as the believers see the Faith touch more and more of the hearts of receptive souls responding to its Divine Call.

4. As the numbers fixed last year for settlers in goal areas were minimum figures, each National Assembly should carefully assess the needs of the territories assigned to its jurisdiction. If more pioneers are needed for any of these territories, a full report should at once be sent to the House of Justice, including recommendations as to numbers required and preferred nationalities of the prospective pioneers.

5. The practical aspects of these pioneering projects are of vital importance. The financial responsibilities assigned under last year's goals do not end because the pioneer has arrived at his post. These responsibilities continue until the objectives are permanently and securely attained. In any case where the National Assembly assigned the responsibility is unable to meet its obligation, application to fill the ascertained need should at once be made to the House of Justice for assistance from the Deputization Fund.

36.3 We assure you of our prayers at the Holy Shrines that the friends in every land may rise above their local and personal problems, realize the needs of the <p92> Cause of God at this juncture of its inexorable onward development, and offer on the altar of sacrifice their measure of service and assistance with complete self-abnegation and wholehearted devotion to His infinitely precious Cause.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice


37
Message to youth -- three fields of service

10 June 1966

To the Baha'i youth in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

37.1 In country after country the achievements of Baha'i youth are increasingly advancing the work of the Nine Year Plan and arousing the admiration of their fellow believers. From the very beginning of the Baha'i Era, youth have played a vital part in the promulgation of God's Revelation. The Bab Himself was but twenty-five years old when He declared His Mission, while many of the Letters of the Living were even younger. The Master, as a very young man, was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the service of His Father in 'Iraq and Turkey, and His brother, the Purest Branch, yielded up his life to God in the Most Great Prison at the age of twenty- two that the servants of God might "be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."+F110 Shoghi Effendi was a student at Oxford when called to the throne of his guardianship,+F111 and many of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, who won imperishable fame during the Ten Year Crusade, were young people. Let it, therefore, never be imagined that youth must await their years of maturity before they can render invaluable services to the Cause of God. A time of decision
[F111. At the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing in 1921, Shoghi Effendi was twenty- four years old.]
[F110. GPB, p. 188. See also MA, p. 34.]

37.2 For any person, whether Baha'i or not, his youthful years are those in which he will make many decisions which will set the course of his life. In these years he is most likely to choose his life's work, complete his education, begin to earn his own living, marry and start to raise his own family. Most important of all, it is during this period that the mind is most questing and that the spiritual values that will guide the person's future behaviour are adopted. These factors present Baha'i youth with their greatest opportunities, their greatest challenges, and their greatest tests- opportunities to truly apprehend <p93> the Teachings of their Faith and to give them to their contemporaries, challenges to overcome the pressures of the world and to provide leadership for their and succeeding generations, and tests enabling them to exemplify in their lives the high moral standards set forth in the Baha'i Writings. Indeed the Guardian wrote of the Baha'i youth that it is they "who can contribute so decisively to the virility, the purity, and the driving force of the life of the Baha'i community, and upon whom must depend the future orientation of its destiny, and the complete unfoldment of the potentialities with which God has endowed it."+F112
[F112. ADJ, p. 22.]

An Opportunity Unique in Human History

37.3 Those who now are in their teens and twenties are faced with a special challenge and can seize an opportunity that is unique in human history. During the Ten Year Crusade -- the ninth part of that majestic process described so vividly by our beloved Guardian -- the Community of the Most Great Name spread with the speed of lightning over the major territories and islands of the globe, increased manifoldly its manpower and resources, saw the beginning of the entry of the peoples by troops into the Cause of God, and completed the structure of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah.+F113 Now, firmly established in the world, the Cause, in the opening years of the tenth part of that same process, is perceptibly emerging from the obscurity that has, for the most part, shrouded it since its inception, and is arising to challenge the outworn concepts of a corrupt society and proclaim the solution for the agonizing problems of a disordered humanity. During the lifetime of those who are now young the condition of the world, and the place of the Baha'i Cause in it, will change immeasurably, for we are entering a highly critical phase in this era of transition.
[F113. For Shoghi Effendi's description of the vast and "majestic" ten-part process that began at the dawn of the Adamic Cycle and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the Glossary.]

Three Fields of Service

37.4 Three great fields of service lie open before young Baha'is, in which they will simultaneously be remaking the character of human society and preparing themselves for the work that they can undertake later in their lives.

37.5 First, the foundation of all their other accomplishments is their study of the teachings, the spiritualization of their lives and the forming of their characters in accordance with the standards of Baha'u'llah. As the moral standards of the people around us collapse and decay, whether of the centuries-old civilizations of the East, the more recent cultures of Christendom and Islam; or of the rapidly changing tribal societies of the world, the Baha'is must increasingly stand out as pillars of righteousness and forbearance. The life of a Baha'i <p94> will be characterized by truthfulness and decency; he will walk uprightly among his fellowmen, dependent upon none save God, yet linked by bonds of love and brotherhood with all mankind; he will be entirely detached from the loose standards, the decadent theories, the frenetic experimentation, the desperation of present-day society, will look upon his neighbours with a bright and friendly face and be a beacon light and a haven for all those who would emulate his strength of character and assurance of soul.

37.6 The second field of service, which is linked intimately with the first, is teaching the Faith, particularly to their fellow-youth, among whom are some of the most open and seeking minds in the world. Not yet having acquired all the responsibilities of a family or a long-established home and job, youth can the more easily choose where they will live and study or work. In the world at large young people travel hither and thither seeking amusement, education and experiences. Baha'i youth, bearing the incomparable treasure of the Word of God for this Day, can harness this mobility into service for mankind and can choose their places of residence, their areas of travel and their types of work with the goal in mind of how they can best serve the Faith.

37.7 The third field of service is the preparation by youth for their later years. It is the obligation of a Baha'i to educate his children; likewise it is the duty of the children to acquire knowledge of the arts and sciences and to learn a trade or a profession whereby they, in turn, can earn their living and support their families. This, for a Baha'i youth, is in itself a service to God, a service, moreover, which can be combined with teaching the Faith and often with pioneering. The Baha'i community will need men and women of many skills and qualifications; for, as it grows in size the sphere of its activities in the life of society will increase and diversify. Let Baha'i youth, therefore, consider the best ways in which they can use and develop their native abilities for the service of mankind and the Cause of God, whether this be as farmers, teachers, doctors, artisans, musicians or any one of the multitude of livelihoods that are open to them.

37.8 When studying at school or university Baha'i youth will often find themselves in the unusual and slightly embarrassing position of having a more profound insight into a subject than their instructors. The Teachings of Baha'u'llah throw light on so many aspects of human life and knowledge that a Baha'i must learn, earlier than most, to weigh the information that is given to him rather than to accept it blindly. A Baha'i has the advantage of the divine Revelation for this Age, which shines like a searchlight on so many problems that baffle modern thinkers; he must therefore develop the ability to learn everything from those around him, showing proper humility before his teachers, but always relating what he hears to the Baha'i teachings, for they will enable him to sort out the gold from the dross of human error.

<p95>

Baha'i Consultation -- Tracing New Paths of Human Corporate Action

37.9 Paralleling the growth of his inner life through prayer, meditation, service and study of the teachings, Baha'i youth have the opportunity to learn in practice the very functioning of the Order of Baha'u'llah. Through taking part in conferences and summer schools as well as Nineteen Day Feasts, and in service on committees, they can develop the wonderful skill of Baha'i consultation, thus tracing new paths of human corporate action. Consultation is no easy skill to learn, requiring as it does the subjugation of all egotism and unruly passions, the cultivation of frankness and freedom of thought as well as courtesy, openness of mind and wholehearted acquiescence in a majority decision. In this field Baha'i youth may demonstrate the efficiency, the vigour, the access of unity which arise from true consultation and, by contrast, demonstrate the futility of partisanship, lobbying, debate, secret diplomacy and unilateral action which characterize modern affairs. Youth also take part in the life of the Baha'i community as a whole and promote a society in which all generations -- elderly, middle-aged, youth, children -- are fully integrated and make up an organic whole. By refusing to carry over the antagonisms and mistrust between the generations which perplex and bedevil modern society they will again demonstrate the heating and life-giving nature of their religion.

37.10 The Nine Year Plan has just entered its third year. The youth have already played a vital part in winning its goals. We now call upon them, with great love and highest hopes and the assurance of our fervent prayers, to consider, individually and in consultation, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, those steps which they should take now to deepen themselves in their knowledge of the divine message, to develop their characters after the pattern of the Master, to acquire those skills, trades and professions in which they can best serve God and man, to intensify their service to the Cause of Baha'u'llah and to radiate its message to the seekers among their contemporaries.

The Universal House of Justice

<p96>

38
Formation of three more National Spiritual Assemblies at Ridvan

1967

1 September 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

38.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE FORMATION AT RIDVAN 1967 ADDITIONAL NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BELIZE SEAT BELIZE, LAOS SEAT VIENTIANE, SIKKIM SEAT GANGTOK, CALLING UPON NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES GUATEMALA, THAILAND, INDIA RESPECTIVELY CALL FIRST CONVENTIONS ELECTION NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES. SIKKIM ASSEMBLY SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT NINE YEAR PLAN. CHANGED SITUATION CAMBODIA REQUIRES POSTPONEMENT FORMATION NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THAT COUNTRY. ADDITION ABOVE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES RAISES TOTAL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO EIGHTY-ONE WHOSE MEMBERS WILL PARTICIPATE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION. OFFERING PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH SUPPLICATING DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION THESE TERRITORIES ASSURING SOLID FOUNDATION FUTURE PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.+F114
[F114. The pillars referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


39
Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy

22 December 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

39.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE INCORPORATION ITALIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE PROCESS RECOGNITION FAITH HEART CHRISTENDOM. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p97>

40
Development of the Baha'i World Centre and the needs of the Baha'i International Fund

7 March 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

40.1 The time has now come in the progress of the Nine Year Plan when the Baha'i world must devote a greater effort towards the development of the Faith at its World Centre.

40.2 Nearly all the accessible unsettled territories of the Plan have now been Settled, bases have been established throughout the world for the future expansion of the Faith; a programme of progressive consolidation is being pursued hand-in-hand with continued expansion; plans for the construction of the Panama Temple are well advanced; the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments called for in the Plan are being steadily acquired; by the end of the next Ridvan period 81 out of the 108 National Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; and the opening of the period of the proclamation of the Faith is fast approaching.

40.3 Since the Universal House of Justice came into being in 1963, its primary concern at the World Centre of the Faith has been with the basic, minimum essentials of undertaking repairs to the Holy Places; establishing its administrative offices; reorganizing the accommodation of pilgrims; gathering its staff, developing a suitable housing programme for the Hands of the Cause and their families, the members of the House of Justice and their families, and all other believers serving at the World Centre; formulating plans for the expansion of the Gardens and taking the first steps in their initiation; collating the Sacred Texts and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and indexing them; and fostering relations with the Government of the State of Israel and with the United Nations.

40.4 The increased burden which these essential steps have imposed upon the International Fund we have endeavoured to keep at a minimum so that, in the early stages of the Plan, the maximum resources could be utilized in the teaching work throughout the world.

40.5 However, we must now embark upon certain major undertakings vital to the future progress of the Cause. Extensive beautification of the sacred endowments surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa, as well as at the site of the future Mashriqu'l- Adhkar on Mount Carmel must be undertaken, both for its own sake and for the protection of these lands which are situated within the boundaries of rapidly expanding cities; the work of classifying and codifying the Holy Texts must be urgently prosecuted; the arrangements for pilgrimage <p98> may have to be greatly expanded to provide for the ever-increasing number of applications from East and West; the Intercontinental Conferences and the International Convention must be held and paid for; and the auxiliary institutions of the Universal House of Justice must begin to unfold so that the ever-growing and increasingly complex work of the World Centre of the Faith may continue to be efficiently discharged. Moreover, the vital assistance given by the International Fund to the work of the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies must be maintained.

40.6 The minimum budget requirements of the International Fund have nearly doubled since 1963, and if in addition we are to be enabled to undertake these developments, a much greater flow of funds will be needed than is now available.

40.7 We call upon every National Spiritual Assembly to consider now the amount that it can allocate as a contribution to the International Fund in its budget for the coming year. In some cases this may mean that contributions made hitherto will be doubled, trebled, or even more greatly increased. Please write as soon as your decision has been made, and not later than 21 April, telling us the estimated amount of your allocation.

40.8 This is a vitally important matter, and we shall pray in the Holy Shrines that the friends throughout the world will respond wholeheartedly to this call.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Universal House of Justice


41
Commemoration of the Revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk

17 March 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

41.1 In the 1965 Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice we announced that in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, a few appointed representatives of the Baha'i world would visit the site of the House of Baha'u'llah in Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed. We have decided that the six Hands of the Cause of God who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conferences in October are the ones to make this visit. Immediately following this historic act they will proceed to their respective Conferences.+F115
[F115. The Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi visited Adrianople on 27 September 1967 (the Feast of Will) to mark Baha'u'llah's Revelation of His Tablet to the Kings (Suriy-i-Muluk), referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah" (GPB, p. 171). See PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03, for passages from the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.]

<p99>

41.2 For the protection of the Faith it is essential that no one, except the Hands, travel to Turkey on this occasion.

41.3 National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make this announcement at the National Convention this year, and to repeat it in their newsletters and at other times and places as may be appropriate.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


42
Ridvan Message 1967

Ridvan 1967

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

42.1 At the conclusion of the third year of the Nine Year Plan we acknowledge with thankful hearts the evidences of Divine favour with which Baha'u'llah unfailingly sustains and confirms the dedicated efforts of His servants everywhere, and we unhesitatingly affirm our confidence that the community of the Most Great Name can and will, by its determination and sacrificial efforts, achieve complete victory. World-wide achievements

42.2 Last year the call was raised for the formation, in 1967, of eleven new National Spiritual Assemblies. All will be elected during the Ridvan period. We welcome with great joy the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria; Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique with its seat in Mbabane; Zambia with its seat in Lusaka; Belize with its seat in Belize; the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie; Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn; Laos with its seat in Vientiane; Sikkim with its seat in Gangtok; Taiwan with its seat in Taipei; the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. The World Centre of the Faith will be represented at each National Convention by a Hand of the Cause of God, who will present a message from the Universal House of Justice welcoming the new national community and assigning it its share of the goals of the Nine Year Plan.

<p100>

42.3 At this Ridvan eighty-one of the 108 National Spiritual Assemblies, and more than six thousand of the 13,737 Local Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; of a required 54,102 localities where Baha'is reside, 28,217 are reported; fifteen of the sixty-five National Incorporations called for have been achieved; seventeen of fifty-two National Haziratu'l-Quds, seven of sixty-two Temple sites, thirteen of fifty- four National Endowments, fourteen of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, have been acquired; of the 973 Local Incorporations called for in the Plan, 123 have been completed; Local Haziratu'l-Quds acquired are, twenty-four in India, seventeen in Kenya, nine in Uganda, two in South Africa, two in Turkey and a number in Congo (Kinshasa), while land for eight others has been acquired in Kenya, for four in Cameroon, for two in Pakistan and for one in Mauritius; in eight countries Local Endowments supplementary to those called for in the Plan have been acquired.

42.4 Iceland, Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg and Rhodesia now recognize the Baha'i Marriage Certificate; the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Kenya and Luxembourg recognize Baha'i Holy Days. A Summer School has been established in Liberia, and one, beyond the requirements of the Plan, in Canada, while land for others has been acquired in Argentina, Ethiopia and Samoa. Twenty-five new languages have been added to the list of those in which Baha'i literature is available, bringing the total number to 397. The number of territories now opened to the Faith has reached 311, including the recently settled virgin areas of Chiloe Archipelago, Bonaire, Phoenix Islands and St. Martin, and two territories in addition to those called for in the Plan, namely Melville Island in Australasia and Montserrat in the Windward Islands.

42.5 After protracted frustration the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia has finally gained possession of the historic fortress of Chihriq, that bleak and lonely citadel which was the last earthly residence of the blessed Bab, and from which He was led forth to His martyrdom in Tabriz.+F116 Realization of the long-sought recognition of the Faith in Italy is a wonderful victory, resulting not only in the incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly, but also of all Local Spiritual Assemblies in Italy and the ability to establish that National Spiritual Assembly's Publishing Trust. In Iceland the Faith has been recognized as one of the island's religions. This provides not only for incorporation of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Reykjavik but authorizes the chairman of that Assembly to perform Baha'i marriages and Baha'i burials, exempts the Faith from certain taxes, permits the observance of Baha'i Holy Days and paves the <p101> way for incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of that country when it will be formed. The full number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, Groups and Localities called for in the Plan has been established in fifty-three territories and islands under the direction of twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies; five territories have formed the required number of Local Spiritual Assemblies and seven have reached the specified number of Localities.
[F116. Chihriq, designated the "Grievous Mountain" by the Bab, is the remote fortress to which He was transferred on to April 1848. Tabriz is the town in north-western Iran where the Bab was martyred 9 July 1850.]

42.6 Since the call was raised a year ago, international travelling-teaching, ranging over the five continents and affecting nearly all national communities, has been undertaken. Seventy-eight projects have been completed in Europe, forty-three in America, twenty- seven in Asia, twenty-five in Australasia which, with those in Africa brings the total number to about two hundred. It is greatly hoped that this stimulating activity, so dear to the beloved Master's heart, will be constantly expanded.

42.7 Sustaining all these visible achievements is a constant activity throughout the world of teaching and administration -- a perpetual movement, like the ceaseless surge of the sea, within the Baha'i community, which is the real cause of its growth. National and Local Spiritual Assemblies facing difficult problems, devising new plans, shouldering responsibility for a community growing in numbers and consciousness, Committees striving to accomplish objectives, Baha'i Youth in eager and dedicated activity, individual Baha'is and families making efforts for the Cause, to give the Message, or hold a fireside, these constant services attract the confirmation of Baha'u'llah, and the more they are supported by prayers and intense dedication and the more extensive they become, the more they release into the world a spiritual charge which no force on earth can resist, and which must eventually bring about the complete triumph of the Cause. It is this organic vitality of the Faith, so readily felt at the World Centre, whose exhilaration we wish every believer to share.

Work at the World Centre

42.8 At the World Centre of the Faith codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and collation of other important Texts has continued. Work on the highly important task of formulating the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice is well advanced. Development and extension of the gardens surrounding the sacred Shrines in both Haifa and Bahji is continuing. Publication of The Baha'i World, Volume 13 has been undertaken; this book covers nine years, from 1954 to 1963, almost the entire period of the Ten Year Crusade, and includes a comprehensive article on the beloved Guardian by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. A planned development of relationships with the United Nations is being actively pursued. An important supplementary achievement is the establishment of an International Baha'i Audio-visual Centre whose function is to provide teaching and deepening aids to all National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as to store and index audio- visual records.

<p102>

Service of the Hands of the Cause of God

42.9 Throughout the year the services of the beloved Hands of the Cause have shone with an unfailing light. Their constant encouragement of National Spiritual Assemblies and of believers everywhere to pursue the goals of the Plan and to obtain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Baha'u'llah's Revelation is contributing in no small measure to the progress of that Plan and must exercise a lasting effect on the development of the Baha'i community. These few gallant and dedicated believers, whose place in history is forever assured by virtue of their appointment to their high office, are indeed a precious legacy left to us by our beloved Guardian, and as the years go by there is increasingly added to the honour and respect which is their due by reason of their exalted rank, the love and admiration of the friends evoked by their constant services.

42.10 In response to special needs two changes have been made in the disposition of the Hands during the year, Hand of the Cause John Robarts returning to the Western Hemisphere with a special assignment to his native Canada, and Hand of the Cause William Sears returning to Africa. In addition we are delighted to announce that Hand of the Cause Tarazu'llah Samandari, whose eyes were blessed by beholding Baha'u'llah, will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conference in Chicago, replacing the late Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas.

The Panama Temple

42.11 In the international sphere the great project of raising the Panama Temple has begun with choice of a design submitted by Mr Peter Tillotson, an English architect. Mr Robert McLaughlin, sometime member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Dean Emeritus of the School of Architecture of Princeton University, who served as a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the construction of the interior of the Mother Temple of the West in Wilmette, has been appointed Architectural Consultant to the Universal House of Justice for the building of the Temple. He and Mr Tillotson have visited the site together, and are working in close co-operation. Pictures and drawings of the new Temple will be published shortly, and the friends will be kept informed of the progress of construction of this House of Worship "situated between the two great oceans," a location which 'Abdu'l-Baha indicated would become very important in the future and whence the Teachings, once established, "will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."+F117 <p103> Pioneer Goals
[F117. TDP 14.8. For the message announcing the laying of the foundation stone of the Panama Temple, see letter no. 50; for the message sent on the occasion of its dedication, see letter no. 108.]

42.12 The brilliant pioneering feat of the second year of the Plan is beginning to reveal its beneficent effects, but pioneers are still urgently needed and will continue to be needed in all parts of the world for consolidation and development of the Faith in the newly won territories as well as for those resettled during the opening years of the Plan. The immediate requirement is for 209 pioneers to settle in eighty-seven territories named on the attached list, and the call is now raised for the speedy achievement of this task.+F118 Service in this highly meritorious field is open to every believer and all those who are moved to respond to this particular call are asked to consult the list of territories and to make their offers to their own National Spiritual Assembly. Full details of the requirements in each territory have been sent to the National Spiritual Assemblies concerned and to the Pioneer Committees.
[F118. The list is too lengthy to include.]

The Home-Fronts -- Solid Bases for Expansion

42.13 The constant need for pioneers no less than the approaching world-wide proclamation render it imperative to pay special attention, in every continent, to the home-fronts, for they are the sources of manpower and of administrative experience, the solid bases from which all expansion begins, both at home and abroad. The largest increases in numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies, of Groups, and of believers, are called for on the home-fronts, and these tasks must be vigorously pursued. Some National Spiritual Assemblies have phased these important goals, assigning a specified number for achievement each year, thus ensuring a planned and flexible approach to the total requirements. Such a systematic and determined prosecution of the home-front goals is highly recommended.

The Fund -- Our Honour and Challenge

42.14 The pressing and ever-growing needs of the Baha'i Fund are called to the attention of all believers. There are great projects already under way or lying ahead which require very large amounts of money for their realization. The Panama Temple -- the first only of the two called for in the Nine Year Plan -- the beautification and development of the World Centre itself, involving a necessary and inevitable increase in facilities to serve the growing needs of the Faith; support of the vital teaching programme in many parts of the world; establishment and development of new National Spiritual Assemblies -- all these urgently require the support of the friends everywhere through sustained and sacrificial contributions. As inflation spreads around the world, the consequent increase in the cost of living is balanced, at least in the more affluent countries, by a corresponding increase in personal incomes. The expenses of the Baha'i Fund are inevitably and seriously affected by this inflationary condition <p104> which can only be relieved by contributions, both of larger amounts and from a larger number of contributors. The House of Justice believes that the financial needs of the Cause should be met by universal participation in giving and urges National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to pursue this goal with vigour and imagination, recalling to the friends the plea of the beloved Guardian to every believer "unhesitatingly, to place, each according to his circumstances, his share on the altar of Baha'i sacrifice."+F119 The fact that only we, the Baha'is, can contribute financially to the Cause is both our honour and our challenge.
[F119. CF, p. 131.]

Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Summons to the Kings

42.15 As we approach the third phase of the Nine Year Plan there opens before us a prospect of enthralling opportunities such as to thrill the heart of every ardent follower of Baha'u'llah. For more than a century we have toiled to teach the Cause; heroic sacrifices, dedicated services, prodigious efforts have been made in order to establish the outposts of the Faith in the chief countries, territories and islands of the earth and to raise the framework of the Administrative Order around the planet. But the Faith of Baha'u'llah remains, as yet, unknown to the generality of men. Now at last, at long last, the world- wide community of the Most Great Name is called upon to launch, on a global scale and to every stratum of human society, an enduring and intensive proclamation of the healing message that the Promised One has come and that the unity and well-being of the human race is the purpose of His Revelation. This long-to-be-sustained campaign, commencing next October in commemoration of the centenary of the sounding of the "opening notes" of Baha'u'llah's own proclamation,+F120 and gathering momentum throughout the remainder of the Nine Year Plan, may well become the spearhead of other plans to be launched continually until humanity has recognized and gratefully acclaimed its Redeemer and its Lord.
[F120. GPB, p. 212.]

42.16 A hundred years ago Baha'u'llah Himself addressed the kings, rulers, religious leaders and peoples of the world. The Universal House of Justice feels it its bounden duty to bring that Message to the attention of the world's leaders today. It is therefore presenting to them, in the form of a book, the essence of Baha'u'llah's announcement. Entitled The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, a special edition will be presented to Heads of State during the opening of the proclamation period and a general edition will be available to the friends in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

42.17 The Hands of the Cause of God, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Inter-continental <p105> Conferences in October to be held in Panama, Sydney, Chicago, Kampala, Frankfurt and New Delhi respectively, will gather at the World Centre in September, a few days before the Feast of Mashiyyat. The members of the House of Justice will join these Hands in supplication at the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji and will meet with them for consultation in the Mansion. From that Holy Spot these Hands of the Cause will make a special pilgrimage on behalf of the entire Baha'i world to Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed.+F121 One hundred years after the historic event which it is their purpose to commemorate, they will, on 27 September gather in the House of Baha'u'llah for prayer and meditation, while the members of the Universal House of Justice will, in the Most Holy Shrine at Bahji, share in the same commemoration and pray for the success of the Conferences and of the Proclamation programme. The entire Baha'i world will, between the Conferences and Ridvan 1968, commemorate the centenary of the opening of that wonderful period in human history when the clouds of Divine bounty showered in lavish profusion their treasures upon men and the portals of the Kingdom were thrown open, disclosing to all who had eyes to see, a new heaven and a new earth, and the new Jerusalem coming down from God.
[F121. The occasion marked the centenary of Baha'u'llah's revelation of His Suriy- i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), which Shoghi Effendi describes as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah ... in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West, and in which the Sultan of Turkey, and his ministers, the kings of Christendom, the French and Persian Ambassadors accredited to the Sublime Porte, the Muslim ecclesiastical leaders in Constantinople, its wise men and inhabitants, the people of Persia and the philosophers of the world are separately addressed. ... (GPB, pp. 171-72). For a brief account of the proclamation of Baha'u'llah to the kings and rulers of the world, see BW 14:195-204. For a full and detailed account and for a depiction of the fate of the recipients in the wake of their neglect of Baha'u'llah's summons, see Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day is Come.]

42.18 Immediately after the Feast of Mashiyyat the Hands of the Cause will travel from Adrianople to their Conferences, each bearing the precious trust of a photograph of the Blessed Beauty, which it will be the privilege of those attending the Conferences to view. These distinguished Hands will, on their own behalf, each address the Conference which they attend, and will bear a message to each Conference from the Universal House of Justice whom they represent.

42.19 These six Conferences, convened to commemorate the opening of Baha'u'llah's own Proclamation and to inaugurate a period of proclamation of His message by the entire company of His followers, will doubtless demonstrate yet again the spirit of joy which pervades such gatherings of the friends and will reinforce them in their determination to seize whatever means and opportunities they may find to raise the Divine call. Honoured by the presence of Hands of the Cause, these Conferences, focal points of the love and prayers <p106> of the friends everywhere, magnets to attract the spiritual powers which alone can confirm their work, will, it is confidently hoped, be potent sources of unity spiritual enthusiasm and realistic planning. National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to ensure that they are represented at the Conference held in their continent so that they may share their plans for proclamation with other National Spiritual Assemblies as well as discuss with them the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

42.20 To all those friends in so many countries, suffering in varying degrees from restrictions and oppression which will either prevent altogether, or greatly inhibit their public commemoration and subsequent proclamation programmes, we send a special message of love and assurance. To them we convey the love and admiration of their fellow believers, who, in gratitude for their greater freedom, are determined to blaze abroad such a proclamation of the Divine Message as may well pave the way for the eventual emancipation of the entire body of the Faith.

Proclamation, Expansion, and Consolidation-Interrelated Processes

42.21 World-wide proclamation, the unknown sea on which we must soon sail, will add another dimension to our work, a dimension which will, as it develops, complement and reinforce the twin processes of expansion and consolidation. This pattern of teaching, emerging so soon after the completion of the framework of the Administrative Order, may well be the means of advancing the vital work of consolidation and of rendering more effective the teaching wisdom which has been gained in a hundred years, and more particularly since the beloved Guardian called us to systematic and planned activity. Therefore, in those countries where we are free to publicize our religion, this activity must become part of our regular work, included in budgets, assigned to National and Local Committees for study and implementation and above all for co-ordination with the programmes operating to achieve the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Every effort of proclamation must be sustained by teaching, particularly locally where public announcements should be related to such efforts. This co-ordination is essential, for nothing will be more disheartening than for thousands to hear of the Faith and have nowhere to turn for further information.

The Nature of Deepening

42.22 The beloved Guardian wrote, "To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha'u'llah's stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents," a statement which places the obligation of deepening in the Cause firmly on every believer.+F122 It is therefore <p107> upon the nature of deepening, rather than upon the desirability of pursuing it, that we wish to comment.
[F122. WOB, p. 100.]

42.23 A detailed and exact knowledge of the present structure of Baha'i Administration, or of the By-laws of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, or of the many and varied applications of Baha'i law under the diverse conditions prevailing around the world, while valuable in itself, cannot be regarded as the sort of knowledge primarily intended by deepening. Rather is suggested a clearer apprehension of the purpose of God for man, and particularly of His immediate purpose as revealed and directed by Baha'u'llah, a purpose as far removed from current concepts of human well- being and happiness as is possible. We should constantly be on our guard lest the glitter and tinsel of an affluent society should lead us to think that such superficial adjustments to the modern world as are envisioned by humanitarian movements or are publicly proclaimed as the policy of enlightened statesmanship -- such as an extension to all members of the human race of the benefits of a high standard of living, of education, medical care, technical knowledge -- will of themselves fulfil the glorious mission of Baha'u'llah. Far otherwise. These are the things which shall be added unto us once we seek the Kingdom of God, and are not themselves the objectives for which the Bab gave His life, Baha'u'llah endured such sufferings as none before Him had ever endured, the Master and after Him the Guardian bore their trials and afflictions with such superhuman fortitude. Far deeper and more fundamental was their vision, penetrating to the very purpose of human life. We cannot do better, in this respect, than call to the attention of the friends certain themes pursued by Shoghi Effendi in his trenchant statement "The Goal of a New World Order." "The principle of the Oneness of Mankind" he writes, "implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced." Referring to the "epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization," he states that "... they cannot but appear, when viewed in their proper perspective, except as subsidiary adjustments precluding that transformation of unparalleled majesty and scope which humanity is in this age bound to undergo."+F123 In a later document he refers to the civilization to be established by Baha'u'llah as one "with a fullness of life such as the world has never seen nor can as yet conceive."+F124
[F124. PDIC, P302.]
[F123. WOB, pp. 42-43, 45, 46.]

42.24 Dearly loved friends, this is the theme we must pursue in our efforts to deepen in the Cause. What is Baha'u'llah's purpose for the human race? For what ends did He submit to the appalling cruelties and indignities heaped upon Him? What does He mean by "a new race of men"? What are the profound changes which He will bring about? The answers are to be found in <p108> the Sacred Writings of our Faith and in their interpretation by 'Abdu'l-Baha and our beloved Guardian. Let the friends immerse themselves in this ocean, let them organize regular study classes for its constant consideration, and as reinforcement to their effort, let them remember conscientiously the requirements of daily prayer and reading of the Word of God enjoined upon all Baha'is by Baha'u'llah.

42.25 Such dedicated striving on the part of all the friends to deepen in the Cause becomes imperative with the approach of the proclamation programme. As this becomes effective more and more attention will be directed to the claims of Baha'u'llah and opposition must be expected. "HOW GREAT, HOW VERY GREAT IS THE CAUSE!" wrote the Master; "HOW VERY FIERCE THE ONSLAUGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLES AND KINDREDS OF THE EARTH! ERELONG SHALL THE CLAMOUR OF THE MULTITUDE THROUGHOUT AFRICA, THROUGHOUT AMERICA, THE CRY OF THE EUROPEAN AND OF THE TURK, THE GROANING OF INDIA AND CHINA BE HEARD FROM FAR AND NEAR. ONE AND ALL THEY SHALL ARISE WITH ALL THEIR POWER TO RESIST HIS CAUSE. THEN SHALL THE KNIGHTS OF THE LORD, ASSISTED BY HIS GRACE FROM ON HIGH, STRENGTHENED BY FAITH, AIDED BY THE POWER OF UNDERSTANDING AND REINFORCED BY THE LEGIONS OF THE COVENANT, ARISE AND MAKE MANIFEST THE TRUTH OF THE VERSE: 'BEHOLD THE CONFUSION THAT HATH BEFALLEN THE TRIBES OF THE DEFEATED!'"+F125
[F125. WOB, p. 17.]

42.26 Mindful of the countless expressions of Divine love found in our Scriptures and aware of the extraordinary nature of the crisis facing humanity, we call the friends to a new realization of the very great things which are expected from us in this Day. We recall that the Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah, as well as His "Best-Beloved",+F126 before Him and 'Abdu'l-Baha after Him bore Their sufferings in this world in order that mankind might be freed from material fetters and "attain unto true liberty," "Might prosper and flourish," "attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness,"+F127 and we pray that the endeavours of the friends may be the means by which this glory and felicity will speedily come to pass.
[F127. GWB, pp. 99, 100.]
[F126. The Bab.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p109>

43
Release of a compilation on teaching the masses

11 May 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

43.1 We have recently made a compilation from the writings of the Guardian and from letters written on his behalf regarding the importance and nature of the teaching work among the masses. Attached is a copy of this compilation, which we sincerely recommend to you for your earnest study.+F128 The extracts have been arranged chronologically.
[F128. See CC II:61-71.]

43.2 It is our hope and belief that this compilation will guide and assist you in better appreciating the manner of the presentation of the teachings of the Faith; the attitude that must govern those responsible for enrolling new believers; the need to educate the newly enrolled Baha'is, to deepen them in the teachings and to wean them gradually away from their old allegiances; the necessity of keeping a proper balance between expansion and consolidation; the significance of the participation of the native believers of each country in the teaching work and in the administration of the affairs of the community; the formulation of budgets within the financial capabilities of the community; the importance of fostering the spirit of self-sacrifice in the hearts of the friends; the worthy goal for each national community to become self-supporting; the preferability of individuality of expression to absolute uniformity, within the framework of the Administrative Order; and the lasting value of dedication and devotion when engaged in the teaching work.

43.3 We are confident that the implementation of these principles as set forth in the writings of the Guardian will aid you in your teaching work. With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p110>

44
Sesquicentennial of the birth of Baha'u'llah

25 June 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

44.1 12 November 1967, will mark the 150th anniversary of Baha'u'llah's birth. We call the entire Baha'i world to joyful celebration, befitting an event so momentous to the fortunes of humanity.

44.2 The Universal House of Justice feels that the coincidence of this great occasion with the opening of the proclamation period provides a splendid opportunity for bringing to public attention both the spiritual and social import of the Cause. Not only its message, but the historical fact of a new Revelation, with all its implications of a new and world-wide civilization, should be made clear.

44.3 Let the friends not hesitate to welcome to their observances, even to those of a devotional character, the non-Baha'i public, many of whom may well be attracted by the prayers and expressions of gratitude of the believers, no less than by the exalted tone of passages from Baha'i Writings.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


45
The nature and purpose of proclamation

2 July 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

45.1 In just over three months the period of the world-wide proclamation of the Faith will be opened at the six Intercontinental Conferences called to celebrate the centenary of the revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk.+F129 Those conferences will provide an opportunity for representatives of the National Spiritual Assemblies to exchange ideas and co-ordinate plans for the proclamation which will continue throughout the remaining four and a half years of the Plan.
[F129. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Baha'u'llah's Tablet to the Kings. For further information about its significance, see messages nos 24, 41, and 42. See also PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03 for the passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.]

45.2 The stimulating effect of this interchange of ideas will produce greatly increased momentum throughout the world, but inasmuch as many projects <p111> must be worked out before that date, we feel a few additional comments on the nature and purpose of proclamation will be helpful now.

45.3 Proclamation comprises a number of activities, of which publicity is only one. The Universal House of Justice itself will be conveying the Message of Baha'u'llah to the heads of all states, but, in addition to this, one of the most important duties of each National Spiritual Assembly is to acquaint leaders of thought and prominent men and women in its country with the fundamental aims, the history and the present status and achievements of the Cause. Such an activity must be carried out with the utmost wisdom, discretion and dignity. Publicity connected with such approaches must be weighed very carefully, as it may be unwise or discourteous. This is, of course, a long- range programme, for such things cannot be rushed, but it must be given constant attention.

45.4 Another aspect of proclamation is a series of teaching programmes designed to reach every stratum of human society -- programmes that should be pursued diligently and wisely, using every available resource.

45.5 Publicity itself should be well-conceived, dignified and reverent. A flamboyant approach which may succeed in drawing much initial attention to the Cause, may ultimately prove to have produced a revulsion which would require great effort to overcome. The standard of dignity and reverence set by the beloved Guardian should always be upheld, particularly in musical and dramatic items; and photographs of the Master should not be used indiscriminately. This does not mean that activities of the youth, for example, should be stultified; one can be exuberant without being irreverent or undermining the dignity of the Cause.

45.6 Every land has its own conditions, thus the kind of proclamation activity to be followed in each country should be decided by its National Spiritual Assembly. National Spiritual Assemblies need not follow or copy programmes initiated in other countries.

45.7 In all proclamation activities, follow-up is of supreme importance. Proclamation, expansion and consolidation are mutually helpful activities which must be carefully interrelated. In some places it is desirable to open a teaching campaign with publicity -- in others it is wiser to establish first a solid local community before publicizing the Faith or encouraging contacts with prominent people. Here, again, wisdom is needed.

45.8 We have been elated by the enthusiasm with which the Baha'i community is preparing for the challenging months and years ahead, and we eagerly await those days but a few short months away which will open a period of such promise for the diffusion of God's Word.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p112>

46
Message to the six Intercontinental Conferences

October 1967

To the Six Intercontinental Conferences+F130
[F130. For an account of the six conferences, see BW 14:223-28.]

Dearly loved friends,

46.1 On this, the hundredth anniversary of the sounding in Adrianople of the opening notes of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the rulers, leaders and peoples of the world, we recall with profound emotion the circumstances surrounding the Faith of God at that time. In a land termed by Him the "Land of Mystery," the Bearer of God's Revelation had arisen to carry that Faith a stage further in its divinely ordained destiny.+F131
[F131. Baha'u'llah was exiled to Adrianople in December 1863, some eight months after proclaiming His mission to His followers, friends, and companions in the Garden of Ridvan outside of Baghdad, 'Iraq. Shoghi Effendi explains that toward the latter part of His stay in Adrianople "a period of prodigious activity ensued. ..." "Such are the outpourings ... from the clouds of Divine Bounty," Baha'u'llah Himself wrote, "that within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses hath been revealed." "I swear by God! In those days the equivalent of all that hath been sent down aforetime unto the Prophets hath been revealed" (GPB, pp. 170-70). Among the Tablets revealed during this period is the Suriy-i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah in which He, for the first time, directs his words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West. ..." (GPB, p. 171). For further information on the Suriy-i-Muluk, see messages nos 24, 41, and 42.]

46.2 Internally, the infant Cause of God was convulsed by a crisis from whose shadows emerged the majestic figure of Baha'u'llah, the visible Centre and Head of a newly established Faith.+F132 The first pilgrimages were made to His Residence, a further stage in the transfer of the remains of the Bab was achieved, and above all the first intimations were given of the future station of 'Abdu'l-Baha as the Centre of the Covenant and of the revelation of the new laws for the New Day. Externally, the full significance of the new Revelation <p113> was proclaimed by no one less than its Divine Bearer, His followers began openly to identify themselves with the Most Great Name, the independent character of the Faith became established and its fearless exponents took up their pens in defence of its fair name.+F133
[F133. GPB, pp. 176-77. The first pilgrimages were made to the House of Amru'llah (the House of God's Command) and foreshadowed later pilgrimages made by Baha'is from the East and the West to 'Akka. The remains of the Bab were moved secretly at Baha'u'llah's instruction by two Baha'is from Tihran from the Shrine of the Imam- Zadih Ma'sum to some other place of safety, an act that proved providential when the shrine later underwent reconstruction. Concerning the station of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah revealed the Tablet of the Branch in which 'Abdu'l-Baha is extolled as the "Branch of Holiness, the "Limb of the Law of God," and the "Trust of God, I'll sent down in the form of a human temple" (quoted in WOB, pp. 134-35). The new laws Baha'u'llah revealed were those of pilgrimage and fasting, later set forth in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. With respect to external developments, during the days in Adrianople Baha'u'llah revealed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world; the terms "Babi" and "the people of the Bayan" gave way to "Baha'i" and "the people of Baha"; the greeting "Allah-u-Abha" (God is Most Glorious) replaced 'Allah-u-Akbar" (God is Most Great); and certain disciples of Baha'u'llah arose to defend the Faith by refuting "in numerous and detailed apologies" the arguments of its opponents and "to expose their odious deeds." See GPB, pp. 176-77, and Hasan Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, p. 250.]
[F132. The crisis was caused by Mirza Yahya, Baha'u'llah's half-brother, whose covetousness and jealousy of Baha'u'llah prompted him to openly challenge Baha'u'llah's authority and to issue his own claim to be the Promised One. Mirza Yahya went so far as to attempt to murder Baha'u'llah by serving Him tea in a cup smeared with poison while Baha'u'llah was a guest in his home. The poison induced an illness that lasted over a month and was accompanied by severe pains and a high fever and left Baha'u'llah with a shaking hand for the rest of His life. This incident and other actions of Mirza Yahya's led to his separation from Baha'u'llah's family and companions. "This supreme crisis," Shoghi Effendi wrote, was designated by Baha'u'llah as the "Days of Stress," "during which 'the most grievous veil' was torn asunder, and the 'most great separation' was irrevocably effected. It immensely gratified and emboldened its [the Baha'i Faith's external enemies, both civil and ecclesiastical, played into their hands, and evoked their unconcealed derision. It perplexed and confused the friends and supporters of Baha'u'llah, and seriously damaged the prestige of the Faith in the eyes of its western admirers. ... It brought incalculable sorrow to Baha'u'llah, visibly aged Him, and inflicted, through its repercussions, the heaviest blow ever sustained by Him in His lifetime" (GPB, pp. 163-64).]

46.3 Now, a hundred years later, the friends gathered in the six Intercontinental Conferences to commemorate the events of the past, privileged to gaze upon the portrait of their Beloved, must consider the urgent needs of the Cause today. As the Baha'i world enters the third phase of the Nine Year Plan we are called upon to proclaim once again that Divine Message to the leaders and masses of the world, to aid the Faith of God to emerge from obscurity into the arena of public attention, to demonstrate through steadfast adherence to its laws the independent character of its mission and to brace ourselves in preparation for the attacks that are bound to be directed against its victorious onward march. Upon our efforts depends in very large measure the fate of humanity. The hundred years' respite having ended, the struggle between the forces of darkness -- man's lower nature -- and the rising sun of the Divine teachings which draw him on to his true station, intensifies day by day.

46.4 The Centenary campaign has been opened by the Universal House of Justice presenting to 140 Heads of State a compilation of Baha'u'llah's Own proclamation. The friends must now take the Message to the rest of humanity. The time is ripe and the opportunities illimitable. We are not alone nor helpless. Sustained by our love for each other and given power through the Administrative Order -- so laboriously erected by our beloved Guardian -- the Army of Light can achieve such victories as will astonish posterity.

46.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these Intercontinental Conferences will be centres of spiritual illumination inspiring the friends to redouble their efforts in further expanding and consolidating the Faith of God, to arise to <p114> fill the remaining pioneer goals, to undertake travelling teaching projects, and to offer generously of their substance to the various funds, particularly to the vital project of erecting the Panama Temple, the foundation stone of which is being laid by Amatu'l- Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum during the course of these Conferences.

46.6 As humanity enters the dark heart of this age of transition our course is clear -- the achievement of the assigned goals and the proclamation of Baha'u'llah's healing Message. It is our ardent hope that from these Conferences valiant souls may arise with noble resolve and in loving service to ensure the successful and early accomplishment of the sacred tasks that lie ahead.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


47
Inauguration of the third phase of the Nine Year Plan

15 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

47.1 The following cable has just been sent to the United States National Spiritual Assembly for publication in Baha'i News. Please share it with all friends in your jurisdiction.

47.2 HEARTS FILLED PROFOUND GRATITUDE REJOICE ANNOUNCE INAUGURATION THIRD PHASE NINE YEAR PLAN THROUGH SUCCESSFUL CONSUMMATION SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ATTENDED BY 9,200 BELIEVERS INCLUDING NEARLY ALL HANDS CAUSE LARGE NUMBER BOARD MEMBERS REPRESENTATIVES ALMOST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BAHA'I WORLD OVER 140 TERRITORIES AND HOST OF ASIAN AFRICAN AMERINDIAN TRIBES. INESTIMABLE PRIVILEGE CONFERRED PARTICIPANTS THROUGH VIEWING PORTRAIT ABHA BEAUTY.+F134 SPIRIT HOLY LAND AND ADRIANOPLE CONVEYED SIX DISTINGUISHED REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE. FIRST PRESENTATIONS BEHALF HOUSE JUSTICE PROCLAMATION BOOK HEADS OF STATE MADE BEFORE AND DURING CONFERENCE. FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS HELD PROCLAMATION EXECUTION REMAINING GOALS PLAN. SOLIDARITY BAHA'I WORLD FURTHER EVINCED THROUGH INGENIOUS SCHEME TELEPHONIC EXCHANGE GREETINGS ALL SIX CONFERENCES. SPIRITUAL POTENCIES THIS NEW PHASE REINFORCED THROUGH FORMAL LAYING BY AMATU'L-BAHA OF CORNERSTONE MOTHER TEMPLE LATIN AMERICA. OVER 230 OFFERS MADE AT CONFERENCES JOIN RANKS VALIANT PIONEERS CAUSE. RAISE <p115> SUPPLIANT HANDS BAHA'U'LLAH ENDOW FRIENDS EVERY LAND FRESH MEASURE CELESTIAL STRENGTH ENABLE THEM PURSUE WITH INCREASED VISION UNABATED RESOLVE GLORIOUS GOALS AHEAD UNTIL THIS NEW PERIOD PROCLAMATION YIELDS ITS SHARE IN DIVINELY PROPELLED PROCESS ESTABLISHMENT KINGDOM GOD HEARTS MEN.
[F134. Baha'u'llah.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


48
Announcement of the Resignation of Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim
from the Universal House of Justice

15 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

48.1 After a lifetime of devoted and self-sacrificing service to the Cause of God Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim has asked the Universal House of Justice to accept his resignation from that Institution because his health and advancing age make it increasingly difficult for him to participate as effectively as he would wish in its work.

48.2 The Universal House of Justice has regretfully accepted Dr Hakim's resignation, but in view of the imminence of the next election, has asked him to continue to serve as a member until that time, and Dr Hakim has kindly consented to do so.

48.3 Having served the Master Himself in the Holy Land, as well as accompanying Him during His historic visits in England and Scotland, and been intimately associated with Shoghi Effendi in his youth, Dr Hakim was called again to the World Centre by the beloved Guardian in 1950 for important service at the World Centre and was later appointed to the first International Baha'i Council, of which he was the Eastern Assistant Secretary.+F135 He continued to serve on that body and then on the Universal House of Justice with undiminished devotion but with increasing difficulty during the subsequent sixteen years, earning the love and admiration of his co-workers.
[F135. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

48.4 Please share this announcement with the friends in your area.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p116>

49
Assumption by the Universal House of Justice of Representation of the Baha'i International Community at the United Nations

17 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

49.1 MORROW SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES INAUGURATING PROCLAMATION PERIOD ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD SIGNIFICANT STEP DEVELOPMENT RELATIONS UNITED NATIONS THROUGH ASSUMPTION BY UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE FUNCTION REPRESENTATION BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAPACITY NON- GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AT UNITED NATIONS. TAKE THIS OCCASION EXPRESS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED STATES AND MILDRED MOTTAHEDEH GRATEFUL LOVING APPRECIATION MANY YEARS DEVOTED TIRELESS SUCCESSFUL SERVICES AS REPRESENTATIVE AND OBSERVER RESPECTIVELY.+F136
[F136. In 1947 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada was accredited to the United Nations as a national non-governmental organization qualified to be represented at United Nations Conferences through a designated observer. One year later the eight existing National Spiritual Assemblies were recognized collectively as an international non-governmental organization under the title "The Baha'i International Community." Each National Spiritual Assembly designated the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as its representative at the United Nations. Mrs Mildred Mottahedeh, who also served as a member of the International Baha'i Council from 1961 to 1963, was the observer for the Baha'i International Community for nearly twenty years. The Baha'i International Community, which now includes at least five million believers, 165 National Spiritual Assemblies, and approximately twenty thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, maintains offices in New York and Geneva that are responsible for relations between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations. For more information about the development of the relationship between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations during the years 1963-73, see BW 15:364-73.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


50
Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Panama Temple

23 October 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

50.1 We are happy to share with you the joyous news that the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America has been laid by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum on behalf of the Universal House of Justice.

<p117>

50.2 This inaugurates the next phase in the planning and construction of this important edifice which will culminate in the commencement of the erection of the Temple itself in January, 1969. During the current phase the final working plans and specifications will be drafted, bids will be obtained and contracts for construction will be placed. All this will call for funds in ever-increasing amounts.

50.3 We therefore call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to:

1. Inform the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama of the amount of your budget allocation for the Panama temple during this year and when they may expect contributions to be received.

2. Transmit as soon as possible all available funds, either accumulated or earmarked, directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama.

3. Encourage all Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals to contribute to this project.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


51
Selection of Travelling Teachers

26 October 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in mass teaching

Dear Baha'i friends,

51.1 We have been watching with keen interest the development of the teaching work among the masses, and from time to time have offered suggestions to guide and assist the efforts of National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in this highly meritorious activity.

51.2 Many National Spiritual Assemblies in carrying out their plans for expansion and consolidation have found it necessary to select a number of believers for service as travelling teachers. While we appreciate the valuable services these travelling teachers have already rendered we are nevertheless deeply conscious of the problems facing your National Assemblies in your desire to carry out your teaching programmes with as much dispatch as possible. The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to the fact that these problems could well be minimized if the selection of such teachers were done with great care and discretion.

51.3 It must be realized that people who are mostly illiterate cannot have the benefit of reading for themselves the written word and of deriving directly from it the spiritual sustenance they need for the enrichment of their Baha'i lives. They become dependent, therefore, to a large extent on their contacts <p118> with visiting teachers. The spiritual calibre or moral quality of these teachers assumes, therefore, great importance. The National Spiritual Assembly or the Teaching Committees responsible for the selection of these teachers should bear in mind that their choice must depend, not only on the knowledge or grasp of the teachings on the part of the teachers, but primarily upon their pure spirit and their true love for the Cause, and their capacity to convey that spirit and love to others.

51.4 We are enclosing some extracts from the Writings which will no doubt assist you in your deliberations on this vital subject.+F137 What wonderful results will soon be witnessed in the areas under your jurisdiction if you devise ways and means to ensure, as far as circumstances permit, that the travelling teachers you are encouraging to circulate among the friends will all be of the standard called for in these quotations -- pure and sanctified souls, with nothing but true devotion and self-sacrifice motivating them in their services to God's Holy Cause. We also suggest that the study of quotations such as these should form part of the courses offered at your Teaching Institutes for the deepening of the friends.
[F137. The same extracts were also included in the Universal House of Justice's letter dated 31 October 1967 (message no. 52).]

51.5 We wish to assure you once again of our fervent prayers at the Holy Shrines for the solution of your problems and the removal of all obstacles from the path you are so valiantly pursuing.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


52
Extracts on Teaching the Masses

31 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

52.1 We have recently sent to those National Spiritual Assemblies which are engaged in mass teaching the enclosed extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha and from the letters of Shoghi Effendi. We feel that they will also be of great assistance to all other National Spiritual Assemblies.

52.2 The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present time is to carry the message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters, and any such response should be quickly followed up, <p119> for success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were at first uninterested.

52.3 The same presentation of the teachings will not appeal to everybody; the method of expression and the approach must be varied in accordance with the outlook and interests of the hearer. An approach which is designed to appeal to everybody will usually result in attracting the middle section, leaving both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared to ensure that the healing Word of God reaches the rich and the poor, the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout and the atheist, the dweller in the remote hills and islands, the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban businessman, the labourer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman, the farmer, the university student; all must be brought consciously within the teaching plans of the Baha'i Community.

52.4 Whereas plans must be carefully made, and every useful means adopted in the furtherance of this work, your Assemblies must never let such plans eclipse the shining truth expounded in the enclosed quotations: that it is the purity of heart, detachment, uprightness, devotion and love of the teacher that attracts the divine confirmations and enables him, however ignorant he be in this world's learning, to win the hearts of his fellowmen to the Cause of God.

With loving greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

Teaching the Masses Annex

52.5 Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and summoneth to his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy character and upright conduct, the influence flowing from such an action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole world.

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983], sec. 131, p. 287)

52.6 Whoso ariseth to teach Our Cause must needs detach himself from all earthly things, and regard, at all times, the triumph of Our Faith as his supreme objective. ... And when he determineth to leave his home, for the sake of the Cause of his Lord, let him put his whole trust in God, as the best provision for his journey, and array himself with the robe of virtue. ...

52.7 If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him. ...

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, sec. 157, pp. 334-35)

52.8 I swear by Him Who is the Most Great Ocean! Within the very breath of such souls as are pure and sanctified far-reaching potentialities are hidden.

<p120>

So great are these potentialities that they exercise their influence upon all created things.

(Baha'u'llah, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 19841, p. 23)

52.9 He is the true servant of God, who, in this day, were he to pass through cities of silver and gold, would not deign to look upon them, and whose heart would remain pure and undefiled from whatever things can be seen in this world, be they its goods or its treasures. I swear by the Sun of Truth! The breath of such a man is endowed with potency, and his words with attraction.

(Baha'u'llah, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 23)

52.10 The most vital duty, in this day, is to purify your characters, to correct your manners, and improve your conduct. The beloved of the Merciful must show forth such character and conduct among His creatures, that the fragrance of their holiness may be shed upon the whole world, and may quicken the dead, inasmuch as the purpose of the Manifestation of God and the dawning of the limitless lights of the Invisible is to educate the souls of men, and refine the character of every living man ...

('Abdu'l-Baha, cited in Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 26)

52.11 Whensoever ye behold a person whose entire attention is directed toward the Cause of God; whose only aim is this, to make the Word of God to take effect; who, day and night, with pure intent, is rendering service to the Cause; from whose behaviour not the slightest trace of egotism or private motives is discerned -- who, rather, wandereth distracted in the wilderness of the love of God, and drinketh only from the cup of the knowledge of God, and is utterly engrossed in spreading the sweet savours of God, and is enamoured of the holy verses of the Kingdom of God -- know ye for a certainty that this individual will be supported and reinforced by heaven; that like unto the morning star, he will forever gleam brightly out of the skies of eternal grace. But if he show the slightest taint of selfish desires and self love, his efforts will lead to nothing and he will be destroyed and left hopeless at the last.

('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, [Rev. ed.] [Haifa: Baha'i World Centre, 19821, pp. 71-72)

52.12 The aim is this: The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch. Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the <p121> defects of others. Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others!

('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of the Divine Plan: Revealed by 'Abdu'l-Baha to the North American Baha'is, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 51)

52.13 One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.

(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 September 1924 to the Baha'is of America, published in Baha'i Administration: Selected Messages, 1922-1932 [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980], p. 66)

52.14 ... having attained sufficiently that individual regeneration -- the essential requisite of teaching -- let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigour. Let this be the paramount and most urgent duty of every Baha'i. ...

(Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated 24 November 1924 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in Baha'i Administration, p. 67)

52.15 The first and most important qualification of a Baha'i teacher is, indeed, unqualified loyalty and attachment to the Cause. Knowledge is, of course, essential, but compared to devotion it is secondary in importance.

52.16 What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured and intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters who, in utter disregard of their own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His Faith. ...

(From a letter dated 14 November 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Teaching Committee of the United States and Canada, published in Baha'i News, No. 102 [August 1936], p. 2)

52.17 They must remember the glorious history of the Cause, which ... was established by dedicated souls who, for the most part, were neither rich, famous, nor well educated, but whose devotion, zeal and self-sacrifice overcame every obstacle and won miraculous victories for the Faith of God. ...

(From a letter dated 29 June 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma, published in Dawn of a New Day [New Delhi: Baha'i Publishing Trust, n.d. (1970)], p. 89)

52.18 ... what raised aloft the banner of Baha'u'llah was the love, sacrifice, and devotion of His humble followers and the change that His teachings wrought in their hearts and lives.

(From a letter dated 20 June 1942 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, published in Unfolding Destiny, [London: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1981], p. 152)

<p122>

52.19 It is the quality of devotion and self-sacrifice that brings rewards in the service of this Faith rather than means, ability or financial backing.

(From a letter dated 11 May 1948 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand)

52.20 One wise and dedicated soul can so often give life to an inactive community, bring in new people and inspire to greater sacrifice. He hopes that whatever else you are able to do during the coming months, you will be able to keep in circulation a few really good Baha'i teachers.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central America)


53
Plans for Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Baha'u'llah at the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily

12 November 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

53.1 OCCASION HUNDRED FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY BIRTH BLESSED BEAUTY WE CONTEMPLATE WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE INESTIMABLE BOUNTIES CONFERRED BY GOD THROUGH HIS SUPREME MANIFESTATION ENSURING FULFILMENT GLORIOUS LONG PROMISED KINGDOM NOW EVOLVING WOMB TRAVAILING AGE DESTINED CONFER PEACE UNDREAMT FELICITY MANKIND.+F138 ANNOUNCE CONVOCATION TWENTY-THIRD TO TWENTY-FIFTH AUGUST 1968 FIRST OCEANIC CONFERENCE BAHA'I WORLD PALERMO SICILY HEART SEA TRAVERSED GOD'S MANIFESTATION CENTURY AGO PROCEEDING INCARCERATION MOST GREAT PRISON.+F139 TWOFOLD PURPOSE CONFERENCE CONSIDER MOMENTOUS FULFILMENT AGE-OLD PROPHECIES TRIUMPH GOD'S MESSENGER OVER EVERY GRIEVOUS CALAMITY AND CONSULT PLANS PROPAGATION CAUSE ISLANDS LANDS BORDERING MEDITERRANEAN SEA. PARTICIPANTS INVITED HOLY LAND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING CONFERENCE ATTEND COMMEMORATION ARRIVAL LORD HOSTS THESE SACRED SHORES RECONSECRATE THEMSELVES THRESHOLD HIS SHRINE PROSECUTION GLORIOUS TASKS AHEAD.
[F139. On 12 August 1868 Baha'u'llah left Adrianople and journeyed four days to Gallipoli, a city in Turkey on the north side of the Dardenelles at the mouth of the Sea of Marmara. After a few days in Gallipoli, Baha'u'llah sailed in an Austrian steamer for Alexandria, where He was transferred to another ship. He arrived in 'Akka on 31 August 1868. For a fuller account of the journey, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H. M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 255-79.]
[F138. The Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah, was born on 12 November 1817.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p123>

54
Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi

December 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

54.1 As the friends are already aware, one of the goals of the Nine Year Plan is continued collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures, as well as the writings of Shoghi Effendi.+F140
[F140. For additional letters on the topic, see messages no. 161 and 409.]

54.2 We have already pointed out to the friends on several occasions that the application of Baha'i laws, the elucidation and extension of basic administrative principles, and the all-important function of legislating on matters not explicitly recorded in our teachings are dependent upon a careful study by the Universal House of Justice of the revealed and pertinent words of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, as well as the illuminating interpretations and directions of Shoghi Effendi.

54.3 Through the labours of the beloved Guardian himself, and the collaboration of the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia, great strides have already been taken to collate the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. Even up to the present time, a special National Committee in Persia is assiduously and regularly engaged in classifying the Holy Texts of the Founder of our Faith, and the Centre of the Covenant in fulfilment of the goal of the Nine Year Plan referred to above. The writings of the Guardian, however, apart from his general communications already published, which consist to a large extent of letters written by him or on his behalf to various National Spiritual Assemblies, Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups of believers and individual Baha'is, have only been partly collated. Although many National Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers have already sent the originals or copies of their letters from the Guardian to the Holy Land, and quite a number of these have been published at different times in Baha'i News and other news bulletins, it is our confirmed opinion that there are many such letters that have still not been shared with us which may contain a new application of a principle, an already enunciated guideline rephrased to apply in a new situation, a further elucidation of a Baha'i law, a fresh light thrown on a many-sided issue or some wise counsel in a personal problem.

54.4 Your National Spiritual Assembly is requested, therefore, to check carefully first in its own archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian, for any letters addressed to its body or to its subsidiary institutions, written by Shoghi Effendi or on his behalf, and not yet forwarded to the Holy Land. At the end <p124> of this letter we indicate the number and description of Shoghi Effendi's letters falling into this category and pertaining to your area, which we have in our archival files, so that you need to take action in sending us only the text of letters not included in this listing.

54.5 You are also requested to appeal to the friends under your jurisdiction, calling on those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian but have not as yet sent their texts to the Holy Land to take immediate steps to do so. In assisting the friends and your National Spiritual Assembly in carrying out this important project we offer the following points for your consideration:

54.5a 1. Recipients of letters from the Guardian have the inherent right of deciding to keep the letters themselves, or to have them preserved for the future in their families. To assist the Universal House of Justice, however, in its efforts to study and compile the letters of the Guardian, the friends are urged to provide, for dispatch to the Holy Land, photostatic copies of their communications from the Guardian if they wish to keep the originals themselves.

54.5b 2. If they are not in a position to provide such copies, they should kindly allow National Spiritual Assemblies to undertake this project on our behalf.

54.5c 3. If facilities for obtaining clear photostatic or Xerox copies are not available in any area, National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make carefully typed or hand-written copies of such letters, with a certification on behalf of the National Spiritual Assembly concerned that the copies are true and exact.

54.5d 4. Should any believer possess letters so personal and confidential that he does not wish to disclose their contents to any institution other than the Universal House of Justice, he is invited to send either the originals or copies of such letters, marked confidential, directly to the Universal House of Justice, by registered mail, with any instructions he wishes to be followed.

54.6 We hope these guidelines will help you in promoting a project directly linked with the vital functions of the Universal House of Justice. You are free to quote from this letter as you wish, in any appeal you address to the believers.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p125>

55
Relationship of Baha'is to Politics

8 December 1967

To an individual believer+F141
[F141. The Universal House of Justice permitted publication of portions of this letter to an individual who asked about the relationship of Baha'is to the social and political forces presently operating in the world, as it felt the explanation had general application in many parts of the world.]

Dear Baha'i friend,

55.1 ... we will gladly attempt to clarify some of the points which bewilder you in the relationship of Baha'is to politics. This is a matter of very great importance, particularly in these days when the world situation is so confused; an unwise act or statement by a Baha'i in one country could result in a grave setback for the Faith there or elsewhere -- and even loss of the lives of fellow-believers. Viewing the world's problems in the light of God's purpose for man

55.2 The whole conduct of a Baha'i in relation to the problems, sufferings and bewilderment of his fellowmen should be viewed in the light of God's purpose for mankind in this age and the processes He has set in motion for its achievement.

55.3 When Baha'u'llah proclaimed His Message to the world in the nineteenth century He made it abundantly clear that the first step essential for the peace and progress of mankind was its unification. As He says, "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established." (The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 203) To this day, however, you will find most people take the opposite point of view: they look upon unity as an ultimate almost unattainable goal and concentrate first on remedying all the other ills of mankind. If they did but know it, these other ills are but various symptoms and side effects of the basic disease -- disunity.

55.4 Baha'u'llah has, furthermore, stated that the revivification of mankind and the curing of all its ills can be achieved only through the instrumentality of His Faith. "The vitality of men's belief in God is dying out in every land; nothing short of His wholesome medicine can ever restore it. The corrosion of ungodliness is eating into the vitals of human society; what else but the Elixir of His potent Revelation can cleanse and revive it?" (Gleanings, XCIX) "That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved <p126> except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error." (Gleanings, CXX) In similar vein, the beloved Guardian wrote:

55.4a Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man's individual conduct or in the existing relationships between organized communities and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its recognized rulers and statesmen -- however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise, no doctrine which the most distinguished exponents of economic theory may hope to advance, no principle which the most ardent of moralists may strive to inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world can be built. No appeal for mutual tolerance which the worldly-wise might raise, however compelling and insistent, can calm its passions or help restore its vigour. Nor would any general scheme of mere organized international co-operation, in whatever sphere of human activity, however ingenious in conception or extensive in scope, succeed in removing the root cause of the evil that has so rudely upset the equilibrium of present-day society. Not even, I venture to assert, would the very act of devising the machinery required for the political and economic unification of the world -- a principle that has been increasingly advocated in recent times -- provide in itself the antidote against the poison that is steadily undermining the vigour of organized peoples and nations. What else, might we not confidently affirm, but the unreserved acceptance of the Divine Programme enunciated, with such simplicity and force as far back as sixty years ago, by Baha'u'llah, embodying in its essentials God's divinely appointed scheme for the unification of mankind in this age, coupled with an indomitable conviction in the unfailing efficacy of each and all of its provisions, is eventually capable of withstanding the forces of internal disintegration which, if unchecked, must needs continue to eat into the vitals of a despairing society. (The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 33-34) Two processes at work

55.5 We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are at work in the world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its progress, working through mankind as a whole, tearing down barriers to world unity and forging humankind into a unified body in the fires of suffering and experience. This process will produce in God's due time, the Lesser Peace, the political unification <p127> of the world.+F142 Mankind at that time can be likened to a body that is unified but without life. The second process, the task of breathing life into this unified body -- of creating true unity and spirituality culminating in the Most Great Peace -- is that of the Baha'is, who are labouring consciously, with detailed instructions and continuing divine guidance, to erect the fabric of the Kingdom of God on earth, into which they call their fellowmen, thus conferring upon them eternal life.+F143
[F143. For an explanation of the Most Great Peace, see the Glossary.]
[F142. For an explanation of the Lesser Peace, see the Glossary.]

55.6 The working out of God's Major Plan proceeds mysteriously in ways directed by Him alone, but the Minor Plan that He has given us to execute, as our part in His grand design for the redemption of mankind, is clearly delineated.+F144 It is to this work that we must devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it. So vital is this function of the Baha'is that Baha'u'llah has written: "O friends! Be not careless of the virtues with which ye have been endowed, neither be neglectful of your high destiny. Suffer not your labours to be wasted through the vain imaginations which certain hearts have devised. Ye are the stars of the heaven of understanding, the breeze that stirreth at the break of day, the soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men, the letters inscribed upon His sacred scroll. With the utmost unity and in a spirit of perfect fellowship, exert yourselves, that ye may be enabled to achieve that which beseemeth this Day of God." (Gleanings, XCVI)
[F144. The Major Plan is God's plan for humanity that Baha'is believe He Himself operates, which is tumultuous in its progress, which works through humanity as a whole, and which forges mankind into a unified body through the fires of suffering and tribulation. Its ultimate object is the Kingdom of God on earth. The Minor Plan is that part of God's plan which the Baha'is are called upon to carry out. It is clear and orderly and operates in the world through the plans, instructions, and guidance given by 'Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and now by the Universal House of Justice.]

55.7 Because love for our fellowmen and anguish at their plight are essential parts of a true Baha'i's life, we are continually drawn to do what we can to help them. It is vitally important that we do so whenever the occasion presents itself, for our actions must say the same thing as our words -- but this compassion for our fellows must not be allowed to divert our energies into channels which are ultimately doomed to failure, causing us to neglect the most important and fundamental work of all. There are hundreds of thousands of well-wishers of mankind who devote their lives to works of relief and charity, but a pitiful few to do the work which God Himself most wants done: the spiritual awakening and regeneration of mankind. Our task -- building up the Baha'i system

55.8 It is often through our misguided feeling that we can somehow aid our fellows better by some activity outside the Faith, that Baha'is are led to indulge <p128> in politics. This is a dangerous delusion. As Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf. "What we Baha'is must face is the fact that society is rapidly disintegrating -- so rapidly that moral issues which were clear a half century ago are now hopelessly confused, and what is more, thoroughly mixed up with battling political interests. That is why the Baha'is must turn all their forces into the channel of building up the Baha'i Cause and its administration. They can neither change nor help the world in any other way at present. If they become involved in the issues the governments of the world are struggling over, they will be lost. But if they build up the Baha'i pattern they can offer it as a remedy when all else has failed." (Baha'i News, No. 241, p. 14) "We must build up our Baha'i system, and leave the faulty systems of the world to go their own way. We cannot change them through becoming involved in them; on the contrary they will destroy us." (Baha'i News, No. 215, p. 1)

55.9 Other instructions from the Guardian, covering the same theme in more detail, can be found on pages 24 and 29 to 32 of Principles of Baha'i Administration (1963 edition); you are no doubt already familiar with these.+F145
[F145. In the 1982 edition see pp. 24, 29-33.]

55.10 The key to a true understanding of these principles seems to be in these words of Baha'u'llah: "O people of God! Do not busy yourselves in your own concerns; let your thoughts be fixed upon that which will rehabilitate the fortunes of mankind and sanctify the hearts and souls of men. This can best be achieved through pure and holy deeds, through a virtuous life and a goodly behaviour. Valiant acts will ensure the triumph of this Cause, and a saintly character will reinforce its power. Cleave unto righteousness, O people of Baha! This, verily, is the commandment which this wronged One hath given unto you, and the first choice of His unrestrained Will for every one of you." (Gleanings, XLIII).

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p129>

56
Election of the Universal House of Justice Ridvan 1968

22 April 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

56.1 ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AMOZ GIBSON 'ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM IAN SEMPLE CHARLES WOLCOTT DAVID HOFMAN H. BORRAH KAVELIN HUGH CHANCE DAVID RUHE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


57
Message to National Conventions -- 1968

9 May 1968

To all National Baha'i Conventions

57.1 WITH JOYFUL MEMORY OF DEDICATED SPIRIT MATURE DELIBERATIONS SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION HAIL GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY NATIONAL CONVENTIONS AS CRUCIAL MIDWAY POINT NINE YEAR PLAN APPROACHES GALVANIZE BELIEVERS DIRECT ALL EFFORTS ACHIEVEMENT EVERY REMAINING GOAL AND SIMULTANEOUSLY EXTEND ACCELERATE UNIVERSAL PROCLAMATION DIVINE MESSAGE. WITH UTMOST LOVE CALL UPON ALL BAHA'IS FOR SACRIFICIAL OUTPOURING ENERGIES RESOURCES ADVANCEMENT REDEEMING ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH SOLE REFUGE MISDIRECTED HEEDLESS MILLIONS. WORLD CENTRE FAITH SCENE PROLONGED PRAYERFUL CONSULTATION WITH ASSEMBLED HANDS CAUSE GOALS PLAN INCLUDING FUNDAMENTAL OBJECTIVE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTION HANDS VIEW EXTENSION FUTURE GOD-GIVEN DUTIES PROTECTION PROPAGATION. SUPPLICATING CONTINUALLY HOLY SHRINES LORD HOSTS BOUNTIFULLY REWARD DEDICATED ARDENT LOVERS COMPLETE GLORIOUS VICTORY.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p130>

58

Announcement of decision to establish eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors

21 June 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

58.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE MOMENTOUS DECISION ESTABLISH ELEVEN CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH THREE EACH FOR AFRICA AMERICAS ASIA ONE EACH FOR AUSTRALASIA EUROPE. ADOPTION THIS SIGNIFICANT STEP FOLLOWING CONSULTATION WITH HANDS CAUSE GOD ENSURES EXTENSION FUTURE APPOINTED FUNCTIONS THEIR INSTITUTION. CONTINENTAL BOARDS ENTRUSTED IN CLOSE COLLABORATION HANDS CAUSE WITH RESPONSIBILITY DIRECTION AUXILIARY BOARDS AND CONSULTATION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES. HANDS CAUSE GOD WILL HENCEFORTH INCREASE INTERCONTINENTAL SERVICES ASSUMING WORLD-WIDE ROLE PROTECTION PROPAGATION FAITH. MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS WILL REPORT BE RESPONSIBLE TO CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS. HANDS CAUSE RESIDING HOLY LAND IN ADDITION SERVING LIAISON BETWEEN UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS WILL ASSIST FUTURE ESTABLISHMENT INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE HOLY LAND FORESHADOWED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN. DETAILS NEW DEVELOPMENTS BEING CONVEYED BY LETTER. FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING HOLY THRESHOLD DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS FURTHER STEP IRRESISTIBLE UNFOLDMENT MIGHTY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


59
Establishment of Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 June 1968

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

59.1 The majestic unfoldment of Baha'u'llah's world-redeeming administrative system has been marked by the successive establishment of the various institutions and agencies which constitute the framework of that divinely created Order. Thus, more than a quarter of a century after the emergence of the first National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was formally established, with the appointment by the beloved Guardian, in conformity with the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament, of the first contingent of these high-ranking officers of the <p131> Faith. Following the passing of the Guardian of the Cause of God, it fell to the House of Justice to devise a way, within the Administrative Order, of developing "the Institution of the Hands of the Cause with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," and this was made a goal of the Nine Year Plan.+F146 Much thought and study has been given to the question over the past four years, and the texts have been collected and reviewed. During the last two months, this goal, as announced in our cable to the National Conventions, has been the object of prolonged and prayerful consultation between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause of God. All this made evident the framework within which this goal was to be achieved, namely:
[F146. See message no. 14.]

59.1a The Universal House of Justice sees no way in which additional Hands of the Cause of God can be appointed.

59.1b The absence of the Guardian of the Faith brought about an entirely new relationship between the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause and called for the progressive unfoldment by the Universal House of Justice of the manner in which the Hands of the Cause would carry out their divinely conferred functions of protection and propagation.

59.1c Whatever new development or institution is initiated should come into operation as soon as possible in order to reinforce and supplement the work of the Hands of the Cause while at the same time taking full advantage of the opportunity of having the Hands themselves assist in launching and guiding the new procedures.

59.1d Any such institution must grow and operate in harmony with the principles governing the functioning of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God.

59.2 In the light of these considerations the Universal House of Justice decided, as announced in its recent cable, to establish Continental Boards of Counsellors for the protection and propagation of the Faith. Their duties will include directing the Auxiliary Boards in their respective areas, consulting and collaborating with National Spiritual Assemblies, and keeping the Hands of the Cause and the Universal House of Justice informed concerning the conditions of the Cause in their areas.

59.3 Initially eleven Boards of Counsellors have been appointed, one for each of the following areas: North-western Africa, Central and East Africa, Southern Africa, North America, Central America, South America, Western Asia, South-eastern Asia, North- eastern Asia, Australasia and Europe.

<p132>

59.4 The members of these Boards of Counsellors will serve for a term, or terms, the length of which will be determined and announced at a later date, and while serving in this capacity, will not be eligible for membership on national or local administrative bodies. One member of each Continental Board of Counsellors has been designated as Trustee of the Continental Fund for its area.

59.5 The Auxiliary Boards for Protection and Propagation will henceforth report to the Continental Boards of Counsellors who will appoint or replace members of the Auxiliary Boards as circumstances may require. Such appointments and replacements as may be necessary in the initial stages will take place after consultation with the Hand or Hands previously assigned to the continent or zone.

59.6 The Hands of the Cause of God have the prerogative and obligation to consult with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies on any subject which, in their view, affects the interests of the Cause. The Hands residing in the Holy Land will act as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and will also assist the Universal House of Justice in setting up, at a propitious time, an international teaching centre in the Holy Land, as anticipated in the Guardian's writings.

59.7 The Hands of the Cause of God are one of the most precious assets the Baha'i world possesses. Released from administration of the Auxiliary Boards, they will be able to concentrate their energies on the more primary responsibilities of general protection and propagation, "PRESERVATION [of the] SPIRITUAL HEALTH [of the] Baha'i COMMUNITIES" and the "VITALITY [of the] FAITH" of the Baha'is throughout the world.+F147 The House of Justice will call upon them to undertake special missions on its behalf, to represent it on both Baha'i and other occasions and to keep it informed of the welfare of the Cause. While the Hands of the Cause will, naturally, have special concern for the affairs of the Cause in the areas in which they reside, they will operate increasingly on an intercontinental level, a factor which will lend tremendous impetus to the diffusion throughout the Baha'i world of the spiritual inspiration channelled through them -- the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth.
[F147. MBW, p. 123.]

59.8 With joyful hearts we proclaim this further unfoldment of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah and join our prayers to those of the friends throughout the East and the West that Baha'u'llah may continue to shower His confirmations upon the efforts of His servants in the safeguarding and promotion of His Faith.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p133>

60
First appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 June 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

60.1 We list below the names of those who have been appointed to the first Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith:

North-western Africa
Husayn Ardikani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Muhammad Kebdani, William Maxwell.

Central and East Africa
Oloro Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Mihdi Samandari, 'Aziz Yazdi (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Southern Africa
Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Aazam (Trustee, Continental Fund), Bahiyyih Ford.

North America
Lloyd Gardner, Florence Mayberry, Edna True (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Central America
Carmen de Burafato, Artemus Lamb, Alfred Osborne (Trustee, Continental Fund).

South America
Athos Costas, Hooper Dunbar (Trustee, Continental Fund), Donald Witzel.

Western Asia
Masih Farhangi, Mas'ud Khamsi, Hadi Rahmani (Trustee, Continental Fund), Manuchihr Salmanpur, Sankaran-Nair Vasudevan.

Southeast Asia
Yan Kee Leong, Khudarahm Payman (Trustee, Continental Fund), Chellie Sundram.

Northeast Asia
Ruhu'llah Mumtazi (Trustee, Continental Fund), Vicente Samaniego.

<p134>


Australasia
Suhayl 'Ala'i, Howard Harwood, Thelma Perks (Trustee, Continental Fund).

Europe
Erik Blumenthal, Dorothy Ferraby (Trustee, Continental Fund), Louis Henuzet.

60.2 Please share this list with the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


61
Message to first National Youth Conference in the United States

26 June 1968

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

61.1 WARMLY ACKNOWLEDGE CONFIDENT JOYOUS MESSAGE FROM BAHA'I YOUTH GATHERED PRECINCTS MOTHER TEMPLE WEST. MOVED THEIR DETERMINATION SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES SERVE BELOVED FAITH CALL ON THEM BOLDLY CHALLENGE INVITE CONFUSED CONTEMPORARIES ENTRAPPED MORASS MATERIALISM TO EXAMINE PARTAKE LIFE-GIVING POWER CAUSE JOIN ARMY BAHA'U'LLAH CONFRONT NEGATIVE FORCES OF A SOCIETY SADLY LACKING SPIRITUAL VALUES. ASSURE YOUTH ARDENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES GUIDANCE CONFIRMATION THEIR COURAGEOUS EFFORTS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE <p135>
62
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Hermann Grossmann

9 July 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

62.1 DEEPLY REGRET ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE HERMANN GROSSMANN.+F148 GREATLY ADMIRED BELOVED GUARDIAN HIS GRIEVOUS LOSS DEPRIVES COMPANY HANDS CAUSE OUTSTANDING COLLABORATOR AND BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY STAUNCH DEFENDER PROMOTER FAITH. HIS COURAGEOUS LOYALTY DURING CHALLENGING YEARS TESTS PERSECUTIONS GERMANY OUTSTANDING SERVICES SOUTH AMERICA IMMORTALIZED ANNALS FAITH. INVITE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS BEFITTING HIS EXALTED RANK EXEMPLARY SERVICES. REQUEST THOSE RESPONSIBLE MOTHER TEMPLES ARRANGE SERVICES AUDITORIUM.
[F148. For an account of the life and services of Hermann Grossman, see BW 15:416-21.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


63
Message to the First Oceanic Conference, Palermo, Sicily

August 1968

To the Hands of the Cause of God and the Baha'i friends assembled in, Palermo, Sicily, at the First Baha'i Oceanic Conference

Dearly loved friends,

63.1 The event which we commemorate at this first Baha'i Oceanic Conference is unique. Neither the migration of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to the region of Aleppo, nor the journey of Moses towards the Promised Land, nor the flight into Egypt of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus, nor yet the Hegira of Muhammad can compare with the voyage made by God's Supreme Manifestation one hundred years ago from Gallipoli to the Most Great Prison.+F149 Baha'u'llah's voyage was forced upon Him by the two despots who were His chief <p136> adversaries in a determined attempt to extirpate once and for all His Cause, and the decree of His fourth banishment came when the tide of His prophetic utterance was in full flood.+F150 The proclamation of His Message to mankind had begun; the sun of His majesty had reached its zenith and, as attested by the devotion of His followers, the respect of the population and the esteem of officials and the representatives of foreign powers, His ascendancy had become manifest. At such a time He was confronted with the decree of final exile to a remote, obscure and pestilential outpost of the decrepit Turkish empire.
[F150. Baha'u'llah's chief adversaries were Sultan 'Abdu'l-Aziz of Turkey and Nasiri'd-Din Shah of Persia. Baha'u'llah's banishments were to Baghdad, 'Iraq, January 1853-April 1863; to Constantinople (now Istanbul), Turkey, August-December 1863; to Adrianople (now Edirne), Turkey, December 1863-August 1868; and to 'Akka, Palestine, August 1868. The "full flood" of Baha'u'llah's utterances refers to, among other things, His letters to the kings and rulers of the world.]
[F149. Shoghi Effendi explains that during the stay in Gallipoli, which lasted three nights, "no one knew what Baha'u'llah's destination would be. Some believed that He and His brothers would be banished to one place, and the remainder dispersed, and sent into exile. Others thought that His companions would be sent back to Persia, while still others expected their immediate extermination. ..." "So grievous were the dangers and trials confronting Baha'u'llah at the hour of His departure from Gallipoli that He warned His companions that 'this journey will be unlike any of the previous journeys,' and that whoever did not feel himself 'man enough to face the future' had best 'depart to whatever place he pleaseth, and be preserved from tests, for hereafter he will find himself unable to leave' -- a warning which His companions unanimously chose to disregard" (GPB, pp. 181-82). For a fuller account of Baha'u'llah's journey from Adrianople to the Most Great Prison in 'Akka, see GPB, pp. 178-82, and H. M. Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, pp. 255-68.]

63.2 Baha'u'llah knew, better than His royal persecutors, the magnitude of the crisis, with all its potentiality for disaster, which confronted Him. Consigned to a prison cell, debarred from access to those to whom His Message must be addressed, cut off from His followers save for the handful who were to accompany Him, and deprived even of association with them, it was apparent that by all earthly standards the ship of His Cause must founder, His mission wither and die.

63.3 But it was the Lord of Hosts with Whom they were dealing. Knowing the sufferings which faced Him His one thought was to instil confidence and fortitude into His followers, to whom He immediately dispatched sublime Tablets asserting the power of His Cause to overcome all opposition. "Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent," is one of His powerful utterances on this theme, "it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim 'I am the life-giver of the world!'"+F151 All the afflictions which men could heap upon Him were thrown back from the rock of His adamantine will like spray from the ocean. His patient submission to the affronts of men, His fortitude, His divine genius transformed the sombre notes of disaster into the diapason of triumph. At the nadir of His worldly fortunes He raised His standard of victory above the Prison City and poured forth upon mankind the healing balm of His laws and ordinances revealed in His Most Holy Book.+F152 "Until our time," comments 'Abdu'l-Baha, "no such thing has ever occurred."+F153 <p137> Our Part-Building Baha'u'llah's Order
[F153. GPB, p. 196.]
[F152. Baha'u'llah revealed the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of His laws and the Mother Book of His Revelation, in 'Akka circa 1873.]
[F151. GPB, p. 253.]

63.4 Contemplating this awe-inspiring, supernal episode, we may obtain a clearer understanding of our own times, a more confident view of their outcome and a deeper apprehension of the part we are called upon to play. That the violent disruption which has seized the entire planet is beyond the ability of men to assuage, unaided by God's revelation, is a truth repeatedly and forcibly set forth in our Writings. The old order cannot be repaired; it is being rolled up before our eyes. The moral decay and disorder convulsing human society must run their course; we can neither arrest nor divert them.

63.5 Our task is to build the Order of Baha'u'llah. Undeflected by the desperate expedients of those who seek to subdue the storm convulsing human life by political, economic, social or educational programmes, let us, with single-minded devotion and concentrating all our efforts on our objective, raise His Divine System and sheltered within its impregnable stronghold, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, demonstrate the Baha'i way of life. Wherever a Baha'i community exists, whether large or small, let it be distinguished for its abiding sense of security and faith, its high standard of rectitude, its complete freedom from all forms of prejudice, the spirit of love among its members and for the closely knit fabric of its social life. The acute distinction between this and present-day society will inevitably arouse the interest of the more enlightened, and as the world's gloom deepens the light of Baha'i life will shine brighter and brighter until its brilliance must eventually attract the disillusioned masses and cause them to enter the haven of the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, Who alone can bring them peace and justice and an ordered life.

The Mediterranean -- Past History and Spiritual Potential

63.6 The great sea, on one of whose chief islands you are now gathered, within whose hinterland and islands have flourished the Jewish, the Christian and Islamic civilizations is a befitting scene for the first Oceanic Baha'i Conference. Two millenniums ago, in this arena, the disciples of Christ performed such deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice as are remembered to this day and are forever enshrined in the annals of His Cause. A thousand years later the lands, bordering the southern and western shores of this sea witnessed the glory of Islam's Golden Age.+F154
[F154. The classical age of Islamic civilization, the eighth through thirteenth centuries.]

63.7 In the day of the Promised One this same sea achieved eternal fame through its association with the Heroic and Formative Ages of His Cause. It bore upon its bosom the King of kings Himself, the Centre of His Covenant crossed and re-crossed it in the course of His epoch-making journeys to the West, during which He left the indelible imprint of His presence upon European and African lands; the Sign of God on earth frequently journeyed upon it.+F155 It <p138> enshrines within its depths the mortal remains of the Hand of the Cause of God Dorothy Baker and around its shores lies the dust of apostles, martyrs and pioneers. Forty-six Knights of Baha'u'llah are identified with seven of its islands and five of its territories. Through such and many other episodes, Mediterranean lands -- ancient home of civilizations -- have been endowed with spiritual potentiality to dissolve the encrustations of those once glorious but now moribund social orders and to radiate once again the light of Divine guidance.
[F155. Baha'u'llah sailed upon the Mediterranean Sea in 1868 during His journey from Gallipoli to 'Akka. 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant, accompanied Baha'u'llah on that journey and later sailed upon the Mediterranean in the course of His travels to Egypt, Europe, and North America, 1910-13. Shoghi Effendi, the Sign of God on earth, traversed the Mediterranean in his travels to England to study at Oxford University and in the course of later visits to Europe.]

63.8 Through dedicated, heroic and sacrificial deeds during the course of the beloved Guardian's ministry, the Faith of Baha'u'llah was established in this area. Eight pillars of the Universal House of Justice were raised, the first of an even larger number to be established now and during the course of future plans, to include, as envisioned by Shoghi Effendi, National Spiritual Assemblies in major islands of that historic sea.

The Need for a Dramatic Upsurge in Effective Teaching

63.9 The timing of such exciting developments is dependent upon the outcome of the Nine Year Plan. At this midway point of that Plan, although great strides have been made, more than half the goals are still to be won. The greatest deficiencies are in the opening of new centres where Baha'is reside and the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, which inevitably affects the ability to establish National Spiritual Assemblies. A dramatic upsurge of teaching -- effective teaching -- is necessary to make up the leeway; pioneers are needed, teachers must travel, funds must be provided. It is our hope that there will be engendered at this Conference, through your enthusiasm, prayers and spirit of devotion, a great spiritual dynamic to reinforce that grand momentum which, mounting steadily during the next four years, must carry the community of the Most Great Name to overwhelming victory in 1973.

63.10 Dear friends, within a few short days the observance of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the Holy Land will take place. The hearts and minds of the entire Baha'i world will be focused on the Most Holy Shrine, where those privileged to attend this commemoration will circumambulate that Holy Spot and raise their prayers to the Lord of the Age.+F156 Let them remember their fellow-believers at home and supplicate from the depths of their souls for such bounties and favours to descend upon the friends of God everywhere <p139> as to cause them to rise as one man to demonstrate their love for Him Who suffered for them, by such deeds of sacrifice and devotion as shall outshine the deeds of the past and sweep away every obstacle from the onward march of the Cause of God. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice
[F156. The Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the Holy Land was observed at the Baha'i World Centre 26-31 August 1968. About 1,800 Baha'is who attended the First Oceanic Conference in Palermo, Sicily, 23-25 August 1968, went to Israel to participate in the commemoration. For an account of the commemoration, see BW 15:81-86.]


64
Passing of Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim, Member of the Universal House of Justice

12 August 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

64.1 We share with you the following cable which we have just sent to the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia:

GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DEDICATED SERVANT CAUSE GOD.+F157 SPECIAL MISSIONS ENTRUSTED HIM FULL CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY MASTER AND GUARDIAN HIS CLOSE ASSOCIATION WITH EARLY DISTINGUISHED BELIEVERS EAST WEST INCLUDING HIS COLLABORATION ESSLEMONT HIS SERVICES PERSIA BRITISH ISLES HOLY LAND HIS MEMBERSHIP APPOINTED AND ELECTED INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL HIS ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. INFORM BELIEVERS HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL CENTRES. CONVEY ALL MEMBERS HIS FAMILY EXPRESSIONS LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS PROGRESS HIS RADIANT SOUL ABHA KINGDOM.
[F157. For an account of the life and services of Lutfu'llah Hakim, see BW 15:430-34. See also message no. 48.]

64.2 In view of Dr Hakin's long and devoted record of services to the Faith other National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to hold memorial gatherings. Special commemorative services should also be held in the four Mother Temples of the Baha'i World.+F158
[F158. Wilmette, near Chicago, USA; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p140>

65
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Tarazu'llah Samandari

4 September 1968

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

65.1 WITH SORROWFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE PASSING HAND CAUSE GOD SHIELD HIS FAITH DEARLY LOVED TARaZU'LLaH SAMANDARi NINETY-THIRD YEAR HIS LIFE ON MORROW COMMEMORATION CENTENARY BAHa'U'LLaH'S ARRIVAL HOLY LAND.+F159 FAITHFUL TO LAST BREATH INSTRUCTIONS HIS LORD HIS MASTER HIS GUARDIAN HE CONTINUED SELFLESS DEVOTED SERVICE UNABATED UNTIL FALLING ILL DURING RECENT TEACHING MISSION. UNMINDFUL ILLNESS HE PROCEEDED HOLY LAND PARTICIPATE CENTENARY. EVER REMEMBERED HEARTS BELIEVERS EAST WEST TO WHOSE LANDS HE TRAVELLED BEARING MESSAGE HIS LORD WHOSE COMMUNITIES HE FAITHFULLY SERVED THIS PRECIOUS REMNANT HEROIC AGE WHO ATTAINED PRESENCE BLESSED BEAUTY YEAR HIS ASCENSION NOW LAID REST FOOT MOUNTAIN GOD AMIDST THRONG BELIEVERS ASSEMBLED VICINITY VERY SPOT BAHa'U'LLaH FIRST TROD THESE SACRED SHORES. REQUEST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL SERVICES INCLUDING FOUR MOTHER TEMPLES BAHa'i WORLD BEFITTING LONG LIFE DEDICATED EXEMPLARY SERVICE LORD HOSTS BY ONE ASSURED CENTRE COVENANT LOVING WELCOME PRESENCE BAHa'U'LLaH ABHa KINGDOM.+F160 EXTEND LOVING SYMPATHY ASSURANCE PRAYERS MEMBERS DISTINGUISHED FAMILY.
[F160. Memorial services were held in the Houses of Worship in Wilmette, near Chicago, USA; Ingleside, near Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany.]
[F159. For an account of the life and services of Tarazu'llah Samandari, see Baha'i Writings 15:410-16.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


66
Results of the Palermo Conference

8 September 1968

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

66.1 The glorious Conference in Palermo concluded with a burst of eager enthusiasm of determined and dedicated believers who have pledged to do their part in winning the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. More than 125 offered to pioneer and more than 100 volunteered to do travel teaching. In addition, there was a generous outpouring of material resources to finance <p141> teaching projects. Had the entire Baha'i world been able to participate in the Mediterranean Conference we have no doubt that all the goals would be quickly won.

66.2 With this in mind we wish to impress upon the friends who could not attend the Conference, and who will surely -- through reports and personal contact with those who did -- sense the enthusiasm generated there, that all believers have the privilege to share in the pioneering work, in the travel teaching programme and in contributing to the Fund.

66.3 We announced at the Conference that the International Deputization Fund, so far used to aid pioneering and travel teaching on an international level, will henceforth be available to assist such projects on the national level in those areas where support is vitally important to the winning of the goals of the Nine Year Plan. We are concerned that, although we are now approaching the midway point of the Plan we must yet form an additional 6,997 Local Spiritual Assemblies (76% of the goal), and take the Faith to over

22,800 new localities (59% of the goal). Obviously, hundreds of pioneers and travelling teachers will be required, many of whom will serve in their own countries.

66.4 Those who cannot pioneer or do travel teaching will want to participate by contributing to the International Deputization Fund. Let them remember Baha'u'llah's injunction: "Centre your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation ..."+F161 Let the Baha'is of the world join in the true spirit of universal participation and win all the victories while there is yet time. Let each assume his full measure of responsibility that all may share the laurels of accomplishment at the end of the Plan.
[F161. GWB, pp. 196-97.]

66.5 Our fervent prayer is that this one-hundredth anniversary of the final banishment of Baha'u'llah will mark a significant turning-point in the fortunes of the Nine Year Plan.+F162
[F162. See the August 1968 message to the First Oceanic Conference -- Palermo, Sicily, (no. 63) for an explanation of the final banishment of Baha'u'llah and its significance.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p142>

67
Letter to youth -- pioneering and education

9 October 1968

To the Baha'i youth in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

67.1 In the two years since we last addressed the youth of the Baha'i world many remarkable advances have been made in the fortunes of the Faith. Not the least of these is the enrolment under the banner of Baha'u'llah of a growing army of young men and women eager to serve His Cause. The zeal, the enthusiasm, the steadfastness and the devotion of the youth in every land has brought great joy and assurance to our hearts.

67.2 During the last days of August and the first days of September, when nearly two thousand believers from all over the world gathered in the Holy Land to commemorate the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival on these sacred shores, we had an opportunity to observe at first hand those qualities of good character, selfless service and determined effort exemplified in the youth who served as volunteer helpers, and we wish to express our gratitude for their loving assistance and for their example.

67.3 Many of them offered to pioneer, but one perplexing question recurred: Shall I continue my education, or should I pioneer, now? Undoubtedly this same question is in the mind of every young Baha'i wishing to dedicate his life to the advancement of the Faith. There is no stock answer which applies to all situations; the beloved Guardian gave different answers to different individuals on this question. Obviously circumstances vary with each individual case. Each individual must decide how he can best serve the Cause. In making this decision, it will be helpful to weigh the following factors:

67.3a Upon becoming a Baha'i ones whole life is, or should become devoted to the progress of the Cause of God, and every talent or faculty he possesses is ultimately committed to this overriding life objective. Within this framework he must consider, among other things, whether by continuing his education now he can be a more effective pioneer later, or alternatively whether the urgent need for pioneers, while possibilities for teaching are still open, outweighs an anticipated increase in effectiveness. This is not an easy decision, since oftentimes the spirit which prompts the pioneering offer is more important than one's academic attainments.

67.3b One's liability for military service may be a factor in timing the offer of pioneer service.

<p143>

67.3c One may have outstanding obligations to others, including those who may be dependent on him for support.

67.3d It may be possible to combine a pioneer project with a continuing educational programme. Consideration may also be given to the possibility that a pioneering experience, even though it interrupts the formal educational programme, may prove beneficial in the long run in that studies would later be resumed with a more mature outlook.

67.3e The urgency of a particular goal which one is especially qualified to fill and for which there are no other offers.

67.3f The fact that the need for pioneers will undoubtedly be with us for many generations to come, and that therefore there will be many calls in future for pioneering service.

67.3g The principle of consultation also applies. One may have the obligation to consult others, such as one's parents, one's Local and National Assemblies, and the pioneering committees.

67.3h Finally, bearing in mind the principle of sacrificial service and the unfailing promises Baha'u'llah ordained for those who arise to serve His Cause, one should pray and meditate on what his course of action will be. Indeed, it often happens that the answer will be found in no other way.

67.4 We assure the youth that we are mindful of the many important decisions they must make as they tread the path of service to Baha'u'llah. We will offer our ardent supplications at the Holy Threshold that all will be divinely guided and that they will attract the blessings of the All- Merciful.

Deepest Baha'i love,
The Universal House of Justice

<p144>

68
Ridvan Message 1969

Ridvan 126 [AD 1969]

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

68.1 The continued progress of the Cause of God stands in vivid contrast to the chronic unrest afflicting human society, a contrast which the events of the past year, both within and without the Faith, have only served to intensify. Amidst the disintegration of the old order the Cause of God has pursued its majestic course, extending the range of its activities and influence and accomplishing a further development of its administrative system.

A Year of Remarkable Activity

68.2 Opening with the convening, in the Holy Land, of the Second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice, the year has witnessed a remarkable activity in the Cause. The most significant and far-reaching development was undoubtedly the appointment of the eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors, which fulfilled the goal of the Nine Year Plan calling for the development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation. This step, taken after full consultation with the Hands of the Cause, has, at one and the same time, strongly reinforced the activities of that Institution and made it possible for the Hands themselves to extend the range of their individual services beyond the continental sphere, thereby making universally available to the friends the love, the wisdom and the spirit of dedication animating the Guardian's appointees. We wish to pay tribute at this time to the exemplary manner in which the Counsellors, under the guidance of the Hands, have embarked upon their high duties.

The Palermo Conference

68.3 In August, the first Oceanic Baha'i Conference, held in Palermo, commemorated Baha'u'llah's voyage on the Mediterranean Sea on His way to the Most Great Prison. Attendants at this Conference came immediately afterwards to the Qiblih of their Faith to pay homage at the Shrine of its Founder+F163 and to commemorate with deep awareness of its spiritual import the long prophesied arrival of the Lord of Hosts on the shores of the Holy Land. This gathering of more than two thousand believers presented an inexpressibly poignant contrast to the actual arrival of Baha'u'llah one hundred years before, <p145> rejected by the rulers of this earth and derided by the local populace. Such is the conquering power of His Message, such is the undefeatable might of the King of Kings.
[F163. The Qiblih (point of adoration) is the place toward which the faithful turn in prayer. The Qiblih for Baha'is is the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, outside of 'Akka.]

68.4 That same message is now being proclaimed by His followers from end to end of the world. Already one hundred and twenty-two Heads of State have been presented with the special edition of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, and copies have been received by thousands more officials and leaders.+F164
[F164. The Baha'i World Centre published Baha'u'llah's messages to the kings, rulers, religious leaders, and peoples; of the world under the title The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah; a special edition was presented to heads of state. See the Ridvan 1967 message (no. 42) for more details. For an account of the delivery of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah to heads of state and to humanity in general, see BW 14:204-20.]

68.5 Taking full advantage of the designation of 1968 as Human Rights Year by the United Nations, Baha'i communities throughout the world have not only strengthened the ties between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations, but have at the same time proclaimed the Faith and its healing message. In country after country the Cause has been featured for the first time in modern mass communications media. The volume of this call to the peoples of the world is increasing day by day and must so continue, penetrating every stratum of society, until the conclusion of the Plan and beyond.

Eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences

68.6 As a stimulus and aid to this vital work as well as to the promotion of all the goals of the Plan, we announce the holding between August 1970 and September 1971 of a series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences, as follows: La Paz, Bolivia, and Rose Hill, Mauritius, in August 1970; Monrovia, Liberia, and Djakarta, Indonesia, in January 1971; Suva, Fiji, and Kingston, Jamaica, in May 1971; Sapporo, Japan, and Reykjavik, Iceland, in September 1971.

Areas of Progress in the Nine Year Plan

68.7 A review of the progress of the Nine Year Plan discloses that great strides have been made in the acquisition of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and Teaching Institutes, in translation of Baha'i literature into more languages and in the incorporation of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. The site of the Panama Temple has been prepared for construction which will begin as soon as final plans and specifications and the placing of the contract have been approved. Formation of twelve National Spiritual Assemblies

68.8 As a result of the accelerated pace of expansion and consolidation which has been initiated, and which, if fostered and fed, will become a full tide of victorious achievement, we joyfully announce the formation of twelve more National Spiritual Assemblies, two during Ridvan 1969: the National Spiritual <p146> Assembly of the Baha'is of Burundi and Rwanda with its seat in Bujumbura and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Papua and New Guinea with its seat in Lae, and ten during Ridvan 1970: six in Africa, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of the Congo Republic (Kinshasa); Ghana; Dahomey, Togo and Niger; Malawi; Botswana; and Gambia, Senegal, Portuguese Guinea and the Cape Verde Islands; one in the Americas, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Guianas; one in Asia, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Near East; and two in Australasia, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of Tonga and the Cook Islands; and Samoa. Thus at Ridvan 1970 the number of National Spiritual Assemblies will be raised to ninety-three.

Opening the Door of Pilgrimage

68.9 In harmony with the world-wide growth of the Cause the World Centre of the Faith is also developing rapidly. The pilgrims, the beloved Guardian has said, are the lifeblood of this World Centre and it has long been our cherished hope and desire to be able to grant the bounty of pilgrimage to the Holy Land to all who can avail themselves of it. It is therefore with great joy that we now find it possible to open the door of pilgrimage to a much greater number of believers. Beginning in October of this year the size of each group of friends to be invited will be quadrupled and the number of groups each year will be increased so that nearly six times the present number of pilgrims will have the opportunity each year to pray in the Shrines of the Central Figures of their Faith, to visit the places hallowed by the footsteps, sufferings and triumphs of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha, and to meditate in the tranquillity of these sacred precincts, beautified with so much loving care by our beloved Guardian.

68.10 This increased flow of pilgrims will greatly augment the spiritual development of the Baha'i World Community which now, after five years of strenuous labour and bearing the laurels of outstanding victories, is entering the fourth phase of the Nine Year Plan.

The Great Need for More Believers, Localities, Assemblies

68.11 The great, the most pressing need, at this stage of the Plan, is a rapid increase in the number of believers, and a major advance in the opening of the additional localities as well as in the formation of the well-grounded Local Spiritual Assemblies called for in the Plan. This world-wide activity, the hallmark of the fourth phase of the Plan, answering the tremendous opportunities offered by the present condition of mankind, will be strongly reinforced by the continuance of proclamation, is the essential foundation for the erection of the remaining National Spiritual Assemblies, and will increasingly witness to the benefits of international travelling teaching and inter-Assembly co-operation. Above all, it requires a sacrificial outpouring by the friends of <p147> contributions in support of the Funds of the Faith, and the raising up of a mighty host of pioneers.

68.12 During the second year of the Plan the Baha'i world achieved its greatest feat of organized pioneering when a total of five hundred and five believers arose to settle in the unopened and weakly held territories of the earth.+F165 This magnificent achievement must now be surpassed. The call is raised for seven hundred and thirty-three believers to leave their homes and settle in territories of the globe in dire need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith. These devoted believers, who should arise without delay, are needed to settle, during the fourth phase of the Plan, in 184 specified territories of the globe: 48 in Africa, 40 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 18 in Australasia and 38 in Europe. Although primary responsibility has been assigned to those national Baha'i communities most able to provide pioneers, all should ponder in their hearts whether they too cannot respond to this call, either by going themselves or by deputizing, in response to Baha'u'llah's injunction, those who can go in their stead. Detailed information is being sent to National Spiritual Assemblies to ensure that this vital mobilization of Baha'i warriors is accomplished as quickly as possible. Our commitment to complete victory
[F165. April 1965-April 1966.]

68.13 Beloved friends, the Nine Year Plan is well advanced, our work is blessed by the never-ceasing confirmations of Baha'u'llah, and the entire Baha'i World Community is committed to complete victory. That happy consummation, now faintly discernible on the far horizon, will be reached through hard work, realistic planning, sacrificial deeds, intensification of the teaching work and, above all, through constant endeavour on the part of every single Baha'i to conform his inner life to that glorious ideal set for mankind by Baha'u'llah and exemplified by 'Abdu'l-Baha. In contemplating the Master's divine example we may well reflect that His life and deeds were not acted to a pattern of expediency, but were the inevitable and spontaneous expression of His inner self. We, likewise, shall act according to His example only as our inward spirits, growing and maturing through the disciplines of prayer and practice of the Teachings, become the wellsprings of all our attitudes and actions. This will promote the accomplishment of God's purpose; this will ensure the triumph of His Faith and enable us to build up the present motion of the Cause into a grand momentum whose force will carry the community of the Most Great Name to glorious victory in 1973 and onwards to the as yet unapprehended vistas of the Most Great Peace.

The Universal House of Justice

<p148>

69
Guidance on Self-Defence

26 May 1969

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada

Dear Baha'i friends,

69.1 We have reviewed your letter of 11 April, asking about the teachings of the Faith on self-defence and any guidance on individual conduct in the face of increasing civil disorder in North American cities.

69.2 From the texts you already have available it is clear that Baha'u'llah has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God's good pleasure than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Baha'is should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.

69.3 A hitherto untranslated Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha, however, points out that in the case of attack by robbers and highwaymen, a Baha'i should not surrender himself, but should try, as far as circumstances permit, to defend himself, and later on lodge a complaint with the government authorities. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he also indicates that in an emergency when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Baha'i is justified in defending his life. In another letter the Guardian has further pointed out that the assault of an irresponsible assailant upon a Baha'i should be resisted by the Baha'i, who would be justified, under such circumstances, in protecting his life.

69.4 The House of Justice does not wish at the present time to go beyond the guidelines given in the above-mentioned statements. The question is basically a matter of conscience, and in each case the Baha'i involved must use his judgement in determining when to stop in self-defence lest his action deteriorate into retaliation.

69.5 Of course the above principles apply also in cases when a Baha'i finds himself involved in situations of civil disorder. We have, however, advised the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that under the present circumstances in that country it is preferable that Baha'is do not buy nor own arms for their protection or the protection of their families.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p149>

70
New Appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors

10 July 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

70.1 With great joy we announce that we have decided to increase the total number of members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors for the Protection and Propagation of the Faith to thirty-eight by adding John McHenry III to the Continental Board of Counsellors in North East Asia and Mas'ud Khamsi to the Continental Board of Counsellors in South America, raising the number of Counsellors on each Board to three and four, respectively.

70.2 We also rejoice to announce the appointment of Mrs Shirin Boman to the Continental Board of Counsellors of Western Asia to fill a vacancy on that Board.

70.3 The devoted efforts of all eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors during the first year of their service to the Faith of Baha'u'llah have been most exemplary and praiseworthy. We are deeply grateful for the loyalty, steadfastness and devotion which have characterized the activities of all members in reinforcing the vitally important work of the Hands of the Cause of God.

70.4 Please share these glad tidings with the friends. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


71
Formation of an Additional National Spiritual Assembly during Ridvan 1970

11 August 1969

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

71.1 In the brief space of time following the announcement of the formation of six new National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa next Ridvan, the succession of victories, resulting from the prodigious efforts exerted by the devoted friends, impels us to announce that a seventh National Spiritual Assembly will be formed in Africa at Ridvan,

1970. The new National Spiritual Assembly including Congo (Brazzaville), Chad, Central African Republic and Gabon, <p150> will have its seat in Bangui. This will leave Uganda with its own separate National Spiritual Assembly.

71.2 Please share this joyous news with the believers. We know the friends throughout the world join us in our supplications for the continued, uninterrupted prosecution and speedy fulfilment of the goals, terminating in the ultimate triumph of the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


72
Work of Continental Boards of Counsellors and Their Auxiliary Board Members

1 October 1969

To the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

72.1 A number of questions have been raised concerning the work of the Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members, and it has been suggested that Auxiliary Board members be permitted to work regularly with National Spiritual Assemblies and national committees. We have carefully considered again the various factors involved and have decided that we must uphold the principle that such direct consultations should be exceptional rather than the rule. Spiritual Assemblies and Auxiliary Board Members: A Clarification of Roles

72.2 It is the responsibility of Spiritual Assemblies, assisted by their committees, to organize and direct the teaching work, and in doing so they must, naturally, also do all they can to stimulate and inspire the friends. It is, however, inevitable that the Assemblies and committees, being burdened with the administration of the teaching work as well as with all other aspects of Baha'i community life, will be unable to spend as much time as they would wish on stimulating the believers.

72.3 Authority and direction flow from the Assemblies, whereas the power to accomplish the tasks resides primarily in the entire body of the believers. It is the principal task of the Auxiliary Boards to assist in arousing and releasing this power. This is a vital activity, and if they are to be able to perform it adequately they must avoid becoming involved in the work of administration. For example, when Auxiliary Board members arouse believers to pioneer, any believer who expresses his desire to do so should be referred to the appropriate committee which will then organize the project. Counsellors and Auxiliary <p151> Board members should not, themselves, organize pioneering or travel teaching projects. Thus it is seen that the Auxiliary Boards should work closely with the grass roots of the community: the individual believers, groups and Local Spiritual Assemblies, advising, stimulating and assisting them. The Counsellors are responsible for stimulating, counselling and assisting National Spiritual Assemblies, and also work with individuals, groups and Local Assemblies.

72.4 It is always possible, of course, for Counsellors to depute an Auxiliary Board member to meet with a National Spiritual Assembly for a particular purpose, but this should not become a regular practice. Similarly, if the National Spiritual Assembly agrees, it may be advisable for an Auxiliary Board member to meet occasionally with a national committee to clarify the situation in the area and share information and ideas thoroughly. But this also should not become regular. Were it to do so there would be grave danger of inhibiting the proper working of these two institutions, vitiating and undermining the collaboration that must essentially exist between the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies. It would diffuse the energies and time of the Auxiliary Board members through their becoming involved in the administration of teaching. It could lead to the Auxiliary Board member's gradually taking over the direction of the national committee, usurping the function of the National Assembly, or to his becoming merely a travelling teacher sent hither and thither at the direction of the committee or National Assembly.

Sharing Information, Reports, and Recommendations

72.5 It is, of course vital that information be shared fully and promptly, as has been explained in the compilation on the work of Auxiliary Board members that was circulated on 25 March 1969. The ways of ensuring this should be worked out by the Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies and methods may vary from area to area.

72.6 Reports and recommendations for action, however, are quite different. Auxiliary Board members should send theirs to the Counsellors and not, to National Assemblies or national committees directly. It is possible that the Counsellors may reject or modify the recommendation; or, if they accept it and pass it on to the National Spiritual Assembly, the National Assembly may decide to refuse it. For an Auxiliary Board member to make recommendations directly to a national committee would lose the benefit of knowledge and experience in a wider field than that of which the Auxiliary Board member is aware, and would short-circuit and undermine the authority of both the Counsellors and the National Assembly.

Advice -- The Province of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board

72.7 Similarly, although an Auxiliary Board member can and should receive information from the National Assemblies and national committees, his primary source of information about the community should be his own direct <p152> contacts with Local Spiritual Assemblies, groups and individual believers. In this way the Counsellors as well as the National Spiritual Assemblies have the benefit of two independent sources of information about the community: through the Auxiliary Board members on the one hand, and through the national committees on the other.

72.8 Assemblies sometimes misunderstand what is meant by the statement that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members are concerned with the teaching work and not with administration. It is taken to mean that they may not give advice on administrative matters. This is quite wrong. One of the things that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members should watch and report on is the proper working of administrative institutions. The statement that they do not have anything to do with administration means, simply, that they do not administer. They do not direct or organize the teaching work nor do they adjudicate in matters of personal conflict or personal problems. All these activities fall within the sphere of responsibility of the Spiritual Assemblies. But if an Auxiliary Board member finds a Local Spiritual Assembly functioning incorrectly he should call its attention to the appropriate Texts; likewise if, in his work with the community, an Auxiliary Board member finds that the teaching work is being held up by inefficiency of national committees, he should report this in detail to the Counsellors who will then decide whether to refer it to the National Spiritual Assembly concerned. Similarly, if the Counsellors find that a National Spiritual Assembly is not functioning properly, they should not hesitate to consult with the National Spiritual Assembly about this in a frank and loving way.

72.9 It is the Spiritual Assemblies who plan and direct the work, but these plans should be well known to the Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members, because one of the ways in which they can assist the Assemblies is by urging the believers continually to support the plans of the Assemblies. If a National Spiritual Assembly has adopted one goal as pre-eminent in a year, the Auxiliary Board members should bear this in mind in all their contacts with the believers and should direct their attention to the plans of the National Assembly, and stimulate them to enthusiastically support them.

72.10 The Counsellors in each continental zone have wide latitude in the carrying out of their work. Likewise they should give to each Auxiliary Board member considerable freedom of action within his own allocated area. Although the Counsellors should regularly direct the work of the Auxiliary Board members, the latter should realize that they need not wait for direction; the nature of their work is such that they should be continually engaged in it according to their own best judgement, even if they are given no specific tasks to perform. Above all the Auxiliary Board members should build up a warm and loving relationship between themselves and the believers in their <p153> area so that the Local Spiritual Assemblies will spontaneously turn to them for advice and assistance.

72.11 We assure you all of our fervent prayers in the Holy Shrines for the blessings of Baha'u'llah upon the strenuous and highly meritorious services that you are performing with such devotion in His path.

The Universal House of Justice


73
Appeal to Increase Teaching Efforts Amidst Catastrophic Events of the Day

16 November 1969

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear friends,

73.1 In the worsening world situation, fraught with pain of war, violence and the sudden uprooting of long-established institutions, can be seen the fulfilment of the prophecies of Baha'u'llah and the oft-repeated warnings of the Master and the beloved Guardian about the inevitable fate of a lamentably defective social system, an unenlightened leadership and a rebellious and unbelieving humanity.+F166 Governments and peoples of both the developed and developing nations, and other human institutions, secular and religious, finding themselves helpless to reverse the trend of the catastrophic events of the day, stand bewildered and overpowered by the magnitude and complexity of the problems facing them. At this fateful hour in human history many, unfortunately, seem content to stand aside and wring their hands in despair or else join in the babel of shouting and protestation which loudly objects, but offers no solution to the woes and afflictions plaguing our age.
[F166. The years 1968 and 1969 were racked with war, violence, terrorism, and civil unrest around the world. Wars raged in Vietnam and Nigeria; Soviet and Chinese troops skirmished in a continuing border dispute; Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia to quell a movement toward liberalization; and El Salvador invaded Honduras. Coups d'etat toppled governments in 'Iraq, Syria, Sierre Leone, Dahomey, the Congo, Mali, the Sudan, Libya, the Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Panama, and Bolivia; states of emergency were declared in Spain, Malaysia, and Chile; violent unrest occurred in West Germany, Spain, Bombay, Pakistan, Argentina, Kenya, and the United States; and student protests erupted in Paris, Mexico City, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, and the United States. United States and Israeli airliners were hijacked, and two Israeli airliners were attacked by terrorists. Moreover, a number of leaders were assassinated, including Somalian president Abdirascid Ali Scermarche; US civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.; US presidential candidate Robert E. Kennedy; US ambassador to Guatemala John Gordon Mein; and Mozambique Liberation Front leader Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.]

73.2 Nevertheless a greater and greater number of thoughtful and fair-minded men and women are recognizing in the clamour of contention, grief and <p154> destruction, now reaching such horrendous proportions, the evidences of Divine chastisement, and turning their faces towards God are becoming increasingly receptive to His Word. Doubtless the present circumstances, though tragic and awful in their immediate consequences, are serving to sharpen the focus on the indispensability of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah to the needs of the present age, and will provide many opportunities to reach countless waiting souls, hungry and thirsty for Divine guidance.

73.3 It is these opportunities which we must seize before it is too late. What is needed now is the awakening of all believers to the immediacy of the challenge so that each may assume his share of the responsibility for taking the Teachings to all humanity. Universal participation, a salient objective of the Nine Year Plan, must be pressed toward attainment in every continent, country and island of the globe. Every Baha'i, however humble or inarticulate, must become intent on fulfilling his role as a bearer of the Divine Message. Indeed, how can a true believer remain silent while around us men cry out in anguish for truth, love and unity to descend upon this world?

73.4 We all know how often the Master and the beloved Guardian called upon the friends to consciously strive to be more loving, more united, more dedicated and prayerful than ever before in order to overcome the atmosphere of present-day society which is unloving, disunited, careless of right and wrong and heedless of God. "... when we see the increasing darkness in the world today," the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf, "we can fully realize that unless the Message of Baha'u'llah reaches into the hearts of men and transforms them, there can be no peace and no spiritual progress in the future."+F167
[F167. From a letter that was later published in the compilation Living the Life.]

The Necessity of Individual Teaching Goals

73.5 The Nine Year Plan is the current stage in the achievement of that sublime objective. It is now imperative for every Baha'i to set for himself individual teaching goals. The admonition of 'Abdu'l-Baha to lead at least one new soul to the Faith each year and the exhortation of Shoghi Effendi to hold a Baha'i fireside in one's home every Baha'i month are examples of individual goals. Many have capacities to do even more, but this alone will assure final and complete victory for the Plan.

73.6 We call upon the friends to join with us in prayer during the Feast of Sultan that we will all become so imbued with zeal, courage and enthusiasm that from this day to the end of the Nine Year Plan nothing will be able to stay the victorious onward march of the followers of the Most Great Name.+F168 May our efforts be worthy of the blessings and confirmations of Baha'u'llah.
[F168. The Feast of Sultan is the Feast of Sovereignty, 19 January.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p155>

74
Acquisition of Property Adjacent to Bahji

18 November 1969

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

74.1 Enclosed please find our letter of 16 November 1969 addressed to the Baha'is of the World.+F169 Please share this letter with all believers in your jurisdiction as soon as possible.
[F169. See message no. 73.]

74.2 After several years of protracted negotiations with agencies of the Israel Government both in Jerusalem and Haifa, an important property adjacent to Bahji and embracing the Master's teahouse has been acquired. On 17 November we cabled the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as follows:

74.2a WITH GRATEFUL HEARTS ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION FORMAL NEGOTIATIONS INITIATED NEARLY TWO DECADES AGO BY BELOVED GUARDIAN WITH AUTHORITIES STATE ISRAEL RESULTING OWNERSHIP VITALLY NEEDED PROPERTY SURROUNDING 'ABDU'L-BAHA'S TEAHOUSE IMMEDIATE NEIGHBOURHOOD MOST HOLY TOMB FOUNDER FAITH. ACQUISITION MUCH DESIRED LAND EXTENDING GARDENS BAHJI FACILITATED THROUGH EXCHANGE PROPERTY DEDICATED SOME THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO TO HOLY TOMB BAHA'U'LLAH BY DEVOTED SERVANT CAUSE HAJI 'ALI YAZDI.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

74.3 The successful conclusion of these negotiations initiated during the life-time of the beloved Guardian was made possible through the acceptance by the Government, as even exchange, of an endowment property given to the Faith in 1933 by the late Haji 'Ali Yazdi. The significance of the specific piece of land donated by this venerable soul becomes apparent when reading the following quotation from the IN MEMORIAM article about him in The Baha'i World, Volume 9 [624-25]:

74.3a He will forever be remembered, amongst other things, as the establisher of Baha'i endowments in the vicinity of 'Akka through his gift of a tract of land dedicated to Baha'u'llah's Holy Tomb in Bahji. ...

74.4 It is a glowing tribute to the memory of this devoted servant of the Blessed Beauty that his gift should play such an important part in securing this valuable additional safeguard for the Most Holy Tomb.

74.5 Please also convey the news of this victory to the friends. With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p156>

75
Comments on the Guardianship and the Universal House of
Justice

7 December 1969

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

75.1 Your recent letter, in which you share with us the questions that have occurred to some of the youth in studying "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," has been carefully considered, and we feel that we should comment both on the particular passage you mention and on a related passage in the same work, because both bear on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice.

75.2 The first passage concerns the Guardian's duty to insist upon a reconsideration by his fellow members in the Universal House of Justice of any enactment which he believes conflicts with the meaning and departs from the spirit of the Sacred Writings. The second passage concerns the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice without the Guardian, namely Shoghi Effendi's statement that "Without such an institution [the Guardianship] ... the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn."+F170
[F170. WOB, p. 148.]

75.3 Some of the youth, you indicate, were puzzled as to how to reconcile the former of these two passages with such statements as that in the Will of 'Abdu'l-Baha which affirms that the Universal House of Justice is "freed from all error."+F171 Seeking the Writings' unity of meaning
[F171. WT, p. 14.]

75.4 Just as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha does not in any way contradict the Kitab-i-Aqdas but, in the Guardian's words, "confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas," so the writings of the Guardian contradict neither the revealed Word nor the interpretations of the Master.+F172 In attempting to understand the Writings, therefore, one must first realize that there is and can be no real contradiction in them, and in the light of this we can confidently seek the unity of meaning which they contain.
[F172. WOB, p. 19.]

75.5 The Guardian and the Universal House of Justice have certain duties and functions in common; each also operates within a separate and distinct sphere. As Shoghi Effendi explained, "... it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word <p157> and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed." He goes on to affirm, "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested." It is impossible to conceive that two centres of authority, which the Master has stated "are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One, could conflict with one another, because both are vehicles of the same Divine Guidance.+F173
[F173. WOB, pp. 149-50; WT, p. 11.]

75.6 The Universal House of Justice, beyond its function as the enactor of legislation, has been invested with the more general functions of protecting and administering the Cause, solving obscure questions and deciding upon matters that have caused difference. Nowhere is it stated that the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice is by virtue of the Guardian's membership or presence on that body. Indeed, 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will and Shoghi Effendi in his "Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" have both explicitly stated that the elected members of the Universal House of Justice in consultation are recipients of unfailing Divine Guidance. Furthermore the Guardian himself in The World Order of Baha'u'llah asserted that "It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by 'Abdu'l- Baha in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Baha'u'llah, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions."+F174
[F174. WOB, p. 8.]

75.7 While the specific responsibility of the Guardian is the interpretation of the Word, he is also invested with all the powers and prerogatives necessary to discharge his function as Guardian of the Cause, its Head and supreme protector. He is, furthermore, made the irremovable head and member for life of the supreme legislative body of the Faith. It is as the head of the Universal House of Justice, and as a member of that body, that the Guardian takes part in the process of legislation. If the following passage, which gave rise to your query, is considered as referring to this last relationship, you will see that there is no contradiction between it and the other texts: "Though the <p158> Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha'u'llah revealed utterances."+F175
[F175. WOB, p. 150.]

75.8 Although the Guardian, in relation to his fellow members within the Universal House of Justice, cannot override the decision of the majority, it is inconceivable that the other members would ignore any objection he raised in the course of consultation or pass legislation contrary to what he expressed as being in harmony with the spirit of the Cause. It is, after all, the final act of judgement delivered by the Universal House of Justice that is vouchsafed infallibility, not any views expressed in the course of the process of enactment.

75.9 It can be seen, therefore, that there is no conflict between the Master's statements concerning the unfailing divine guidance conferred upon the Universal House of Justice and the above passage from "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah."

The Process of Legislation

75.10 It may help the friends to understand this relationship if they are aware of some of the processes that the Universal House of Justice follows when legislating. First, of course, it observes the greatest care in studying the Sacred Texts and the interpretations of the Guardian as well as considering the views of all the members. After long consultation the process of drafting a pronouncement is put into effect. During this process the whole matter may well be reconsidered. As a result of such reconsideration the final judgement may be significantly different from the conclusion earlier favoured, or possibly it may be decided not to legislate at all on that subject at that time. One can understand how great would be the attention paid to the views of the Guardian during the above process were he alive.

The Universal House Of Justice in the Absence of the Guardian

75.11 In considering the second passage we must once more hold fast to the principle that the teachings do not contradict themselves.

75.12 Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; on the contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken. Yet, in spite of this, there is a repeated insistence in the Writings on the indestructibility of the Covenant and the immutability of God's Purpose for this Day.

<p159>

75.13 One of the most striking passages which envisage the possibility of such a break in the line of Guardians is in the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself: The endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. No one has the right to lay hold on them without leave from the Dawning-Place of Revelation.+F176 After Him the decision rests with the Aghsan [Branches],+F177 and after them with the House of Justice -- should it be established in the world by then -- so that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Sites exalted in this Cause, and for that which they have been commanded by God, the Almighty, the All-Powerful. Otherwise the endowments should be referred to the people of Baha, who speak not without His leave and who pass no judgement but in accordance with that which God has ordained in this Tablet, they who are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth, so that they may spend them on that which has been decreed in the Holy Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful.+F178
[F178. See KA P42.]
[F177. Aghsan (Branches) denotes the sons and male descendants of Baha'u'llah.]
[F176. "The Dawning-Place of Revelation' is a reference to the Manifestation of God; here, a specific reference to Baha'u'llah.]

75.14 The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsan ended before the House of Justice had been elected. Although, as is seen, the ending of the line of Aghsan at some stage was provided for, we must never underestimate the grievous loss that the Faith has suffered. God's purpose for mankind remains unchanged, however, and the mighty Covenant of Baha'u'llah remains impregnable. Has not Baha'u'llah stated categorically, "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation."+F179 While 'Abdu'l-Baha confirms: "Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favour nor oppose His Cause!" "Everything is subject to corruption; but the Covenant of thy Lord shall continue to pervade all regions." "The tests of every dispensation are in direct proportion to the greatness of the Cause, and as heretofore such a manifest Covenant, written by the Supreme Pen, hath not been entered upon, the tests are proportionately severe. ... These agitations of the violators are no more than the foam of the ocean, ... This foam of the ocean shall not endure and shall soon disperse and vanish, while the ocean of the Covenant shall eternally surge and roar."+F180 And Shoghi Effendi has clearly stated: "The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day." "... this priceless gem of Divine <p160> Revelation, now still in its embryonic state, shall evolve within the shell of His law, and shall forge ahead, undivided and unimpaired, till it embraces the whole of mankind."+F181
[F181. WOB, p. 156, 23.]
[F180. TABA 2:598; Star of the West, IV:10, p. 170; SWAB, pp. 210-11.]
[F179. WOB, p. 109.]

Two Authoritative Centres

75.15 In the Baha'i Faith there are two authoritative centres appointed to which the believers must turn, for in reality the Interpreter of the Word is an extension of that centre which is the Word itself. The Book is the record of the utterance of Baha'u'llah, while the divinely inspired Interpreter is the living Mouth of that Book -- it is he and he alone who can authoritatively state what the Book means. Thus one centre is the Book with its Interpreter, and the other is the Universal House of Justice guided by God to decide on whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Book. This pattern of centres and their relationships is apparent at every stage in the unfoldment of the Cause. In the Kitab-i- Aqdas Baha'u'llah tells the believers to refer after His passing to the Book, and to "Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root."+F182 In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Book of Baha'u'llah's Covenant), He makes it clear that this reference is to 'Abdu'l-Baha.+F183 In the Aqdas Baha'u'llah also ordains the institution of the Universal House of Justice, and confers upon it the powers necessary for it to discharge its ordained functions. The Master in His Will and Testament explicitly institutes the Guardianship, which Shoghi Effendi states was clearly anticipated in the verses of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, reaffirms and elucidates the authority of the Universal House of Justice, and refers the believers once again to the Book: "Unto the Most Holy Book everyone must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice," and at the very end of the Will He says: "All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error."+F184
[F184. WT, pp. 19, 26.]
[F183. TB, pp. 217-23.]
[F182. KA P121.]

75.16 As the sphere of jurisdiction of the Universal House of Justice in matters of legislation extends to whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Sacred Text, it is clear that the Book itself is the highest authority and delimits the sphere of action of the House of Justice. Likewise, the Interpreter of the Book must also have the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the elected representatives of the Cause. The writings of the Guardian and the advice given by him over the thirty-six years of his Guardianship show the way in which he exercised this function in relation to the Universal House of Justice as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies.

<p161>

75.17 The fact that the Guardian has the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the Universal House of Justice does not carry with it the corollary that without such guidance the Universal House of Justice might stray beyond the limits of its proper authority; such a deduction would conflict with all the other texts referring to its infallibility, and specifically with the Guardian's own clear assertion that the Universal House of Justice never can or will infringe on the sacred and prescribed domain of the Guardianship. It should be remembered, however, that although National and Local Spiritual Assemblies can receive divine guidance if they consult in the manner and spirit described by 'Abdu'l-Baha, they do not share in the explicit guarantees of infallibility conferred upon the Universal House of Justice. Any careful student of the Cause can see with what care the Guardian, after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, guided these elected representatives of the believers in the painstaking erection of the Administrative Order and in the formulation of Local and National Baha'i Constitutions.

75.18 We hope that these elucidations will assist the friends in understanding these relationships more clearly, but we must all remember, that we stand too close to the beginnings of the System ordained by Baha'u'llah to be able fully to understand its potentialities or the interrelationships of its component parts. As Shoghi Effendi's secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual believer on 25 March 1930, "The contents of the Will of the Master are far too much for the present generation to comprehend. It needs at least a century of actual working before the treasures of wisdom hidden in it can be revealed.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p162>

76
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Funds

1 January 1970

National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

76.1 In order to assist the friends everywhere in the proper appreciation of the importance and meaning of contributing to Baha'i Funds, and to remind them as well as all Assemblies of the underlying principles that must govern the offering and administration of these funds, we have made a compilation of extracts from the Guardian's letters on this subject which we are now sharing with you.+F185
[F185. See CC I:529-50.]

76.2 You may use these extracts in any manner you deem advisable, at conferences, in summer schools, in deepening classes, and in your newsletters and circular letters. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


77
Non-Interference in Political Affairs

8 February 1970

To National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa

Dear Baha'i friends,

77.1 For long centuries the African Continent, or rather that great part of it which lies south of the Sahara, remained relatively isolated from the rest of the world, untroubled and scarcely touched by the surging conflicts of the nations to the north and east. Now, rapidly emerging into the main stream of international interest, the African peoples, who were compared by Baha'u'llah to the black pupil of the eye through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth,"+F186 are being swept by the heady enthusiasms of new-found independence, torn by the conflicting forces of divergent political interests, their vision obscured by the haze of materialism and the dust of nationalistic passions and age-old tribal rivalries.
[F186. ADJ, p. 37.]

77.2 In the midst of the storm and stress of the battles of selfish interests being waged about them, stand the followers of the Most Great Name, their sight attracted to the rising Sun of God's Holy Cause, their hearts welded together <p163> in a bond of true unity with all the children of men, and their voices raised in a universal song of praise to the Glory of God and the oneness of mankind, calling on their fellowmen to forget and forgo their differences and join them in obedience and service to God's Holy Command in this Day.

77.3 The Army of the Cause, advancing at the bidding of the Lord, to conquer the hearts of men, can never be defeated, but its rate of advance can be slowed down by acts of unwisdom and ignorance on the part of its supporters. We are writing you this letter to help in clarifying some of the issues that have, in the past, blurred the vision of some of the believers, and caused them to commit errors of judgement which have retarded the progress of the Faith in their countries.

The Principle of Non-Interference in Political Affairs

77.4 One of these issues, and by far the most important, is a lack of appreciation of the implications of the Baha'i principle of non-interference in political affairs. We find that 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi have given us clear and convincing reasons why we must uphold this principle. These reasons are summarized below for the study and deepening of the friends. It is our hope that these observations will not only help the friends to intelligently and radiantly follow the holy teachings on this matter, but will help them to explain the Baha'i attitude to those who may question its wisdom and usefulness:

77.4a The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today. The true cause of the ills of humanity is its disunity. No matter how perfect may be the machinery devised by the leaders of men for the political unity of the world, it will still not provide the antidote to the poison sapping the vigour of present-day society. These ills can be cured only through the instrumentality of God's Faith. There are many well-wishers of mankind who devote their efforts to relief work and charity and to the material well-being of man, but only Baha'is can do the work which God most wants done. When we devote ourselves to the work of the Faith we are doing a work which is the greatest aid and only refuge for a needy and divided world.

77.4b The Baha'i Community is a world-wide organization seeking to establish true and universal peace on earth. If a Baha'i works for one political party to overcome another it is a negation of the very spirit of the Faith. Membership in any political party, therefore, necessarily entails repudiation of some or all of the principles of peace and unity proclaimed by Baha'u'llah. As 'Abdu'l-Baha stated: "Our party is God's party -- -we don't belong to any party."+F187
[F187. Quoted in Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 15 July 1955 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Central America.]

<p164>

77.4c If a Baha'i were to insist on his right to support a certain political party, he could not deny the same degree of freedom to other believers. This would mean that within the ranks of the Faith, whose primary mission is to unite all men as one great family under God, there would be Baha'is opposed to each other. Where, then, would be the example of unity and harmony which the world is seeking?

77.4d If the institutions of the Faith, God forbid, became involved in politics, the Baha'is would find themselves arousing antagonism instead of love. If they took one stand in one country, they would be bound to change the views of the people in another country about the aims and purposes of the Faith. By becoming involved in political disputes, the Baha'is instead of changing the world or helping it, would themselves be lost and destroyed. The world situation is so confused and moral issues which were once clear have become so mixed up with selfish and battling factions, that the best way Baha'is can serve the highest interests of their country and the cause of true salvation for the world, is to sacrifice their political pursuits and affiliations and wholeheartedly and fully support the divine system of Baha'u'llah.

77.4e The Faith is not opposed to the true interests of any nation, nor is it against any party or faction. It holds aloof from all controversies and transcends them all, while enjoining upon its followers loyalty to government and a sane patriotism. This love for their country the Baha'is show by serving its well-being in their daily activity, or by working in the administrative channels of the government instead of through party politics or in diplomatic or political posts. The Baha'is may, indeed are encouraged to mix with all strata of society, with the highest authorities and with leading personalities as well as with the mass of the people, and should bring the knowledge of the Faith to them; but in so doing they should strictly avoid becoming identified, or identifying the Faith, with political pursuits and party programmes.

77.5 So vital is this principle of non-interference in political matters, which must govern the acts and words of Baha'is in every land, that Shoghi Effendi has written that "Neither the charges which the uninformed and the malicious may be led to bring against them, nor the allurements of honours and rewards" would ever induce the true believers to deviate from this path, and that their words and conduct must proclaim that the followers of Baha'u'llah "are actuated by no selfish ambition, that they neither thirst for power, nor mind any wave of unpopularity, of distrust or criticism, which a strict adherence to their standards might provoke."+F188
[F188. WOB, pp. 66-67.]

<p165>

77.6 "Difficult and delicate though be our task," he continues, "the sustaining power of Baha'u'llah and of His Divine guidance will assuredly assist us if we follow steadfastly in His way, and strive to uphold the integrity of His laws. The light of His redeeming grace, which no earthly power can obscure, will if we persevere, illuminate our path, as we steer our course amid the snares and pitfalls of a troubled age, and will enable us to discharge our duties in a manner that would redound to the glory and the honour of His blessed Name."+F189
[F189. WOB, p. 67.]

The Problem of Tribalism

77.7 The second issue which causes difficulties for the African friends in these days is the matter of tribalism. As Baha'is they are convinced that mankind is one and must be viewed as one entity, yet, as members of their respective tribes, they find themselves expected by their non-Baha'i brothers to give their first loyalty to, and even aggressively pursue the interests of their tribe. They live, moreover, in an atmosphere which is only too often one of mistrust, fear and even hatred against the members of other tribes.

77.8 The Baha'i attitude in such a situation is clearly set forth in the Writings. As Baha'is we are attached to our tribes and clans, just as we are to our families and, on a larger scale, to our nations, but we do not allow this attachment to conflict with our wider loyalty to humanity. The followers of the Faith, the Guardian has clearly stated , will not hesitate to subordinate every particular interest, be it personal, regional or national, to the overriding interests of the generality of mankind, knowing full well that in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole, and that no lasting result can be achieved by any of the component parts if the general interests of the entity itself are neglected."+F190
[F190. PDIC, Pv.]

77.9 In further elucidating this theme he has written: "Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world-wide Law of Baha'u'llah. ... It does not ignore nor does it attempt to suppress the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity ..."+F191 <p166> The Example of a Unified Community
[F191. WOB, pp. 41-42.]

77.10 In these days when tribal tensions are increasing in Africa the friends should be vigilant lest any trace of prejudice or hatred, God forbid, may enter their midst. On the contrary, they should endeavour to bring into the Faith an ever larger representation of the various tribes in each country, and through complete lack of prejudice as well as through the love that Baha'is have for each other and for their non-Baha'i neighbours, demonstrate to their countrymen what the Word of God can do. They will thus provide, for the scrutiny of the leaders and rulers of their countries, a shining example of a unified community, working together in full concord and harmony, demonstrating a hope that is attainable, and a pattern worthy to be emulated.

77.11 To discriminate against any tribes because they are in a minority is a violation of the spirit that animates the Faith of Baha'u'llah. As followers of God's Holy Faith it is our obligation to protect the just interests of any minority element within the Baha'i community. In fact in the administration of our Baha'i affairs, representatives of minority groups are not only enabled to enjoy equal rights and privileges, but they are even favoured and accorded priority. Baha'is should be careful never to deviate from this noble standard, even if the course of events or public opinion should bring pressure to bear upon them.

77.12 The principles in the Writings are clear, but usually it is when these principles are applied that questions arise. In all cases where the correct course of action is not clear believers should consult their National Spiritual Assembly who will exercise their judgement in advising the friends on the best course to follow.

77.13 It is the hope and prayer of the Universal House of Justice that National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa will, in full collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards in their areas, act as loving shepherds to the divine flock in that mighty Continent, protect the friends from the evil influences surrounding them, guide them in the true and right path, and assist them to attain a continuously deeper understanding, a firmer conviction and a more consuming love for the Cause they are so devotedly seeking to promote and serve.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p167>

78
Attainment of Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council

18 February 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

78.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ATTAINMENT CONSULTATIVE STATUS UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL THEREBY FULFILLING LONG CHERISHED HOPE BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F192 SUSTAINED PERSISTENT EFFORTS MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS ACCREDITED REPRESENTATIVES BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY UNITED NATIONS DEVOTED SUPPORT BAHA'I COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD FINALLY REWARDED. SIGNIFICANT ACHIEVEMENT ADDS PRESTIGE INFLUENCE RECOGNITION EVER ADVANCING FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH. OFFERING PRAYERS GRATITUDE HOLY SHRINES.
[F192. In a meeting on 12 February 1970 the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, the functional committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) responsible for its relationship with non-governmental organizations, had unanimously recommended that the Baha'i International Community's application for consultative status be approved. ECOSOC formally accepted that recommendation on 27 May 1970.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


79
The Spirit of Baha'i Consultation

6 March 1970

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada

Dear Baha'i friends,

79.1 We have your letter of 14 January 1970 asking questions about the decision- making process of Spiritual Assemblies.

79.2 It is important to realize that the spirit of Baha'i consultation is very different from that current in the decision-making processes of non-Baha'i bodies.

79.3 The ideal of Baha'i consultation is to arrive at a unanimous decision. When this is not possible a vote must be taken. In the words of the beloved Guardian: "... when they are called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after dispassionate, anxious, and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer, and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be wholeheartedly enforced."+F193
[F193. BA, p. 64.]

<p168>

79.4 As soon as a decision is reached it becomes the decision of the whole Assembly, not merely of those members who happened to be among the majority.

79.5 When it is proposed to put a matter to the vote, a member of the Assembly may feel that there are additional facts or views which must be sought before he can make up his mind and intelligently vote on the proposition. He should express this feeling to the Assembly, and it is for the Assembly to decide whether or not further consultation is needed before voting.

79.6 Whenever it is decided to vote on a proposition all that is required is to ascertain how many of the members are in favour of it; if this is a majority of those present, the motion is carried; if it is a minority, the motion is defeated. Thus the whole question of "abstaining" does not arise in Baha'i voting. A member who does not vote in favour of a proposition is, in effect, voting against it, even if at that moment he himself feels that he has been unable to make up his mind on the matter.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


80
Commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch

25 March 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

80.1 In commemoration of the centenary of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, which falls on 23 June 1970, we call upon the Baha'is of the world to unite in prayer for "the regeneration of the world and the unification of its peoples."+F194
[F194. GPB, p. 348. For an account of the commemoration of the passing of the Purest Branch, see BW 15:163.]

80.2 During those days one hundred years ago Baha'u'llah was enduring His imprisonment in the Barracks of 'Akka. Upon the tribulations which weighed Him down was heaped the fatal accident which befell His young son, His companion and amanuensis, Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, whose dying supplication to his Father was to accept his life "as a ransom for those of His loved ones who yearned for, but were unable to attain, His presence."+F195 In a Tablet revealed in that grievous hour Baha'u'llah sorrows that "This is the day whereon he that was created of the light of Baha has suffered martyrdom, at <p169> a time when he lay imprisoned at the hands of his enemies." Yet He makes clear that the youth passing has a far profounder meaning than His acceptance of the simple request, declaring that "Thou art, verily, the trust of God and His treasure in this land. Erelong will God reveal through thee that which He hath desired." In a prayer revealed for His son He proclaims the purpose underlying the tragedy: "I have, O my Lord, offered up that which Thou hast given Me, that Thy servants may be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."+F196 Thus upon a youth of consummate devotion who demonstrated such beauty of spirit and total dedication was conferred a unique station in the Cause of God.
[F196. MA, pp. 33, 34.]
[F195. MA, p. 31.]

80.3 In your recalling the bereavement of Baha'u'llah upon the loss of His loved son, and honouring a highly significant event in the Faith, we leave it to the discretion of the Assemblies whether they choose to hold special gatherings of prayer. In the Holy Land at the World Centre on Mount Carmel there will be an observance at the grave of Mirza Mihdi, at which time his pure example and sacrifice for all mankind will be remembered through the words of his glorious Father.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

80.4 For your background and appreciation of the nature of the martyrdom of the Purest Branch, we refer you to God Passes By, pp. 188-89, and to Baha'i Holy Places at the World Centre, pp. 60, and 70-74, from which the several quotations above are derived.


81
Ridvan Message 1970

Ridvan 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

81.1 BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ENTERING SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN HAS AMPLY DEMONSTRATED ABILITY SCALE HEIGHTS DEVOTION SACRIFICE WIN ASTONISHING VICTORIES WORLD-REDEEMING WORLD-HEALING WORLD-UNITING FAITH. AT THIS RIDVAN EXTEND LOVING WELCOME ELEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES NOW FORMING SEVEN IN AFRICA ONE IN AMERICAS ONE IN ASIA TWO IN AUSTRALASIA RAISING TO NINETY-FOUR NUMBER SUPPORTING PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MOVED PAY LOVING TRIBUTE HANDS CAUSE GOD THEIR BRILLIANT SERVICES BLAZING TEACHING TRAILS SURFACE PLANET UPLIFTING ADVISING ASSEMBLIES FRIENDS ALL CONTINENTS. IN VIEW EFFECTIVE REINFORCEMENT THIS <p170> NOBLE WORK BY ABLE DEDICATED CONTINENTAL BOARDS COUNSELLORS THEIR AUXILIARY BOARDS TOGETHER WITH GROWING NEED AND EXPANSION WORLD COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE AUGMENTATION VITAL INSTITUTION THROUGH APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELLORS IRAJ AYMAN WESTERN ASIA ANNELIESE BOPP BETTY REED EUROPE AND AUTHORIZATION APPOINTMENT FORTY-FIVE ADDITIONAL AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS NINE AFRICA SIXTEEN ASIA TWO AUSTRALASIA EIGHTEEN WESTERN HEMISPHERE. CALLING FORMATION FOUR NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RIDVAN 1971 LESOTHO SEAT MASERU IVORY COAST MALI AND UPPER VOLTA SEAT ABIDJAN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO SEAT PORT OF SPAIN SOLOMON ISLANDS SEAT HONIARA. NINE YEAR PLAN ALREADY MARKED GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS PIONEERING PROCLAMATION RECOGNITION FAITH UPSURGE YOUTH ACQUISITION PROPERTIES COMMENCEMENT CONSTRUCTION PANAMA TEMPLE DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTRE. URGENT IMMEDIATE VITAL NEED CONCENTRATE ATTENTION INCREASE NUMBER LOCALITIES LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BELIEVERS FILL REMAINING PIONEER POSTS. LAST RIDVAN CALL RAISED SEVEN HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE PIONEERS MINIMUM REQUIREMENT. FOUR HUNDRED AND SEVENTY- NINE SPECIFIC POSTS STILL UNFILLED. TOTAL VICTORY REQUIRES MORE PIONEERS MORE FUNDS MORE NEW BELIEVERS. HANDS CAUSE COUNSELLORS BOARD MEMBERS NATIONAL LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES EVERY SINGLE FOLLOWER BAHA'U'LLAH SUMMONED UTMOST EFFORT REMAINING YEARS NINE YEAR PLAN. ACHIEVEMENT THIS STEP MASTER'S DIVINE PLAN WILL ENDOW COMMUNITY CAPACITY ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES UNDERTAKE NEXT STAGE IMPLEMENTATION SUPREME PURPOSE BAHA'U'LLAH'S REVELATION UNIFICATION MANKIND ESTABLISHMENT LONG PROMISED KINGDOM GOD THIS EARTH. ASSURE ARDENT LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


82
Message to Bolivia and Mauritius Conferences -- August 1970

August 1970

To the Continental Conference in La Paz, Bolivia, and the Oceanic Conference in Rose-
Hill, Mauritius

Beloved friends,

82.1 Our hearts turn with eager expectancy to the twin Conferences now in session in the southern hemisphere. Their convocation so shortly after the world-wide commemoration of the Centenary of the Martyrdom of the Purest Branch, calls to mind that the promotion and establishment of the Faith of <p171> God have always been through sacrifice and dedicated service.+F197 Indeed, these very Conferences testify to the creative power, the fruitfulness, the invocation of Divine confirmations which result from sacrificial service to the Cause of God. Although both Bolivia and Mauritius are mentioned specifically in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, the Cause, even thirty-five years ago, was virtually unknown in those areas; today we witness the holding of these historic Conferences.+F198
[F198. See TDP 6.11, 7.11, 14.7.]
[F197. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, youngest son of Baha'u'llah. See message no. 80 regarding the 23 June 1970 commemoration of the centenary of his martyrdom.]

82.2 Little wonder that South America, whose rulers and presidents were addressed by Baha'u'llah in His Kitab-i-Aqdas, of whose indigenous believers the Master, in those Tablets already referred to, wrote "should they be educated and guided, there can be no doubt that they will become so illumined as to enlighten the whole world,"+F199 should have exerted a magnetic attraction upon a number of ardent souls in the northern continent, eager to serve in so promising a field.+F200 A band of heroic pioneers, bearing the Message of Baha'u'llah, gradually penetrated its wide territories, its jungles and mountains. They were followed by others under systematic crusades of two Seven Year Plans and the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Plan and together they became the spiritual conquerors of that continent.+F201 The Latin American communities which arose as a result of their pioneer efforts were described by the beloved Guardian as "associates in the execution" of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F202 May Maxwell, one of the great heroines of the Faith, attained her longed-for crown of martyrdom in Buenos Aires; Panama became the site of the sixth Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Baha'i world, and La Paz, Bolivia, is now the scene of this Continental Conference.
[F202. MBW, p. 146.]
[F201. One of the goals of the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44) was to establish a centre in each republic in Latin America and the Caribbean; an objective of the second Seven Year Plan (1946-53) was the consolidation and expansion of the Faith throughout the Americas. The two plans were pursued by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada under Shoghi Effendi's direction. At the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63) regional National Spiritual Assemblies had formed in both Central America and South America.]
[F200. TDP 6.8.]
[F199. TDP 6.8.]

82.3 The Indian Ocean, whose furthermost waves lap the shores of the Cradle of our Faith, upon whose waters the Divine Bab travelled in the course of His pilgrimage to Mecca, the heart of Islam, where He openly announced His Mission; whose mighty subcontinent from which it derives its name was the home and assigned province of the ninth Letter of the Living; whose major islands were severally mentioned by 'Abdu'l- Baha in the seventh of His Tablets of the Divine Plan, lay, for most of a century, fallow to the Word of God, a <p172> challenge to the promotion of His Faith.+F203 This challenge was answered by half a hundred Knights of Baha'u'llah, who, in response to the beloved Guardian's call left their homes and wholeheartedly gave themselves to the establishment of the Cause in those parts. They implanted the banner of Baha'u'llah upon its atolls, its great islands and ordering territories. Now, in the midmost heart of that huge expanse of sea, Mauritius, an island whose name was enshrined in Baha'i history during the Heroic Age of our Faith as the source, two years before 'Abdu'l-Baha's arrival in America, of a contribution to the purchase of the site of the Mother Temple of the West, has been chosen as the venue of this oceanic Conference.
[F203. TDP 7-10.]

82.4 Not only have the institutions of the Faith been established in this ocean and this continent, but the spirit of the New Day, brilliant even at this early dawn with the light of Baha'u'llah's gifts to man, is apparent in the diversity of the attendants, in the brotherhood of erstwhile strangers -- even enemies -- and above all in the noble purposes for which you have gathered.

82.5 Your aim is the redemption of mankind from its godlessness, its ignorance, its confusion and conflict. You will succeed, as those before you succeeded, by sacrifice to the Cause of God. The deeds and services required of you now, will shine in the future, even as those of your spiritual predecessors shine today and will forever shine in the annals of the Cause.

82.6 We share with you the spiritual delight of these occasions and assure you of our constant and ardent prayers that your deliberations upon the objectives of the Cause in your areas and the spiritual fellowship which you will enjoy will result in immediate and determined plans to complete the tasks assigned to you ere the rapidly approaching end of the Nine Year Plan. This Plan is the current stage of the Master's Divine Plan and its success must precede those greater triumphs when, as the result of your labours, the divine outpourings will raise up a vast concourse of radiant and devoted servants of Baha'u'llah who will establish His Kingdom in this world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p173>

83
Call for Pioneers

2 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

83.1 All National Spiritual Assemblies have been aware of the urgency of our Ridvan

1969 message to the Baha'is of the world when the call was raised for pioneers to settle in territories in need of pioneer support or as yet unopened to the Faith, and have been cognizant of the emphasis which was placed on the need for the believers to arise quickly to ensure the success of the Nine Year Plan in the pioneer field.

83.2 Since that call was raised, no less than 330 of the pioneer posts in the 184 specified territories in the globe have been filled, and in a few of those territories additional pioneers have arrived to supplement the ranks of Baha'u'llah's followers at those posts.

83.3 As you will note from the attached list+F204 showing the current status of pioneer goals, some 417 pioneers must yet arise and settle in the posts previously assigned. After a recent review of pioneer needs we find it is necessary to call upon the valiant, constantly swelling community of believers throughout all continents to fill yet another 204 pioneer posts where manpower is desperately needed, in some territories in order to win the minimum number of Assemblies or localities called for in the Plan, and in others where vast new mass teaching areas have been opened to the Faith, thus necessitating additional reinforcements who must arrive soon if the precious gains are to be retained. These 204 new pioneer goals have been assigned to specific National Spiritual Assemblies.
[F204. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

83.4 Despite the magnitude of this undertaking and the grave challenge which your communities face in ensuring the home-front goals, we are compelled to point out that each of those goals assigned must be considered as a minimum requirement. Pioneers unable to go to the goals assigned by their own National Spiritual Assembly should be encouraged to fill goals assigned to other National Assemblies. Of course a self- supporting believer is free to settle as a pioneer in any country he chooses.

83.5 We call upon the friends to act promptly and decisively in this vital international undertaking in which the followers of Baha'u'llah are, in all continents of the globe, summoned to participate. The time is short and the effort required is truly formidable.

<p174>

83.6 We shall offer ardent prayers at the Holy Shrines, supplicating that the waves of pioneers required to complete this urgent task of the present hour shall arise and quickly rush forth into the arena of service.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


84
Release of a Compilation on the Local Spiritual Assembly

11 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

84.1 As the Baha'i Administrative Order rapidly expands throughout the world it behoves everyone associated with it to familiarize himself with its principles, to understand its import and to put its precepts into practice. Only as individual members of Local Spiritual Assemblies deepen themselves in the fundamental verities of the Faith and in the proper application of the principles governing the operation of the Assembly will this institution grow and develop toward its full potential.

84.2 It is because the principles of Baha'i Administration are new to so many who are now being called upon to serve as members of Local Spiritual Assemblies that we felt the need to make available in brief form some of the texts and instructions which apply.+F205 No attempt has been made to put together a complete compilation of all texts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, but it is hoped that the enclosed extracts will suffice as an introduction to a more profound study of the subject, and lead to a more efficient functioning of Local Spiritual Assemblies everywhere.
[F205. See CC II:39-60.]

84.3 We call upon you to consider ways and means of sharing this material with the friends, and especially members of Local Spiritual Assemblies, as quickly as possible. In many instances, of course, the material will need to be translated; in other instances many of the quotations included in the compilation may already be available to the friends in their own language.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p175>

85
Formation of Seven National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971

12 August 1970

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

85.1 The following cable has just been sent to Hands of the Cause Ruhiyyih Khanum and William Sears representing the Universal House of Justice at Conferences in Bolivia and Mauritius:

PLEASE ANNOUNCE TO PARTICIPANTS CONFERENCE JOYOUS NEWS DECISION CALL THREE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL CONVENTIONS NEXT RIDVAN NAMELY SUDAN CHAD AND CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON BRINGING TO SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES BEING FORMED AT CLOSE OF SEVENTH YEAR NINE YEAR PLAN. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BEHALF NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD REACHING ONE HUNDRED ONE BY NEXT RIDVAN SUPPLICATING REINFORCEMENT TIES UNITING THEM GREATER CONSECRATION CHALLENGING TASKS STILL AHEAD WIDER PARTICIPATION ALL RANKS FAITHFUL. COMMUNICATING TEXT CABLE ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES.

85.2 Please share this news with the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


86
Message to Pioneers

29 November 1970

To all pioneers+F206
[F206. This letter was sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies on 29 November 1970 for distribution to "all pioneers both on home-fronts and overseas."]

Dearly loved friends,

86.1 The spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion that has animated so large a number of the followers of Baha'u'llah to leave their homes, move to posts far and near, to foreign lands and on the home-fronts, to hoist the banner of the Faith and promote the divine teachings in well-nigh every populated area of the globe, uplifts our hearts and evokes our profound pride and admiration. We are now entering the most challenging and crucial closing period of the Nine Year Plan, that will culminate in the joyous celebration of the hundredth <p176> anniversary of the revelation of Baha'u'llah's Most Holy Book, the Kitab-i-Aqdas. What greater gift can we lay at the feet of our Beloved, at that historic moment, than the proclamation of Victory in His Name!

86.2 Our deep appreciation of the vital role which the pioneers play in the onward march of the Army of Light towards victory arouses in us the desire to comfort their hearts, upraise their spirits, and strengthen their loins by calling to their minds the stirring appeal which flowed from the Pen of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

86.2a O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha" in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it.+F207
[F207. TDP 7.8.]

and the following words of guidance from our beloved Guardian:

86.2b Theirs, at this present hour, unpropitious and unpromising though the immediate prospects may appear, is the duty to plod on, confident and unsparing in their daily efforts, undimmed in their vision, alert and conscious of the sublimity of their calling and of the future glory of their Mission, undistracted by the petty pursuits and temptations of the environment in which they live, exerting their utmost, and playing, each independently, as well as through their concerted efforts, their part in hastening the advent of the day when their dearly beloved Faith will, at long last, have revealed the full measure of its potentialities, and soared, as destined by Providence, to new heights of power, of eminence and glory.+F208
[F208. Letter dated 12 August 1957 to Italy and Switzerland.]

It is hard for the friends to appreciate, when they are isolated in one of these goal territories, and see that they are making no progress in teaching others, are living in inhospitable climes for the most part, and are lonesome for Baha'i companionship and activity, that they represent a force for good, that they are like a lighthouse of Baha'u'llah shining at a strategic point and casting its beam out into the darkness. This is why he [Shoghi Effendi] so consistently urges these pioneers not to abandon their posts.+F209 However gigantic the task may be, no matter how insuperable the obstacles standing in the way of its accomplishment may appear, and however restricted the means, capacity, and numbers of those called upon <p177> to ensure its fulfilment, it surely cannot, by virtue of the divine potency with which it is charged, but be successfully achieved in due time. God's redemptive grace, flowing through the small yet infinitely resourceful band of His faithful servants will, as in the days past, gradually permeate the world, and infuse into the consciousness of peoples and nations alike the realization that nothing short of the divine panacea He Himself has prescribed can cure the ills now so sadly afflicting the whole of mankind. What a higher privilege therefore than to be the instrument, the channel for the transmission of such divine grace. Let us then take courage, and faithfully pursue our mission, and rest ever assured that the promised day of victory, foretold by Baha'u'llah as marking the golden age of His Cause, will dawn upon us and upon a world as yet unconscious of the divine potency of His Message.+F210
[F210. Letter dated 21 October 1939 to an individual.]
[F209. MC, p. 68.]

86.2c And finally from the Pen of Glory Itself:

They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our Cause -- these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power. A company of Our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. How great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath attained the honour of serving the Almighty! By My life! No act, however great, can compare with it, except such deeds as have been ordained by God, the All- Powerful, the Most Mighty. Such a service is, indeed, the prince of all goodly deeds, and the ornament of every goodly act. Thus hath it been ordained by Him Who is the Sovereign Ruler, the Ancient of Days.+F211
[F211. GWB, p. 334.]

86.3 To each and every one of you we send our love and assurance of our prayers on your behalf in the Holy Shrines.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p178>

87
Grave Crisis in Baha'i International Fund

29 December 1970

To the Followers of Baha'u'llah in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

87.1 We have reached a critical point in the progress of the Nine Year Plan. In many lands multitudes are thirsty and eager to embrace the Message of Baha'u'llah. In others, materially advanced but spiritually backward, a great effort is needed to awaken the people to the light of this New Day. The recently established National Spiritual Assemblies in many lands are occupied in acquiring the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes essential for the proper development of the Administrative Order and the deepening of the Baha'i knowledge of their believers, while in the heart of the Western Hemisphere, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama requires several hundred thousand dollars for its completion. To accomplish these many essential tasks the resources of the Cause are being stretched to their uttermost.

87.2 At this crucial moment, when the activities of the believers and the expenditure of funds should be increased to seize the opportunities which lie before us, the Baha'i International Fund finds itself plunged into a grave crisis by a steep reduction in contributions. Undoubtedly world-wide economic difficulties are one of the causes of this, but we are confident that the believers throughout the world will respond to this challenge and will make every sacrifice to ensure that the work of the Cause of God goes forward unimpeded.

Demands on the International Fund

87.3 Since 1963 when there were 56 National Spiritual Assemblies, to the present time when there are 94 (soon to be 101), the work of the Cause has expanded so rapidly, both in the teaching field and at the World Centre, that the Universal House of Justice has had to increase more than fourfold the annual international budget of the Cause. This year fifty-eight percent of the International Fund is being expended outside the Holy Land on projects such as assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies (56 of which receive a large part, if not all, of their budgets from the World Centre), contributions to the work of the Hands of the Cause and the Continental Boards of Counsellors, defence of the Cause in lands where it is facing persecution, and our expanded activities at the United Nations.

87.4 In order to meet the present situation the Universal House of Justice must drastically reduce the expenditure of the Baha'i International Fund until the flow of contributions is restored. While the work on the International Archives Building necessary to protect the precious Tablets and relics from the high humidity and increasingly polluted atmosphere of Haifa city has been completed, <p179> the projects of further developing the Gardens in Bahji and of starting upon an extension of the Terraces below the Shrine of the Bab, as well as additional developments to the office facilities of the World Centre, must now be postponed. In addition we are reluctantly compelled to reduce by ten percent the next two quarterly remittances of assistance to National Spiritual Assemblies, and we call upon these Assemblies now to reduce their own expenditure to take account of this.

87.5 These, however, can but be temporary measures designed to minimize the present emergency. The real answer lies, not in restricting the activities of the friends at this time when mankind stands in such dire need of the Message of Baha'u'llah, but in the universal participation of every believer in the work of the Cause.

Backbone of the Fund: Universal Participation

87.6 The poor believers vastly outnumber the wealthy ones, and this majority will grow rapidly as mass teaching spreads. Thus, although the work in mass teaching areas will continue to be assisted by the contributions of the friends ,in prosperous lands, and these believers must for the immediate future continue to be the main support of the International Fund, it becomes ever more urgent for the friends in mass teaching areas to finance their own activities to an ever greater degree. The backbone of the Fund must be the regular contributions of every believer. Even though such contributions may be small because of the poverty of the donors, large numbers of small sums combine into a mighty river that can carry along the work of the Cause. Moreover the unity of the friends in sacrifice draws upon them the confirmations of the Blessed Beauty.

87.7 The universal participation of the believers in every aspect of the Faith -- in contributing to the Fund, in teaching, deepening, living the Baha'i life, administering the affairs of the community, and, above all, in the life of prayer and devotion to God -- will endow the Baha'i community with such strength that it can overcome the forces of spiritual disintegration which are engulfing the non-Baha'i world, and can become an ocean of oneness that will cover the face of the planet.

87.8 We ask every one of you to ponder these matters deeply, and to join us in fervent prayer that this momentary crisis will prove to have been a providential test that will spur the community of the Greatest Name to new heights of dedication and triumphant achievement.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p180>

88
Message to the Monrovia Conference -- January 1971

January 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference in Monrovia, Liberia

Dearly loved friends,

88.1 The emergence on the African Continent of a widely spread, numerous, diversified and united Baha'i community, so swiftly after the initiation of organized teaching plans there, is of the utmost significance and a signal evidence of the bounties which God has destined for its peoples in this day.

88.2 The great victories in Africa, which brought such joy to the Guardian's heart in the last years of his life, resulted from the self-sacrificing devotion of a handful of pioneers, gradually assisted by the first few native believers, all labouring under the loving shadow of the Hand of the Cause Musa Banani. From their efforts there has been raised up an increasing army of African, teachers, administrators, pioneers and valiant promoters of the Divine Cause, whose main task is to bring to all Africa the bounties conferred by the Word of God, bounties of enlightenment, zeal, devotion and eventually the true civilization of Baha'u'llah's World Order.

88.3 Many of the gravest ills now afflicting the human race appear in acute form on the African Continent. Racial, tribal and religious prejudice, disunity of nations, the scourge of political factionalism, poverty and lack of education are obvious examples. Baha'is have a great part to play -- greater than they may realize -- in the healing of these sicknesses and the abatement of their worst effects. By their radiant unity, by their "bright and shining"+F212 faces, their self-discipline in zealously following all the requirements of Baha'i law, their abstention from politics, their constant study and proclamation of the Great Message, they will hasten the advent of that glorious day when all mankind will know its true brotherhood and will bask in the sunshine of God's love and blessing.
[F212. See ABL, p. 28, or PT, p. 61.]

88.4 That the African believers are fully capable of taking their full share in building the Kingdom of God on earth, their natural abilities and present deeds have fully demonstrated. An African Hand of the Cause of God, even now in the course of a brilliant, triumphal teaching tour of the planet, African Counsellors, Board members, national and local administrators and an ever-increasing army of believers testify to the vigour and immense capacity of this highly blessed continent to serve its Lord in the great day of His appearance.+F213 <p181> That the African believers, so beloved by the Guardian of the Faith, will rise to the challenge facing them and earn the gratitude and goodwill of all mankind by their deeds of dedication and self-sacrifice is the longing of our hearts.
[F213. The African Hand of the Cause of God referred to is Enoch Olinga. For an account of his life and services, see BW 18:618-35. For the message about his death, see no. 237.]

88.5 May this Conference become a sun from which will stream forth to all parts of the vast continent rays of spiritual energy and inspiration, galvanizing the friends to action in the fields of teaching and pioneering in such manner that they will rapidly achieve all the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan.

88.6 Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

The Universal House of Justice


89
Message to the Oceanic Conference of the South China Seas,
Singapore -- January 1971

January 197I

To the friends of God assembled in the Oceanic Conference in Singapore, Malaysia

Dearly loved friends,

89.1 The wonderful progress made by the Baha'i communities of South East Asia towards achievement of the tasks assigned to them under the Nine Year Plan fills our hearts with thankfulness to God and arouses our keenest admiration for the capacities and dedicated services of the friends in all those vast and varied territories. Indeed, so bountiful have been the divine confirmations rewarding their efforts that we are confident of their ability to far exceed the stated objectives and to initiate the opening phase of the next stage of their development, a massive increase in the establishment of the Cause of God among the teeming millions of the islands and ocean-bordering countries of so huge an area of the earth.

89.2 South East Asia, whose gifted and industrious peoples have embraced four of the world's major religions, have produced in all ages civilizations and cultures representative of the highest accomplishments of the human race, now experiencing with the rest of the world the disruptive, revolutionizing, "vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order ... the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed," lies open and receptive to the Word of God, ready once more to nourish in its fertile soil that potent seed and to bring forth, in its own characteristic manner and as an integral part of the <p182> world civilization, the institutions, the fabric, the brilliant edifice of Baha'u'llah's World Order.+F214
[F214. GWB, p. 136.]

89.3 We now summon the believers of this highly promising area, flushed with the tide of approaching victory, to launch a three-pronged campaign, the main feature of which is to achieve an immediate expansion of the Faith, exceeding the aims of the Nine Year Plan. In addition you are called upon to raise a corps of travelling teachers, whose main objective will be to visit all the communities and groups in the area for the purpose of deepening and consolidating their Baha'i life, thus preserving the victories won and reinforcing the base for future development. Simultaneously a number of Chinese- speaking believers must arise who, as pioneers and travelling teachers in all the countries of South East Asia, will attract large numbers of the talented Chinese race to embrace and serve the Faith of Baha'u'llah.

89.4 Recognizing your current achievements and fully confident in your determination and ability to continue to attract the divine confirmations of Baha'u'llah, we are happy to announce as a supplementary goal of the Nine Year Plan, the establishment, at Ridvan, 1972, of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Singapore, an additional supporting pillar of the Universal House of Justice and a new bastion of the Faith in so vital a cross-roads of human activity.

89.5 We pray that your deliberations will engender a new wave of enthusiasm, cement ever more firmly the bonds of love between the many and various national communities of your area and result in practical plans for the implementation of the above tasks.

89.6 We send you all our most loving greetings and look forward eagerly to the report of your conference.

The Universal House of Justice


90
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Agnes Alexander

4 January 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

90.1 PROFOUNDLY GRIEVE PASSING ILLUMINED SOUL HAND CAUSE AGNES ALEXANDER LONG-STANDING PILLAR CAUSE FAR EAST FIRST BRING FAITH HAWAIIAN ISLANDS.+F215 HER LONG DEDICATED EXEMPLARY LIFE SERVICE DEVOTION CAUSE GOD ANTICIPATED BY CENTRE COVENANT SELECTING HER SHARE MAY MAXWELL IMPERISHABLE <p183> HONOUR MENTION TABLETS DIVINE PLAN. HER UNRESTRAINED UNCEASING PURSUIT TEACHING OBEDIENCE COMMAND BAHA'U'LLAH EXHORTATIONS MASTER GUIDANCE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHINING EXAMPLE ALL FOLLOWERS FAITH. HER PASSING SEVERS ONE MORE LINK HEROIC AGE. ASSURE FAMILY FRIENDS ARDENT PRAYERS HOLIEST SHRINE PROGRESS RADIANT SOUL REQUEST ALL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS AND THOSE RESPONSIBLE HOLD SERVICES MOTHER TEMPLES.
[F215. For an account of the life and services of Agnes Alexander, see BW 15:423-30.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


91
Participation of the Hands of the Cause of God in First National Conventions

1 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

91.1 HAPPY ANNOUNCE FOLLOWING HANDS CAUSE WILL REPRESENT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTIONS COMING RIDVAN AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM IVORY COAST UPPER VOLTA MALI DHIKRU'LLAH KHADEM TRINIDAD TOBAGO ADELBERT MUEHLSCHLEGEL LESOTHO 'ALI-MUHAMMAD VARQA CONGO BRAZZAVILLE GABON ENOCH OLINGA BOTH SUDAN CHAD COLLIS FEATHERSTONE BOTH SOLOMON ISLANDS SOUTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN. CONFIDENT PRESENCE PARTICIPATION THESE STANDARD-BEARERS NINE YEAR PLAN HISTORIC FIRST CONVENTIONS WILL ATTRACT DIVINE BLESSINGS ASSIST NEW NATIONAL COMMUNITIES BEFITTINGLY ASSUME SACRED RESPONSIBILITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


92
Formation of Nine Additional National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1971

11 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

92.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE ALL FRIENDS FORMATION DURING RIDVAN 1972 NINE ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES RAISING TOTAL NUMBER PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE TO ONE HUNDRED AND TEN. THREE IN AFRICA MALAGASY REPUBLIC REUNION SEYCHELLES THREE IN ASIA EAST PAKISTAN NEPAL SINGAPORE ONE IN AUSTRALASIA NORTHWEST PACIFIC OCEAN COMPRISING GUAM CAROLINES MARIANAS MARSHALLS TWO IN EUROPE ICELAND AND REPUBLIC IRELAND.

<p184>

FOUR OF THESE SEYCHELLES EAST PAKISTAN SINGAPORE NORTHWEST PACIFIC CONSTITUTE SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENTS NINE YEAR PLAN. URGE PIONEERS SCHEDULED ALL THESE AREAS SETTLE POSTS WITHOUT DELAY. CALL UPON RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES BRACE THEMSELVES EXERT SUPREME EFFORT FAST FLEETING WEEKS BEFORE COMING RIDVAN ESTABLISH AS MANY ASSEMBLIES AS POSSIBLE THEREBY BROADENING STRENGTHENING FOUNDATIONS PROJECTED NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS. FERVENTLY PRAYING HOLY SHRINES FOLLOWERS MOST GREAT NAME MAY SEIZE UNIQUE OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT HOUR AND SPARE NO EFFORT UNTIL GOALS PLAN ARE FULLY ACCOMPLISHED THEREBY ATTRACTING TO THEMSELVES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES INESTIMABLE BLESSINGS ANCIENT BEAUTY.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


93
Warning Against the Misuse of Recordings of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Voice

23 February 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

93.1 The advent and liberal supply of tape and cassette recorders in the markets of the world have opened new doors and placed in almost every land at the disposal of the friends new methods for the dissemination of Baha'i material. It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that the recording of Baha'i talks, and other audio features, and their wide use among Baha'is and non-Baha'is alike, will prove to be a powerful new instrument in the teaching and deepening work everywhere. There is one area, however, where great care must be exercised, and this is in the use of the record of 'Abdu'l-Baha's voice.

93.2 The Guardian, when referring to this record, requested the friends "to exercise restraint and caution." "In my view," he added, "it should be used only on special occasions and be listened to with the utmost reverence. The dignity of the Cause, I am sure, would suffer from too wide and indiscriminate use of one of the most precious relics of our departed Master."+F216
[F216. BA, p. 55.]

93.3 We request you to share the contents of this letter, in any manner you deem advisable, with the friends residing under your jurisdiction. We are confident <p185> that all the friends will strictly observe the Guardian's exhortation and will not overstep the bounds of courtesy and moderation in the use of a precious relic so lovingly left to us by the Centre of God's Covenant.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


94
Principles of Baha'i Publishing

28 March 1971

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world

Dear Baha'i friends,

94.1 Recognizing the need for a great increase in the provision of Baha'i literature in all languages, we have reviewed the whole process of Baha'i publishing including such matters as reviewing, standards of production, sales and distribution, relationships between National Spiritual Assemblies, the international needs of the teaching work and the position of Baha'i authors. We are both to stimulate the supply of new works and to liberate the channels of publication and distribution. We wish to encourage Baha'i authors as well as to promote production of the basic texts of the Faith.

94.2 We therefore ask you to study the attached memorandum yourselves, pass it on to your Publishing Trust and/or other agencies concerned, and make it available generally to the friends in whatever way you may find practicable.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


Memorandum on Baha'i publishing -- Ridvan 1971

94.3 The following principles and observations are called to the attention of National Spiritual Assemblies and all those concerned with the production of Baha'i publications:

Reviewing

Obligatory

94.3a At this early stage of the Cause all works by Baha'is which deal with the Faith, whether in the form of books, pamphlets, translations, poems, songs, radio and television scripts, films, recordings, etc. must be approved before submission for publication, whether to a Baha'i or non-Baha'i publisher. In <p186> the case of material for purely local consumption the competent authority is the Local Spiritual Assembly, otherwise the National Spiritual Assembly (through its Reviewing Committee) is the approving authority.

A Temporary Measure

94.3b That this measure is both obligatory and temporary is borne out by the following statements of the Guardian: They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy all Baha'i publications and translations, and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation of all Baha'i literature and its distribution to the general public.

(Principles of Baha'i Administration, pp. 38-39)

... the administration of the Cause ... should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation. ... ... the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha'i literature will be definitely abolished; ...

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 9)

Purpose of Review

94.3c The purpose of review is to protect the Faith from misrepresentation and to ensure dignity and accuracy in its presentation. In general the function of a Reviewing Committee is to say whether the work submitted gives an acceptable presentation of the Cause or not. Reviewers may win the gratitude and good will of authors by calling attention to such things as occasional grammatical or spelling errors, but approval should not be refused on such grounds; all such details are editorial matters for agreement between author and publisher.

Translations

94.3d As regards English, the beloved Guardian's translations are obviously the most authentic and should be used. If, for some particular reason, a Baha'i author when quoting a passage of the Sacred Text which has been rendered into English by the Guardian, wishes to use a translation other than that made by the beloved Guardian, his request may be referred to the Universal House of Justice. Passages from the Sacred Text not translated by Shoghi Effendi, but already in English and published with approval, may be used. If an author wishes to make his own translation of a passage not already translated by Shoghi Effendi, the new translation may be submitted to the Universal House of Justice for approval.

<p187>

94.3e With the exception of certain oriental languages such as Turkish, Arabic and Urdu, which are related to the original Persian or Arabic, new translations of the Sacred Text into languages other than English must be made from the Guardian's English translation where it exists. When there is no translation into English by Shoghi Effendi of a particular passage, the National Spiritual Assembly concerned should seek the advice of the Universal House of Justice. When translations already exist, which are not made from the Guardian's English text, but have been published and approved, they may be used.

Reviewing Committees

94.3f It is recommended that Reviewing Committees be small, composed of two or three believers with adequate education and knowledge of the Cause. It is essential that works submitted be dealt with promptly. The standards to be upheld by reviewers are the following: (a) conformity with the Teachings, (b) accuracy, (c) dignity in presentation. The Spiritual Assembly, on the basis of its Reviewing Committee's report, gives or withholds approval of the work.

Approval of Works Already Reviewed Elsewhere

94.3g While a National Spiritual Assembly intending to publish Baha'i literature is encouraged to accept the review of another National Spiritual Assembly, it is not required to do so and has the right to review any work prior to authorizing its publication or republication by its own Publishing Trust or publisher in its area of jurisdiction. This does not apply to works by Hands of the Cause, which are reviewed in the Holy Land.

94.3h A National Spiritual Assembly which receives for approval a manuscript from outside its area of jurisdiction should inquire whether it has already been submitted for review elsewhere, and in the case of its having been refused approval, the reasons for such refusal.

Baha'i Publishers

94.3i Baha'i publishers may not publish any work about the Faith until it has been approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where it is to be published.

94.3j Approval of a work imposes no obligation upon any Baha'i publisher to publish it.

94.3k Whatever "house styles" Publishing Trusts and other Baha'i publishers may adopt, transliteration of oriental terms into languages using the Roman alphabet must at present be according to the system chosen by the Guardian and described in volumes of The Baha'i World.

<p188>

Cables

94.3l Cables in English should be printed exactly as received, without interpolation.+F217
[F217. The Universal House of Justice, in messages dated 16 July 1974 and 18 March 1981, has explained what editing is permissible when publishing its cables: (1) the word 'STOP," when used to indicate the end of a sentence, may be replaced with a period; (2) transliteration of Persian and Arabic words may be added; (3) apostrophes may be added to possessive case nouns; (4) spelling mistakes made in transmission may be corrected; (5) capitalization may follow house style; (6) when both a cable and its letter of transmission are in hand, the date of the cable should be used, and only the text of the cable itself should be printed, unless the letter contains other pertinent information.]

Editing

94.3m Baha'i publishers, when accepting a work for publication, will make their own arrangements with the author on all such matters as accuracy of quotations, documentation, grammar and spelling, dates and even the rewriting of passages which the publisher may consider need improving, or he may ask the author to write additional material or to delete part of the original manuscript. Although such matters are entirely between the author and publisher, any addition, deletion or changes which affect the meaning must be submitted for review with the relative context.

Approval Notice

94.3n Although no Baha'i work may be published without approval, it is not mandatory to print an approval notice in any publication.

Baha'i Authors

94.3o Baha'i authors should welcome review of their works, and can greatly assist promptness in review by supplying a sufficient number of copies of the manuscript for each member of the Reviewing Committee to have one.

94.3p Baha'i authors may submit their works for review to any National Spiritual Assembly, and may send their works, once approved, to any publisher they like, Baha'i or non-Baha'i, at home or abroad. It should be remembered, however, that the approval should be given by the National Spiritual Assembly of the country where the work is to be first published. And in the case of a non-Baha'i publisher the author should insist on use of the system of transliteration at present used by the Faith for languages employing the Roman alphabet.

94.3q It is hoped that Baha'i authors will provide a constant stream of new works. Introductory books, commentaries, dissertations on various aspects of the Revelation, text books, histories, reviews, audio-visual material are all needed to stimulate study of the Faith and to promote the vital teaching work.

<p189>

Sale and Distribution of Baha'i Literature

94.3r 1. Baha'i publications reviewed and published in one country may be sold or, offered for sale anywhere in the world. This includes the right of the publisher or the author to promote the sale of the publication in any legitimate manner including the right to advise the Baha'is in any country of its contents, price and availability. It does not include the right to insist that National Assemblies, their Publishing Trusts or Publishing Committees stock, promote or advertise the publication or offer it for sale. If any National Spiritual Assembly feels that a book would be damaging to the Faith in its country, it may represent this fact to the publisher and author and ask them not to promote it in that particular country. It is hoped that there will be great co-operation among those publishing Baha'i literature, and Publishing Trusts are encouraged to supply to believers, the book trade and libraries, all Baha'i publications from any country.

2. Believers should not be prevented from purchasing Baha'i books reviewed and published in other countries.

3. National Spiritual Assemblies are not obliged to furnish mailing lists of believers to publishers, but publishers may compile their own mailing lists and use them for the announcement and promotion of sale of their Baha'i books and literature.

4. Five copies of every new book and every new edition (not reprints) should be sent to the World Centre.+F218
[F218. For current instructions, consult the Baha'i World Centre Library.]


95
Call for Deepening on the Significance of the Formative Age

15 April 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

95.1 Our Ridvan message this year+F219 called attention to the impending fiftieth anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Baha'u'llah."
[F219. See the following message (no. 96).]

<p190>

95.2 We now call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to formulate and implement plans designed to educate the friends everywhere in their understanding of the significance of the Formative Age of our Faith. As an aid to this programme we attach extracts from the writings of the beloved Guardian on this general theme, and we suggest that these and similar excerpts from the Writings be studied and expounded at the forthcoming Summer Schools, at special sessions of Teaching Institutes, at conferences of the friends, and indeed on any occasions which you may deem suitable.

95.3 We leave it to you to use the wonderful material bequeathed to us by the beloved Guardian on this theme in whatever manner you deem best for your own communities. The study and understanding of this subject will immensely strengthen the faith of the believers as well as their ability to present the message to a waiting world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

Extracts from the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Significance of the Formative Age of our Faith

April 1971

95.4 The passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, so sudden in the circumstances which caused it, so dramatic in its consequences, could neither impede the operation of such a dynamic force nor obscure its purpose. Those fervid appeals, embodied in the Will and Testament of a departed Master, could not but confirm its aim, define its character and reinforce the promise of its ultimate success.

95.5 Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers have suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks launched by a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the Administration of Baha'u'llah's invincible Faith was born. The potent energies released through the ascension of the Centre of His Covenant crystallized into this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha unveiled its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions. ...

"America and the Most Great Peace" -- 21 April 1933, The World Order of Baha'u'llah: Selected Letters, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 89.

95.6 With 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension, and more particularly with the passing of His well-beloved and illustrious sister the Most Exalted Leaf+F220 -- the last survivor of a glorious and heroic age -- there draws to a close the first and most <p191> moving chapter of Baha'i history, marking the conclusion of the Primitive, the Apostolic Age of the Faith of Baha'u'llah.+F221 It was 'Abdu'l-Baha Who, through the provisions of His weighty Will and Testament, has forged the vital link which must for ever connect the age that has just expired with the one we now live in -- the Transitional and Formative period of the Faith -- a stage that must in the fullness of time reach its blossom and yield its fruit in the exploits and triumphs that are to herald the Golden Age of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah.
[F221. The Apostolic Age of the Baha'i Faith, also referred to as the Heroic Age, began in 1844 and concluded in 1921 with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha. For more details, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary.]
[F220. Bahiyyih Khanum, also known as the Greatest Holy Leaf, the daughter of Baha'u'llah and the sister of 'Abdu'l-Baha.]

95.7 Dearly beloved friends! The onrushing forces so miraculously released through the agency of two independent and swiftly successive Manifestations are now under our very eyes and through the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being gradually mustered and disciplined. They are slowly crystallizing into institutions that will come to be regarded as the hallmark and glory of the age we are called upon to establish and by our deeds immortalize. For upon our present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to which we strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the efficacy of the instruments we now fashion -- instruments that must erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which must signalize the Golden Age of our Faith.+F222
[F222. The "blissful Commonwealth" is the future world-wide community of Baha'i nations, states, and localities that will give birth to a Baha'i civilization.]

"The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" -- 8 February 1934, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 98.

95.8 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who incarnates an institution for which we can find no parallel whatsoever in any of the world's recognized religious systems, may be said to have closed the Age to which He Himself belonged and opened the one in which we are now labouring. His Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three ages+F223 that constitute the component parts of the Baha'i Dispensation. The period in which the seed of the Faith had been slowly germinating is thus intertwined both with the one which must witness its efflorescence and the subsequent age in which that seed will have finally yielded its golden fruit.
[F223. The three Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation are the Heroic, Formative, and Golden Ages. For more information, see the entries for Ages and Dispensation in the Glossary.]

95.9 The creative energies released by the Law of Baha'u'llah, permeating and evolving within the mind of 'Abdu'l-Baha have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of <p192> this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant -- the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God -- the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Baha'u'llah's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith.

95.10 The Administrative Order, which ever since 'Abdu'l-Baha's ascension has evolved and is taking shape under our very eyes in no fewer than forty countries of the world, may be considered as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein this new-born child is being nurtured and developed. This Administrative Order, as it expands and consolidates itself, will no doubt manifest the potentialities and reveal the full implications of this momentous Document -- this most remarkable expression of the Will of One of the most remarkable Figures of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah. It will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigour, assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind.

"The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah -- 8 February 1934, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 143-44.

95.11 Dearly beloved friends: Though the Revelation of Baha'u'llah has been delivered, the World Order which such a Revelation must needs beget is as yet unborn. Though the Heroic Age of His Faith is passed, the creative energies which that Age has released have not as yet crystallized into that world society which, in the fullness of time, is to mirror forth the brightness of His glory. Though the framework of His Administrative Order has been erected, and the Formative Period of the Baha'i Era has begun, yet the promised Kingdom into which the seed of His institutions must ripen remains as yet uninaugurated. ...

95.12 "The heights," Baha'u'llah Himself testifies, "which, through the most gracious favour of God, mortal man can attain in this Day are as yet unrevealed to his sight. The world of being hath never had, nor doth it yet possess, the capacity for such a revelation. The day, however, is approaching when the potentialities of so great a favour will, by virtue of His behest, be manifested unto men."+F224
[F224. Baha'u'llah: Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 214.]

<p193>

95.13 For the revelation of so great a favour a period of intense turmoil and wide- spread suffering would seem to be indispensable. Resplendent as has been the Age that has witnessed the inception of the Mission with which Baha'u'llah has been entrusted, the interval which must elapse ere that Age yields its choicest fruit must, it is becoming increasingly apparent, be overshadowed by such moral and social gloom as can alone prepare an unrepentant humanity for the prize she is destined to inherit ...

95.14 As we view the world around us, we are compelled to observe the manifold evidences of that universal fermentation which, in every continent of the globe and in every department of human life, be it religious, social, economic or political, is purging and reshaping humanity in anticipation of the Day when the wholeness of the human race will have been recognized and its unity established. A twofold process, however, can be distinguished, each tending, in its own way and with an accelerated momentum, to bring to a climax the forces that are transforming the face of our planet. The first is essentially an integrating process, while the second is fundamentally disruptive. The former, as it steadily evolves, unfolds a System which may well serve as a pattern for that world polity towards which a strangely disordered world is continually advancing; while the latter, as its disintegrating influence deepens, tends to tear down, with increasing violence, the antiquated barriers that seek to block humanity's progress towards its destined goal. The constructive process stands associated with the nascent Faith of Baha'u'llah, and is the harbinger of the New World Order that Faith must erelong establish. The destructive forces that characterize the other should be identified with a civilization that has refused to answer to the expectation of a new age, and is consequently falling into chaos and decline.

95.15 A titanic, a spiritual struggle, unparalleled in its magnitude yet unspeakably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is being waged as a result of these opposing tendencies, in this age of transition through which the organized community of the followers of Baha'u'llah and mankind as a whole are passing. ...

95.16 It is not my purpose to call to mind, much less to attempt a detailed analysis of, the spiritual struggles that have ensued, or to note the victories that have redounded to the glory of the Faith of Baha'u'llah since the day of its foundation. My chief concern is not with the happenings that have distinguished the First, the Apostolic Age of the Baha'i Dispensation, but rather with the outstanding events that are transpiring in, and the tendencies which characterize, the formative period of its development, this Age of Transition, whose tribulations are the precursors of that Era of blissful felicity which is to incarnate God's ultimate purpose for all mankind.

"The Unfoldment of World Civilization" -- 11 March 1936, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 168-71.

<p194>

95.17 The moment had now arrived for that undying, that world-vitalizing Spirit that was born in Shiraz, that had been rekindled in Tihran, that had been fanned into flame in Baghdad and Adrianople, that had been carried to the West, and was now illuminating the fringes of five continents, to incarnate itself in institutions designed to canalize its outspreading energies and stimulate its growth. The Age that had witnessed the birth and rise of the Faith had now closed. The Heroic, the Apostolic Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah, that primitive period in which its Founders had lived, in which its life had been generated, in which its greatest heroes had struggled and quaffed the cup of martyrdom, and its pristine foundations been established -- a period whose splendours no victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can rival -- had now terminated with the passing of One Whose mission may be regarded as the link binding the Age in which the seed of the new-born Message had been incubating and those which are destined to witness its efflorescence and ultimate fruition.

95.18 The Formative Period, the Iron Age, of that Dispensation was now beginning, the Age in which the institutions, local, national and international, of the Faith of Baha'u'llah were to take shape, develop and become fully consolidated, in anticipation of the third, the last, the Golden Age destined to witness the emergence of a world- embracing Order enshrining the ultimate fruit of God's latest Revelation to mankind, a fruit whose maturity must signalize the establishment of a world civilization and the formal inauguration of the Kingdom of the Father upon earth as promised by Jesus Christ Himself. ...

95.19 The last twenty-three years of the first Baha'i century may thus be regarded as the initial stage of the Formative Period of the Faith, an Age of Transition to be identified with the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, upon which the institutions of the future Baha'i World Commonwealth must needs be ultimately erected in the Golden Age that must witness the consummation of the Baha'i Dispensation. The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes of, this Administrative Order is none other than the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father's Dispensation. ...

95.20 The Administrative Order which this historic Document has established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world's religious systems. ...

95.21 The Document establishing that Order, the Charter of a future world civilization, which may be regarded in some of its features as supplementary to no less weighty a Book than the Kitab-i-Aqdas; ...

God Passes By, rev. ed. (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1987), pp. 324-28.

<p195>

95.22 The first seventy-seven years of the preceding century, constituting the Apostolic and Heroic Age of our Faith, fell into three distinct epochs, of nine, of thirty-nine and of twenty-nine years' duration, associated respectively with the Babi Dispensation and the Ministries of Baha'u'llah and of 'Abdu'l-Baha.+F225 This Primitive Age of the Baha'i Era, unapproached in spiritual fecundity by any period associated with the mission of the Founder of any previous Dispensation, was impregnated, from its inception to its termination, with the creative energies generated through the advent of two independent Manifestations and the establishment of a Covenant unique in the spiritual annals of mankind.
[F225. The Ministry of the Bab lasted from 1844 to 1853; the Ministry of Baha'u'llah, 1853 to 1892; and the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha, 1892 to 1921.]

95.23 The last twenty-three years+F226 of that same century coincided with the first epoch of the second, the Iron and Formative, Age of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah -- the first of a series of epochs which must precede the inception of the last and Golden Age of that Dispensation -- a Dispensation which, as the Author of the Faith has Himself categorically asserted, must extend over a period of no less than one thousand years, and which will constitute the first stage in a series of Dispensations, to be established by future Manifestations, all deriving their inspiration from the Author of the Baha'i Revelation, and destined to last, in their aggregate, no less than five thousand centuries. ...
[F226. 1921-44.]

95.24 During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baha'u'llah -- the election of the Universal House of Justice -- will have been completed, the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized, whilst in the course of the Golden Age, destined to consummate the Dispensation itself, the banner of the Most Great Peace, promised by its Author, will have been unfurled, the World Baha'i Commonwealth will have emerged in the plenitude of its power and splendour, and the birth and efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace, will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind.

"The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour" -- 5 June 1947, Citadel of Faith: Messages to America 1947-1957 (Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1980), pp. 4-6.

<p196>

96
Ridvan Message 1971

Ridvan 1971

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

96.1 On 28 November 1971 the Baha'i World will commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of the Covenant, the Ensign of the Oneness of Mankind, the Mystery of God, an event which signalized at once the end of the Heroic Age of our Faith, the opening of the Formative Age and the birth of the Administrative Order, the nucleus and pattern of the World Order of Baha'u'llah.+F227 As we contemplate the fruits of the Master's Ministry harvested during the first fifty years of the Formative Age, a period dominated by the dynamic and beloved figure of Shoghi Effendi, whose life was dedicated to the systematic implementation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of the Tablets of the Divine Plan -- the two charters provided by the Master for the administration and the teaching of the Cause of God-we may well experience a sense of awe at the prospect of the next fifty years. That first half-century of the Formative Age has seen the Baha'i Community grow from a few hundred centres in 35 countries in 1921, to over 46,000 centres in 135 independent states and 182 significant territories and islands at the present day, has been marked by the raising throughout the world of the framework of the Administrative Order, which in its turn has brought recognition of the Faith by many governments and civil authorities and accreditation in consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and has witnessed the spread to many parts of the world of that "entry by troops" promised by the Master and so long and so eagerly anticipated by the friends.+F228
[F228. CF, p. 117.]
[F227. The Heroic Age (1844-1921) spanned the ministries of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. For a fuller explanation of the Heroic and the Formative Ages, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary. For information on the Administrative Order and the World Order of Baha'u'llah, see the Glossary.]

96.2 A new horizon, bright with intimations of thrilling developments in the unfolding life of the Cause of God, is now discernible. The approach to it is complete victory in the Nine Year Plan. For we should never forget that the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, the current Nine Year Plan, other plans to follow throughout successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, are all phases in the implementation of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, set out in fourteen of His Tablets to North America.

<p197>

Review of Significant Achievements

96.3 The Nine Year Plan is well advanced, and this Ridvan will witness the establishment of seven more National Spiritual Assemblies, five in Africa, one in South America and one in the Pacific, bringing the total number of these exalted bodies to 101. Next Ridvan the nine already announced will be formed, together with 4 more, one each in Afghanistan, Arabia, the Windward Islands and Puerto Rico, bringing the total to 114, six more than called for in the Nine Year Plan. The members of all National Spiritual Assemblies which will be elected at Ridvan 1972 will take part in the election of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1973, when an international convention will be held at the World Centre.

96.4 The Mother Temple of Latin America, the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, is scheduled to be completed by December 1971 and its dedication will take place at the following Ridvan.+F229
[F229. The Baha'i House of Worship in Panama was dedicated 29-30 April 1972. See message no. 108.]

96.5 The wonderful spirit released at the four Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences, together with the practical benefits which accrued to the Cause from them, reinforce our high hopes that the four Conferences to be held this year will be resounding successes and result in more pioneers, more travelling teachers, greater proclamation of the Message and a raising of the spirits and devotion of the friends.

96.6 Our appeal to the friends in December 1970 for support of the Baha'i International Fund,+F230 which had reached a serious condition due to various unforeseen circumstances, has had a magnificent response from many quarters of the world-wide Baha'i Community, and we are heartened to believe that this manifestation of devotion and sacrifice, as it continues and becomes more widespread, will resolve the condition that had threatened to adversely affect the attainment of cherished goals of the Nine Year Plan.
[F230. See message no. 87.]

Services of the Hands of the Cause of God

96.7 The travels and other services of the Hands of the Cause of God continually evoke our thankfulness and delight, even wonder and astonishment. Their deeds are such as to eclipse the acts of the apostles of old and to confer eternal splendour on this period of the Formative Age. On behalf of all the friends everywhere, we offer them our reverent love and gratitude. It is fitting to record here the passing, after seventy years' exemplary service to the Faith, of the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, whose early services in Hawaii were said by the Master to be greater than if she had founded an empire.+F231
[F231. See message no. 90 on Agnes Alexander's passing.]

<p198>

96.8 Restrictive measures, directed against the Faith, and varying in severity from outright oppression to imposition of disabilities make virtually impossible the achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan in a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East, in North West Africa, along the fringes of East Africa and certain areas in South East Asia. It is hoped that those Baha'i communities which enjoy freedom to teach their Faith will so far surpass their own goals as to amply compensate for the disabilities suffered by their less fortunate brothers. The army of travelling teachers must be reinforced and the friends, particularly Baha'i youth, are called to seriously consider how much time they can offer to the Faith during the remaining two years of the Nine Year Plan. Teaching visits of brief or long duration, deputization of others, the undertaking of such tasks as would free other friends for teaching work, are all means of building up, in unison, that final surge which will carry the Plan to victory.

Two Objectives -- Forming Assemblies and Opening Localities

96.9 Two major objectives of the Plan are the formation of new Local Spiritual Assemblies and the opening of new localities. 14,966 Local Spiritual Assemblies are called for; 10,360 are now in existence. 54,503 localities must claim a Baha'i resident;

46,334 do so now. The goal is in sight, the time short. However, the growth reflected in the above statistics has not taken place at all levels and in all areas. For while a number of national communities have already achieved, or even surpassed the goals assigned to them, many face extreme difficulties in attaining theirs. With mutual help and an increase in the momentum already generated there is no doubt that the community of the Most Great Name is capable of sweeping on to total victory, thereby gaining a view of those enthralling vistas at present beyond the horizon.

Immediate and Future Tasks

96.10 The twin processes so clearly described by the beloved Guardian in his essay "The Unfoldment of World Civilization" -- the steady progress and consolidation of the Cause of God on the one hand and the progressive disintegration of a moribund world on the other -- will undoubtedly impose upon us new tasks, the obligation of devising new approaches to teaching, of demonstrating more clearly to a disillusioned world the Baha'i way of life and making more effective the administrative institutions of the Faith.+F232 The authority and influence of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies will have to be strengthened in order to deal with larger Baha'i communities; the international character of the Cause will need to be developed, while the international teaching agency at the World Centre, already referred to in previous general letters, will be established.
[F232. WOB, pp. 161-206.]

<p199>

96.11 However fascinating such considerations, which are likely to be forced upon our attention in the near future, may be, they must not deflect our energies and will from the immediate task -- the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Their achievement is the best preparation for the future and the means of developing new powers and capacities in the Baha'i Community. We are confident that the Army of Light, growing in strength and unity will, by 1973, the centenary year of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, have scaled the heights of yet another peak in the path leading ultimately to the broad uplands of the Most Great Peace.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


97
Message to the Caribbean Conference -- May 1971

May 1971

To the friends of God gathered in the Caribbean Conference

Warmest greetings!

97.1 How propitious that on its mountaintop between the two greatest oceans and the two American continents the Mother Temple of Latin America is rising now in Panama, a land blessed by 'Abdu'l-Baha's prophecy that "in the future it will gain most great importance."+F233 How splendid that the vision projected in the Divine Plan for the Americas has sprung into such vibrant life in this Caribbean basin, in country after country upon its verdant shores, in island after island across its expanse, all named by the Master in His Tablets. What shall we not witness erelong in these places so charged with destiny through the Master's utterances!
[F233. TDP 6.9.]

97.2 The Nine Year Plan, the current stage in the unfoldment of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, is approaching its triumphant end. This Conference is an occasion to sum up what has been won, to determine to achieve the remaining goals for expansion in these blessed lands, and to consolidate the old and new communities of the Most Great Name. Indeed, the winning of our grand Baha'i objectives began just yesterday when, in the early years of the Formative Age, a few travellers crossed the Caribbean. Yet it was not until the successive Plans of the beloved Guardian, culminating in the Ten Year Crusade, when 27 Knights of Baha'u'llah settled throughout this vast area, that the Cause took firm root. By 1963 the countries and islands of the Caribbean claimed less than 400 localities and only 147 Local Spiritual Assemblies. Now <p200> Baha'is are to be found in over 2,500 localities, more than 500 Local Assemblies and 16 National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed, and there have been hundreds of concrete achievements which have brought about our recognition as an independent Faith.

97.3 The Americas have been a melting pot and a meeting place for the races of men, and the need is acute for the fulfilment of Gods promises of the realization of the oneness of mankind. Particularly do the Master and the Guardian point to the Afro-Americans and the Amerindians, two great ethnic groups whose spiritual powers will be released through their response to the Creative Word. But our Teachings must touch all, must include all peoples. And, in this hour of your tireless activity, what special rewards shall come to those who will arise, summoned by 'Abdu'l-Baha's Words: "Now is the time for you to divest yourselves of the garment of attachment to this world that perisheth, to be wholly severed from the physical world, become heavenly angels, and travel to these countries."+F234
[F234. TDP 6.13.]

97.4 The time is short, the needs many. No effort can be foregone, no opportunity wasted. Praised be God that you have gathered in this Conference to consult upon the vital requirements of this highly significant moment. Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine Blessings, and that each soul, armed with the love of God and imbued with His purpose for a struggling mankind, will arise to activate, beyond all present hopes, the vast spiritual potentialities of the Americas.

97.5 To each of you we send our deepest love.

The Universal House of Justice


98
Message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference -- May 1971

May 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the South Pacific Ocean

Dearly loved friends,

98.1 We send our warmest greetings and deepest love on the occasion of the first Conference in the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on the vital needs of the hour!

98.2 Recalling the promise of Baha'u'llah "Should they attempt to conceal His light on the continent, He will assuredly rear His head in the midmost heart <p201> of the ocean and, raising His voice, proclaim: 'I am the lifegiver of the world!'"+F235 we now witness its fulfilment in the vast area of the Pacific Ocean, in island after island mentioned by the Master in the Tablets of the Divine Plan.+F236 How great is the potential for the Faith in localities blessed by these references!
[F236. TDP 6.13.]
[F235. WOB, p. 108.]

98.3 At the inception of the Formative Age,+F237 the Cause was little known here. Agnes Alexander had brought the Teachings to the Hawaiian Islands. Father and Mother Dunn had only recently arrived in Australia. Later the name of Martha Root was to be emblazoned across the Pacific.+F238 Still later, at the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade, a vanguard of twenty-one Knights of Baha'u'llah raised His call as they settled in the islands of this great Ocean. The names of these valiant souls, together with the names of the army of pioneers and teachers who followed, will be forever enshrined in the annals of the Faith.
[F238. Agnes Alexander became a Baha'i in Rome in 1900 and on 26 December 1901 returned to her home in the Hawaiian Islands. After receiving a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Baha encouraging her to travel to Japan to teach the Faith, she went there in 1914 and remained for twenty-three years. John Henry Hyde Dunn and his wife, Clara Dunn, also arose spontaneously after reading 'Abdu'l-Baha's statement in Tablets of the Divine Plan (7.8), "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions, and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it! Please God, ye may achieve it." Mr Dunn resigned his position, and the Dunns left their home in San Francisco for Australia, arriving on 18 April 1920. Mr Dunn was sixty-rwo; Mrs Dunn was fifty. They remained in Australia until their deaths in 1941 and 1960, respectively. Martha Root arose in 1919 in response to 'Abdu'l-Baha's call and embarked upon the first of many journeys to which she dedicated herself throughout the remaining twenty years of her life. All four were elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God, Miss Root being called by Shoghi Effendi the "foremost Hand which 'Abdu'l-Baha's will has raised up first Baha'i century." For accounts of their lives and services, see: Agnes Alexander -- BW 15:423-30; Hyde Dunn -- BW 9:593-97; Clara Dunn -- BW 13:859-62; and Martha Root -- BW 13:643-48, and Mabel Garis, Martha Root. See also O. Z. Whitehead, "Father and Mother Dunn," in Some Baha'is to Remember, pp. 153-75. For the Universal House of Justice's message about Miss Alexander's passing, see no. 90.]
[F237. The second Age of the Baha'i Dispensation, also called the Age of Transition or the Iron Age, the Formative Age began in 1921. For details, see the entry on Ages in the Glossary.]

98.4 Their mighty endeavours brought about the enrolment of thousands of the peoples of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia under the banner of the Most Great Name, the opening in Australasia of more than 800 centres and the establishment of ten pillars of the Universal House of Justice.+F239 We can but marvel at such triumphs attained despite great difficulties imposed by the vast expanse of ocean separating the island communities, especially when it is recalled that in many of these islands even the Christian Gospel was unknown as late as the 1830s.
[F239. The "ten pillars" referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, Fiji Islands, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, North West Pacific Ocean, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South West Pacific Ocean, and Tonga and the Cook Islands.]

<p202>

98.5 How great is the responsibility to continue spreading the Word of God throughout the Pacific. It was in the Tablets of the Divine Plan that 'Abdu'l-Baha called for teachers "speaking their languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God," to "turn their faces to and travel through the three great Island groups of the Pacific Ocean -- Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia ... With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God" to "deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people."+F240
[F240. TDP 7.5.]

98.6 The Nine Year Plan, the current phase of the unfoldment of the Divine Plan, is now approaching its final stages. It is incumbent on the friends to assess what has been accomplished and to anticipate and plan for such rapid acceleration of the teaching and consolidation work as is necessary to win all goals by 1973. Time is short; the needs critical. No effort must be spared; no opportunity overlooked.

98.7 Our prayers ascend at the Holy Threshold that every session of this historic meeting will attract Divine blessings, and that the friends will go forth, armed with the love of God and enthusiasm born of the Spirit, fully prepared to scale the heights of victory!

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


99
Commemoration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha

12 July 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

99.1 We have noted with deep satisfaction that some National Spiritual Assemblies have already initiated plans to befittingly commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the inception of the Formative Age of the Baha'i Dispensation.+F241
[F241. For an account of the commemoration in the Holy Land and throughout the world of the fiftieth anniversary of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing, see BW 15:125-29. For an abridged version of the account by Shoghi Effendi and Lady Blomfield of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, see BW 15:113-24.]

99.2 We feel it would be highly fitting for the three days, 26 to 28 November, during which the Day of the Covenant and the Anniversary of the Ascension <p203> of 'Abdu'l-Baha occur, to be set aside this year by all National Spiritual Assemblies for specially arranged gatherings and conferences, convened either nationally or locally or both, on the three following main themes: The Baha'i Covenant, The Formative Age, and The Life of 'Abdu'l-Baha.

99.3 We hope that these gatherings will serve to intensify the consecration of the workers in the Divine Vineyard in every land, and provide them with the opportunity, especially in the watches of the night of that Ascension, when they will be commemorating the passing hour of our Beloved Master, to renew their pledge to Baha'u'llah and to rededicate themselves to the accomplishment of the as yet unfulfilled goals of the Nine Year Plan.

99.4 The Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, the members of the Universal House of Justice, and all resident and visiting believers at the World Centre will, on that memory- laden night, visit the Shrine of that Mystery of God on behalf of the entire Community of the Blessed Beauty and will supplicate for the stalwart champions of the Faith labouring in the forefront of so many fields of service and winning fresh triumphs in His Name, for the self-sacrificing believers without whose support and sustained assistance most of these victories could not be achieved, and for those who will be inspired to join the ranks of the active and dedicated promoters of His glorious Cause at this crucial stage in the development of the Plan, that we may all meet our obligations and discharge our sacred trust, thus making it possible in the latter months of the Plan for our entire resources to be devoted to an even greater expansion of the Faith in its onward march towards the spiritual conquest of the planet.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


100
Message to the North Pacific Oceanic Conference -- September 1971

September 1971

To the Friends of God assembled in the Conference of the North Pacific Ocean

Dearly loved friends,

100.1 On the eve of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the opening of the Formative Age of our Faith we call to mind the high hopes often expressed by the beloved Master for the spread of the Cause in this region, His mention in the Tablets of the Divine Plan of many of the territories represented in this Conference, <p204> and the faithful and devoted services of that maidservant of Baha'u'llah, the Hand of the Cause Agnes Alexander, who brought the Teachings to these shores in the early years of this century.+F242
[F242. Agnes Alexander travelled to Japan at 'Abdu'l-Baha's encouragement and remained there for twenty-three years (1914-37). For an account of her life and services, see BW 15:423-30. For the Universal House of Justice's message upon her passing, see no. 90; see also the May 1971 message to the South Pacific Oceanic Conference, (no. 98).]

100.2 In these days we are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration of the teaching work in almost every part of the globe. In the North Pacific Ocean area great strides have been made in the advancement of the Cause since that historic Asia Regional Teaching Conference in Nikko just sixteen years ago. The next two years witnessed the formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska and of the Regional National Spiritual Assembly of North East Asia. To the Convention in Tokyo at Ridvan 1957 the Guardian addressed these prophetic words:

100.2a This auspicious event, which posterity will regard as the culmination of a process initiated, half a century ago, in the capital city of Japan, ... marks the opening of the second chapter in the history of the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area. Such a consummation cannot fail to lend a tremendous impetus to its onward march in the entire Pacific Ocean ...

100.3 Since that time National Spiritual Assemblies have also been firmly established in Korea and Taiwan.

100.4 Hokkaido, the site of this Conference, first heard of the Teachings less than fifteen years ago, and the first aboriginal peoples of this land accepted Baha'u'llah just over a decade ago. Now you are the witnesses to the beginnings of a rapid increase in the number of believers. Peoples in other islands and lands of the North Pacific, including the Ryukyus, Guam, the Trust Territories, the western shores of Canada and Alaska and the Aleutians are also enrolling under the banner of the Most Great Name, and next Ridvan yet another pillar of the Universal House of Justice is to be raised in Micronesia. We are heartened at the prospect that from the indigenous peoples of this vast oceanic area -- the Ainu, the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, the Okinawans, the Micronesians, the American Indians, the Eskimos, and the Aleuts -- vast numbers will soon enter the Faith.

100.5 The final hours of the Nine Year Plan are fast fleeting. Praise be to God that you have gathered to consult on ways and means of assuring complete victory so that from these outposts the Teachings may spread to those nearby lands where teeming millions have not as yet heard of the advent of this Most Great Dispensation.

<p205>

100.6 The sweet perfume of victory is in the air, and we must hasten to achieve it while there is yet time. Vital goals, particularly on the home-fronts of Taiwan and Japan, remain to be won, and everywhere the roots of the faith of the believers must sink deeper and deeper into the firm earth of the Teachings lest tempests and trials as yet unforeseen shake or uproot the tender plants so lovingly raised in the islands of this great Ocean and the lands surrounding it.

100.7 As you and the friends in the sister Conference in Reykjavik bring this series of eight Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close, our prayers for the success of your deliberations ascend at the Holy Threshold. May God grant you the resources, the strength, and the determination to attain your highest hopes, and enable you to open a new and glorious chapter in the evolution of His Faith in the North Pacific area.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


101
Message to the North Atlantic Conference -- September 1971

September 1971

To the Friends assembled in the North Atlantic Conference in Reykjavik

Dearly loved friends,

101.1 To each and every one of you in this historic Conference we send our most cordial and loving greetings. The famous island in which you are now gathered, so strategically placed between the two great continents flanking the vast oceanic area which surrounds it, to which the Teachings of Christ were brought a millennium ago, and which, in this Dispensation, was mentioned by the Centre of the Covenant in His Tablets of the Divine Plan,+F243 first heard the Name of Baha'u'llah in 1924 when the Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins stopped briefly in Reykjavik and made the acquaintance of Holmfridur Arnadottir who subsequently became the first Baha'i of Iceland. Eleven years later the beloved Martha Root spent a month in this land which she loved so well. On that occasion, with the help of Holmfridur, the Cause of Baha'u'llah was widely proclaimed in the press, on the radio and from the lecture platform.
[F243. TDP 7.15.]

<p206>

101.2 The great Ocean extending from the equator to the Pole and from Europe to North America, which has been both the barrier and the link between the Old and the New Worlds, has played a highly significant part in the later history of mankind. Long before Columbus arrived in the West Indies the Vikings, forebears of Icelanders of today, were plying its northern waters. In later centuries wave upon wave of Europeans sailed from east to west, engaging in one of the most significant migrations in human history. In the twentieth century 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself sailed across it and back, a voyage unique in the religious history of mankind and creating a remarkable parallel with the Light of the Cause itself, beaming from the East across the great Ocean to the heart of the North American Continent, being reflected back again, firing new beacon lights in Europe and in later years diffusing its radiance throughout the world. The great Republic+F244 whose eastern shore forms part of the boundary of this Ocean has become the Cradle of the Administrative Order and at this present time the banner of the Most Great Name is being raised in island after island of this Ocean, two of which -- Iceland and Ireland -- will raise, next Ridvan, new pillars of the Universal House of Justice.
[F244. The United States of America.]

101.3 The Faith of God is flourishing in the lands around the North Atlantic; a new wind is blowing, promoting an upsurge of proclamation and teaching. In Europe the youth are afire with enthusiasm and vigour. In Canada and the United States a ground swell of unknown proportions is carrying Baha'i communities to heights of unprecedented achievement.

101.4 You are gathered in this Conference to consult on ways and means of winning, in the few fleeting months ahead, the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan. In Europe particularly there is much to be done, but we have full faith that the friends, galvanized by their love for Baha'u'llah and fortified by His promises of Divine assistance, will, with, the enthusiasm which they already display, commit their resources to the tasks ahead and will surely attain the victory.

101.5 The beloved Master prayed that holy souls would arise from the Northern Territories of the West and become signs of God's guidance and standards of the Supreme Concourse. In one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan He refers to an inhospitable island of that area saying:

101.5a Should the fire of the love of God be kindled in Greenland, all the ice of that country will be melted, and its cold weather become temperate -- that is, if the hearts be touched with the heat of the love of God, that territory will become a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise, and the souls, even as fruitful trees, will acquire the utmost freshness and beauty. Effort, the utmost effort is required. ...+F245
[F245. TDP 5.2.]

<p207>

101.6 As the friends gathered in Reykjavik and Sapporo bring this world-wide series of Oceanic and Continental Conferences to a triumphant close our thoughts are with you and our prayers on your behalf rise from the Sacred Threshold. May untold blessings and confirmations be showered upon you as you go forth to labour for the advancement of the Cause of God and may your brows be crowned with victory.

The Universal House of Justice


102
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Musa Banari

5 September 1971

To the Hands of the Cause of God, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the National
Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

102.1 The Hand of the Cause Musa Banani passed to the Abha Kingdom at noon on Saturday, 4 September. The following cable was sent by the Universal House of Justice:

102.1a PROFOUNDLY MOURN PASSING DEARLY LOVED HAND CAUSE MUSA BANANI RECALL WITH DEEP AFFECTION HIS SELFLESS UNASSUMING PROLONGED SERVICES CRADLE FAITH HIS EXEMPLARY PIONEERING UGANDA CULMINATING HIS APPOINTMENT AS HAND CAUSE AFRICA AND PRAISE BELOVED GUARDIAN AS SPIRITUAL CONQUEROR THAT CONTINENT.+F246 INTERMENT HIS REMAINS AFRICAN SOIL UNDER SHADOW MOTHER TEMPLE ENHANCES SPIRITUAL LUSTRE THAT BLESSED SPOT. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES PROGRESS HIS NOBLE SOUL. MAY AFRICA NOW ROBBED STAUNCH VENERABLE PROMOTER DEFENDER FAITH FOLLOW HIS EXAMPLE CHEER HIS HEART ABHA KINGDOM. CONVEY FAMILY MOST TENDER SYMPATHIES ADVISE HOLD MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD BEFITTING GATHERINGS MOTHER TEMPLES. WITH LOVING BAHA'I GREETINGS,
[F246. For an account of the life and services of Musa Banani, see BW 15:421-23.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p208>

103
Spiritual Character of Baha'i' Elections

11 November 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

103.1 A compilation has been made from the writings of the beloved Guardian about the spiritual character of Baha'i elections.+F247 We are sharing these extracts with you to bring to the attention of the friends under your jurisdiction in any manner you deem advisable.
[F247. See CC I:315-18 for a revised version provided by the Universal House of Justice in 1989.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


104
Formation of Thirteen New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1972

7 December 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

104.1 HAPPY ANNOUNCE DECISION ADD RWANDA LIST NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO BE FORMED NEXT RIDVAN. REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE FIRST CONVENTIONS AS FOLLOWS HANDS CAUSE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM WINDWARD ISLANDS UGO GIACHERY PUERTO RICO 'ALI-AKBAR FURUTAN NEPAL SHU'A'U'LLAH 'ALA'I EAST PAKISTAN ADELBERT MUEHLSCHLEGEL RWANDA SEYCHELLES JALAL KHAZEH SINGAPORE ENOCH OLINGA ICELAND WILLIAM SEARS IRELAND COLLIS FEATHERSTONE NORTHWEST PACIFIC RAHMATU'LLAH MUHAJIR MALAGASY REPUBLIC REUNION COUNSELLOR HADI RAHMANI AFGHANISTAN. PRAYING SHRINES OUTSTANDING SUCCESS THESE HISTORIC GATHERINGS ELECTING MEMBERS NEW PILLARS HOUSE JUSTICE FOCAL CENTRES SPIRITUAL INVIGORATION ILLUMINATION NEWLY EMERGING NATIONAL COMMUNITIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p209>

105
World Centre Developments -- Erection of Obelisk and Extension of Gardens

13 December 1971

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

l05.1 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTRE. AFTER MANY YEARS DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS ERECTION OBELISK MARKING SITE FUTURE MASHRIQU'L-ADHKAR MOUNT CARMEL COMPLETED THUS FULFILLING PROJECT INITIATED BELOVED GUARDIAN EARLY YEARS CRUSADE. GARDENS BAHJI HAIFA EXTENDED BY DEVELOPMENT QUADRANT SOUTHEAST MANSION BAHA'U'LLAH AND ESTABLISHMENT FORMAL GARDEN SOUTHWEST CORNER PROPERTY SURROUNDING SHRINE BAB.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

106
Surpassing the Nine Year Plan goal for the Number of Baha'i localities

14 February 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

106.1 OVERJOYED ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EVERY LAND NUMBER LOCALITIES NOW 56645 EXCEEDING BY OVER 2500 ORIGINAL GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN. OFFERING PRAYERS THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD FOR DIVINE BOUNTIES SURROUNDING SACRIFICIAL EFFORTS LOVE-INTOXICATED SUPPORTERS HIS BLESSED NAME. URGE BELIEVERS THOSE AREAS WHOSE TEACHING GOALS ARE STILL OUTSTANDING EXERT UTMOST EFFORT COURSE SWIFTLY PASSING REMAINING MONTHS PLAN WIN THEIR GOALS ENABLING THEM JOIN RANKS THEIR VICTORIOUS BRETHREN WHO ARE URGED CONTINUE THEIR VIGOROUS BRILLIANT EXPLOITS IN SERVICE GOD'S INFINITELY GLORIOUS CAUSE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p210>

107
Release of a compilation on music and singing

1 March 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

107.1 In these days when music and singing are playing such an important and effective part in the teaching work, we feel it appropriate and timely to share with you the enclosed compilation of extracts from the Writings of our Faith on the subject.+F248
[F248. See CC II:73-82.]

107.2 We leave it to your discretion to decide in which manner and to what extent to share the attached extracts with the friends and communities under your jurisdiction. With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


108
Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama

19 March 1972

To the Beloved of God gathered in the Conference called on the occasion of the Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America

Dear Baha'i friends,

108.1 With praise and gratitude to God the whole Baha'i world acclaims the dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, an edifice which glorifies the Cause of Baha'u'llah at that point where, the beloved Master asserted, "the Occident and the Orient find each other united through the Panama Canal," where "The teachings, once established ..., will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."+F249
[F249. TDP 14.8.]

108.2 This historic project, in a hemisphere of infinite spiritual potentiality, fulfils one of the most important goals of the Nine Year Plan, and brings untold joy to the hearts of the friends in every land. Privileged are they who share in the raising of this glorious Silent Teacher with deeds of loving generosity and sacrifice. A crown to the labours of all those who have striven to establish the Faith of Baha'u'llah in Latin America, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the rallying <p211> point for the Baha'is of those lands, whether they are of the blessed Indian peoples or represent the other races whose diversity enriches the nations of that hemisphere, will be a fountainhead of spiritual confirmations, and this mighty achievement will endow the Baha'i Community with new and greater capacities, enabling the friends in Latin America, and particularly in this privileged land of Panama, to win victories that will eclipse all their past achievements.

108.3 The threefold task to which your attention is now directed comprises the proclamation, expansion and consolidation of the Faith. We urge you to concentrate your deliberations not only on the exchange of ideas for the prosecution of this task, but on ways and means for fostering collaboration among the Baha'i Communities of Central and South America so that the most fruitful harvest may be gathered in all three aspects of the teaching work and enable you to achieve your remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

108.4 Our loving, ardent prayers will be offered at the Sacred Threshold, that the Almighty may inspire your discussions in this historic Conference and crown all your efforts with victory.+F250
[F250. The International Teaching Conference held in conjunction with the dedication of the House of Worship was held in Panama City, 28 April -- 2 May 1972.]

The Universal House of Justice


109
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Schools and Institutes

10 April 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

109.1 In view of the increasing importance of Baha'i summer schools, a number of excerpts from the writings of the beloved Guardian have been compiled which set forth objectives to be attained by and principles underlying the operation of this institution.+F251 Many of these objectives and principles apply to Teaching Institutes, and a section of quotations from the Universal House of Justice on these Institutes is included.
[F251. See CC I:25-44.]

109.2 We share these extracts with the friends in the hope that they will be assisted and guided in the development of these vital institutions of the Faith.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p212>

110
Ridvan Message 1972

Ridvan 1972

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

110.1 The opening of the final year of the Nine Year Plan sees the Baha'i world community poised for overwhelming victory. With grateful hearts we acknowledge the continuing confirmations which have attended its efforts and the Divine bounties which have never ceased to rain down upon this blessed, this ever-developing embryonic world order.

Review of significant Achievements

110.2 The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama, the Mother Temple of Latin America, will be dedicated this Ridvan. Three beloved Hands of the Cause, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum representing the Universal House of Justice, Ugo Giachery and Dhikru'llah Khadem will attend this historic ceremony. The imaginative and inspiring concept of the architect, Peter Tillotson, has been wonderfully realized and we extend to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama on behalf of the entire Baha'i world, loving congratulations on their achievement.

110.3 Although the dissolution of the National Spiritual Assembly of 'Iraq has, unhappily, resulted from the persecution of the Faith in that land, the thirteen new National Spiritual Assemblies which will come into being this Ridvan will bring the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to 113.

110.4 The goals requiring acquisition of properties and establishment of Teaching Institutes are well in hand and, in those countries where legal circumstances permit, incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Baha'i marriage and Holy Days are making good progress.

Teaching Goals

110.5 It is the teaching goals which must engage our attention and effort. Although more than 260 territories have achieved their assigned goals of localities where Baha'is reside, and in some cases have exceeded them, enabling the Baha'i world community to rejoice in having outstripped on a world scale the total number of localities envisaged in the Plan, there are still some 60 territories where this goal is yet to be won and where its attainment must be given absolute priority between now and Ridvan 1973. It is expected that a large number of new Local Spiritual Assemblies will be established at Ridvan and immediately after the position of this goal is ascertained a detailed listing of all territories throughout the world which have not yet won their goals <p213> for localities and Local Spiritual Assemblies will be sent to every National Spiritual Assembly for urgent release to the friends.

International Cooperation

110.6 It is hoped that during this last year of the Plan the principle of collaboration between National Spiritual Assemblies will be extended far beyond the special tasks set in the Nine Year Plan. Those communities which have already attained their goals or are in clear sight of them should consider the world picture as disclosed by the listing mentioned above and do everything they can, without jeopardizing their own success, to assist their fellow communities with pioneers and travelling teachers, or in any other way possible. Such a process will greatly consolidate the unity and brotherhood of the Baha'i world community.

Pioneering goals

110.7 In the meantime we call on all believers everywhere to prayerfully consider their personal circumstances, and to arise while there is yet time, to fill the international pioneer goals of the Plan. There are 267 pioneer needs still to be answered -- 75 in Africa, 57 in the Americas, 40 in Asia, 30 in Australasia and 65 in Europe.

New Requirements of the Ever-Growing World Order

110.8 The extraordinary advances made since that Ridvan of 1964 when the Nine Year Plan was begun, continuing the organized and purposeful process of teaching on a world scale instituted by our beloved Guardian when he launched the Ten Year Crusade, force upon our attention new requirements of this ever-growing world order both for its own organic life and in relation to the disintegrating world society in which it is set. The divergence between the ways of the world and of the Cause of God becomes ever wider. And yet the two must come together. The Baha'i community must demonstrate in ever- increasing measure its ability to redeem the disorderliness, the lack of cohesion, the permissiveness, the godlessness of modern society; the laws, the religious obligations, the observances of Baha'i life, Baha'i moral principles and standards of dignity, decency and reverence, must become deeply implanted in Baha'i consciousness and increasingly inform and characterize this community. Such a process will require a great development in the maturity and effectiveness of Local Spiritual Assemblies. The purposes and standards of the Cause must be more and more understood and courageously upheld. The influence of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the work of their Auxiliary Boards must develop and spread through the entire fabric of the Baha'i community. A vast systematic programme for the production of Baha'i literature must be promoted.

<p214>

Our Taask -- Achieving Every Attainable Goal of the Plan

110.9 Our immediate and inescapable task, however, is to ensure that every attainable goal of the Nine Year Plan is achieved. This must be done at all costs. No sacrifice, no deferment of cherished plans must be refused in order to discharge this "Most important" of the many "important" duties facing us. Who can doubt that one last supreme effort will be crowned with success? Even now the national community to bear the laurels of first achieving every task assigned to it, Fiji, leads the procession of rejoicing and victorious communities within the Army of Light. We may well emulate Baha'i youth whose recent surge forward into the van of proclamation and teaching is one of the most encouraging and significant trends in the Faith, and who storm the gates of heaven for support in their enterprises by long-sustained, precedent and continuing prayer. We are all able to call upon Baha'u'llah for His Divine, all-powerful aid, and He will surely help us. For He is the Hearer of prayers, the Answerer.

The Universal House of Justice


111
Elucidation of the Nature of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

24 April 1972

To the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

111.1 Recently we have received queries from several sources about the nature of the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and its relationship to the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, and we feel it is timely for us to give further elucidation.

111.2 As with so many aspects of the Administrative Order, understanding of this subject will develop and clarify with the passage of time as that Order grows organically in response to the power and guidance of Almighty God and in accordance with the needs of a rapidly developing world-wide community. However, certain aspects are already so clear as to require a proper understanding by the friends. The rulers and the learned

111.3 In the Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Book of His Covenant) Baha'u'llah wrote "Blessed are the rulers and the learned among the people of Baha,"+F252 and referring to this very passage the beloved Guardian wrote on 4 November 1931:
[F252. TB, p. 221.]

<p215>

111.3a In this holy cycle the "learned" are, on the one hand, the Hands of the Cause of God, and, on the other, the teachers and diffusers of His teachings who do not rank as Hands, but who have attained an eminent position in the teaching work. As to the "rulers" they refer to the members of the Local, National and International Houses of Justice. The duties of each of these souls will be determined in the future.

(Translated from the Persian)

The Learned

111.4 The Hands of the Cause of God, the Counsellors and the members of the Auxiliary Boards fall within the definition of the "learned" given by the beloved Guardian. Thus they are all intimately interrelated and it is not incorrect to refer to the three ranks collectively as one institution.

111.5 However, each is also a separate institution in itself. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was brought into existence in the time of Baha'u'llah and when the Administrative Order was proclaimed and formally established by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will, it became an auxiliary institution of the Guardianship. The Auxiliary Boards, in their turn, were brought into being by Shoghi Effendi as an auxiliary institution of the Hands of the Cause.

111.6 When, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Universal House of Justice decided that it could not legislate to make possible the appointment of further Hands of the Cause, it became necessary for it to create a new institution, appointed by itself, to extend into the future the functions of protection and propagation vested in the Hands of the Cause and, with that in view, so to develop the Institution of the Hands that it could nurture the new institution and function in close collaboration with it as long as possible. It was also vital so to arrange matters as to make the most effective use of the unique services of the Hands themselves.

111.7 The first step in this development was taken in November 1964 when the Universal House of Justice formally related the Institution of the Hands to itself by stating that "Responsibility for decisions on matters of general policy affecting the institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn." At that time the number of members of the Auxiliary Boards was increased from 72 to 135, and the Hands of the Cause in each continent were called upon to appoint one or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work.

111.8 In June 1968 the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors was brought into being, fulfilling the goal of extending the aforementioned functions of the Hands into the future, and this momentous decision was accompanied by the next step in the development of the Institution of the Hands <p216> of the Cause: the continental Hands were to serve henceforth on a world-wide basis and operate individually in direct relationship to the Universal House of Justice; the Hands ceased to be responsible for the direction of the Auxiliary Boards, which became an auxiliary institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors; the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land were given the task of acting as liaison between the Universal House of Justice and the Boards of Counsellors; and the working interrelationships between the Hands and the Boards of Counsellors were established. Reference was also made to the future establishment by the Universal House of Justice, with the assistance of the Hands residing in the Holy Land, of an international teaching centre in the Holy Land.+F253
[F253. For messages about the establishment and duties of the International Teaching Centre, see nos. 131, 132, and 361.]

111.9 In July 1969 and at Ridvan 1970 further increases in the numbers of Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members were made.

111.10 Other developments in the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and the Institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors will no doubt take place in future as the international teaching centre comes into being and as the work of the Counsellors expands.

Distinctions Between the Rulers and the Learned

111.11 We have noted that the Hands, the Counsellors and the Auxiliary Boards are sometimes referred to by the friends as the "appointive arm" of the Administrative Order in contradistinction to the Universal House of Justice and the National and Local Assemblies which constitute the "elective arm." While there is truth in this description as it applies to the method used in the creation of these institutions, the friends should understand that it is not only the fact of appointment that particularly distinguishes the institutions of the Hands, Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards. There are, for instance, many more believers appointed to committees in the "elective arm" than are serving in the so-called "appointive arm." A more striking distinction is that whereas the "rulers" in the Cause function as corporate bodies, the "learned" operate primarily as individuals.

Exclusion of Past Evils and Retention of Beneficial Elements

111.12 In a letter written on 14 March 1927 to the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Istanbul, the Guardian's Secretary explained, on his behalf, the principle in the Cause of action by majority vote. He pointed out how, in the past, it was certain individuals who "accounted themselves as superior in knowledge and elevated in position" who caused division, and that it was those "who pretended to be the most distinguished of all" who "always proved themselves to be the source of contention." "But praise be to God," he continued, "that the Pen of Glory has done away with the unyielding and dictatorial views of the <p217> learned and the wise, dismissed the assertions of individuals as an authoritative criterion, even though they were recognized as the most accomplished and learned among men and ordained that all matters be referred to authorized centres and specified Assemblies. Even so, no Assembly has been invested with the absolute authority to deal with such general matters as affect the interests of nations. Nay rather, He has brought all the assemblies together under the shadow of one House of Justice, one divinely appointed Centre, so that there would be only one Centre and all the rest integrated into a single body, revolving around one expressly designated Pivot, thus making them all proof against schism and division." (Translated from the Persian.)

111.13 Having permanently excluded the evils admittedly inherent in the institutions of the "learned" in past dispensations, Baha'u'llah has nevertheless embodied in His Administrative Order the beneficent elements which exist in such institutions, elements which are of fundamental value for the progress of the Cause, as can be gauged from even a cursory reading of the Guardian's message of 4 June 1957.

111.14 The existence of institutions of such exalted rank, comprising individuals who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Baha'i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past. The newness and uniqueness, of this concept make it difficult to grasp; only as the Baha'i Community grows and the believers are increasingly able to contemplate its administrative structure uninfluenced by concepts from past ages, will the vital interdependence of the "rulers" and "learned" in the Faith be properly understood, and the inestimable value of their interaction be fully recognized.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


112
Message to Baha'i Unity Conference, Ganado, Arizona

18 May 1972

Baha'i Unity Conference Ganado, Arizona

Beloved friends,

112.1 Praise be to the Almighty that you have gathered in that beautiful spot in a spirit of love and harmony for the purpose of strengthening the bonds of unity between yourselves and among all men.

<p218>

112.2 The All-Wise Creator of earth and heaven has from the beginning which has no beginning sent to His peoples Divine Messengers to guide them to the Straight Path. These Wise Ones have come to establish the unity of the Kingdom in human hearts. This great evolutionary process of building the organic unity of the human race has entered a new stage with this mighty message of Baha'u'llah. His voice is the voice of the Great Spirit. His love for humankind is the force of the New Age.

112.3 He who sends the rain, who causes the sun and the stars to shine, the rivers to flow, the winds to blow and the earth to give forth her bounties has in this Great Day sent to all mankind Baha'u'llah. It is this Great One who has opened the door of divine knowledge to every soul. It is His teachings that will establish world unity and bring about universal peace.

112.4 The people of the world are the tools in His hand. They must strive to understand His message and to walk in the path of His divine guidance. Every human being is responsible in this day to seek the truth for himself and thereafter to live according to that wise counsel. The old ones have all longed for this sweet message. Praise God that you have found it.

112.5 Now awakened to new wisdom, now guided to the straight path, now illumined with this mighty message, strive you day and night to guide and assist the thirsty ones in all lands to the ever-flowing fountain, the wandering ones to this fortress of certainty, the ignorant ones to this source of knowledge and the seekers to that One for whom their hearts long.

112.6 May your consultation reach so high a level of endeavour and purpose that the Great One will open before your faces the doors of the paradise of wisdom and love and cause the light of the Abha Beauty to shine in your midst.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


113
Establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies during the Final Year of the Nine Year Plan

28 May 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

113.1 In order to stimulate the teaching work in every land and encourage the friends during this last year of the Nine Year Plan we have decided that as soon as the number of adult believers in any locality reaches or exceeds nine they are permitted to form their Local Spiritual Assembly immediately, rather than wait until 21 April 1973.

<p219>

113.2 We hope moreover that, especially in the areas where the people are entering the Cause in troops, the implementation of this decision will increase the number of those communities which will, without the need for outside assistance, re-elect their Assemblies on the first day of Ridvan in 1973 and in succeeding years.

113.3 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that during the months ahead the steadily mounting number of these divine institutions will tremendously reinforce the labours of the valiant servants of the Blessed Beauty in every clime.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


114
Release of a Compilation on the National Spiritual Assembly

4 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

114.1 We have just made a compilation of extracts from letters written by Shoghi Effendi or by his secretaries on his behalf about the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly.+F254 We have not attempted a complete compilation of all the available texts on the subject, but it is hoped that the enclosed material will be of assistance to members of National Spiritual Assemblies and the friends generally in their appreciation of this vital institution of the Faith.
[F254. See CC II:83-136.]

114.2 We leave it to your discretion to determine in what manner you may wish to share the material with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p220>

115
Announcement of the Decision to Build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

7 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

115.1 JOYFULLY INFORM BAHA'I WORLD RANGE AND ACCELERATION GROWTH CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH LOCAL NATIONAL LEVELS AND RESULTANT EXPANSION ACTIVITIES WORLD CENTRE IMPEL US NOW ANNOUNCE ERE COMPLETION NINE YEAR PLAN DECISION INITIATE PROCEDURE SELECT ARCHITECT DESIGN BUILDING FOR SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE ENVISAGED BELOVED GUARDIAN ON FAR FLUNG ARC HEART MOUNT CARMEL CENTRING SPOT CONSECRATED RESTING PLACES SISTER BROTHER MOTHER BELOVED MASTER.+F255 CONSTRUCTION THIS CENTRE LEGISLATION GOD'S WORLD-REDEEMING ORDER WILL CONSTITUTE FIRST MAJOR STEP DEVELOPMENT AREA SURROUNDING HOLY SHRINE SINCE COMPLETION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE EXPRESS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING SERVICES ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN IN PREPARATION FOR THIS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING. FERVENTLY PRAYING PROJECT NOW INITIATED MAY DURING YEARS IMMEDIATELY AHEAD PROGRESS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SPEEDILY ATTAIN MAJESTIC CONSUMMATION.+F256
[F256. For an explanation of the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 164. For information about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see messages nos 136, 140, 165, 186, and 354.]
[F255. Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, is 'Abdu'l-Baha's sister; Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch, His brother; and Asiyih Khanum, the Most Exalted Leaf, His mother.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


116
Plans for Commemorating the Centenary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

30 June 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

116.1 At Ridvan 1973 we shall, God willing, witness the successful conclusion of the nine-year-long, world-encircling enterprise which inaugurated the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.+F257 The victorious culmination of this initial stage of the tenth part of the majestic process set in motion over six thousand years ago will prepare the way for the next stage in the series of crusades <p221> destined to achieve the penetration of the Light of God's Faith into the remaining territories of the planet and the erection of the entire machinery of Baha'u'llah's Administrative Order throughout the world.+F258
[F258. For Shoghi Effendi's description (see MBW, pp. 153-55) of that "vast", "majestic" ten-part process that began "at the dawn of the Adamic cycle" and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the Glossary.]
[F257. The second epoch of the Divine Plan began in 1963 at the commencement of the Nine Year Plan. See the entries on Divine Plan and Epochs in the Glossary.]

116.2 On the Twelfth Day of Ridvan, the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land for the Third International Convention will participate in the commemoration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.+F259 To enable all believers throughout the world to share in the observance of this highly significant centenary, national and local celebrations for Baha'is only should be held on that day.
[F259. The Kitab-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Book) was referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the Mother Book" of Baha'u'llah's Dispensation and "the Charter of His New World Order." The publication of a copiously annotated English translation was a goal of the Six Year Plan (see message no. 456). In its Ridvan 1992 letter the Universal House of Justice announced the forthcoming publication of the annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas during the Holy Year 1992-93. For background on the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 27. For the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 125.]

116.3 We call upon each community to undertake, during the period between the First Day of the Most Great Festival and the commemoration of the Declaration of the Blessed Bab,+F260 a widespread proclamation campaign which would include publicity on the completion of the Nine Year Plan and the holding of the third International Convention at the Baha'i World Centre in the Holy Land.
[F260. 21 April (the First Day of Ridvan) -- 23 May (the Declaration of the Bab). The Third International Convention was held 26 April -- 2 May 1973, on the sixth through twelfth days of the Ridvan Festival.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


117
Exhortation to Blot Out Every Last Trace of Prejudice

13 July 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

117.1 The blessings of the Ancient Beauty are being showered upon the followers of the Greatest Name. Our efforts to serve Him and humanity are being crowned with victories throughout the world. As we give thanks for these splendid achievements, as the Cause of God spreads in every land, as our institutions <p222> become more perfected, as the number of believers increases over the face of the planet, our individual lives must increasingly mirror forth each day the teachings of Baha'u'llah and we must so live our lives that all will see in us a different people. The acts we perform, the attitudes we manifest, the very words we speak should be an attraction, a magnet, drawing the sincere to the Divine Teachings.

117.2 Baha'u'llah tells us that prejudice in its various forms destroys the edifice of humanity. We are adjured by the Divine Messenger to eliminate all forms of prejudice from our lives. Our outer lives must show forth our beliefs. The world must see that, regardless of each passing whim or current fashion of the generality of mankind, the Baha'i lives his life according to the tenets of his Faith. We must not allow the fear of rejection by our friends and neighbours to deter us from our goal: to live the Baha'i life. Let us strive to blot out from our lives every last trace of prejudice -- racial, religious, political, economic, national, tribal, class, cultural, and that which is based on differences of education or age. We shall be distinguished from our non-Baha'i associates if our lives are adorned with this principle.

117.3 If we allow prejudice of any kind to manifest itself in us, we shall be guilty before God of causing a setback to the progress and real growth of the Faith of Baha'u'llah. It is incumbent upon every believer to endeavour with a fierce determination to eliminate this defect from his thoughts and acts. It is the duty of the institutions of the Faith to inculcate this principle in the hearts of the friends through every means at their disposal including summer schools, conferences, institutes and study classes.

117.4 The fundamental purpose of the Faith of Baha'u'llah is the realization of the organic unity of the entire human race. Bearing this glorious destiny in mind, and with entire reliance on the promises of the Blessed Beauty, we should follow His exhortation:

117.4a We love to see you at all times consorting in amity and concord within the paradise of My good-pleasure, and to inhale from your acts the fragrance of friendliness and unity, of loving-kindness and fellowship. ...+F261
[F261. GWB, p. 315.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p223>

118
Embryonic Nature of Local Spiritual Assemblies

30 July 1972

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Bolivia

Dear Baha'i friends,

118.1 In reply to your letter of 4 July asking guidance as to what is a functioning Local Spiritual Assembly, we offer you the following comments:

118.2 Local Spiritual Assemblies are at the present newly born institutions, struggling for the most part to establish themselves both in the Baha'i community and in the world. They are as yet only embryos of the majestic institutions ordained by Baha'u'llah in His Writings. This is also true of National Spiritual Assemblies. In the following passage written by the Secretary of the Guardian on his behalf this point is elucidated:

118.2a The Baha'i Administration is only the first shaping of what in future will come to be the social life and laws of community living. As yet the believers are only just beginning to grasp and practice it properly. So we must have patience if at times it seems a little self-conscious and rigid in its workings. It is because we are learning something very difficult but very wonderful -- how to live together as a community of Baha'is, according to the glorious teachings.

(From letter dated 14 October 1941 to two believers)

118.3 What we find expounded in the writings of our Faith is the lofty station Local Spiritual Assemblies must attain in their gradual and at times painful development. In encouraging these Assemblies to attain this aim, there is no harm in the National Spiritual Assembly mentioning certain minimum requirements from time to time, provided it is clear that non-attainment of such standards, which by their very nature must be continuously revised with changing conditions, do not justify the withdrawal of recognition from any weak Assemblies. It would not be profitable therefore for the Universal House of Justice to lay down universal minimum standards for properly functioning Local Spiritual Assemblies, as these must necessarily differ from country to country, and even from district to district within the same country, in the process of the evolution of these Assemblies into Houses of Justice, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah. Salient objectives of the Local Spiritual Assembly

118.4 Among the more salient objectives to be attained by the Local Spiritual Assembly in its process of development to full maturity are to act as a loving shepherd to the Baha'i flock, promote unity and concord among the friends, direct the teaching work, protect the Cause of God, arrange for Feasts, <p224> anniversaries and regular meetings of the community, familiarize the Baha'is with its plans, invite the community to offer its recommendations, promote the welfare of youth and children, and participate, as circumstances permit, in humanitarian activities. In its relationship to the individual believer, the Assembly should continuously invite and encourage him to study the Faith, to deliver its glorious message, to live in accordance with its teachings, to contribute freely and regularly to the Fund, to participate in community activities, and to seek refuge in the Assembly for advice and help, when needed.

118.5 In its own meetings it must endeavour to develop skill in the difficult but highly rewarding art of Baha'i consultation, a process which will require great self-discipline on the part of all members and complete reliance on the power of Baha'u'llah. It should hold regular meetings and ensure that all its members are currently informed of the activities of the Assembly, that its secretary carries out his duties, and its treasurer holds and disburses the funds of the Faith to its satisfaction, keeping proper accounts and issuing receipts for all contributions. Many Assemblies find that some of their activities such as teaching, observance of Feasts and anniversaries, solution of personal problems, and other duties are best dealt with by committees appointed by the Assembly and responsible to it.

The Baha'i Quality of Leadership

118.6 In all cases submitted for its consideration the Assembly must uphold the standard of justice in delivering its verdict, and in all its dealings with the community and the outside world it must strive to evince the qualities of leadership. The following quotation from a letter of the Guardian summarizes in simple terms the immediate goal every Assembly should set for itself in its efforts to pursue the exalted standard of perfection inculcated in our writings:

118.6a The first quality for leadership, both among individuals and Assemblies is the capacity to use the energy and competence that exists in the rank and file of its followers. Otherwise the more competent members of the group will go at a tangent and try to find elsewhere a field of work where they could use their energy.

118.6b Shoghi Effendi hopes that the Assemblies will do their utmost in planning such teaching activities and that every single soul will be kept busy. (From letter dated 30 August 1930 written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

118.7 In the compilation of texts we sent to all National Spiritual Assemblies in August 1970, and in the By-Laws of a Local Spiritual Assembly, you will find all the objectives Local Spiritual Assemblies must aim at achieving in their <p225> process of growth and development.+F262 We recommend that you restudy these documents carefully and discuss this highly important problem with the Counsellors of your zone, who will be only too glad to help you encourage the development of Local Spiritual Assemblies in your country.
[F262. The compilation accompanied a letter dated 11 August 1970 (no. 84). For the compilation, See CC II:39-60. The by-laws of a local spiritual assembly can be found in The Baha'i World, beginning with volume 3.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


119
Passing of Ishraq-Khavari, Preeminent Baha'i scholar

6 August 1972

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran

119.1 GRIEVED LOSS PRE-EMINENT SCHOLAR VALUED PROMOTER FAITH ISHRAQ- KHAVARI.+F263 HIS PRECIOUS INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES OVER SEVERAL DECADES WON HIM APPRECIATION BELOVED GUARDIAN. HIS SCHOLARLY CONTRIBUTIONS IMMORTALIZED THROUGH NUMEROUS USEFUL COMPILATIONS TREATISES BEARING ELOQUENT TRIBUTE HIS DEVOTION DEDICATION CAUSE GOD. URGE HOLD APPROPRIATE MEMORIAL GATHERINGS ASSURE RELATIVES FRIENDS FERVENT PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES.
[F263. For an account of the life and services of Ishraq-Khavari, see BW I5:5I8-20.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


120
Release of a Compilation on Newsletters

24 August 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

120.1 It is clear from the writings of our beloved Guardian that the initiation, regular publication and distribution of a Baha'i newsletter by each National Spiritual Assembly is one of its vital functions and a means of promoting understanding and unity among the friends, of stimulating their interest and deepening their knowledge of the teachings, and of co-ordinating the activities of the Faith. <p226>

120.2 In order to assist National Spiritual Assemblies to properly assess the importance of this activity and take effective steps to ensure that such a newsletter is issued and widely distributed among the friends, we attach a compilation of extracts on this subject from the letters written by the Guardian or on his behalf.+F264 We urge you to study these extracts carefully and consider, as called for, ways and means of improving the standard, ensuring the regular release and facilitating the circulation of your news bulletin. We realize, of course, that in some countries it is necessary to issue the bulletin in more than one language.
[F264. The compilation is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

120.3 A section of the attached extracts also deals with local newsletters. In some countries it may be feasible and desirable to encourage the issue of such bulletins by responsible Local Spiritual Assemblies.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


121
Martyrdom of Three Iranian Baha'i Students in the Philippine Islands

19 September 1972

To the Baha'is of the world

121.1 With feelings of deep sorrow we relate to the Baha'i world the distressing circumstances surrounding the murder of three Iranian Baha'i students, pioneers to the Philippine Islands.

121.2 Parviz Sadiqi, Faramarz Vujdani and Parviz Furughi were among a number of Iranian Baha'i youth who answered the call for pioneers. With eleven others they registered at the Universities in Mindanao with the intention of completing their studies and proclaiming the Faith of Baha'u'llah. These three had conceived the plan of making teaching trips to a rural area inhabited by Muslims. When on 31 July the authorities of Mindanao State University were notified that they had left the campus the previous day and had not yet returned, search parties were immediately formed and the assistance of the police and local authorities obtained. After inquiries and search, led entirely by President Tamano of Mindanao State University, the bodies of the three young men were found in a shallow grave. They had been shot, grievously mutilated and two had been decapitated. The bodies were removed and given Baha'i burial in a beautiful plot donated for the purpose.

<p227>

121.3 Immediately upon receipt of the tragic news, Vicente Samaniego, Counsellor in Northeast Asia, in close co-operation with the National Spiritual Assembly of the Philippines, acted vigorously on behalf of the Baha'is and was given the utmost co- operation and sympathy by the authorities, police, military and civil. A convocation was called, attended by more than 900 students, faculty members and University officials. Prayers were said in English, Arabic and Persian. The President of the University gave a talk in which he said that the murdered Iranian students are not ordinary students, for with them is the Message of Baha'u'llah which is the way to unity. The Council of the Student Body asked that their new Social Hall be renamed Iranian Student Memorial Hall. Three thousand people marched in the funeral procession and six hundred went to the burial site to attend the interment.

121.4 A dignified burial was conducted by the Baha'is in the presence of University authorities and friends.

121.5 The relatives and friends of these three young men, who gave their lives in the service of the Blessed Beauty, are assured of the loving sympathy and prayers of their fellow believers. The sacrifice made by these youth adds a crown of glory to the wonderful services now being performed by Baha'i youth throughout the world. Baha'u'llah Himself testifies:

121.5a They that have forsaken their country in the path of God and subsequently ascended unto His presence, such souls shall be blessed by the Concourse on High and their names recorded by the Pen of Glory among such as have laid down their lives as martyrs in the path of God, the Help in peril, the Self- Subsistent.+F265
[F265. From an unpublished Tablet.]

The Universal House of Justice


122
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i life

24 November 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

122.1 We are asking the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom to send you by surface mail one copy of their compilation The Pattern of Baha'i Life, and attached we are sending you an addendum consisting of quotations from the letters and writings of the beloved Guardian.+F266
[F266. See CC II:1-27. The Pattern of Baha'i Life is a compilation from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi that was published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the British Isles in 1948.]

<p228>

122.2 These extracts are shared with you with the thought that you may be able to use them in assisting the believers to attain a fuller understanding of what it means to be a Baha'i and to guide and aid them to pattern their personal lives in accordance with the Teachings.

122.3 You are free to use this material in whatever way is appropriate and best suited to the needs of your community. For example, you may wish to purchase copies of The Pattern of Baha'i Life and use them with printed or mimeographed copies of the attached compilation, or you may prefer to issue a compilation of your own. The important thing is that the moral and spiritual admonitions contained in our writings be widely disseminated, properly understood, and the friends encouraged to follow them. Shoghi Effendi has pointed out:

122.3a Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part surely others will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world.

122.3b Not by the force of our numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of reaching -- no matter how world-wide and elaborate in its character -- not even by the staunchness of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim of the Abha Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.+F267
[F267. BA, p. 66.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p229>

123
Adoption of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

26 November 1972

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

123.1 The following cable has just been sent to the United States Baha'i News for publication.

123.2 WITH GRATEFUL JOYOUS HEARTS ANNOUNCE ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD ADOPTION PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT STEP IN UNFOLDMENT MISSION SUPREME ORGAN BAHA'I WORLD COMMONWEALTH THROUGH FORMULATION CONSTITUTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. AFTER OFFERING HUMBLE PRAYERS GRATITUDE ON DAY COVENANT AT THREE SACRED THRESHOLDS BAHJI HAIFA MEMBERS GATHERED COUNCIL CHAMBER PRECINCTS HOUSE BLESSED MASTER APPENDED THEIR SIGNATURES FIXED SEAL ON INSTRUMENT ENVISAGED WRITINGS BELOVED GUARDIAN HAILED BY HIM AS MOST GREAT LAW FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH.+F268 FULLY ASSURED MEASURE JUST TAKEN WILL FURTHER REINFORCE TIES BINDING WORLD CENTRE TO NATIONAL LOCAL COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT WORLD RELEASE FRESH ENERGIES INCREASE ENTHUSIASM CONFIDENCE VALIANT WORKERS HIS DIVINE VINEYARD LABOURING ASSIDUOUSLY BRING MANKIND UNDER SHELTER HIS ALL-GLORIOUS COVENANT.
[F268. On the Day of the Covenant, 26 November, prayers were offered at the Shrine of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, outside 'Akka, and at the Shrine of the Bab on Mount Carmel in Haifa, where 'Abdu'l-Baha is also buried.]

123.3 Please share this joyous news with the friends. It is anticipated that the Constitution will be published at Ridvan.+F269
[F269. See The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, published by the Baha'i World Centre (1972).]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p230>

124
Activities for the Year Preceding the Global Plan to be Launched Ridvan 1974

14 January 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

124.1 As the Baha'i world approaches the triumphant conclusion of the Nine Year Plan it gives us the utmost gratification to see that a few National Spiritual Assemblies have already formulated plans for activity during the coming Baha'i year.

124.2 The next global plan will be launched at Ridvan 1974 and you will therefore have twelve months to prepare for it. We call upon you all to take the greatest possible advantage of that year to:

124.2a Strengthen the foundations of your achievements through developing and enriching Baha'i community life, fostering youth activity and through all means suited to your circumstances; and

124.2b Continue expansion of the Faith, trying new openings and possibilities not fully explored when you were under the pressure of other priorities.

124.3 Obviously conditions differ in the various areas under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assemblies, and the goals which each Assembly adopts must be suited to its particular circumstances and possibilities, but, as the beloved Guardian once pointed out, "The broader the basis" of such a campaign, and "the deeper its roots, the finer the flower into which it shall eventually blossom."+F270
[F270. MA, p. 29.]

124.4 We ask you to make your plans now and to send us your report of them to reach us as soon as possible and not later than 1 April 1973 so that we may present a consolidated summary to the International Convention. We feel that such a summary will be an inspiration and a source of new ideas to the delegates when they are consulting upon the challenges that lie before the Baha'i community in the years ahead and which must be faced during the next global plan. Moreover, the achievements of the coming year, added to the great victories of the Nine Year Plan, will enable the world-wide Baha'i community to enter with even greater assurance upon the next stage of its ever-unfolding destiny.

<p231>

124.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that the blessings of Baha'u'llah may guide and assist you with a fresh measure of His divine grace in the few months separating us from the glorious festivities of next Ridvan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Universal House of Justice


125
Announcement of the Completion of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

19 January 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

125.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMPLETION SYNOPSIS CODIFICATION KITAB-I-AQDAS FOR PUBLICATION RIDVAN SYNCHRONIZING CELEBRATION HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION MOST HOLY BOOK FULFILLING WORLD CENTRE GOAL NINE YEAR PLAN.+F271 CONFIDENT RELEASE THIS PUBLICATION ENVISAGED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AND WHOSE MAIN FEATURES HE OUTLINED WILL CONSTITUTE ANOTHER SIGNIFICANT STEP PATH LEADING BAHA'I COMMUNITY FULL MATURITY ESTABLISHMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.
[F271. For the letter calling for world-wide observances of the centenary of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see message no. 116. A copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts was published in 1992.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


126
Obeying the Law of God in One's Personal Life

6 February 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

126.1 The following is an excerpt from a letter written recently in response to questions from an individual believer. As it is of general interest we are sending it to you so that you may share it with the friends within your jurisdiction in whatever manner you judge wise and necessary.

126.2 Just as there are laws governing our physical lives, requiring that we must supply our bodies with certain foods, maintain them within a certain range of temperatures, and so forth, if we wish to avoid physical disabilities, so also there are laws governing our spiritual lives. These <p232> laws are revealed to mankind in each age by the Manifestation of God, and obedience to them is of vital importance if each human being, and mankind in general, is to develop properly and harmoniously. Moreover, these various aspects are interdependent. If an individual violates the spiritual laws for his own development he will cause injury not only to himself but to the society in which he lives. Similarly, the condition of society has a direct effect on the individuals who must live within it.

126.3 As you point out, it is particularly difficult to follow the laws of Baha'u'llah in present-day society whose accepted practice is so at variance with the standards of the Faith. However, there are certain laws that are so fundamental to the healthy functioning of human society that they must be upheld whatever the circumstances. Realizing the degree of human frailty, Baha'u'llah has provided that other laws are to be applied only gradually, but these too, once they are applied, must be followed, or else society will not be reformed but will sink into an ever worsening condition. It is the challenging task of the Baha'is to obey the law of God in their own lives, and gradually to win the rest of mankind to its acceptance.

The Effect of Obedience to the Laws of Baha'u'llah on One's Life

126.4 In considering the effect of obedience to the laws on individual lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct one's animal impulses, not to be a slave to them. Life in this world is a succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys the law of Baha'u'llah, however hard it may seem, grows spiritually, while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance and often brings new problems upon himself.

126.5 To give one very obvious example: the Baha'i law requiring consent of parents to marriage. All too often nowadays such consent is withheld by non-Baha'i parents for reasons of bigotry or racial prejudice; yet we have seen again and again the profound effect on those very parents of the firmness of the children in the Baha'i law, to the extent that not only is the consent ultimately given in many cases, but the character of the parents can be affected and their relationship with their child greatly strengthened.

126.6 Thus, by upholding Baha'i law in the face of all difficulties we not only strengthen our own characters but influence those around us.

<p233>

The Baha'i Teachings on Sexual Intercourse

126.7 The Baha'i teaching on sexual intercourse is very clear. It is permissible only between a man and the woman who is his wife. In this connection we share with you extracts from four letters written on behalf of the Guardian which throw light on various aspects of the matter. One of them contains the paragraph that you quote in your letter.

126.7a With reference to the question you have asked concerning the Baha'i attitude towards the problem of sex and its relation to marriage: The Baha'i Teachings on this matter, which is of such vital concern and about which there is such a wide divergency of views, are very clear and emphatic. Briefly stated the Baha'i conception of sex is based on the belief that chastity should be strictly practised by both sexes, not only because it is in itself highly commendable ethically, but also due to its being the only way to a happy and successful marital life. Sex relationships of any form, outside marriage, are not permissible therefore, and whoso violates this rule will not only be responsible to God, but will incur the necessary punishment from society. The Baha'i Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expression such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives. The proper use of the sex instinct is the natural right of every individual, and it is precisely for this very purpose that the institution of marriage has been established. The Baha'is do not believe in the suppression of the sex impulse but in its regulation and control.

(From a letter dated 5 September 1938, to an individual believer)

126.7b The question you raise as to the place in one's life that a deep bond of love with someone we meet other than our husband or wife can have is easily defined in view of the teachings. Chastity implies both before and after marriage an unsullied, chaste sex life. Before marriage absolutely chaste, after marriage absolutely faithful to one's chosen companion. Faithful in all sexual acts, faithful in word and in deed. The world today is submerged, amongst other things, in an over-exaggeration of the importance of physical love, and a dearth of spiritual values. In as far as possible the believers should try to realize this and rise above the level of their fellowmen who are, typical of all decadent periods in history, placing so much overemphasis on the purely physical side of mating. Outside of their normal, legitimate married life they should seek to establish bonds of comradeship <p234> and love which are eternal and founded on the spiritual life of man, not on his physical life. This is one of the many fields in which it is incumbent on the Baha'is to set the example and lead the way to a true human standard of life, when the soul of man is exalted and his body but the tool for his enlightened spirit. Needless to say this does not preclude the living of a perfectly normal sex life in its legitimate channel of marriage.

(From a letter dated 28 September 1941, to an individual believer)

126.7c Concerning your question whether there are any legitimate forms of expression of the sex instinct outside of marriage: according to the Baha'i Teachings no sexual act can be considered lawful unless performed between lawfully married persons. Outside of marital life there can be no lawful or healthy use of the sex impulse. The Baha'i youth should, on the one hand, be taught the lesson of self-control which, when exercised, undoubtedly has a salutary effect on the development, of character and of personality in general, and on the other should be advised, nay even encouraged, to contract marriage while still young and in full possession of their physical vigour. Economic factors, no doubt, are often a serious hindrance to early marriage, but in most cases are only an excuse, and as such should not be overstressed.

(From a letter dated 13 December 1940, to an individual believer)

126.7d As regards your question whether it would be advisable and useful for you to marry again: he feels unable to give you any definite answer on that point, as this is essentially a private affair about which you, and the friends around you or your Local Assembly, are in a much better position to judge. Of course, under normal circumstances, every person should consider it his moral duty to marry. And this is what Baha'u'llah has encouraged the believers to do. But marriage is by no means an obligation. In the last resort it is for the individual to decide whether he wishes to lead a family life or live in a state of celibacy. (From a letter dated 3 May 1936, to an individual believer)

126.8 You express surprise at the Guardian's reference to "the necessary punishment from society." In the Kitab-i-Aqdas Baha'u'llah prohibits sexual immorality and in the Annex to that Book states that the various degrees of sexual offences and the punishments for them are to be decided by the Universal House of Justice. In this connection it should be realized that there is a distinction drawn in the Faith between the attitudes which should characterize individuals in their relationship to other people, namely, loving forgiveness, forbearance, and concern with one's own <p235> sins, not the sins of others, and those attitudes which should be shown by the Spiritual Assemblies, whose duty is to administer the law of God with justice.

126.9 A number of sexual problems, such as homosexuality and trans-sexuality can well have medical aspects, and in such cases recourse should certainly be had to the best medical assistance. But it is clear from the teaching of Baha'u'llah that homosexuality is not a condition to which a person should be reconciled, but is a distortion of his or her nature which should be controlled and overcome. This may require a hard struggle, but so also can be the struggle of a heterosexual person to control his or her desires. The exercise of self-control in this, as in so very many other aspects of life, has a beneficial effect on the progress of the soul. It should, moreover, be borne in mind that although to be married is highly desirable, and Baha'u'llah has strongly recommended it, it is not the central purpose of life. If a person has to wait a considerable period before finding a spouse, or if ultimately, he or she must remain single, it does not mean that he or she is thereby unable to fulfil his or her life's purpose.

One's Attitude Toward the Laws of Baha'u'llah

126.10 In all this we have been speaking about the attitude that Baha'is should have towards the law of Baha'u'llah. You, however, as a doctor working mainly as a counsellor in family and sexual problems, will mostly be concerned with advising non-Baha'is, who do not accept, and see no reason to follow, the laws of Baha'u'llah. You are already a qualified practitioner in your field, and no doubt you give advice on the basis of what you have learned from study and experience -- a whole fabric of concepts about the human mind, its growth, development and proper functioning, which you have learned and evolved, without reference to the teachings of Baha'u'llah. Now, as a Baha'i, you know that what Baha'u'llah teaches about the purpose of human life, the nature of the human being and the proper conduct of human lives, is divinely revealed and therefore true. However, it will inevitably take time for you not only to study the Baha'i teachings so that you clearly understand them, but also to work out how they modify your professional concepts. This is, of course, not an unusual predicament for a scientist. How often in the course of research is a factor discovered which requires a revolution in thinking over a wide field of human endeavour. You must be guided in each case by your own professional knowledge and judgement as illuminated by your growing knowledge of the Baha'i teachings; undoubtedly you will find that your own understanding of the human problems dealt with in your work will change and develop and you will see new and improved ways of helping the people who come to you.

<p236>

Psychology is still a very young and inexact science, and as the years go by Baha'i psychologists, who know from the teachings of Baha'u'llah the true pattern of human life, will be able to make great strides in the development of this science, and will help profoundly in the alleviation of human suffering.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


127
Purchase of Mazra'ih Mansion

15 March 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

127.10 OCCASION NAW-RUZ 130+F272 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE MANSION MAZRA'IH RESULT SEVERAL YEARS PATIENT PERSISTENT DETERMINED NEGOTIATIONS THEREBY ADDING TO BAHA'I ENDOWMENTS HOLY LAND FIRST RESIDENCE BAHA'U'LLAH AFTER NINE YEARS SPENT WALLED PRISON CITY 'AKKA. CONTROL THIS HOLY SITE REACQUIRED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN AFTER LAPSE MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS WHEN HE SECURED LEASE MANSION 1950 EXTENDED TO PRESENT TIME. PURCHASE INCLUDES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING TWENTY-FOUR THOUSAND SQUARE METRES HIGHLY SUITABLE EXTENSION GARDENS CULTIVATION. OFFERING PRAYER THANKSGIVING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GREATLY CHERISHED BOUNTY.
[F272. 21 March 1973.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


128
Ridvan Message 1973

Ridvan 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

128.1 We announce with joyful and thankful hearts the completion in overwhelming victory of the world-encircling Nine Year Plan. The Army of Light has won its second global campaign; it has surpassed the goals set for expansion and has achieved a truly impressive degree of universal participation, the twin objectives of the Plan. With gratitude and love we testify to the unceasing confirmations which Baha'u'llah has showered upon His servants, enabling <p237> each and every one of us to offer Him some part of the labour, the devotion, the sacrifice, the supplication which He has so bountifully rewarded. At this Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, the Community of the Most Great Name lays its tribute of victory at His feet, acknowledging that it is He Who has bestowed it.+F273
[F273. The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the chief repository of Baha'u'llah's Laws and the Mother Book of His revelation. It was revealed in 1873. For messages pertaining to its translation and publication, see no. 27; to the commemoration of its revelation, see no. 116; to the announcement of the completion of A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, see no. 125.]

Victories of the Nine Year Plan

128.2 The Cause of God at the end of the Nine Year Plan is immensely more widespread, more firmly founded, and its own international relations more closely knit than in 1964 when the Plan was launched. Ninety-five new territories have been opened to the Faith; the 69 National Spiritual Assemblies which shouldered the world community's task have become 113, 5 more than called for. These embryonic secondary Houses of Justice are supported by more than 17,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies, 3,000 in excess of the goal and 12,000 more than at the beginning of the Plan. Baha'is reside in 69,500 localities, 15,000 more than called for, and 54,000 more than in 1964. Baha'i literature has been translated into 225 more languages bringing the total number to 571; 63 Temple sites, 56 National Haziratu'l-Quds, and 62 National Endowments have been acquired bringing the total numbers of these properties to 98, 112 and 104 respectively; 50 Teaching Institutes and Summer and Winter Schools are playing their part in Baha'i education and 15 Publishing Trusts produce Baha'i literature in major languages of the world. The Mother Temple of Latin America has been built and dedicated. Among those goals whose achievement is dependent on favourable circumstances outside our control are the incorporation of Assemblies and recognition of Baha'i Holy Days. It is gratifying to record that 90 National Spiritual Assemblies and 1,556 Local Spiritual Assemblies -- 181 more than the total number called for -- are incorporated, while Baha'i Holy Days are recognized in 64 countries and Baha'i certification of marriage in 40.

128.3 This great expansion of the Faith required an army of international pioneers. Two major calls were raised, for 461 and 733, which together with others for particular posts made an overall total of 1,344. The Community of the Most Great Name responded with 3,553 who actually left their homes, 2,265 of whom are still at their posts.

Developments at the World Centre

128.4 At the World Centre of the Faith the collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures and of the writings of Shoghi Effendi have been carried <p238> forward in ever increasing volume, a task supported and enriched by the labours of a special committee appointed by the Persian National Spiritual Assembly. The material at the World Centre, includes some 2,600 original Tablets by Baha'u'llah, 6,000 by 'Abdu'l-Baha and 2,300 letters of Shoghi Effendi. There are in addition some 18,000 authenticated copies of other such Tablets and letters. All these have been studied, important passages from them excerpted and classified, and the subject matter indexed under 400 general headings.

128.5 A Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i- Aqdas -- completing the considerable progress made by the beloved Guardian in this task -- is being published on the Centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book, which, as already announced, is to be celebrated both in the Holy Land and throughout the Baha'i world during this Ridvan.

128.6 The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, hailed by Shoghi Effendi as the Most Great Law of the Faith of Baha'u'llah, has been formulated and published.

128.7 The gardens in Bahji and on Mount Carmel have been significantly extended and plans have been approved for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Baha'i property surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa.

World-wide Proclamation

128.8 The world-wide proclamation of the Faith, an intensive and long-to-be-sustained process initiated during the third phase of the Plan, opened in October 1967 with the commemoration of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which had centred around His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.+F274 This historic event was commemorated at six Intercontinental Conferences held simultaneously around the planet. A further nine Oceanic and Continental Conferences held during the Plan gave great impetus to this proclamation programme.+F275 The fifteen Conferences were attended by nearly 17,000 believers and attracted great publicity by press and radio and were made the occasion of acquainting dignitaries and notabilities with the Divine Message. The presentation, on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, to 142 Heads of State, of a specially produced book containing the translation into English of the Tablets and passages of Scripture in which <p239> Baha'u'llah, some hundred years before, had issued His mighty Proclamation to mankind, initiated this campaign, which will continue long beyond the end of the Nine Year Plan.+F276
[F276. The book was published by the Baha'i World Centre under the title The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah to the kings and leaders of the world (1967).]
[F275. For the message to the six intercontinental conferences, see message no. 46, for the messages to other conferences, see First Oceanic Conference -- Patermo, Sicily, August 1968 (no. 63); Bolivia and Mauritius -- August 1970 (no. 82); Monrovia, Liberia -- January 1971 (no. 88); South China Seas, Singapore -- January 1971 (no. 89); Caribbean Sea, Kingston, Jamaica -- May 1971 (no. 97); South Pacific Ocean, Suva, Fiji -- May 1971 (no. 98); North Pacific Oceanic Conference, Sapporo, Japan -- September 1971 (no. 100); and North Atlantic Ocean, Reykjavik, Iceland -- September 1971 (no. 101).]
[F274. For information about the significance of the Suriy-i-Muluk, see the Ridvan messages of 1965 and 1967 (nos. 24 and 42).]

128.9 The outstanding development in the relationship of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations was the accreditation of that Community as a non- governmental organization with consultative status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The Baha'i International Community now has a permanent representative at the United Nations and maintains an office in New York.+F277
[F277. For the message announcing the attainment of this goal, see no. 78.]

Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

128.10 The loved and revered Hands of the Cause have rendered sacrificial and distinguished service throughout the Nine Year Plan. They have, in all parts of the world, inspired the friends, assisted National Spiritual Assemblies, promoted the teaching work and played a vital part in the success of the Plan. The lagging fortunes of more than one national community have been revolutionized by a visit of a Hand of the Cause; swift and energetic action, inspired by the Hand, has been followed by astonishing results, completely reversing that community's prospects. They have added distinguished works to the literature of the Faith.

128.11 The goal of the Plan to develop "The institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," was accomplished in stages, leading to the establishment of eleven Continental Boards of Counsellors, whose members were appointed by the Universal House of Justice and who assumed responsibility for the Auxiliary Boards for protection and propagation. The beloved Hands no longer remained individually identified with any particular continent -- except insofar as their residence was concerned -- but extended their sphere of action to the whole planet. The Continental Boards of Counsellors, advised and guided by the Hands of the Cause of God and working in close collaboration with them, have already, in their brief period of office, performed outstanding and distinguished services.+F278
[F278. For messages about the role and function of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, see nos. 60, 72, 111, 132, 206, and 267.]

Three Portentous Developments

128.12 Three highly portentous developments have taken place during the Nine Year Plan, namely, the advance of youth to the forefront of the teaching work, a great increase in the financial resources of the Faith, and an astonishing proliferation of inter-National Assembly assistance projects.

<p240>

The Advance of Youth

128.13 The first, the heart-warming upsurge of Baha'i youth, has changed the face of the teaching work; impenetrable barriers have been broken or over-passed by eager teams of young Baha'is, dedicated and prayerful, presenting the Divine Message in ways acceptable to their own generation from which it has spread and is spreading throughout the social structure. The entire Baha'i world has been thrilled by this development. Having rejected the values and standards of the old world, Baha'i youth are eager to learn and adapt themselves to the standards of Baha'u'llah and so to offer the Divine Programme to fill the gap left by the abandonment of the old order.

An Increase in Financial Resources

128.14 The vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith called for under the Plan has evoked a heart-warming response from the entire Baha'i community. Not only the Baha'i International Fund but the local, national and continental Funds of the Faith have been sacrificially supported. This practical proof of the love which the friends bear for the Faith has enabled all the work to go forward -- the support of pioneers and travelling teachers, the raising of Mashriqu'l-Adhkars and acquisition of Baha'i properties, the purchase of Holy Places in the Cradle of the Faith and at the World Centre, the development of educational institutions and all the multifarious activities of a vigorous, onward-marching, constructive world community. It is of interest that sixty percent of the international funds of the Faith is used to assist the work of National Spiritual Assemblies, to promote the teaching work and to defend the Cause against attacks in many parts of the world. Without such help from the Baha'i world community many National Assemblies would be paralyzed in their efforts of expansion and deepening. The administration of Huququ'llah has been strengthened in preparation for its extension to other parts of the World.+F279 An International Deputization Fund was established at the World Centre to assist pioneers and travelling teachers who were ready to serve but unable to provide their own expenses, and this Fund was later extended to the support of projects on national home-fronts. Contribution to the Fund is a service which will never cease to be open to all believers; the growth of the Faith and the rise of its Administrative Order require an ever-increasing outpouring of our substance, commensurate in however small a measure with the bounty and liberality of the outpouring confirmations of Baha'u'llah.
[F279. For information on Huququ'llah, see the Glossary.]

International Collaboration

128.15 When the Plan was launched 219 assistance projects were specified whereby national communities would render financial, pioneering or teaching aid to others, generally remote from them geographically. The intention was to <p241> strengthen the bonds of unity between distant parts of the Baha'i world with different social, cultural and historical backgrounds. At the end of the Plan more than 600 such projects had been carried out.+F280 Inter-community co-operation has been further developed in the field of publishing Baha'i literature, notably in Spanish and French and the languages of Africa. A vast field of fruitful endeavour lies open in this respect.
[F280. For a list of the projects, see the Universal House of Justice, 1964-1973 Analysis of the Nine Year International Teaching Plan, (1964 [sic]), pp. 18-4.]

128.16 In some countries due to lack of freedom, to actual repression in others, to legal and physical obstacles in yet others, certain particular goals -- mainly those requiring incorporation or recognition -- could not be won. Foreseeing this, the Universal House of Justice called upon national communities in lands where there is freedom to practice and promote the Faith, to exceed their own goals and thus ensure that the overall goals would be won. It has proved still impossible to begin work on the erection of the Mashriqu'l- Adhkar in Tihran, but contracts have been signed for the preparation of detailed drawings, geological surveys are being made, and everything made ready for immediate action whenever the situation in Persia becomes propitious.

Additional Developments at the World Centre

128.17 During the period of the Nine Year Plan a number of important and interesting events, not directly associated with it, have taken place. First and foremost was the commemoration, in the precincts of the Qiblih of the Baha'i world, of the centenary of the arrival at the prison city of 'Akka, as foretold in former Scriptures, of the Promised One of all ages.+F281
[F281. The commemoration took place 26-31 August 1968.]

128.18 The Mansion of Mazra'ih, often referred to by the beloved Guardian as one of the "twin mansions" in which the Blessed Beauty resided after nine years within the walled prison city of 'Akka, and dear to the hearts of the believers by reason of its associations with their Lord, has at last been purchased together with 24,000 square metres of land extending into the plain on its eastward side.+F282
[F282. The other Mansion is that at Bahji, outside of 'Akka.]

128.19 The raising of the obelisk, marking the site of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar on Mount Carmel, completes a project initiated by the beloved Guardian.+F283
[F283. For the message announcing the erection of the obelisk, see no. 105.]

128.20 The decision has been made and announced to the Baha'i world, and the initial steps have been taken for the erection on Mount Carmel, at a site on the Arc as purposed by Shoghi Effendi, of the building which shall serve as the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.+F284 <p242> Raising God's Kingdom on earth
[F284. For an explanation of the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see the letter dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); for messages about steps in the process of its erection and occupation, see nos 136, 140, 186, 165, and 354.]

128.21 The progress of the Cause of God gathers increasing momentum and we may with confidence look forward to the day when this Community, in God's good time, shall have traversed the stages predicated for it by its Guardian, and shall have raised on this tormented planet the fair mansions of God's Own Kingdom wherein humanity may find surcease from its self-induced confusion and chaos and ruin, and the hatreds and violence of this time shall be transmuted into an abiding sense of world brotherhood and peace. All this shall be accomplished within the Covenant of the everlasting Father, the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.

The Universal House of Justice


129
Election of the Universal House of Justice -- Ridvan 1973

3 May 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

129.1 NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 'ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM AMOZ GIBSON IAN SEMPLE DAVID HOFMAN CHARLES WOLCOTT BORRAH KAVELIN DAVID RUHE HUGH CHANCE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p243>

1973-1974

A year of preparation <p244> Blank Page

<p245>

130
Announcement of the Acceptance of the Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa

7 May 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

130.1 It is now possible to share with you all the news of an event which crowns the victories with which Baha'u'llah has blessed His followers during the Nine Year Plan, an event of which the true significance will be fully understood only in the course of centuries to come: a reigning monarch has accepted the Message of Baha'u'llah.

130.2 Among those to whom The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah was presented in 1967 was His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, the Head of State of the independent nation of Western Samoa in the heart of the Pacific Ocean.+F285 His Highness, who had already heard of the Faith, showed immediately that the sacred Words had touched his heart, and the Universal House of Justice thereupon asked the Hand of the Cause Dr Ugo Giachery, who had presented the book to him, to return to Western Samoa for further audiences with His Highness. Following this visit the Malietoa conveyed his acceptance of the Faith of Baha'u'llah to the Universal House of Justice and became the first reigning sovereign to enter beneath the shade of this Cause.
[F285. In its Ridvan 1967 message (no. 42) the Universal House of Justice announced that it would present to Heads of State around the world a collection of Tablets Baha'u'llah addressed to the kings and rulers of the world a century before. His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II was one of the recipients.]

130.3 His Highness decided, with the full agreement of the Universal House of Justice, that it was not propitious to make his declaration public at that time. He has been visited from time to time by Hands of the Cause and other believers, and continual touch with His Highness has been maintained by the House of Justice through Mr Suhayl 'Ala'i, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for Australasia. Gradually the Malietoa has let it be known to those around him that he has accepted Baha'u'llah. Now he has judged the time ripe to share this wondrous news with his fellow-believers in all parts of the world, by addressing to the International Baha'i Convention the gracious and inspiring message of which a copy is enclosed with this letter....+F286
[F286. See BW 15:183 for a photograph of the Malietoa's letter.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p246>

131
Establishment of the International Teaching Centre

5 June 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

131.1 ANNOUNCE ESTABLISHMENT HOLY LAND LONG ANTICIPATED INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE DESTINED EVOLVE INTO ONE THOSE WORLD-SHAKING WORLD- EMBRACING WORLD-DIRECTING ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS ORDAINED BY BAHA'U'LLAH ANTICIPATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA ELUCIDATED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI. MEMBERSHIP THIS NASCENT INSTITUTION COMPRISES ALL HANDS CAUSE GOD AND INITIALLY THREE COUNSELLORS WHO WITH HANDS PRESENT HOLY LAND WILL CONSTITUTE NUCLEUS ITS VITAL OPERATIONS. CALLING UPON HOOPER DUNBAR FLORENCE MAYBERRY 'AZIZ YAZDI PROCEED HOLY LAND ASSUME THIS HIGHLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE. OFFERING PRAYERS HEARTFELT GRATITUDE SACRED THRESHOLD THIS FURTHER EVIDENCE ORGANIC EVOLUTION ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


132
Elucidation of the Duties of the International Teaching Centre and Expansion of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

8 June 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

132.1 The centennial year of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has already witnessed events of such capital significance in the annals of the Baha'i Dispensation as to cause us to contemplate with awe the rapidity with which Divine Providence is advancing the Cause of the Most Great Name. The time is indeed propitious for the establishment of the International Teaching Centre, a development which, at one and the same time, brings to fruition the work of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land and provides for its extension into the future, links the institution of the Boards of Counsellors even more intimately with that of the Hands of the Cause of God, and powerfully reinforces the discharge of the rapidly growing responsibilities of the Universal House of Justice.

132.2 This International Teaching Centre now established will, in due course, operate from that building designated by the Guardian as the seat for the <p247> Hands of the Cause, which must be raised on the Arc on Mount Carmel in close proximity to the Seat of the Universal House of Justice.+F287
[F287. For a discussion of the Arc, see the Glossary.]

132.3 The duties now assigned to this nascent institution are:

132.3a - To co-ordinate, stimulate and direct the activities of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and to act as liaison between them and the Universal House of Justice.

132.3b - To be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in all parts of the world and to be able, from the background of this knowledge, to make reports and recommendations to the Universal House of Justice and give advice to the Continental Boards of Counsellors.

132.3c - To be alert to possibilities, both within and without the Baha'i community, for the extension of the teaching work into receptive or needy areas, and to draw the attention of the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counsellors to such possibilities, making recommendations for action.

132.3d - To determine and anticipate needs for literature, pioneers and travelling teachers and to work out teaching plans, both regional and global, for the approval of the Universal House of Justice.

132.4 All the Hands of the Cause of God will be members of the International Teaching Centre. Each Hand will be kept regularly informed of the activities of the Centre through reports or copies of its minutes, and will be able, wherever he may be residing or travelling, to convey suggestions, recommendations and information to the Centre and, whenever he is in the Holy Land, to take part in the consultations and other activities of the Centre.

132.5 In addition, we now appoint Mr Hooper Dunbar, Mrs Florence Mayberry and Mr 'Aziz Yazdi to membership of the International Teaching Centre, with the rank of Counsellor. These believers, who have been serving with distinction on the Continental Boards of Counsellors in South America, North America and Central and East Africa respectively, will henceforth reside in Haifa and will, together with the Hands present in the Holy Land, constitute the nucleus of the operations of the Centre.

132.6 Authority for the expulsion and reinstatement of Covenant-breakers remains with the Hands of the Cause of God. All such matters will be investigated locally by the relative Continental Board of Counsellors in consultation with any Hand or Hands who may be in the area. The Continental Board of Counsellors and the Hands concerned will then make their reports to the International Teaching Centre where they will be considered. The decision <p248> whether or not to expel or reinstate will be made by the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land who will, as at present, submit their decision to the Universal House of Justice for approval.

132.7 The following changes to the zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors are now made:

132.7a - The number of zones has been raised to twelve by the removal of India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Laccadive, Maldive, Andaman and Nicobar Islands from Central Asia.

132.7b - The Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau are transferred from North-eastern Asia to South-eastern Asia.

132.7c - The Caroline Islands and all other Pacific islands lying north of the equator and between longitudes 140o east and 140o west, with the exception of the Gilbert Islands, will be transferred from the zone of Australasia to the zone of North-eastern Asia. Islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska remain in the zone of North America.

132.8 The number of Counsellors is now raised to fifty-seven by the appointment of Mr Friday Ekpe and Mr Zekrullah Kazemi in North-western Africa, Mr Hushang Ahdieh and Mr Peter Vuyiya in Central and East Africa, Dr Sarah Pereira and Mrs Velma Sherrill in North America, Mr Rowland Estall and Mr Paul Lucas in Central America, Mrs Leonora Armstrong, Mr Peter McLaren and Mr Raul Pavon in South America, Mr Dipchand Khianra and Mrs Zena Sorabjee in South Central Asia, Mr Firaydun Mithaqiyan in South-eastern Asia, Mr Richard Benson and Miss Elena Marsella in North- eastern Asia and Miss Violet Hoehnke in Australasia. Dr William Maxwell who has been rendering distinguished service as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors in North-western Africa has been obliged to return to the United States.

132.9 Mrs Zena Sorabjee is appointed Trustee of the new Continental Fund of South Central Asia, while Mr Hushang Ahdieh and Mr Mas'ud Khamsi are appointed the new Trustees of the Continental Funds of Central and East Africa and South America respectively.

132.10 Beyond these significant developments at the World Centre of the Faith and on the continental level, it is becoming increasingly necessary in many parts of the world for the Auxiliary Boards to be reinforced. The nature of the work differs from zone to zone and the Universal House of Justice is now consulting the Boards of Counsellors on this matter before making an announcement.

132.11 The decisions now announced are the outcome of deliberation extending over a number of years, reinforced by consultations with the Hands of the <p249> Cause of God, and especially with the Hands residing in the Holy Land who were requested in 1968 to assist the Universal House of Justice in the establishment of the International Teaching Centre, a task that now increases in magnitude as that Centre begins its work.

132.12 It is our fervent prayer that the Blessed Beauty will abundantly confirm this latest unfoldment of His divinely-purposed Administrative Order.

The Universal House of Justice

Zones of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

As Revised by the Universal House of Justice in May 1973

132.13 1. North-western Africa All the continent of Africa west of the eastern frontiers of Tunisia, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria plus the Cape Verde Islands.

132.14 2. Central and East Africa All the continent of Africa east of the western frontiers of Libya, Chad and the United Cameroon Republic and north of the southern frontiers of Zaire and Tanzania plus the islands of Fernando Po, Principe, Sao Tome and Annobon in the Atlantic Ocean and Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Islands in the Indian Ocean.

132.15 3. Southern Africa All the continent of Africa south of the northern frontiers of Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique plus the Island of Madagascar and all islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans between longitudes 20o west and

80o east and south of the equator with the exception of the Islands of Annobon, Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia which are assigned to the zone of Central and East Africa.

132.16 4. North America All the continent of America north of the southern frontier of the United States plus all offshore islands in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans including the Aleutian chain and all islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, also Greenland and all offshore islands politically belonging to Greenland, all islands in the Atlantic Ocean west of longitude 40o west and between latitude 60o north and the Tropic of Cancer plus those Bahama Islands lying south of the Tropic of Cancer.

132.17 5. Central America All the continent of America south of the northern frontier of Mexico and north of the southern frontier of Panama plus the offshore islands <p250> in the Pacific Ocean belonging politically to countries of this zone plus Clipperton Island, all islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea south of the Tropic of Cancer except the Bahama Islands which are allocated to the zone of North America and islands belonging politically to Colombia and Venezuela, the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago which are all allocated to the zone of South America.

132.1a 6. South America All the continent of South America, the Galapagos Islands, Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, all islands in the Caribbean and North Atlantic Oceans belonging politically to countries of this zone plus all islands in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans south of the equator and between longitude 120o west and longitude 20o west.

132.19 7. Western Asia All the continent of Asia west of the eastern boundaries of Pakistan, Sinkiang, the Mongolian Republic, the Oblasts of Chita and Irkutsk and the Kray of Krasnoyarsk and east of the western boundaries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, plus those parts of Turkey and Kazakhstan which lie in Europe and including the Transcaucasian S.S.R.s of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as all islands in the Persian Gulf and islands in the Arabian Sea belonging politically to countries of this zone.

132.20 8. South Central Asia India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Laccadive, Maldive, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

132.21 9. South-eastern Asia China south of the northern boundaries of Yuennan, Szechwan, Hupeh, Anhwei and Kiangsu, as well as Burma, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Macau. Excluding Portuguese Timor.

132.22 10. North-eastern Asia All the Soviet Union cast of the western boundary of the Yakutsk A.S.S.R. and the Oblast of Amur, China east of Sinkiang and north of the southern boundaries of Tsinghai, Kansu, Shensi, Honan and Shantung; Korea, Japan, Taiwan and all islands belonging politically to those nations plus all islands in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator and between the longitudes of 140o east and 140o west with the exception of the Gilbert Islands and those islands under the jurisdiction of the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, but including those Caroline Islands lying west of longitude 140o east.

<p251>

132.23 11. Australasia Australia and New Zealand plus all islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans lying south of the equator and between the longitudes of 80o east and 120o west including Portuguese Timor and the Gilbert and Ellice Islands but excepting Indonesia.

132.24 12. Europe The entire continent of Europe less those portions of Kazakhstan and Turkey which lie in Europe, plus Iceland and all islands in the Atlantic Ocean north of latitude 60 degrees north which belong politically to nations of the European continent plus all islands in the Atlantic Ocean east of longitude 40 degrees west and between latitude 60 degrees north and the Tropic of Cancer plus all islands of the Mediterranean Sea including Cyprus but excluding islands belonging politically to nations of the African and Asiatic continents.

132.25 Membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, According to the New Boundaries of May 1973

(New appointments are indicated with an asterisk.)

North-western Africa
Husayn Ardikani (Trustee of Continental Fund)
*Friday Ekpe
*Zekrullah Kazemi
Muhammad Kebdani
Central and East Africa
Hushang Ahdieh (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Oloro Epyeru
Kolonario Oule
Isobel Sabri
Mihdi Samandari
Peter Vuyiya
Southern Africa
Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa
Shidan Fat'he-Aazam (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Bahiyyih Winckler
North America
Lloyd Gardner
*Sarah Pereira
*Velma Sherrill
Edna True (Trustee of Continental Fund)

<p252>

Central America
Carmen de Burafato,
*Rowland Estall
Artemus Lamb
*Paul Lucas
Alfred Osborne (Trustee of Continental Fund)
South America
*Leonora Armstrong
Athos Costas
Mas'ud Khamsi (Trustee of Continental Fund)
*Peter McLaren
*Raul Pavon
Donald Witzel
Western Asia
Iraj Ayman
Masih Farhangi
Hadi Rahmami (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Manuchihr Salmanpur
South Central Asia
Shirin Boman
*Dipchand Khianra
*Zena Sorabjee (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Sankaran-Nair Vasudevan
South-eastern Asia
*Firaydun Mithaqiyan
Khudarahm Payman (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Vicente Samaniego
Chellie Sundram
Yan Kee Leong
North-eastern Asia
*Richard Benson
John McHenry III
*Elena Marsella
Ruhu'llah Mumtazi (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Australasia
Suhayl 'Ala'i
*Violet Hoehnke
Howard Harwood
Thelma Perks (Trustee of Continental Fund)

<p253>

Europe
Erik Blumenthal
Anneliese Bopp
Dorothy Ferraby
Louis Henuzet (Trustee of Continental Fund)
Betty Reed


133
Youth and Baha'i Standards of Behaviour

9 July 1973

To a Local Spiritual Assembly

Dear Baha'i friends,

133.1 We have received your letter of 19 June 1973 and can sympathize with the problems that Baha'i youth face when trying to live up to the Baha'i standards of behaviour. It is, perhaps, natural that in the bewildering amoral environment in which Baha'i youth are growing up they feel the need for specific instructions on which intimacies are permissible and which are not. However, we feel it would be most unwise for any Baha'i institution to issue detailed instructions about this.

133.2 The Baha'i youth should study the teachings on chastity and, with these in mind, should avoid any behaviour which would arouse passions which would tempt them to violate them. In deciding what acts are permissible to them in the light of these considerations the youth must use their own judgement, following the guidance of their consciences and the advice of their parents.

133.3 If Baha'i youth combine such personal purity with an attitude of uncensorious forbearance towards others they will find that those who may have criticized or even mocked them will come, in time, to respect them. They will, moreover, be laying a firm foundation for future married happiness.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p254>

134
Formation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Equatorial Guinea

18 July 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

134.1 DELIGHTED ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL ELECTION NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EQUATORIAL GUINEA COUNTRY OPENED FAITH GUARDIAN'S TEN YEAR CRUSADE. NEW ASSEMBLY FORMED NOW RESPONSE REQUIREMENT GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION FAITH. PRAYERS OFFERED HOLY SHRINES THANKSGIVING AND GUIDANCE ASSISTANCE FRIENDS NEWLY INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


135
Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God John Ferraby

9 September 1973

To the Hands of the Cause of God, the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

135.1 The Hand of the Cause John Ferraby passed away suddenly on 5 September. The following cable was sent by the Universal House of Justice:

135.1a REGRET SUDDEN PASSING HAND CAUSE JOHN FERRABY.+F288 RECALL LONG SERVICES FAITH BRITISH ISLES CROWNED ELEVATION RANK HAND CAUSE VALUABLE CONTRIBUTION BAHA'I LITERATURE THROUGH HIS BOOK ALL THINGS MADE NEW. REQUESTING BEFITTING GATHERINGS MASHRIQU'L-ADHKARS MEMORIAL MEETINGS ALL COMMUNITIES BAHA'I WORLD.
[F288. For an account of the life and services of John Ferraby, see BW 16:511-12.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p255>

136
Appointment of the Architect of the Seat of the Universal House of
Justice

17 September 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

136.1 DELIGHTED ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT HUSAYN AMANAT BRILLIANT YOUNG BAHA'I ARCHITECT CRADLE FAITH AS ARCHITECT OF BUILDING FOR UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


137
Expansion and Reinforcement of the Auxiliary Boards

7 October 1973

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

137.1 In order to meet the growing needs of an ever-expanding Baha'i World Community we have taken two decisions designed to reinforce and extend the services of the Auxiliary Boards.

137.2 First, the number of Auxiliary Board members throughout the world is to be raised to two hundred and seventy, of whom eighty-one will serve on the Auxiliary Boards for the Protection of the Faith and one hundred and eighty-nine will serve on the Auxiliary Boards for the Propagation of the Faith. In all there will be fifty-four Auxiliary Board members in Africa, eighty-one in the Western Hemisphere, eighty-one in Asia, eighteen in Australasia and thirty-six in Europe.

137.3 Secondly, we have decided to take a further step in the development of the institution by giving to each Continental Board of Counsellors the discretion to authorize individual Auxiliary Board members to appoint assistants. Such authorization does not have to be given to all the Auxiliary Board members in a zone nor does the number assigned have to be the same for all Board members; indeed certain Boards of Counsellors may decide that the present circumstances in their zones do not require them to take advantage of this possibility. Such matters are left entirely to the discretion of each Continental Board of Counsellors.

137.4 The exact nature of the duties and the duration of the appointment of the assistants is also left to each Continental Board to decide for itself. Their aims should be to activate and encourage Local Spiritual Assemblies, to call the attention of Local Spiritual Assembly members to the importance of holding <p256> regular meetings, to encourage local communities to meet for the Nineteen Day Feasts and Holy Days, to help deepen their fellow-believers' understanding of the Teachings, and generally to assist the Auxiliary Board members in the discharge of their duties. Appointments may be made for a limited period, such as a year or two, with the possibility of reappointment. Believers can serve at the same time both as assistants to Auxiliary Board members and on administrative institutions.

137.5 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that this new development in the institution of the Auxiliary Boards will lead to an unprecedented strengthening of the Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

The Universal House of Justice

137.6 Numbers of Auxiliary Board Members by Zones
October 1973

Auxiliary Board for
Protection Propagation
Africa
North-western 3 9
Central and East 13 19
Southern 2 8
18 36
Western Hemisphere
North America 9 18
Central America 9 9
South America 9 27
27 54
Asia
Western 9 18
South Central 3 15
South-eastern 3 15
North-eastern 3 15
18 63

Australasia 9 9
Europe 9 27

TOTAL 81 189

<p257>

138
Request for Actions in Preparation for Launching Five Year Plan At Ridvan 1974

21 November 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

138.1 Five months separate us from Ridvan 1974 when the next global plan will be launched. For a period of five years the attention, resources and energies of the Baha'i World Community will be directed to achieving the aims of this plan.

138.2 By Naw-Ruz 1974 you will have been notified of the overall goals of the plan and the specific tasks assigned to each of your national communities. Each one of you is therefore urged to arrange for a meeting, at Naw-Ruz or soon after, to which you will invite the Board of Counsellors in your zone to be represented and at which the plan can be considered and thorough consultation held on the manner in which each one of your communities will launch it.

138.3 You are asked to give careful consideration as soon as possible to the advisability of holding one or more conferences in conjunction with your Convention or soon after. You may wish to consult the Counsellors on this matter. We believe that such conferences would greatly assist in acquainting the friends with the nature and aims of the plan and in enlisting their enthusiasm and resolution to achieve it. All details as to the number of such conferences, their timing, their agendas are left entirely to your discretion, but we recommend that in planning them you attach great importance to the participation of youth so that they may feel wholly identified with the tasks assigned and give their immediate and maximum support to their accomplishment.

138.4 Now is the time to begin directing the thoughts and plans of the friends to the next great demand which will be made upon them, and we assure you of our prayers at the Sacred Threshold that you may be guided and strengthened to take such decisions and make such plans as will enable your communities to anticipate with eagerness and receive with joy the new tasks to be offered them, tasks whose wholehearted and united accomplishment will raise the Community of the Most Great Name to a position where it may have far greater effect upon men's minds and prepare it for further thrilling and awe- inspiring achievements in the pursuit of its ultimate goal of the redemption of mankind.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p258>

139
Extension of Gardens at Bahji

4 December 1973

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

139.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE FRIENDS BEAUTIFICATION DURING CONFLICT AGITATING MIDDLE EAST FOURTH QUADRANT AREA SURROUNDING MOST HOLY SHRINE EMBRACING OLIVE GROVE SOUTHWEST PILGRIM HOUSE BAHJI BLESSED SHRINE AND MANSION NOW COMPLETELY ENCIRCLED BEAUTIFUL GARDENS INSPIRED BY PATTERN HARAM-I-AQDAS CREATED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN.+F289 PRAYING SHRINES SUPPORTERS MOST GREAT NAME EVERY LAND MAY REDOUBLE EFFORTS PROMOTE INTERESTS PRECIOUS FAITH IN ANTICIPATION FIVE YEAR GLOBAL PLAN SOON TO BE LAUNCHED.
[F289. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the north-western quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


140
Acceptance of Design for the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

7 February 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

140.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE ACCEPTANCE EXQUISITE DESIGN CONCEIVED BY HUSAYN AMANAT FOR BUILDING TO SERVE AS PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE MOUNT CARMEL. DECISION MADE TO PROCEED NEGOTIATE CONTRACTS CONSTRUCTION THIS NOBLE EDIFICE SECOND THOSE BUILDINGS DESTINED ARISE AROUND ARC CONSTITUTE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTRE BAHA'I WORLD.+F290
[F290. For a discussion of the Arc, see the Glossary.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p259>

1974-1979

The Five Year Plan <p260> Blank Page

<p261>

141
Launching of the Five Year Plan -- Naw-Ruz 1974

Naw-Ruz 1974

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

141.1 A span of eighteen years separates us from the centenary of Baha'u'llah's Ascension and the unveiling of His Almighty Covenant.+F291 The fortunes of humanity in that period no man can foretell. We can, however, confidently predict that the Cause of God, impelled by the mighty forces of life within it, must go on from strength to strength, increasing in size and developing greater and greater powers for the accomplishment of God's purpose on earth.
[F291. The centenary of both Baha'u'llah's Ascension and the unveiling of His Covenant were celebrated in 1992 with a World Congress in New York City, the City of the Covenant, so named by 'Abdu'l-Baha on 19 June 1912 when He declared His station as the Centre of the Covenant.]

141.2 The abundant evidences of Divine confirmation which have rewarded the strenuous and dedicated efforts of the Baha'i community during the past decade are apparent throughout the earth and give incontrovertible assurance of its capacity to win the good pleasure of Baha'u'llah and answer every call made upon it in His service.

141.3 The Five Year Plan to which this community is now summoned is the opening campaign of these critical years. It is the third global plan embarked upon by the Army of Light in its implementation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan, that world-encompassing programme disclosed in His perspicuous Tablets and described by the Guardian of the Cause of God as the Charter for the propagation of the Faith throughout the world.+F292 It was the Guardian himself, the beloved "sign of God,"+F293 who, through his exposition and interpretation of the Revelation, through his discipline and education of the Baha'i community and through a series of national plans assigned to the various units of that community, forged the Administrative Order of the Faith and made it an instrument for the carrying out of this great Charter, and he himself designed and launched the first global plan, the unique, brilliant and spiritually glorious Ten Year Crusade. The victories of that crusade implanted the banner of Baha'u'llah throughout the planet and the following Nine Year Plan reinforced and extended the bastions of the Faith and raised the number of National Spiritual Assemblies -- the supporting pillars of the Universal House of Justice -- to one hundred and thirteen, a number increased to one hundred and fifteen by the formation at this Ridvan of the National Spiritual Assemblies of Hong Kong and South East Arabia.
[F293. WT, p. 11.]
[F292. See Tablets of the Divine Plan (1993).]

<p262>

Major Objectives of the Plan

141.4 This Five Year Plan has three major objectives: preservation and consolidation of the victories won; a vast and widespread expansion of the Baha'i community; development of the distinctive character of Baha'i life particularly in the local communities. The achievement of these overall aims requires the accomplishment of particular tasks at the World Centre of the Faith, and by national and local communities.

World Centre Goals

141.5 At the World Centre work will continue on the collation and classification of the Sacred Texts; authorized translations of three compilations of Scripture will be made and published, namely, Tablets of Baha'u'llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, prayers and extracts from the Writings of the Bab, greatly augmenting the fragments of His Utterance now available in the West, and of the Master's works comprising a wide selection from the vast range of subjects illumined by His Divine wisdom; construction will begin on the building on Mount Carmel to serve as the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and it is hoped to complete it during the Five Year Plan; further extension and beautification of the gardens and lands surrounding the Holy Places will take place; strengthening of the relationship between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations will continue; and efforts will be constantly made to protect the Faith from persecution and to free it from the restraints imposed by religious orthodoxy.+F294
[F294. Tablets of Baha'u'llah was published in 1978; Selections from the Writings of the Bab, in 1976; and Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, in 1978. The seat of the Universal House of Justice was completed in 1983.]

International Conferences

141.6 In the international sphere the erection of two Mashriqu'l-Adhkar -- one in India and one in Samoa -- will be initiated; eight International Teaching Conferences will be held during the middle part of the Five Year Plan; two for the Arctic, one in Anchorage and one in Helsinki during July 1976, one in Paris in August 1976, one in Nairobi in October 1976, one in Hong Kong in November 1976, one in Auckland and one in Baha'i, Brazil in January 1977 and one in Merida, Mexico in February 1977. National goals

141.7 Sixteen new National Spiritual Assemblies will be formed, namely the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahamas, Burundi, Cyprus, the French Antilles, Greece, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, the New Hebrides, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Surinam and French Guiana, Togo, and Upper Volta; their national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments must be acquired; the dissemination of news and messages, so vital to the knowledge, <p263> encouragement and unity of the Baha'i community, must be made efficient and rapid, and in anticipation of a vast expansion in the number of believers, of Local Spiritual Assemblies and of localities where Baha'is reside a co-ordinated programme of translating and publishing Baha'i literature with the eventual aim of providing the Sacred Text and the teachings of the Faith to all mankind is to be developed -- a programme which will include the founding of six Baha'i Publishing Trusts and the continued subvention of Baha'i literature, 409 inter-Assembly assistance projects are scheduled and, at the outset of the Plan, 557 pioneers are called for.

Financial Self-Sufficiency

141.8 One of the distinguishing features of the Cause of God is its principle of non- acceptance of financial contributions for its own purposes from non-Baha'is; support of the Baha'i Fund is a bounty reserved by Baha'u'llah to His declared followers. This bounty imposes full responsibility for financial support of the Faith on the believers alone, every one of whom is called upon to do his utmost to ensure that the constant and liberal outpouring of means is maintained and increased to meet the growing needs of the Cause. Many Baha'i communities are at present dependent on outside help, and for them the aim must be to become self-supporting, confident that the Generous Lord will, as their efforts increase, eventually enable them to offer for the progress of His Faith material wealth as well as their devotion, their energy and love.

Proclamation

141.9 The proclamation of the Faith, following established plans and aiming to use on an increasing scale the facilities of mass communication must be vigorously pursued. It should be remembered that the purpose of proclamation is to make known to all mankind the fact and general aim of the new Revelation, while teaching programmes should be planned to confirm individuals from every stratum of society.

Youth

141.10 The vast reservoir of spiritual energy, zeal and idealism resident in Baha'i youth, which so effectively contributed to the success of the Nine Year Plan, must be directed and lavishly spent for the proclamation, teaching, and consolidation of the Cause. Spiritual Assemblies are urged to provide consultation and the offer of guidance to Baha'i youth who seek to plan their lives in such a way as to be of utmost service to the Cause of God.

Education of Children

141.11 The education of children in the teachings of the Faith must be regarded as an essential obligation of every Baha'i parent, every local and national community and it must become a firmly established Baha'i activity during the <p264> course of the Plan. It should include moral instruction by word and example and active participation by children in Baha'i community life.

Distinctive Baha'i Characteristics

141.12 This Five Year Plan must witness the development in the world-wide Baha'i community of distinctive Baha'i characteristics implanted in it by Baha'u'llah Himself. Unity of mankind is the pivotal principle of His Revelation; Baha'i communities must therefore become renowned for their demonstration of this unity. In a world becoming daily more divided by factionalism and group interests, the Baha'i community must be distinguished by the concord and harmony of its relationships. The coming of age of the human race must be foreshadowed by the mature, responsible understanding of human problems and the wise administration of their affairs by these same Baha'i communities. The practice and development of such Baha'i characteristics are the responsibility alike of individual Baha'is and administrative institutions, although the greatest opportunity to foster their growth rests with the Local Spiritual Assemblies.

Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

141.13 The divinely ordained institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly operates at the first levels of human society and is the basic administrative unit of Baha'u'llah's World Order. It is concerned with individuals and families whom it must constantly encourage to unite in a distinctive Baha'i society, vitalized and guarded by the laws, ordinances and principles of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. It protects the Cause of God; it acts as the loving shepherd of the Baha'i flock.

141.14 Strengthening and development of Local Spiritual Assemblies is a vital objective of the Five Year Plan. Success in this one goal will greatly enrich the quality of Baha'i life, will heighten the capacity of the Faith to deal with entry by troops which is even now taking place and, above all, will demonstrate the solidarity and ever-growing distinctiveness of the Baha'i community, thereby attracting more and more thoughtful souls to the Faith and offering a refuge to the leaderless and hapless millions of the spiritually bankrupt, moribund present order.

141.15 "These Spiritual Assemblies," wrote 'Abdu'l-Baha, "are aided by the Spirit of God. Their defender is 'Abdu'l-Baha. Over them He spreadeth His Wings. What bounty is there greater than this?" Likewise, "These Spiritual Assemblies are shining lamps and heavenly gardens, from which the fragrances of holiness are diffused over all regions, and the lights of knowledge are shed abroad over all created things. From them the spirit of life streameth in every direction. They, indeed, are the potent sources of the progress of man, at all times and under all conditions."+F295
[F295. Quoted in GPB, p. 332.]

<p265>

141.16 During the Five Year Plan Local Spiritual Assemblies which are being formed for the first time are to be formed whenever there are nine or more adult believers in the relevant area; thereafter they must be elected or declared at Ridvan.+F296 National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to assign, and encourage the Local Spiritual Assemblies to adopt, goals within the overall framework of the Five Year Plan, to consult with them and to assist them to make great efforts to gradually assume their proper function and responsibilities in the World Order of Baha'u'llah. The friends are called upon to give their wholehearted support and co-operation to the Local Spiritual Assembly, first by voting for the membership and then by energetically pursuing its plans and programmes, by turning to it in time of trouble or difficulty, by praying for its success and taking delight in its rise to influence and honour. This great prize, this gift of God within each community must be cherished, nurtured, loved, assisted, obeyed and prayed for.
[F296. For further guidance on the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, see messages nos 189, 199, and 219.]

141.17 Such a firmly founded, busy and happy community life as is envisioned when Local Spiritual Assemblies are truly effective, will provide a firm home foundation from which the friends may derive courage and strength and loving support in bearing the Divine Message to their fellowmen and conforming their lives to its benevolent rule.

The Hands of the Cause of God and the International Teaching Centre

141.18 The deeds and programmes, all these multifarious world-wide activities to which you are summoned have but one aim -- the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. At every stage of this process and at all levels of Baha'i responsibility, whether individual, local or national, you will be encouraged, advised and assisted by the divinely ordained institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, an institution powerfully reinforced by the successful establishment of the International Teaching Centre. Through the emergence of this Centre the seal has been set on the accomplishment of the goal, announced nearly ten years ago, of ensuring the extension into the future of the specific functions of protection and propagation conferred upon the Hands of the Cause in the Sacred Text. Through the work of the International Teaching Centre, which supervises and co-ordinates the work of the Boards of Counsellors around the world, the love, the guidance, the assistance of the Hands, through the Boards of Counsellors, their Auxiliary Board members and their assistants, permeates the entire structure of Baha'i society.

141.19 The Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic world commonwealth have indeed assured to that growing community, the care for its welfare, for the development of its character, for its spiritual encouragement which are among the duties of their high office.

<p266>

Our Opportunities

141.20 As the old order gives way to the new, the changes which must take place in human affairs are such as to stagger the imagination. This is the opportunity for the hosts of the Lord. Undismayed and undeterred by the wreckage of "long-cherished ideals and time-honoured institutions," now being "swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines," the world community of Baha'is must surge forward eagerly, and with ever-increasing energy, to build those new, God-given institutions from which will be diffused the light of the holy principles and teachings sent down by God in this day for the salvation of all mankind.+F297
[F297. WOB, p. 42.]

The Universal House of Justice


142
Elucidation of Five Year Plan Goals

Naw-Ruz 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

142.1 To supplement the message which is being addressed to each of your Communities giving its specific goals under the Five Year Plan, we now share with you a number of elucidations. Certain of the paragraphs which follow may apply to goals which have not been allotted to your community, but it will no doubt be of interest to you to read them in relation to the world-wide scope of the Plan.

Opening Localities

142.2 When choosing localities to be opened to the Faith and when deciding which localities should have Local Spiritual Assemblies, you should bear in mind the need to have the Baha'i community represented broadly across the area under your jurisdiction. It is likely that some areas will show themselves particularly receptive and numerous Baha'i communities will speedily arise there, but while fostering such growth you should not neglect those areas in which the Faith is as yet unrepresented.

The Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

142.3 The institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly is of primary importance in the firm establishment of the Faith, and we hope that you will give particular attention to ensuring that as many as possible, and in increasing numbers, <p267> are, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "broad-based, securely grounded" and "efficiently functioning."+F298
[F298. CF, p. 22.]

142.4 The time has come, we believe, when increasing numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies should assume responsibility for helping the teaching work of groups, isolated believers, and other Spiritual Assemblies in their neighbourhood. Such extension teaching goals should be assigned by the National Spiritual Assembly or one of its teaching committees, or can be spontaneously adopted by Local Spiritual Assemblies, and should be carried out within the framework of the overall teaching plans of the country. It should also be made clear that by being given such goals a Spiritual Assembly is not being given any jurisdiction over believers outside its area, still less over other Local Spiritual Assemblies, but is being called upon to collaborate with them in their work.

The Recognition of Baha'i Marriage and Holy Days

142.5 The Five Year Plan does not include specific goals for the recognition of Baha'i marriage certificates or of Baha'i Holy Days because, in most countries where these goals are not already won, achievement depends upon circumstances beyond our control. Nevertheless, National Spiritual Assemblies should bear in mind the need to increase recognition of the Faith and should be alert to possibilities of winning these goals where they are as yet unattained.

National Incorporation Goals

142.6 There are a number of national incorporation goals of the Nine Year Plan towards the attainment of which considerable progress has already been made. These have not been included as goals of the Five Year Plan although they are still pending, but of course they should be pursued to completion.

Property Acquisitions

142.7 If acquisition of a National Haziratu'l-Quds is a responsibility assigned to you under the Five Year Plan, you should treat it as an urgent matter in view of the world- wide condition of inflation and rising property costs. Such a building, which must be suitable to serve as the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly, should be purchased as economically as possible. Preferably it should be a freehold detached building, although if such is not obtainable, a semi-detached house or an apartment may be considered, or even a property on a long-term lease.

142.8 A site for a future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be as small as 8,000 square metres in area if a larger property would be too expensive. It should, if possible, be situated within the city designated or, if this is not feasible, within 25 kilometres from the city.

<p268>

142.9 A national endowment should be regarded as an investment in real estate owned by the National Spiritual Assembly. It may be anywhere in the country and can be a small, inexpensive piece of land donated by one of the friends, or else acquired out of the resources of the National Fund.

142.10 Where we have given a goal to acquire a Haziratu'l-Quds which is to serve the entire community in a certain country, it is to be a local Haziratu'l-Quds at the present time but should be of a size and quality to serve as an administrative centre and focal point for the whole community. We envisage that some of such Haziratu'l-Quds may, at a later date, be converted into National Haziratu'l-Quds, and this fact should be borne in mind when acquiring them.

142.11 In the goal for local Haziratu'l-Quds given to some communities we state that a certain number should be large enough to accommodate activities of a number of communities in the surrounding district. While not being at all in the same category as the Haziratu'l-Quds described in the last paragraph above, these particular buildings are intended to be rather more substantial structures than the average local Haziratu'l-Quds, and should be located in areas which form easily accessible, central gathering places for districts in which large numbers of Baha'is are living. In addition to serving as a local Haziratu'l-Quds for its own town or village, such a building can be used for district gatherings, for the holding of teaching institutes, conferences, deepening classes, etc., for the larger area, and could possibly accommodate the office of the district teaching committee.

142.12 In general we intend that the local Haziratu'l-Quds called for in the Plan should be very simple structures to serve as focal points and meeting places for the local communities. It is hoped that land for them can be provided by local believers and that they can be built, for the most part, by the local friends. In certain instances the National Spiritual Assembly may feel justified in giving a small amount of assistance from the National Fund.

142.13 The acquisition of local endowments, which is given as a specific goal to some national communities, is intended to assist in the consolidation of local communities and to foster the spirit of unity and collaboration among the believers. A local endowment can be quite a small piece of land; it can be purchased by the Local Spiritual Assembly or is more usually the gift of one or more of the believers. If the Local Spiritual Assembly is incorporated, the endowment should be registered in its name, but if it is not, the endowment can be held by one or more of the believers on behalf of the community. For example, if one of the believers gives a small piece of land he can continue to hold it in his name, but it will be known that he does so on behalf of the Local Spiritual Assembly and that the land will in time be transferred legally to the Assembly when that is possible. In some countries land is owned by the state or the tribe and only the use of the land can be assigned; in such places the goal can be considered achieved if the Local Spiritual Assembly can <p269> obtain the use of a plot of land in its own name. In some countries, even if the land can be purchased, government regulations require that within a specific time a building must be erected on land held by religious institutions. This problem can be met in several ways: it may be possible for the Spiritual Assembly to obtain the use of, or acquire, a plot of land for agricultural purposes, thus avoiding the need to erect a building; or if the most practical course is to erect on the land a Baha'i institution such as a local Haziratu'l- Quds, the Assembly could, in its own records, demarcate a portion of the land to be the endowment, distinct from the portion on which the Haziratu'l-Quds stands.

Dawn Prayers

142.14 One of the characteristics of Baha'i society will be the gathering of the believers each day during the hours between dawn and two hours after sunrise to listen to the reading and chanting of the Holy Word. In many communities at the present time, especially in rural ones, such gatherings would fit naturally into the pattern of the friends' daily life, and where this is the case it would do much to foster the unity of the local community and deepen the friends' knowledge of the Teachings if such gatherings could be organized by the Local Spiritual Assembly on a regular basis. Attendance at these gatherings is not to be obligatory, but we hope that the friends will more and more be drawn to take part in them. This is a goal which can be attained gradually.

National Teaching Conferences

142.15 The holding of regular national teaching conferences has proved to be a valuable stimulus to the work in a number of countries, as well as a means for forging more strongly the bonds of unity among the believers. Beyond this, many national communities are presented with a special opportunity to hold a highly effective teaching conference at the time of the eight Intercontinental Conferences which are being called at the midway point of the Plan. Believers travelling to and from these Intercontinental Conferences are likely to be eager to assist the work in the countries through which they pass. Therefore, if you hold a national conference shortly after the Intercontinental Conference which is nearest to you, it may well be attended by believers from other lands who will bring with them the spirit of that Conference, and, by augmenting the numbers attending your national conference will greatly assist its effectiveness as a means of proclaiming the Faith and enthusing those believers who will have been unable to attend the Intercontinental Conferences.

Youth -- Specific Periods of Service

142.16 Baha'i youth should be encouraged to think of their studies and of their training for a trade or profession as part of their service to the Cause of God <p270> and in the context of a lifetime that will be devoted to advancing the interests of the Faith. At the same time, during their years of study, youth are often able to offer specific periods of weeks or months, or even of a year or more, during which they can devote themselves to travel teaching or to serving the Baha'i community in other ways, such as conducting children's classes in remote villages. They should be encouraged to offer such service, which will in itself be admirable experience for the future, and the National Assembly should instruct an appropriate committee to receive such offers and to organize their implementation so as to derive the greatest possible advantage from them.

External Affairs Work

142.17 A very important activity which has been pursued effectively in all too few countries, is the undertaking by the National Spiritual Assembly of a sustained, planned effort to foster cordial relations with prominent people and responsible government officials and to familiarize them personally with the basic tenets and the teachings of the Faith. Such an activity must be carried out with wisdom and discretion, and requires the constant attention of a responsible committee as well as periodic review by the National Spiritual Assembly itself. Where successful it can effectively forestall opposition to the Faith and smooth the way for many essential aspects of the development of the Baha'i community.

Pioneer Goals

142.18 Enclosed with this letter you will receive a list of pioneer assistance initially called for at the opening of the Plan.+F299 Any National Spiritual Assembly which has pioneers abroad from previous plans is still responsible for helping them to remain at their posts, or for replacing them, if the services they have been rendering are still needed. However, if you have any still unfilled pioneer goals from the Nine Year Plan or from the current year, you may consider them cancelled, because such unfilled goals have been taken into consideration in assigning the goals of the Five Year Plan. Best results can be obtained when pioneer projects are arranged in consultation between the sending and receiving National Spiritual Assemblies or their appropriate committees.
[F299. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p271>

143
Call for Architects for Houses of Worship in India and Western Samoa

1 April 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

143.1 The Universal House of Justice will soon be considering the selection of architects for the Mashriqu'l-Adhkars to be erected in India and Samoa.

143.2 Those wishing to be considered as architects for either of these Temples are invited to submit statements of their qualifications. Such submissions may include examples of work previously designed and/or executed and, if desired, any thoughts or concepts of proposed designs for the Temples may be expressed in whatever way the applicant chooses.

143.3 The design of each Temple will be developed by the architect selected in relation to the climate, environment and culture of the area where it is to be built.

143.4 The initiation of construction of these Temples is a goal of the current Five Year Plan, and consequently those interested should forward their submissions at an early date to the Universal House of Justice, Baha'i World Centre, P. O. Box 155, Haifa 31-000, Israel.

143.5 Please convey the above message to the friends assembled at your Convention and thereafter to the community at large in whatever way you see fit.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


144
Passing of Covenant-Breaker Charles Mason Remey

5 April 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

144.1 CHARLES MASON REMEY WHOSE ARROGANT ATTEMPT USURP GUARDIANSHIP AFTER PASSING SHOGHI EFFENDI LED TO HIS EXPULSION FROM RANKS FAITHFUL HAS DIED IN FLORENCE ITALY IN HUNDREDTH YEAR OF HIS LIFE BURIED WITHOUT RELIGIOUS RITES ABANDONED BY ERSTWHILE FOLLOWERS. HISTORY THIS PITIABLE DEFECTION BY ONE WHO HAD RECEIVED GREAT HONOURS FROM BOTH MASTER AND GUARDIAN CONSTITUTES YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE FUTILITY ALL ATTEMPTS UNDERMINE IMPREGNABLE COVENANT CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p272>

145
Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women

28 April 1974

To an individual believer

Dear Baha'i friend,

145.1 The various questions you set forth in your letter of 18 February were noted, and we offer you the following comments.

145.2 The Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and indeed all the Teachings of the Faith, form a coherent whole; therefore in order to understand their implications they must be considered in their own context. For example, in the case of intestacy, as you have noted, the eldest son receives preferential treatment in certain respects but, as 'Abdu'l- Baha has explained in one of His Tablets, he should take into consideration the needs of the other heirs.

145.3 Furthermore it should be remembered that, as Shoghi Effendi has explained (see The World Order of Baha'u'llah, page 148), Baha'u'llah has deliberately left gaps in the body of His legislative ordinances, to be filled in due course by the Universal House of Justice.

145.4 You should, therefore, when studying the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, bear these factors in mind, and always remember Baha'u'llah's exhortation to "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."+F300
[F300. SC, p. 22; see also KA P99.]

145.5 The equality of men and women, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Baha'u'llah; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of this. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of function. In some things women excel men, in others men are better than women, while in very many things the difference in sex is of no effect at all. The differences are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching effects. For example, because of this, daughters receive preference in education over sons. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted exemptions from fasting that are not applied to men.

145.6 It is apparent from the Guardian's writings that where Baha'u'llah has expressed a law as between a man and a woman it applies, mutatis mutandis,+F301 <p273> between a woman and a man unless the context should make this impossible. For example, the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father's wife (i.e., his stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her stepfather. In the case you cite, however, that of a wife who is found by her husband not to have been a virgin, the dissolution of the marriage can be demanded only "If the marriage has been conditioned on virginity";+F302 presumably, therefore, if the wife wishes to exercise such a right in respect to the husband, she would have to include a condition as to his virginity in the marriage contract, and this would seem to be one of those matters on which the Universal House of Justice will have to legislate in due course.
[F302. KA Q47, pp. 151-52.]
[F301. A Latin term meaning "with due alteration of details".]

145.7 Although the Universal House of Justice has to apply and supplement the laws of the Aqdas, it has no right at all to change any law that Baha'u'llah has specifically revealed. As clearly stated by the Guardian, the provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas "remain inviolate" during the entire Dispensation. ...+F303
[F303. GPB, p. 213.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


146
Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust

13 May 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

146.1 The goal of the Five Year Plan to establish six new Publishing Trusts is by now known to you; these new publishing agencies are to be established in Australia, the Fiji Islands, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

146.2 We have just sent to these six National Spiritual Assemblies the attached Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust, together with our Memorandum of 28 March 1971. We now enclose both these memoranda solely for your information. It is possible that some of the six National Spiritual Assemblies charged with this goal may apply to any one of you for information about the structure and operation of your own publishing agency and we feel sure you will answer any questions they may ask.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice <p274> Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust

May 1974

146.3 1. The name "Baha'i Publishing Trust" does not require the establishment of a Trust in the legal sense, and, in fact, more than one Baha'i publishing agency is not called a Trust.

146.4 2. By whatever name it is called the objective is to establish a publishing agency, under the complete control and direction of the National Spiritual Assembly.

146.5 3. The difference between a Baha'i Publishing Trust and any other Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly lies chiefly in the fact that the publishing agency does not operate on a budget from the National Spiritual Assembly but is established as a business with its own capital (whose sources are listed at 6 below), trading in the publishing and sale of Baha'i literature and allied items, and the results of this trading remain within its own financial structure. It is a business, owned by the National Spiritual Assembly, to carry out its publishing requirements.

146.6 4. While it may first be set up as a Committee the aim should be to form some association, legally established, by which the National Spiritual Assembly may act as a publisher. This may be achieved either through the National Spiritual Assembly's own incorporation or by the establishment of a separate legal entity with the National Spiritual Assembly having full control. But in any case legal advice must be sought.

146.7 5. The Company or Trust must be a non-profit-making organization, that is to say all proceeds from its transactions must be used for such things as paying salaries and other operational expenses, royalties and interests on loans and augmenting its own capital. It is not operated for individual profit.

Capitalization

146.8 6. Since the agency is to be operated solely for Baha'i purposes, capital funds may not be received from non-Baha'is, although of course the aim is to sell books to the largest possible public. Capital may be obtained from:

a) Grants from the National Spiritual Assembly

b) Gifts from individual Baha'is or from Spiritual Assemblies

c) Profit from trading

<p275>

d) Loans from Baha'is or Baha'i institutions. Such loans may be interest free or interest bearing but for every loan there must be a written contract setting out the terms of the loan, its duration, condition of repayment and all details.

e) Taking over any publishing assets (stock, outstanding accounts, etc.) which your National Spiritual Assembly or one of your Committees may at present have.

Production

146.9 7. Publishing is not the same as printing or manufacturing books. The publisher engages manufacturing firms to produce his books according to the publisher's design and specifications. The actual production and distribution of books need not be confined to the country in which the Publishing Trust operates. The printing and binding may be done anywhere it is deemed most feasible economically, and from the point of view of control, quality, economy and financial arrangements.

Publishing programme

146.10 8. Baha'i literature comprises in general the Sacred Text (works of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha); the Guardian's writings; letters and publications of the Universal House of Justice; introductory and explanatory works; historical works; teaching pamphlets and other teaching literature. The purpose of establishing Baha'i publishing agencies throughout the world is to make a wide range of such material available to everybody.

146.11 The specific programme you must devise will therefore take into consideration the following factors:

a) What are the prevailing languages in your area of jurisdiction.

b) Will other National Spiritual Assemblies be interested in your publications.

c) What are your immediate needs for teaching and study of the Faith.

d) What literature useful to you already exists.

e) Reviewing.

Under

a) You will need to consider a programme of translation and we refer you to our Memorandum of 28 March 1971.+F304
[F304. See message no. 94.]

<p276>

b) If the answer is yes, you will need to consult any such National Spiritual Assembly with a view to establishing priorities and enlisting their help in translating.

c) Together with b) and d) should enable you to establish a publishing programme by priority of need.

d) If you can, with reasonable ease, obtain needed literature from other Baha'i Publishing Trusts you should obviously do so and use your own resources for publishing items not available elsewhere. Your own publishing agency should buy such material at wholesale prices and re-sell it to Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals.

e) Everything published must be approved; see our Memorandum of 28 March 1971

Financial Programme

146.12 9. An appeal may be made to all the believers under your jurisdiction, as well as to any National Spiritual Assemblies under 8 b) above, to support the new publishing agency. In addition to such an appeal a general invitation to the friends may be issued to take up loans, see 6 d) above.

146.13 Proper accounts must be kept and a Profit and Loss Account and a Balance Sheet drawn up and audited every year.

146.14 Pricing of publications. Two objectives have to be balanced against each other, namely, to make Baha'i literature available at as low a price as possible and to build up a sound business. Retail prices will have to cover

a) production costs

b) operating expenses (see 5)

c) discounts allowed

d) a small profit to repay loans and build up capital.

146.15 Postage on books. Cost of postage or freight may either be charged directly to the customer or included in the selling price.

146.16 If the National Spiritual Assembly wishes to sell a book at less than the commercial retail price, it should subsidize its Publishing Trust so that the Trust itself will incur no loss.

Management

146.17 10. The Publishing Trust should be managed by a Committee, appointed by your National Spiritual Assembly and directly responsible to you. Ideally it should have in its membership one believer capable of acting as general <p277> manager and conducting the business of the Trust on behalf of the Committee. At the outset it may not be possible to make this a full-time position or to offer a salary to the manager, but this point should be borne in mind as the business of the Trust increases and its volume of sales justifies such an expense. Perhaps it may be possible to find some competent believer who, for the present, would make the management of the Publishing Trust his or her Baha'i service.

146.18 The above are not hard and fast rules but guidelines for consideration. The important thing is to tackle at once the problem of supplying literature to support the all- important work of teaching and study of the Cause. The Sacred Text, the Guardian's writings, expository and historical works are all essential to the propagation and promotion of the Faith.


147
Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas not Binding in the West

9 June 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iceland

Dear Baha'i friends,

147.1 Thank you for your letter of 4 March 1974 enclosing the inquiry from the Baha'i Group of Isafjoerdur. It has become apparent from a number of questions we have received that many believers are not clear which are those laws already binding upon the Baha'is in the West. We therefore feel it is timely to clarify the situation, and the simplest way is to state those laws listed in the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas which are not at present binding upon the friends in the western world. For ease of reference we give the numbers of the sections listed.

147.2 IV.A.(4)(c) The law regarding the exemption from obligatory prayer granted to women in their courses.

147.3 IV.A.(10) The law concerning ablutions, with the exception of the ablutions required for the Medium Obligatory Prayer which are described in Section CLXXXII of Prayers and Meditations and are required for the recitation of that prayer.

147.4 IV.A.(12) The law concerning actions to be taken in place of an Obligatory Prayer missed on account of insecure conditions.

147.5 IV.B.(5)(a) The definition of travellers for the purpose of exemption from fasting. Instead of these definitions the believers in the West should observe the following guidance given by the beloved Guardian's <p278> secretary on his behalf: "travellers are exempt from fasting, but if they want to fast while they are travelling, they are free to do so. You are exempt the whole period of your travel, not just the hours you are in a train or car, etc. ..."+F305
[F305. LG, p. 234.]

147.6 IV.B.(5)(f) The law regarding the exemption from fasting granted to women in their courses.

147.7 IV.C.(1)(i) The laws governing betrothal.

147.8 IV.C.(1)(j) The law concerning the payment of a dowry by the groom to the bride on marriage.

147.9 IV.C.(1)(1) and (in) The laws concerning the travelling of a husband away from his wife.

147.10 IV.C.(1)(n) and (o) The laws relating to the virginity of the wife.

147.11 IV.C.(2)(b) That part of the divorce law relating to fines payable to the House of Justice.

147.12 IV.C.(3) The law of inheritance. This is normally covered by civil laws of intestacy at the present time.

147.13 IV.D.(1)(a) The law of pilgrimage.

147.14 IV.D.(1)(b) The law of Huququ'llah is not yet applied to the western friends.+F306
[F306. See message dated 6 August 1984 on the introduction of Huququ'llah to the West (no. 404), and message dated 4 July 1985 introducing a compilation on Huququ'llah (no. 430). For the compilation, see CC I:489-527.]

147.15 IV.D.(1)(d) The law of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is gradually being put into effect.

147.16 IV.D.(1)(f) The Baha'i Festivals are being celebrated by the western friends on their anniversaries in the Gregorian calendar until such time as the Universal House of Justice deems it desirable to pass supplementary legislation necessary for the full implementation of the Badi' calendar.

147.17 IV.D.(1)(j) The age of maturity applies only to Baha'i religious duties as yet.+F307 On other matters it is subject to the civil law of each country. The age of administrative maturity in the Baha'i community has, for the time being, been fixed at 21.
[F307. For more information on the responsibilities of youth at the age of maturity, see message no. 426.]

<p279>

147.18 IV.D.(1)(k) For the burial of the dead the only requirements now binding in the West are to bury the body (not to cremate it), not to carry it more than a distance of one hour's journey from the place of death, and to say the Prayer for the Dead if the deceased is a believer over the age of 15.

147.19 IV.D.(1)(p) The law of tithes.

147.20 IV.D.(1)(q) The law concerning the repetition of the Greatest Name 95 times a day.

147.21 IV.D.(1)(r) The law concerning the hunting of animals.

147.22 IV.D.(1)(t), (u), (v) and (w) The laws relating to the finding of lost property, the disposition of treasure trove, the disposal of objects held in trust and compensation for manslaughter are all designed for a future state of society. These matters are usually covered by the civil law of each country.

147.23 IV.D.(1)(y) (xiv), (xv), (xvi) and (xvii) Arson, adultery, murder and theft are all forbidden to Baha'is, but the punishments prescribed for them in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are designed for a future state of society. Such matters are usually covered by the civil laws of each country.

147.24 IV.D.(1)(y) (xxv), (xxx), (xxxi) and (xxxii) The laws prohibiting the use of the type of pools which used to be found in Persian baths, the plunging of one's hand in food, the shaving of one's head and the growth of men's hair below the lobe of the car.

147.25 All the exhortations, listed in section IVD.(3), are applicable universally at the present time insofar as it is possible for the friends to implement them; for example, the exhortation to teach one's children to chant the Holy Verses in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be literally carried out only on a limited scale at the present time, but the friends should, nevertheless, teach their children the Holy Writings as far as possible.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p280>

148
Revision of the Functions of Continental Pioneer Committees

22 July 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

148.1 In view of the ever-increasing number of pioneers and travelling teachers now arising from various countries to serve the Cause of God in widely scattered lands throughout all continents the Universal House of Justice has considered ways of deriving maximum benefit from the services of these devoted believers, co-ordinating their efforts and anticipating the needs of the future.

148.2 The Continental Boards of Counsellors will soon be approaching you about the need for pioneers and travelling teachers for the period ending Ridvan 1976.

148.3 The functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees have been reviewed and developed in a way that will enable them to operate in closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the National Spiritual Assemblies of their areas. A copy of the statement outlining the functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees as now revised is attached for your information. As you will note, the members of these Committees will henceforth be appointed by the Universal House of Justice. Nothing in the functions now assigned to the Continental Pioneer Committees in any way detracts from the primary responsibility of National Spiritual Assemblies to foster and promote pioneering and travelling teaching.

148.4 It is our hope and prayer that as the Five Year Plan unfolds evidences of closer ties of co-operation among the various institutions of the Faith will be increasingly witnessed in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p281>

149
The Lesser Peace and "The Calamity"

29 July 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

149.1 We have received your letter of 19 June 1974 describing the preoccupation of some American believers with the date of the Lesser Peace, and with their feeling that "the calamity," as a prelude to that peace, is imminent.

149.2 It is true that 'Abdu'l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations -- a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland."+F308 And, in The Promised Day is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha assures us, will, in this century, be securely established."+F309
[F309. PDIC P298; see also SAQ, p. 65.]
[F308. SWAB, p. 32.]

149.3 There is also this statement from a letter written in 1946 to an individual believer on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary: All we know is that the Lesser and the Most Great Peace will come -- their exact dates we do not know. The same is true as regards the possibility of a future war; we cannot state dogmatically it will or will not take place -- all we know is that mankind must suffer and be punished sufficiently to make it turn to God.

149.4 It is apparent that the disintegration of the old order is accelerating, but the friends should not permit this inevitable process to deter them from giving their undivided attention to the tasks lying immediately before them. Let them take heart from the reassuring words of Shoghi Effendi contained in the closing paragraphs of his momentous message of 5 June 1947, and concentrate on the challenging tasks of this hour.+F310
[F310. CF, pp. 37-38.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p282>

150
Passing of Laura Dreyfus-Barney, Compiler of Some Answered
Questions

22 August 1974

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of France

150.1 ASCENSION DISTINGUISHED MAIDSERVANT LAURA DREYFUS-BARNEY FURTHER DEPLETES SMALL BAND PROMOTERS FAITH HEROIC AGE.+F311 MEMBER FIRST HISTORIC GROUP PARIS TAUGHT BY MAY MAXWELL SHE ACHIEVED IMMORTAL FAME THROUGH COMPILATION SOME ANSWERED QUESTIONS UNIQUE ENTIRE FIELD RELIGIOUS HISTORY. OFFERING ARDENT PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD PROGRESS HER SOUL ABHA KINGDOM URGE ALL COMMUNITIES FRANCE HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS GRATITUDE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.
[F311. Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney was born in the United States in 1879 into a family of scholars and artists. She learned about the Baha'i Faith from May Bolles Maxwell in Paris, circa 1900, during the Heroic Age of the Faith (1844-1921). Some Answered Questions, first published in London in 1908 and issued five times since by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States, consists of 'Abdu'l-Baha's responses to questions put to Him at table by Miss Barney between 1904 and 1906. In 1911 she married the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first French Baha'i. She died in Paris on 18 August 1974. For an account of her life and services, see BW 16:535-38.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


151
Comments on the Baha'i Attitude Toward Material Suffering

19 November 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Italy

Dear Baha'i friends,

151.1 In your letter of 11 September you say that the questions of how to help the Third World or the poor who are suffering under calamities are much discussed in your community and you wish to know whether to create a special fund for such needs, to ask for special contributions from time to time, or whether there are other ways in which you could help.

151.2 It is understandable that Baha'is who witness the miserable conditions under which so many human beings have to live, or who hear of a sudden disaster that has struck a certain area of the world, are moved to do something practical to ameliorate those conditions and to help their suffering fellow-mortals.

<p283>

151.3 There are many ways in which help can be rendered. Every Baha'i has the duty to acquire a trade or profession through which he will earn that wherewith he can support himself and his family; in the choice of such work he can seek those activities which are of benefit to his fellowmen and not merely those which promote his personal interests, still less those whose effects are actually harmful.

151.4 There are also the situations in which an individual Baha'i or a Spiritual Assembly is confronted with an urgent need which neither justice nor compassion could allow to go unheeded and unhelped. How many are the stories told of 'Abdu'l-Baha in such situations, when He would even take off a garment He was wearing and give it to a shivering man in rags.

151.5 But in our concern for such immediate obvious calls upon our succour we must not allow ourselves to forget the continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human beings are always groaning -- a burden which they have borne for century upon century and which it is the mission of Baha'u'llah to lift at last. The principal cause of this suffering, which one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness, selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well- being that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their lives -- they need to know who they are, to what purpose they exist, and how they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to everyday behaviour. It is to the solution of this basic problem of mankind that the greater part of all our energy and resources should be directed. There are mighty agencies in this world, governments, foundations, institutions of many kinds with tremendous financial resources which are working to improve the material lot of human beings. Anything we Baha'is could add to such resources in the way of special funds or contributions would be a negligible drop in the ocean. However, alone among men we have the divinely given remedy for the real ills of mankind; no one else is doing or can do this most important work, and if we divert our energy and our funds into fields in which others are already doing more than we can hope to do, we shall be delaying the diffusion of the Divine Message which is the most important task of all.

151.6 Because of such an attitude, and also because of our refusal to become involved in politics, Baha'is are often accused of holding aloof from the "real problems" of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only "real" good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.

<p284>

151.7 We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth. Baha'is, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils -- which are in essence negative -- will fade away and be no more. To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Baha'i, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Baha'u'llah, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely created World Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence, he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedevilled the world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


152
Release of a Compilation on Opposition

26 November 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

152.1 Five months before he passed away, the beloved Guardian in his cable to the Baha'i world, dated 4 June 1957, drew our attention to the fact that from both without and within the Faith evidences of "INCREASING HOSTILITY" and "PERSISTENT MACHINATIONS" were apparent, and that they foreshadowed the "DIRE CONTEST" predicted by 'Abdu'l-Baha, which was destined to "RANGE [the] ARMY [of] LIGHT [against the] FORCES [of] DARKNESS, BOTH SECULAR [and] RELIGIOUS."+F312
[F312. MBW, p. 123.]

152.2 The marvellous victories won in the name of Baha'u'llah, since those words were written; and the triumphs increasingly being achieved by His dedicated and ardent lovers in every land, will no doubt serve to rouse the internal and external enemies of the Faith to fresh attempts to attack the Faith and dampen <p285> the enthusiasm of its supporters, as evidenced by the book attacking Shoghi Effendi recently published in Germany by Hermann Zimmer, a Covenant-breaker, and the new book misrepresenting the Faith written by William Miller, a long-time enemy of the Faith who used to be a missionary in Persia.

152.3 We felt, therefore, that we could contribute to your devoted and incessant efforts to protect our precious Cause by placing in your hands a compilation from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of Shoghi Effendi, clearly outlining the principle that the progressive unfoldment and onward march of the Faith of God are bound to raise up adversaries, indubitably foreshadowing the world-wide opposition which is to come, and unequivocally giving the assurance of ultimate victory. This compilation is far from complete and exhaustive, but provides a basis for the study of this all-important subject.+F313
[F313. See The CC II:137-50. For further information on the subject of opposition to the Faith, see the compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice in 1987 on crisis and victory in CC I:131-85.]

152.4 We leave it to your discretion, in consultation with a Hand or Hands of the Cause who may be available, as well as with the Counsellors, to decide in what manner, and how much of this material should be shared with the friends. In some areas it may be best for National Spiritual Assemblies to publish these extracts in Baha'i newsletters gradually, in others the circulation or even publication of the entire compilation, with other pertinent texts, if called for, may be desirable; in yet other areas it may be enough to draw the attention of the friends to this important subject, through courses and lectures based on these texts and given in conferences and summer schools.

152.5 We feel strongly that, whatever method is chosen to inform the friends, the time has come for them to clearly grasp the inevitability of the critical contests which lie ahead, give you their full, support in repelling with confidence and determination "the darts" which will be levelled against them by "their present enemies, as well as those whom Providence will, through His mysterious dispensations, raise up, from within or from without," and aid and enable the Faith of God to scale loftier heights, win more signal triumphs, and traverse more vital stages in its predestined course to complete victory and world-wide ascendancy.+F314
[F314. MBW, p. 39.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p286>

153
Formation of Five New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1975 and Readjustment of the Zones of African Continental Boards of Counsellors

6 January 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

153.1 We are glad to announce that preparations are being made for next Ridvan by the friends in several countries in West Africa and one in the Near East to form, in accordance with the provisions of the Five Year Plan, their new National Spiritual Assemblies. In Western Africa, the National Spiritual Assembly of Dahomey, Togo and Niger will divide into three separate national communities for each of the three countries which presently compose the region, with their seats in Cotonou Lome and Niamey respectively, while the National Spiritual Assemblies of West Africa and of Upper West Africa will each split into two units, the former into Liberia and Guinea, with its seat in Monrovia, and Sierra Leone, with its seat in Freetown, and the latter into the Gambia, with its seat in Banjul, and a new National Spiritual Assembly with the name of Upper West Africa comprising Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, with its seat in Dakar. In the Near East the National Spiritual Assembly of Jordan will be formed, with its seat in 'Amman. These developments on the national level will result in a net increase next Ridvan of five National Spiritual Assemblies, but in view of the inability of the friends in Indonesia to maintain national administrative activities, the total number of National Spiritual Assemblies will thus be raised throughout the world to 119.

153.2 Of the five new National Spiritual Assemblies, four will have their seats in Western Africa. Three more National Spiritual Assemblies are scheduled to be formed in this area in the course of the Plan. The mighty potentialities for growth and expansion in the western regions of Africa are such as to justify a corresponding development of the institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors in that vast and promising area. The decision has been taken, therefore, after consultation with the International Teaching Centre, to break the present zone of North-western Africa into two separate zones of Northern and Western Africa, to each of which will be transferred parts of the Central and East African zone. The zone of Northern Africa will comprise Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Spanish Sahara. The zone of Western Africa will consist of Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, the Cape Verde Islands, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta Niger, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.

<p287>

153.3 Because of the creation of a new Board for Northern Africa, the Counsellors in this and the one for Western Africa must be regrouped, new appointments made to the Northern Board, and the number of Auxiliary Board members increased. We decided, therefore, that the Board for Northern Africa will consist of Mr Muhammad Kebdani, already serving as a Counsellor, Mr Muhammad Mustafa, and Mr 'Imad Sabiran. The Board for Western Africa will consist of Mr Husayn Ardikani (Trustee), Mr Friday Ekpe, Mr Zekrullah Kazemi, and Dr Mihdi Samandari (transferred from the Central and East African Board).

153.4 [MAP OF AFRICA SHOWING THE CONTINENTAL BOARDS OF COUNSELLORS' ZONES HAS BEEN OMITTED.]

<p288>

153.5 We are also increasing the number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa, adding 9 members to the Board for Protection, and 9 to that for Propagation, bringing the totals for that continent to 27 and 45 respectively, allocated according to the following schedule:

Auxiliary Board members for
Protection Propagation
Central and East Africa 13 19
Southern Africa 4 10
Northern Africa 5 5
Western Africa 5 11
27 45

153.6 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these decisions, which reflect the growth of our beloved Faith in Africa, will pave the way for speedier progress, wider expansion and greater consolidation, as the friends of that mighty continent forge ahead in their efforts to promote and protect the precious Cause of Baha'u'llah.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


154
Acquisition of the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha' in 'Akka

9 January 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

154.1 JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION LENGTHY DELICATE NEGOTIATIONS RESULTING ACQUISITION BY PURCHASE HOLY HOUSE CENTRE COVENANT 'ABDU'L-BAHA BIRTHPLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI. HISTORIC PROPERTY ADJACENT BARRACKS MOST GREAT PRISON COMPRISES LAND AREA APPROXIMATING SEVEN THOUSAND SQUARE METRES INCLUDES OTHER STRUCTURES WITHIN COMPLEX ASSURING PERMANENT PROTECTION HOUSE VISITED BY MANY PILGRIMS TURN CENTURY SCENE HISTORIC VISIT FIRST GROUP WESTERN PILGRIMS.+F315 PLANS BEING PREPARED RESTORATION HOLY HOUSE BEAUTIFICATION GROUNDS AS ADDITIONAL PLACE PILGRIMAGE WORLD CENTRE WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES FUNDS PERMIT. OFFER HUMBLE THANKSGIVING BAHA'U'LLAH THIS GREAT BLESSING.
[F315. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the Glossary. For an account of the significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message no. 157.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p289>

155
Call for Pioneers

13 January 1975

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

155.1 The striking progress made during the first eight months of the Five Year Plan and the urgent needs of the work as disclosed in a survey made by the International Teaching Centre impel us to raise anew the call for pioneers made at Ridvan, increasing the number from 557 to 933. The details of the allocations are now being sent to your National Spiritual Assemblies for immediate action.

155.2 The eager response of the friends to the initial call has already resulted in 279 pioneers settled or in process of becoming so. The remainder are urged to arise as quickly as possible before the confusion and chaos which are engulfing the old order disrupt transportation and communications and cause doors which are now open to be closed in our faces. It is our ardent hope that most, if not all, of the 933 posts will be filled by the midway point of the Five Year Plan, which coincides with the Anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, on 20 October 1976.+F316
[F316. See cable of 21 October 1976 (message no. 179) reporting that the majority of the pioneer goals had indeed been achieved by the midpoint of the Five Year Plan.]

155.3 We renew our plea to individual believers, as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, to give generous support to the International Deputization Fund, which will not only be an essential factor in the speedy settlement of this urgently needed army of pioneers, but will also stimulate and assist the flow of travelling teachers, whose labours will provide strong reinforcement to the work of the followers of Baha'u'llah in all parts of the world.

155.4 Our prayers for your guidance and confirmation are offered at the Sacred Threshold. May Baha'u'llah inspire those who arise and guide their feet in the path of His service.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p290>

156
Acquisition of Land Adjacent to the Guardian's Resting-Place in London

4 February 1975
To all National Spiritual Assemblies

156.1 ANNOUNCE PURCHASE STRIP LAND GREAT NORTHERN LONDON CEMETERY FACING BELOVED GUARDIAN'S RESTING PLACE ENSURING PROTECTION SACRED PLOT. PRAYERS GRATITUDE OFFERED DIVINE THRESHOLD.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

157
The Significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha

4 March 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

157.1 Immediately after sending the cable announcing the joyful news of the acquisition of this property [the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha], the Universal House of Justice had the enclosed article prepared at the World Centre, and it is sent for you to disseminate as you see fit.+F317
[F317. For the announcement of the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154).]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha

157.2 Some of the most poignant, dramatic and historically significant events of the Heroic Age of our Faith are associated with this house, which derives its name from the Governor of 'Akka who built it and used it as his official residence during his term of Office, from 1820 to 1832. It stands just inside the north-western corner of the sea wall of 'Akka in the close neighbourhood of the citadel where Baha'u'llah was confined. The main building is L-shaped, facing south and cast on its outer prospects. The structure, though chiefly on two stories, is irregular and on the inside angle has balconies, uncovered stairways, a bathhouse and a well. The entire property comprises large courtyards and is bounded on the west, or seaward, side by a wall, which turns due east at its southern angle and continues towards the heart of 'Akka, forming after <p291> a few yards, the wall of a narrow street; at the eastern terminus of this wall, and within the property, is an imposing house which was occupied by that Governor of 'Akka whose incumbency coincided with 'Abdu'l-Baha's residence in the main building, and whose northern windows permitted him to maintain a constant surveillance of 'Abdu'l-Baha's activities. Beyond this house is a small mosque. The eastern boundary of the property is a row of houses giving directly, on its western aspect, to the courtyard and offering many additional vantage points for observing the Master. A similar row of houses extends from the north-eastern corner along the northern boundary until they terminate at the longitudinal wing of the main building which, at this point, projects northwards into several conjoined buildings, making a large irregular outcrop on the northern boundary. The western end of the northern boundary is a short stretch of wall completing the enclosure at the north-western corner of the west wall. Large stables, coach houses and storerooms line the southern boundary.

157.3 In this house, fifty lunar years after the Bab's martyrdom, in January, 1899, the casket containing His sacred and precious remains was received by 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who successfully concealed it until it was possible to inter it, with all honours, in its permanent resting-place in the bosom of Carmel.+F318 In this house 'Abdu'l-Baha was confined during the period of His renewed incarceration.+F319 Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By, testifies to the conditions of His life at that time:
[F319. In August 1901 the restrictions on 'Abdu'l-Baha that had gradually been relaxed were reimposed so that He was incarcerated in 'Akka until September 1908.]
[F318. 'Abdu'l-Baha interred the remains of the Bab on Mount Carmel on 21 March 1909. For an account of this event, see GPB, p. 276.]

157.3a Even His numerous friends and admirers refrained, during the most turbulent days of this period, from calling upon Him, for fear of being implicated and of incurring the suspicion of the authorities. On certain days and nights, when the outlook was at its darkest, the house in which He was living, and which had for many years been a focus of activity, was completely deserted. Spies, secretly and openly, kept watch around it, observing His every movement and restricting the freedom of His family.+F320
[F320. GPB, p. 267.]

157.3b Yet during these troublous times, and from this house, He directed the construction of the Bab's sepulchre on Mount Carmel, erected under its shadow His own house in Haifa and later the Pilgrim House,+F321 issued instructions for the restoration of the Bab's holy House in Shiraz and for the erection of the <p292> first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the world in the city of 'Ishqabad.+F322 Again the Guardian is our reference for the Master's ceaseless activity at that time:
[F322. For the announcement of the demolition of the House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, see letter dated 25 August 1963 (message no. 4).]
[F321. 'Abdu'l-Baha's house is located at 7 Haparsim Street in Haifa. The Western Pilgrim House, later the seat of the Universal House of Justice and later still the seat of the International Teaching Centre, is located across the street at 10 Haparsim Street.]

157.3c Eyewitnesses have testified that, during that agitated and perilous period of His life, they had known Him to pen, with His own hand, no less than ninety Tablets in a single day, and to pass many a night, from dusk to dawn, alone in His bedchamber engaged in a correspondence which the pressure of His manifold responsibilities had prevented Him from attending to in the daytime.+F323
[F323. GPB, p. 267.]

157.4 It was in this house that His celebrated table talks were given and compiled, to be published later under the title Some Answered Questions.+F324 In this house and in the darkest hours of a period which the beloved Guardian describes as "the most dramatic period of His ministry," "in the heyday of His life and in the full tide of His power" He penned the first part of His Will and Testament, which delineates the features and lays the foundations of the Administrative Order to arise after His passing.+F325 In this house He revealed the highly significant Tablet addressed to the Bab's cousin and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, a Tablet whose import can be appreciated and grasped only as future events unfold before our eyes, and in which, as testified by Shoghi Effendi, 'Abdu'l-Baha "in stirring terms proclaimed the immeasurable greatness of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, sounded the warnings foreshadowing the turmoil which its enemies, both far and near, would let loose upon the world, and prophesied, in moving language, the ascendancy which the torch-bearers of the Covenant would ultimately achieve over them."+F326
[F326. GPB, p. 268.]
[F325. GPB, pp. 267-68.]
[F324. 'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, collected and trans. Laura Clifford Barney (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1984). The book was first published in London in 1908 by Keegan, Paul, Trench, Truebner & Co.]

157.5 During the twelve years of His residence in this house, 'Abdu'l-Baha demonstrated the true nobility of His divine nature; overcame hatred with love; pursued without rest, against ever-mounting opposition, the direction of His Father's Cause; maintained in the face of fanaticism, jealousy and bitterness His unceasing care of the poor and sick; and overcame, with unruffled equanimity, the severest crisis of His life. The Guardian's words testify to these things:

157.5a At His table, in those days, whenever there was a lull in the storm raging about Him, there would gather pilgrims, friends and inquirers from most of the aforementioned countries [Persia, the United States, Canada, <p293> France, England, Germany, Egypt, 'Iraq, Russia, India, Burma, Japan, and the Pacific Islands], representative of the Christian, the Muslim, the Jewish, the Zoroastrian, the Hindu and Buddhist Faiths. To the needy thronging His doors and filling the courtyard of His house every Friday morning, in spite of the perils that environed Him, He would distribute alms with His own hands, with a regularity and generosity that won Him the title of "Father of the Poor." Nothing in those tempestuous days could shake His confidence, nothing would be allowed to interfere with His ministrations to the destitute, the orphan, the sick, and the downtrodden, nothing could prevent Him from calling in person upon those who were either incapacitated, or ashamed to solicit His aid. ...

157.5b So imperturbable was 'Abdu'l-Baha's equanimity that, while rumours were being bruited about that He might be cast into the sea, or exiled to Fizan in Tripolitania, or hanged on the gallows, He, to the amazement of His friends and the amusement of His enemies, was to be seen planting trees and vines in the garden of His house, whose fruits when the storm had blown over, He would bid His faithful gardener, Isma'il Aqa, pluck and present to those same friends and enemies on the occasion of their visits to Him.+F327
[F327. GPB, p. 269.]

157.6 In this house was born the child ordained to hold the destiny of the Faith in his hands for thirty-six years and to become its "beloved Guardian," the child named "Shoghi" by his Grandfather, who grew up under His loving and solicitous care and became the recipient of His Tablets.

157.7 When Baha'u'llah ascended, in 1892, the Mansion at Bahji remained in the occupancy of the arch-breaker of the Covenant, the Master's half-brother Muhammad-'Ali, and members of that branch of Baha'u'llah's family. 'Abdu'l-Baha and the members of His family, including His illustrious sister the Greatest Holy Leaf, remained in the House of 'Abbud, which continued to be 'Abdu'l-Baha's official residence.+F328 In the course of the fifth year after Baha'u'llah's passing, the marriage of 'Abdu'l-Baha's two eldest daughters took place, and it quickly became apparent that the portion of the House of 'Abbud available for occupation was woefully inadequate to the enlarged family. With characteristic vigour 'Abdu'l-Baha took action and in the months preceding the birth of Shoghi Effendi arranged to rent the main building, and subsequently the <p294> subsidiary wings, of 'Abdu'llah Pasha's house, and He established it as His official residence. Thus it came about that, in 1897, Shoghi Effendi was born in the same house (in an upper room of the wing facing south) that witnessed events of such vital importance to the Faith and the future of mankind.
[F328. The building now known as the House of 'Abbud comprises two houses: the House of 'Udi-Khammar, in which the Holy Family was confined initially, and the House of 'Abbud itself, which they were later able to rent and to join to the former. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha is some distance away on the same street, which follows the wall of the city of 'Akka next to the sea.]

157.8 The Guardian's childhood and upbringing in that house are referred to by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum in The Priceless Pearl:

157.8a It may sound disrespectful to say the Guardian was a mischievous child, but he himself told me he was the acknowledged ringleader of all the other children. Bubbling with high spirits, enthusiasm and daring, full of laughter and wit, the small boy led the way in many pranks; whenever something was afoot, behind it would be found Shoghi Effendi! This boundless energy was often a source of anxiety as he would rush madly up and down the long flight of high steps to the upper story of the house, to the consternation of the pilgrims below, waiting to meet the Master. His exuberance was irrepressible and was in the child the same force that was to make the man such an untiring and unflinching commander-in-chief of the forces of Baha'u'llah, leading them to victory after victory, indeed, to the spiritual conquest of the entire globe. We have a very reliable witness to this characteristic of the Guardian, 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself, Who wrote on a used envelope a short sentence to please His little grandson: "Shoghi Effendi is a wise man -- but he runs about very much!"

157.8b In those days of Shoghi Effendi's childhood it was the custom to rise about dawn and spend the first hour of the day in the Master's room, where prayers were said and the family all had breakfast with Him. The children sat on the floor, their legs folded under them, their arms folded across their breasts, in great respect; when asked they would chant for 'Abdu'l-Baha; there was no shouting or unseemly conduct. Breakfast consisted of tea, brewed on the bubbling Russian brass samovar and served in little crystal glasses, very hot and very sweet, pure wheat bread and goats' milk cheese. ...+F329
[F329. PP, pp. 7-8.]

157.9 It was to this house that that historic first group of pilgrims from the West came to see the Master in the winter of 1898-99, and in which many more from both East and West sought His presence.+F330 Some of them have left memorable descriptions of their experiences with 'Abdu'l-Baha and His household in that home. Ella Goodall Cooper, one of the very earliest American believers, records the following:
[F330. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the Glossary.]

<p295>

157.9a One day I had joined the ladies of the Family in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf for early morning tea, the beloved Master was sitting in His favourite corner of the divan where, through the window on His right, He could took over the ramparts and see the blue Mediterranean beyond. He was busy writing Tablets, and the quiet peace of the room was broken only by the bubble of the samovar, where one of the young maidservants, sitting on the floor before it, was brewing the tea.+F331
[F331. Quoted in PP, p. 5.]

157.10 Thornton Chase, the first American believer, records in his memoir, In Galilee:

157.10a We did not know we had reached our destination until we saw a Persian gentleman, and then another and another, step out at the entrance and smile at us. We alighted and they conducted us through the arched, red brick entrance to an open court, across it to a long flight of stone steps, broken and ancient, leading to the highest story and into a small walled court open to the sky, where was the upper chamber assigned to us, which adjoined the room of 'Abdu'l-Baha. The buildings are all of stone, whitewashed and plastered, and it bears the aspect of a prison.

157.10b Our windows looked out over the garden and tent of 'Abdu'l-Baha on the sea side of the house. That garden is bounded on one side by the house of the Governor, which overlooks it, and on another by the inner wall of fortification. A few feet beyond that is the outer wall upon the sea, and between these two are the guns and soldiers constantly on guard. A sentry house stands at one corner of the wall and garden, from which the sentry can see the grounds and the tent where 'Abdu'l-Baha meets transient visitors and the officials who often call on him. Thus all his acts outside of the house itself are visible to the Governor from his windows and to the men on guard. Perhaps that is one reason why the officials so often become his friends. No one, with humanity, justice, or mercy in his heart, could watch 'Abdu'l-Baha long without admiring and loving him for the beautiful qualities constantly displayed.+F332
[F332. See Thornton Chase, "In Galilee," in Thornton Chase and Arthur S. Agnew, In Galilee and in Wonderland, (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1985), pp. 22-24.]

157.11 Mary Hanford Ford published an account of her pilgrimage to this house in Star of the West, vol. XXIV:

157.11a The little room in which I stayed and in which the significant conversations with 'Abdu'l-Baha took place, was of the simplest description. The floor was covered with matting, the narrow iron bed and the iron <p296> wash stand with larger and smaller holes for bowl and pitcher were of that vermin proof description with which I had become familiar. Everything was scrupulously clean, and there was an abundant supply of sparkling water for bathing and drinking. A wide window looked over the huge town wall upon the blue Mediterranean and before this stretched a divan upon which 'Abdu'l-Baha sat when He came to see me.+F333
[F333. Mary Hanford Ford, "An Interview With 'Abdu'l-Baha", Star of the West, XXIV:4 (July 1933), p. 105.]

157.12 The palpable victory which 'Abdu'l-Baha had wrested from the persecution, intrigue, hatred, vilification even, directed against Him during His twelve years in the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, was signally apparent when, upon His release from incarceration in 1908, He moved to His new residence in Haifa. At that time the future Guardian was a boy of eleven, but his appointment, although a carefully guarded secret, had already been made by 'Abdu'l-Baha in the part of His Will and Testament revealed in that house.+F334
[F334. See WT, Part I, pp. 3-15.]

157.13 As we contemplate the extraordinary focusing of powerful forces and events upon this house, we eagerly anticipate the day when it will be restored and made ready for pilgrims, who may inhale from its atmosphere, its grounds and sacred walls, the fragrances of a glorious past.+F335
[F335. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of the Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and opened to pilgrims in 1983. For the announcement of the appointment of the architect to help restore the House, see message dated 14 October 1977 (no. 198).]


158 A Plan for International Collaboration in Travelling Teaching

25 March 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies Dear Baha'i friends,

158.1 As we approach the threshold of the second year of the Five Year Plan, it is evident that the need for travelling teachers as indicated in the message launching that Plan is acquiring greater urgency and importance.

158.2 During the past year steps have been taken to revise the functions, broaden the base and strengthen the work of the Continental Pioneer Committees and to bring them into much closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of <p297> Counsellors. Already, with their assistance an army of pioneers has moved and is moving towards its objectives, and a general readiness has been evinced by the friends, particularly the youth, to serve as itinerant teachers.

158.3 The strenuous efforts being made to fill the pioneer goals by the midway point of the Plan must now be paralleled by well-considered and determined efforts to swell to a mighty river the stream of those friends who will travel to foreign lands to reinforce the efforts of those who are labouring so valiantly to expand and consolidate the widely scattered Baha'i communities and to proclaim the Message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of society.

158.4 At our request the International Teaching Centre has evolved a plan, which we have warmly approved, comprising specific goals of international collaboration in the field of travelling teaching. This plan is now being sent to the Continental Boards of Counsellors who will, in turn, present it to the National Spiritual Assemblies, whose task it will be to implement it. In consultation with the Counsellors each National Spiritual Assembly is to work out specific proposals which it should then present to the other National Assemblies with whom it is to collaborate, so that, as soon as possible, actual projects can be worked out and set in motion, thus inaugurating a process which should rapidly gather momentum and be prosecuted with undiminished vigour in the years ahead.

158.5 The Continental Pioneer Committees should be kept closely informed of all projects so that they may know how best to reinforce the flow with those many volunteers who will undoubtedly arise outside the framework of the specific projects now to be conceived. It is our hope that, as far as possible, travel teaching projects will be self-supporting or can be assisted by the National Funds involved, but where necessary, the International Deputization Fund is available to assist. Whenever assistance from the Deputization Fund is required, the request should be made to the Continental Pioneer Committee, giving details of the project. If the sum required is small the Committee may be able to help immediately; otherwise it will pass the request, together with its recommendation, to the Universal House of Justice for consideration.

158.6 We sincerely hope that in the forefront of the volunteers, the Baha'i youth will arise for the sake of God and, through their driving force, their ability to endure inhospitable and arduous conditions, and their contentment with the bare necessities of life, they will offer an inspiring example to the peoples and communities they set out to serve, will exert an abiding influence on their personal lives, and will promote with distinction the vital interests of God's Cause at this crucial stage in the fortunes of the Plan.

158.7 We shall offer our ardent prayers at the Holy Shrines for the confirmation of the efforts of all those who will heroically respond to this call.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p298>

159
Ridvan Message 1975

4 April 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

159.10 OCCASION MOST GREAT FESTIVAL WE CONTEMPLATE WITH THANKFUL HEARTS ACHIEVEMENTS FIRST YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN ELECTION THIS RIDVAN FIVE NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES FOUR IN AFRICA ONE IN ASIA. DESPITE WORSENING PLIGHT MORIBUND CIVILIZATION EVIDENCES GATHERING CLOUDS WIDESPREAD OPPOSITION DIVINE MESSAGE BELIEVERS THROUGHOUT WORLD FORGING AHEAD ACCOMPLISHMENT GOALS. THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY-SIX PIONEERS ALREADY SETTLED ONE HUNDRED FIFTY-TWO PREPARING PROCEED POSTS. NEW WORLD-WIDE TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAMME DESIGNED BY INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE NOW BEING LAUNCHED BY NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES IN CONSULTATION COUNSELLORS. BELOVED HANDS CAUSE ADVANCING VANGUARD ARMY LIGHT LENDING CONSTANT LOVING GUIDANCE ENCOURAGEMENT PROTECTION FRIENDS LABOURING DIVINE VINEYARD. WORLD CENTRE FAITH RICHLY BLESSED THROUGH ACQUISITION HOLY HOUSE MASTER BIRTHPLACE SHOGHI EFFENDI WITHIN WALLS 'AKKA+F336 WILL EARLY WITNESS ON CONSECRATED SOIL SLOPES MOUNT CARMEL INITIATION EXCAVATION FOUNDATIONS PERMANENT SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AND IN ITALY SIGNATURE CONTRACT MARBLE REQUIRED MAJESTIC EDIFICE.+F337 AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE HUMAN HISTORY THREE MAJOR OBJECTIVES PLAN AND ITS SPECIFIC GOALS PRESENT DISTINCT INSISTENT CHALLENGE TO EACH INDIVIDUAL BAHA'I ADULT YOUTH CHILD TO EACH BAHA'I FAMILY TO EACH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND ABOVE ALL TO EACH LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY WHOSE DEVELOPMENT IS VITAL SUCCESS FIVE YEAR PLAN AND PROGRESSIVE UNFOLDMENT DIVINELY ORDAINED BAHA'I SOCIETY MAY REMAINING THREE HUNDRED NINETY-FIVE PIONEERS SPEEDILY ARISE AND ARMY VOLUNTEERS RESPOND NEWLY LAUNCHED TRAVEL TEACHING PROGRAMME. NATIONAL LOCAL ASSEMBLIES INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS URGED CONTRIBUTE UNSTINTINGLY TIME EFFORT OUTPOURING MATERIAL RESOURCES SUPPORT EVERY PHASE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN COMING YEAR. APPEAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND JOIN US PRAYERS SUPPLICATION BLESSED BEAUTY GUIDE SUSTAIN PROTECT HIS DEVOTED FOLLOWERS IN THEIR DEDICATED EFFORTS PURIFY THEIR SOULS RAISE HIS BANNER SERVE HIS CAUSE.
[F337. For further information on the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); on the announcement of the decision to build, see message dated 7 June 1972 (no. 115); on the appointment of the architect, see message dated 17 September 1973 (no. 136); on the acceptance of the design, see message dated 7 February 1974 (no. 140); on the excavation of the site, see message dated 17 June 1975 (no. 165); and on the occupation of the seat, see message dated 2 February 1983 (no. 354).]
[F336. See message dated 9 January 1975 about the acquisition of the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha (no. 154). For the announcement of the completion of the restoration of the upper floor of the house and its opening to visitors, see message dated Ridvan BE 140 (no. 358). For the announcement of the completion of restoration and opening to visitors of the southern wing of the house, see message dated Ridvan 1986 (no. 456).]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p299>

160
Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

24 April 1975

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

160.1 PORTENTOUS OCCASION FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY FORMAL ESTABLISHMENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY BAHA'IS UNITED STATES RECALL WITH PRIDE ADMIRATION PRE-EMINENT STATION CONFERRED AMERICAN BAHA'I COMMUNITY CENTRE COVENANT PREPONDERATING ROLE ALREADY ASSUMED WORLD-WIDE PROMOTION FAITH GLORIOUS ACHIEVEMENTS UNMATCHED RANGE MAGNITUDE ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD PAST HALF CENTURY. CALL UPON THIS HIGHLY BLESSED DISTINGUISHED COMMUNITY CONTEMPLATE ITS UNDOUBTED DUTIES PRIVILEGES PURGE ITS SOUL ALL WORLDLY ENTANGLEMENTS REDEDICATE ITS ENERGIES RESOURCES IMMEDIATE TASKS ARISE SINGLE-MINDEDLY PERFORM HISTORIC MISSION RENDER SUCH SERVICES ATTAIN SUCH SACRIFICIAL HEIGHTS WORTHY BRILLIANT FOREBEARS HEROIC AGE FAITH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

161
Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi

14 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i' friends,

161.1 In December 1967 the Universal House of Justice wrote to all National Spiritual Assemblies expressing the need of the World Centre for letters written by the Guardian to them, or to their subsidiary institutions, as well as to the friends under their jurisdiction.+F338
[F338. For the December 1967 letter, see message no. 54. See also the 26 August 1984 letter (no. 409), in which the need is reiterated.]

161.2 The response to this request was encouraging, but it is obvious that there are many letters which have not yet been received.

161.3 The Universal House of Justice requests you, therefore, to check again in your archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian for any further letters which have not yet been forwarded to the World Centre and to appeal to the believers under your jurisdiction, calling upon those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian to send the text of such letters to the World Centre.

<p300>

161.4 To assist your National Spiritual Assembly and the friends to carry out this urgent project the following points from the letter of December 1967 from the Universal House of Justice are here repeated for your consideration.

1. Recipients of letters from the Guardian have the inherent right of deciding to keep the letters themselves, or to have them preserved for the future in their families. To assist the Universal House of Justice, however, in its efforts to study and compile the letters of the Guardian, the friends are urged to provide, for dispatch to the Holy Land, photostatic copies of their communications from the Guardian if they wish to keep the originals themselves.

2. If they are not in a position to provide such copies, they should kindly allow National Spiritual Assemblies to undertake this project on our behalf.

3. Should any believer possess letters so personal and confidential that he does not wish to disclose their contents to any institution other than the Universal House of Justice, he is invited to send either the originals or copies of such letters, marked confidential, directly to the Universal House of Justice, by registered mail, with any instructions he wishes to be followed.

161.5 Will you please give this matter your early attention. The Universal House of Justice thanks you warmly for your assistance.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


162
Comments on the Progress of the Five Year Plan

25 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

162.1 A fifth of the span allotted to the Five Year Plan has run its course and we have passed a major milestone in the destinies of that Plan. It is appropriate for every National Spiritual Assembly to pause in order to appraise its position, and that of the community which it represents and serves, and to determine its progress in relation to the goals with which it stands identified.

162.2 To help each National Spiritual Assembly in this appraisal we send you the following statement which, under various headings, outlines the impressions we have gathered and comments we are prompted to make on the prosecution of certain goals of the Plan. Although some of the items may not be <p301> directly applicable to you, you may find them of interest. Each National Spiritual Assembly should determine, in the light of the goals assigned to it, to what extent each of our observations is applicable to its work.

Teaching -- Expansion and Consolidation

162.3 Teaching the Faith embraces many diverse activities, all of which are vital to success, and each of which reinforces the other. Time and again the beloved Guardian emphasized that expansion and consolidation are twin and inseparable aspects of teaching that must proceed simultaneously, yet one still hears believers discussing the virtues of one as against the other. The purpose of teaching is not complete when a person declares that he has accepted Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this age; the purpose of teaching is to attract human beings to the divine Message and so imbue them with its spirit that they will dedicate themselves to its service, and this world will become another world and its people another people. Viewed in this light a declaration of faith is merely a milestone along the way -- albeit a very important one. Teaching may also be likened to kindling a fire, the fire of faith, in the hearts of men. If a fire burns only so long as the match is held to it, it cannot truly be said to have been kindled; to be kindled it must continue to burn of its own accord. Thereafter more fuel can be added and the flame can be fanned, but even if left alone for a period, a truly kindled fire will not be extinguished by the first breath of wind.

162.4 The aim, therefore, of all Baha'i institutions and Baha'i teachers is to advance continually to new areas and strata of society, with such thoroughness that, as the spark of faith kindles the hearts of the hearers, the teaching of the believers continues until, and even after, they shoulder their responsibilities as Baha'is and participate in both the teaching and administrative work of the Faith.

162.5 There are now many areas in the world where thousands of people have accepted the Faith so quickly that it has been beyond the capacity of the existing Baha'i communities to consolidate adequately these advances. The people in these areas must be progressively deepened in their understanding of the Faith, in accordance with well-laid plans, so that their communities may, as soon as possible, become sources of great strength to the work of the Faith and begin to manifest the pattern of Baha'i life.

Reaching Remote Areas -- an Immediate Challenge

162.6 At the same time there is a challenge of great urgency facing the world-wide Baha'i community. When launching the Ten Year Crusade, Shoghi Effendi urged the believers to "carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islam has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated."+F339 A number of <p302> such regions still exist in places like New Guinea, the heart of Africa and the Amazon Basin in South America. As the influence of civilization spreads, the age-old ways of life of the inhabitants of these regions will inevitably perish, and they will rapidly be infected with the materialistic ideas of a decadent civilization. It is our pressing duty to carry the Message of Baha'u'llah to such people while they are still pure-hearted and receptive, and through it to prepare them for the changed world which will come upon them.
[F339. CF, p. 114.]

Teaching Tribal Peoples and Minorities

162.7 In addition to the tribes in these remote regions of the world, there are tribes and minorities who still live in their traditional ways in the midst of other cultures. All too often such peoples are despised and ignored by the nations among whom they dwell, but we should seek them out, teach them the Cause of God, and enrich through their membership the Baha'i communities of the lands in which they live. So important is this goal that each National Spiritual Assembly should study the requirements for teaching each of the different tribes and groups within its area, appoint a committee for this purpose -- even a special committee for each tribe or minority where this is feasible and desirable -- and launch a series of well-conceived, far-reaching campaigns to bring about the enrolment of these peoples within the Cause of Baha'u'llah, and the establishment among them of the Baha'i Administrative Order.

Pioneering

162.8 Great challenges and opportunities for teaching often occur far from large well- established Baha'i communities; this is especially true in respect of many of the tribal peoples. Pioneering and travel teaching are therefore of the greatest importance for the accomplishment of teaching plans. It is not always difficult to see what the ideal solution for any particular teaching problem may be; however, ideal solutions are seldom available, and the Assemblies which achieve the most outstanding results are those which have developed the skill of using to their best advantage whatever means they have at their command and whatever assistance can be given to them. Pioneers, for example, all have different capacities, different skills, different problems and different responsibilities. A National Assembly may see that its most urgent need is for a financially independent married couple who can live in a remote village area to conduct regular classes for the believers there; but what it actually receives are two single middle-aged ladies who need to work to support themselves and can only get jobs in one of the large towns. Instead of despairing, a resourceful Assembly will immediately see whether the presence of either or both of these ladies in such a town would enable one or more native believers to pioneer to the village area. Even if this does not work out, it will nevertheless do all it can to assist the two pioneers to settle down and will make the utmost <p303> use of whatever services they can render, services which may well, in the long run, be of inestimable benefit to that national community.

162.9 There are several ways of pioneering, and all are entirely valid and are of great help to the teaching work. There is, first of all, the pioneer who goes to a particular country, devotes the remainder of his life to the service of the Faith in that land and finally lays his bones to rest in its soil. Secondly, there is the pioneer who goes to a post, serves valiantly there until the native Baha'i community is strongly established, and then moves on to new fields of service. Thirdly, there are those, for example youth between the completion of their schooling and the starting of their chosen profession, who go pioneering for a specific limited period.

162.10 Ideally, of course, a pioneer should be, or become as soon as possible, financially independent of the Fund in his chosen post, not only to husband the financial resources of the Faith but because it is a Baha'i principle that everyone should work and support himself and his family whenever possible, and there is no such profession as pioneer or teacher in the Baha'i Faith as there are professional missionaries and clergymen in other religions. Nevertheless it must be recognized that in some posts where pioneers are desperately needed there is no possibility for them to get work. Either there is no work available in the area or else the pioneer is refused a work permit because he is a foreigner. In such cases it is essential for the Assemblies to provide financial assistance to support the pioneer for as long as is necessary.

162.11 There are a number of methods of financing pioneers in areas where work is unobtainable. Believers can be found who have independent means and are willing to pioneer to the area and live on whatever income they have, however slender. There are those who, in accordance with Baha'u'llah's injunction, have been deputized by friends who are unable to go themselves. Believers may be found who are willing to go to such an area for a specific period supported by the meagre budget that the Fund can afford, with the clear understanding that at the end of that period they will return from the pioneer post and become self-supporting again; in such a way an area can be serviced with a succession of pioneers. Then there are those believers who are willing to serve in a remote and inhospitable area, but whose age or situation makes it clear from the outset that they will not be able to become self-supporting again; when the need is great and cannot be met in any other way, an Assembly would be fully justified in supporting them, but it should realize from the outset the extent of the responsibility it is incurring for an indefinite period into the future.

162.12 Naturally these ways of financing pioneering are not mutually exclusive. A person, for example, can be partially self-supporting and assisted to only a limited degree; or a pioneer may go to an area with the intention of finding work but is unable to do so and the Assembly repeatedly extends the period <p304> of financial support until the time comes when he is no longer able to become self- supporting anywhere. In such a case the Assembly needs to watch the process very carefully so that, on the one hand, it does not incur a permanent responsibility it had not intended, and on the other, does not commit the injustice of terminating the Financial support extended to a pioneer at a time when he has become unemployable, and is unable to obtain any other means of support.

Travelling Teaching

162.13 While pioneers provide a very valuable long-term reinforcement of a community and are often the only feasible means for opening new areas -- and here we are speaking not only of pioneers from foreign lands but of home-front pioneers as well, the use of whom must be greatly developed in most countries -- a second vital reinforcement of the work is provided by travelling teachers. As mentioned in the message sent to all believers at Ridvan, a new international travel teaching programme is now being launched. National Assemblies and their committees, therefore, need to develop a threefold integrated programme for travel teaching. Firstly, there should be within each national community regular circuits of local travelling teachers, that is to say of believers who are members of that national community, whether native or pioneers, who are able and willing to devote time to this activity. Secondly, and integrated within these circuits, provision should be made for planned visits of travelling teachers from abroad. Thirdly, each National Assembly should establish an agency and a procedure for taking advantage of the unheralded arrival of visitors from abroad, or of sudden offers from believers on the home-front, who would be able to give valuable help in the fields of travel teaching or proclamation if properly organized. Such an agency would, of course, be responsible for evaluating the capacity of those who offer services because while an unexpected offer can often provide a very valuable teaching opportunity, it is also true to say that some Baha'i communities have been exhausted and their work hindered by the arrival of a succession of travelling Baha'is who were not really suited, for lack of a language or for other reasons, to assist with teaching in the area concerned. Friends who travel spontaneously in this way can do valuable teaching themselves but should not expect the assistance of local administrative institutions if they have not arranged the trip in advance.

Correspondence Courses

162.14 Only a few National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of developing and conducting correspondence courses; however, those National Assemblies who have the goal of training selected believers to assist in consolidating local communities would find it worthwhile to consider how the use of correspondence courses could help in the fulfilment of this goal. For example, once the selection of trainees has been made, the first stage in <p305> their training could well be a correspondence deepening course which would ascertain the degree of interest and capacity of each trainee and also prepare him to attend a series of lectures or classes which would follow as a second stage. The entire training process could consist of several stages interspersed in this way. This combination of two methods has the advantage of helping the Assembly to ascertain at the outset which trainees have the capacity and desire to continue with the course, thus leading to a better selection and helping to ensure that the costs of holding classes and bringing trainees to them are incurred only in respect of those whose interest and capacity have been established.

162.15 Economy can be exercised by holding the deepening classes in smaller gatherings by grouping several neighbouring local communities together and sending one or more teachers to the area. This might prove more economical than inviting the selected trainees to, say, the capital, and having to accommodate and feed them during the period of the course.

Teaching Conferences

162.16 Teaching conferences can have a great value for the advance of the Faith. Their aim is to strengthen the bonds of unity and fellowship among the friends, to increase their involvement in the teaching work and their interest in its progress, and to serve as magnets to attract divine confirmations. They are also rallying points for the believers, evidences of the vitality of their love for Baha'u'llah, and potent instruments for generating enthusiasm and spiritual drive for advancing the interests of the Faith.

162.17 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies, which are not among the majority who are already doing so, have been assigned the goal of holding at least one National Teaching Conference during each year. The purpose of this is to provide a national event of major importance in addition to the annual National Convention to stimulate the interest and reorientate the efforts of the friends, focusing their attention upon the current urgent needs of the Plan. These National Teaching Conferences should, therefore, be held some months away from Ridvan, or they will lose a great part of the intended effect.

162.18 As the eight International Conferences will soon be upon us, it is important for National Assemblies to decide as soon as possible, in consultation with the Counsellors, whether it would be feasible and helpful to hold a national conference soon after, or possibly immediately before, the International Conference nearest to their area. The sooner this study is made and decisions taken and announced, the greater will be the participation of the friends, locally and from abroad.

Newsletters

162.19 Although during the past year a marked improvement has been noticed in certain countries in the standard and regularity of the Baha'i newsletters, the development of this organ of Baha'i communication still needs great attention <p306> in most national communities. A special committee should be appointed, on which members of the National Spiritual Assembly could well serve, with the task of making the national newsletter a powerful instrument of direct and regular contact with the friends, which will disseminate news among them, stimulate and maintain their interest in the growth of the Faith in the world and throughout the area of national jurisdiction, share with them the National Spiritual Assembly's plans, hopes and aspirations, convey to them its comments on Baha'i developments of special significance, and cause the believers to anticipate the future with feelings of excitement and confidence. The doors of communication between the friends, the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly should always be open. The one means which will contribute most to the promotion of this open-door policy is the regular issue of an interesting and heart- warming newsletter. In certain countries, we are glad to see, there are in addition to the national newsletter, news bulletins issued on regional or district levels. The importance of these secondary organs of Baha'i communication acquires added weight in areas where differences of language make the issue of bulletins in a local language of each area highly desirable, if not essential.

Literature

162.20 When each National Spiritual Assembly carefully compares the demands of the waiting public and the needs of the believers for Baha'i literature with the current supply, it will realize how urgent is the need for it to multiply its efforts to ensure that a comprehensive range of our literature is made constantly available. The basic literature of the Faith must be translated into languages that are most suitable and in demand for the spread and development of the Faith in accordance with the goals of the Plan. In each national area the agencies for obtaining and disseminating Baha'i literature should be greatly strengthened so that they will efficiently ensure an uninterrupted supply of the literature which is available from the various Publishing Trusts and organize its distribution throughout the area, through Local Assemblies and groups, by sale at conferences and summer schools, and directly to individuals. At the same time these agencies should ensure that the monies received from the sale of literature are kept separate from other funds of the Faith and are used for the replenishment of stocks of books and the widening of the range of literature available. National Assemblies must also give consideration to the need to cover the cost of certain literature out of the National Fund, so that it can be supplied free or sold at a price within the reach of those who urgently require it.

Radio and Television

162.21 A compilation has recently been made from the letters written on behalf of the Guardian and a copy is attached for your information. This brief compilation <p307> shows the importance that Shoghi Effendi attached to the use of radio as a means of teaching and proclaiming the Faith in countries where such activity is possible.

162.22 The Universal House of Justice has initiated a pilot project in Ecuador for the purchase and operation of a Baha'i radio station, and at the present time this is the only one for which sufficient funds are available.+F340 However, the actual owning of a radio station is not the only way of making use of this medium. National Spiritual Assemblies responsible for countries where Baha'i radio programmes would raise no objection from the civil authorities, should regard it as their bounden duty to explore, if they have not already done so, whatever options are open to them to utilize radio to sow the seeds of the Faith as widely as they can and to broadcast its divine teachings, as well as to assist in the consolidation of the local Baha'i communities.
[F340. For announcements of the inauguration of Baha'i radio stations, see messages dated 15 December 1977, Naw-Ruz 1978, and 28 August 1978 (messages nos 201, 205, and 213); 13 December 1982 (no. 348); 2 April 1984 (no. 391); and 31 January 1986 (no. 450). For the message to the Hemispheric Baha'i Radio -- Television Conference, see telex dated 15 December 1977 (no. 202).]

162.23 Where the use of television broadcasts is open to Baha'i communities they should also take the utmost advantage of this opportunity.

Contact with the Authorities

162.24 The events of the past year have demonstrated clearly that the enemies of the Faith are intensifying their attacks on the precious Cause of God. The Five Year Plan calls for a planned and sustained effort, under the close supervision of each National Spiritual Assembly, to foster cordial relations with responsible government officials and prominent people. In every country where the doors of contact with those in authority are open to the friends, the National Spiritual Assembly should, as indicated in our letter of Naw-Ruz 131, appoint a special committee to be given the task of finding effective ways of informing the authorities about the Faith, of dispelling any misgivings and of removing any misapprehensions which may be deceitfully created by those who are striving to extinguish the fire of God's Faith.+F341 We cannot over-emphasize the necessity of this activity and the need to use utmost tact and wisdom in pursuing it, for, not only will it facilitate the further proclamation and recognition of the Faith, but, as opposition to and misconceptions about the aims and purposes of the Baha'is increase, when a moment of crisis arrives the institutions of the Faith may know where to turn, whose advice and assistance to seek and how to minimize the effects of opposition.
[F341. See "Elucidation of Five Year Plan goals," Naw-Ruz 1974 (message no. 142).]

162.25 Closely linked with the above undertaking, in countries where the Faith is not yet recognized, is the need to apply for such recognition if the laws of the country permit and if the Universal House of Justice has approved that <p308> an approach be made to the authorities on the subject. In other countries where some measure of recognition, such as the incorporation of Assemblies, has been obtained, National Spiritual Assemblies should be alert to the possibilities which are open to them to widen the scope and broaden the base of the recognition obtained for Baha'i institutions, the Baha'i marriage certificate and Baha'i Holy Days. These measures will not only secure for the Faith a higher degree of legal protection, but will enhance its stature in the eyes of the authorities and the general public.

Wisdom in the Use of Baha'i Funds

162.26 The Five Year Plan emphasizes the obligation of the friends, in view of the growing needs of the Faith to ensure that a generous outpouring of contributions is offered in support of Baha'i Funds, and encourages Baha'i communities at present dependent on outside help to aim at becoming self-supporting. While all National Spiritual Assemblies have the obligation to administer Baha'i funds wisely and judiciously, those National Spiritual Assemblies which depend to a large extent on budgetary assistance from the World Centre have an even greater responsibility, so to speak, to carefully supervise expenditures. The more rigorous the exercise of economy on the part of National Spiritual Assemblies, the sooner will the body of the friends be encouraged to feel financial responsibility toward the progress of the Faith in their areas, to place greater reliance upon the wise administration of the National Spiritual Assembly, and to offer their resources, however modest they may be, for the furthering of its plans and activities.

162.27 National Spiritual Assemblies must uphold economy not only because the funds at their disposal are limited but, as experience has repeatedly shown, because lack of proper control and supervision in the expenditure of these funds is both an unfair temptation to the untrustworthy and a test to the body of the believers, causing them to become disenchanted with Baha'i administration and weakening their resolve to fulfil their sacred obligation of contributing to the Fund.

162.28 In the attitudes seen at the National Office, in the appropriations made to committees and other agencies of the National Assembly, in any budgetary assistance given to pioneers and travelling teachers, in the holding of conferences and deepening courses, and in all aspects of the work of the Cause for which the National Assembly is responsible, supervision, careful planning and lack of extravagance should be observed and be seen to be upheld.

Local Spiritual Assemblies

162.29 It is becoming increasingly understood by the friends why the Five Year Plan places such great emphasis upon the firmness of the foundation and the efficiency of the operation of the Local Spiritual Assemblies. This is very heartening, for upon the degree to which the members of these Assemblies grasp <p309> the true significance of the divine institution on which they serve, arise selflessly to fulfil their prescribed and sacred duties, and persevere in their endeavours, depends to a large extent the healthy growth of the world-wide community of the Most Great Name, the force of its outward thrust, and the strength of its supporting roots.

162.30 We long to see every Local Spiritual Assembly either spontaneously adopt its own goals or warmly welcome those it has been or will be given by its National Spiritual Assembly, swell the number of the adherents who compose its local community and, guided by the general policy outlined by its National Spiritual Assembly, proclaim the Faith more effectively, energetically pursue its extension teaching and consolidation goals, arrange the observances of the Holy Days, regularly hold its Nineteen Day Feasts and its sessions for deepening, initiate and maintain community projects, and encourage the participation of every member of its community in giving to the Fund and undertaking teaching activities and administrative services, so as to make each locality a stronghold of the Faith and a torchbearer of the Covenant.

162.31 We are confident that the institution of the Boards of Counsellors will tend its vital support and, through the Counsellors' own contacts with the friends, through their Auxiliary Boards and their assistants, will nourish the roots of each local community, enrich and cultivate the soil of knowledge of the teachings and irrigate it with the living waters of love for Baha'u'llah. Thus will the saplings grow into mighty trees, and the trees bear their golden fruit.

Women

162.32 'Abdu'l-Baha has pointed out that "Among the miracles which distinguish this sacred dispensation is this, that women have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the ranks of the Faith." Shoghi Effendi has further stated that this "boldness" must, in the course of time, "be more convincingly demonstrated, and win for the beloved Cause victories more stirring than any it has as yet achieved."+F342 Although obviously the entire Baha'i world is committed to encouraging and stimulating the vital role of women in the Baha'i community as well as in society at large, the Five Year Plan calls specifically on eighty National Spiritual Assemblies to organize Baha'i activities for women. In the course of the current year which has been designated "International Women's Year" as a world-wide activity of the United Nations, the Baha'is, particularly in these eighty national communities, should initiate and implement programmes which will stimulate and promote the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Baha'i community life, so that through their accomplishments the friends will demonstrate the distinction of the Cause of God in this field of human endeavour.
[F342. ADJ, p. 69.]

<p310>

Youth

162.33 It is our hope that in the international travel teaching programme now being launched the youth will assume a major role by devoting time during their vacations, and particularly during the long vacation at the end of the academic year, to the promotion of the teaching work in all its aspects, not only within their own national communities but farther afield. Some youth may have financial resources of their own, others may be able and willing to work and save the funds necessary for such projects, still others may have the financial backing of their parents, relatives or friends. In other cases the Baha'i funds may be able to supplement whatever resources the prospective travelling teacher may be able to supply.

162.34 The endurance of youth under arduous conditions, their vitality and vigour, and their ability to adapt themselves to local situations, to meet new challenges, and to impart their warmth and enthusiasm to those they visit, combined with the standard of conduct upheld by Baha'i youth, make them potent instruments for the execution of the contemplated projects. Indeed, through these distinctive qualities they can become the spearhead of any enterprise and the driving force of any undertaking in which they participate, whether local or national. Our expectant eyes are fixed on Baha'i youth! Children

162.35 How often have well-organized Baha'i children's classes given parents, even those who are not Baha'is, the incentive to learn more and study more deeply the Teachings of the Faith! How often have the children, through their songs and recitation of prayers during Feasts and at other gatherings of the friends, added lustre and inspiration to the programme and created a true sense of belonging to the community in the hearts of those present! How many are the children who have grown into active and enkindled youth, and later into wholly dedicated adults, energetically supporting the work of the Cause and advancing its vital interests!

162.36 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of organizing children's activities, and many of these Assemblies have been assigned assistance in the form of at least one helper who will have received some training in the education of Baha'i children. The National Assemblies to receive such helpers, however, should not await their arrival before initiating activities. Through the services of a committee chosen from among those interested in this area of service, simple lessons could be improvised, suitable extracts from the Writings and Prayers chosen for the children to study and memorize, and local talent called upon to carry out this vital activity which will assuredly exert a far-reaching influence on the well-being and strength of each community.

<p311>

Dawn prayers

162.37 We have been watching with profound interest the manner in which the goal of encouraging the friends to meet for dawn prayers is being carried out. In some rural areas this has become already an established practice of the friends and indeed a source of blessing and benefit to them as they pursue their activities during the day, as well as increasing the consciousness of community solidarity. In other areas, the friends have found that, because of the distances involved, better results are obtained by meeting for prayer in smaller groups. In yet other areas, as a first step, plans have been made to meet for dawn prayers once a week.

162.38 May the Blessed Beauty sustain you bountifully as you prepare yourselves to discharge the commitments and surmount the challenges of the year which has just begun.

With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


Use of Radio and Television in Teaching (Extracts from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

162.39 In regard to your wish of broadcasting the Message, Shoghi Effendi would advise you to consult with the Spiritual Assembly as to whether such an action meets their approval, and if so to ask their assistance and help for finding the best means through which to carry out your plan. The idea of a wireless station is rather ambitious and requires much financial expenditure. If, however, you find it feasible and within your financial capacity you should not hesitate to do so, inasmuch as this will enable you to spread the Cause in a much easier and more efficient manner.

(13 August 1933 to an individual believer)

162.40 Your suggestion regarding the installation of a radio station in the Temple is truly splendid. But it remains to be seen whether the National Spiritual Assembly finds it financially feasible to undertake such a project, which is, beyond doubt, a very costly enterprise. Whatever the expenditure involved in this project, there is no reason why the believers should not start now considering seriously the possibility of such a plan, which, when carried out and perfected, can lend an unprecedented impetus to the expansion of the teaching work throughout America.

162.41 It is for the National Spiritual Assembly, however, to take the final decision in this matter, and to determine whether the national fund of the Cause is at present sufficiently strong to permit them to install a radio station in the Temple.

<p312>

162.42 The Guardian feels, nevertheless, confident that this plan will receive the careful consideration of the National Spiritual Assembly members, and hopes that, if feasible, they will take some definite action in this matter.

(31 January 1937 to an individual believer)

162.43 He read with interest the various suggestions you made to the National Spiritual Assembly, and feels they are fundamentally sound, especially the wider use of the radio. Unfortunately at the present time anything that would make a fresh demand on the financial resources of the Cause in America -- such as a Baha'i-owned broadcasting station -- is out of the question, as the friends are finding it difficult to meet the great needs of the teaching and Temple Funds. However the idea should, he feels, be kept in mind for future realization.

(14 October 1942 to an individual believer)

162.44 In connection with the radio work ... he would suggest that the main consideration is to bring to the attention of the public the fact that the Faith exists, and its teachings. Every kind of broadcast, whether of passages from the Writings, or on topical subjects, or lectures, should be used. The people need to hear the word "Baha'i" so that they can, if receptive, respond and seek the Cause out. The primary duty of the friends everywhere in the world is to let the people know such a Revelation is in existence; their next duty is to teach it.

(24 July 1943 to an individual believer)

162.45 He feels it would be excellent if the Cause could be introduced more to the people through the medium of radio, as it reaches the masses, especially those who do not take an interest in lectures or attend any type of meeting.

(7 March 1945 to an individual believer)

162.46 The matter of obtaining free time on the radio is one which the Radio Committee and the National Spiritual Assembly must decide upon: but the principle is that every effort should be made to present the teachings over the air as often as possible as long as the manner in which it is done is compatible with the dignity of our beloved Faith.

(15 August 1945 to an individual believer)

162.47 He was sorry to learn through your cable that the project for a Baha'i radio station can not be carried out at present; he considers that such a station would be a very great asset to the Cause, not only as a teaching medium and a wonderful form of publicity, but also as an enhancement of its prestige. He feels your Assembly should not drop the matter, but go on investigating ways to make such a project materialize as soon as possible.

(20 March 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

<p313>

162.48 He hopes that a Baha'i radio station will prove feasible during the coming years, as he considers it of great importance.

(4 May 1946 to the Radio Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

162.49 The Baha'is should not always be the last to take up new and obviously excellent methods, but rather the first, as this agrees with the dynamic nature of the Faith which is not only progressive, but holds within itself the seeds of an entirely new culture and civilization.

(5 May 1946 to an individual believer)

162.50 The Guardian approves in principle of a radio station, and sees no objection to its being in the Temple; but he considers the cost you quote too much of a burden at the present time for the Fund to bear, in view of the multiple expenses of the new Seven Year Plan.+F343 If there is any way it can be done for a price you feel the Fund could pay, and which would be more reasonable, he approves of your doing it. In any case the National Spiritual Assembly should strongly press for recognition as a Religious Body, and claim full rights to be represented on the air on an equal footing with other established Churches.
[F343. The second Seven Year Plan, 1946-53.]

(20 July 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

162.51 He approves of your desire to teach the principles of the Faith through radio. But he urges you to do all you can to always, however small the reference you are able to make to it may be, clearly identify or associate what you are giving out with Baha'u'llah. The time is too short now for us Baha'is to be able to first educate humanity and then tell it that the Source is this new World Faith. For their own spiritual protection people must hear of the name Baha'i -- then, if they turn blindly away, they cannot excuse themselves by saying they never even knew it existed! For dark days seem still ahead of the world, and outside of this Divine Refuge the people will not, we firmly believe, find inner conviction, peace and security. So they have a right to at least hear of the Cause as such!

(24 April 1949 to an individual believer)

<p314>

163
Representation of the Universal House of Justice by Hands of the Cause of God at International Conferences

27 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

International Teaching Conferences

1976-1977

163.1 We joyfully announce that the following Hands of the Cause of God have been named as our representatives to the International Conferences:

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum Paris, France 3-6 August 1976
Ugo Giachery Helsinki, Finland 6-8 July 1976
'Ali-Akbar Furutan Hong Kong 5-8 November 1976
Paul Haney Merida, Mexico 4-6 February 1977
Enoch Olinga Bahia, Brazil 28-30 January 1977
William Sears Nairobi, Kenya 15-17 October 1976
Collis Featherstone Anchorage, Alaska 23-25 July 1976
Abu'l-Qasim Faizi Auckland, New Zealand 19-22 January 1977

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p315>

164
Significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

5 June 1975

To the followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

164.1 As the Five Year Plan gathers momentum in all parts of the world, with the followers of the Blessed Perfection firmly embarked on the course that will lead to victory, the time has come for us to contemplate, in preparation for its imminent initiation, the project which will rank as the greatest single undertaking of that Plan, the construction of a befitting Seat for the Universal House of Justice in the heart of God's Holy Mountain.+F344
[F344. In a message dated 31 August 1987 to the Baha'is of the world, the Universal House of Justice outlined plans for completing the "world-shaking, world- embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" that Shoghi Effendi (MA, p. 32) envisioned on Mount Carmel, God's Holy Mountain. The buildings to be constructed include the International Baha'i Library and the seats of the International Teaching Centre and the Centre for the Study of the Texts. Additional projects include constructing an extension to the International Archives Building to accommodate the ever-growing World Centre archives and constructing eighteen monumental terraces from the foot of Mount Carmel to its crest, nine leading to the terrace on which the Shrine of the Bab stands and nine rising above it.]

164.2 Nearly thirty-six years ago, after overcoming a multitude of difficulties, the beloved Guardian succeeded in transferring to Mount Carmel the sacred remains of the Purest Branch and Navvab, interring them in the immediate neighbourhood of the resting- place of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and alluded, in these words, to the "capital institutional significance" that these events constituted in the unfoldment of the World Centre of the Faith:+F345
[F345. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, Baha'u'llah's youngest son; Navvab is Asiyih Khanum, titled the Most Exalted Leaf, wife of Baha'u'llah and mother of 'Abdu'l- Baha, Miza Mihdi, and Bahiyyih Khanum; the Greatest Holy Leaf is Bahiyyih Khanum, daughter of Baha'u'llah. See MA, p. 31.]

164.2a For it must be clearly understood, nor can it be sufficiently emphasized, that the conjunction of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot which, under the wings of the Bab's overshadowing Sepulchre, and in the vicinity of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar+F346 which will be reared on its flank, is destined to <p316> evolve into the focal centre of those world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions, ordained by Baha'u'llah and anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and which are to function in consonance with the principles that govern the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. Then, and then only, will this momentous prophecy which illuminates the concluding passages of the Tablet of Carmel be fulfilled: "Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee (Carmel), and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."+F347
[F347. For the Tablet of Carmel, which Shoghi Effendi called "the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centres of the Faith" (MBW, p. 63), see GPB, pp. 14-7, or TB, pp. 3-5. The Ark in this context is a reference to the World Administrative Centre of the Faith on Mount Carmel.]
[F346. A Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is to be raised on a site Shoghi Effendi described as "the head of the Mountain of God, in close proximity to the Spot hallowed by the footsteps of Baha'u'llah, near the time-honoured Cave of Elijah, and associated with the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel" (MBW, p. 63). The Universal House of Justice announced the erection of an obelisk marking the site of the future House of Worship in its cable of 13 December 1971 (message no. 105).]

164.2b To attempt to visualize, even in its barest outline, the glory that must envelop these institutions, to essay even a tentative and partial description of their character or the manner of their operation, or to trace however inadequately the course of events leading to their rise and eventual establishment is far beyond my own capacity and power. Suffice it to say that at this troubled stage in world history the association of these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Baha'u'llah, in such a potentially powerful spiritual and administrative Centre, is in itself an event which will release forces that are bound to hasten the emergence in a land which, geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet, of some of the brightest gems of that World Order now shaping in the womb of this, travailing age.+F348
[F348. MA, pp. 32-33.]

164.3 The first of the majestic edifices constituting this mighty Centre, was the building for the International Archives of the Faith which was completed in the summer of 1957 as one of the last major achievements of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship and which set the style for the remaining structures which, as described by him, were to be raised in the course of time in the form of a far-flung arc on the slope of Mount Carmel. In the eighteen years since that achievement, the community of the Most Great Name has grown rapidly in size and influence: from twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies to one hundred and nineteen, from some one thousand to seventeen thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, and from four thousand five hundred localities to over seventy thousand, accompanied by a corresponding increase in the volume of the work carried on at the World Centre of the Faith and in the complexity of <p317> its institutions. It is now both necessary and possible to initiate construction of a building that will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative centre but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah.

164.4 Faced, like the Archives Building, with stone from Italy, and surrounded by a stately colonnade of sixty Corinthian columns,+F349 the Seat for the Universal House of Justice will contain, in addition to the council chamber of the House of Justice, a library, a concourse for the reception of pilgrims and dignitaries, storage vaults with air purification for the preservation of original Tablets and other precious documents, accommodation for the secretariat and the many ancillary services that will be required. Conceived in a style of enduring beauty and majesty, and faced with stone that will weather the centuries, the building in its interior arrangements will be very simple and capable of adaptation in the generations ahead to whatever technological advances will be made by the rapid growth of human knowledge.
[F349. The building, as finally completed, has fifty-eight columns.]

164.5 The erection of this building which, comprising five and a half stories, far surpasses in size and complexity any building at present in existence at the World Centre presents a major challenge to the Baha'i community, whose resources are already all too meagre in relation to the great tasks that lie before it. But the spirit of sacrifice has been the hallmark of the followers of Baha'u'llah of every race and clime and as they unite to raise this second of the great edifices of the Administrative Centre of their Faith they will rejoice at having the inestimable privilege of taking part in a "vast and irresistible process" which Shoghi Effendi stated is "unexampled in the spiritual history of mankind," a process "which will synchronize with two no less significant developments -- the establishment of the Lesser Peace and the evolution of Baha'i national and local institutions -- the one outside and the other within the Baha'i world -- will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power and glory, of the focal Centre of the agencies constituting the World Order of Baha'u'llah."

The Universal House of Justice

<p318>

165
Excavation of the Site of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

17 June 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

165.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE COMMENCEMENT EXCAVATION SITE UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE BUILDING ARC MOUNT CARMEL CONTRACT ENTAILS REMOVAL FORTY THOUSAND CUBIC METRES ROCK AND EARTH AT COST APPROXIMATELY TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. INVITE ALL BELIEVERS CONTRIBUTE UNSTINTINGLY BUILDING FUND ENSURE UNINTERRUPTED PROGRESS HISTORIC UNDERTAKING.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


166
Laws of the Kitab-I-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women; Membership on the Universal House of Justice

24 July 1975

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

166.1 Your letter of 16 March 1975 has been received and we have studied the various questions arising from your study of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. ...

166.2 Concerning your questions about the equality of men and women, this, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Baha'u'llah; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of it. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of functions. In some things women excel men, for others men are better fitted than women, while in very many things the difference of sex is of no effect at all. The differences of function are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching implications which are recognized in Baha'i Law. For example, when it is not possible to educate all one's children, daughters receive preference over sons, as mothers are the first educators of the next generation. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted certain exemptions from fasting that are not applicable to men.

166.3 You mention the provision in the Kitab-i-Aqdas regarding inheritance, in which the eldest son receives preferential treatment. As you no doubt know, the duty of making a will is enjoined upon all Baha'is, and in such a will a believer is free to bequeath his or her property in whatever way he or she <p319> wishes (see note 25 on page 60 of the Synopsis and Codification). Every system of law, however, needs to make provision for the disposal of a person's property if he or she dies without having made a will, and it is in cases of intestacy that the specific provisions stated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are applied. These provisions give expression to the law of primogeniture, which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has stated, has invariably been upheld by the Law of God. In a Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote: "In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright."+F350 With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go concomitant duties. For example, with respect to the law of inheritance 'Abdu'l-Baha has explained in one of His Tablets that the eldest son has the responsibility to take into consideration the needs of the other heirs. Similar considerations no doubt apply to the provisions that, in intestacy, limit the shares due to half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased on his or her mother's side; they will, of course, be due to receive inheritance from their own father's estate.
[F350. Quoted in WOB, p. 148.]

166.4 Your statement that "Gifts to a wife are included in the man's property to be given away after his death" is incorrect. It is clear from the passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas that certain things that a husband buys for his wife are intended to be for the general household and certain are intended to be the wife's personal property. These latter, that is to say the wife's used clothing and gifts which have been made to her, are not included in the husband's property.

166.5 The husband's duty to send his wife home if differences arise between them while travelling is a part of the law of divorce, and relates to the husband's obligation to support his wife during the year of waiting. The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab- i-Aqdas reads as follows (at section (g) on pages 42 and 43):

166.5a Should differences arise between husband and wife while travelling, he is required to send her home, or entrust her to a dependable person, who will escort her there, paying her journey and her full year's expenses.

166.6 You have also asked for an explanation of why, in view of the Baha'i principle of equality of men and women, women are not allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice. We share with you the following passages about this subject, taken from letters written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to a National Spiritual Assembly and to an individual believer.

166.6a As regards the membership of the International House of Justice, 'Abdu'l-Baha states in a Tablet that it is confined to men, and that the wisdom of it will be revealed as manifest as the sun in the future. In <p320> any case the believers should know that, as 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself has explicitly stated that sexes are equal except in some cases, the exclusion of women from the International House of Justice should not be surprising. From the fact that there is no equality of functions between the sexes one should not, however, infer that either sex is inherently superior or inferior to the other, or that they are unequal in their rights. -- 14 December 1940+F351
[F351. See DND, p. 86.]

166.6b Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on the International House of Justice would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this. -- 17 September 1952

166.7 We must always remember Baha'u'llah's exhortation, which is quoted on page

22 of the Synopsis and Codification: "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."

166.8 It is hoped that the foregoing will be helpful to your own understanding of the matters about which you have asked.

With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


167
Release of a Compilation of Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth

25 September 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

167.1 We are very happy to send you the enclosed selection of prayers revealed by Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha for children, together with some Tablets of the Master intended for children and youth, translated into English.+F352
[F352. The compilation was published under the title Let Thy breeze refresh them ... by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom (1976) and under the title Baha'i Prayers and Tablets for the Young by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States (1978).]

167.2 You may use this translation as you wish, adding from it to the prayer books you have already published, using it as a basis of prayer books or other <p321> literature published specially for children, or sharing these precious words with the friends in any other manner you deem wise and useful. You are, of course, at liberty to translate these prayers and Tablets into other languages, and we hope that this will be done.

167.3 The raising of children in the Faith of God and the spiritualization of their lives from their earliest years is of prime importance in the life of the Baha'i community, and the firm establishment of activities to promote these aims is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


168
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i meetings and the Nineteen Day Feast

30 November 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

168.1 The Research Department has recently prepared two compilations from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi on the subject of "Baha'i Meetings" and "The Nineteen Day Feast," and copies are sent to you herewith.+F353
[F353. The compilation was published under the title Baha'i Meetings/The Nineteen Day Feast by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States (1976). See also CC I:419-58 for another compilation from the Universal House of Justice on the Nineteen Day Feast.]

168.2 The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to decide in which manner these texts may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

<p322>

169
Naw-Ruz Message 1976

18 March 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

169.1 ANNOUNCE DELEGATES ASSEMBLED NATIONAL CONVENTIONS GLAD TIDINGS COMPLETION EXCAVATION MOUNT CARMEL PREPARATORY RAISING MAJESTIC CENTRE LEGISLATION GOD'S FAITH THAT SACRED SPOT, SIGNATURE ITALY FIVE AND HALF MILLION DOLLAR CONTRACT FOR SUPPLYING OVER TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED CUBIC METRES PENTELIKON MARBLE FROM GREECE AND FASHIONING THEREFROM THE COLUMNS FACINGS ORNAMENTATION BEFITTING MONUMENTAL BUILDING. DEEPLY MOVED ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE BELIEVERS ALL PARTS WORLD THIS CHALLENGING GLORIOUS TASK.+F354 DEVELOPMENTS WORLD CENTRE PARALLELED FURTHER UNFOLDMENT ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE CONTINENTAL NATIONAL LEVELS THROUGH RAISING NUMBER CONTINENTAL COUNSELLORS TO SIXTY-ONE BY APPOINTMENT THELMA KHELGHATI WESTERN AFRICA, WILLIAM MASEHLA SOUTHERN AFRICA, BURHANI'D-DIN AFSHIN SOUTH CENTRAL ASIA, HIDEYA SUZUKI NORTH-EASTERN ASIA, OWEN BATTRICK AUSTRALASIA AND ADIB TAHERZADEH EUROPE, AUTHORIZATION BOARDS COUNSELLORS APPOINT NINETY MORE MEMBERS AUXILIARY BOARDS, AND CALL FOR ELECTION AT RIDVAN 1977 OF SEVEN NEW NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES: TWO IN AFRICA, MALI WITH ITS SEAT IN BAMAKO AND UPPER VOLTA WITH ITS SEAT IN OUAGADOUGOU, TWO IN THE AMERICAS, THE FRENCH ANTILLES WITH ITS SEAT IN POINT-A-PITRE AND SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA WITH ITS SEAT IN PARAMARIBO, ONE IN EUROPE, GREECE WITH ITS SEAT IN ATHENS, AND TWO IN THE PACIFIC, THE NEW HEBRIDES WITH ITS SEAT IN PORT VILA AND THE MARSHALL ISLANDS WITH ITS SEAT IN MAJURO, THE LATTER BEING SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT OF PLAN. NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES THUS RAISED ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FOUR FOLLOWING DISSOLUTION ACCOUNT LOCAL RESTRICTIONS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EQUATORIAL GUINEA NEPAL. OF NINE HUNDRED FIFTY-THREE PIONEERS CALLED FOR SPECIFIC POSTS FOUR HUNDRED NINETY-TWO ALREADY SETTLED. ALSO FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY-SEVEN OTHER PIONEERS PROCEEDED GOAL COUNTRIES. GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLING TEACHERS RECORDED. MOVED PAY TRIBUTE INDEFATIGABLE SERVICES HANDS CAUSE GOD PAST YEAR IN PROMOTING ABOVE SUCCESSES AND IN FIELDS TEACHING PROTECTION PRESERVATION PROCLAMATION AND LITERATURE FAITH AS WELL AS SIGNAL SERVICES INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE CONSTITUTING GREAT ACCESSION STRENGTH WORLD CENTRE RELIEF BURDENS RESTING UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE. MIDDLE YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN NOW OPENING WILL WITNESS GATHERING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH EIGHT INTERNATIONAL <p323> TEACHING CONFERENCES DESIGNED GENERATE TREMENDOUS IMPETUS PROGRESS PLAN ACCOMPLISHMENT WHOSE GOALS NOW LAGGING SERIOUSLY BEHIND. MOST PRESSING NEED FAITH THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE ITS MISSION REDEEM MANKIND IS FOR EVERY BELIEVER ALL ASSEMBLIES NATIONAL LOCAL CONCENTRATE ATTAINMENT GOALS PLACED BEFORE BAHA'I WORLD, PROMOTE PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS, ACHIEVE VAST INCREASE SIZE COMMUNITY, INCREASE NUMBER STEADFAST SELF-SACRIFICING BELIEVERS DEDICATED CONFORM EVERY ASPECT THEIR LIVES HIGH STANDARDS SET SACRED TEXTS. THE FIELD IS VAST THE TIME SHORT THE LABOURERS LAMENTABLY FEW BUT ON THE EFFORTS WE FOLLOWERS OF THE BLESSED BEAUTY NOW EXERT, ON THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE SUCCESSFULLY AND SPEEDILY PROCLAIM AND TEACH HIS MESSAGE TO OUR FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS, DEPENDS IN GREAT MEASURE THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY IN THE DECADES IMMEDIATELY AHEAD.
[F354. For the announcement of the decision to build the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 115; for the explanation of its significance, see message no. 164; for the announcement of its occupation, see message no. 354.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


170
Appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards

24 March 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

170.1 As you will have seen in the Convention message, the Universal House of Justice has appointed six new Counsellors and has authorized the appointment of ninety more Auxiliary Board members.

170.2 On the instruction of the House of Justice we now enclose for your information a complete list of the members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors following the above appointments, and a list of the Auxiliary Boards showing the increases.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

<p324>

170.3 Membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors
March 1976

Africa

Northern Africa
Muhammad Kebdani, Muhammad Mustafa, 'Imad Sabiran

Western Africa
Husayn Ardikani, Friday Ekpe, Zekrullah Kazemi, Thelma Khelghati, Mihdi Samandari

Central & East Africa
Hushang Ahdieh, Oloro Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Peter Vuyiya.

Southern Africa
Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Aazam, William Masehla, Bahiyyih Winckler

Western Hemisphere

North America
Lloyd Gardner, Sarah Pereira, Velma Sherrill, Edna True

Central America
Carmen de Burafato, Rowland Estall, Artemus Lamb, Paul Lucas, Alfred Osborne

South America
Leonora Armstrong, Athos Costas, Mas'ud Khamsi, Peter McLaren, Raul Pavon, Donald Witzel

Asia

Western Asia
Iraj Ayman, Masih Farhangi, Hadi Rahmani, Manuchihr Salmanpur

South Central Asia
Burhani'd-Din Afshin, Shirin Boman, Salisa Kermani, Dipchand Khianra, Zena Sorabjee

Northeastern Asia
Richard Benson, Elena Marsella, Ruhu'llah Mumtazi, Hideya Suzuki

Southeastern Asia
Yan Kee Leong, Firaydun Mithaqiyan, Khudarahm Payman, Vicente Samaniego, Chellie Sundram

Australasia
Suhayl 'Ala'i, Owen Battrick, Howard Harwood, Violet Hoehnke, Thelma Perks

Europe
Erik Blumenthal, Anneliese Bopp, Dorothy Ferraby, Louis Henuzet, Betty Reed, Adib Taherzadeh

<p325>

170.4 Auxiliary Boards -- Ridvan 1976

Former Present New
Number Increase Total

Africa
Protection: Northern 5 - 5
Western 5 6 11
Central and East 13 - 13
Southern 4 3 7
27 36

Propagation: Northern 5 - 5
Western 11 3 14
Central and East 19 - 19
Southern 10 6 16
45 54

Western Hemisphere
Protection: North America 9 - 9
Central America 9 2 11
South America 9 7 16
27 36

Propagation: North America 18 - 18
Central America 9 7 16
South America 27 11 38
54 72

Asia
Protection: Western 9 - 9
South Central 3 3 6
North-eastern 3 - 3
South-eastern 3 6 9
18 27

Propagation: Western 18 - 8
South Central 15 15 30
North-eastern 15 - 15
South-eastern 15 12 27
63 90

Australasia
Protection: 9 - 9
Propagation: 9 9 18

Europe
Protection: 9 - 9
Propagation: 27 - 27

TOTAL 288 90 378
Total Protection 90 27 117
Total Propagation 198 63 261

<p326>

171
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Helsinki, Finland -- July 1976

July 1976

To the followers of Baha'u'llah gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Helsinki

Dearly loved friends,

171.1 With eager hearts we hail the convocation of this first of the twin Arctic Conferences inaugurating the series of eight International Baha'i Conferences to be held during the middle part of the Five Year Plan. The northern regions of the world were alluded to by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Mother Book of this Revelation. Their names were recorded in the Tablets of the Divine Plan by the pen of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who, in one of His other Tablets, supplicated God to "raise up sanctified, pure and spiritual souls in the countries of the West and the territories of the North, and make them signs of His guidance, ensigns of the Concourse on High and angels of the Abha Kingdom."+F355 These lands received the constant attention of Shoghi Effendi, who repeatedly urged the friends to carry the Faith to their uttermost inhabited areas, and who joyfully announced every advance of the Baha'is that established a centre closer to the North Pole.
[F355. From an unpublished Tablet.]

171.2 Already touched by the morning light of God's Cause by the nineteen-twenties, the lands of the North were blessed by visits from the indomitable Martha Root, whose love warmed and encouraged the hearts of the handful of believers then labouring in a few scattered centres in Scandinavia and illumined the soul of Ho1mfridur Arnadottir, Iceland's first Baha'i.+F356 Bursting into blossom under the impact of the rays of the second Seven Year Plan, these communities received a major impetus from the Ten Year Crusade, of which the European campaign was launched at the never-to-be-forgotten conference in Stockholm in 1953, and which established centres as far north as Thule in Greenland and Sassen in the islands of Spitzbergen. Yet another stage of growth was reached with the Nine Year Plan and the convocation of the North Atlantic Conference in Reykjavik, which marked the opening <p327> of a new phase in the collaboration between the northern communities on both sides of that ocean.+F357
[F357. The second Seven Year Plan included the years 1946-53; the Ten Year Crusade, 1953-63; and the Nine Year Plan, 1964-73. The North Atlantic Conference was held in September 1971.]
[F356. In a cable dated 3 October 1939 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Shoghi Effendi designated Martha Root a Hand of the Cause of God, describing her as the "foremost Hand which 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will has raised up first Baha'i century." See BW 13:643-48 and Mabel Garis, Martha Root. For an account of Holmfridur Arnadottir's life and services, see BW 13:943.]

171.3 Only thirty-eight years have passed since Vaeinoe Rissanen, the first Baha'i in Finland, accepted with radiant heart the life-giving message brought to him by Josephine Kruka, the "Mother of Finland," in July 1938,+F358 and now the city of Helsinki, the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Finland, is the scene of an International Baha'i Conference whose deliberations are focused on the diffusion of the light of God's Faith throughout the entire arctic and sub-arctic regions of the world.
[F358. For an account of Josephine Kruka's life and services, see BW 15:493-96.]

171.4 The followers of the Blessed Perfection gathered in Helsinki must direct their attention to the urgent tasks of the second half of the Five Year Plan: to the reopening of Spitzbergen; the winning of the 34 Local Spiritual Assemblies still to be formed in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland; the acceleration of the translation and publication of Baha'i literature; the forging of still closer links of collaboration with the Baha'i communities of Alaska, Canada and in the continent of Europe; the enlistment under the banner of Baha'u'llah of increasing numbers of the Eskimo, Lapp and Gypsy peoples; and the pursuit of the vital and challenging objectives of the Plan beyond the frontiers of their homelands.

171.5 It is our fervent prayer at the Threshold of Baha'u'llah that this Conference will produce an upsurge of Baha'i activity throughout the northern lands and in the islands of the North Sea and the Baltic that will outshine every achievement made in those promising regions, and be an inspiration to your fellow-believers in every country of the world.

The Universal House of Justice

<p328>

172
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Anchorage, Alaska -- July 1976

July 1976

To the friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Anchorage

Dearly loved friends,

172.1 Sixty years ago 'Abdu'l-Baha summoned the valiant North American believers to open the remote and inhospitable regions which form the climatic frontiers of the Arctic and the sub-Arctic. The full implementation of His wish had to be postponed for some years, until, under the leadership of His beloved grandson, well-grounded administrative bases were established from which Baha'i crusaders could set out in conquest of these prized and virgin lands.

172.2 As early as 1915, however, we see a first wave of itinerant teachers and short- time settlers directing their steps towards Alaska in an attempt to open it to the light of Baha'u'llah. This was followed by a second wave of determined pioneers and spiritual conquerors who, ever since the first Seven Year Plan, demonstrated their exemplary enthusiasm and caused "the breezes ... of the love of God" to "Perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants" of that "vast country."+F359 In Canada, in response to the Master's call, a succession of home-front pioneers settled and opened the length and breadth of their land, so rich in promise "whether from a material or a spiritual standpoint," and whose destiny is to "become the object of the glance of Providence."+F360 To the fringes of Greenland North American and European pioneers brought the light of God's Faith, and provided the means for the fire of His love to be kindled in that land, in anticipation of the day when it will become "a divine rose garden and a heavenly paradise." Iceland, specifically mentioned by 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, was opened and consolidated, and has, through the warm response of its inhabitants to the Call of God, undoubtedly become one of the shining beacons of the "lights of the Most Great Guidance" in the North.+F361
[F361. TDP 5.2, 6.5.]
[F360. TDP 13.6, 13.2.]
[F359. TDP 6.15. The first Seven Year Plan included the years 1937-44.]

172.3 As a result of these movements and organized activities, the call of the Kingdom reached "the ears of the Eskimos," and the divine spark was struck in their lands.+F362 Praise be to God, today there are many who justly belong to the rank of heroes from among that noble race, and whose hearts are burning with His love. Upon the zeal and endurance of these enkindled believers <p329> will depend the early fulfilment of the Master's glowing promises. The teaching work among the Indians of the northern lands of the Western Hemisphere has likewise borne rich fruit, as tribe upon tribe has been enlisted under the banner of Baha'u'llah. Whether in Alaska's south-eastern islands and rugged mountains, or in Canada's huge Indian reserves from the west to the east, many Amerindian believers have arisen to serve the Cause, and through their joint efforts, their sacrificial endeavours and distinctive talents they bid fair to accelerate the dawn of the day when they will be so "illumined as to enlighten the whole world."+F363
[F363. TDP 6.8.]
[F362. TDP 5.2.]

172.4 Many are the goals which now challenge the peoples of the North under the Five Year Plan: encouraging and educating the children and stimulating and guiding the youth; a wider participation of women in Baha'i services; a greater assumption by the indigenous inhabitants of these regions of responsibilities in the leadership and administration of the community; a bolder proclamation of the Faith by radio and television; and a more far-flung and intensified campaign of teaching, audaciously conceived by National Spiritual Assemblies and their agencies and vigorously executed by Local Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers, aiming at a vast increase in the number of adherents to the Faith from every segment of society, a multiplication of Baha'i administrative institutions, and a richer and more diverse range of publications in all media. What will set the seal on the success of the Plan and pave the way for the long-awaited and divinely promised glories of the future, is a mightier effort by every supporter of the Most Great Name in those climes to increasingly deepen themselves in the teachings, to pour forth their substance in the path of His love, to resolve to conform their personal lives to the high standards set in His teachings, and to undertake more daring tasks however great the sacrifice, and more extensive travels however arduous the voyage. In this wise will they draw nearer to the Spirit of Baha'u'llah and become true and radiant signs of His Most Great Guidance. These are the tasks! This is the work!

172.5 We pray at the Sacred Threshold that the Baha'is of the North may in the not- too-distant future transform the Arctic into that spiritual rose garden and heavenly paradise longed and yearned for by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and that its peoples may be bountifully blessed and lovingly guided in their selfless services to promote the Faith of Baha'u'llah.

The Universal House of Justice

<p330>

173
Comments on the Subject of Politics

7 July 1976

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

173.1 The Universal House of Justice received your letter of 15 May conveying your thoughts on the need for Baha'is to become involved as may be necessary in political affairs and to participate in activities aimed at the eradication of injustice. The sincerity which prompted you to write such a letter and to candidly express your sentiments deeply touched the Universal House of Justice. We have been asked to convey its comments to you.

The Divine Physician's Remedy

173.2 You ask if silence on the part of Baha'is will not allow chaos and human humiliation to be a permanent feature on earth, and state that shunning of politics by the Baha'is can but weaken the freedom fighters of the world. When viewing the conditions of our society we see a world beset by ills and groaning under the burden of suffering. This suffering, Baha'u'llah has Himself testified, is because the "body" of the world, "though created whole and perfect, has been afflicted, through divers causes, with grave ills and maladies," and "its sickness waxed more severe, as it fell under the treatment of unskilled physicians who have spurred on the steed of their worldly desires and have erred grievously." Baha'u'llah's statement in this passage concludes with the assertion that the "sovereign remedy" lies in turning and submitting to the "skilled," the "all- powerful," and "inspired Physician. This, verily, is the truth, and all else naught but error."+F364
[F364. WOB, pp. 39-40; GWB, pp. 254-55.]

173.3 This Divine Physician has assured us in His Writings that God is All-Seeing and All-Knowing and has willed to establish in this Day and among men His everlasting Kingdom. "The whole earth," Baha'u'llah has stated, "is now in a state of pregnancy. The day is approaching when it will have yielded its noblest fruits, when from it will have sprung forth the loftiest trees, the most enchanting blossoms, the most heavenly blessings."+F365 In order to achieve this purpose God sent us the spirit and message of the New Day through two successive Manifestations,+F366 both of Whom the generality of mankind have rejected, and have, alas, preferred to continue in their own blindness and perversity. Commenting on such a world spectacle, Baha'u'llah wrote: "soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead." "After a time," <p331> He further wrote, "all the governments on earth will change. Oppression will envelop the world. And following a universal convulsion, the sun of justice will rise from the horizon of the unseen realm."+F367
[F367. Quoted in PDIC P287.]
[F366. Baha'u'llah and the Bab.]
[F365. WOB, p. 169.]

173.4 When we turn to His other Writings to learn more of His warning that this "present-day order" is to be "rolled up," we read statements and predictions such as these: "The time for the destruction of the world and its people hath arrived." "The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared." "The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath your feet, saying: 'Taste ye what your hands have wrought!'" "Soon shall the blasts of His chastisement beat upon you and the dust of hell enshroud you." "And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake." "The day is approaching when its [civilization's] flame will devour the cities, when the Tongue of Grandeur will proclaim: 'The Kingdom is God's, the Almighty, the All-Praised!'" "The day is approaching when the wrathful anger of the Almighty will have taken hold of them. He, verily, is the Omnipotent, the All-Subduing, the Most Powerful. He shall cleanse the earth from the defilement of their corruption, and shall give it for an heritage unto such of His servants as are nigh unto Him."+F368
[F368. Quoted in PDIC P3.]

The Hand of Providence at Work

173.5 From the above it becomes clear that the Hand of Providence is at work, and is engaged in fulfilling God's purpose for mankind in this Age. "God's purpose," Shoghi Effendi assures us, "is none other than to usher in, in ways He alone can bring about, and the full significance of which He alone can fathom, the Great, the Golden Age of a long- divided, a long-afflicted humanity. Its present state, indeed even its immediate future, is dark, distressingly dark. Its distant future, however, is radiant, gloriously radiant -- so radiant that no eye can visualize it."+F369
[F369. PDIC P286.]

173.6 Let us consider the First World War, which Shoghi Effendi has described in his writings as "the first stage in a titanic convulsion long predicted by Baha'u'llah."+F370 Although it ended outwardly in a Treaty of Peace, 'Abdu'l-Baha remarked: "Peace, Peace, the lips of potentates and peoples unceasingly proclaim, whereas the fire of unquenched hatreds still smoulders in their hearts." And then in 1920, He wrote: "The ills from which the world now suffers will multiply; the gloom which envelops it will deepen." And again: "another war, fiercer than the last, will assuredly break out."+F371 After this Second World War broke out in 1939, Shoghi Effendi called it a "tempest, unprecedented in its <p332> violence," and the "great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth." After the termination of this War and the creation of the United Nations, the Guardian wrote in 1948, anticipating "still more violent convulsions" and referred to the "wings of yet another conflict" destined to "darken the international horizon."+F372 And finally in his last Ridvan Message of April 1957, he left for posterity the following analysis of world conditions in the light of the prophecies and predictions recorded in the writings of the Faith:
[F372. PDIC P2; CF, p. 58.]
[F371. Quoted in WOB, pp. 29-30, 46.]
[F370. GPB, p. 305.]

173.6a Indeed, as we gaze in retrospect beyond the immediate past, and survey, in however cursory a manner, the vicissitudes afflicting an increasingly tormented society, and recall the strains and stresses to which the fabric of a dying Order has been increasingly subjected, we cannot but marvel at the sharp contrast presented, on the one hand, by the accumulated evidences of the orderly unfoldment, and the uninterrupted multiplication of the agencies, of an Administrative Order designed to be the harbinger of a world civilization, and, on the other, by the ominous manifestations of acute political conflict, of social unrest, of racial animosity, of class antagonism, of immorality and of irreligion, proclaiming, in no uncertain terms, the corruption and obsolescence of the institutions of a bankrupt Order.

173.6b Against the background of these afflictive disturbances -- the turmoil and tribulations of a travailing age -- we may well ponder the portentous prophecies uttered well-nigh four score years ago, by the Author of our Faith, as well as the dire predictions made by Him Who is the unerring Interpreter of His teachings, all foreshadowing a universal commotion, of a scope and intensity unparalleled in the annals of mankind.

173.6c The violent derangement of the world's equilibrium; the trembling that will seize the limbs of mankind; the radical transformation of human society; the rolling up of the present-day Order; the fundamental changes affecting the structure of government; the weakening of the pillars of religion; the rise of dictatorships; the spread of tyranny; the fall of monarchies; the decline of ecclesiastical institutions; the increase of anarchy and chaos; the extension and consolidation of the Movement of the Left; the fanning into flame of the smouldering fire of racial strife; the development of infernal engines of war; the burning of cities; the contamination of the atmosphere of the earth -- these stand out as the signs and portents that must either herald or accompany the retributive calamity which, as decreed by Him Who is the judge and Redeemer of mankind, must, sooner or later, afflict a society which, for the most part, and for over a century, has turned a deaf <p333> ear to the Voice of God's Messenger in this day -- a calamity which must purge the human race of the dross of its age-long corruptions, and weld its component parts into a firmly knit world-embracing Fellowship ...+F373
[F373. MBW, pp. 102-03.]

173.7 Thus we see how the Divine Physician is both the "Judge" of mankind and its "Redeemer."+F374
[F374. PDIC P6.]

Non-Interference in Political Affairs

173.8 This same Physician, addressing His followers, "the beloved of the one true God," wrote: "Forbear ye from concerning yourselves with the affairs of this world and all that pertaineth unto it, or from meddling with the activities of those who are its outward leaders. The one true God, exalted be His glory, hath bestowed the government of the earth upon the kings. To none is given the right to act in any manner that would run counter to the considered views of them who are in authority."+F375
[F375. GWB, p. 241.]

173.9 In another Tablet He laid on His followers the obligation to "behave towards the government of the country in which they reside with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness."+F376 'Abdu'l-Baha reaffirmed the same principles. When in America He explained: "The essence of the Baha'i spirit is that, in order to establish a better social order and economic condition, there must be allegiance to the laws and principles of government." And in a Tablet He referred to the "irrefutable command that the Blessed Perfection hath given" in His Tablets, namely, "that the believers must obey the kings with the utmost sincerity and fidelity, and He hath forbidden them [the believers] to interfere at all with political problems. He hath even prohibited the believers from discussing political affairs."+F377
[F377. PUP, p. 238; TABA 3:498.]
[F376. GPB, p. 219.]

173.10 And finally in His last Will and Testament He wrote: "We must obey and be the well-wishers of the government of the land ..."+F378
[F378. WT, p. 8.]

The Role of Baha'is in Today's World

173.11 We have also been asked to share with you at this juncture the following two extracts from letters written by the Universal House of Justice, and it is hoped these will help you in appreciating the significant and vital role Baha'is can and must play in the world today:

173.11a We are told by Shoghi Effendi that two great processes are at work in the world: the great Plan of God, tumultuous in its progress, working <p334> through mankind as a whole, tearing down barriers to world unity and forging humankind into a unified body in the fires of suffering and experience. This process will produce in God's due time, the Lesser Peace, the political unification of the world. Mankind at that time can be likened to a body that is unified but without life. The second process, the task of breathing life into this unified body -- of creating true unity and spirituality culminating in the Most Great Peace -- is that of the Baha'is, who are labouring consciously, with detailed instructions and continuing divine guidance, to erect the fabric of the Kingdom of God on earth, into which they call their fellowmen, thus conferring upon them eternal life.

173.11b The working out of God's Major Plan proceeds mysteriously in ways directed by Him alone, but the Minor Plan that He has given us to execute, as our part in His grand design for the redemption of mankind, is clearly delineated. It is to this work that we must devote all our energies, for there is no one else to do it....+F379
[F379. Letter dated 8 December 1967 to an individual. See message no. 55.]

173.11c ... Baha'is are often accused of holding aloof from the "real problems" of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only "real" good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.

173.11d We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth. Baha'is, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils -- which are in essence negative -- will fade away and be no more. To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Baha'i, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Baha'u'llah, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely-created World <p335> Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence, he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedevilled the world.+F380
[F380. Letter dated 19 November 1974 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Italy. See message no. 151.]

173.12 You have asked whether it is possible to have a World Federation when not all countries have attained their independence. The answer is in the negative. Both 'Abdu'l- Baha and Shoghi Effendi likened the emergence of the American Republic and the unification of the "diversified and loosely related elements" of its "divided" community into one national entity, to the unity of the world and the incorporation of its federated units into "one coherent system."+F381 Just as the American Constitution does not allow one state to be more autonomous than another, so must the nations of the world enjoy equal status in any form of World Federation. Indeed one of the "candles" of unity anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Baha is "unity in freedom."+F382
[F382. WOB, p. 165.]
[F381. WOB, p. 165.]

173.13 Yet another question is whether it is morally right to remain silent when equality is being abused. The beloved Guardian has given us the following guidelines in letters written on his behalf. "Much as the friends must guard against in any way ever seeming to identify themselves or the Cause with any political parry, they must also guard against the other extreme of never taking part with other progressive groups, in conferences or committees designed to promote some activity in entire accord with our teachings -- such as, for instance, better race relations."+F383
[F383. Shoghi Effendi, letter dated 21 November 1948 to an individual.]

173.14 The Universal House of Justice hopes that you and your Baha'i co-workers in that land will steep yourselves in the teachings of Baha'u'llah, endeavour to follow in your personal lives the noble standards set by Him, attract the multitudes to the radiance of His glorious Faith, and enable them to warm their hearts and ignite their souls with the flames of that undying Fire which "blazeth and rageth in the world of creation."+F384
[F384. Baha'u'llah, in BP, p. 53, or PM, p. 76.]

173.15 We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to assure you of its prayers on your behalf in the Holy Shrines.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

<p336>

174
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Paris, France -- August 1976

August 1976

To the Friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Paris

Dearly loved friends,

174.1 The brilliance of Paris in the story of European civilization bids fair to be renewed with even greater splendour during the Day of the Lord of Hosts and the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth.+F385 The annals of Paris in this Day have already acquired eternal lustre from events of mightier import, of greater universal significance and more sacred character than any which its past history has witnessed. The visits of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Centre of God's inviolable Covenant, alone outshine in historical importance anything in the long history of France, and are immortalized in the greatly loved collection of His discourses given in that capital city.+F386 Beyond this, we recall with awe and pride that it was at 'Abdu'l-Baha's instruction that the illustrious May Maxwell succeeded in establishing in Paris the first Baha'i centre on the European Continent, a continent described by Shoghi Effendi as "the cradle of a civilization to some of whose beneficent features the Pen of Baha'u'llah has paid significant tribute; on whose soil both the Greek and Roman civilizations were born and flourished; which has contributed so richly to the unfoldment of American civilization; the fountainhead of American culture; the mother of Christendom, and the scene of the greatest exploits of the followers of Jesus Christ," and experiencing "the first stirrings of that spiritual revolution" which must culminate in the permanent establishment throughout its diversified lands of the divinely ordained Order of Baha'u'llah.+F387 This first centre was rapidly reinforced by the conversion of the first English believer and of the first Frenchman to accept the Faith -- the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, whose "Pre-eminent role" it was to kindle "the torch which is destined to shed eternal illumination upon his native land and its people" and by Laura Barney, whose "imperishable service" was to transmit to posterity Some Answered Questions.+F388 The steadfastness and devotion of the Paris Baha'i Community during the dark and sombre days of the Second World War earned great praise from the beloved Guardian of the Faith, while the <p337> recent signs of widespread and effective teaching work throughout France lend wings to the hope that this veteran, sorely tested and steadfast community is about to gather the harvest of those potent seeds sown and nourished so lovingly by 'Abdu'l-Baha.
[F388. UD, p. 84; GPB, p. 260.]
[F387. CF, pp. 26-27.]
[F386. See 'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, (1969). 'Abdu'l-Baha visited Paris three times. The first visit lasted nine weeks, 3 October through 2 December 1911; the second was 21 January through 30 March 1913; the third was early May through 12 June 1913.]
[F385. "The Day of the Lord of Hosts" is a reference to the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah.]

174.2 It is highly propitious that this city, thrice blessed by the presence of the Master, should be the scene of the first International Baha'i Conference in France and one of the eight International Conferences to be held around the world during the Five Year Plan. You are gathered in this historic spot to deliberate on the fortunes of that Plan, to derive inspiration from the deeds performed there in the Heroic Age of our Faith and from your association together, to rededicate yourselves to the service of Baha'u'llah and to determine, each and every one, how best you can promote the victory of the Five Year Plan. We call to your attention 'Abdu'l-Baha's words:

174.2a The call of Ya Baha'u'l-Abha can be heard far and wide. It is my hope that this soul-stirring melody of the Abha Kingdom may also be raised high in Paris, for Paris is tumultuous in all things. I pray the Almighty that the music and singing of the beloved of God will be so loud that the vibrations thereof may cause the limbs of Paris to quake. I await very joyful tidings from the friends in Paris. Unquestionably the divine melody will in the future be raised in that city, but I long that this may happen in these days of the Covenant, and that you will be the enchanting songsters and the sweet-singing nightingales of that land.+F389
[F389. From an unpublished Tablet.]

174.3 Our hopes are high and we pray at the Sacred Threshold that from this Conference will surge throughout Europe a wave of such sacrificial teaching as will impel large numbers of its diverse and highly talented peoples to embrace the Faith of God and dedicate themselves to the redemption of mankind under the glorious banner of the Prince of Peace.

The Universal House of Justice

<p338>

175
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Education

31 August 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

175.1 Among the goals of the Five Year Plan given to certain National Spiritual Assemblies is that of the promotion of the Baha'i education of children. But this subject is of profound interest to Baha'is in every land, not only in those where, as the Plan indicates, specific goals must be attained.

175.2 At our request the Research Department at the World Centre has prepared this compilation of Baha'i teachings on the subject of Baha'i education for the friends everywhere to study and to begin to apply as their circumstances permit.+F390 In the main part of the compilation all extracts are from Tablets or other authenticated writings. In addition there is a supplement of extracts from talks of 'Abdu'l-Baha recorded in Star of the West and The Promulgation of Universal Peace. It is hoped that in future it will be possible to have such well-known addresses verified against authenticated transcripts of the talks in the original language, but until that time the friends may use them in their present form for their reference and study. You are free to share this compilation, in whole or in part, with the believers under your jurisdiction in whatever way you judge best.
[F390. See CC I:245-313.]

175.3 A letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer on 7 June

1939 explained:

175.3a ... the Teachings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha do not present a definite and detailed educational system, but simply offer certain basic principles and set forth a number of teaching ideals that should guide future Baha'i educationalists in their efforts to formulate an adequate teaching curriculum which would be in full harmony with the spirit of the Baha'i Teachings, and would thus meet the requirements and needs of the modern age.

175.3b These basic principles are available in the sacred Writings of the Cause, and should be carefully studied, and gradually incorporated in various college and university programmes. But the task of formulating a system of education which would be officially recognized by the Cause, and enforced as such throughout the Baha'i world, is one which the present-day generation of believers cannot obviously undertake, and which has to be gradually accomplished by Baha'i scholars and educationalists of the future.

<p339>

175.4 In reading the compilation the friends should bear the above explanation in mind and not interpret as a universal instruction what may, in fact, be simply an example of the sort of course that could advantageously be followed. For example, the quotations from the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi written in the early years of his Guardianship were addressed to the Baha'is in Persia when that community, although oppressed, was already large in numbers, and was living in a society where schooling was rudimentary and scarce. At the present time in most countries, compulsory education and state school systems are widespread and meet the general need for material education, so the resources of the Faith in that field have to be concentrated on the spiritual and moral education of our children and on providing primary and tutorial schools in mass-teaching areas where illiteracy is still the rule. Also, the various extracts must be read in the context of the whole.

175.5 The proper education of children is of vital importance to the progress of mankind, and the heart and essential foundation of all education is spiritual and moral training. When we teach our fellowmen the truths and way of life of the Baha'i Faith we have to struggle against barriers of indifference, materialism, superstition and a multitude of erroneous preconceptions; but in our new-born children we are presented with pure souls, untarnished by the world. As they grow they will face countless tests and difficulties. From their earliest moments we have the duty to train them, both spiritually and materially, in the way that God has shown, and thus, as they come to adulthood, they can become champions of His Cause and spiritual and moral giants among mankind, equipped to meet all tests, and will be, indeed, "stars of the heaven of understanding," "soft-flowing waters upon which must depend the very life of all men."+F391
[F391. GWB, p. 196.]

175.6 It is our prayer at the Sacred Threshold that the provision of the gems of divine guidance contained in this compilation will be a stimulus and a source of inspiration for Baha'i parents, teachers and Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, and a blessing for the rising generations.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p340>

176
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Nairobi, Kenya -- September 1976

26 September 1976

To the friends gathered at the International Conference in Nairobi

Beloved friends,

176.1 The flames of enthusiasm which ignited the hearts of the followers and lovers of the Most Great Name in Helsinki, in Anchorage and in Paris are now being kindled in a city which occupies a central and envied position at the very crossroads of the vast African mainland and are destined to illumine its horizons. This Conference marking the imminent approach of the midway point of the Five Year Plan which coincides with the anniversary of the birth of the Blessed Bab,+F392 will no doubt go down in Baha'i history as a further landmark in the irresistible march of events which have characterized the impact of the Faith of God upon that continent.
[F392. 20 October.]

176.2 We recall that in addition to Quddus the only other companion of the Bab on His pilgrimage to Mecca was an Ethiopian, and that he and his wife were intimately associated with Him and His household in Shiraz.+F393 During the Ministry of Baha'u'llah a few of His stalwart disciples reached the north-eastern shores of Africa, and under His direct guidance, announced the glad tidings of the New Day to the people of the Nile, thus opening to the Faith two countries of the African mainland. Soon afterwards, His blessed person approached those shores in the course of His exile to the Holy Land. Still later He voiced His significant utterance in which He compared the coloured people to "the black pupil of the eye," through which "the light of the spirit shineth forth."+F394 Just over six years after His ascension, the first member of the black race to embrace His Cause in the West, who was destined to become a disciple of 'Abdu'l-Baha, a herald of the Kingdom, and the door through which numberless members of his race were to enter that Kingdom, came on pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the first group of Western friends who arrived in 'Akka to visit the Centre of the Covenant.+F395 This was followed by a steady extension of the teaching work among the black people of North America, and the opening to the Faith, by the end of the Heroic Age, of two more <p341> countries in Africa, under the watchful care of the Master, Whose three visits to Egypt have blessed the soil of that Continent.+F396 Prior to the conclusion of the first Baha'i century the number of countries opened to the Faith had been raised to seven, and the teaching work among the black race in North America had entered a new phase of development through the continuous guidance flowing from the pen of Shoghi Effendi, who himself traversed the African continent twice from south to north, and who, in the course of his ministry, elevated two members of the black race to the rank of Hand of the Cause, appointed three more believers residing in Africa to that high office, and there raised up four National Spiritual Assemblies.+F397
[F397. By 1944, the seven African countries opened to the Faith were Abyssinia (Ethiopia), Belgian Congo, Egypt, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Sudan, and Tunisia. Shoghi Effendi travelled in Africa circa September -- October 1929 and in 1940. The two black Hands of the Cause of God were Louis Gregory of the United States, appointed posthumously in August 1951, and Enoch Olinga of Uganda, appointed in October 1957. The additional three Hands appointed while living in Africa were Musa Banani (29 February 1952, Kampala, Uganda), and William Sears and John Robarts (October 1957, South Africa). The four National Spiritual Assemblies Shoghi Effendi raised up are those of Central and East Africa, North East Africa, North West Africa, and South and West Africa.]
[F396. 'Abdu'l-Baha visited Egypt circa August/September 1910 through 11 August 1911, circa December 1911 through 25 March 1912, and 17 June 1913 through 2 December 1913.]
[F395. Robert Turner was among the first group of Western pilgrims to arrive in 'Akka on 10 December 1898, some six years after Baha'u'llah's ascension on 29 May 1892.]
[F394. Quoted in ADJ, p. 37.]
[F393. The Ethiopian was Haji Mubarak; Quddus was the eighteenth Letter of the Living, the title given to the first eighteen people to recognize the Bab's prophetic station. Quddus was distinguished for his serenity and sagacity and was elevated by Baha'u'llah to a rank second only to that of the Bab.]

176.3 At the beginning of the Ten Year Crusade the number of countries opened to the Faith had reached twenty-four, including those opened under the aegis of the Two Year African Campaign co-ordinated by the British National Spiritual Assembly. The Ten Year Plan opened the rest of Africa to the light of God's Faith, and today we see with joy and pride in that vast continent and its neighbouring islands the establishment of four Boards of Counsellors, thirty-four National Spiritual Assemblies -- firm pillars of God's Administrative Order -- and over 2800 Local Spiritual Assemblies, nuclei of a growing Baha'i society.

176.4 Africa, a privileged continent with a past rich in cherished associations, has reached its present stage of growth through countless feats of heroism and dedication. Before us unfolds the vision of the future. "Africa," the beloved Guardian assures us in one of the letters written on his behalf, "is truly awakening and finding herself, and she undoubtedly has a great message to give, and a great contribution to make to the advancement of world civilization. To the degree to which her peoples accept Baha'u'llah will they be blessed, strengthened and protected."+F398
[F398. UD, p. 330.]

176.5 The realization of this glorious destiny requires that the immediate tasks be worthily discharged, and the pressing challenges and urgent requirements of the Five Year Plan be wholeheartedly and effectively met and satisfied. As the forces of darkness in that part of the world wax fiercer, and the problems facing its peoples and tribes become more critical, the believers in that continent <p342> must evince greater cohesion, scale loftier heights of heroism and self-sacrifice and demonstrate higher standards of concerted effort and harmonious development.

176.6 During the brief thirty months separating us from the end of the Plan, Africa must once again distinguish itself among its sister continents through a vast increase in the number of its believers, its Local Spiritual Assemblies and its localities opened to the Faith, and by accelerating the process of entry by troops throughout its length and breadth. The deepening of the faith, of the understanding and of the spiritual life of its individual believers must gather greater momentum; the foundations of its existing Local Spiritual Assemblies must be more speedily consolidated; the number of local Haziratu'l- Quds and of local endowments called for in the Plan must be soon acquired; the Baha'i activities of women and of youth must be systematically stimulated; the Baha'i education of the children of the believers must continuously be encouraged; the basis of the recognition that the institutions of the Faith have succeeded in obtaining from the authorities must steadily be broadened; mass communication facilities must be used far more frequently to teach and proclaim the Faith; and the publication and dissemination of the essential literature of the Faith must be given much greater importance. Above all it is imperative that in ever greater measure each individual believer should realize the vital need to subordinate his personal advantages to the overall welfare of the Cause, to awaken and reinforce his sense of responsibility before God to promote and protect its vital interests at all costs, and to renew his total consecration and dedication to His glorious Faith, so that, himself enkindled with the flames of its holy fire, he may, in concert with his fellow-believers, ignite the light of faith and certitude in the hearts of his family, his tribe, his countrymen and all the peoples of that mighty continent, in preparation for the day when Africa's major contribution to world civilization will become fully consummated.

176.7 We fervently pray at the Holy Shrines that these hopes and aspirations may soon come true, and that the "pure-hearted" and 'spiritually receptive" people of Africa may draw ever nearer to the spirit of Baha'u'llah, and may become shining examples of self- abnegation, of courage and of love to the supporters of the Most Great Name in every land.+F399
[F399. MBW, p. 135.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p343>

177
Visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II to the Resting-Place of Shoghi Effendi

5 October 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

177.1 WITH FEELINGS IMMENSE ELATION ANNOUNCE BAHA'I COMMUNITIES ALL CONTINENTS JOYFUL NEWS FIRST VISIT BY BAHA'I REIGNING MONARCH TO RESTING PLACE BELOVED SHOGHI EFFENDI WELL NIGH NINETEEN YEARS FOLLOWING HIS PASSING.+F400 HIS HIGHNESS MALIETOA TANUMAFILI II OF WESTERN SAMOA COURSE HIS RECENT VISIT LONDON ATTAINED THIS INESTIMABLE BOUNTY. HIS HIGHNESS ACCOMPANIED BY SMALL DELEGATION FRIENDS HEADED BY HAND CAUSE GIACHERY INCLUDING HANDS CAUSE KHADEM VARQA AND FIVE MEMBERS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED KINGDOM PROCEEDED CEMETERY PARTICIPATED DEEPLY MOVING HIGHLY DIGNIFIED VISITATION RESTING PLACE SIGN GOD ON EARTH WHOSE LIFELONG HEROIC LABOURS ACHIEVED WORLD-WIDE SPREAD GLORIOUS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH.+F401 FOLLOWING PRAYERS DEVOTIONS AND EXPRESSIONS APPRECIATION GRATITUDE BY HIS HIGHNESS HE MET WITH RADIANT SPIRIT LARGE GATHERING BELIEVERS ASSEMBLED PRECINCTS GRAVE TO WELCOME HIM AND TO WHOM HE CONVEYED GREETINGS HIS FELLOW SAMOAN BAHA'IS AND HIS HOPE GROWTH FAITH FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH ALL OVER WORLD. IN HOLY LAND SYNCHRONIZING WITH THESE EVENTS HANDS CAUSE OTHER MEMBERS, INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE JOINED MEMBERS HOUSE JUSTICE SPECIAL VISIT BAHJI WHERE FERVENT PRAYERS WERE OFFERED SACRED THRESHOLD MOST HOLY SHRINE IN THANKSGIVING HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENT WHICH REPRESENTS PRELUDE TO FULFILMENT LONG CHERISHED DESIRE 'ABDU'L-BAHA AND SHOGHI EFFENDI WITNESS PILGRIM KINGS PAY THEIR HUMBLE TRIBUTE AT HOLY SHRINES FOUNDERS OUR FAITH IN SPIRITUAL HEART PLANET. FERVENTLY PRAYING THIS JOYOUS NEWS WILL STRENGTHEN RESOLVE SUPPORTERS MOST GREAT NAME EVERY LAND REDOUBLE THEIR EFFORTS TO FORGE AHEAD HOWEVER ARDUOUS THE TASKS HOWEVER SEEMINGLY INSURMOUNTABLE THE OBSTACLES UNTIL EVERY GOAL WORLD- WIDE PLAN IS SPEEDILY AND FULLY CONSUMMATED.
[F401. Later information confirms that six members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom were present. The visit took place on 12 September 1976.]
[F400. For the announcement of His Highness's acceptance of the Baha'i Faith, see message no. 130.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p344>

178
Outstanding Achievements in Khurasan, Iran+F402
[F402. This message was cabled to Hand of the Cause of God William Sears, representative of the Universal House of Justice at the International Teaching Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.]

15 October 1976

To the friends gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Nairobi, Kenya

178.1 REJOICE SHARE WITH FRIENDS AT NAIROBI CONFERENCE JOYOUS TIDINGS RECEIVED FROM CRADLE FAITH FRIENDS PROVINCE KHURASAN WHERE MIGHTY EVENTS TOOK PLACE EARLY YEARS HEROIC AGE HAVE WON UNIQUE DISTINCTION. EVERY LOCAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY EVEN EVERY GROUP THAT PROVINCE HAS FORMULATED ITS LOCAL GOALS AND EVERY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER HAS ADOPTED PERSONAL TEACHING GOALS. OBJECTIVE ENVISAGED FIVE YEAR PLAN BRILLIANTLY OUTSTRIPPED. FERVENTLY PRAYING SHRINES SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES GROUPS INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS EVERY LAND WILL BE INSPIRED FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


179
Achievement of the Majority of Pioneer Goals at Midpoint of Five Year Plan

21 October 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

179.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE REALIZATION HOPE EXPRESSED IN JANUARY 1975 THAT BY MIDWAY POINT FIVE YEAR PLAN MOST PIONEER POSTS BE SETTLED.+F403 OUT OF THESE 962 POSTS 612 ALREADY FILLED THROUGH SETTLEMENT 1374 PIONEERS. 350 POSTS STILL REMAIN UNFILLED BUT 227 VOLUNTEERS HAVE ARISEN AND ARE BEING PROCESSED FOR SETTLEMENT THESE GOALS. CALL WITH URGENT INSISTENCE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES WITH UNFILLED PIONEER GOALS EXPEDITE FULFILMENT ASSIGNMENTS COUNTRIES STILL NEEDING URGENT SUPPORT. PRAYING HOLY SHRINES BOUNTIFUL BLESSINGS ALL WHO HAVE ARISEN PIONEER FIELDS VARIOUS LANDS AND WHO WILL ARISE DURING FAST FLEETING MONTHS BEFORE RIDVAN 1977 WIN OUTSTANDING PIONEER GOALS FIVE YEAR PLAN.
[F403. See message no. 155.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p345>

180
Additional Appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors

31 October 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

180.1 The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure that it has appointed three new Counsellors as follows:

Dr Peter Khan -- to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Australasia

Dr Hidayatu'llah Ahmadiyyih -- to the Continental Board of Counsellors in Central America

Mr Angus Cowan -- to the Continental Board of Counsellors in North America.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


181
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Hong Kong -- November 1976

November 1976

To the friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Hong Kong

Dearly loved friends,

181.1 With grateful and joyous hearts we extend our warmest greetings and express our highest hopes to the followers of Baha'u'llah gathered, at this critical point of the Five Year Plan, in this Conference on Asia's eastern shore. This great continent has nourished mighty civilizations; above its horizons the suns of major Revelations of God have risen; on its soil many of the heroes of this New Age have shed their blood and offered their lives in token of their love for Him Who is the Beloved of the World and the Desire of the Nations.

181.2 What an imperishable glory has been bestowed upon the people of Asia, the first to be illumined by the rays of God's Faith, the first recipients of His Call and the first promoters of His Cause. Their spiritual capacity is extolled and the great role they are destined to play in the strengthening of the foundation of the New World Order of Baha'u'llah unhesitatingly affirmed by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Tablets of the Divine Plan.+F404
[F404. See TDP 7.5, 7.10, 8.21.]

<p346>

181.3 This great continent contains within its boundaries the heart of the Faith and its Cradle, the lands wherein its Founders toiled and suffered, and not only the great majority of the human race but the great majority of the followers of Baha'u'llah. The potentiality of such a situation cannot be underestimated, nor must the great force latent within so large a proportion of the Army of Light be neglected. They must be mobilized to accelerate the expansion of the beloved Cause, to consolidate its victories, to enhance its prestige and to augment its influence. We appeal to every participant in this historic Conference to become conscious of these tremendous but hidden potentialities which, if properly tapped and directed, can hasten the process of the spiritualization of the nations of Asia, the influence of which will extend far beyond the confines of that continent -- even to the entire planet.

181.4 We eagerly await news that from this Conference will surge throughout Asia a wave of vigorous activity devoted to the execution on the individual, local and national levels, of systematic plans designed to attract the great masses of that continent to the life-giving, all-embracing Message of Baha'u'llah. Such plans must provide opportunities for those thousands who in recent years have swelled the rank and file, as well as for those veterans who have, for so many years, striven in the path of service to the Cause. It is through active participation of more and more new believers in both teaching and administration that the consolidation of the Baha'i community can best be achieved.

181.5 In a continent so richly endowed, so greatly blessed, new generations of Baha'is must continually be raised up, trained from childhood in the school of the love of God, and nurtured under the shadow of His Cause. Baha'is in every country must be constantly urged and, wherever necessary, assisted to pass on to their children as their most cherished legacy, the precious Faith they themselves have embraced. Those new generations of Baha'is will have a vital role in consolidating the Cause of God on a firm foundation.

181.6 The establishment of Local Assemblies as the basic administrative unit of the World Order of Baha'u'llah and as rallying points for the Baha'is of every community should, in accordance with the objectives of the Five Year Plan, be multiplied no matter at what cost of effort and endurance. The process of invigorating the Local Assemblies requires, during the Five Year Plan, the consultation of all the institutions of the Cause.

181.7 Publication of literature in many languages as part of a determined campaign to win thousands upon thousands of diverse peoples in all spheres of life must be vigorously pursued. Participation of all believers in supporting the Baha'i Funds, the lifeblood of the Cause, must be given adequate attention, and the blessings which reward the act of voluntary giving for the promotion of the Faith, no matter how small the amount may be, must be lovingly and wisely explained.

<p347>

181.8 May this Conference become a landmark in the process of attracting vast numbers of the great Chinese race scattered throughout the world. May it be a prelude to the unprecedented expansion of the Faith in all the countries of Asia. May it become a source of strength to the supporters of the Most Great Name so that despite the rising tide of trials and upheavals afflicting the world, and whatever forces of opposition may be mounted against the Cause of God itself, the believers will not waver or become diverted from their course, but be ever more confirmed in their determination to raise the edifice of the Faith of God as the last bastion of hope to a lost and wayward humanity.

The Universal House of Justice


182
Grappling with the Challenge of Consolidation

2 December 1976

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

182.1 Your letter of 12 October 1976 proposing the establishment of an International Human Development Centre has caused us concern for a number of reasons.+F405 It is true that in our letter of 23 December 1975 we stated: "We feel that it is for your Assembly to decide what methods should be employed to bring about the desired result," but your present proposals are a great enlargement and development of the concepts outlined in your letter of 5 December 1975 and involve the establishment of an institution with international ramifications requiring financial assistance from beyond the confines of your own community.
[F405. After Davison Baha'i School in Davison, Michigan, closed in 1974, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States made plans to use the property for an International Human Development Centre that was to include, among other things, a demonstration school and formal study in education at the postgraduate level. In response to guidance from the Universal House of Justice, a more modest facility, the Louhelen Baha'i School, was opened in 1982. It was designed to serve as a Baha'i conference centre and as a site for summer and winter school programmes.]

182.2 We are acutely aware of the varied problems of community and character development that the American Baha'i community faces. They are problems that in varying ways and to different degrees face every Baha'i community in the world. In many countries they are further complicated by grinding poverty, widespread illiteracy, religious persecution or compulsory political indoctrination.

<p348>

182.3 As you quite correctly observe, Baha'i Administration should make use of whatever expertise or appropriate instruments are available, whether Baha'i' or non- Baha'i, for the attainment of its objectives. But this is not the same as establishing a quasi-Baha'i institution under Baha'i auspices based on one particular theory. It is far too early in the development of the Faith and of the social sciences for the Administrative Order thus to promote one particular system or theory of education. A similar situation exists in the field of psychology. As you are well aware, many people come into the Faith needing psychiatric treatment, and it is often very difficult for them to find a psychiatrist who will not urge them to some course of behaviour which is contrary to the teachings of the Faith. There are a number of Baha'i psychologists and psychiatrists who are endeavouring to develop their skills in the light of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, and use can certainly be made of their services where available -- but it would be premature to consider establishing a Baha'i School of Psychology. ...

The Gradual Unfoldment of Baha'i Education

182.4 The grave problems faced by Baha'i parents and children, when the children must attend schools that are strongly influenced by the degradation of present-day society, are fully appreciated. However, the only ways to completely overcome these dangers would seem to be either to effect a reform of the entire non-Baha'i educational system or to provide a world-wide network of Baha'i schools. Both ways are very long-term projects beyond the capacity of the Baha'i community at this time. Already, of course, Baha'i communities are establishing primary or tutorial schools in many parts of the world, but these are small and few in number and are located where there are such conditions as general illiteracy among the believers or where no other schools are available to them. Undoubtedly, in time, this process will gain momentum, and Baha'i schools of ever higher quality and scope will be established in country after country, as has already occurred in India, but necessarily, this must now be a gradual process related, among other things, to the resources of the community, the number of Baha'i children needing education, and the availability of other suitable schools. Perhaps in certain parts of the United States there are sufficiently large concentrations of Baha'i children to make the running of a private Baha'i school feasible-such a proposal has, indeed, been made by a number of individual believers in Alaska, principally teachers, but we stressed in that instance that, if implemented, it should be conducted as a private venture and that the people concerned should give very careful consideration to all the factors involved before initiating it; furthermore we pointed out to them their opportunities for improving the schools in which they themselves worked.

182.5 Failing a nation-wide system of Baha'i schools, the establishment of which is clearly out of the question at this stage of the growth of the Cause in the <p349> United States, Baha'i parents will continue to be faced with the problems caused by the exposure of their children to irreligious and immoral attitudes, behaviour, and even instruction, from their fellow pupils and their teachers. This is a great challenge to Baha'i parents, to the Baha'i children themselves, and to the Spiritual Assemblies. It was to assist in meeting such challenges that we recently issued the compilation of Baha'i prayers for children and that on Baha'i education.+F406 Your Assembly is correct in its view that a major effort will have to be exerted to raise the number and quality of Baha'i children's classes, and to assist Baha'i parents to bring up their children as firm Baha'is able to withstand the moral and spiritual poisons and temptations of the society around them. ...
[F406. Baha'i Prayers and Tablets for the Young and Baha'i Education.]

The Spiritual Nature of Personal Transformation

182.6 In addition to the specific problems of child education, you instance the difficulties of local communities which are faced with the task of reorienting and integrating into the Cause new believers who enter with all sorts of immoral and even criminal tendencies from their former life. This is indeed difficult, but this is the very stuff of the work of the Cause. The Baha'i Faith not only provides teachings in accordance with which the behaviour of human beings can be reformed, but also makes available a spiritual power which reinforces the devoted efforts of every believer, whether veteran or neophyte. Arising to serve the Cause has, itself, a transforming effect upon believers, as the beloved Guardian wrote with respect to service upon Spiritual Assemblies: "If we but turn our gaze to the high qualifications of the members of Baha'i Assemblies, as enumerated in 'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets, we are filled with feelings of unworthiness and dismay, and would feel truly disheartened but for the comforting thought that if we arise to play nobly our part every deficiency in our lives will be more than compensated by the all-conquering spirit of His grace and power."+F407 Thus, what is most imperative for the promotion of the spiritual life of local Baha'i communities is the stimulation of the believers to increase their devotion to Baha'u'llah, their absolute reliance upon Him and upon His love, and their determination to apply His teachings in every aspect of their lives. This stimulation can be conveyed from heart to heart and mind to mind by devoted Baha'is without the need of formal training. ...
[F407. BA, p. 88.]

The Auxiliary Board: A Potent Aid to Consultation

182.7 As we pointed out previously, you have already initiated excellent programmes; we continually receive evidence of the enthusiasm with which they have been received by local communities in the United States. You should persevere with these programmes, expanding and supplementing them as necessary <p350> with others that you may judge desirable for the work of the Cause in the conditions of each of the widely diverse areas of your vast national territory. One of the most potent aids to the consolidation of local communities and Assemblies and the deepening of the faith of the believers, is the services of the Auxiliary Board members and their assistants. Here is an institution of the Faith, reaching into every locality, composed of firm believers who know the area they have to serve and are familiar with its problems and potentialities -- an institution expressly designed to encourage and reinforce the work of the Spiritual Assemblies, to enthuse the believers, to stimulate them to study the Teachings and apply them in their lives -- a body of Baha'is whose efforts and services will complement and support the work being done by your committees and by the Local Assemblies themselves in every sphere of Baha'i endeavour. ...

With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


183 Call for a Vigorous Travelling Teaching Programme

19 December 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

183.1 Now that we have passed the midway point of the Five Year Plan and through the grace of the Blessed Beauty the processes which it has set in motion in every continent are gaining momentum, we observe almost daily with awe and admiration how abundant are the blessings which surround the efforts of the devoted believers who are delivering His divine Message with dedication, enthusiasm and perseverance, and how infinitely vast and challenging are the possibilities for the future.

183.2 One of the activities which must be given greater attention, both nationally and internationally, is travel teaching to localities which are in need of consolidation and stimulation. While teaching projects of short duration, in terms of days and one or two weeks, are useful, the time has come for long-term teaching projects of three to six months and possibly more, as envisaged in the Five Year Plan, to be more vigorously prosecuted in every continent, so that more lasting results may accrue from these teaching trips and the rich harvest anticipated at the outset of the Plan may become a reality, imparting its inestimable benefits to the devoted labourers in His divine Vineyard.

183.3 It is hoped that those who will arise will be mostly self-supporting or supported by private deputization, and that the funds of the Faith, nationally for <p351> projects on the home-front, and internationally for projects in foreign fields, will be requested only when the individual concerned is regarded as well qualified and there is no other source of funds available to him.

183.4 We hope that National Assemblies whose assignments include international travel teaching projects will make a special appeal to the friends under their jurisdiction calling on them to meet this new challenge. If this urgent call, which is directed to all believers in every land, is answered with promptness and enthusiasm by those whose personal circumstances permit, great advances will be made towards fulfilling the hitherto sorely neglected teaching goals of the Plan. While the youth can through their creative resourcefulness and energetic labours effectively support the work ahead, believers from the older age groups can be a valuable asset in the achievement of the goals through their experience, knowledge and wisdom.

183.5 Our prayers are offered frequently at the Holy Shrines for the infinite blessings of the Abha Beauty to reinforce every step you take in strengthening and broadening the foundations of the Faith in the areas entrusted to your care.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


184
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Auckland, New Zealand -- January 1977

January 1977

To the friends assembled at the International Teaching Conference in Auckland

Dearly loved friends,

184.1 With hearts full of love and admiration for the followers of the Most Great Name in Australasia we send our warmest greetings to all assembled in this historic gathering in the heart of the Antipodes.

184.2 How great is your place in Baha'i history! How bright are the prospects for the future of the Cause so lovingly nurtured for more than half a century by hundreds of stalwart steadfast believers, spiritual heirs of Hyde and Clara Dunn, who in direct response to the Tablets of the Divine Plan forsook their home and went to pioneer in Australia, and whose names, Shoghi Effendi wrote, were "graven in letters of gold" upon his heart.+F408 In March 1951, when <p352> in the entire Pacific area there was but one National Spiritual Assembly, the beloved Guardian predicted that "The prizes destined for the heroic warriors, battling for the Cause of Baha'u'llah throughout the Southern Hemisphere, and particularly Australasia, are glorious beyond compare. The assistance to be vouchsafed to them from on high in their struggle for its establishment, its recognition and triumph is ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance."+F409
[F409. LFG, p. 94.]
[F408. Mr and Mrs Dunn left their home in San Francisco and sailed to Sydney, arriving on 18 April 1920. They remained in Australia until their deaths in 1941 and 1960, respectively. Shoghi Effendi appointed Mrs Dunn a Hand of the Cause of God on 29 February 1952; Mr Dunn was named a Hand of the Cause of God posthumously. For an account of the life and services of Mr Dunn, see BW 9:593-97; for Mrs Dunn, see BW 13:859-62.]

184.3 Now, twenty-five years later, the achievements are truly astounding. Beginning with the establishment of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of New Zealand at Ridvan 1957, the number of National Assemblies has increased eleven-fold; the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the Antipodes has been erected near Sydney; His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa has become the first reigning monarch to embrace the Cause of Baha'u'llah;+F410 the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies now stands at over 360; and the number of localities where Baha'is reside in this vast oceanic area covering well-nigh one-eighth of the earth's surface is more than 1,800. These accomplishments doubtless have been a source of great joy to the immortal soul of Shoghi Effendi, whose esteem and affection for the followers of Baha'u'llah labouring for His Cause in the Antipodes was frequently expressed in glowing terms in his letters to the Assemblies and friends in Australasia.
[F410. For the announcement of His Highness acceptance of the Baha'i Faith, see message dated 7 May 1973 (no. 130); for his visit to the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, see message dated 5 October 1976 (no. 177).]

184.4 Dear friends, we have now passed the midpoint of the Five Year Plan. You are met in the beautiful city of Auckland to take stock and to make plans for attaining the victories which will surely be yours.

184.5 The National Spiritual Assemblies of the New Hebrides and of the Marshall Islands are to be raised up next Ridvan; plans for the soon-to-be-erected Mashriqu'l- Adhkar of Samoa are in process; but although the goal of establishing Baha'i centres totalling 2,188 is within easy reach, the Local Assembly goals assigned to each national community, totalling 613, need prompt and decisive attention. The divine assistance spoken of by the beloved Guardian in 1951 has ever been available, and is still "ready to be poured forth in astonishing abundance."+F411 It is within your power during the coming year to win all assigned teaching goals, leaving the final year of the Plan for consolidation and the winning of supplementary victories.
[F411. LFG, p. 96. For reports on the appointment of the architect for the House of Worship in Samoa, see message dated 15 May 1978 (no. 210); on the excavation of the construction site, see message dated 6 December 1979 (no. 242); for the dedication, see message dated August 1984 (no. 403).]

184.6 This will be achieved, not by resting on laurels, but by manifesting those qualities of faith, judgement, vision, loyalty, courage and self-sacrifice which <p353> earned the Guardian's praise so frequently in past decades. Let the valiant Australasian Baha'i communities vie once more with their sister communities throughout the world for the palm of victory and maintain their position in the vanguard of the Army of Light.

184.7 Pioneers, travelling teachers and a fresh outpouring of funds are essential ingredients to the onward march of the Cause throughout Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific. Let those who can offer their valued services to the teaching work arise without delay; let those who cannot travel or pioneer deputize those who can go in their stead.

184.8 We cherish the highest hopes for the success of your endeavours and it is our constant prayer that Baha'u'llah will shower His richest blessings and confirmations upon you.

The Universal House of Justice


185
Message To The International Teaching Conference, Bahia, Brazil -- January 1977

January 1977

To the followers of Baha'u'llah gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Bahia, Brazil

Dearly loved friends,

185.1 With joyous hearts we hail the convocation of this first of the twin Latin American Conferences closing the series of eight International Baha'i Conferences held during the midway period of the Five Year Plan.

185.2 The ringing call of Baha'u'llah in His Most Holy Book to the Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein was followed after an interval of more than four decades by the revelation of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets of the Divine Plan in which the beloved Master stressed the importance of the Republics of the South American Continent.+F412
[F412. See PB, p. 63; see also CF, pp. 18-19, and TDP 6.11, 14.7.]

185.3 The first believer to respond to 'Abdu'l-Baha's divine call was that star-servant of the Cause of Baha'u'llah, valiant, indomitable Martha Root, who in 1919 visited many important cities in South America.+F413 Two years later Leonora Holsapple Armstrong, mother of the Baha'is of Brazil, settled in Bahia.+F414 The <p354> teaching work in the continent progressed steadily to the point where, in 1937, the beloved Guardian launched his first Seven Year Plan paving the way for the raising in subsequent Plans of the institution of Baha'u'llah Administrative Order in every one of its republics and in its islands. It was in the course of that first Seven Year Plan that 'Abdu'l-Baha's beloved handmaid, May Maxwell, in 1940 won a martyr's crown when she laid down her life in Argentina, thereby adding further lustre to the spiritual history of South America.+F415
[F415. In 1940 at the age of seventy, after a life of dedicated service, May Maxwell arose to pioneer and died shortly after her arrival in Buenos Aires. For an account of her life and service to the Faith, see BW 18:631-42.]
[F414. Leonora Armstrong, a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors from 1973 through 1980, died in Bahia, Brazil, on 17 October 1980. For an account of her life and service to the Faith, see BW 18:733-38.]
[F413. Upon her passing in 1939 Martha Root was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi. See Mabel Garis, Martha Root, pp. 87-112.]

185.4 How truly fitting, then, that this auspicious Conference have its venue in the city of Bahia, singled out for special mention by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Tablets of the Divine Plan.+F416 And how timely it is at this crucial point in the Five Year Plan that the friends gathered in Bahia from many lands prayerfully consider, and arise to prosecute expeditiously all measures aimed at achieving glorious victory in all goals of the Plan.
[F416. See TDP 6.11, 14.7.]

185.5 Noteworthy progress has been achieved in many fields of service throughout the South American Baha'i community, particularly in attracting to the Cause large numbers of its indigenous peoples. But myriads of pure-hearted souls have not yet heard the clarion call of Baha'u'llah and hungrily await the spiritual nourishment that only His followers can give them.

185.6 Steps must be taken to attract members of every stratum of society to the divine circle of the Faith through effective proclamation and teaching. Greater utilization of radio broadcasts is necessary, not only to reach all levels of society but also to deepen the believers themselves. The valuable and dynamic services of Baha'i youth must be multiplied in the fields of pioneering and travel teaching. A far wider dissemination of Baha'i literature must be accompanied by a continuous programme of translation of the Sacred Text into the major indigenous languages of the continent.

185.7 The continental goals for South America of 8,670 centres and 2,293 Local Spiritual Assemblies must be won, and may even be surpassed, for every country must achieve the goals assigned to it. This calls for the dedicated effort of every National Spiritual Assembly, every Local Spiritual Assembly and indeed every believer. All the divinely ordained instruments of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah must now unite in executing a symphony of victory in all the unfinished goals of the Five Year Plan, winning thereby the good pleasure of the Blessed Beauty.

185.8 Beloved friends, go forward with complete assurance that a continent so rich in spiritual promise, so diverse in its peoples and races, so fertile for the <p355> planting of the seeds of Baha'u'llah's Faith will yield a brilliant harvest for all who
labour in that Divine Vineyard.

185.9 It is our fervent loving prayer at the Sacred Threshold that Baha'u'llah's
bountiful confirmations and richest blessings may be showered upon you.

The Universal House of Justice


186
Signature of Contract for Erection of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

10 January 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

186.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE SIGNATURE AGREEMENT GENERAL CONTRACTOR FOR ERECTION SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AT COST JUST OVER TWO MILLION DOLLARS.+F417 FIRST SHIPMENT FINISHED MARBLE DELIVERED SITE. LOVING GREETINGS.
[F417. This general contract related to the initial phase of construction and totalled $2,250,000.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


187
Message to the International Teaching Conference, Merida, Mexico -- February 1977

February 1977

To the followers of Baha'u'llah gathered at the International Teaching Conference in Merida, Mexico

Dearly loved friends,

187.1 With joyous hearts and eager anticipation we send warmest greetings to you the participants in the last of the eight great International Teaching Conferences marking the halfway point of the Five Year Plan.

187.2 The convening of this Conference in the Republic of Mexico, in the capital city of a state that was once an important part of a great Indian empire, provides a unique opportunity to initiate what may well become the widespread reawakening of a people whose ancestors more than 1,200 years ago developed one of the most brilliant pre- Columbian civilizations known to modern man. These present-day descendants, many of whom have already embraced the Faith of Baha'u'llah and who consider the Yucatan Peninsula <p356> and the seacoast lowlands and rugged spine of mountains joining North and South America to be their homeland, are among the very people mentioned by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Tablets of the Divine Plan as having a great destiny once they have accepted His Father's Cause.+F418 Here, too, and throughout Middle America, are those whose forefathers came from the Iberian Peninsula, Africa, and the Far East linking the Old with the New World.
[F418. See TDP 6.8.]

187.3 Conscious of 'Abdu'l-Baha's impassioned plea to promulgate the oneness of mankind to a spiritually impoverished humanity, a handful of itinerant Baha'i' teachers set forth four decades ago, traversed the land bridge connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere and carried the healing Message of Baha'u'llah to the Spanish- American Republics. Their dedicated efforts were rewarded when, in 1938, the first Local Spiritual Assembly in Latin America was formed in Mexico City. This initial triumph at the inception of the first of the teaching plans formulated by Shoghi Effendi spearheaded other victories leading to the formation of two, then of four Regional Spiritual Assemblies and ultimately to the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies in each of the republics of Latin America and in the islands of the Caribbean.

187.4 Praiseworthy indeed were these achievements but the Baha'i communities of Central America and the West Indies must not be content to rest on these laurels. The beloved Guardian during the last months of his precious life continually urged the friends of Latin America to pursue what he described as "the paramount task," the teaching work.+F419 How much more does that injunction apply today! In less than thirty months, approximately 900 groups and isolated centres and over 400 Local Spiritual Assemblies must be added to those already existing in the mainland and island nations of Middle America!
[F419. From an unpublished letter.]

187.5 To accomplish this challenging task, intensive effort to attract new believers, be they black, brown, red or white, from all strata of society must be exerted. Hand in hand with this endeavour, particularly in local communities, goes the development of the distinctive character of Baha'i life. Prompt attention must also be given to the acquisition of local Haziratu'l-Quds and endowments; and the translation and publication of Baha'i literature, especially in indigenous languages, must be accelerated.

187.6 Dear friends, if at the close of the Five Year Plan we are to witness the ensigns of victory lifted high, the wholehearted support of the followers of Baha'u'llah must be enlisted now and their energies systematically channelled into areas most in need. We cherish the hope that at this final Conference the friends will arise with enthusiasm and determination not only to win the remaining goals of the Plan but to carry out Shoghi Effendi's injunction to win the allegiance of members of the various tribes of American Indians to <p357> the Cause, thereby hastening the period prophesied by the Master when the Indian peoples of America would become a source of spiritual illumination to the world.

187.7 Our hearts, our hopes and our prayers will be with you during all the days of your deliberations. May Baha'u'llah inspire each and every one of you.

The Universal House of Justice

188
Release of a Compilation on the Individual and Teaching

3 March 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

188.1 The cornerstone of the foundation of all Baha'i activity is teaching the Cause. As 'Abdu'l-Baha has categorically proclaimed in His Will and Testament, "the guidance of the nations and peoples of the world" is "the most important of all things," and "Of all the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching."+F420
[F420. WT, pp. 10, 25.]

188.2 The friends likewise are in varying degrees aware of the repeated exhortations found in the Writings of our Faith that divine confirmations are dependent upon the active pursuit of the teaching work. In the words of the beloved Master, "confirmations from the unseen world are encompassing all those who deliver the divine Message." He further states, "should the work of teaching lapse, these confirmations would be entirely cut off, since it is impossible for the loved ones of God to receive assistance unless they teach."+F421
[F421. A translation from TABA 2:390 has been replaced by one from SWAB, sec. 209, pp. 264-65.]

188.3 While the friends are generally conscious of the vital importance of teaching, yet, because of their frailties, many for the most part lack confidence, and feel they do not know what course of action to follow, or how to bring their efforts to a conclusion. Since guidance on such fundamental issues comes from the Writings of the Faith, we asked the Research Department to prepare a compilation of texts on the subject. This is now ready and a copy is enclosed.+F422
[F422. See CC II:293-326.]

188.4 A study of the compilation will provide the friends with stimulating information on general guidelines to be followed by them when engaged in the teaching work. While many will be inspired, after reading the compilation, to cast aside their fears and misgivings and their sense of inadequacy, and will <p358> arise to speak forth announcing the glad-tidings of the Kingdom to their fellowmen, many more will still be in need of loving education and more detailed guidance on the part of the institutions of the Faith, and patient and wise prodding before they are aroused to action. And since the primary purpose for which Local Spiritual Assemblies are established is to promote the teaching work, it is clear that every National Spiritual Assembly must give careful consideration to ways and means to encourage each Local Assembly under its jurisdiction to fulfil its principal obligation. For instance, Local Assemblies could be urged to organize special meetings when texts, such as those included in the compilation, would be studied. Furthermore, it is important that Local Assemblies share with the local friends stories of successes achieved by some of them, descriptions of effective presentations found useful by them, examples of various ways that a Baha'i subject could be introduced to inquirers, or illustrations of methods which would enable the believer to relate the needs of society to our teachings. Such information and suggestions could be offered to the friends at Nineteen Day Feasts, through a local newsletter, or by any other means open to each Local Assembly. In all these contacts with the believers, each Local Spiritual Assembly should impress upon the friends the unique and irreplaceable role the individual plays in the prosecution of any Baha'i undertaking. Quotations from the writings on this point, such as the following passage from one of the letters of Shoghi Effendi, should be repeatedly presented and explained to the friends:

188.4a He [the individual believer] it is who constitutes the warp and woof on which the quality and pattern of the whole fabric must depend. He it is who acts as one of the countless links in the mighty chain that now girdles the globe. He it is who serves as one of the multitude of bricks which support the structure and insure the stability of the administrative edifice now being raised in every part of the world. Without his support, at once wholehearted, continuous and generous, every measure adopted, and every plan formulated, by the body which acts as the national representative of the community to which he belongs is foredoomed to failure. The World Centre of the Faith itself is paralyzed if such a support on the part of the rank and file of the community is denied it. The Author of the Divine Plan Himself+F423 is impeded in His purpose if the proper instruments for the execution of His design are lacking. The sustaining strength of Baha'u'llah Himself, the Founder of the Faith, will be withheld from every and each individual who fails in the long run to arise and play his part.+F424
[F424. CF, pp. 130-31.]
[F423. 'Abdu'l-Baha.]

<p359>

188.5 When the friends realize that the hosts of the Kingdom are waiting to rush forth and assist them, that others from their own ranks have arisen and have been successful, that everyone can find some effective method of teaching according to his own particular capacities and talents, they will then no doubt arise with greater confidence to take the first step, and this, we know, will be aided and guided from on high, for the very act of striving to respond to God's call will bring in its wake countless divine blessings.

188.6 It is the hope and prayer of the Universal House of Justice that each National Spiritual Assembly will do its utmost to constantly encourage the friends to participate in what Shoghi Effendi calls "the most essential, the most urgent of all our obligations," and what must be "the dominating passion of our life," and follow the example of the Apostles of Christ who, as testified by 'Abdu'l-Baha, "forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion ... till at last they made the world another world, illumined the surface of the earth and even to their last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that beloved One of God. ... Let them that are men of action follow in their footSteps!"+F425
[F425. BA, pp. 42, 68; WT, pp. 10-11.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


189
Consolidation of Local Spiritual Assemblies; Formation at Any Time during Ridvan

6 March 1977

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

189.1 The establishment and strong growth of Local Spiritual Assemblies is one of the most fundamental requirements for the spread of the Message of Baha'u'llah, the development of Baha'i community life and the emergence of a transformed society. This theme has been made one of the central goals of the Five Year Plan, and National Spiritual Assemblies, aided by their committees, have been making strenuous efforts to establish new Local Spiritual Assemblies and to consolidate those which have lapsed or are in need of strengthening.

189.2 Already a number of specific steps have been taken by the Universal House of Justice to assist National Spiritual Assemblies towards the attainment of these objectives. The most far-reaching of these steps is the authority given to members of the Auxiliary Boards to appoint assistants whose primary aim is <p360> to stimulate and assist the believers to bring into being and to consolidate Local Spiritual Assemblies in all localities where nine or more Baha'is reside, and to advise and assist these Assemblies in the performance of their God-given duties. The effects of the appointment of assistants by Auxiliary Board members are beginning to appear and will undoubtedly bear more and more fruit as the months pass.

189.3 Nevertheless, it is of concern to the Universal House of Justice that, in spite of the efforts of the National Spiritual Assemblies and the Auxiliary Boards and of all the believers who are labouring in the field, there are many areas in which there are communities of nine or more believers who are left, for year after year, without the blessing of the divine institution of a Local Spiritual Assembly. This is a phenomenon of the present stage of the spread of the Faith where there has been a rapid acceptance of the Message of Baha'u'llah by people who, because of factors such as illiteracy, unfamiliarity with the concepts of Baha'i administration, or an attitude to the calendar and the passage of time that is different from that of city-dwellers, fail to re-elect their Spiritual Assemblies on the First Day of Ridvan. National Assemblies are striving to send pioneers and travelling teachers to deepen such believers in their understanding of the teachings and administrative principles of the Faith, but often the localities in which they dwell are remote from the other friends or difficult to reach, and there are, in any case, too few well-grounded believers who can be sent on such projects.

189.4 Not wishing such communities to be deprived of the bounty and experience of having Local Spiritual Assemblies, we have decided that, in such cases, when the local friends fail to elect their Spiritual Assembly on the First Day of Ridvan, they should do so on any subsequent day of the Ridvan Festival.+F426 This is not a general permission to all Local Spiritual Assemblies; it is intended only for those which are affected by factors such as those mentioned above, and it is for your Assembly to decide the areas or Assemblies in your country to which it will apply. The aim is still to so consolidate all communities that they will elect their Assemblies regularly on the First Day of Ridvan.
[F426. Referring to the provision for forming Local Spiritual Assemblies in certain localities anytime during the Ridvan Festival, the Universal House of Justice, in a letter dated 19 February 1979 to all National Spiritual Assemblies (no. 219), explained that, "until further notice, it is permissible to follow this procedure every Ridvan where it is called for." This ruling remained in effect until Ridvan 1997.]

189.5 It is hoped that this decision will do much to help you consolidate the communities throughout your area of jurisdiction. It does not change the permission given at the beginning of the Five Year Plan for new Assemblies, being formed for the first time, to be formed at any time during the year.+F427
[F427. See message no. 141.]

<p361>

189.6 We shall supplicate the Blessed Perfection to reinforce with the Hosts of Heaven every effort you make towards this vital objective.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


190
Ridvan Message 1977

24 March 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

190.1 REJOICE OUTSTANDING EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS MARKING MID YEAR FIVE YEAR PLAN: PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH SELECTION WRITINGS BLESSED BAB OPENING TO EYES WESTERN FOLLOWERS FAITH A PRICELESS TREASURY HIS IMMORTAL UTTERANCES, A BOUNTY WHICH CANNOT FAIL DRAW HEARTS EVER NEARER YOUTHFUL MARTYR-PROPHET,+F428 SUCCESSFUL HOLDING EIGHT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES, BLAZONING NAME CAUSE GOD BEFORE A RECEPTIVE PUBLIC, KNITTING MORE CLOSELY TIES LINKING FRIENDS ALL LANDS, RESULTING UPSURGE INTENSE ACTIVITY TEACHING PIONEERING, CONFERRING AWARENESS URGENT CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY GOALS PLAN THIS CRITICAL PERIOD;+F429 PROFOUNDLY SIGNIFICANT VISIT TO RESTING-PLACE BELOVED GUARDIAN BY FIRST REIGNING MONARCH TO ACCEPT FAITH BAHA'U'LLAH;+F430 DEPARTURE FORMER TENANTS HOUSE 'ABDU'LLAH PASHA ENABLING FAITH OBTAIN POSSESSION RECENTLY PURCHASED HOLY PLACE INITIATE PROCESS RESTORATION PREPARATION EVENTUAL OPENING TO VISITS BY PILGRIMS;+F431 ARRIVAL HAIFA FIRST FOUR CONSIGNMENTS MARBLE AND INITIATION ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION SEAT UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE MOUNT CARMEL; APPOINTMENT THREE ADDITIONAL COUNSELLORS NORTH CENTRAL AMERICA AUSTRALASIA; ATTAINMENT GOAL SETTLEMENT MIDWAY POINT PLAN MAJORITY PIONEERS CALLED FOR DURING FIRST PHASE ACCOMPANIED GREAT OUTFLOW INTERNATIONAL TRAVELLING TEACHERS; DRAMATIC RESURGENCE TEACHING WORK CRADLE FAITH BY INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS UNDER LOCAL PLANS; FINALLY, ELECTION THIS RIDVAN SIX NEW PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE, NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES OF UPPER VOLTA IN AFRICA, OF THE FRENCH ANTILLES IN THE CARIBBEAN, OF SURINAM AND FRENCH GUIANA IN SOUTH AMERICA, OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS AND OF THE NEW <p362> HEBRIDES IN PACIFIC OCEAN, AND OF GREECE IN EUROPE, RAISING TOTAL NUMBER NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TO 123 TO TAKE PART IN FOURTH ELECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE IN HOLY LAND DURING RIDVAN 1978.
[F431. See message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154) regarding the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha. For an account of the significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message no. 157.]
[F430. For the announcement of the visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa to Shoghi Effendi's resting-place, see message dated 5 October 1976 (no. 177).]
[F429. The eight conferences were held between July 1976 and February 1977 in Helsinki, Finland; Anchorage, Alaska; Paris, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Hong Kong; Auckland, New Zealand; Bahia, Brazil; and Merida, Mexico.]
[F428. See Selections from the Writings of the Bab (1976).]

190.2 NATIONAL CONVENTIONS IN 1978 WILL BE ON WEEKEND PRECEDING OR FOLLOWING 23 MAY FEAST DECLARATION BAB. CALL FOR FORMATION AT THAT TIME SIX MORE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES: BURUNDI AND MAURITANIA IN AFRICA, THE BAHAMAS IN AMERICA, OMAN AND QATAR IN ASIA, AND THE MARIANA ISLANDS IN THE PACIFIC.

190.3 PRESENT RATE GROWTH COMMUNITY PROSPECT ACCELERATION PROCESS ENTRY BY TROOPS ITS SPREAD NEW AREAS IMPEL US STRENGTHEN STILL FURTHER THE AUXILIARY BOARDS WHOSE SERVICES SO VITAL SOUND DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE AUTHORIZATION INCREASE MEMBERSHIP BOARDS BY 297 RAISING TOTAL TO 675 OF WHICH 279 ARE AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS FOR PROTECTION AND 396 FOR PROPAGATION OF FAITH.

190.4 IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHA'U'LLAH LEFT CITY 'AKKA AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH. TO MARK CENTENARY THIS TERMINATION CONFINEMENT ANCIENT BEAUTY WITHIN WALLS PRISON CITY WE CALL UPON HIS FOLLOWERS ALL LANDS DEVOTE NINETEEN DAY FEAST OF NUR+F432 COMMEMORATION HISTORIC EVENT, REDEDICATING THEMSELVES URGENT TASKS BEFORE THEM, SO THAT PENT-UP ENERGIES HIS PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE RELEASED TO REACH EVER GREATER NUMBER SEEKING SOULS IN EVER WIDER CIRCLE THEIR FELLOWMEN.
[F432. The Feast of Light, 5 June 1977.]

190.5 GREATEST CHALLENGE FACING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH LAST TWO YEARS PLAN IS IN FIELDS EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION. TREMENDOUS UPSURGE NEEDED IN SERVICES INDIVIDUAL BELIEVERS ON WHOSE DEEDS ULTIMATELY ALL PROGRESS DEPENDS. MOMENTUM GENERATED BY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES MUST BE ACCELERATED WITHOUT DELAY AND SPIRIT RELEASED MUST PERMEATE ALL COMMUNITIES. GREAT INCREASE MUST TAKE PLACE IN ENTHUSIASTIC TEACHING CARRIED OUT WITH CONFIDENCE, IMAGINATION AND PERSEVERANCE BY YOUNG AND OLD, RICH AND POOR, LEARNED AND ILLITERATE, WHETHER AT HOME OR TRAVELLING. PARTICULARLY CALL UPON BAHA'I WOMEN, WHOSE CAPACITIES IN MANY LANDS STILL LARGELY UNUSED, AND WHOSE POTENTIAL FOR SERVICE CAUSE SO GREAT, TO ARISE AND DEMONSTRATE IMPORTANCE PART THEY ARE TO PLAY IN ALL FIELDS SERVICE FAITH.

190.6 BOUNTIES IN ABUNDANCE WAITING DESCEND FROM SUPREME CONCOURSE. THAT THE FRIENDS OF GOD WILL NOW SURGE AHEAD WITH RESOLUTE RADIANT SPIRITS IN EVERY CONTINENT ISLANDS OF THE SEAS, TO BRING MESSAGE OF BAHA'U'LLAH TO WAITING SOULS WIN THEIR ALLEGIANCE HIS CAUSE, ENSURING OVERWHELMING VICTORY PLAN TO WHICH THEY ARE NOW COMMITTED, IS OUR HIGH HOPE AND ARDENT PRAYER AT SACRED THRESHOLD.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p363>

190.7 Auxiliary Boards -- Ridvan 1977
Former Present New
Number Increase Total

Africa
Protection: Northern 5 - 5
Western 11 13 24
Central and East 13 23 36
Southern 7 9 16
36 81

Propagation: Northern 5 - 5
Western 14 19 33
Central and East 19 17 36
Southern 16 9 25
54 99

Western Hemisphere
Protection: North America 9 9 18
Central America 11 7 18
South America 16 2 18
36 54

Propagation: North America 18 9 27
Central America 16 11 27
South America 38 25 63
72 117

Asia
Protection: Western 9 9 18
South Central 6 30 36
North-eastern 3 15 18
South-eastern 9 18 27
27 99

Propagation: Western 18 18 36
South Central 30 6 36
North-eastern 15 3 18
South-eastern 27 - 27
90 117

Australasia
Protection: 9 9 18
Propagation: 18 9 27

Europe
Protection: 9 18 27
Propagation: 27 9 36

TOTAL 611 135 396
Total Protection 117 162 279
Total Propagation 2611 135 396

<p364>

191
Call for Pioneers

26 May 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

191.1 We are gratified that so many pioneers have settled in the territories scheduled under the two pioneer calls of the Five Year Plan.

191.2 We have just completed a review of the current status of the Plan in consultation with the International Teaching Centre, and it became obvious that a new pioneer call is needed. A new list of pioneer assignments is enclosed, from which you will see that 462 pioneers must arise to settle in specified territories. These pioneers should proceed to their posts as soon as possible to lend their support to the vital local teaching work, in time to participate in winning the remaining goals and in consolidating the work prior to the conclusion of the Plan.

191.3 In view of the difficulties that nationals of certain countries are experiencing in settling in the goal countries assigned to their national community, some adjustments, and in certain cases deletions, have been made in the few unfilled goals. Therefore this pioneer call includes all outstanding goals. Any National Assembly finding that its prior unfilled assignments have not been carried forward should realize that alternative solutions have been found. However, if at the time National Assemblies receive this list some of their prospective pioneers are well advanced in their preparations to proceed to their posts, nothing should be done to prevent their going forward with their plans. We hope that the pioneers already in the field will remain at their posts and that the National Spiritual Assemblies will encourage them, and if necessary provide the means required to enable them to continue their worthy labours in their respective fields of service.

191.4 It is our fervent hope and prayer that this new outflow of pioneers will provide a stimulus to the teaching work throughout the world. We realize the heavy commitments that many National Spiritual Assemblies called upon to provide pioneer manpower have in respect to their home-front goals, but in view of the world-wide needs of the Plan, we trust that every effort will be made to respond to this call, and not only pave the way for a triumphal conclusion of the Plan in 1979, but reinforce the efforts now being exerted to lay firm foundations for the spread and development of the precious Faith of God in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p365>

192
Commemoration of the Centenary of the Termination of Baha'u'llah's Confinement in 'Akka

June 1977

192.1 IN EARLY DAYS OF JUNE 1877 BAHA'U'LLAH LEFT CITY 'AKKA AND TOOK UP RESIDENCE IN MAZRA'IH. TO MARK CENTENARY THIS TERMINATION CONFINEMENT ANCIENT BEAUTY WITHIN WALLS PRISON CITY WE CALL UPON HIS FOLLOWERS ALL LANDS DEVOTE NINETEEN DAY FEAST OF NUR+F433 COMMEMORATION HISTORIC EVENT, REDEDICATING THEMSELVES URGENT TASKS BEFORE THEM, SO THAT PENT-UP ENERGIES HIS PRECIOUS FAITH MAY BE RELEASED TO REACH EVER GREATER NUMBER SEEKING SOULS IN EVER WIDER CIRCLE THEIR FELLOWMEN.
[F433. The Feast of Light, 5 June 1977.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE, RIDVAN 1977

192.2 In the early afternoon of Saturday, 11 June 1977, the pilgrims and the friends serving at the World Centre made their way to Mazra'ih to visit the Mansion which 'Abdu'l-Baha had rented a century ago for the use of Baha'u'llah, His first residence after leaving the prison city of 'Akka.+F434 While there, each was privileged to visit and offer prayers in the very room occupied by the Blessed Beauty; later they repaired to the gardens at Bahji.
[F434. For an account of the commemoration at the Baha'i World Centre of the centenary of the termination of Baha'u'llah's confinement in 'Akka, see BW 17:64.]

192.3 Meanwhile the Hands of the Cause present in the Holy Land, the members of the Universal House of Justice and the Counsellor members of the International Teaching Centre were paying their respects to the memory of Baha'u'llah at the House of 'Abbud in 'Akka and at the Garden of Ridvan. The rooms Baha'u'llah had occupied were visited and prayers of thanksgiving for His release from confinement were offered in these Holy Places. They then journeyed north to Mazra'ih for prayers at that Holy Spot, and afterwards joined the other friends in the Haram-i-Aqdas at Bahji for the formal programme of the Commemoration of this great event in the history of the Heroic Age of the Cause.+F435
[F435. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the north-western quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji.]

192.4 Prayers were recited; 'Abdu'l-Baha's account of the end of Baha'u'llah's confinement and Shoghi Effendi's narrative from God Passes By were read; and finally, just as the sun was casting its last light over the Mediterranean, the friends made their way in the utmost reverence to the Most Holy Shrine for the chanting of the Tablet of Visitation.

<p366>

192.5 The remembrance of God and His praise, and the glory of God and His splendour, rest upon Thee, O Thou Who art His Beauty! I bear witness that the eye of creation hath never gazed upon one wronged like Thee. Thou wast immersed all the days of Thy life beneath an ocean of tribulations. At one time Thou wast in chains and fetters; at another Thou wast threatened by the sword of Thine enemies. Yet, despite all this, Thou didst enjoin upon all men to observe what had been prescribed unto Thee by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Baha'u'llah+F436
[F436. BP, p. 232.]


193
Murder of an Iranian Home-Front Pioneer

14 June 1977

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

193.1 The Universal House of Justice has asked us to send you the enclosed article for the Baha'i News concerning a recent martyrdom in Persia. A photograph of Mr Ruhu'llah Taymuri is also enclosed. With loving Baha'i greetings, Department of the Secretariat

193.2 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran has reported that a 37 year old man, Mr Ruhu'llah Taymuri-Muqaddam, a steadfast pioneer for some twenty years in Fadilabad in the Province of Gurgan, has been martyred at the hands of misguided people of that village. Some members of a fanatical element of the area had been plotting against the Faith and had collected money to finance a large-scale attack on the Baha'is. In starting the campaign they went to the house of Taymuri and attacked him and his sister. The blows of a knife and other weapons caused the death of Mr Taymuri and serious injury to his younger sister, Miss Parvin Taymuri.

193.3 Fortunately the authorities in Iran have arrested the assassins and they now await trial. At present the area is calm and the Government has the situation under control.

193.4 The National Spiritual Assembly reports that it is confident that this persecution in the cradle of the Faith will attract divine confirmations and will bring new victories to the steadfast and devoted believers in the land of Baha'u'llah.

<p367>

194
Collaboration Between Auxiliary Board Members and National and Regional Teaching Committees

6 July 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

194.1 It has become apparent that in some areas the progress of the teaching work requires closer collaboration between Auxiliary Board members and National or Regional Teaching Committees than heretofore. Following consultation with the International Teaching Centre on the matter, we have concluded that the possibilities provided by the present policy are adequate and that where a lack of collaboration has been felt it has arisen from an insufficiently full and frequent exchange of information between the institutions.

194.2 While the members of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants should never attempt to direct the work of committees or become involved in the administrative work associated with the committees' functions, it is absolutely vital that they be kept fully informed of the committees' activities and plans and their hopes for the work in the area. Only then can the members of the Auxiliary Boards be confident that the services to which they are exhorting the believers and the projects in which they are encouraging them are in harmony with the overall plans and objectives of the National Spiritual Assembly and its committees.

194.3 The existing policy and the reasons for it were conveyed to the Continental Boards of Counsellors and all National Spiritual Assemblies in our letter of 1 October

1969, a copy of which is attached.+F437 It should be noted that under this policy it is permissible and highly desirable to have a direct and regular exchange of information between the committees and the Auxiliary Board members. Moreover, at the outset of the work of the year or at times during the year when new plans are being evolved, it is often helpful to arrange for consultations to be held between the Auxiliary Board members and the National or Regional Teaching Committees before such plans are finalized.
[F437. See message no. 69.]

194.4 We are confident that a greater awareness of the importance of close collaboration between the two arms of the Administrative Order and of the ways available to achieve this will lead to a much-needed intensification of the teaching work in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice

<p368>

195
Reconstruction of Society

21 August 1977

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

195.1 The Universal House of Justice has studied your long letter of 19 May 1977. With many of your observations it thoroughly agrees; others, it believes are founded on erroneous information, on an inaccurate assessment of the current status of the Baha'i community, or on misconceptions about the objectives towards which it is working. The House of Justice does not have the time which would be required to formulate a detailed reply to all the various points in your letter. It reaffirms, however, the decisions conveyed to your National Spiritual Assembly in its letter of 2 December 1976, and has instructed us to add the following comments.

195.2 Mankind's response to the Message of Baha'u'llah has been dangerously, one might say disastrously, slow. From the earliest days it has been brought to the notice of leaders and scholars, but few of these, very few, have rallied to its support. The most profound and most widespread response has been from the middle classes and indeed from the poor, the unlettered, the deprived and the suffering. But, as the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf on 20 June 1942,

195.2a That is perhaps what is most glorious about our present activities all over the world, that we, a band not large in numbers, not possessing financial backing or the prestige of great names, should, in the name of our beloved Faith, be forging ahead at such a pace, and demonstrating to future and present generations that it is the God-given qualities of our religion that are raising it up and not the transient support of worldly fame and power. All that will come later, when it has been made clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that what raised aloft the banner of Baha'u'llah was the love, sacrifice, and devotion of His humble followers and the change that His teachings wrought in their hearts and lives.

195.3 Already the situation is changing, and larger numbers of believers are occupying positions of eminence and distinction in the world, but, in comparison with the overwhelming majority of the Baha'is, they are still a small handful. The process of changing the hearts and lives is also a gradual one, but while we should strive to hasten it, we should not let the problems dismay us. On 5 July 1947 the Guardian's secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual believer:

<p369>

195.3a The primary reason for anyone becoming a Baha'i must of course be because he has come to believe the doctrines, the teachings and the Order of Baha'u'llah are the correct thing for this stage in the world's evolution. The Baha'is themselves as a body have one great advantage: they are sincerely convinced Baha'u'llah is right; they have a plan, and they are trying to follow it. But to pretend they are perfect, that the Baha'is of the future will not be a hundred times more mature, better balanced, more exemplary in their conduct, would be foolish.

195.4 The Universal House of Justice is aware of the magnitude of the problems that the Baha'i communities face, but as the response to the Message of Baha'u'llah increases and as the Baha'i community throughout the world shows its ability to overcome these problems, the attention of men and women of every stratum of society will increasingly be drawn to the Faith. The most urgent need now -- so late is the hour -- is for the Baha'is to spread the Message, while they are still able to do so, to the largest possible number of their fellow human beings, simultaneously expanding and consolidating the Baha'i community as quickly as they can with the resources at their disposal. As mankind passes through the darkest phase of its history, the Baha'i community will have to face not only entry by troops, which it is now experiencing, but, before too long, mass conversion.

195.5 The first step in the reconstruction of human society is for individuals to accept Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this age and to begin to strive, as well as they can, to follow His Teachings in their individual and in their communal lives. Conversion is but the first step, yet it is the essential one. Without it no amount of expertise or scientifically based knowledge will have a lasting effect, because the fundamental motivating and sustaining power will be lacking.

195.6 As the Baha'i community grows it will acquire experts in numerous fields -- both by Baha'is becoming experts and by experts becoming Baha'is. As these experts bring their knowledge and skill to the service of the community and, even more, as they transform their various disciplines by bringing to bear upon them the light of the Divine Teachings, problem after problem now disrupting society will be answered. In such developments they should strive to make the utmost use of non-Baha'i resources and should collaborate fully with non-Baha'is who are working in the same fields. Such collaboration will, in the long run, be of far more benefit than any attempt now to treat such scientific endeavours as specifically Baha'i projects operating under Baha'i institutions and financed by investment of Baha'i funds.

195.7 Paralleling this process, Baha'i institutional life will also be developing, and as it does so the Assemblies will draw increasingly upon scientific and expert <p370> knowledge -- whether of Baha'is or of non-Baha'is -- to assist in solving the problems of their communities.

195.8 In time great Baha'i institutions of learning, great international and national projects for the betterment of human life will be inaugurated and flourish.+F438
[F438. For the call to the Baha'i world to initiate activities intended to foster social and economic development, see message dated 20 October 1983 (no. 379).]

195.9 The Baha'i work for the reconstruction of human society can thus be seen to comprise three streams: the most fundamental is the spreading of the Word of God, the winning of the allegiance of ever-greater numbers of men and women to the Cause of Baha'u'llah and the establishment of the Baha'i Administrative Order; concurrent with this is the contribution to human advancement and to the progress of the Baha'i community made by individual Baha'is in the pursuit of their daily work; and then there are the projects and institutions for human advancement launched and operated by Baha'i Spiritual Assemblies as their resources grow and the range of their activities expands. It is for the Universal House of Justice to direct the energies of the believers in these various channels and to make known what activities are timely and have priority. It considers that the establishment of an International Human Development Centre now as a Baha'i- affiliated institution would be untimely and ill-advised.

195.10 The House of Justice assures you of its prayers for the confirmation of your endeavours on behalf of the Faith and in your professional work.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

<p371>

196
Ceremony for Laying the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent

10 October 1977

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of India

196.1 OVERJOYED REMOVAL OBSTACLES USE TEMPLE SITE.+F439 WELCOME PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM IN YOUR MIDST OCCASION WOMEN'S CONFERENCE ENABLING YOU HOLD BEFITTING CEREMONY MARKING INITIATION PROJECT CONSTRUCTION MOTHER TEMPLE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT.+F440 CALLING ON AMATU'L-BAHA REPRESENT HOUSE JUSTICE MOMENTOUS OCCASION LAY FOUNDATION STONE HISTORIC EDIFICE. FERVENTLY PRAYING NOBLE INSTITUTION SOON TO BE REARED YOUR SOIL WILL ATTRACT ADDED DIVINE BLESSINGS UPON COMMUNITY WHOSE TEACHING SUCCESS STANDS UNEQUALLED ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD.
[F440. See message of 13 October 1977 (no. 177).]
[F439. During the Ten Year World Crusade, twenty-two acres of land in New Delhi were acquired as a site for a House of Worship. In the process of demarcating the boundaries, it was discovered that the land was part of an ancient village named Bahapur, meaning "the Abode of Baha". In Hindustani, a dialect of Hindi, Baha means "a channel" or "a water course". By a happy coincidence, Baha is Arabic for "light", 'splendour", or "glory" and is a form of Baha'u'llah's name. Later the government requisitioned the property for use as a greenbelt area. After several years of constant negotiation by the National Spiritual Assembly of India, and upon viewing the beautiful design for the Temple, the government agreed to release the entire twenty-two acres.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


197
Message to Women's Conference, New Delhi

13 October 1977
To the Baha'i Women's Conference in New Delhi, India

197.1 WITH UTMOST JOY HAIL BAHA'I WOMEN'S CONFERENCE GRACED PRESENCE AMATU'L-BAHA RUHIYYIH KHANUM AS ANOTHER MAJOR STEP IN ASIA LEADING TO FULL RECOGNITION NOBLE STATION FULFILMENT THEIR GREAT POTENTIALITIES THEIR SIGNIFICANT ROLE PROMOTION CAUSE IMMENSE RESPONSIBILITIES THEY ARE CALLED UPON TO DISCHARGE IN CO-OPERATION WITH THEIR BRETHREN IN BUILDING NEW CIVILIZATION SHELTERING ALL MANKIND. ARDENTLY PRAYING SACRED THRESHOLD THIS GATHERING MAY BECOME LANDMARK PROGRESS FAITH ASIA STRENGTHEN WING HUMANITY SO TENDERLY ENCOURAGED BY BLESSED BEAUTY ENABLE COMMUNITIES CONTINENT SOAR HEIGHTS GLORIOUS VICTORIES.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p372>

198
Appointment of Architects for Mother Temple of the Indian
Subcontinent and the Restoration of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha

14 October 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

198.1 HAVE MUCH JOY IN ANNOUNCING APPOINTMENT TWO DISTINGUISHED BAHA'I ARCHITECTS FROM CRADLE FAITH: FARIBURZ SAHBA AS ARCHITECT MASHRIQU'L- ADHKAR INDIA, AND RIDVANU'LLAH ASHRAF AS ARCHITECT FOR RESTORATION SACRED RESIDENCE BELOVED MASTER KNOWN AS HOUSE OF 'ABDU'LLAH PASHA.+F441 SUPPLICATING DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS THESE TWO HISTORIC ENTERPRISES.
[F441. For the announcement of the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154); for an account of its significance, see message dated 4 March 1975 (no. 157).]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

199
Formation of New and Lapsed Assemblies Throughout the Year

20 November 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

199.1 The Universal House of Justice has decided that during the last year of the Five Year Plan, i.e., from 21 April 1978 until 20 April 1979 inclusive, Local Spiritual Assemblies being established for the first time, as well as lapsed Assemblies which achieve adequate strength to regain their Assembly status, may be formed at any time during that year.+F442 This means that Local Assemblies <p373> formed at Ridvan 1979 will not be counted towards the fulfilment of the goals of the Five Year Plan.
[F442. It had long been the practice to permit, during the final year of a teaching plan, the formation or re-formation of any Local Spiritual Assembly at any time during that year. This practice is confirmed by this letter for the Five Year Plan. With respect to Spiritual Assemblies that are being formed for the first time, the Universal House of Justice gave a more general permission in its letter dated Naw-Ruz 1974 launching the Five Year Plan (no. 141), saying that such Local Spiritual Assemblies "are to be formed whenever there are nine or more adult believers in the relevant area; thereafter they must be elected or declared at Ridvan." In a message dated 19 February 1979 (no. 219), the Universal House of Justice informed all National Spiritual Assemblies that this provision would continue to apply after the completion of the Five Year Plan. This ruling remained in effect until Ridvan 1997. Special permission for the formation of certain Local Spiritual Assemblies at any time during the twelve days of Ridvan was given in a message dated 6 March 1977 (no. 189) and extended in the message dated 19 February 1979 (no. 219).]

199.2 It is the hope of the Universal House of Justice that this information will enable you to plan your teaching activities intelligently and realistically over the period of time separating us from the end of the Plan, and to intensify your efforts in order to achieve maximum results.

199.3 The Universal House of Justice will offer prayers at the Holy Shrines that the process of forming firmly grounded Local Spiritual Assemblies, which is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan, will be pursued with outstanding success through the dedicated efforts of the friends in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


200
Appointment of New Counsellor in South-Eastern Asia

25 November 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

200.1 The Universal House of Justice announces with pleasure that it has appointed a new Counsellor in the zone of South-eastern Asia, Mr Inparaju Chinniah of Malaysia. Mr Chinniah replaces Mr Firaydun Mithaqiyan, who ceased to be a Counsellor upon leaving the zone and pioneering to Korea, where he is continuing his devoted services to the Cause of God.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


201
Announcement of Initiation of Broadcasting by First Baha'i Radio Station

15 December 1977

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

201.1 REJOICE ANNOUNCE INITIATION FULL TIME BROADCASTING FIRST RADIO STATION BAHA'I WORLD 12 DECEMBER IN OTAVALO, ECUADOR. HAIL VISION LABOURS ASSEMBLY COMMUNITY ECUADOR IN ACHIEVING THIS MILESTONE BAHA'I PROCLAMATION TEACHING DEEPENING. OFFERING PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD BAHA'I RADIO ECUADOR WILL FULFIL ITS PROMISE AS LANDMARK CAUSE AND SERVICE PROGRESS PEOPLES LATIN AMERICA.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p374>

202
Message of Greetings to Hemispheric Baha'i Radio -- Television Conference

15 December 1977

To the Hemispheric Radio-Television Conference

202.1 EXTEND WARM GREETINGS ATTENDANTS HEMISPHERIC RADIO TELEVISION CONFERENCE. GREAT OPPORTUNITIES AFFORDED THOSE BAHA'IS TRAINED USE POWERS RADIO TELEVISION REACH HEARTS MINDS NUMBERLESS PERSONS AWAITING COMING KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH. MAY VOICE CAUSE BE RAISED BEFORE MILLIONS PROCLAIMING MESSAGE BAHA'U'LLAH THROUGHOUT HEMISPHERE. SHARING OF TALENTS RESOURCES ZEAL WILL ASSUREDLY BRING GREAT CONFIRMATIONS. ASSURE LOVING PRAYERS HOLY SHRINES SUCCESS YOUR IMPORTANT DELIBERATIONS.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

203
Comments on First International Baha'i Women's Conference in
South America

3 January 1978

To the First International Baha'i Women's Conference in South America

203.1 DELIGHTED GREAT SUCCESS WIDESPREAD ATTENDANCE EXCELLENT PUBLICITY PROCLAMATION FIRST INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I WOMEN'S CONFERENCE SOUTH AMERICA WILL OFFER PRAYERS SACRED THRESHOLD DETERMINATION WIN GOALS PLAN WILL BE CONFIRMED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p375>

204
Release of a Compilation on Baha'i Consultation

1 February 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

204.1 Recently the Research Department made a compilation on Baha'i Consultation, and we have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to send you herewith a copy.+F443 You may share the contents of this compilation with the friends in whatever manner you consider advisable.
[F443. See CC I:93-110.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


205
Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Ecuador

Naw-Ruz 1978

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Ecuador

205.1 WITH JOYOUS HEARTS WE HAIL THE OFFICIAL INAUGURATION IN ECUADOR OF THE FIRST RADIO STATION IN THE BAHa'i WORLD, AUSPICIOUS MAJOR STEP FULFILMENT GOAL OF THE FIVE YEAR PLAN OF INCREASING THE USE OF MASS COMMUNICATION IN PROCLAIMING AND TEACHING THE FAITH OF BAHa'U'LLaH.+F444
[F444. The initial broadcast took place on 12 December 1977. This message was prepared for a formal Naw-Ruz inauguration of the station, but the ceremony was delayed until 28 August 1978 (see message no. 213).]

205.2 MAY THIS HAPPY EVENT BE THE FORERUNNER AND THE INSPIRATION FOR THE EARLY ESTABLISHMENT OF RADIO STATIONS IN OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD AS A NOTABLE SERVICE NOT ONLY TO THE FOLLOWERS OF THE BAHa'i FAITH BUT TO ALL PEOPLES.

205.3 WE WILL SUPPLICATE BAHa'U'LLaH IN THE HOLY SHRINES THAT HIS BLESSINGS AND CONFIRMATIONS WILL DESCEND UPON ALL WHO LABOUR FOR THE SUCCESS OF THIS WORTHY UNDERTAKING.

The Universal House of Justice

<p376>

206
Elucidation of Baha'i Teachings on Ranks and Stations

27 March 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

206.1 One of the believers wrote recently to the Universal House of Justice requesting an elucidation of a statement made by it in one of its letters about the relationship between the Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies. The House of Justice instructed us to send the following reply, which is now being shared with all National Assemblies as it will undoubtedly be of interest to the believers in general.

206.2 The statement that the Boards of Counsellors outrank the National Institutions of the Faith has a number of implications. A Board of Counsellors has the particular responsibility of caring for the protection and propagation of the Faith throughout a continental zone which contains a number of national Baha'i communities. In performing these tasks it neither directs nor instructs the Spiritual Assemblies or individual believers, but it has the necessary rank to enable it to ensure that it is kept properly informed and that the Spiritual Assemblies give due consideration to its advice and recommendations. However, the essence of the relationships between Baha'i institutions is loving consultation and a common desire to serve the Cause of God rather than a matter of rank or station.

206.3 It is dear from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, as well as from those of 'Abdu'l- Baha and the interpretations of the Guardian, that the proper functioning of human society requires the preservation of ranks and classes within its membership. The friends should recognize this without envy or jealousy, and those who occupy ranks should never exploit their position or regard themselves as being superior to others. About this Baha'u'llah has written:

206.3a And amongst the realms of unity is the unity of rank and station. It redoundeth to the exaltation of the Cause, glorifying it among all peoples. Ever since the seeking of preference and distinction came into play, the world hath been laid waste. It hath become desolate. Those who have quaffed from the ocean of divine utterance and fixed their gaze upon the Realm of Glory should regard themselves as being on the same level as the others and in the same station. Were this matter to be definitely established and conclusively demonstrated through the power and might of God, the world would become as the Abha Paradise.

206.3b Indeed, man is noble, inasmuch as each one is a repository of the sign of God. Nevertheless, to regard oneself as superior in knowledge, learning or virtue, or to exalt oneself or seek preference, is a grievous <p377> transgression. Great is the blessedness of those who are adorned with the ornament of this unity and have been graciously confirmed by God.+F445 In similar vein, Shoghi Effendi gave this warning to those who are elected to serve on National Spiritual Assemblies:
[F445. From an unpublished Tablet.]

206.3c They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the body of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others in capacity or merit, and sole promoters of its teachings and principles. They should approach their task with extreme humility, and endeavour by their open-mindedness, their high sense of justice and duty, their candour, their modesty, their entire devotion to the welfare and interests of the friends, the Cause, and humanity, to win not only the confidence and the genuine support and respect of those whom they should serve, but also their esteem and real affection. ...+F446
[F446. BA, p. 64.]

206.4 Courtesy, reverence, dignity, respect for the rank and achievements of others are virtues which contribute to the harmony and well-being of every community, but pride and self-aggrandizement are among the most deadly of sins.

206.5 The House of Justice hopes that all the friends will remember that the ultimate aim in life of every soul should be to attain spiritual excellence -- to win the good pleasure of God. The true spiritual station of any soul is known only to God. It is quite a different thing from the ranks and stations that men and women occupy in the various sectors of society. Whoever has his eyes fixed on the goal of attaining the good pleasure of God will accept with joy and radiant acquiescence whatever work or station is assigned to him in the Cause of God, and will rejoice to serve Him under all conditions.

206.6 There are many passages on this theme in the Holy Writings, and the Universal House of Justice hopes that these remarks will help the friends to turn to them and understand their purport.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

<p378>

207
Message to the International Convention -- Ridvan 1978

Ridvan 1978

To the International Baha'i Convention

Dearly loved friends,

207.1 The Universal House of Justice takes great pleasure in addressing the members of National Spiritual Assemblies gathered in the Holy Land, in the presence of Hands of the Cause of God and Counsellors from all continents, at this fourth International Convention, pausing with you to review the course and needs of the Five Year Plan as we cross the threshold of its final year.

Review of the Progress of the Five Year Plan

207.2 The opening of the Plan witnessed the eager response of the friends, careful study made by the national institutions of the Faith of its implications and requirements, the establishment of machinery and the setting up of projects to achieve its goals, and the often arduous struggle to fulfil the first of its three major objectives -- the safeguarding and consolidation of all prizes won in earlier campaigns. This phase extended in many countries over a period of several months, and in others continued as far as the midway point of the Plan.

207.3 The middle year of the Plan saw the holding of the International Conferences and those many regional and national conferences which were held concurrently and diffused far and wide the inspiration flowing from these eight major assemblages of the believers. These gatherings motivated a great acceleration of the work and helped the believers throughout the world to arrive at a new realization of the responsibility entrusted to the followers of the Most Great Name for the spiritual regeneration of their fellowmen.

207.4 We are now in the last stage of the Plan, and this Convention provides us with a welcome and auspicious hour in which to assess our progress and to direct our thoughts to the complete achievement of the goals.

207.5 Of the 130 National Spiritual Assemblies which will be operating during the last year of the Plan, 50, have either achieved or nearly achieved their teaching goals. Of the remaining 80 National Spiritual Assemblies, some 40 are confidently forging ahead and are assured of victory if the present tempo in their teaching work is maintained. Nine National Assemblies are restricted by conditions which make the fulfilment of their home-front goals dependent upon circumstances beyond their control. The remaining 30 national communities are, alas, seriously lagging behind, and only strenuous and sacrificial effort will enable them to win their goals.

Review of the Second Objective: Vast and Widespread Expansion

207.6 The second of the three major objectives of the Plan -- a vast and widespread expansion of the Baha'i community -- has seen great but geographically <p379> uneven progress. There are now more than 19,000 Local Spiritual Assemblies and the number of localities where Baha'is reside is over 83,000. This expansion has been accompanied by an intensification of proclamation efforts and by increased use of mass media such as radio and television.

207.7 There have been notable advances in the process of gaining wider recognition for the Cause of God and in fostering cordial relations with civil authorities, a matter of vital importance in these days when there is a growth of opposition to the Faith from those who, misconstruing its true nature and aims, take alarm at its progress.

Review of the Third Objective: Developing the Distinctive Character of Baha'i Life

207.8 Some of the most significant achievements of the Plan have been towards its third major objective -- the development of the distinctive character of Baha'i life -- and in the consolidation and strengthening of the structure of the Baha'i community. The beloved Hands of the Cause of God, who have been in the forefront of so many aspects of the work of the Faith, have rendered far-reaching services in this field.

207.9 The Local Spiritual Assemblies, focal centres for the teaching of the Faith and the consolidation of the community, are growing in experience, maturity and wisdom, are proving to be potent instruments for nurturing the Baha'i life and are, in increasing numbers, carrying out plans for the establishment of the Faith in areas outside their own range of jurisdiction, under the overall guidance of their National Spiritual Assemblies, and with the encouragement and help of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants. The work of developing Local Spiritual Assemblies is a task without end in the foreseeable future. As the Baha'i community, which is still very thinly spread around the world, moves continually and with increasing rapidity into new areas, new Assemblies will come into being and will need patient help and training in their sacred duties.

207.10 The devotion and self-sacrifice of the friends, which have drawn to them the confirmations of Baha'u'llah, have resulted in the very great advances made so far. Evidences of this striving are apparent in the growing number of national communities which, under the wise stewardship and challenging leadership of their National Spiritual Assemblies, are becoming financially self-supporting; in the fact that ever more individual believers are adopting for themselves specific goals and plans of service for the advancement of the Faith; in the settlement of more than 2,000 pioneers during the course of the Plan; in the upsurge of travel teaching individually and in teams; in a greater awareness of the power of prayer; and in many other ways. Three vital aspects of Baha'i community life which have seen marked progress during the past four years are the development of the services of women and of youth, and the Baha'i education of children. The youth have long been in the forefront of <p380> the teaching work, and now our hearts rejoice to see the women, in so many lands where previously their capacities were largely left unused, devoting their capable services to the life of the Baha'i community. The education of Baha'i children is also receiving much attention, which bodes well for the future generations of Baha'is.

The Continental Boards of Counsellors

207.11 Experience has shown that active and loving collaboration between the Continental Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies has been a particularly invigorating and strengthening factor in the progress of the Cause in all aspects of the work. Reflecting the growth of the community the number of Continental Counsellors has been raised to 64 during the Plan, and the number of Auxiliary Boards to

675. Under the authorization given to them, the members of the Auxiliary Boards have till now appointed 3,358 assistants, who are already playing a significant role in the formation and consolidation of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the fostering of the Baha'i way of life in local communities. Co-ordinating and directing the work of these Continental Boards from the Holy Land, the International Teaching Centre is now well established in the conduct of its responsibilities, foreshadowing the mighty role that it is destined to play in the functioning of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah.

Seizing Opportunities to Steer the Course of History

207.12 The Faith is passing through a time of tremendous opportunity and development, as well as of increasing opposition and of growing complexity in the problems confronting it. These opportunities must be seized and these problems overcome, for so crucial are these times that the future course of human history is daily in the balance. During this year the Universal House of Justice will be consulting on the nature, duration and goals of the next stage in the implementation of the Divine Plan. The firm base of the achievement of the Five Year Plan goals, both those of quality and those of quantity, is therefore the burning necessity of the months now before us. Let us go forward in a spirit of optimism, with confidence, determination, courage and unity. The greater the love and unity among the friends, the more speedily will the work advance.

207.13 May the Almighty bless the endeavours of His servants and inspire their hearts to arise in His Cause with that degree of radiant faith and self-sacrifice which will draw to their aid the conquering hosts of the Supreme Concourse. The Universal House of Justice

<p381>

208
Message to the National Conventions -- Ridvan 1978

Ridvan 1978

To the friends gathered at National Baha'i Conventions

Beloved friends,

208.1 We joyfully hail the formation of seven more National Spiritual Assemblies, those of Burundi, Mauritania, the Bahamas, Oman, Qatar, the Mariana Islands and Cyprus; two in Africa, one in the Americas, two in Asia, one in the Pacific and one in Europe, raising to one hundred and thirty the number of pillars of the Universal House of Justice.

208.2 Your National Spiritual Assemblies will be sharing with you the message addressed to the International Baha'i Convention and the news of the progress of the Five Year Plan that was released on that occasion.+F447 As you will see, many national communities have already completed, or virtually completed, their Five Year Plan goals. These communities must now ensure that the pace of expansion and consolidation which brought them victory is maintained so that they will advance strongly into the next plan. They can also, by pioneering and travel teaching, rally to the assistance of their sister communities which still have months of intensive work before them in order to win their goals. It is to these latter communities that we now address our call to redoubled, united and sacrificial effort. We are fervently supplicating at the Sacred Threshold that the followers of the Blessed Beauty will arise with enthusiasm, confidence and consecration to ensure that every goal is attained.
[F447. See message no. 207.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


209
Election of the Universal House of Justice -- Ridvan 1978

1 May 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

209.1 NEWLY ELECTED MEMBERS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 'ALI NAKHJAVANI HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM AMOZ GIBSON IAN SEMPLE DAVID RUHE CHARLES WOLCOTT DAVID HOFMAN HUGH CHANCE BORRAH KAVELIN.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p382>

210
Appointment of architect for House of Worship in Western Samoa

15 May 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

210.1 ANNOUNCE APPOINTMENT HUSAYN AMANAT ARCHITECT FOR MASHRIQU'L- ADHKAR SAMOA.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


211
Love for God and Baha'u'llah

25 May 1978

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

211.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your letter of 21 March 1978 in which you express concern that you do not yet feel in your heart the degree of love for God and for Baha'u'llah that you wish to have and which you witness in others, and is touched by the depth of your longing and effort. We have been requested to convey the following.

211.2 One source of true joy and happiness which you would do well to concentrate upon is that you have been able to recognize and accept God's supreme Manifestation in the Day of His appearance. There is no greater bounty than this and the souls of all Baha'is should be filled with gratitude for this supreme gift.

211.3 The House of Justice encourages you to continue your reading of the Words of Baha'u'llah and the Master and adds that spiritual growth has been likened to organic growth. Everything living must change. Growth and change can be imperceptible or dramatic and rapid. It is stated in a letter dated 6 October 1954 written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to an individual believer:

211.3a When a person becomes a Baha'i, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God.

<p383>

211.4 We have been directed to assure you of the prayers of the House of Justice for your spiritual advancement and that you may be so strengthened in your faith that you will be enabled to devotedly serve the Cause of Baha'u'llah.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Department of the Secretariat


212
Inclusion of Mother Temple of the West in National Register of Historic Places

22 June 1978

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

212.1 DELIGHTED ACTION BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES TO INCLUDE MOTHER TEMPLE OF THE WEST IN NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES. FRUITION YOUR EFFORTS ON 134TH ANNIVERSARY OF DECLARATION HIS MISSION BY BLESSED BAB OBTAIN THIS SIGNIFICANT RECOGNITION DESERVES WARM COMMENDATIONS AND IS AN OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


213
Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Ecuador

28 August 1978

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Ecuador

213.1 DELIGHTED YOUR CABLE MAY FORMAL INAUGURATION STATION RADIO BAHA'I BRING WIDESPREAD REALIZATION NOBLE AIMS PURPOSES FAITH SERVE PEOPLES LOCAL AREA BRING ADVANCEMENT ECUADOR.+F448 DELIGHTED PROGRESS TOWARD GOALS PLAN AIDED BY HAPPY EVENTS OTAVALO PRAYING SUCCESSES CONFIRMATIONS BEYOND EXPECTATION.
[F448. See also messages dated 15 December 1977 (no. 201) and Naw-Ruz 1978 (no. 205).]

Loving greetings,
UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p384>

214
Directing the Course of Ones Life

11 October 1978

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

214.1 The Universal House of Justice has received your moving appeal for guidance in your letter of 5 September 1978, and has instructed us to convey to you the following advice.

214.2 Each individual is unique and has a unique path to tread in his lifetime. In espousing the Baha'i Faith you have defined the direction of that path, for your recognition of God's Manifestation for this Day and your devotion to His Message provide the spiritual and ethical basis for all aspects of your life of service to mankind, while the continuing guidance that He has provided for the community of His followers enables you to know the directions in which the most effort is required at the present time.

214.3 While, during the early years of the development of the Faith, Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi sometimes gave specific instructions to individual believers on how they should serve the Cause, the Universal House of Justice seldom does this. It is, indeed, the precious privilege of the individual human being to direct the course of his own life. Through exercising this privilege while striving always to conform his conduct to the divine Teachings and devote his talents in the best possible way to the service of the Cause and mankind, a soul deepens his understanding of God and His will.

214.4 This does not mean that you are left to make your decisions without guidance. This you will find from several sources. Firstly, in general, you will find it in the Writings. Secondly, and more specifically, in the teaching plans issued by the Universal House of Justice. Thirdly, in the plans and projects of your own National Spiritual Assembly. All these, it would seem from your letter, you have been striving to follow. Fourthly, with regard to your own personal goals and actions, is the guidance you can receive through consultation -- with your wife, with friends of your choice whose opinions you value, with your Local Spiritual Assembly, with such committees of your National Assembly as are concerned with the fields of activity towards which your inclinations lie. Fifthly, there is prayer and meditation.

214.5 You mention that the answers to your prayers never seem to have come through clearly. Mrs Ruth Moffett has published her recollection of five steps of prayer for guidance that she was told by the beloved Guardian. When asked about these notes, Shoghi Effendi replied, in letters written by his secretary on his behalf, that the notes should be regarded as "Personal suggestions," that he considered them to be "quite sound," but that the friends need not adopt <p385> them 'strictly and universally."+F449 The House of Justice feels that they may be helpful to you and, indeed, you may already be familiar with them. They are as follows: ... use these five steps if we have a problem of any kind for which we desire a solution, or wish help. Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations, as they have the greatest power. Learn to remain in the silence of contemplation for a few moments. During this deepest communion take the next step. Arrive at a decision and hold to this. This decision is usually born in a flash at the close or during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment, but if it seems to be an answer to prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step. Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step. Have faith and confidence, that the Power of the Holy Spirit will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to meet your need. Then as you rise from prayer take immediately the fifth step. Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And, as you act, you yourself will become a magnet which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine Power to flow through you.+F450
[F450. Moffett, Du'a, pp. 27-28.]
[F449. Letter dated 30 June 1938 to Wilfrid Barton, in BN, no. 134 (March 1940): 2; letter dated 29 October 1952 to an individual, quoted in Moffett, Du'a, p. 27n.]

214.6 Also the Guardian's secretary wrote to an individual believer on his behalf: "The Master said guidance was when the doors opened after we tried. We can pray, ask to do God's will only, try hard, and then if we find our plan is not working out, assume it is not the right one, at least for the moment."+F451
[F451. Letter dated 29 October 1952 to an individual, quoted in Moffett, Du'a, p. 27n.]

214.7 The Universal House of Justice deeply appreciates your candour and Spirit of devotion, and assures you of its prayers in the Holy Shrines on your behalf.

With loving Baha'i greetings, Department of the Secretariat

<p386>

215
The Grave Peril Facing Baha'is and Holy Places in Iran

15 December 1978

To National Spiritual Assemblies

215.1 FRIENDS IRAN AND MOST HOLY PLACES IN SHIRAZ AND TIHRAN IN GRAVE PERIL. BAHA'IS HAVE BEEN THREATENED OVER SEVERAL WEEKS MOST PARTS IRAN WITH IMMINENT DANGERS. THIS THREAT IS NOW MATERIALIZING IN FORMS OF LOOTING, BURNING BAHA'I HOUSES AND FURTHER THREATS OF ASSASSINATION. IN NAYRIZ 25 BAHA'I HOMES BURNED, IN SHIRAZ 60 HOMES LOOTED. SIMILAR ATTACKS REPORTED IN OTHER PROVINCES. IN SARVISTAN BAHA'IS TAKEN TO MOSQUES AND FORCIBLY REQUIRED TO RECANT THEIR FAITH. ... URGE FRIENDS JOIN US PRAYERS PROTECTION FRIENDS HOLY PLACES CRADLE FAITH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


216
Announcement of Decision to Launch a Seven Year Plan

26 December 1978

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

216.1 ANNOUNCE WITH UTMOST JOY DECISION TO LAUNCH DURING FORTHCOMING RIDVAN FESTIVITIES A SEVEN YEAR GLOBAL PLAN CONSTITUTING NEXT STAGE MASTER'S STEADILY UNFOLDING DIVINE PLAN. CONFIDENT MOMENTOUS DECISION TAKEN IN MIDST SEVERE CRISIS SHAKING CRADLE FAITH AND WHILE EFFORTS BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY ARE STRENUOUSLY BENT UPON FULFILMENT GOALS FIVE YEAR PLAN WILL RELEASE OUTPOURING SPIRITUAL ENERGY ACCELERATE DESTINED PROGRESS BAHA'I WORLD COMMUNITY NOW GRADUALLY APPEARING IN SHARPER RELIEF BEFORE EYES OF A BEWILDERED HUMANITY FLOUNDERING IN DEPTHS OF CONFLICT AND MORAL DEGRADATION.

216.2 DETAILS PLANS NATIONAL COMMUNITIES FOR INITIAL TWO YEAR PHASE NEW PLAN NOW BEING EVOLVED IN CONSULTATION WITH INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTRE WILL SHORTLY BE ANNOUNCED TO EACH NATIONAL ASSEMBLY. THIS INITIAL PHASE WILL CALL FOR GREATER PROCLAMATION, CONTINUED CONSOLIDATION AND WIDER EXPANSION. NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ARE THEREFORE URGED ENSURE THAT TEACHING ACTIVITIES ARE PURSUED WITH CONTINUING VIGOUR INTO OPENING YEARS NEW PLAN, THAT PIONEERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO REMAIN AT THEIR POSTS, THAT PROCESS DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY LIFE IS UNINTERRUPTEDLY SUSTAINED, AND THAT MOMENTUM NOW IMPELLING BAHA'I COMMUNITY FORWARD IS MAINTAINED.

<p387>

216.3 URGE ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES SHARE THIS MESSAGE IMMEDIATELY WITH FRIENDS UNDER THEIR JURISDICTION INVITING THEM MAKE SPECIAL EFFORT ATTEND NATIONAL CONVENTIONS NEXT RIDVAN CELEBRATE VICTORIOUS CONCLUSION FIVE YEAR PLAN SIMULTANEOUSLY INAUGURATE SEVEN YEAR PLAN.

216.4 OWING IMPORTANCE NEXT CONVENTION REQUEST NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES CONSIDER EXTENDING WHEREVER PRACTICABLE ITS DURATION BY ONE OR TWO DAYS. WE ARE CALLING ON COUNSELLORS IN ADDITION TO THEIR OWN PARTICIPATION TO ENCOURAGE AUXILIARY BOARD MEMBERS TO ATTEND THESE PORTENTOUS CONVENTIONS.

216.5 AS THE TURMOIL OF AN AGITATED WORLD SURGES ABOUT THEM THE SUPPORTERS OF BAHA'U'LLAH'S MAJESTICALLY RISING FAITH MUST, AS THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SO CLEARLY INDICATED, SCALE NOBLER HEIGHTS OF HEROISM, SERENELY CONFIDENT THAT THE HOUR OF THEIR MIGHTIEST EXERTIONS MUST COINCIDE WITH THE LOWEST EBB OF MANKIND'S FAST DECLINING FORTUNES.

216.6 FERVENTLY SUPPLICATING BAHA'U'LLAH BOUNTIFULLY BLESS STRENUOUS EFFORTS HIS DEVOTED SERVANTS EVERY LAND WIN GOAL FIVE YEAR PLAN ENSURE FIRM FOUNDATION NEXT STAGE WORLD-WIDE DEVELOPMENT GOD'S HOLY CAUSE.

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE


217
Baha'i Scholarship

3 January 1979

To the Participants in the Baha'i Studies Seminar held in Cambridge on 30 September and 1 October 1978

Dear Baha'i friends,

217.1 The Universal House of Justice has read with great interest the report of your seminar. It regards Baha'i scholarship as of great potential importance for the development and consolidation of the Baha'i community as it emerges from obscurity. It noted that there are a number of problems with which you have been grappling, and while it feels that it should, in general, leave the working out of solutions to Baha'i scholars themselves, the House of Justice has the impression that it would be helpful to provide you, at this relatively early stage of the development of Baha'i scholarship, with a few thoughts on matters raised during your seminar. Reports of your seminar were therefore referred to the Research Department, and the Universal House of Justice commends to your study the enclosed memorandum which that Department has prepared.+F452
[F452. The memorandum was revised for general application and published at the request of the Universal House of Justice in BN, no. 579 (June 1979):2-3. The memorandum was also published in BW 17:195-96 under the title "The Challenge and Promise of Baha'i Scholarship."]

<p388>

217.2 The House of Justice also urges you not to feel constrained in any way in consulting it about problems, whether theoretical or practical, that you meet in your work. It has noted, for example, the difficulties presented by the current temporary requirement for the review of publications, and in this connection it asks us to inform you that it has already established the policy that doctoral theses do not have to be reviewed unless there is a proposal to publish them in larger quantities than is required by the examining body.

217.3 You are still in the early stages of a very challenging and promising development in the life of the Baha'i community, and the Universal House of Justice is eager to foster and assist your work in whatever ways it can. We are to assure you of its prayers in the Sacred Shrines on behalf of you all and of the progress of Baha'i scholarship.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


The Baha'i Studies Seminar on Ethics and Methodology Held in Cambridge on 30 September and 1 October 1978

Comments by the Research Department at the World Centre

217.4 This seminar seems to have provided a very valuable forum for the discussion of a number of aspects of Baha'i scholarship, and the airing of certain problems which have been worrying some of the friends in relationship to their work and to their fellow believers. We believe that many of the problems arise from an attempt by some Baha'i scholars to make use of methodologies devised by non-Baha'is without thinking through the implications of such a course and without working out a methodology which would be in consonance with the spirit of the Faith. The seminar itself may well prove to be an initial step in such a working out. The following remarks are intended merely to draw attention to certain aspects which we believe can help to advance this process.

The Harmony of Science and Religion

217.5 It has become customary in the West to think of science and religion as occupying two distinct -- and even opposed -- areas of human thought and activity. This dichotomy can be characterized in the pairs of antitheses: faith and reason; value and fact. It is a dichotomy which is foreign to Baha'i thought and should, we feel, be regarded with suspicion by Baha'i scholars in every field. The principle of the harmony of science and religion means not only that religious teachings should be studied with the light of reason and evidence as well as of faith and inspiration, but also that everything in this creation, all aspects of human life and knowledge, should be studied in the light of revelation as well as in that of purely rational investigation. In other words, <p389> a Baha'i scholar, when studying a subject, should not lock out of his mind any aspect of truth that is known to him.

217.6 It has, for example, become commonplace to regard religion as the product of human striving after truth, as the outcome of certain climates of thought and conditions of society. This has been taken, by many non-Baha'i thinkers, to the extreme of denying altogether the reality or even the possibility of a specific revelation of the Will of God to mankind through a human mouthpiece. A Baha'i who has studied the Teachings of Baha'u'llah, who has accepted His claim to be the Manifestation of God for this Age, and who has seen His Teachings at work in his daily life, knows as the result of rational investigation, confirmed by actual experience, that true religion, far from being the product solely of human striving after truth, is the fruit of the creative Word of God which, with divine power, transforms human thought and action.

The Distinction Between Divine Revelation and What People Know and Do about It

217.7 A Baha'i, through this faith in, this "conscious knowledge"+F453 of, the reality of divine Revelation, can distinguish, for instance, between Christianity, which is the divine message given by Jesus of Nazareth, and the development of Christendom, which is the history of what men did with that message in subsequent centuries, a distinction which has become blurred if not entirely obscured in current Christian theology. A Baha'i scholar conscious of this distinction will not make the mistake of regarding the sayings and beliefs of certain Baha'is at any one time as being the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith is the Revelation of Baha'u'llah: His Own Words as interpreted by 'Abdu'l-Baha and the Guardian. It is a revelation of such staggering magnitude that no Baha'i at this early stage in Baha'i history can rightly claim to have more than a partial and imperfect understanding of it. Thus, Baha'i historians would see the overcoming of early misconceptions held by the Baha'i community, or by parts of the Baha'i community, not as "developments of the Baha'i Faith" -- as a non-Baha'i historian might well regard them -- but as growth of that community's understanding of the Baha'i Revelation.+F454
[F454. In a message dated 27 May 1966 (no. 35) the Universal House of Justice explains the clear distinction the Baha'i Faith makes between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding of individuals. The Baha'i Faith has two sources of authoritative interpretation: 'Abdu'l-Baha, Whose authority is derived from His appointment in the Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Kitab-i-'Ahd (Book of the Covenant) as the Centre of Baha'u'llah's Covenant, and the Guardian, whose authority is derived from 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament.]
[F453. See TABA 3:549.]

A Unity of Faith and Reason

217.8 It has been suggested that the words of Baha'u'llah that a true seeker should "so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from <p390> the truth," support the viewpoint of methodological agnosticism. But we believe that on deeper reflection it will be recognized that love and hate are emotional attachments or repulsions that can irrationally influence the seeker; they are not aspects of the truth itself. Moreover, the whole passage concerns taking "the step of search in the path leading to the knowledge of the Ancient of Days" and is summarized by Baha'u'llah in the words: "Our purpose in revealing these convincing and weighty utterances is to impress upon the seeker that he should regard all else beside God as transient, and count all things save Him, Who is the Object of all adoration, as utter nothingness." It is in this context that He says, near the beginning of the passage, that the seeker must, "before all else, cleanse and purify his heart ... from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy."+F455 It is similar, we think, to Baha'u'llah's injunction to look upon the Manifestation with His Own eyes.+F456 In scientific investigation when searching after the facts of any matter a Baha'i must, of course, be entirely open-minded, but in his interpretation of the facts and his evaluation of evidence we do not see by what logic he can ignore the truth of the Baha'i Revelation which he has already accepted; to do so would, we feel, be both hypocritical and unscholarly.
[F456. See GWB, pp. 90-91, 272.]
[F455. KI, pp. 192, 195.]

217.9 Undoubtedly the fact that Baha'i scholars of the history and teachings of the Faith believe in the Faith that they are studying will be a grave flaw in the eyes of many non-Baha'i academics, whose own dogmatic materialism passes without comment because it is fashionable; but this difficulty is one that Baha'i scholars share with their fellow believers in many fields of human endeavour.

217.10 If Baha'i scholars will try to avoid this snare of allowing a divorce between their faith and their reason, we are sure that they will also avoid many of the occasions for tension arising between themselves and their fellow believers.

The Spiritual Qualities of Baha'i Scholars

217.11 The sundering of science and religion is but one example of the tendency of the human mind (which is necessarily limited in its capacity) to concentrate on one virtue, one aspect of truth, one goal, to the exclusion of others. This leads, in extreme cases, to fanaticism and the utter distortion of truth, and in all cases to some degree of imbalance and inaccuracy. A scholar who is imbued with an understanding of the broad teachings of the Faith will always remember that being a scholar does not exempt him from the primal duties and purposes for which all human beings are created. All men, not scholars alone, are exhorted to seek out and uphold the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. But they are also exhorted to be wise in their utterance, <p391> to be tolerant of the views of others, to be courteous in their behaviour and speech, not to sow the seeds of doubt in faithful hearts, to look at the good rather than at the bad, to avoid conflict and contention, to be reverent, to be faithful to the Covenant of God, to promote His Faith and safeguard its honour, and to educate their fellowmen, giving milk to babes and meat to those who are stronger.

217.12 Scholarship has a high station in the Baha'i teachings, and Baha'i scholars have a great responsibility. We believe that they would do well to concentrate upon the ascertainment of truth -- of a fuller understanding of the subject of their scholarship, whatever its field -- not upon exposing and attacking the errors of others, whether they be of non-Baha'i or of their fellow believers. Inevitably the demonstration of truth exposes the falsity of error, but the emphasis and motive are important. We refer to these words of Baha'u'llah:

Consort with all men, O people of Baha, in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. If ye be aware of a certain truth, if ye possess a jewel, of which others are deprived, share it with them in a language of utmost kindliness and goodwill. If it be accepted, if it fulfil its purpose, your object is attained. If any one should refuse it, leave him unto himself, and beseech God to guide him. Beware lest ye deal unkindly with him. A kindly tongue is the lodestone of the hearts of men. It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding. ...

(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah CXXXII) and again.

Should any one among you be incapable of grasping a certain truth, or be striving to comprehend it, show forth, when conversing with him, a spirit of extreme kindliness and goodwill. Help him to see and recognize the truth, without esteeming yourself to be, in the least, superior to him, or to be possessed of greater endowments.

(Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah V)

217.13 In our view there are two particular dangers to which Baha'i scholars are exposed, and which they share with those believers who rise to eminent positions in the administration of the Cause. One danger is faced by only a few: those whose work requires them to read the writings of Covenant-breakers. They have to remember that they are by no means immune to the spiritual poison that such works distil, and that they must approach this aspect of their work with great caution, alert to the danger that it presents. The second danger, which may well be as insidious, is that of spiritual pride and arrogance. Baha'i scholars, especially those who are scholars in the teachings and history of the Faith itself, would be well advised to remember that scholars have often been most wrong when they have been most certain that they were <p392> right. The virtues of moderation, humility and humour in regard to one's own work and ideas are a potent protection against this danger.

217.14 We feel that by following such avenues of approach as those described in this memorandum Baha'i scholars will find that many of the "fears, doubts and anxieties" which were aired at the seminar will be dispelled.


218
Persecution of the Baha'is of Iran

12 January 1979

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

218.1 From reports in the news media you have no doubt learned of the disturbances in Iran. The followers of the Faith of Baha'u'llah have in the land of its birth once again been subjected to severe persecution and active repression.

218.2 The National Spiritual Assembly compiled during the month of October 1978 a list of 93 cases dealing with personal injuries inflicted upon individual believers and of damages to houses, shops, crops and livestock, as well as to local Haziratu'l-Quds. During the month of December organized mobs attacked Baha'is and their properties in Shiraz and its environs. As a result of these attacks over 300 homes were either burned or destroyed, and some 200 looted. In these events 15 believers were beaten or wounded, and two were killed.+F457 Fortunately the intention of the attackers to destroy the Holy House of the Bab was not carried out,+F458 but the spirit of aggressive animosity towards the Baha'is spread to several centres throughout the province of Fars, including the town of Marvdasht, where 31 Baha'i homes were looted and the imposing structure of the local Haziratu'l-Quds reared by that community was razed to the ground.
[F458. For information about attacks on the House of the Bab and about its eventual destruction, see messages dated to May 1979 (no. 225), 9 September 1979 (no. 235), and 26 May 1981 (no. 282).]
[F457. The two Baha'is killed were Mr Hatan Ruzbihi and Mr Jan-'Ali Ruzbihi, both from Shiraz.]

218.3 Following these events, the wave of persecution spread to the north of the country. In several towns and villages of Adhirbayjan, and particularly in Miyan-Duab, the onslaught was severe. In the latter town the first target was the local Haziratu'l-Quds, which was totally destroyed, and this was followed by the burning or tooting of 80 homes and the brutal murder of two believers, a father and his son, whose bodies were then dragged through the streets, cut in pieces, and consigned to the flames.+F459
[F459. The father and son were Mr Parviz Afnani and Mr Khusraw Afnani.]

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218.4 The organized and violent assaults on Baha'i lives and properties have emboldened and incited hooligans all over the country, and the oppressed Baha'is are constantly under threat of mass aggression and assault.

218.5 These acts of hostility against the Baha'is have so far cost four lives, millions of dollars in loss of property, and the displacement of some 700 individuals who have become homeless. The spirit of the Baha'is, however, is very high, and acts of heroism and magnanimity have been reported, which historians will record for posterity.

218.6 The National Spiritual Assembly of Iran has instituted a special fund for the relief of the needy and suffering from among the believers in that country. The House of Justice has already contributed a sum of $135,000.00 to this fund, and it calls upon all friends in every land to offer of their substance, at this hour of need, to help their tormented brethren in the Cradle of the Faith. All contributions should preferably be sent to the Universal House of Justice, which will ensure that the contributions are transmitted safely to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran.

218.7 The House of Justice further calls on the friends the world over to join it in fervent prayers for the protection of the Faith and the Holy Places and for the relief and deliverance of the beloved and steadfast friends in Iran. It particularly invites the friends to pray daily during the period of the Fast,+F460 supplicating Baha'u'llah that the distressing plight of the Persian Community may be mitigated and that their sorrows and deprivations may be transmuted into comfort and joy through His grace and bounty.
[F460. 2-20 March.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
The Universal House of Justice


219
Extension of Permission to Form Local Spiritual Assemblies under Certain Conditions during Ridvan

19 February 1979

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

219.1 We have been asked by the Universal House of Justice to draw your attention to its letter sent to you and other selected National Spiritual Assemblies of the world on 6 March 1977.+F461 In that letter, a copy of which is enclosed for your ease of reference, permission was given to hold the election of Local <p394> Spiritual Assemblies during the twelve days of Ridvan if certain conditions existed in some localities. This is to inform you that, until further notice, it is permissible to follow this procedure every Ridvan where it is called for.
[F461. See message no. 189.]

219.2 Furthermore, in view of the conditions of the Faith at this stage in its development, the House of Justice has decided that the provision set forth under the Five Year Plan permitting the establishment of Local Spiritual Assemblies which are being formed for the first time, whenever there are nine or more adult believers residing in a locality, will continue to apply after the completion of the Five Year Plan.+F462
[F462. The Universal House of Justice announced in a letter dated 26 December 1995 to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors that, beginning at Ridvan 1997, the practice of electing all Local Spiritual Assemblies on the First Day of Ridvan would be re-instituted.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat


220
Refutation of False Accusations Against Iranian Baha'is

26 February 1979

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

220.1 Recent events in Iran have focused the attention of the world's news media on that country, and the Baha'is and the Baha'i Faith have been mentioned frequently. Our enemies have spread many misleading statements and calumnies through the media.

220.2 Already in the United States the prompt reaction of Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly to an attack on the Faith made during a national television programme has resulted in the greatest publicity for the Cause for many years.+F463
[F463. On 8 February 1979 Mansur Farhang of Sacramento State University appeared on the public television networks nationally syndicated "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" and put forth the usual false accusations against the Iranian Baha'i community to justify the oppressive measures instigated against it. Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals wrote letters defending the Iranian Baha'is to the programme's producers. As a result, the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, Glenford E. Mitchell, was invited to respond to the allegations on a later edition of the show.]

220.3 The friends are urged through their National and Local Assemblies, and individually, and without in any way criticizing or confronting editors and programme directors, to offer articles, letters to editors, statements to radio and television producers and to take occasional advertisements. All these should be linked to any mention of the Faith, particularly though not necessarily a <p395> misleading one, and should be solely concerned with repudiating falsehoods and giving the truth about the Faith, not indulging in argument or complaint.

220.4 The Universal House of Justice is aware of a pattern in the false statements being circulated about the Faith and sends the following information to enable the friends everywhere to take action whenever the opportunity arises.

220.5 The allegations against us are mainly that in Iran the Baha'is have been political supporters of the previous regime, that one of the Prime Ministers and some Ministers have been Baha'is, and that even the head of SAVAK (the Iranian Secret Police) and other of its high-ranking officers have been members of the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'is are also accused of being against Islam and of supporting causes which are hostile to Muslim nations.

220.6 It is obvious that these allegations are entirely unfounded. The established non- political nature of the Faith, as well as the principle that whoever among the friends participates in partisan politics or becomes a member of a political party is expelled from the Baha'i community, support this. These false accusations by the enemies of the Cause are being deliberately spread for two main reasons: one, to discredit their political opponents who have been or are in power by associating them with the Faith; and two, to incite further hatred of the fanatical sections of the population against the Baha'is.

220.7 During the previous regime, when a one-party system, Rastakhiz, was in force in Iran and the people were induced and often compelled to become members of it, the Baha'is of Iran were perhaps the only community who, on the grounds of their religious beliefs, firmly refused to join this party. They declared that although, as an act of faith, they are loyal to the government of the country in which they reside, they cannot accept membership in any political party. Threats of the consequences of such refusal did not deter the Baha'is from standing firm in their conviction.

220.8 Regarding the false allegation that Mr Abbas Hoveida, the ex-Prime Minister of Iran, was a Baha'i, the facts are that his grandfather was a Baha'i at the time of Baha'u'llah and his father was also a member of the Faith for some time. However, because the latter accepted a political assignment in the foreign ministry of Iran, he was expelled from the Baha'i community. Mr Hoveida himself never became a Baha'i, and asserted that he was a Muslim. In fact, during his term of office, he created many difficulties for the Baha'i community in order to counter the accusations of his alleged affiliation with the Faith. It was during his regime that many Baha'is were dismissed from their administrative posts in the government because of their Faith, and an anti- Baha'i bias was fostered in respect of employment.

220.9 There was another Minister, Mansour Rouhani, whose father was a Baha'i and mother a Muslim, but he was not, nor had ever been a Baha'i. Further, some years ago, a Baha'i accepted a cabinet post just for a brief time, and he was promptly expelled from the Baha'i community.

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220.10 It should be categorically denied and refuted that General Nasiri, the late head of SAVAK, as well as his assistants, were ever Baha'is, and it can be stated that their organization was responsible for the dismissal of many of the friends from government offices in Iran.

220.11 It is true that Baha'is must show loyalty to their respective governments, and it is also true that a number of the friends in Iran, while demonstrating this principle, as well as rectitude of conduct and trustworthiness, became known for these qualities and obtained high-ranking, non-political, financial, and administrative positions in the government. However, loyalty and obedience to the government has never meant that the Baha'is agreed with or promoted political principles and policies.

220.12 Another principle of the Faith may be cited, namely, that Baha'is are forbidden to deny their Faith, even if their very lives are at stake. It is an historical fact that thousands of martyrs, given the choice to deny their faith so that their lives would be spared, refused to do so and proclaimed their faith openly, suffering the consequences. Therefore the public should know that whoever denies that he is a Baha'i cannot be a member of the Baha'i community.

220.13 In Iran the officially recognized religious minorities are the adherents of the Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian Faiths, although the Baha'is outnumber them all. The enemies of the Cause in Iran consider the Baha'is as heretical, a 'sect," "cult," or similar group. This is because the Muslims, unlike Baha'is who believe in progressive and continuous divine revelation, believe that no prophet will appear after Muhammad. Therefore, whenever Baha'is are referred to as a sect or group, the friends should try to remove this misunderstanding and proclaim the independent nature of the Faith to the non-Baha'i public.

220.14 The Baha'is are also accused of being against Islam, whereas it is easy to explain to the public that we believe that all religions of the past, including Islam, are divine in origin and are revered and respected by the followers of Baha'u'llah. Indeed, the Author of this Revelation Himself states this fact time and time again in His Writings.

220.15 One of the excuses given by Muslims for hostility to the Faith is the location of our world administrative centre in Israel; in the conflict between some Islamic nations and Israel, the Baha'is have been accused of being Zionists. It should be made clear that Baha'is, who believe in the oneness of humanity and who do not show enmity to any nation, people or creed, cannot take sides in any political controversy. As promoters of genuine love and proclaimers of the unity of mankind, taking sides in such disputes would be diametrically opposed to their religious beliefs. It can be explained, whenever necessary, that Baha'u'llah was sent, in 1868, as a Prisoner to the Holy Land by the Ottoman Emperor. For the remainder of His life He was a Prisoner and <p397> Exile, and He subsequently passed away near 'Akka in 1892. The holiest Shrines of the Baha'i Faith, around which its world administrative centre has been established, are situated in the Holy Land because of events which occurred more than half a century before the establishment of Israel and other countries in this part of the world as independent nations. Holy Shrines of the Muslims, Christians and Jews are also located in the Holy Land. Therefore, it is simple enmity to attack the Baha'i Faith on the basis of the geographical location of its World Centre.

220.16 The Universal House of Justice has requested us to bring these facts to your attention so that you may use them whenever necessary in refuting falsehoods and in answering questions and writing articles and letters to the press.

With loving Baha'i greetings,
Department of the Secretariat

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1979-1986
The Seven Year Plan

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221
Launching of the Seven Year Plan -- Naw-Ruz 1979

Naw-Ruz 1979

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

221.1 The decline of religious and moral restraints has unleashed a fury of chaos and confusion that already bears the signs of universal anarchy. Engulfed in this maelstrom, the Baha'i world community, pursuing with indefeasible unity and spiritual force its redemptive mission, inevitably suffers the disruption of economic, social and civil life which afflicts its fellowmen throughout the planet. It must also bear particular tribulations. The violent disturbances in Persia, coinciding with the gathering in of the bountiful harvest of the Five Year Plan, have brought new and cruel hardships to our long-suffering brethren in the Cradle of our Faith and confronted the Baha'i world community with critical challenges to its life and work. As the Baha'i world stood poised on the brink of victory, eagerly anticipating the next stage in the unfoldment of the Master's Divine Plan, Baha'u'llah's heroic compatriots, the custodians of the Holy Places of our Faith in the land of its birth, were yet again called upon to endure the passions of brutal mobs, the looting and burning of their homes, the destruction of their means of livelihood, and physical violence and threats of death to force them to recant their faith.+F464 They, like their immortal forebears, the Dawn-Breakers, are standing steadfast in face of this new persecution and the ever-present threat of organized extermination.
[F464. The next stage in the unfoldment of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan was the Seven Year Plan, 1979-86, introduced in this letter. Its inauguration marked the conclusion of the Five Year Plan, 1974-79.]

221.2 Remembering that during the Five Year Plan the Persian friends far surpassed any other national community in their outpouring of pioneers and funds, we, in all those parts of the world where we are still free to promote the Cause of God, have the responsibility to make good their temporary inability to serve. Therefore, with uplifted hearts and radiant faith, we must arise with redoubled energy to pursue our mighty task, confident that the Lord of Hosts will continue to reward our efforts with the same bountiful grace He vouchsafed to us in the Five Year Plan.

Teaching Victories in the Five Year Plan

221.3 The teaching victories in that Plan have been truly prodigious; the points of light, those localities where the Promised One is recognized, have increased from sixty- nine thousand five hundred to over ninety-six thousand; the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies has grown from seventeen thousand to <p402> over twenty-five thousand; eighteen new National Spiritual Assemblies have been formed. The final report will disclose in all their manifold aspects the magnitude of the victories won.

221.4 In the world at large the Baha'i community is now firmly established. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth, is bearing a precious fruit in the development of the International Teaching Centre as a mighty institution of the World Centre of the Faith; an institution blessed by the membership of all the Hands of the Cause; an institution whose beneficent influence is diffused to all parts of the Baha'i community through the Continental Boards of Counsellors, the members of the Auxiliary Boards and their assistants.

221.5 Advised, stimulated and supported by this vital arm of the Administrative Order,

125 National Spiritual Assemblies are rapidly acquiring experience and growing in wisdom as they administer the complex affairs of their respective communities as organic parts of one world-wide fellowship. More and more Local Spiritual Assemblies are becoming strong focal centres of local Baha'i communities and firm pillars of the National Spiritual Assembly in each land. Even in those countries where the Baha'i Administration cannot operate or has had to be disbanded, countries to which have now been added Afghanistan, the Congo Republic, Niger, Uganda and Vietnam, the believers, while obedient to their governments, nevertheless staunchly keep alive the flame of faith.

Spiritual Development of the Baha'i Community

221.6 Beyond the expansion of the community, vital as it is, the Five Year Plan witnessed great progress in the spiritual development of the friends, the growing maturity and wisdom of Local and National Assemblies, and in the degree to which Baha'i communities embody the distinguishing characteristics of Baha'i life and attract, by their unity, their steadfastness, their radiance and good reputation, the interest and eventual wholehearted support of their fellow citizens. This is the magnet which will attract the masses to the Cause of God, and the leaven that will transform human society.

Obstacles and Opportunities

221.7 The conditions of the world present the followers of Baha'u'llah with both obstacles and opportunities. In an increasing number of countries we are witnessing the fulfilment of the warnings that the writings of our Faith contain. "Peoples, nations, adherents of divers faiths," the beloved Guardian wrote, "will jointly and successively arise to shatter its unity, to sap its force, and to degrade its holy name. They will assail not only the spirit which it inculcates, but the administration which is the channel, the instrument, the embodiment of that spirit. For as the authority with which Baha'u'llah has invested the future Baha'i Commonwealth becomes more and more apparent, the fiercer <p403> shall be the challenge which from every quarter will be thrown at the verities it enshrines."+F465 In different countries, in varying degrees, the followers of Baha'u'llah at this very hour are undergoing such attacks, and are facing imprisonment and even martyrdom rather than deny the Truth for whose sake the Bab and Baha'u'llah drained the cup of sacrifice.
[F465. WOB, p. 18.]

221.8 In other lands, such as those in Western Europe, the faithful believers have to struggle to convey the message in the face of widespread indifference, materialistic self- satisfaction, cynicism and moral degradation. These friends, however, still have freedom to teach the Faith in their homelands, and in spite of the discouraging meagreness of outward results they continue to proclaim the Message of Baha'u'llah to their fellow- citizens, to raise high the reputation of the Cause in the public eye, to acquaint leaders of thought and those in authority with its true tenets, and to spare no effort to seek out those receptive souls in every town and village who will respond to the divine summons and devote their lives to its service.

221.9 In many lands, however, there is an eager receptivity for the teachings of the Faith. The challenge for the Baha'is is to provide these thousands of seeking souls, as swiftly as possible, with the spiritual food that they crave, to enlist them under the banner of Baha'u'llah, to nurture them in the way of life He has revealed, and to guide them to elect Local Spiritual Assemblies which, as they begin to function strongly, will unite the friends in firmly consolidated Baha'i communities and become beacons of guidance and havens of refuge to mankind.

221.10 Faced by such a combination of danger and opportunity, the Baha'is, confident in the ultimate triumph of God's purpose for mankind, raise their eyes to the goals of a new Seven Year Plan.

World Centre Goals

221.11 In the Holy Land the strengthening of the World Centre and the augmentation of its world-wide influence must continue:

221.11a The Seat of the Universal House of Justice will be completed and designs will be adopted for the remaining three buildings of the World Administrative Centre of the Faith.+F466
[F466. The seat of the Universal House of Justice was completed and occupied on 2 February 1983. In a letter dated 31 August 1987 to the Baha'is of the world, the Universal House of Justice outlined plans for the completion of the "world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" Shoghi Effendi envisioned on Mount Carmel (see letter dated 21 December 1939, in MA, p. 32). The buildings yet to be constructed are the International Baha'i Library, the seat of the International Teaching Centre, and the Centre for the Study of the Texts. Additional projects include extending the present International Archives Building and constructing eighteen monumental terraces from the foot of Mount Carmel to its crest, nine leading to the terrace on which the Shrine of the Bab stands, and nine rising above it.]

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221.11b The Institution of the International Teaching Centre will be developed and its functions expanded. This will require an increase in its membership and the assumption by it and by the Continental Boards of Counsellors of wider functions in the stimulation on an international scale of the propagation and consolidation of the Faith, and in the promotion of the spiritual, intellectual and community aspects of Baha'i life.+F467
[F467. For information on the establishment of the International Teaching centre, see message dated 5 June 1973 (no. 131); for the elucidation of its duties, see message dated 8 June 1973 (no. 132); for information about its further evolution, see message dated 19 May 1983 (no. 361).]

221.11c The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha in 'Akka will be opened to pilgrimage.+F468
[F468. The House in 'Akka that served as the residence of 'Abdu'l-Baha and His family from 1896 until their move to Haifa between 1907 and 1910. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l- Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and was opened to pilgrims in April 1983. For the message announcing its acquisition, see cable dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154). For an account of its significance, see message dated 4 March 1975 (no. 157).]

221.11d Work will be continued on the collation and classification of the Sacred Texts and a series of compilations gleaned and translated from the writings of the Faith will be sent out to the Baha'i world to help in deepening the friends in their understanding of the fundamentals of the Faith, enriching their spiritual lives, and reinforcing their efforts to teach the Cause.+F469
[F469. During the Seven Year Plan the Universal House of Justice sent to the Baha'i world compilations on the following subjects: inspiring the heart (24 October 1979); divorce (18 January 1980); the importance of prayer, meditation, and the devotional attitude (31 March 1980); attendance at National Spiritual Assembly meetings (26 October 1980); the assistance of God (24 August 1981); prayers and passages from the holy writings (16 September 1991); excellence in all things (23 November 1981); family life (18 February 1982); the importance of deepening our knowledge and understanding of the Faith (13 January 1983); the Law of Huququ'llah (4 July 1985); peace (9 August 1985); women (1 January 1986); and the epochs of the Formative Age (5 February 1986). Translations included the Long Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet (13 August 1980) and a prayer of 'Abdu'l-Baha for martyred Baha'is and their relatives (11 January 1983). All of the compilations except those on inspiring the heart, attendance at National Spiritual Assembly meetings, and prayers and passages from the holy writings, can be found in The Compilation of Compilations.]

221.11e The ties binding the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations will be further developed.

221.11f Continued efforts will be made to protect the Faith from opposition and to emancipate it from the fetters of persecution.

International Goals

221.12 Each National Spiritual Assembly has been given goals for these first two years of the Plan, designed to continue the process of expansion, to consolidate the victories won, and to attain, where circumstances permit, any goals that may have had to remain unaccomplished at the end of the Five Year Plan. During these first two years we shall be examining, with the Continental <p405> Boards of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies, the conditions and possibilities in each country, and shall be considering in detail the capacities and needs of each of the rapidly differentiating national Baha'i communities before formulating the further goals towards which each community is to work following the opening phase of the Plan.

221.13 Throughout the world the Seven Year Plan must witness the attainment of the following objectives:

221.13a The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Samoa is to be completed and progress will be made in the construction of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in India.+F470
[F470. For messages on the excavation of the site of the House of Worship in Samoa and on its dedication, see messages dated 6 December 1979 (no. 242) and August 1984 (no. 403), respectively. For the message on the dedication of the House of Worship in India, see letter dated 24 February 1986 (no. 452).]

221.1 3b Nineteen new National Spiritual Assemblies are to be brought into being: eight in Africa, those of Angola, Bophuthatswana, the Cape Verde Islands, Gabon, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia and Transkei; eight in the Americas, those of Bermuda, Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, the Leeward Islands, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent; and three in the Pacific, those of the Cook Islands, Tuvalu and the West Caroline Islands. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which have had to be dissolved will, circumstances permitting, be re-established.

221.13c The Message of Baha'u'llah must be taken to territories and islands which are as yet unopened to His Faith.

221.13d The teaching work, both that organized by institutions of the Faith and that which is the fruit of individual initiative, must be actively carried forward so that there will be growing numbers of believers, leading more countries to the stage of entry by troops and ultimately to mass conversion.

221.13e This teaching work must include prompt, thorough and continuing consolidation so that all victories will be safeguarded, the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies will be increased and the foundations of the Cause reinforced.

221.1 3f The interchange of pioneers and travelling teachers, which contributes so importantly to the unity of the Baha'i world and to a true understanding of the oneness of mankind, must continue, especially between neighbouring lands. At the same time, each national Baha'i community must aspire to a rapid achievement of self-sufficiency in carrying out its vital activities, thus acquiring the capacity to continue to function and grow even if outside help is cut off.

221.1 3g Especially in finance is the attainment of independence by national Baha'i communities urgent. Already the persecutions in Iran have deprived the believers in that country of the bounty of contributing to <p406> the international funds of the Faith, of which they have been a major source.+F471 Economic disruption in other countries threatens further diminution of financial resources. We therefore appeal to the friends everywhere to exercise the utmost economy in the use of funds and to make those sacrifices in their personal lives which will enable them to contribute their share, accordin