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Robert Stockman: The Ministry of Shoghi Effendi

Aug 20, 2017
This presentation reviews Shoghi Effendi’s early life, his relationship to `Abdu’l-Bahá, the three charters of the Faith that gave him the mandates for his ministry—the Tablet of Carmel, the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá, and the Tablets of the Divine Plan—and the resulting five priorities for Shoghi Effendi’s work: establishing the Bahá’í Administrative Order, interpreting and explaining the writings of Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá, translating those writings into clear and definitive English, creating the institutions and buildings of the Bahá’í World Centre, and systematically expanding the Bahá’í Faith to the entire world. The presentation closes with a discussion of the crises during the interregnum and the election of the Universal House of Justice.
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Robert Stockman, ThD

Wilmette Institute Director

I have had a passion for researching and teaching about the Bahá’í Faith for more than half of my life. My fascination with American Bahá’í history and with the first American Bahá’í, Thornton Chase, caused me, in 1980, to switch my academic field from planetary science to history of religion in the United States. As I was finishing my doctorate in that field at Harvard University in 1990, I drew up plans to create a Bahá’í Studies institute that would offer courses, encourage research, and publish. Instead, I was hired by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States to start a research office at our national Bahá’í headquarters in Wilmette, Illinois. Some of the responsibilities of the research office led to the creation of the Wilmette Institute, which ​focuses on most of the tasks of the institute I originally conceived. Meanwhile, I have also remained involved in academia, teaching religious studies part time at DePaul University in Chicago and currently at Indiana University South Bend, just a mile from home. I have also published four books on aspects of Bahá’í history (including a biography of Thornton Chase) and one introductory textbook on the Faith. Listen to Robert’s interview on ‘A Bahá’í Perspective’ podcastSee Faculty Bio

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