An ideal introductory guide for anyone who wishes to acquaint themselves with the basic tenets and principles of the Bahá'í Faith and the contribution that the Bahá'ís are making to building of a more just, peaceful and sustainable way of life on our planetary home.
Author: Mary Perkins and Phillip Hainsworth.
Format: Softcover book, 148 pages, 11 x 18 cm.
Publisher: Bahá'í Publications Australia, 3rd edition, 2008.
History of the title
This introductory book was written at the request of the Universal House of Justice who, in 1977, gave to the British Bahá'í community the goal of developing an introductory book on the Faith published by a non-Bahá'í publisher. The National Spiritual Assembly of the United Kingdom asked Philip Hainsworth, who was at that time serving as the National Secretary, to be in charge of this project. Mary Perkins offered to help.
Publisher Ward Lock had published a series of titles for secondary schools called Living Religions. A proposal to Ward Lock for a Bahá'í volume for their series was sent and accepted. Phillip and Mary collaborated on the various section of How the Bahá'í Faith Began, What Bahá'ís Believe, and How Baháís Live.
The title was published in 1980, and Ward Lock informed that the title was their best seller, with six reprints between 1981 and 1986, purchased by Bahá'ís in Britain and beyond. Sales of the Living Religions series eventually slowed, especially due to the arising of conservative governments emphasising the teaching of Christianity and not the world's faiths.
The British Bahá'í Publishing Trust published a second edition in 1989. A translation into Russian was published, the first Bahá'í book to be available after the razing of the Berlin Wall, followed by translations into German, Danish, Hungarian, Lithuanian, and a Braille edition.
In 2008, Bahá'í Publications Australia published a compact third edition, including new illustrations and new material on the core activities, agriculture, the role of women, and recent developments at the Bahá'í World Centre.
A translated edition in Cantonese is due in 2019.
About Mary Perkins
Mary Perkins Gray is an author, poet and storyteller. She has focused on books, in simple English, on the history and teachings of the Bahá'í Faith.
Her first title, The Bahá'í Faith, an introudction, was co-authored with Philip Hainsworth, published by Ward Lock Educational in their series on Living Religions in 1980, and subsequently translated into Danish, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Russian and Braille.
Other titles include a trilogy on the lives of the central figures of the Faith, Hour of the Dawn, Day of Glory, and Servant of the Glory, tell the stories of the history of the central figures in easy to read English. This trilogy has been translated into both Chinese and Swahili; a picture book for children titled Percival the Piano, a Story for Naw Ruz, illustrated by Wendy Thomas, also available in Spanish; and a book on peace-building titled Growing Into Peace, a manual for peace-builders in the 1990s and beyond.
Mary was born and raised in the west of Wales and holds a degree in history from the University of Wales, Swansea. She has worked for eight years in Africa - in Lesotho, in Uganda where she became a Bahá'í, and in Cameroon where she met and married Richard Gray, an American astronomer. The Grays have now live in the mountains of North Carolina where Richard has taught astronomy for over thirty years. Mary is currently working on a second picture book and a book on storytelling. Mary is a licensed Brain Gym® facilitator and a passionate backyard gardener. In 2016 a volume of her poetry, titled Turning Toward Home was published by Bibliofiles.