Moojan Momen, “An Analysis of Two Growth Spurts of the British Baha’i Community”

Sunday, July 28, 2024, 2 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. in Britain)

Cosponsored by the Afnan Library, Sandy, U.K.

If one looks at the graph of the size of the British Bahá’í community during the course of the first 50 years of the twentieth century, it is noticeable that there were two spurts of growth: one occurring in 1911-1913 and the second in 1944-1950. The first is easily explained since it is the period of the visit of `Abdu’l-Bahá to the British Isles. However, there are a number of aspects of this visit that warrant closer inspection. The first is the groundwork laid for the visit by the British Baha’is and the extraordinary network of contacts that they had developed before the visit. The second is the question of whether the visit of `Abdu’l-Baha had any more effect of the British public than the visit of a number of other “oriental sages” at that time,  such as Dharmapala and Vivekananda. It is more difficult to explain the second growth spurt. It occurred during the Six Year Plan, the first teaching plan adopted by the British Bahá’í community. It would be tempting to attribute this growth to the systematic nature of the teaching that went on during this plan. However, all of the elements of this systematic teaching were in place since the 1930s: public meetings, firesides, travel teachers, newspaper advertisements, etc. Yet there was almost no growth in that period. A number of factors are discussed and an explanation proposed.

Moojan Momen lives in the United Kingdom and is a retired medical doctor by profession. In his spare time he likes to study Baha’i history and other aspects of the Baha’i Faith. He has also studied Islam (especially Shi`i Islam) and the phenomenon of religion in general. He is married with two children and two grandchildren. His most recent books have been a two-volume history of The Baha’i communities of Iran and he edited and contributed to a history of The Bahá’í Community of the British Isles (both published by George Ronald).


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