Pilgrims notes

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Pilgrims notes

Postby Zazaban » Mon Jan 01, 2007 3:17 pm

What exactly are they? Why do they case so much confusion? This is probably quite a silly question, but I never bothered to ask. :oops:
Justice and equity are twin Guardians that watch over men. From them are revealed such blessed and perspicuous words as are the cause of the well-being of the world and the protection of the nations.
~ Bahá'u'lláh

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Postby Jonah » Mon Jan 01, 2007 4:18 pm

Here's something I prepared in 1998, at http://www.bahai-library.com/pilgrims/notes.html (click on that link for links to other documents):

"Pilgrims' Notes" are records of individuals' meetings with the Central Figures of the Baha'i Faith and usually the recorded speech of the Central Figures. These Pilgrims' Notes are unofficial records of what visitors to the Holy Land recall was said and done by 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, but cannot be considered as their authentic words: the authors might have misheard or miswritten a statement; they might not have been knowledgeable about the Baha'i Faith and might have introduced their own misunderstandings into the notes; and these online notes are taken from widely circulated second-, third-, and sometimes fourth-generation hand-typed copies. These need to be checked against originals where they may exist and when they are found, for every copyist can and usually does introduce new errors.

As recently explained by the Universal House of Justice, no policy other than the exercise of wisdom currently governs the appearance of such notes on the internet. A brief Compilation on Pilgrims' Notes can also be consulted. Other pilgrims' notes can also be found in some of the older Notable Talks. [Note: links in this paragraph have been lost in my copy-and-paste; see http://www.bahai-library.com/pilgrims/notes.html for the links.]

As these records can rarely be authenticated, they are considered to be much less reliable than the writings of the Central Figures, and are to be used with caution. They consist largely of impressions of oral conversation, which may in places have been transcribed by individuals not sufficiently knowledgeable of Baha'i teachings, and may contain inaccurate information. (An example of how manuscripts can differ can be seen in the parallel edition of Alice Dudey's notes, below.) Only the Sacred Writings of the Baha'i Faith thus far published in English, most of which are online, represent the authentic teachings of the Faith. At the same time, these notes do contain much interesting information which, when properly weighed against authentic teachings, can be quite useful. The motive for presenting these notes online is perhaps best summarized in the following quotation from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

"While these notes taken down by the pilgrims do not constitute as official pronouncements made by the Guardian, and therefore should not be imposed on the friends, those who wish to share them with the members of the Community should, under no circumstances, be prevented from doing so. Though not strictly official, and in some instances inaccurate and misleading, these notes, as experience has shown, can be of tremendous help, guidance and inspiration to many individual believers, and their value as such should therefore be readily admitted" (from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, April 28, 1939). See also the full online compilation, http://bahai-library.com/compilations/p ... notes.html

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