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Hear this enlightening explanation of the purpose of teaching – from 26:15 minutes – in the recording of a talk given by former member of the Universal House of Justice and renowned author Mr. Adib Taherzadeh, at a conference in Alaska in the mid-80s.

(Haifa, 27 November 2008)

From the Universal House of Justice:

We were deeply grieved to learn of the untimely passing of cherished handmaiden of the Blessed Beauty Rebequa Murphy. Her long years of sacrificial, devoted labor for the Cause of God were distinguished by tireless efforts to protect and propagate the Faith as a member of the Continental Board of Counsellors for the Americas, preceded by her membership on the National Spiritual Assembly of Alaska, her service as a pioneer in West Africa, and her work as a representative of the Faith to the United Nations in New York. With abiding admiration we pay tribute to her fervor for teaching, her close and caring relationship with youth, her capacity for showing genuine love and affection to individuals from all strata of society, and her ability to enkindle in the hearts of the friends the desire to serve. We ardently supplicate at the Sacred Threshold for the progress of her luminous soul throughout the heavenly realms and extend our heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends.
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We call for memorial services to be held in her honor in the Houses of Worship in Wilmette and Panama City and for commemorative gatherings to take place in communities throughout the Americas and in her native Ethiopia.

Here are two excerpts to inspire us from stories in the news quoting her:

“Providing spiritual education for children is a fundamental part of social development,” said Counselor Rebequa Murphy at the 2006 Baha’i Conference on Social and Economic Development. Her comments came in a talk titled “The Preservation of Human Honor,” explaining how human progress will organically spring from core activities. The primary development task of Baha’is today is to “strive to safeguard the sanctity of the human spirit.””Baha’u’llah says, ‘The well being of mankind, its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established’,” said Ms. Murphy. “So nothing we do, no amount of money, no amount of research is going to guarantee the security of mankind unless its unity is firmly established. So that’s what our job is – to lay the foundation [for development], which is the unity of the world.”

http://news.bahai.org/story/500

And in 2003 at the Southern Regional Baha’i Conference together with Counselor Eugene Andrews:

[Mr.] Andrews told the participants that the Faith is not a church, and its members should not conduct themselves in a way where leadership comes from an individual or individuals presumed to be qualified for the purpose.”Where does our spiritual vitality come from? It comes from you all,” he said.

Rebequa Murphy…used an urban analogy to illustrate her point that the institute process (which includes study circles, children’s classes and other community activities) was aimed at raising a community of teachers of the Faith.

“In New York City you learn [to] only hail cabs that have their light on, because if their light’s not on they’re not open for business,” Ms. Murphy said.

“When we become communities of teachers, what happens? What the institute process does, it turns on [our] lights. So people know we’re open for business. And they come to us.

“We must never forget the purpose for which we live — to bring about the oneness of the human family.”

http://www.bahaiworldnews.org/story/267?storyid=267

At the 2007 US National Convention she demonstrated her deep and sincere attachment to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and her reverence for the Supreme Body, the Center of the Covenant today, when she said, to effect, “[We want to see and hear] through the eyes and ears of the House of Justice [and not through our own eyes and ears].”

Here are the words of Bahá’u’lláh Himself:

If it be your wish, O people, to know God and to discover the greatness of His might, look, then, upon Me with Mine own eyes, and not with the eyes of any one besides Me. Ye will, otherwise, be never capable of recognizing Me, though ye ponder My Cause as long as My Kingdom endureth, and meditate upon all created things throughout the eternity of God, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Omnipotent, the Ever-Abiding, the All-Wise.

(Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, 272-3)

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A touching anecdote about a meeting with Ms. Murphy can be found here.

Two audio files of one of her talks are available here and here.

A PowerPoint presentation she made on “The Condition of Humanity” can be downloaded from here.

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.                                                                                                                                                                       .
Counselor Rebequa Murphy(died 25 November 2008 in New York City, after recent travels in Florida)
God bless her radiant soul!

Delegates and observers at the yearly national convention of the Baha’is of the United States (at which Ms. Murphy frequently participated) in 2005 pictured outside the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois

* * * * * *

O my God, Thy Trust hath been returned unto Thee. It behooveth Thy grace and Thy bounty that have compassed Thy dominions on earth and in heaven, to vouchsafe unto Thy newly welcomed one Thy gifts and Thy bestowals, and the fruits of the tree of Thy grace! Powerful art Thou to do as Thou willest, there is none other God but Thee, the Gracious, the Most Bountiful, the Compassionate, the Bestower, the Pardoner, the Precious, the All-Knowing.

I testify, O my Lord, that Thou hast enjoined upon men to honor their guest, and he that hath ascended unto Thee hath verily reached Thee and attained Thy Presence. Deal with him then according to Thy grace and bounty! By Thy glory, I know of a certainty that Thou wilt not withhold Thyself from that which Thou hast commanded Thy servants, nor wilt Thou deprive him that hath clung to the cord of Thy bounty and hath ascended to the Dayspring of Thy wealth.

There is none other God but Thee, the One, the Single, the Powerful, the Omniscient, the Bountiful.

—Bahá’u’lláh, BP 44-45

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(Images reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community. The second was photographed by Eric Van Zanten)

The following is a digest of the 13 May letter of the House of Justice to the Baha’is of the World:

At midday on the second of May, the Tenth International Baha’i Convention drew to its close. Over the course of several days some one thousand delegates from over 150 countries had taken part in five consultative sessions that centred on the progress of the current global Plan. It was a source of inspiration and joy to note the wealth of experience that they brought to the discussions and the unity of thought that distinguished the comments put forward.

An historical analysis of efforts to establish intensive programmes of growth in different parts of the globe was presented to the delegates. What it demonstrates, above all, is how rapidly the process of learning that impels progress is accelerating worldwide.

At the Conference of Continental Boards of Counsellors [that immediately followed the International Baha’i Convention] observations made by these high-ranking officers of the Cause confirmed the efficacy of the strategies being put in place for the expansion and consolidation of the Faith.

The House of Justice ends their letter thus:

As we enter the third year of the Five Year Plan, we are delighted to announce that the number of intensive programmes of growth in operation has surpassed the 600 mark. However impressive this accomplishment, it pales before what remains to be achieved. We urge you, one and all,

to maintain your focus,

to strengthen your resolve and

to arise with even greater determination to carry forward the teaching work.

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

* * * * * * * *

As to the words—“Immediately after the oppression of those days”—they refer to the time when men shall become oppressed and afflicted, the time when the lingering traces of the Sun of Truth and the fruit of the Tree of knowledge and wisdom will have vanished from the midst of men, when the reins of mankind will have fallen into the grasp of the foolish and ignorant, when the portals of divine unity and understanding—the essential and highest purpose in creation—will have been closed, when certain knowledge will have given way to idle fancy, and corruption will have usurped the station of righteousness…
What “oppression” is greater than that which hath been recounted? What “oppression” is more grievous than that a soul seeking the truth, and wishing to attain unto the knowledge of God, should know not where to go for it and from whom to seek it?

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán p. 29,31

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(Excerpted from letter of Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, 13 May 2008.)

(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

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