June 18, 2023 will mark 40 years since 10 Baha’i women were hanged in Shiraz. Their only ‘crime’ was their refusal to renounce their beliefs in a faith that promotes the principles of gender equality, unity, justice, and truthfulness. This collection highlights Baha’i Blog content relating to the ongoing persecution of Baha’is in Iran.
In 1958, during a talk he was giving, Hand of the Cause of God Leroy Ioas recounted comments Shoghi Effendi made about the events surrounding his appointment as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith. This video depicts that story. We are grateful to the family of Leroy Ioas for permission to share these comments.
Here is a longer extract:
“I want to say a few words now about the Guardianship. I told you about the life of the Guardian, his guidance, his fore-knowledge. Shoghi Effendi was a very remarkable young man, and of course, he just worshipped Abdu’l-Baha. And when Abdu’l-Baha passed away, the whole world became dark for him. All light had gone out. When he returned to the Holy Land, he had in mind from the things which Abdu’l-Baha had said to him, (and I am now telling you what he said), “that I had in mind that Abdu’l-Baha would give me the honor of calling the great conclave, calling together the great conclave which would elect the Universal House of Justice. And I had thought in His Will and Testament, that that probably was what He was instructing to be done.” But, he said, “Instead of that, I found that I had been appointed as the Guardian of the Cause of God,” and he said, “I didn’t want to be the Guardian of the Cause. In the first place, I didn’t think I was worthy. The next days, I didn’t want to face these responsibilities.” I think he talked one night along these lines when you were there, John, I’m not sure, but he went into this on other times, too, in great detail. He said, “I didn’t want to be the Guardian. I knew what it meant. I knew that my life as a human being was over. I didn’t want it, and I didn’t want to face it, so as you remember, I left, remember, I left the Holy Land, and I went up in the mountains of Switzerland, and I fought with myself until I conquered myself. Then I came back and I turned myself over to God, and I was the Guardian. Now,” he said, “every Baha’i in the world, every person in the world, has to do the exactly the same thing, whether you’re a Hand of the Cause, or whether you’re a Knight of Baha’u’llah, or whether you’re a member of a National Assembly, whether you’re a teacher, whether you’re a pioneer, whether you’re an administrator, or whatever you are in the Cause, every Baha’i must fight with himself and conquer himself. And when he’s conquered himself, then he becomes a true instrument for service to the Cause of God. And not until that. And he won’t achieve his great success until he has done it, and this is what every Baha’i in the world should know. And this is one of the main things that I want you to get out of this talk tonight, and bear out of this talk, there are the instructions that every individual must fight with himself, must conquer himself, must overcome his lower nature, and turn himself over to God, so that the Holy Spirit can function through you. And when the Holy Spirit functions through you, then you will gain victory after victory, because the Holy Spirit is the creative aspect of God, and it cannot do other than win victories and make successes for the Cause.”
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.