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Footnotes to Mitchell’s Mistake

1. In a letter to Ruth White, published in her booklet The Bahai Organisation, the enemy of the Bahai Religion: an Appendix to Abdul Baha and the Promised Age, self-published, January 1929. This reads:

January 19th, 1928
Dear Mrs. White,
I have your letter of yesterday and have also received the copies of your earlier letters …. I am glad to give you any information I can relating to the matter.
Answering more specifically the questions in your letter to me,
I have seen the Will.
It is written entirely in the Master’s own hand.
It is signed by him.
Its parts written before the Master’s seal was stolen from him in this country [the USA] are sealed.
It is not dated, but its approximate date appears from its contents.
It has not been probated in the sense that we use the word, as there is no provision under the laws of Islam for such a proceeding. It has, however, been officially recognized by the British Government, the Mandatory Power now governing Palestine.
I hope these answers will satisfy the doubts that have arisen in your mind concerning the authenticity of the Will. Please let me know. I have enjoyed exceptional opportunities to learn the facts about it and do not hesitate to assure you that the document of which copies have been circulated among the Bahais in this country is the Last Will and
Testament of Abdu’l Baha and embodies his final and most sacred message to his followers.”

And in a follow-up letter on January 22nd, 1928, in the same publication:

“Answering your specific questions,
All three sections are signed by Abdu’l Baha.
The first two sections are sealed.
All three sections are in the handwriting of Abdu’l Baha.
The Master’s seal was stolen during his visit to this country in 1912.
The first two sections were thus obviously written before 1912, the last section after his return to Palestine in 1913…”

In his Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, an analysis (1944), page 11, he writes:

I had the privilege and honor, during eight years, of acting as secretary and interpreter to Abdul Baha, and on this ground my testimony will carry a certain measure of authority. I have seen countless examples of his handwriting and have watched him as he wrote letter after letter. Through those years of close association I became fully familiar with the turns, strokes and trims of the art of caligraphy [sic] as used by him, which in Persian is called Shekasteh. I have read and copied volumes of his works and am thoroughly conversant with his choice of words, his mode of expression and his manner of phraseology. I have listened to his talks, translated his Tablets by the hundreds and interpreted his lectures before all manner of audiences, both in the East and in the West. Besides these experiences, I have in my possession numerous examples of his handwriting, more than a hundred of which are in the form of Tablets addressed to me, some of the latter wholly in the Master’s handwriting, the majority simply signed by him. Now, I have compared the photostat copies of the Will with the handwriting of Abdul Baha which is in my possession, and I find that both are written by the same person.
Therefore, I can assert, without any hesitation and with no mental reservations, that the Will and Testament is written, signed and sealed by Abdul Baha, every word being in his own handwriting.

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