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COLLECTIONLetters from the Universal House of Justice
TITLENSA staff members answering correspondence; prayers of Abdu'l-Baha
AUTHOR 1 Universal House of Justice
ABSTRACTTwo topics: the use by National Spiritual Assembly staff members to handle correspondence, and the authenticity of a prayer attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá "O Lord! Open Thou the door, provide the means, prepare the way, and make safe the path..."
NOTES Transmitted by email; original on file.
TAGS- Administration; Authenticity; National Spiritual Assemblies
CONTENT Dear Bahá’í Friend,

Your email letter of 30 September 2010 concerning the use by the National Spiritual Assembly of ___ of staff members to handle correspondence and your email letters of 2 June 2011 regarding the authenticity of passages attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have been received by the Universal House of Justice, and we have been asked to respond as follows. The delay in our reply, which is due to the pressure of work at the Bahá’í World Centre, is regretted.

As indicated to you by the National Assembly, it is becoming more common in communities that deal with a significant amount of correspondence to employ staff in national offices who are intimately connected with the work of the Assembly. Of course, the person so employed is an individual who enjoys the trust of the Assembly. If there is a confidential matter that a believer feels must be addressed directly by the Assembly itself, this can be indicated on the communication, but it will then be handled at the discretion of the Assembly. It is simply not possible to address the growing work of Bahá’í communities in any other way, and the House of Justice feels you need not be overly concerned about this matter.

In your letters of 2 June 2011, you ask about the authenticity of two prayers. The following has been provided in response to similar queries posed to the House of Justice on other occasions.

Concerning your query about a prayer that begins "O Lord! Open Thou the door, provide the means, prepare the way, and make safe the path, that we may be guided....", the Research Department has indicated that whereas the first few words of the prayer in question up to and including "make safe the path" are reminiscent of the opening phrases of a prayer contained in an Arabic Tablet revealed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for the friends in Ṭihrán, the rest of it is quite different and no matching original text has been found. The Arabic Tablet is published in Min Makátíb ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, volume 1 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Bahá’í do Brasil, 1982), pages 9-12, and an English translation of it appears in Star of the West, volume 8, number 14 (23 November 1917), pages 194-96. Comparison of the prayer in question with the English translation of the Arabic prayer in that Tablet suggests that the former may have been written by one of the believers. This prayer is, therefore, not considered to be authentic and its author is unknown.

With regard to the authenticity of a prayer which includes the line, "Cause my mouth to utter the wisdom of Thy ways...", the Research Department has specified that as an original text of this prayer, of which there are slightly different versions, has not been located, its authenticity cannot be confirmed.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,
Department of the Secretariat
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