Citadel of Faith. Messages to America 1947-1957
Category: Bahá’í
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This book is a collection of letters, cables, appeals, documents, various excerpts etc. by Shoghi Effendi..

Citadel of Faith

Messages to America 1947–1957

Shoghi Effendi

© Bahá’í International Community

– 1 –

Believers’ Generous Response to Temple Fund

January 20, 1947

Thrilled by generous response of believers to Temple Fund. Deeply touched. Hail latest striking evidence of the magnificent spirit, unshakable solidarity and unflinching resolve of American Bahá’í Community. Deepest loving gratitude.

– 2 –

Call to Fuller Participation

January 30, 1947

Acclaim with grateful heart evidences of steadily accelerating movement of pioneers, multiplication of conferences, consolidation of activities of national committees, progress in preliminaries of internal ornamentation of Temple, and formulation of teaching policy in southern states. Overwhelmed by tributes paid my own humble efforts by stalwart company whose championship of Faith of Bahá’u’lláh during last quarter century provided greatest support and solace, enabling me to sustain the weight of cares and responsibilities of Guardianship.

Impelled to plead afresh to ponder responsibilities incurred in transatlantic field of service. Time is flying. First year of Second Seven Year Plan is drawing to a close. Shadow of war’s tragic aftermath is deepening. Initial stage of colossal task undertaken in European continent still in balance. Urge stress for entire community extreme urgency to reinforce promptly, at whatever cost, however inadequate the instruments, the number of volunteers, both settlers and itinerant teachers, whom posterity will rightly recognize as vanguard of torch-bearers of Bahá’u’lláh’s resistless, world-redeeming order to despairing millions of diversified races, conflicting nationalities in darkest, most severely tested, spiritually depleted continent of globe. Prayerfully awaiting response by all ranks of community to supreme call to fuller participation in glorious enterprise.

– 3 –

Consolidation in Europe

March 24, 1947

Overjoyed, grateful, proud of notable expansion of manifold activities in three continents. Vital significance of preeminent objective in European continent cannot be overemphasized. Intense, sustained, self-sacrificing efforts aimed at rapid consolidation of American Community’s recently initiated fate-laden transatlantic enterprise are urgent, imperative, highly meritorious. Praying for such demonstration of heroism as will outshine exploits illuminating pages of American Bahá’í history in continents of Western Hemisphere.

– 4 –

Participation in Second Seven Year Plan


April 28, 1947

My heart is filled with delight, wonder, pride and gratitude in contemplation of the peace-time exploits, in both hemispheres, of the world community of the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, triumphantly emerging from the crucible of global war and moving irresistibly into the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation.

The opening years of the second century of the Bahá’í Era, synchronizing with concluding stage of the memorable quarter-century elapsed since the termination of the Heroic Age of the Faith, have been distinguished by a compelling demonstration by the entire body of believers, headed by the valorous American Bahá’í Community, of solidarity, resolve and self-sacrifice as well as by a magnificent record of systematic, world-wide achievements.

The three years since the celebration of the Centenary have been characterized by a simultaneous process of internal consolidation and steady enlargement of the orbit of a fast-evolving Administrative Order.

These years witnessed, first, the astounding resurgence of a war-devastated Bahá’í community of Central Europe, the rehabilitation of the communities in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and the Far East; second, the inauguration of a new Seven Year Plan by the American Bahá’í Community destined to culminate with the Centenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Prophetic Mission, aiming at the formation of three national assemblies in Latin America and the Dominion of Canada, at completion of the holiest House of Worship in the Bahá’í world, and at the erection of the structure of the Administrative Order in ten sovereign states of the European continent; and third, the formulation by the British, the Indian and the Persian National Assemblies of Six Year, Four and One-Half Year, and Forty-Five Month Plans respectively, culminating with the Centenary of the Báb’s Martyrdom and pledged to establish nineteen spiritual assemblies in the British Isles, double the number of assemblies in the Indian subcontinent, establish ninety-five new centers of the Faith in Persia, convert the groups in Bahrein, Mecca and Kabul into assemblies and plant the banner of the Faith in the Arabian territories of Yemen, Oman, Aḥsá and Kuwait.

Moreover, the number of countries opened to the onsweeping Faith, and the number of languages in which its literature has been translated and printed, is now raised to eighty-three and forty-seven, respectively. Four additional countries are in process of enrollment. Translations into fifteen other languages are being undertaken. No less than seventeen thousand pounds have accumulated for the international relief of war-afflicted Bahá’í communities of East and West. The Bahá’í endowments on the North American continent have now passed the two million dollar mark. The value of the endowments recently acquired at the World Center of the Faith, dedicated to the Shrines, are estimated at thirty-five thousand pounds. Bahá’í literature has been disseminated as far north as Upernavik, Greenland, above the Arctic Circle. The Bahá’í message has been broadcast by radio as far south as Magallanes. The area of land dedicated to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Persia has increased by almost a quarter-million square meters. The number of localities in the Antipodes where Bahá’ís reside has been raised to thirty-five, spread over Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. Twenty-seven assemblies are functioning in Latin America. In over a hundred localities Bahá’ís are resident in Central and South America, almost double the localities at opening of the first Seven Year Plan. Historic Latin American conferences have been held in Buenos Aires and Panama. Summer schools are established in Argentina and Chile. Land has been offered in Chile for site of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Latin America. Additional assemblies have been incorporated in Paraguay and Colombia. Seven others are in process of incorporation. A notable impetus has been lent this world-redeeming Message through the concerted measures devised by the American National Assembly designed to proclaim the Faith to the masses through public conferences, press and radio.

Such remarkable multiplication of dynamic institutions, such thrilling deployment of world-regenerating forces, North, South, East and West, endow the preeminent goal of the Second Seven Year Plan in Europe with extraordinary urgency and peculiar significance. I am impelled to appeal to all American believers possessing independent means to arise and supplement the course of the second year of the Second Seven Year Plan through personal participation or appointment of deputies, the superb exertions of the heroic vanguard of the hosts destined, through successive decades, to achieve the spiritual conquest of the continent unconquered by Islám, rightly regarded as the mother of Christendom, the fountainhead of American culture, the mainspring of western civilization, and the recipient of the unique honor of two successive visits to its shores by the Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant.


NSA Must Control Credentials of Foreigners

Circa June 1947

Owing to arrival of disloyal so-called Bahá’ís your Assembly’s control of credentials should be strictly exercised, otherwise corruptive influences will spread and injure the magnificent services being achieved by the American Bahá’í Community.

– 6 –

The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour

June 5, 1947

The opening years of the second century of the Bahá’í Era have synchronized with the termination of the first epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation, a Dispensation which posterity will recognize as the most glorious and momentous in the greatest cycle in the world’s religious history.

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 Bábí Dispensation and the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This Primitive Age of the Bahá’í 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.

The last twenty-three years of that same century coincided with the first epoch of the second, the Iron and Formative, Age of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh — 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 Bahá’í Revelation, and destined to last, in their aggregate, no less than five thousand centuries.

We are now entering the second epoch of the second Age of the first of these Dispensations. The first epoch witnessed the birth and the primary stages in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith — the nucleus and pattern of its World Order — according to the precepts laid down in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, as well as the launching of the initial phase of the world-encompassing Plan bequeathed by Him to the American Bahá’í Community. That epoch was characterized by a twofold process aiming at the consolidation of the administrative structure of the Faith and the extension of the range of its institutions. It witnessed on the one hand, the emergence and the laying of the groundwork of that embryonic World Order whose advent was announced by the Báb in the Bayán, whose laws were revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and whose features were delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament. It was marked on the other hand by the launching, in the Western Hemisphere, of the first stage of a Plan whose original impulse was communicated by the Herald of our Faith in His Qayyúmu’l-Asmá’, to whose implications the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation alluded in His Tablets, and whose Charter was revealed by the Center of His Covenant in the evening of His life.

The epoch we have now entered is destined to impart a great impetus to this historic, this twofold process. It must witness, on the one hand, the consummation of a laboriously constructed Administrative Order, and, on the other, the unfoldment of successive stages in the development of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Plan beyond the confines of the Western Hemisphere and of the continent of Europe.

Crowning Feature of Administrative Order: The Universal House of Justice

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 Bahá’u’lláh — the election of the Universal House of Justice — will have been completed, the Kitáb-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-Bahá
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 Bahá’í Commonwealth will have emerged in the plenitude of its power and splendor, and the birth and efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace, will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind.

Fourfold Objective to Present Requirements

Not ours, however, to unriddle the workings of a distant future, or to dwell upon the promised glories of a God-impelled and unimaginably potent Revelation. Ours, rather, the task to cast our eyes upon, and bend our energies to meet, the challenging requirements of the present hour. Labors, of an urgent and sacred character, claim insistently our undivided attention during the opening years of this new epoch which we have entered. The Second Seven Year Plan, intended to carry a stage further the mission conceived by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for the American Bahá’í Community, is now entering its second year, and must, as it operates in three continents, be productive of results outshining any as yet achieved since the Divine Plan itself was set in motion during the concluding years of the first Bahá’í century. Unlike the plans which Bahá’í communities in Europe and on the Asiatic continent have spontaneously inaugurated since the commencement of the present century, the Plan with which the community of the “Apostles of Bahá’u’lláh” stands identified is divine in origin, is guided by the explicit and repeated instructions that have flowed from the pen of the Center of the Covenant Himself, is energized by the all-compelling will of its Author, claims as the theater for its operation territories spread over five continents and the islands of the seven seas, and must continue to function, ere its purpose is achieved, throughout successive epochs in the course of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation. As it propels itself forward, driven by forces which its prosecutors can not hope to properly assess, as it spreads its ramifications to the furthest corners of the Western Hemisphere, and across the oceans to the continents of the Old World, and beyond them to the far-flung islands of the seas, this Plan, the birthright of the North American Bahá’í Community, will be increasingly regarded as an agency designed not only for the enlargement of the limits of the Faith and the multiplication of its institutions over the face of the planet, but for the acceleration of the construction and completion of the administrative framework of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Order, hastening thereby the advent of that Golden Age which must witness the proclamation of the Most Great Peace and the unfoldment of that world civilization which is the offspring and primary purpose of that Peace.

The fourfold objective, which the prosecutors of the Plan, in the present early stage of its development, are now pursuing, and which is designed to stimulate the dual process initiated during the opening phase of the Formative Age of the Faith, must be strenuously and unfalteringly pursued. The second year of the Second Seven Year Plan must witness, on all fronts, on the part of young and old alike, rich and poor, colored and white, neophyte and veteran, a rededication to the tasks undertaken and an intensification of effort for their furtherance wholly unparalleled in the annals of American Bahá’í history. In every state of the United States, in every province of the Dominion of Canada, in every republic of Central and South America, in each of the ten selected sovereign states of the European continent, the ever-swelling legions of Bahá’u’lláh’s steadily advancing army, obeying the Mandate of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, launched on the second stage of their world-wide crusade, deriving fresh courage from the exploits that have distinguished the opening phase of the present stage of their enterprise, must strain every nerve to scale loftier heights of heroism, and deploy, over a wider range, their divinely sustained forces, as their present Plan unfolds and moves towards a climax.

Goals in the United States and Alaska

In the United States of America, the base from which the manifold operations of this holy expedition are conducted, the enterprise associated with the completion of the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the West, designed to consummate this historic undertaking in time for the celebration of its Jubilee in the year 1953, must be strenuously pushed forward. The prodigious efforts exerted for the erection of this noble edifice — the holiest House of Worship ever to be reared by the followers of Bahá’u’lláh — on which no less than one million four hundred thousand dollars have thus far been expended, and which will necessitate the expenditure of at least half a million more dollars, ere it is completed, must not, for one moment, be relaxed. The necessary modifications of the design chosen for its interior ornamentation should be adopted, the plans and specifications prepared, the preliminary contracts for its execution placed, and actual construction work started, if possible, ere the expiry of the present year.

The utmost effort by the National Teaching Committee and its auxiliary Regional Teaching Committees, aimed at raising the number of spiritual assemblies in the North American continent to no less than one hundred and seventy-five, ere the expiry of the current year, should be exerted. The eighty cities newly opened to the Faith should, likewise, be reinforced. The two hundred and eighteen groups already constituted should be continually encouraged to evolve into assemblies, while the vast number of localities, totalling over nine hundred, where isolated believers reside, should, however tremendous the exertion required, be enabled to attain group status, and be eventually converted into properly functioning assemblies.

Collateral to this process of reinforcing the fabrics of the Administrative Order and of widening its basis, a resolute attempt should be made by the national elected representatives of the entire community, aided by their Public Relations, Race Unity, Public Meetings, Visual Education, College Speakers Bureau and Radio Committees, to reinforce the measures already adopted for the proclamation, through the press and radio, of the verities of the Faith to the masses, and for the establishment of closer contact with the leaders of public thought, with colleges and universities and with newspaper and magazine editors. National advertising and publicity should be further developed, the contact with seven hundred and fifty newspapers, magazines and trade papers should be maintained and the public relations programs amplified. Association, as distinct from affiliation, and untainted by any participation in political matters, with the various organs, leaders and representatives of the United Nations and kindred organizations should be stimulated for the purpose of giving, on the one hand, greater publicity to the aims and purposes of the Faith, and of paving the way, on the other, for the eventual conversion of a selected number of capable and receptive souls who will reinforce the ranks of its active and unreserved supporters.

The process of the incorporation of properly functioning spiritual assemblies must be simultaneously and vigorously carried out. The forty-five assemblies now incorporated are the first fruits of an enterprise of great significance, which must rapidly develop in the days to come, as an essential preliminary to the establishment, and the extension of the scope, of Bahá’í local endowments, as soon as the financial obligations incurred in connection with the completion of the Temple have been discharged. The institutions of the three summer schools, at Green Acre, Davison and Geyserville, and the International School at Temerity Ranch, as well as the activities of the Bahá’í Youth, must, under the close supervision of their respective national committees, be continually expanded and increasingly utilized as agencies for the furtherance of the vital objectives of the Plan.

The beneficial and highly responsible activities undertaken by the Publishing, the Reviewing, the Library, the Service for the Blind, the Visual Education, the Pamphlet Literature and Study Aids Committees, designed to disseminate and insure the integrity of Bahá’í literature, should, however indirectly connected with the purposes of the Plan, and within the limits imposed upon them through its operation, be steadily expanded, consolidated and be made to promote, in whatever way possible, its paramount interests.

Nor should the “spacious territory of Alaska,” particularly mentioned by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Tablets of the Divine Plan, and at present the northern outpost of the Faith in the Western Hemisphere, be ignored, or its vital requirements neglected. The maintenance and consolidation of the first historic spiritual assembly in Anchorage, the northernmost administrative center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the world; the multiplication of Bahá’í centers in that territory; the propagation of the teachings among the Eskimos, emphasized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s pen in those same Tablets; the translation and publication of selected passages from Bahá’í literature in their native language; the extension of the limits of the Faith beyond Fairbanks and nearer to the Arctic Circle — these constitute the urgent tasks facing the prosecutors of the present Plan in the years immediately ahead.

“Alaska is a vast country,” are ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s own words, recorded in those Tablets, “…Perchance, God willing, the lights of the Most Great Guidance will illuminate that country, and the breezes of the rose garden of the love of God will perfume the nostrils of the inhabitants of Alaska. Should you be aided to render such a service, rest ye assured that your heads shall be crowned with the diadem of everlasting sovereignty.”

Canada to Form Separate National Assembly

In the Dominion of Canada, to whose significance and future the Author of the Tablets of the Divine Plan has repeatedly referred, and in all the nine provinces of which, as a direct result of the operation of the first Seven Year Plan, the Faith has established its spiritual assemblies, the Canadian believers, as a token of their recognition of the significance of the forthcoming formation of their first National Spiritual Assembly, must arise and carry out befittingly the task allotted to them in their homeland. Irrespective of the smallness of their numbers, notwithstanding the vastness of the territory for which they have been made responsible, and as a sign of their appreciation of the great bounty and independent status soon to be conferred upon them, they must, unitedly, exert a supreme effort to enlarge the limits, multiply the administrative centers, consolidate the institutions, and broadcast the truths and essentials of their beloved Faith throughout the length and breadth of that immense dominion.

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