239 Days in America, Day 73: June 22, 1912 | New Jersey

Elephants in Chicago 1

THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION would be over this evening. It had begun on Tuesday, June 18, 1912, at the Chicago Coliseum on Wabash Avenue. After months of campaign speeches, accusations, and rebuttals — and twelve weeks of primary elections in sixteen states — the delegates were ready to choose either President William Howard Taft or former President Theodore Roosevelt to be the Republican Presidential nominee.

Unlike almost everyone else in the building, William Jennings Bryan didn’t have any skin in the game. He was a Democrat, and had run as the Democratic candidate for President three times, in 1896, 1900, and 1908, losing each time. This week he was here not to politick, but to report. The nation wanted his viewpoint; he was in high demand. Several daily newspapers had contracted with him for his eye on each day’s proceedings. Monday morning’s dispatch evoked the early skirmishes on the convention floor:

“The delegates as they come in are badged, tagged and buttonholed,” Bryan wrote. “The prophets are revising their lists as they learn of additions or defections and the corridors of the hotels resound with the cheers of partisans. These things are to be found in every convention, but they are here in unusual abundance.”

Although he was enjoying himself (“We are having a great time”) he could also see through the hullabaloo. “There is a liberal education in a national convention,” he told the public on Monday, “but much that one learns is not useful to him afterwards.”

Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York, 20 June 1912 2

The great mass of humanity does not exercise real love and fellowship. The elect of humanity are those who live together in love and unity. They are preferable before God because the divine attributes are already manifest in them. The supreme love and unity is witnessed in the divine Manifestations. Among Them unity is indissoluble, changeless, eternal and everlasting. Each One is expressive and representative of all. If we deny One of the Manifestations of God, we deny all. To inflict persecution upon One is to persecute the Others. In all degrees of existence each One praises and sanctifies the Others. Each of Them holds to the solidarity of mankind and promotes the unity of human hearts. Next to the divine Manifestations come the believers whose characteristics are agreement, fellowship and love. The Bahá’í friends in Persia attained such a brotherhood and love that it really became a hindrance in the conduct of material affairs. Each one into whatever house of the friends he went considered himself the owner of the house, so to speak. There was no duality but complete mutuality of interests and love. The visiting friend would have no hesitation in opening the provision box and taking out enough food for his needs. They wore each other’s clothes as their own when necessary. If in need of a hat or cloak, they would take and use it. The owner of the clothing would be thankful and grateful that the garment had gone. When he returned home, he would perhaps be told, “So and so was here and took away your coat.” He would reply, “Praise be to God! I am so grateful to him. Praise be to God! I am so thankful I have been given this opportunity of showing my love for him.” To such an extreme degree this love and fellowship expressed itself that Bahá’u’lláh commanded that no one should take possession of another’s belongings unless presented with them. The intention is to show to what an extent unity and love prevailed among the Bahá’í friends in the East.

I hope that this same degree and intensity of love may become manifest and apparent here; that the spirit of God shall so penetrate your hearts that each one of the beloved of God shall be considered as all; that each one may become a cause of unity and center of accord and all mankind be bound together in real fellowship and love.

Saturday, June 22, 1912

In the morning ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the followers of Yahyá, saying:

“These people are following their false imaginings. They say that the letter from the Báb to Yahyá begins thus: ‘From God, the Mighty, the Beloved, to God, the Mighty, the Beloved.’ But this passage is also written at the beginning of the letter to Dayyán and to others. In Tablets revealed by the Blessed Beauty there are also many such passages. The intent is an address from the Manifestation to Himself. What does this have to do with Yahyá? In a Tablet from the Báb to Yahyá and written in Yahyá’s own handwriting, he is directed by the Báb to ascertain God’s intention by asking Siyyid Husayn, the amanuensis.”

The Master then gave various accounts of their vain imaginings and the mischief they caused in both the spiritual and material affairs of Persia. He also spoke about their malicious calumnies against the sincere and trustworthy Bahá’ís of the East and the West. He ended His talk with an exposition on the erroneous notion prevailing among some religious leaders that science is opposed to religion, a belief that leads people to false dogmas and to adhere to vain imaginings.

In the afternoon the Master gave an exposition on the words of Christ: ‘He that desireth to follow Me, must bear his own cross.’ He then mentioned the martyrs of this great Cause and, referring to ‘Abdu’l-Vahháb-i-Shírází, said:

“Before he left the prison to go to the altar of divine sacrifice, he came first and placed his head on Bahá’u’lláh’s feet and kissed them. Having embraced all the friends, he hastened to the plain of sacrifice, dancing and snapping his fingers in ecstasy.

As the Master recounted this event, His voice became so resonant and powerful that it caused the friends to tremble, and then His mood changed. His body dancing and His fingers snapping, He made such ecstatic cries it seemed that the scene of martyrdom had been reenacted before our very eyes. Afterwards, He said: ‘Compare the condition and firmness of the martyrs of this Revelation with those of the disciples of Christ, taking into account the station attained. How great is the difference between this Day and the past. How far the one is from the other.’

Friends and seekers gathered in the evening. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s response to Mr Edsall’s father-in-law was very inspiring and impressive. 3

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: June 22 – False beliefs and malicious calumnies of the followers of Yahya

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 22, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Elephants In Chicago.” 239 Days in America, 22 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/22/elephants-in-chicago/.
  2. ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 208-209. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/14#941667385
  3. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=4#section90

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