the first World Parliament of Religions 1893

  1. The First Public Mention of the Bahá’í Faith in America was made at the World Parliament of Religions which was held in conjunction with the Chicago World’s Fair. A paper written by the Rev. Henry Jessup was read by a Rev. Ford, a missionary to Syria. At the end of Jessup’s paper he quoted these
 words of Bahá’u’lláh:
“That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religions should cease and differences of race be annulled. What harm is there in this? Yet so it shall be. These fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come. Do not you in Europe need this also? Let
not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”

Shoghi Effendi refers briefly to this event — which took place just a little more than a year after Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension. He noted that this presentation referred to Baha’u’llah as “‘the Bábí Saint’ … and two years previous to His ascension ‘a Cambridge scholar’ had visited Him, to whom He had expressed ‘sentiments so noble, so Christ-like’ that the author of the paper, in his ‘closing words,’ wished to share them with his audience.”

From this humble beginning — a mention in an address by a Christian missionary at a convocation of world religions — eventually grew the American Baha’i community and then, with their help and the Persians, they went to the whole world to spread the glad-tidings of the Bahai Faith.

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