Lights of Guidance
A Bahá’í Reference File
Compiled by Helen Bassett Hornby
Reproduced with the kind permission of the
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Ecuador
 

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PREFACE
TO 1983 EDITION

The purpose of this compilation is to serve as a ready reference for the institutions, pioneers, teachers, et. al. The majority of the material cited herein is from the original or xerox copies of letters of the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi, the Universal House of Justice and, to a lesser degree, from talks and Tablets of the three Central Figures of the Faith. All letters or quotes from ‘Bahá’í News’, journals and bulletins were authenticated or verified from transcripts from the World Centre or from various National Archives. In a few cases where no record of an item could be found other than from the publications, permission was granted to use it until such time as the original is found and corrections will then be made if necessary.
Apparent inconsistencies in the annotations of sources are the consequence of having received a number of verified transcripts from the World Centre. These transcripts often noted corrections of published material quoted, and sometimes cited more of the original letter than was previously published with the suggestion noted that for the sake of clarity the compiler might like to use the entire letter or paragraph.
A number of compilations by the Universal House of Justice or its Research Department have been published by different Publishing Trusts subsequent to the drafting of this ‘Reference File’, therefore a published source may or may not be cited. However, aware that many of the friends would not have access to original copies of compilations or letters, the compiler went back and found a number of citations and inserted references from available published sources.
The inexperienced reader may also question the inconsistencies in spelling and the diacritical markings throughout the compilation. In accordance with the standard set by the House of Justice, it appears that liberties should not be taken with letters written by or on behalf of the Guardian, nor of the talks and Tablets of the Three Central Figures of the Faith. The compiler has adhered strictly to this standard and only in two or three instances of glaring errors is the correct spelling cited in parenthesis.
The compiler humbly desires to express her heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the Universal House of Justice and the Department of Secretariat for their guidance, help, stimulation and encouragement which engendered hope and the necessary courage for her to dare to think of finishing this Reference File during the most critical period of her life, and for their kindness and concern in sending innumerous transcripts for verification and authentication of material which could not be located elsewhere; to the Counsellors of South America (before the merger to form the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas) for their stimulating influence and assistance over the years, for their love and infinite patience and sharing of material for this project. Special thanks to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ecuador for its never failing help, boundless love and understanding and unlimited assistance with this work so that it could become a reality. It would indeed take a book to cite the names of all the friends who so kindly helped or contributed in some way to the successful completion of this reference work. Grateful acknowledgement is extended to each and every one of you wherever you are! and a ‘special measure’ of gratitude to the friends in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan for sacrificing so much of their time and energy, often after long hours of work and study, to help finish this project. Without their assistance it would have taken several more months to complete it
Sometimes one wishes for the spiritual language of the other plane to express one’s deep emotions. Now, is one of the moments; the compiler cherishes such desire to express her love and thanks to Dr. Rahmatu’lláh Muhájir, the Hand of the Cause of God, for his stimulating influence and help and for his review of the Reference File the night before he passed away.
Many questions have been received as to how this compilation came into being or was initiated. The compiler explains that her love for the Guardian’s letter is what inspired her to start collecting them from old ‘Bahá’í News’, magazines and bulletins when she was a ‘brand new’ Bahá’í. Then during the Nine-Year Plan she was asked to make some international teaching trips and learned that such ‘teachers are expected to know a little of everything’. This was the impetus behind her gathering the precious ‘rescued letters’ that at the time she felt were lost in those dusty stacked away magazines and bulletins, and then putting them together to be used especialy on such trips. Then a Persian friend came to visit, a Counsellor*, and he saw the then small compilation. It would be interesting if his exact words could be recalled but in essence he said that “Bahá’ís cannot be selfish; when one does something like this, it must be shared, now this is no longer yours.”
Now friends this is yours!
* Masu’d Khamsí


Preface to the 1988 Revised Edition
While updating this reference work an effort was made to provide an accessible volume, including some revised, retranslated Tablets and letters which would be invaluable to those who have limited time to do their own research and to those with insuffient reference material available when it is needed.
Considering that the Holy Text comprises more than 100 volumes and Tablets revealed by the Prophet/Founder of the Faith, Bahá’u’lláh, and to this Revelation have been added extensive writings and interpretations by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi as well as special messages and letters from the Universal House of Justice, one can readily understand why it is impossible for one book to encompass such a bountiful supply of written guidance. Therefore, an attempt was made to collect from these primary sources quotations which address topics of known frequent concern to the Institutions, pioneers, travelling teachers and the individual Bahá’ís.
This is a ‘reference work’ and not an attempt to provide a comprehensive treatment of every subject mentioned in its entirety. It will indicate to a reader that the subject has been addressed and, if needed, further information can be obtained from the Institutions.
Again friends, this is yours!
Helen Bassett Hornby
Compiler