June 24, 2018

First Baha’i in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dorothy Sheets was the first Bahá’í to declare her belief in Bahá’u’lláh in Calgary. She later pioneered to Regina, Saskatchewan and to Newfoundland. Dorothy passed away in 1997. 
(Adapted from the Footnotes included in ‘Messages to Canada’)

June 19, 2018

1923: First election of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of England

The first meeting of the elected “National Spiritual Assembly” took place in London on 13 October 1923. 
(Footnote to a message from Shoghi Effendi to 'The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout London, Manchester and Bournemouth, care of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly, 17 February, 1923'; ‘Unfolding Destiny’)

June 15, 2018

1939: First pioneer to Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Doris Skinner, a Bahá’í from Vancouver, was the first pioneer to Calgary in 1939, until 1949, when she pioneered to Newfoundland. 
(Adapted from the Footnotes included in ‘Messages to Canada’)

June 12, 2018

Siyah-Chal (The Black Pit) of Tehran – a depiction

Upon Our arrival We were first conducted along a pitch-black corridor, from whence We descended three steep flights of stairs to the place of confinement assigned to Us. The dungeon was wrapped in thick darkness, and Our fellow prisoners numbered nearly a hundred and fifty souls: thieves, assassins and highwaymen. Though crowded, it had no other outlet than the passage by which We entered. No pen can depict that place, nor any tongue describe its loathsome smell. Most of these men had neither clothes nor bedding to lie on. God alone knoweth what befell Us in that most foul-smelling and gloomy place! 
- Baha'u'llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)

June 11, 2018

1939: First pioneer to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Beulah S. Proctor, an American believer, was the first pioneer, with her daughter, to Halifax in 1939. She died 1958. 
(Adapted from the Footnotes in ‘Messages to Canada’)

June 7, 2018

19th Century Persia: System used for surnames

In times past the people of Persia had no surnames, but in many instances they were known by the name of the district, city, town, or even the village from which they came: for example, Khurasani, Mazindarani, Tihrani, Isfahani, and Shirazi. There were also various honorific prefixes and suffixes by which a person was distinguished. A descendant of the Prophet Muhammad had (and has) the prefix of 'Siyyid'. At times, 'Mirza' took the place of 'Siyyid', and at times the two were used together. 'Mirza' by itself did not denote any particular ancestry, except when placed after a proper name to mark royal descent. The suffix 'Khan' served at one time as a title, but with passing years, it became merely honorific, even meaningless, and at no time was it a surname. The prefix 'Haji' or 'Haj' indicated then, as now, one who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca. Mashhadi and Karbila'i, as prefixes, marked pilgrimage to Mashhad or Karbila, but as suffixes pointed out nativity. There were also innumerable titles conferred by the sovereign in Iran, consisting of diverse combinations, sometimes ludicrous, sometimes grammatically impossible. Occasionally they indicated a definite rank and profession. As time passed, these titles multiplied absurdly, until they were swept away by legislation in the 1920's. Finally, a person was often distinguished from others by a combination of prefixes and suffixes attached to his name which, if omitted, might cause him to be taken for another Person. 
- H.M. Balyuzi  (‘The Bab The Herald of the Day of Days’)

June 1, 2018

1982: Commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf - The five international conferences of the Seven Year Plan

The five international conferences of the Seven Year Plan were called to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, to discuss anew the present condition of the Faith in a turbulent world society, to examine the great opportunities for its future growth and development, and to focus attention on the unfulfilled goals of the Plan. We are certain that the contemplation of the gathered friends on the sterling qualities which distinguished the heroic life of the Greatest Holy Leaf will help them to persevere in their noble endeavours. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message to the International Conference in Canberra, Australia, 2, September 1982; ‘Messages from the Universal House of justice 1963-1986’)