David Hofman started his career as the only male television announcer in the world before World War II, and has ended it as one of the forces behind the rapid rise of the Baha'i Faith to become one of the largest independent world religions.
Visiting the Whitehorse Baha'i community this week as part of a national tour , David recalled his time as the only male BBC television announcer between 1937 and 1948 , at a time of "experimental" broadcasts.
"There are 5000 receiving sets and it was purely experimental . There were two broadcasts a day at 8am and 5pm we did outside broadcasts at Wimbeldon and the cricket. I was on the roof at Lords when Donald Bradman made a double century," he said.
England had the only public service in the world at the time although this was shut down when war was declared. He then worked on BBC 'Empire Service' and broadcast many programs to Australia.
"In those days we were the arbiters of good speech" David said. Today he believes the media should help raise the standards of morality and human conduct instead of lowering standards. "I think the media has a very large portion to blame for the condition of humanity today," David said. He became a Baha'i in 1930s in Canada and in 1937 established a Baha'i Publishing Trust in the UK, 'George Ronald', which still exists today.
ON A MISSION David Hofman once broke new grounds in Television and now travels the world meeting his "spiritual brothers and sisters
During the war he went into fire service, putting out fires after bomb raids. "As a Baha'i , I wanted to do my national service, serve my country, but we don't want to out killing," he said. David also worked in radio and theatre, appearing in several West Ends shows in 1930s. In 1963 he was elected to the first world governing body of the Baha'i Faith, the Universal House of Justice, and lived at the head quarters on Mt Carmel in Haifa, Israel, for 25 years until he retirement in 1988.
"We don't have any priesthood in the Baha'i Faith at all," he said. Instead the Baha'i Faith operates on a system of freely elected governing councils set in communities world-wide and claims to have over six million followers. The system was founded in 1800s by a Persian noble man and teaches world wide peace, unity and harmony, based on a single God represented by all the world's religions. Today the 88 year old former distinguished English TV announcer, actor, publisher and spiritual messenger travels the world visiting Baha'i communities. "I enjoy my life now because everywhere I go I meet my spiritual brothers and sisters," David said.
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