Gayle Woolson, Feb. 16, 1956
The following points are things which the Guardian said which concern Latin America:
When I conveyed to him the loving greetings of the Bahá'ís of South America, he said: "I am pleased with Latin America." Then he asked: "How are the friends in South America?" "Are they working? Are they progressing? Are they firm in the Cause of God?" I answered: "Yes, but we still have a long way to go before we can say it is satisfactory."
Then he asked: "Are they now familiar with the Institution of the Hands?" I said, yes and that we had received the visit of some of the Hands. He said: "I am looking forward to the time when there will be a Hand in South America and one in Central America."
I asked: "How can we create a greater sense of individual responsibility in South America?" He said: "They must be encouraged to have it. They need much encouragement. The Assemblies there are nascent, not even infant yet, just nascent. that is why we must be patient."
He said one Hazira was destroyed (referring to one in Teheran) but 40 were gained. He asked me about the countries that had their Haziras and endowments in South America. He then said: "It is very important that they all get these before April. The present Haziras are only temporary. This is just a start. They will be improved upon in the future."
It is essential that the Bahá'ís do not become involved in politics especially in Latin America where the governments are very unstable. The Bahá'í Faith is supra-national, supra-natural. It is divine. We are above politics. Becoming involved in politics is particularly dangerous in Latin America. We are patriotic but not nationalistic. We are more than patriotic. We uphold patriotism but maintain that it is not enough. We are above nations and above parties. "We are," Abdu'l-Bahá said, "the party of God." We are promoting God's policy. We love the world and by loving the world, we love our own nation. Bahá'u'lláh said: "Let not a man glory in that he loves his country but rather in that he loves his kind." By making this statement, this is what Bahá'u'lláh meant: A Bahá'í can be a candidate for Parliament providing he does not become affiliated with a party.
It is not enough to convert to the Faith. The new believer must develop spiritually and arise to teach others. Conversion should not be the goal of the teacher. The goal is that the new believer should arise to teach others. This is why progress in Africa is so extraordinary. The new believers go out and teach others.
The friends must teach with determination and patience. If the process is slow, they must not become discouraged, but to have determination is important.
As to how to attract the Indians, he said: "Attract them through friendliness and kindness. Give them preference in everything; not only equality but preference, preferential treatment. Teaching the Indians is very important. Not only establish contact but convert them. Then they must take part in the administrative activities of the Faith. Do you remember what the Master said about the American Indians? He compared them with the Arabs at the time of Muhammad. The Indians must be given preferential treatment. The Bahá'ís must treat them just the opposite of the way the others treat them. Amongst the Bahá'ís, the minorities in any country must be given preferential treatment. If there is a tie between two believers for anything, and one is of a minority group, there must not be a second vote. Preference must be given to the believer of the minority group. The Spanish and Portuguese speaking people must not monopolize the field (he siad with humor). The Indians must be attracted.
This is very important. In north america, the minority groups are the Negroes and the Indians. In Latin America, the only minority group is the Indian.
A Bahá'í cannot practice spiritualism or be a medium. In the case of a Bahá'í who does this, don't expell him immediately; give him time and be patient. Quietly and gently point out to him that he must give up this practice. Spiritualism is a fancy. In most cases, they think they are communicating with the spirits, but they are not. As to the question as to how to approach the spiritualists, the GUARDIAN said: "Avoid them and look for the people that are seeking the Faith. There are many that are seeking that are not involved in these practices. One must search for the seeking ones. In looking for these, do not limit yourself to your own group or friends. Associate with others. Association is different from affiliation. Live and associate with the natives of the country in which one is pioneering. Attract the local element.
If the believers are firm in the Faith, they will leave other organizations. A person cannot belong to something that has principles and teachings that are in conflict with the Faith. Otherwise, he is not faithful to either the Faith or the other organization. Firmness in the Faith is what is needed. The more attracted the Bahá'í becomes to Bahá'u'lláh, the more dedicated he will become. Increased attachment to Bahá'u'lláh is what is needed and this will draw them away from other things.
[From another Woolson Pilgrim Note manuscript, this passage appears here:Enkindle the heart; touch the heart. If the approach is the intellect they will not detach themselves from other organizations. If the heart is touched they will make the sacrifice. Much tact, much patience is needed. Do not tell them from the beginning that they have to leave their organizations. They can be taken in while still belonging to them but eventually and finally they will have to detach themselves from them. Much tact, much wisdom and patience must be used.]
In the case of Masons who want to become Bahá'ís, tell them that there are things in Freemasonry that are not in accordance with the Bahá'í Faith, for example, secrecy, and see what their reaction is. Don't be rigid. Don't make it hard for people to come into the Faith. Let them come in and then continue deepening them and touching the heart until they are fimr. Give them a chance. First: Touch the heart by creating love for God and for Bahá'u'lláh, attachment to Bahá'u'lláh. Second: be creating love for their fellow-men. Then they will become re-created. They are moving too slowly in South America.
The National Assembly of South America must encourage the veliever, it must stimulate them. They must become re-created, become aflame. It is easy for the Latin Americans to be set aflame, They must not lean on the North American. We must have unity in essentials, but in non-essentials we must stimulate diversity so that each country will have its own spirit in the work and not the North American spirit.
Latin America has a great future. The Latin Americans are "associates" of the North Americans. The North Americans are the "champion builders". The Canadians are the "Allies". The Latin Americans are the "Associates". All the rest are "auxiliaries".
Work with the weak places, not the strong ones. Give special attention to the weak ones until their roots are firmly planted.
More sacrifice is needed. The more sacrifice is involved, the more effective the Bahá'í work will be. Of course, all work is effective, but the degree of effectiveness is greater when sacrifice is involved. In Latin America, they do not exert enough effort.
The Guardian spoke of four steps in the progress of the Faith:
1) Consolidation (building the Administrative Order)
2) Extension (of the teaching)
Publicity has been given to the Faith all over the world due to persecutions in one country. The persecutions have given the Faith more publicity than the consolidation work and more than the teaching work. Publicity and proclamation are associated with the enemies of the Cause. If there has been world publicity through persecution in one country, what will it be like when all the countries persecute us; not only the ecclesiastics but the civil authorities as well. The Master has prophecies that both the ecclesiastics and the civil authorities would persecute us. The Bahá'ís of Latin America must be prepared to face this persecution and accept that it must come. The enemies will be the ones to give publicity and to proclaim the Cause. We will handle the consolidation and the propagation, and the enemies will handle the publicity and the proclamation." "Proclamation" of the Faith is different from "publicity." "Proclamation" will come only after persecution of the churches and the governments. In America, Australia, Africa, Europe, all except in Persia, we have not been persecution. Proclamation can only come after persecution.
The question was asked: If all the Prophets teach the same spiritual teachings, why does Buddha teach the existence of reincarnation and Bahá'u'lláh not? The Guardian answered: "Not Buddha - the Buddhist priests. We do not have the original writings of Buddha, nor of Krishna, nor even of Zoroaster. We have the Gathas of Zoroaster which are authentic but these are only prayers. That is why Bahá'u'lláh and the Master do not quote these Prophets as we do not have their original writings. There are many books in these religions but they are not the original works. Bahá'u'lláh and Abdu'l-Bahá quote the Quran which is authentic, and authentic verses of the New Testament, but do not quote these other Prophets for this reason. The Bahá'ís must be very appreciative of the fact that we have the original authentic works of the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
He again said: The believers must become recreated, must be set afire, then they will leave these beliefs. They must become enkindled, they will accept all Bahá'u'lláh's sayings just because just because He says it. If they are afire, they will accept all that we say, and they will become detached from these beliefs. The important thing is to set them afire.
Then he said, it should be easy for the Latins to become enkindled because of their temperment. I said, yes, but they don't always stay lit. He siad, The NSA must encourage them.
He turned to me and said, referring to South America: do the friends realize that the Haziras are the seats of the future Houses of Justice? They are a combination of Washington Pentagon and the Supreme Court. The Hazira is one building which is the seat of either national or local Assemblies. In Haifa, the series of Administration buildings would constitute the World Hazira. He then referred to the four world Administrative buildings that would be constructed in Haifa, saying, the Archives Building is for preservation; the Guardianship building is for Interpretation; the Building of the Hands is for Propagation and the Building of the Universal House of Justice is for Legislation.
The Institution of the Hands is superior to the Universal House of Justice and the NSAs, just as the cabinet is superior to Parliament. The Hands are like the Ministers of the cabinet. The Institution of Hands constitutes the eyes. The Auxiliary Boards will have their Auxiliary Board under them. These institutions will evolve.
The A R K (he spelled this out) will be built around the Arc. We are building the seat of the Ark of Safety. The only Ark of Safety is the Administrative Order. Noah's Ark was built and the deluge came. This Ark is being built and the deluge will come. A Persian pilgrim, pioneering in Arabia, told me this afternoon (the Guardian was relating to us) that he had found a Muhammaden tradition which says that two-thirds of the world's population will be destroyed. How exactly this coincides with the prophecy of the New Testament regarding the destruction of two-thirds of the people. I wouldn't be surprised if this literally happens. There are too many people in the world anyway, and many of them are corrupt. But there will be enough left to build the world Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Latin America is relatively safe because it is far away from the danger zone. The U.S. is in danger, Tehran is in great danger, also North Africa.
The Towers of Babel today of today are the sky-scrapers. These will be destroyed. the people of the tower of Babel were haughty, proud, filled with vain-glory; they had turned away from God and were arrogant and God punished them. This will happen again for the same reason. The world is in the same condition today. The protection for the Bahá'ís is in dispersing. This is good for the Cause and for themselves. (Then he repeated Protection for the Bahá'ís is in dispersal.
The lesser peace will come will come not through a Federation of Nations, but through a world federal government.
In three years, the 2500 centers we had in the world were raised to 3700. One-hundred of these were in Latin America. The Faith is now established in 243 territories. There are four islands left that do not have pioneers and it is because they are privately owned. We are noe entering into the third phase of the world Crusade which will be the most brilliant phase as its objective will be to create 50 NSAs to amplify the basis for the Universal House of Justice. We have 12 NSAs now, we will have three more in Africa this year, and 13 next year, four of which will be in Latin America and one in Alaska.
The first phase of the world crusade lasted one year and consisted of the opening of the virgin territories. One-hundred were opened. The second phase lasted two years, during which time forty Haziras were purchased. the third phase will have as its main objective the widening of the basis for the Universal House of Justice. by establishing more NSAs.
Then Shoghi Effendi asked me, "which country of South America do you think would be most envied if it branched off with its own NSA. I said, I did not know. He said, "Chile has the most centers, hasn't it?" And I said yes. Then he said, "a country that would branch off with its own NSA would be a great stimulus to the others to do the same thing.
Bahá'ís from northern countries of South America should reinforce the islands near them, like the Galapagos Islands, Juan Ferandez, Margarita and Trinidad. These are near the coast. I'm not asking them to go somewhere in the middle of the sea.
Just as Africa excelled Latin America, the Islands of the Pacific will excell Africa.
The last day I was in Haifa, the Guardian said to me, "I want you to emphasize wherever you go, that the friends must not make an effort to teach the Syrians, especially in Brazil, particularly in Sao Paulo. Many have migrated there from Palestine and they are envious of the Faith. They will cause trouble later. Latin America is not mature enough yet to face the difficulties that these people would create. Latin American must develop normally and healthily. It would be unhealthy for the Latin American communities to have these troubles at this time. Later, when the communities are stronger, they can take the risk, but not to antagonize them. If one meets up with them, treat them kindly. They will create much trouble in the future so it is better to make no effort to attract them.
[This appeared here from another Woolson Pilgrim Note manuscript:(Personal note: The Syrians of Palestine hate Israel as that land was taken away from them to be given to the Jews. Now they see how the Bahá'í Faith is beautifying Israel with its World Center building gardens and it has made them envious. in their effort to attack Israel, the Bahá'í Faith will also be a target.)]
In reference to Ahmad Sohrab, the Guardian said, "He is trying to copy our organization. At first he attacked organization, now he sees it is more effective. We have Assemblies, he has chapters. We have a fund, he established a fund. We have conferences, he has conferences." The Guardian asked me if he has spread his organization to South America. I answered, a little literature, but not much. He said when you meet a member of this group (the New History Society or Caravan) ignore them. Do not try to convert them, it is no use now. When he dies, they will all become Bahá'ís. Our enemy is doing us a favor. Ignore them and be confident. Do not be afraid.
The Guardian asked me, "Do the believers in Latin America keep the Fast?" I said, some do and some don't. He said, "They must be encouraged to observe the Bahá'í Laws."
The more we dominate our instincts, the more successful our work is.
It is more meritorious in the sight of God to go as a settler than as a visiting teacher. It is more effective.
The enemies are vigilant for anything to attack.
He gave Leroy Ioas some instructions concerning the arc and the spiral garden connected to it which is being developed now, then he said, "The arc is very important as the administrative buildings are around it."
Another day, after talking about a new star in the new garden (an eight pointed star outlined by the short shrubs) he said, "There are many stars going up on Mount Carmel. The stars of heaven have fallen on mount Carmel (Smilingly), This fulfills the prophecy that the stars shall fall from heaven. The eight pointed star in the gardens at Bahji surrounding the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, represents the submission of the Bab to Bahá'u'lláh.
One of the Persian pilgrims at Haifa when I was, told me that one of the Persian men in their group had asked the Guardian about his descendants, about a son, and the Guardian answered, "Everything that is written in the Will and Testament will be fulfilled. The Bahá'ís must not be anxious about this."