Baha'i Library Online

See original version at bahai-library.com/richardson_persian_rival_jesus.

COLLECTIONSPublished articles, Personal letters
TITLEThe Persian Rival to Jesus, and His American Disciples
AUTHOR 1Robert P. Richardson
DATE_THIS1915-08
VOLUME29:8
TITLE_PARENTThe Open Court
PAGE_RANGE460-483
CITY_THISChicago
ABSTRACTHistory and teachings of the Bábi and Bahá'í religions and contemporary American disagreements, from an unsympathetic outsider's perspective. Followed by three letters-to-the-editor from three subsequent issues.
NOTES Many of this author's erroneous statements about the Bahá'í Faith were first corrected ten years earlier in this same journal by Arthur Pillsbury Dodge, and in a subsequent issue by I.G. Kheiralla.

Followed by three letters to Open Court, at end. This document is also online in a variety of formats at archive.org.

TAGSCriticism and apologetics; Opposition; United States (documents)
 
CONTENT
Contents
  1. PDF from Word document
  2. Proofread Word document
  3. PDF image scan
  4. Letter from "A friend of Miss Farmer" published in issue 29:9 (September 1915), p. 572
  5. PDF of letter published in issue 29:9 (September 1915), p. 572
  6. Letter from Ibrahim Kheiralla published in issue 29:10 (October 1915)
  7. Letter from Mrs. Kirchner published in issue 29:11 (November 1915), pp. 702-703
  8. PDF of letter published in issue 29:11 (November 1915), pp. 702-703
  9. Text of letter from Davidson Frame published in issue 30:5 (February 1916), p. 126
  10. PDF of letter published in issue 30:5 (February 1916), p. 126

1. PDF (from Word document below; see also scan of the original)

2. Microsoft Word version (prepared by Mike Thomas, 2023)

Click to download: richardson_persian_rival_jesus.docx [500 KB].

3. PDF scan

4. Letter from "A friend of Miss Farmer" published in issue 29:9 (September 1915), p. 572

[see also Richardson's later article The Rise and Fall of the Parliament of Religions at Greenacre.]
MISS FARMER AND GREENACRE.

To the Editor of The Open Court:

May I be pardoned if I seek to supplement the article of Mr. Richardson on Bahaism with a few words on Miss Farmer and her life-work, her beloved Greenacre?

No more thrilling chapter in the lives of leaders of thought has ever been written than the facts concerning Miss Farmer and her Greenacre. Her ideal was "a universal platform" upon which with malice toward none, with charity toward all, each might be permitted to voice his own particular creed, to the end that the various religions might learn to compare sympathetically their points of agreement and forget somewhat their points of difference. She believed that if this could be done, religious hatreds and wars would cease.

With a marvelous magnetism, a winning personality and supreme love for all humanity, which drew men and women alike to her side, all eager to assist in the great work for the uplift of the world. Miss Farmer, while health and money lasted, worked with the unfailing ardor of the idealist, giving unstintingly of herself and her means to promote the cause of universality.

Now, her health broken, her little remaining fortune in Maine tied up by distant relatives so that she has to depend absolutely upon the generosity of devoted friends; not daring for fear of personal violence to cross the boundary lines of New Hampshire whose courts having pronounced her sane, she knows that there her last remaining possession, personal liberty, is secure, — she has been compelled to submit to being swept contemptuously aside while her universal platform at Greenacre was seized by a sect known as "Bahaism" and converted into a "Bahai Center."

When the true history of Miss Farmer's work at Greenacre is written, as it must be some day, the history of the untold good to the untold numbers that it has accomplished and still might be accomplishing if that fatal, mentally unbalancing disease, Bahaism, had not crept in, the world will wonder with regret at the magnitude and beauty of that which it permitted to be destroyed.

    Yours truly,
    A friend of Miss Farmer and Greenacre.

5. PDF of letter published in issue 29:9 (September 1915), p. 572

6. Letter from Ibrahim Kheiralla published in issue 29:10 (October 1915)

A longer document, this is online separately at https://bahai-library.com/kheiralla_reply_robert_richardson.

7. Letter from Mrs. Kirchner published in issue 29:11 (November 1915), pp. 702-703

A BAHAIST PROTEST.

Believers in the religion of Baha Ullah are naturally disappointed in Mr. Robert P. Richardson's presentation of it in the August Open Court [above]. In the October number appeared a protest by Mr. I. G. Kheiralla [online here], and we have received another objection to Mr. Richardson's article from Mrs. Albert Kirchner, of Chicago, who has been a student of the Baha cause for twelve years. The following extracts characterize her attitude:

"From this it will be seen that we do not substitute Baha 'Ollah for Jesus, for each have their own identity or station, one cannot take the place of the other; but each represents His own station in the evolution of Truth according to the unfoldment of the capacity of humanity. ...

"I would advise any one who would care to read a better account of the historical facts of the Bahai Movement to get Everybody's Magazine of December 1911, also the Fortnightly Review of June 1911. I will quote the note of the editor of Everybody's to the writer of these articles. Miss E. S. Stevens: 'For seventy years a religion without church, priest, creed or fixed form of worship has been spreading through the Orient, claiming converts and martyrs by the thousands. Love and Unity are its sole principles; and on this broad program believers in various faiths can unite. This Movement, called Bahaism, has also extended to Europe, Hawaii and the United States. Her acquaintance with Abdul Baha in his oriental home makes her story authoritative — a first-hand, intimate study.' "These magazines can be read at the Bahai Inquirers Room, 1407 Auditorium Building, if any one is unable to obtain them.

"There has been no great movement born without the tongue of scandal and calumny attacking it, so we do not hope to be able to escape it either. As to some of the ambitious people who attach themselves to this cause, these are the ones who make it possible to be misunderstood. As Baha 'Ollah has said: 'These are they who attach themselves to my name but are not of me.' And as Abdul Baha says: 'If we are true Bahais (Real Christians or Glorious Christians) speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civilization, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action nothing in the material world can be accomplished, neither can words unaided advance a man in the Spiritual Kingdom. It is not through lip service only that the Elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought Light into the world. Therefore strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn toward God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute! This is the work of a true Bahai, and this is what is expected of him. If we strive to do all this, then are we true Bahais, but if we neglect it we are not followers of the Light, and we have no right to the name. God, who knows all hearts, knows how far our lives are the fulfilment of our words.'

"Is this not the essence of the Sermon on the Mount? So let this be our criterion for judging a Bahai.

"As to the Greenacre difficulties, I do not know of the happenings; but if such be the case, those committing such acts and doings have never been touched with the true spirit of the Bahai cause."

8. PDF of letter published in issue 29:11 (November 1915), pp. 702-703

9. Text of letter from Davidson Frame published in issue 30:5 (February 1916), p. 126

AMERICAN BAHAISM AND PERSIA.

The following letter from a physician in Resht, Persia, was received by Mr. Robert P. Richardson of Philadelphia, in comment on his article published in The Open Court of August last [above]:

"Resht, Persia, Oct. 10, 1915.

"Robert P. Richardson, Esq., 5010 Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa.

"Dear Sir: I have read with a great deal of interest the article in The Open Court which you so kindly had sent to me. I am especially glad to get a clear statement of the present position of Bahaism in America. You may be aware that one of the strongest arguments to lead Persians to accept Bahaism at the present time is the assertion that America is rapidly becoming Bahai, in proof of which The Star of the West is produced.

"Thanking you again for your clear and fair presentation of the matter, I am, most sincerely,

"J. Davidson Frame (M.D.)"

10. PDF of letter published in issue 30:5 (February 1916), p. 126

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