Join the Conversation! 1

IT’S BEEN ALMOST ONE hundred days since we began to explore ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey across America. On April 11, 1912 he arrived in New York, and began to engage Americans in conversation about the issues that confronted the nation, including race, religion, gender, social justice, international peace, and America’s future. We have been telling the story here at 239 Days In America in real time, time-shifted 100 years later.

One thing we’ve learned over the past three months is that 1912 wasn’t all that different from 2012. A fiercely contested election challenged Americans to decide what kind of country they wanted to live in. Minorities and women fought for civil rights. Workers faced off against corporations. American soldiers landed on foreign shores, sparking debate about the nation’s role in the world.

To those of you who have accompanied us on the journey so far, thank you. And if you’re just joining us, welcome!

New York City 2

By Tuesday, July 16, Mahmúd observed, “His extended stay in New York had brought wonderful results among the friends.”

Each individual’s experience with him was a thread weaving in and out of the experiences each of the others was having. It was this balance, this whole, that gave the completeness of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example. He possessed an unparalleled ability for weaving together in a fabric of love and harmony the inner private development of the mass of individuals who surged to see Him, for making them part of the new World Order. He taught them so that the new community of believers would grow and develop and become self-perpetuating after His departure.

I present my subjects and explanations in such a way that no one can refute or argue with them 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá held in His hand a copy of the address He delivered at the Baptist Church in Philadelphia. He said: ‘I present my subjects and explanations in such a way that no one can refute or argue with them. They are accepted by people of understanding and wisdom.’ Later He went downstairs where several people were waiting to see Him. Among them were some friends from California. He stressed the fact that all activities should be undertaken only with His permission so that no breach of the love and unity of the believers might occur.

There was a cheerful and animated gathering at Mr MacNutt’s home in Brooklyn during the afternoon and evening. The greatest blessing and bounty at the meeting was the manifestation of fellowship and unity among the Bahá’ís under the shadow of the banner of the Covenant of God. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s great joy was reflected in His face and all the friends were enthralled and enraptured. The Master spoke several times. After He had explained some spiritual matters, He would leave the house to take a short walk and then return to speak to them again. He encouraged the friends to serve the Faith, then explained the meaning of the signs of the fulfillment of prophecies. He expressed His joy at the unity and harmony of the Bahá’ís and bestowed His blessings on them. His stay in New York brought about great results and effected the fellowship and unity of the friends.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “Join the Conversation!” 239 Days in America, 16 July 2012, [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 110. [return]
  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. [return]