Unities of All Things

Elizabeth Thomas
Divider Bar
In this world, my most powerful and important angel was my spiritual mother (al-ummī al-nafsānīyah) Elizabeth M. Thomas. Since her passing, she has appeared in my dreams many times. Each time, I woke up thinking she was still in this world. Elizabeth was the first Baháʾí I ever spoke with. She ran the Baháʾí information phone number on Long Island, New York, and I called her in late 1970. She later went on to serve on two national spiritual assemblies. For years, she put up with my phone calls once, twice, or more times per day. Through her guidance, I gradually developed an approach to studying the Baháʾí Faith which, with modifications, I continue to this day.
Click to enlarge this photograph which was taken three years before I first contacted her in 1970:
Elizabeth M. Thomas

Click to enlarge this photograph of her gravestone:

Grave of Elizabeth M. Thomas
Elizabeth is my heart. She went on to serve on two national spiritual assemblies (first, Bermuda and second, St. Vincent and the Grenadines). Over my lifetime, blessed Elizabeth was my most spiritually advanced friend. I have never had a closer confidant. From my own interpretation of her brilliant example, we should not become merely the imitators of others and their views or, worse, develop cults of personality. In her mindful, moderate, and practical approach to life, and to meeting my persistent daily spiritual needs for several years, she was, in my opinion, an excellent example of this beautiful verse by dearest Baháʾuʾlláh:

O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
Baháʾuʾlláh, The Hidden Words of Baháʾuʾlláh. Arabic, number 2.
I will now quote portions of three letters which Elizabeth wrote to me. Please bear in mind that my understandings on many issues have changed substantially since the period 1986-1990. In those years, my personality was still highly Autistic. I had no empathy. Like many Autists, I compensated for my lack of empathy through intellectualism. The first letter is an undated reply to my own letter of August 23, 1986:

Dear Mark: AlláhʾuʾAbhá!
Here are some of my thoughts as I was going over your material..... [eilipsis in original] I studied it several times at different intervals, and finally in a consecutive reading, came up with these thoughts. I don’t want to imply that my thoughts are totally correct, but they are only to give you a second penetrating based on them. Again let me say how pleased I am thought you are becoming such a delightful and meaningful scholar in your studies; one caution is that you consider to what extent you may be “digging” too minutely into these things, rather than let your heart become or let it expand in joy with the understandings. I have learned that when I give my heart “time enough” to absorb the penetrating studies, that I sometimes come up with new enlightenments on that subject. I think this is what we should work toward so that the insights are given a chance to evolve.
Best of luck
  1. POWERS OF THE SOUL: Here you seem to be using two words interchangably: soul and spirit.
    My understanding is: the SOUL was created at conception. At that time it was provided with powers to achieve its fullest potential capacity (which was also determined at that time; “an individual portion was given to each.”)
    Spirit    think of it as power, force, as the means to achieve [or] powers to achieve: min/veg/anim/hum/div; each given a superior power to achieve
    Degrees of spirit: Do you mean the functions of the soul: Knowing and Loving? ... Can you substantiate this with a quote?
    1. Spir. rationality: I don’t feel it is a power of the spirit of faith.
    2. Spir. Capacity: Faith is not capacity; capacity was given at concept [conception]. (Indiv. portion of soul)
    3. Spir. sensibility: we become or develop sensibility when the heart is turned [toward] God or the Manif. and receives outpourings...... [ellipsis in original]
    4. Spir. Perception: is the enlightenment when turning to the Manif or God, and is touched by the Holy Spirit’s outpouring.
    5. These all are utilizing the mental faculties or the “human spirit,” “Force,” or power which was given us at conception.
    Dictionary: Spirit = vital principle or animating force
    BWF 315: SPIRIT = “a divine trust” (to be used by the soul)
    2. MENTAL CAPACITY:   = individual portion of soul given at conception
    3. Psychic FACULTIES   (to be developed during earthly life like the bodily tools developing within the womb but not utilized until next world)
      (really not a part of powers of worldly life; they are only in process of developing)
      I don’t feel this is a rat power or expression of the human spirit because of the above.
... If we don’t turn to the SOURCE, we can’t be enlightened (like the overtones in music of the human voice)
... Spir. of faith is acquired when turning to the source, and being enlightened, then believing. I don&rsquot see how it can be inherent in the soul. (Are you sure you are not being involved in semantics?) (Also, I’d be careful about quoting another person, and giving a specific statement of their beliefs, as it all is dependent upon an individual’s comprehension at THAT point in time, and perhaps semantics is involved.)
... Human spirit is given at time of conception
... [The spirit of faith is] not inherent, because it is dependent upon turning TO the source and because of turning, is imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit. We can’t receive something we don’t turn toward.
... enlightenment or influence on a being from the Holy Spirit is dependent on spirit of faith. Then the mental faculties thrive and grow  =  because of the power and revitalizing forces of Holy Spirit.
... be careful of using words interchangably: thoughts ARE the use of the human spirit (mental faculties).
... HUM. SPIR. is the force or power that distinguishes man from the lower kingdoms. HUM. SPIR. was what was given to KG [kingdom] of MAN. Man must develop his own spirit of faith. They can’t be used as though both are given to man.
... be careful in use of words; {you say, it IS THE power of the soul just as the spirit of faith IS the power of the soul. It seems to imply ONE power of the soul. Soul has many powers. So I think in this case, you should use the article “a” instead of “the”
... See BWF 325 from bottom line “REFLECT, after disintegration of body etc. etc....” Again, can, as you quote Henry’s [Henry Weil’s] view, be a case of semantics and meaning?
Because you say: if we try to use psychic powers, we “may” interfere...; shouldn’t you use the word “WILL” as ʿAbduʾl-Bahá says.
... Instead of “do” use “should” ‘not have to develop these [psychic] powers here’
Immortality of the soul: Yet me too [agreed that the immortality of the soul is not a separate power but is inherent in the soul as an entity].
Mark, in studies of this kind, there is great danger of miscontrusing meanings of what we say if not careful in choice of words. So also, we can misunderstand what another is really meaning by the words he uses. Be sure that it isn’t a question of semantics in some cases at least.
Am struggling with cleaning up my correspondence and files.... [ellipses in original] never enough time and fatigue takes over too quickly.
The PEACE conference was stimulating and seems to have given me the spurt and vigor I was needing. Am beginning to get anxious to get going on studies material to have them ready to be used. Everything needs to be rearranged and organized better now. It all will take time.
Take care.
[signed] Elizabeth T.
Divider Bar
P.O. Box 1405
Honokaa, Hi. 96727
10/24/90 [1990]
Dear Mark,   ALLÁHʾUʾABHÁ!
Finally I am clearing up the papers piled high on my desk and have gotten down to your letter of 10/2 [1990]. I am sorry not to have written earlier, but I feel you will understand that things get our of hand now and then, and especially when you run away for a respite!
... Growing up, spiritually, is not an easy process in any sense of the word, but it is our only defense from our own ‘wilfullness’ and egos, and is the end result of putting into practice what the WORDS say. If we do not meditate and internalize the application of those Words, there is no real reason for even reading Them!
... Remember, you would ask, “how do you think I am doing in developing inner softness and Baháʾí warmth etc?” I would say, yes, somewhat, but you need to examine how sincerely you study the Writings as they apply to your daily life.
... the Writings spell out the beauty and glory of the CREATION and what end who we are in the whole miraculous creative process....
... in the Canadian Daily Readings, for Feb. 22 it says: “Know that the Reality of Divinity or the substance of the Essence of Oness is pure sanctity and absolute holiness....” ... we are here on earth [to be] practicing acquiring the qualities that we will be known by in the next world, or our heavenly body, which is this purity and honesty or essence of our being ....
... Baháʾuʾlláh is the Divine Physician .... ALL ANSWERS to EVERYTHING that we need can be found in the WRITINGS, no where else!...
Your only salvation is to fulfill in your life HIS TRUST....
I decided suddenly that I must get away for respite and just took off for the mainland. Went down to Florida, then to Disneyland [Walt Disney World] and Epcot, and wound up in Oregon where my friend from here is now living. Had a wonderful week with her and returned home with a new spirit, or I should say, a spirit renewed. It is difficult however, to maintain that relaxed spirit, and I must world hard at trying to keep within the framework.
Due to a couple from Hilo [Hawaii] moving to Honokaa {they are two teachers in the school system) and two gentlemen from Maui moving here, we now have 7 in the Hamakua [Hāmākua, Hawaii] community. It is hoped that they will begin to contribute to a unified purpose of planning schedules that will assist in getting the Message across to the public.
... [Live] up to Baháʾuʾlláh’s pattern of life. There is no other refuge!
My love to you and expectation that you will achieve,
[signed] Elizabeth T.
Divider Bar
11/29/90 [1990]
Dear Mark,
It [A Baháʾí life] can hold no space for the human “will.” ... [We require] a genuine struggle to achieve the celestial state we are here on earth to achieve in preparation for the next Realm.
I do feel you need to understand what “Reality” They are trying to clarify for us – not intellectual facts. This is what mankind is missing today ϗ answers the demoralization so prevelant. This is my position. I will always be concerned about your state of spiritual enlightenment even as for many others and for my own as well.
The Baháʾí life is not easy in today’s world, but what a reward for struggling to achieve.
My best to you,
[signed] Elizabeth