The Origins of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, 1898-1948

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1996 M12 16 - 356 pages

What binds together Louis Riel’s former secretary, a railroad inventor, a Montreal comedienne, an early proponent of Canada’s juvenile system and a prominent Canadian architect? Socialists, suffragists, musicians, artists — from 1898 to 1948, these and some 550 other individual Canadian Bahá’ís helped create a movement described as the second most widespread religion in the world.

Using diaries, memoirs, official reports, private correspondence, newspapers, archives and interviews, Will C. van den Hoonaard has created the first historical account of Bahá’ís in Canada. In addition, The Origins of the Bahá’í Community of Canada, 1898-1948 clearly depicts the dynamics and the struggles of a new religion in a new country.

This is a story of modern spiritual heroes — people who changed the lives of others through their devotion to the Bahá’í ideals, in particular to the belief that the earth is one country and all of humankind are its citizens.

Thirty-nine original photographs effectively depict persons and events influencing the growth of the Bahá’í movement in Canada.

The Origins of the Bahá’í Community of Canada, 1898-1948 makes an original contribution to religious history in Canada and provides a major sociological reference tool, as well as a narrative history that can be used by scholars and Bahá’ís alike for many years to come.

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Early Dependence on Liberal Protestantism
Formation of Community Identity 191337
Organization and Community Boundaries
Relationship to Canadian Society

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About the author (1996)

Will C. van den Hoonaard, a professor of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick, has been a Bahá’í for over thirty years. He is Senior Editor of the international Bahá’í encyclopedia project.

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