Baháʼí Faith in Papua New Guinea

The Baháʼí Faith in Papua New Guinea begins after 1916 with a mention by ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, then head of the religion, that Baháʼís should take the religion there.[1] The first Baháʼís move there (what Baháʼís mean by “pioneering“,) in Papua New Guinea arrived there in 1954.[2] With local converts the first Baháʼí Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in 1958.[3] The first National Spiritual Assembly was then elected in 1969.[4] According to the census of 2000 showed that the number of Baháʼís does not exceed 21000.[5] But the Association of Religion Data Archives (relying on World Christian Encyclopedia) estimated three times more Baháʼís at 200.000 or 6% of the nation were Baháʼís in 2015[6] Either way it is the largest minority religion in Papua New Guinea, if a small one.

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The first mention by the religion of the region of happened during its rule by Australia while it was known as the Territory of Papua. ʻAbdu’l-Bahá, head of the religion from 1892 to 1921, mentioned it among the places Baháʼís should take the religion to when he wrote a series of letters, or tablets, to the followers of the religion in the United States in 1916-1917; these letters were compiled together in the book titled Tablets of the Divine Plan. The seventh of the tablets mentioned taking the Baha’i Faith to Papua New Guinea and was written on April 11, 1916, but was delayed in being presented in the United States until 1919 after the end of World War I and the Spanish flu. These tablets were translated and presented by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab on April 4, 1919, and published in Star of the West magazine on December 12, 1919.[7]

(Tablet 7) “A party speaking their languages, severed, holy, sanctified and filled with the love of God, must turn their faces to and travel through the three great island groups of the Pacific Ocean—Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia, and the islands attached to these groups, such as New Guinea, Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Philippine Islands, Solomon Islands, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Bismarck Archipelago, Ceram, Celebes, Friendly Islands, Samoa Islands, Society Islands, Caroline Islands, Low Archipelago, Marquesas, Hawaiian Islands, Gilbert Islands, Moluccas, Marshall Islands, Timor and the other islands. With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the glad tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people. Know ye of a certainty that whatever gathering ye enter, the waves of the Holy Spirit are surging over it, and the heavenly grace of the Blessed Beauty encompasseth that gathering.”[1]

. . . Baháʼí Faith in Papua New Guinea . . .

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. . . Baháʼí Faith in Papua New Guinea . . .