Interview With Judge James Nelson on why Baha’i Administration Matters?

Watching the news these days is stressful! Who wants another downer while under seemingly never-ending lockdown, watching innocent people all over the world struggle in search of what they call normal and in constant fear of who is next departing this life with tubes stuck in their throat away from their family and friends, or witnessing masses of people falling one after the other on the ground in their fight against the invisible enemy; Covid19?


How much this tragedy has to do with the lack of education of people on the vital importance of love and unity, the fine art of consultation and commitment to reach consensus, the mismanagement of the US government, the divided body of its body politics, or the embattled state of its institutions; is a different subject!


For many years I heard this special prayer recited at the opening of each meeting of a spiritual assembly of the Bahais of the city I was elected to serve. This prayer guided and protected me from me, I know. The words and metaphors in it by heart and they are magical.


Every gathering whether administrative or among family members of friends, benefits from the process of consultation. The process of consultation, Baha’u’llah teaches, has two wings of the form and also spirit. Both of these two wings are needed to help us fly out of the prison or the box of personality clashes and conversation crashes.


I think this video is great for a deepening our understanding of the spirit of the Baha’i consultation and administration. Usually we focus on the form. Both are important to bring a process to life.

Addressing the members of the Spiritual Assembly in Chicago, the Master (Abdu’l-Baha)  reveals the following:—“Whenever ye enter the council-chamber, recite this prayer with a heart throbbing with the love of God and a tongue purified from all but His remembrance, that the All-powerful may graciously aid you to achieve supreme victory:

O God, my God! We are servants of Thine that have turned with devotion to Thy Holy Face, that has detached ourselves from all beside Thee in this glorious Day. We have gathered in this spiritual assembly, united in our views and thoughts, with our purposes harmonized to exalt Thy Word amidst mankind. O Lord, our God! Make us the signs of Thy Divine Guidance, the Standards of Thy exalted Faith amongst men, servants to Thy mighty Covenant. O Thou our Lord Most High! Manifestations of Thy Divine Unity in the Thine Abhá Kingdom, and resplendent stars shining upon all regions. Lord! Aid us to become seas surging with the billows of Thy wondrous Grace, streams flowing from Thy all-glorious Heights, goodly fruits upon the Tree of Thy heavenly Cause, trees waving through the breezes of Thy Bounty in Thy celestial Vineyard. O, God! Make our souls depend upon the Verses of Thy Divine Unity, our hearts cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace, that we may unite even as the waves of one sea and become merged together as the rays of Thine Effulgent Light; that our thoughts, our views, our feelings may become as one reality, manifesting the spirit of union throughout the world. Thou art the Gracious, the Bountiful, the Bestower, the Almighty, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

All I Know is when I dug out this 20-year-old interview with late Judge James F Nelson, my spirit felt lifted! I wanted to go back to my study of the Baha’i administration and study the role it will play “as a pattern and a nucleus of that world commonwealth”. My experience of the Baha’i administration for over 45 years has been impressive. Love and trust seem to be the foundation of its structure and consultation the very process of sustaining its lofty role. I do believe that ultimately it is destined to rescue the present faulty order from the self-inflicted free fall. Judge Nelson was then the chairman of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States.

“It is the structure of His New World Order, now stirring in the womb of the administrative institutions He Himself has created, that will serve both as a pattern and a nucleus of that world commonwealth which is the sure, the inevitable destiny of the peoples and nations of the earth.”

Shoghi Effendi

I had served with Judge Nelson on the Western USA Reginal Baha’i Council for 5 years and got to appreciate his brilliant mind, his deep spiritual insight into the Baha’i scriptures, his wisdom, his eloquent speech, and his most humble disposition. Many close friends considered the Judge a Renaissance man. We miss him.


I do not know anyone more qualified to talk about the unique features of the Baha’i administration than Judge Nelson was. Anyone concerned about the disintegration and degradation of our global institutions at large should find hope after watching this interview.


I am so grateful to my friend Mel Jacobson, who took the trouble of digitizing this uplifting video about a rather dull subject of administration and those who are being administered!




A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years, specializes in using the Bahá’í Teachings to identify theories, techniques, and approaches that produce the best results for her clients. She is the founder and executive director of the Center for Global Integrated Education, a non-profit Bahá’í-inspired educational organization.


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