He wishes me to add that whereas he welcomes the work on the Tablets the friends have received from the Master he does not wish anything done on notes taken or personal accounts of visits. The reason for this is the fear that a set of conflicting accounts of the same topic may crop up in various parts of the world from friends who have drawn largely from their memory, or have based their understanding of the Master’s opinion or words, upon the imperfect, not to say faulty, renderings of the interpreters of those days. Such accounts are not only impossible to verify but may lead to much perplexity and constitute a set of traditions that may not prove healthy.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahá’í Community, p. 89)
Shoghi Effendi has often said that the notes of the pilgrims should be for their own personal use and bear absolutely no authority. What he desires to convey to the friends at large he will always say in his general letters.” (Written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, dated 26 February 1933)
The instructions of the Master and the Guardian make it very clear that pilgrims’ notes are hearsay and cannot claim the authority and binding power of the Sacred Text.... Moreover, the fact that the pilgrim writing of his experience is a reliable or well-known believer, or that the reported statement seems to be repeated in the notes of several pilgrims, does not in itself confer authority upon the pilgrim’s note in question.” (Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, dated 23 January 1980)
Thou hast written concerning the pilgrims and pilgrim’s notes. Any narrative that is not authenticated by a Text should not be trusted. Narratives, even if true, cause confusion. For the people of Bahá, the Text, and only the Text, is authentic.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Translated extract from a previously-untranslated Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: International Teaching Centre, 1984 Jul 01, Concerns about Retributive Calamity