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COLLECTIONPilgrims' notes
TITLENotes on Pilgrimage to Haifa: April 15-23, 1957
AUTHOR 1Alice Dudley
ABSTRACTNotes on a pilgrimage in 1957.
NOTES This is a "critical edition" of the Dudley notes, created by comparing five different manuscripts. See also the parallel edition. See also another set of Dudley's notes.

This is a "Pilgrim's note," an individual's recollection of statements and actions of the Central figures. They are subjective and not authoritative. See an overview of Pilgrim's Notes.

TAGSPilgrims notes
See also the parallel edition of five different manuscript copies of these notes.

The following notes are based on table conversations of the beloved Guardian during the period April 15-23. They are not verbatim and are not in sequence, but I verified them for accuracy after the Guardian had left the table with members of the International Council, Ruhiyyih Khanum and other pilgrims to be sure the intent was correct.

One of the characteristics of the Guardian is his amazing memory. He has statistics of every kind pertaining to activities in all areas of the world at his fingertips and he quotes them constantly. He is especially happy over the progress of the Faith in the Pacific area. It surpasses even Africa now. The beloved Guardian kept reiterating the goals of the various areas stating what progress had been made, what goals had been surpassed or when they had lagged.

To give an idea how fast the Guardian works--when the Israeli court awarded the house at Bahje which had been occupied by Covenant Breakers, to the Bahá'ís--that very same day the decree was awarded the Guardian had the house demolished the same day and every portion of it carried away and inside of 4 1/2 days had created a formal garden 12 1/2 meters wide and 80 meters long. In the process of making the garden he had a row of large trees uprooted by bulldozers, raised the garden 1 meter, built roads, paths, installed lighting, made terraces, placed statuary and planted trees, flowers, and shrubbery according to a design. All this monumental work was accomplished in 4 1/2 days.

The Guardian described the uniqueness of the dome on the tomb of the Bab. It is Renaissance with a blending of Italian architecture.

The decline of Islam is beginning - they will be punished for their treatment of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh.

One evening the Guardian began speaking about the coming calamities. He was very emphatic and after he left, Ruhiyyih Khanum and the members of the International Council stated they had never heard him speak with so much force or so decisively. He said the coming calamity would be worse than war. Cities would evaporate; especially in the cities where it is hardest to teach the Faith such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. People would lose all their possessions and homes overnight - would simply evaporate. Americans would become refugees to other continents. The U.S. would suffer the most because it was the most materialistic. Europe was the cradle of materialism but the U.S. was the stronghold of materialism. Russia would also suffer greatly. He said there was no difference between Russia and the U.S. in their systems because both were materialistic - capitalism which is purely materialistic and communism which controls the proletariat. The coming calamity would be retributive.

Abdul-Baha went to the U.S. to specifically waken the nation to its dangers. His mission was a failure - both from the standpoint of the Bahá'ís and the Americans. That can be discerned by reading between the lines of his addresses in America.

The Faith will be spread by the dark-skinned races, by the so-called uncivilized peoples.

The Bahá'ís in the U.S. are going through a transitional period and they will be in a position of spectators in the spread of the Faith in comparison with the spread of the Faith in Africa and among the yellow-skinned races.

Speaking again about the calamity, the Guardian said it was retributive and referred to the passage in the Hidden Words: "All of a sudden the unforeseen calamity..." and to the quotation about the "limbs of mankind will quake." It especially applies to the U.S. because of the importance of the U.S. It is now America's turn to suffer. Referring to the coming cataclysm, the Guardian stated that the world needs a blood-letting because of over population of such countries as China, India, Japan. Refers to it as high blood-pressure and also to the unhealthy condition of many of the people, bad blood. Sally Sanor asked if in the future, when there would be no more wars, would there be a problem of overpopulation and the Guardian replied that science by that time would have solved the food problem.

The Guardian stated that the U.S. was chosen as the Cradle of the World Order (the Administrative Order) not because of its spiritual qualities but because of its corruption. After the coming calamity, the U.S. will fulfill the prophecy of Abdul-Baha that the U.S. would lead the nations because of its suffering.

The Guardian said he had given up warning the friends because they paid no heed to him. Furthermore, that this calamity had been destined. The Guardian stated Abdul-Baha warned the friends but they were heedless. It is too late to save the world. The message of Bahá'u'lláh has been in the world for over 100 years and has been rejected. The calamity will be sudden. He spoke of our statesmen from the President down; all were helpless and impotent. Also stated that we were not an altruistic nation, we were only helping other countries to save ourselves. Said the submarines built by Russia will paralyze the United Kingdom, Western Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific and Atlantic Seaboards. He stated that the U.S. did not wish to coalesce with other nations - only to protect itself. Bahá'ís have failed with the Negro race in the U.S. - there should be more intermarriage(s). Speaking of love - the Americans love money, their wives, their homes, their possessions, their friends. Just as there is a decline in the value of the American dollar, there is also a decline in their morals and home life.

He spoke of the American Bahá'í News Letter; said it was the most uninspiring organ. It contained only agenda programs. It is now an international bulletin but does not present news in an interesting way. Also spoke of the large deficit of the Fund. (Jessie Revell said we should give every month, the size of the contribution has nothing to do with it. One contribution to the International Fund recently was for $1.35)

The Guardian said the calamity would happen before the Lesser Peace. He said the Bahá'ís in America should not only leave their homes, but should go as far away as possible. Victories come only from self-sacrifice and self-abnegation. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the victories. Bahá'ís should lower their standards of living in order to give more.

I asked the Guardian if the calamity could be averted. He replied, "No." I asked if it would be all North America? He said mainly the U.S.

The night of Ridvan the Guardian started the conversation by saying he had received over 1000 telegrams from Assemblies all over the world; mentioning specifically Salsburg, Insbruck, Milan and Hiroshima. Edna True cabled to say Luxemburg had acquired its Hazira. The Guardian cabled back and asked her, "What about Stockholm, Lisbon, and translation into Lapp language?"

The Guardian then asked us how we enjoyed Bahje -- When I said, "I shall never be poor again." He smiled and asked me how I had slept in the mansion?

When the Guardian writes letters to the Persians, he always chants as he writes.

Isabel Sabri asked what attitude towards missionaries should be. The Guardian replied we must be careful with governments and reckless with missionaries! The Guardian repeated many times that more settlers should come to France and the Scandinavian countries from the U.S.

Sally Sanor asked the Guardian if he thought there would be interplanetary travel and he replied, "Yes, perhaps not to the entire universe, but to the nearest planets." She also asked what employees of the American Army should do in case of an alert, as we would be evacuated. He said if our jobs interfered with our remaining at our posts, we should change our jobs.

One evening the Guardian mentioned there had been 6000 years of prophetic revelation to announce the coming of Bahá'u'lláh and to prepare the world for it - that there would be 500,000 years of revelation under His shadow. He stated that world civilization will not be inaugurated before another revelation or prophet appears. He continually stressed the goals of the Faith as outlined in the "Advent of Divine Justice" on page 12 - the 5 steps before it assumed its rightful place in the world. The Guardian announced also that he has 19 new plans for teaching work in the various portions of the globe.

Agness Alexander has been appointed a Hand of the Cause to replace Dr. Townsend. The Guardian said Dr. Esslemont and Dr. Townsend were the two greatest Bahá'í writers in the west, and that Abdu'l-Fazl was the greatest Bahá'í writer in the East. He thought that Townsend's latest book "Christ and Bahá'u'lláh" exceeded Dr. Esslemont's book in greatness. Said the English should be very proud of both of them, that we must use Dr. Townsend's latest book because it portrays the Kingdom of God upon Earth. We must tell the people that it is already here but in the embryonic stage. When the Kingdom of God has flowered, it will be the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. From the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh we will have its fairest fruits, world civilization but that will not be till the next prophet appears.

The Guardian said that unless the home fronts (U.S., England) improved, we may not have the Baghdad Conference. He said that all virgin areas far exceeded their goals, but the home front lagged behind. Then he showed us maps he had made of the supplementary goals. One map showed the goals which had either exceeded original goals or victories which had not even been included in any of the plans.

When he asked me if I had seen the Shrine of the Bab yet. I told him that I had gotten up at 4 a.m. to see it and he was surprised that an American had gotten up so early! He jokingly replied that it was because I was a Scandinavian. He had expected early rising of the English but not the Americans.

One morning Leroy Ioas drove us to see the temple site which is situated on the very top of Mt. Carmel about 2 miles from where the Shrine is located. The site is shaped like a peninsula over- looking water on three sides. The Guardian says the Shrine of the Bab is the heart of Carmel and the Temple will be the head of Mt. Carmel. The guardian said Bahá'u'lláh had stood on this site and revealed the Tablet of Carmel in such loud ringing tones that the nuns in the Carmelite nunnery situated further below, could hear Him. This site is also near the cave of Elijah.

One evening I asked the Guardian about the reference in the "Gleanings" to the sisters of Bahá'u'lláh. The Guardian replied that some of the half-sisters of Bahá'u'lláh were loyal to Him and some disloyal. She was a loyal sister.

The Guardian stressed many times that there has not been a Christian civilization for centuries - only a materialistic civilization.


[Editors note (T.L., 1998): In an addendum, one typist remarks:]

Winston Evans stated on the Convention floor in 1961 that the LSA of Albuquerque sent these notes to the Guardian for verification and asked if they could be distributed. He confirmed the notes and gave permission for their circulation.

[Editor's note (T.L., 1998): Instead of the above addendum, one typist includes the following letter:]

On 28.7.1957 a copy of the above notes were sent to the Guardian for verification by Seymore Malkin and Pat Gangel. The Universal House of Justice was asked if this letter is authentic. In a response to Thellie Lovejoy dated 24 Oct. 2000 the House wrote: "After checking records held at the World Center, we are able to confirm the authenticity of the letter forwarded electronically by you dated 30 August 1957 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and signed by R. Rabbani." The letter in question is as follows:

Haifa, Israel

Dear Bahá'í Friends:

Your letter of July 28, with enclosure has been received by the Beloved Guardian and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf.

It is very indiscreet to let non-Bahá'ís see our Pilgrim Notes, but there is no objection to sharing them with the Bahá'ís. They are not the verbatim words of the Guardian, not a dissertation on his part but parts of a conversation ... as such these notes are fairly accurate.

He appreciates your watchfulness and your desire to protect the teachings.

With warm Bahá'í greetings
(Sd) R. Rebbani. {Rabbani?}

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