239 Days in America, Day 170: September 27, 1912 | Glenwood Springs

A Forbidden Marriage 1

IT WAS A FALL day in New York. A light rain blurred the windows of the parsonage where the wedding was about to take place. Christians, Jews, Bahá’ís, as well as whites and blacks from both England and America were represented in the small group. For the duration of the ceremony, the divides of the world were held at bay.

The groom was Louis Gregory, a prominent African-American lawyer; the bride, Louise Mathew, a white, educated woman born in England. Their marriage was illegal in twenty-five of America’s forty-eight states, and by popular opinion, unacceptable everywhere. The wedding was kept quiet; the guest list few. As the groom put it, “We do not wish any sensational newspaper articles written.”

Minnesota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah 2

After morning prayers and tea Abdu’l-Bahá and His companions strolled around the beautiful grounds, surrounded by towering mountains. Then they went to the bath houses and bathed in the hot springs water. Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘We have been in many places during this journey but we had no time to see the sights. We had not even a moment’s rest. Today, however, we have had a little respite.’” As they came out and looked at the river and mountains, Abdu’l-Bahá said, “‘May God have mercy on the tyrants who kept the Blessed Beauty in prison for forty years. Such scenes were loved by Him.’”

He indicated that it would be well to have lunch in the central garden of the U-shaped hotel. The manager came just then and, without being asked, ordered the waiters to set up tables and serve lunch to them in the garden. As they ate, they could be seen from all areas. People began to speak to them and recognize them from the pictures and articles that had appeared in the Denver newspapers.

They started coming to Him by groups to talk with Him.

September 27, 1912 3

After morning tea, the Master left the hotel for a walk. Three magnificent mountains stood in the distance on three sides, each crowned with trees and adorned with flowers of many hues. They were like peacock feathers and had a unique beauty from every viewpoint. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá strolled in the spacious garden and boulevard adjacent to the hotel until He reached the river where there were bath houses and hot springs. On the other side of the river, spanned by a two-story bridge, the tall buildings of the city could be seen rising high on the horizon. At the insistence of His companions the Master went to the baths with the entire party, thus bestowing upon us everlasting honor. The rooms and bathing facilities were magnificent. In a special room hot water gushed from a natural cave. It was so hot that a person could not stay more than 15 minutes. Coming out of the bath, the Master said:

“Today I am relieved of fatigue. We have been to many lovely places during this journey but because of our work we had no time to look at the scenery. We did not even think of a moment’s rest. Today, however, we have had a little respite.”

As the Master viewed the clear, transparent waters of the river shining like pure pearls and the majestic mountains and parks, He said, ‘May God not have mercy on the tyrants who kept the Blessed Beauty imprisoned between four walls in ‘Akká. How such scenes were loved by Him! Once He said that He had not seen greenery for several years.’

When He returned to the hotel He stood outside in the garden and said, ‘It would be good to eat here.’ The garden was adjacent to a large pond with fish of various colors and was enclosed on three sides by the hotel structure. Having seen the Denver newspapers, the hotel manager recognized the Master and us from photographs. Without waiting for the Master’s request, the manager instructed the waiters to serve lunch in the garden. A large table was spread with beautiful chairs. The Master sat down and instructed His companions to do the same. Both before and after lunch the Master generously tipped the waiters. When the residents of the hotel saw the majesty and glory of the Master they told others. Groups of people approached Him. Others watched from their rooms and balconies. Many were heard to say, ‘How nice to dine this way. It is evident that this is a very prominent person.’ Gradually the purpose of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s mission dawned upon the hotel guests as they were informed of the Cause of God.

In the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá took a walk in the garden and to some shops. While we were crossing a bridge, a messenger approached with some telegrams for us. One of them informed the Master that Mr [Thornton] Chase was seriously ill in a Los Angeles hospital. This made the Master and us very sad. He repeatedly mentioned the faithfulness of Mr Chase. Later He said:

“To turn to the Covenant is to obey the Blessed Beauty which is a cause of gathering together the people of Bahá. Let me explain clearly. The command to the people of Islam to prostrate before the black stone was simply a command to obey the Prophet of God and to prove the influence of the Cause of God. Now, were it not for the Word of the Blessed Beauty, we would be like everyone else and not different in the least.”

The Master and His party left Glenwood Springs at about midnight.

24 September 1912, Talk at Home of Mrs. Sidney E. Roberts , Denver, Colorado 4

What are the fruits of the human world? They are the spiritual attributes which appear in man. If man is bereft of those attributes, he is like a fruitless tree. One whose aspiration is lofty and who has developed self-reliance will not be content with a mere animal existence. He will seek the divine Kingdom; he will long to be in heaven although he still walks the earth in his material body, and though his outer visage be physical, his face of inner reflection will become spiritual and heavenly. Until this station is attained by man, his life will be utterly devoid of real outcomes. The span of his existence will pass away in eating, drinking and sleeping, without eternal fruits, heavenly traces or illumination—without spiritual potency, everlasting life or the lofty attainments intended for him during his pilgrimage through the human world. You must thank God that your efforts are high and noble, that your endeavors are worthy, that your intentions are centered upon the Kingdom of God and that your supreme desire is the acquisition of eternal virtues. You must act in accordance with these requirements. A man may be a Bahá’í in name only. If he is a Bahá’í in reality, his deeds and actions will be decisive proofs of it. What are the requirements? Love for mankind, sincerity toward all, reflecting the oneness of the world of humanity, philanthropy, becoming enkindled with the fire of the love of God, attainment to the knowledge of God and that which is conducive to human welfare.

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá has a little respite at hot spring baths

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

September 27, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “A Forbidden Marriage.” 239 Days in America, 27 Sept. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/09/27/a-forbidden-marriage/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 158-159.
  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=7#section187
  4. 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, 336. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/26#332670787

239 Days in America, Day 106: July 25, 1912 | Boston

What Can the Hypocrite Know? 1

WHILE IN AMERICA ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ spoke to a wide variety of public audiences, including peace societies, church congregations, women’s groups, and social justice organizations. But he also spoke directly to groups of Bahá’ís — followers of his father’s religion — and often when he did so, his tone changed.

“I am expecting results from this visit,” he told them on July 25, 1912, at the Hotel Victoria in Boston, “and hope that my coming may not be fruitless. The results I expect are these: that the individual soul shall be released from self and desire and freed from the bondage of satanic suggestions.” By “satanic” he meant “the natural inclinations of the lower nature,” and not some independent evil spirit.

“Man possesses two kinds of susceptibilities,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “the natural emotions, which are like dust upon the mirror, and spiritual susceptibilities, which are merciful and heavenly characteristics.” It was an analogy he had used many times before — the soul as a mirror reflecting divine qualities and virtues, and the constant struggle to keep it pure.

New Hampshire 2

The next day, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke with more visitors until the late afternoon when He departed for Dublin, where He arrived at 7:00 P.M. and took up residence at one of Mrs Arthur J. [Agnes] Parsons’ two homes. Until August 16 He remained in Dublin, surrounded by green hills, flowering gardens, and flowing streams.

Thursday, July 25, 1912 3

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had said He intended to leave Boston for Dublin, the friends and seekers gathered at the hotel. He encouraged them to lead fruitful lives and to overcome self and desire.

Consenting to a request of Mr Kinney, the Master paid a visit to Green Acre. When He got there, two Arab seekers fell at His feet crying, ’O Thou the Prophet of God’. He lifted them with His own hand, saying: ‘I am ‘Abdu’l-Bahá [the Servant of Bahá].’

At 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Boston and by 7:00 p.m. He was gracing the gardens of Dublin. The Master took up residence in one of the two houses Mrs Parsons had especially prepared for Him, which was furnished with every comfort; however, the Master said that we must bear our own expenses. Mrs Parsons had hoped that the arrival of the Master would remain private so that He might rest a little. When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá learned of this He said:

We have come for work and service and not for leisure. We must render service to the Threshold of the Blessed Beauty and must make such servitude the cause of our solace and the joy of our souls. As this place is a summer resort and many prominent people are present, therefore, unless they should themselves ask, the friends should not teach openly. They must deal with them with perfect dignity and honor.

Continuing, He said:

Consider where we came from and where we are now in Dublin here in America. We must offer thanks for the assistance and protection of the Abhá Beauty that we may breathe a breath in the path of servitude.

He then gave an account of the life of Hájí Abu’l-Qásim, an indigo merchant, and the restoration of his grave. ‘He was’, He said, ‘one of the servants of the Blessed Beauty. My first thought on my arrival in Egypt was to repair his tomb.’ Similarly, He spoke of the good intentions and sincerity of Áqá Muhammad Taqí Isfahání, who is residing in Egypt. In the evening he enjoyed His dinner and ate in good health and happiness.

Talk at Hotel Victoria, Boston, Massachusetts 4

I am very happy to greet you here today. This is the second time the breeze of God has wafted over Boston. I am expecting results from this visit and hope that my coming may not be fruitless. The results I expect are these: that the individual soul shall be released from self and desire and freed from the bondage of satanic suggestions. May the mirrors of hearts be cleansed from dust in order that the Sun of Truth may be reflected therein.

Man possesses two kinds of susceptibilities: the natural emotions, which are like dust upon the mirror, and spiritual susceptibilities, which are merciful and heavenly characteristics.

There is a power which purifies the mirror from dust and transforms its reflection into intense brilliancy and radiance so that spiritual susceptibilities may chasten the hearts and heavenly bestowals sanctify them. What is the dust which obscures the mirror? It is attachment to the world, avarice, envy, love of luxury and comfort, haughtiness and self-desire; this is the dust which prevents reflection of the rays of the Sun of Reality in the mirror. The natural emotions are blameworthy and are like rust which deprives the heart of the bounties of God. But sincerity, justice, humility, severance, and love for the believers of God will purify the mirror and make it radiant with reflected rays from the Sun of Truth.

It is my hope that you may consider this matter, that you may search out your own imperfections and not think of the imperfections of anybody else. Strive with all your power to be free from imperfections. Heedless souls are always seeking faults in others. What can the hypocrite know of others’ faults when he is blind to his own? This is the meaning of the words in the Seven Valleys. It is a guide for human conduct. As long as a man does not find his own faults, he can never become perfect. Nothing is more fruitful for man than the knowledge of his own shortcomings. The Blessed Perfection says, “I wonder at the man who does not find his own imperfections.”

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

“We have come for work and service and not for leisure.”

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 25, 1912


  1. Sockett, Robert. “What Can the Hypocrite Know?” 239 Days in America, 25 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/25/what-can-the-hypocrite-know/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 117.
  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=5#section123
  4. 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, 244. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/17#026795839