The Cause forbids Priesthood (no Mollas, Ayatollahs, or professional ministers), but not Servanthood! I suggest the creation of the Order of the Servants of Glory for those Friends who wish to teach and promote the Faith, and work for Bahá'í Industries, on a full-time permanent basis. Like Catholic "religious orders" the members of the O.S.G. would will not have hourly wages or salaries, but be given living accomodations and small monthly stipend (this is legal for those who sign contracts in religious orders). At retirement they are to live at Ridwan City either in an assisted-living center, apartments, or hospice; still working part-time as their health permits (in the gardens, etc.). Their health needs will be taken care of a government insurance plan (Canada has one and the U.S. will soon have one).
Members of the O.S.G. will be married, or encouraged to marry. Retired couples on pensions will be the first O.S.G. members. But the O.S.G. will grow over time allowing younger and younger people to join.
Ideally, "Servants" will be retired men and women on pensions (at first). Then, couples whose children are "out of the house". And of course "single" Bahá'ís over the age of 40 who do not believe they will be married in this life. Couples who cannot have their own children, and cannot adopt.
I suggest that the initiation and Daily Recital of the Servants of Glory should be as follows:
"I am a Servant of Bahá'u'lláh. My qualification is Servitude. My reality is Servitude. My praise is Servitude. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all the human race my perpetual religion. No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will I ever have, except that of Servant. This is my longing. this is my greatest yearning. This is my eternal life. This is my eternal glory."
Housing and monthly stipend for members of the O.S.G. would come from a special O.S.B. Fund that all Believers would be asked to contribute too. Housing would be very simple, often in inner city areas or rural areas, and the monthly stipend would cover the cost of food, clothing, and basic transportation.
Naturally, at least for the first 5 to 10 years, Servants would have to be people on pensions, or disability, to keep down costs to feed and house them. But, eventually, some of the Friends could choose as their career to become members of the O.S.G.
The Friends may have discovered that "inviting" people to meetings to discuss "Race Unity" or "World Peace" or "Esperanto", just isn't drawing in the numbers like they used to. In the minds of 99.99.99% of the population of North America, Race Unity has been achieved, or they are against race unity. Esperanto doesn't have the draw it used to now that most of the world speaks English as the Universal Auxilary Language.
What then? How does not draw people into the Faith?
I suggest Servanthood. A good way to attract people to the Faith, is to somehow be a service to people.
What do Americans "need" the most?
e) medical care
f) help with overcoming bad habits
For food, clothing, housing, education, and medical care, all free, one can approach the government welfare agencies. Who is deprived of these things? The homeless are homeless because they cannot keep the rules of housing, or free government housing has cast them out because they continued to take drugs, or fight. They hold up signs "Will work for food" NOT because they need food, but because they need money for cigarettes, and alcohol, and drugs.
In this country, anyone who needs free food can get it. Anyone who needs free clothing can get it. Anyone who needs free education can get it. Anyone who needs free housing can get it. Anyone who needs free medical care can get it; simply by going to any Emergency Room.
What do most Americans really "need"? May I suggest "f" is the right answer. Of the options above, Americans need most help with "f" (help to overcome their bad habits).
How can Baha'is help Americans "overcome" bad habits?
a) tell them not to do it and those habits are "bad" for them (they already know that).
b) hypnotherapy (re-programming their sub-conscious minds that control their habits).
I would suggest to you that hypnotherapy is an excellent way to help people overcome their bad habits such as:
d) sex/porn addiction
How many Americans have "trouble" with a or b or c or d or e or f or g or h? I would tell you: at least 80% of Americans have a problem with at least "1" of the above! Wouldn't you agree!
That is 80% of Americans who need help to overcome their SDBs (self-defeating behaviors).
How can the Servants help them?
The answer is hypnotherapy. It can't help all overcome every addiction, but, in most cases, it works!
Natually, the Servants can't go out and become M.D.s and Psychologists in order to help people with SDBs, but, in just about all American states, this is not required. In just about all American states and terroritories, one does not need to have any college degree at all in order to become a Certified Hypnotherapist (C.Ht.). All it requires is a free hundred hours of training; most of which can be correspondance (online). This could be offered by Thorton Chase University (registered in California as a "Class C" university).
The Servants could become trained and certified Hypnotherapists, and offer their services for FREE!
The Servants would advertise their FREE services in the yellow pages, in newspapers, on the Internet, even on radio! How many will respond for FREE help in overcoming their self-defeating behaviors? The amount would be staggering! Many would be helped, and they would tell their friends and relatives: "the Baha'is helped me overcome smoking (or drinking, or drugs, or overeating, etc.) and they didn't charge me a dime!".
Think of it!
People will not be charged for these free hypotheraphy sessions. Many people will ask "Why are you called Brother?" or "Why are you called Sister?" or "What does O.S.G. mean?" or "Why are you dressed like that?" and that will give the Brother or Sister the "openning" to say: "It means the Order of the Servants of Glory---the Servants of Bahá'u'lláh!" The prospect will then ask, "Who is Bahá'u'lláh?"
For every 100 "clients" who contact the O.S.G., about 95 in 100 will ask a question that will "invite" the Servant to tell them about Baha'u'llah!
The 9 Letters in the OSB symbol mean the following:
1. Believing in Baha'u'llah
2. Baptism of Fire and the Love of God
3. Fasting during the month of Ala
4.Meditating on the Holy Verses daily
5. Chanting the Zikr daily.
6. Conforming oneself to the example of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
7. Good thoughts/good words/good deeds.
8. Praying the Medium Obligatory Prayer three times daily and reciting the Long Obligatory Prayer weekly.
9. Living the Life
These nine letters represent the Path of Holiness.
Servants (members of the O.S.G.) would have a higher discipline that regular Believers.
Eventually, Thorton Chase University could offer Certificates in Hypnotherapy. O.S.G. members would also be trained in running soup kitches, running thrift stores, counselling pregant unmarried teens, asking for food donations from markets and restaurants, asking for clothing donations from various sources, teaching English overseas, etc. The possibilities for "service" are endless.
They would also become travel-teachers in foreign countries; getting TESL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificates (120 hours at least--no need to speak a foreign language) and go overseas to special not-for-profit Bahá'í Schools or English called ONE-WORLD ENGLISH INTERNATIONAL so that they can teach non-believers English, and, of course, the students will ask about the posters and why such-and-such is called "Abd _____" (male servant) or "Amir _____, (female servant) their peculiar clothing, etc., all "opens the door" for the Message of Bahá'u'lláh.
The career of a member of the O.S.G. would be varied: with teaching English overseas, with working in soup kitchens, thrift stores, with working as a hypnotherapist (not charging any money) in helping people with smoking, or eating, or other addictions, to working at Ridwan City in the gardens there or building homes there, to supervising youth on their Year of Service, to running Worship Centers in inner-cities. It would start out slow, with only "19" initial "Servants", but it would grow over time.
The Servants will not close themselves off in cloisters like monks and nuns. On the contrary, the Servants will be "out" serving others, in many different ways. They will be like the "Friars" of the middle-ages; except that they will not be celebate unless they are single. And they do not need to remain single. It is hoped that single Servants will marry other Servants in the Order. The O.S.G. will become known as "The Holy Order".