“The Unmistakable and Universal Reformation” 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ WAS STEPPING INTO the automobile when he noticed Fred Mortensen standing in the crowd that had gathered at Green Acre to bid him goodbye. Just two days earlier, Mr. Fred Mortensen had arrived at the conference center in Eliot, Maine, after having traveled 1,600 miles as a stowaway on the rails. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá asked Fred to get into the car. The former convict would be his personal guest for the next week.

At 1 p.m. they arrived in Malden, Massachusetts, the next stop on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey in America. He was staying at the home of Maria Wilson, who, twelve years earlier, had sailed with Sarah J. Farmer, her best friend, to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while he was still a prisoner. At the time, he had told Miss Wilson: “When I come to America I will visit you.” On August 23, 1912, he made good on that promise.

Montreal 2

‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in Malden, Massachusetts, at 1:00 P.M. on August 23, and stayed for one week, making trips to Boston and Cambridge. As elsewhere, people in great numbers sought Him out, and He spoke to them individually and in groups. He was the kind, loving host, infusing in them by word and by action the seeds of what they could become.

Forgiveness depends upon our obedience to the admonitions of the Prophets of God and not on the mere verbal statement of belief or on following the words of the ministers of religion. 3

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was engaged in writing letters to the new Bahá’ís in Dublin and bestowing His favors on them. He also wrote to the friends in the Western states. Later, several visitors arrived from Malden and Dublin to see Him. One was the president of the New Thought Forum who had come from Boston to invite the Master to speak to his society. Two people from Tihrán, Persia, who had come to America on business, also came to see Him. He told them:

The Persians destroyed their home with their own hands in the hope of building another one; but now they are left in the desert without a home or shelter. We wrote and exhorted them, pointing out that the union of government and the people is like combining milk and honey; otherwise, the neighboring governments will encroach upon the country. In spite of all this they malevolently made false accusations against us. But God protected us because we were not involved in shedding the blood of even one Persian.

The newspaper ‘Fikr’ [Thought] was mentioned, and He continued:

In this newspaper our letter speaks for itself. We are far from taking part in any seditious movement and we hold fast to the will of the Lord.

In the afternoon another group came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. One was a minister from Chicago, who asked about the sins of men and the forgiveness of the Manifestations of the Merciful One. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave a detailed explanation, which fascinated the minister. The Master stated that forgiveness depends upon our obedience to the admonitions of the Prophets of God and not on the mere verbal statement of belief or on following the words of the ministers of religion.

That evening the friends and seekers of Malden were treated to a talk about the power of the Greatest Name and the unity of nations and peoples. Each day and night witnesses a stream of new inquirers wishing to come into His holy presence.

  1. Sockett, Robert. “‘The Unmistakable and Universal Reformation.’” 239 Days in America, 24 Aug. 2012, https://239days.com/2012/08/24/unmistakable-and-universal-reformation/. [return]
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 131. [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. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=6#section153 [return]