Messages to America
Category: Bahá’í
5:38 h
Selected letters and cablegrams addressed to the Bahá’í's of North America 1932-1946.

Messages to America

Shoghi Effendi

© Bahá’í International Community

“As the end of the First Century of the Bahá’í Era approaches, as the shadows descending upon and enveloping mankind steadily and remorselessly deepen, this community, which can almost be regarded as the solitary champion of the Faith in the Western World, is increasingly evincing and demonstrating its capacity, its worth, and ability as the torchbearer of the New, the World Civilization which is destined to supplant in the fulness of time the present one.” — Shoghi Effendi, December 3, 1940.

Nabíl’s Narrative

Feel impelled appeal entire body American believers to henceforth regard Nabíl’s soul-stirring Narrative as essential adjunct to reconstructed Teaching program, as unchallengeable textbook in their Summer Schools, as source of inspiration in all literary and artistic pursuits, as an invaluable companion in times of leisure, as indispensable preliminary to future pilgrimage to Bahá’u’lláh’s native land, and as unfailing instrument to allay distress and resist attacks of critical, disillusioned humanity.

Cablegram June 21, 1932

Immortal Spirit

Greatest Holy Leaf’s immortal spirit winged its flight Great Beyond. Countless lovers her saintly life in East and West seized with pangs of anguish. Plunged in utterable sorrow humanity shall ere long recognize its irreparable loss. Our beloved Faith, well nigh crushed by devastating blow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unexpected Ascension, now laments passing of last remnant of Bahá’u’lláh, its most exalted member. Holy Family cruelly divested of its most precious great Adorning. I for my part bewail sudden removal of my sole earthly sustainer, the joy and solace of my life. Remains will repose in the vicinity of the Holy Shrines. So grievous a bereavement necessitates suspension for nine months through Bahá’í world every manner religious festivity. Inform Local Assemblies and groups hold in befitting manner memorial gatherings to extol a life so laden with sacred experiences, so rich in imperishable memories. Advise holding additional Commemoration Service of strictly devotional character in the Auditorium of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár.

Cablegram July 15, 1932

United Will, Concerted Action

I am deeply conscious of the many obstacles that stand in the path of the American believers in their stupendous endeavor to attain their goal — a goal on which our dearly beloved Greatest Holy Leaf had set her fondest hopes. I cannot, however, overlook, much as I sympathize with them in their financial tribulations and anxieties, the mysterious power that resides in the united will and concerted action of all the members of that self-sacrificing community — a community which, since the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, has put an impetus to the advancement of the Cause out of all proportion to its numerical strength, its youthfulness, and experience of the powers latent in this sacred Faith. What an untold wealth of blessings will flow out of a renewed, an irrevocable resolution, representing the combined will of all the steadfast lovers of the Cause of God in that land, to carry out in its entirety during the few remaining months a Plan on which so much that is vital to its world-wide interests depends! The American believers, the stout-hearted supporters of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, have already given too many evidences of their preponderating influence in the direction of its affairs to allow the slightest disappointment to mar the radiance of their past achievements. Their will to succeed must eventually triumph.

October 27, 1932

Non-Participation in Political Affairs

The handling of this delicate and vital problem regarding non-participation by Bahá’ís of East and West in political affairs, calls for the utmost circumspection, tact, patience and vigilance, on the part of those whose function and privilege it is to guard, promote and administer the activities of a world-wide, ever-advancing Cause. The misgivings and apprehensions of individual Bahá’ís should be allayed and eventually completely dispelled. Any misconception of the sane and genuine patriotism that animates every Bahá’í heart, if it ever obscures or perplexes the minds of responsible government officials, should be instantly and courageously dissipated. Any deliberate misrepresentation by the enemies of the Cause of God of the aims, the tenets and methods of the administrators of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh should be vigorously faced and its fallacy pitilessly exposed. The Cause to which we belong stands on the threshold of an era of unprecedented expansion. Its problems are many, diverse and challenging. Our methods and ways of approach must likewise be characterized by unusual sagacity, consummate skill and wisdom. He will surely never fail us in meeting the needs of a critical hour.

March 16, 1933

Personalities Subordinated

Concerning the removal of believers I feel that such a vitally important matter should be given the most serious consideration and preferably be referred to the National Assembly for further consideration and final decision. We should be slow to accept and reluctant to remove. I fully approve and wholeheartedly and unreservedly uphold the principle to which you refer that personalities should not be made centers around which the community may revolve but that they should be subordinated under all conditions and however great their merits to the properly constituted Assemblies. You and your co-workers can never over-estimate or over-emphasize this cardinal principle of Bahá’í Administration.

April 11, 1933

Momentous Convention

Message to 1933 Convention

Entire Bahá’í world stirred with expectations to witness results of American believers’ momentous Convention. On its proceedings hang issue of incalculable benefit to world-wide Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. To its delegates is given great opportunity to release forces which will usher in an era whose splendor must outshine the heroic age of our beloved Cause. Supreme Concourse waiting for them to seize it.

Cablegram June 1, 1933

An Eminent Rank

Keith’s precious life offered up in sacrifice to beloved Cause in Bahá’u’lláh’s native land. On Persian soil, for Persia’s sake, she encountered, challenged and fought the forces of darkness with high distinction, indomitable will, unswerving, exemplary loyalty. The mass of her helpless Persian brethren mourns the sudden loss of their valiant emancipator. American believers grateful and proud of the memory of their first and distinguished martyr. Sorrow stricken, I lament my earthly separation from an invaluable collaborator, an unfailing counselor, an esteemed and faithful friend. I urge the Local Assemblies befittingly to organize memorial gatherings in memory of one whose international services entitled her to an eminent rank among the Hands of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.

Cablegram October 30, 1933

Potentialities of Majestic Edifice

Message to 1934 Convention

American believers’ inspired leadership steadily unfolding to Bahá’ís world over the potentialities of the majestic edifice heralding formative period of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. Their unerring vision conceived its matchless design. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s own hands laid its cornerstone. Their dynamic faith reared its structure. Their sustained self-sacrifice crowned it with immortal glory. May the flame of their unconquerable enthusiasm continue glowing undimmed in their hearts till its naked frame is enveloped in its shining mantle.

Cablegram June 4, 1934

The Voting Right

I feel I must reaffirm the vital importance and necessity of the right of voting — a sacred responsibility of which no adult recognized believer should be deprived, unless he is associated with a community that has not as yet been in a position to establish a local Assembly. This distinguishing right which the believer possesses, however, does not carry with it nor does it imply an obligation to cast his vote, if he feels that the circumstances under which he lives do not justify or allow him to exercise that right intelligently and with understanding. This is a matter which should be left to the individual to decide himself according to his own conscience and discretion.

April 28, 1935

Unprecedented Impetus

Message to 1935 Convention

Heartily reciprocate sentiments conveyed in your message. Appeal to assembled delegates and incoming National Assembly to deliberate on measures required to stimulate all local communities and groups to lend immediate, unprecedented impetus to teaching activities throughout United States and Canada. Sustained concentration on this paramount issue can alone reveal the potentialities of beloved Temple and enable the superb self-sacrifice associated with it to yield its fairest fruit.

Cablegram April 29, 1935

Separation from Outworn Creeds

The separation that set in between the institutions of the Bahá’í Faith and the Islamic ecclesiastical organizations that oppose it — a movement that has originated in Egypt and is now spreading steadily throughout the middle East and will in time communicate its influence to the West — imposes upon every loyal upholder of the Cause the obligation of refraining from any word or action that might prejudice the position which our enemies have in recent years and of their own accord, proclaimed and established. This historic development, the beginnings of which could neither be recognized nor even anticipated in the years immediately preceding ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, may be said to have signalized the Formative Period of our Faith and to have paved the way for the consolidation of its administrative order. As this movement gains momentum, as it receives added impetus from the attitude and future action of the civil authorities in Persia, it will inevitably manifest its repercussions in the West and will rouse the leaders of the Church and finally the civil authorities to challenge the claims and eventually to recognize the independent status of the Religion of Bahá’u’lláh. Nothing whatever in the meantime should be said or done by any of us, whether in the political field or in our relations with ecclesiastical organizations, that would tend to confuse the issues with which our struggling Cause will sooner or later be confronted. We should accept no position, should avoid any affiliations or commitments that could in any way harm our future position or provide our potential enemies with weapons with which they can resist that complete emancipation of our Cause or retard its ultimate recognition and victory. Though our Cause unreservedly recognizes the Divine origin of all the religions that preceded it and upholds the spiritual truths which lie at their very core and are common to them all, its institutions, whether administrative, religious or humanitarian, must if their distinctive character is to be maintained and recognized, be increasingly divorced from the outworn creeds, the meaningless ceremonials and man-made institutions with which these religions are at present identified. Our adversaries in the East have initiated the struggle. Our future opponents in the West will, in their turn, arise and carry it a stage further. Ours is the duty, in anticipation of this inevitable contest, to uphold unequivocally and with undivided loyalty the integrity of our Faith and demonstrate the distinguishing features of its divinely appointed institutions.

June 15, 1935

The National Fund

As the activities of the American Bahá’í community expand, and its world-wide prestige correspondingly increases, the institution of the National Fund, the bedrock on which all other institutions must necessarily rest and be established, acquires added importance, and should be increasingly supported by the entire body of the believers, both in their individual capacities, and through their collective efforts, whether organized as groups or as local Assemblies. The supply of funds, in support of the National Treasury, constitutes, at the present time, the life-blood of those nascent institutions which you are laboring to erect. Its importance cannot, surely, be overestimated. Untold blessings shall no doubt crown every effort directed to that end. I am eagerly and prayerfully awaiting the news of an unprecedented expansion in so vital an organ of the administrative Order of the Faith.

July 29, 1935

The New Hour Has Struck

Convey to assembled believers celebrating termination entire dome unit of Mashriqu’l-Adhkár my heart-felt congratulations on triumphant progress of their undeniably glorious enterprise. To prayers and testimonies ascending to Throne of Bahá’u’lláh I am moved to add my fervent though inadequate tribute to solidarity of so dazzling an achievement. The forces which progressive revelation of this mighty symbol of our Faith is fast releasing in heart of a sorely tried continent no one of this generation can correctly appraise. The new hour has struck in history of our beloved Cause, calling for nation-wide, systematic, sustained efforts in teaching field, enabling thereby these forces to be directed into such channels as shall redound to the glory of our Faith and to the honor of its institutions.

Cablegram October 26, 1935

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