Desert Rose Bahá'í Institute was dedicated on November 29, 1997 in honor of the two Hands of the Cause of God, General Shuá'u'lláh `Alá'í and, William Sears  whose resting places are within an hour's drive of the property.

General Shuá'u'lláh `Alá'í

William Sears

William Sears was born March 28, 1911 in Minnesota. When he was eighteen months old he saw ‘Abdu'l-Bahá on a train as it stopped in the town of Aitkin, Minnesota. Soon after he began having dreams of a “shiny man” who told him to: “Search for me. Be like Peter. Fish.”

From an early age he wrote plays, poems and stories. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and entered radio broadcasting, specializing in sportscasting. His keen intelligence, great integrity and hard work made him a sought after broadcaster, and he won many awards for his work.


He met and married Marguerite Reimer, and she taught him about the Bahá'í Faith. He became a Bahá'í while in Utah.


In 1953, at the height of his career, Bill and Marguerite pioneered to South Africa. In 1954, he was appointed to the Auxiliary Board for Hand of the Cause of God Musa Banani. Also in 1954, he went on pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel. Meeting the Guardian, he said, changed his life.


In 1956, he was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of South and West Africa. In October 1957, he was elevated to Hand of the Cause of God.


His vast travels took him the equivalent of twenty times around the world. He was always deepening, inspiring, and teaching. His creative energy never flagged, as books, stories, plays, and poems poured from his pen.


He launched many successful teaching campaigns all over the world. After fifty years of constant service, his body finally came to rest. He passed away, at home in Tucson, Arizona, on March 25, 1992. He is buried in East Lawn Palm Mortuary, 5801 E. Grant Rd. Tucson, AZ  85712.

Shuá'u'lláh `Alá'í was born into a Bahá'í family in Teheran on November 16, 1889. At seven years of age he received a tablet from ‘Abdu'l-Bahá which became, he said, his “guide and refuge in life.” He studied accounting at university, and worked, initially, as the financial officer of the police department. Later, with the Ministry of Justice, his intelligence and integrity enabled him to rise to the position of chief controller of army finances, which earned him the title of general.


In 1913, he was elected to the Local Spiritual Assembly of Teheran. He served on that institution for the next thirty years. In 1934, he was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran. He served on that institution, often as chairman, for the next eighteen years. In 1952, he was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God, and he began his international work.


He attended the four International Conferences in 1953. In April 1957, he represented Shoghi Effendi at the inaugural convention of the National Spiritual Assembly of Pakistan.


In all, he traveled to more than thirty-five countries, and all continents except Australia and Antarctica. During all these years he helped to manage the Bahá'í properties in Iran, an on-going task that often involved detailed and delicate negotiations with the government of Iran.


In 1978, he left Iran and settled in France. In 1981, he resettled in Scottsdale, Arizona. He passed away peacefully on his birthday, surrounded by family and friends, November 16, 1984. He is buried at 6912 E. McDonald Dr. Paradise Valley, AZ. 85253


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