Notes of a “Consultation”

September 2, 2021
Notes of a “Consultation”

Covenant of Baha’u’llah

Notes of a “Consultation”

Source: Unpublished notes of Ella Goodall Cooper, National Baha’i Archives. Consultation with Mrs. Helen Goodall at Sutro Heights, San Francisco

Upholding unity as the fundamental principle of His teachings, Baha’u’llah established that after His passing ‘Abdu’l-Baha, not only as the authorized interpreter of the Baha’i Writings but also as the perfect exemplar of the Faith’s spirit and teachings. One of the most important tools in maintaining unity is the use of Baha’i consultation.

A conversation between ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Mrs. Helen Goodall and Dr. Fareed

Dr. Fareed to Mrs. Goodall: “‘Abdu’l-Baha asks for your opinion as to whether he should go to visit the Northern cities or return to the Orient!”

Mrs. Goodall: “‘Abdu’l-Baha knows best what to do.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “I want consultation — this is not the way to consult (laughing)”. I ask your opinion — If it were my will I would not have asked you.”

Mrs. Goodall: “‘Abdu’l-Baha asks for my opinion. The believers in Persia have suffered so much. I feel that if the western believers understood the situation, (their sacrifices) it would mean far greater spiritual development for them if they would sacrifice their desires and give ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the Persian believers.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “Very good. I want you to write this exactly, to the believers, giving the details. Tell them I have many letters from the orient — all stating that the believers in the Orient have travelled long distances and they are disappointed that I am not there. They are constantly coming there from afar, from great distances to see me. They feel disappointed and very sad. The believers in the Northwest will realize greater development if they sacrifice themselves to have me go to those pilgrims. Write that exactly — state that: If they do sacrifice self to this extent it will mean their spiritual development and attainment. Whoever can may come from the North to visit me here. While I am here I will see them. Send this to all the Northern cities, Seattle, Portland, all the Northern cities. Tell them the believers have gone to Akka, some of them taking three months journey on mules or horses, and some walking, and they do not find me there.

“You may write it in my behalf — say that the Master says so and so — that he is longing to see you — excessively longing — but he is compelled to go. The winter is before us and how can I cross the Atlantic. It would be arduous — and then the Master’s health. He cannot endure excessive cold. Send a night letter in which you say that a lengthy letter will follow.”

(To Mrs. Goodall and Mrs. Cooper) “You are the one to confer life to them and whenever you have the time and inclination, make a trip to those cities. Your cities should associate one with another. For instance, they should come from Denver and Chicago and you should pay them visits.”

Upon seeing a steamer that was once owned by Mr. Goodall passing in through the Golden Gate, ‘Abdu’l-Baha said: “Captain Goodall never thought that his daughter was to be an Admiral.”

Dr. Fareed: “Dr. Cooper should have been at last night’s meeting (At the Forum).”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “Let him have an account of it. Let him read it.”

Mrs. Goodall:

 “When the man who was to follow ‘Abdu’l-Baha, got up to speak, someone in the audience said, ‘There goes the first cow.’ The Professor said, ‘I would not criticize anything he (meaning ‘Abdu’l-Baha) said because he was in prison for so long a time — everything was so clear, etc.'”

‘Abdul-Baha: “Be very kind to Mrs. Kanno because she is the wife of a Japanese. She has been persecuted for marrying a Japanese. It is well to become the wife of a Japanese. This is a bond, uniting the East and the West.”

Mrs. Cooper: “Mr. Latimer is a splendid young man. I would like to adopt him.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “Do so.”

Mrs. Cooper: “What shall I do with his mother?”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “Make her your sister. He is an exceptional young man — splendid, perfectly truthful, perfectly sincere. I love him very much. Such young men are rare, and he is always smiling.”

Dr. Fareed: The Master goes to meetings and often does not mention the name of Baha’u’llah. What necessitates the mentioning of a name? You can discuss a subject without mentioning any name.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha: “We do not do like Dr. Campbell did in a certain meeting. He commenced to speak in such a way that nobody would listen to him.”(Ella Goodall Cooper Collection, M-7, Box 21, National Baha’i Archives, United States.)

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