Excerpts from a talk given by Peter Khan

National Teaching Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, June 2000

Excerpt 1:
"We need a greater commitment on the part of the friends to deepening in the covenant. Deepening in the covenant is a very important issue in all parts of the world. It involves much more than being able to recite a catechism of who elects who and the national assemblies are elected this a way and that a way and all the rest of it. It involves a philosophic understanding of the role of authority in religion. And we need this in all countries of the world and we need this particularly in New Zealand. The House of Justice has been appalled in recent weeks to receive vitriolic, nasty, vicious letters from New Zealand Baha'is concerned about actions the House of Justice took with regard to a believer from the South Island. I'm sure you are aware of it. These letters are not many, there are a few of them, but they're probably the worst letters I have ever seen written to the House of Justice and they came from people who are part of the New Zealand Baha'i community. That, if nothing more, is an indication of the need for a far greater attention to this issue in this country as well as in other countries. New Zealand surely doesn't want to go down in Baha'i history as the community that has produced such nasty correspondence. Correspondence of such a kind that I am embarrassed to have my secretary see it because of the kind of language that it uses. Anyhow, be that as it may, it's their spiritual problem and they will deal with Baha'u'llah as they wish. But the point is that here it is an indication that something is fundamentally wrong with the Baha'i community in this country in terms of its depth of understanding of the covenant and the authority of the institutions of the Faith. What you take as normal is not normal, but abnormal. What is normal is to have in a Baha'i community a number of Baha'is who are very knowledgable about the covenant who can share their insights with others so that the entire community has a good knowledge of the covenant and follows it. And if that is not done, then what I foresee in the future in New Zealand is more of the same - more vitriol, more foulness, more people rebelling against that crowd of kill-joys in Haifa who call themselves the Universal House of Justice and what do they know and this kind of stuff. That is what I see in the future in this country unless there is sharp, urgent and prolonged attention to a far greater deepening and understanding of the covenant."

Excerpt 2:
"So, how close is humanity to achieving the Lesser Peace? It is being born before us. Just as the local and national assemblies are maturing before us, and the establishment of the administrative system on Mount Carmel is being accomplished before our eyes. The present phase is coming to its conclusion in the next few months, but there’s a lot more to be done in the decades to come during the new, the 21st century.

Related to that is the question: “I’m still waiting for the unseen calamity by the end of the 20th century. Are we still getting it?” I’ve got news for you folks, you’ve got it. This stuff going on in New Zealand at the present time, if this is not a calamity, what is? Would you rather lose your spiritual life and your spiritual condition and go through all eternity spiritually crippled by this? Is that worse or better than the physical calamity of having your house blown up or having a war occur or something like that? Our values are spiritual. The things we value most are spiritual things. We are facing spiritual tests and a spiritual calamity is before us. And one of the things I wanted to do this morning is to alert you to my understanding that the Baha’is in New Zealand are facing the very real prospect of a spiritual calamity unless urgent and immediate measures are taken."