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Old 04-04-2015, 10:50 AM   #1
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May the Universal House of Justice change its statement about what's in the Writings?

If the Universal House of Justice states that the Writings say something, can that statement be changed?

I can see from the perspective that the Supreme Body's understanding of what is in the Writings might change over time, particularly if some tablets are newly authenticated. The Universal House of Justice is not omniscient, and it can only act on the limited knowledge it has access to at any given time. So it may be forced to, in light of new information, change what it says the Bahá'í Writings state, in order to reconcile statements that only outwardly contradict each other.

I can also see from the perspective that to make a statement about what is in the Writings, beyond merely quoting, or what the Writings mean, is interpretation. The Universal House of Justice cannot authoritatively interpret. Thus, the Supreme Body is only restating an authoritative interpretation already made by the Master/Guardian, even if it does not explicitly cite it. And, unlike legislation, such a cited interpretation (by the Guardian, and, most likely, the Master) "is a statement of truth which cannot be varied."
The Universal House of Justice's Power of Elucidation
 
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Old 04-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #2
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Yes, the UHJ can repeal it's own laws, just not laws made by the prophets, Abdu'l-Bahá or Shoghí Effendí.
 
Old 04-04-2015, 11:41 AM   #3
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Depends what you mean. It cannot change what the writings specifically state, but can change what they have taken various writings to mean.
 
Old 04-04-2015, 12:07 PM   #4
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Hi, Lemuel. I'm not referring to a law per se. What I'm asking about is a statement by the Universal House about what the Writings state, i.e., "The Bahá'í Writings state..."

The reason I ask is because I've met some Bahá'ís who believe that the following is susceptible to change by the House of Justice:

Quote:
The Bahá’í Writings state that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that sexual relations are restricted to a couple who are married to each other.

- Written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 27 October 2010
However, I'm also interested in general about statements like the above. I don't want this thread to be a discussion on the content of the quote, i.e., marriage or sexual relations.
 
Old 04-04-2015, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Depends what you mean. It cannot change what the writings specifically state, but can change what they have taken various writings to mean.
Hi, Walrus. Can the House of Justice authoritatively state what it takes the Writings to mean? Isn't doing so an act of interpretation, which the House of Justice may not do?

Last edited by Clex19; 04-04-2015 at 12:27 PM.
 
Old 04-04-2015, 01:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
Hi, Walrus. Can the House of Justice authoritatively state what it takes the Writings to mean? Isn't doing so an act of interpretation, which the House of Justice may not do?
Clex19 - The way I see it, In the end the Universal House of Justice will use all the available resources and give the answer as it is Lawful for them to do.

They will not cross the boundary they can not cross.

Thus in the age we live, it is for is to submit to what is then relevant, we need not be concerned what may be in the future.

It is all about Unity.

God bless and regards Tony
 
Old 04-04-2015, 01:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
Hi, Lemuel. I'm not referring to a law per se. What I'm asking about is a statement by the Universal House about what the Writings state, i.e., "The Bahá'í Writings state..."

The reason I ask is because I've met some Bahá'ís who believe that the following is susceptible to change by the House of Justice:



However, I'm also interested in general about statements like the above. I don't want this thread to be a discussion on the content of the quote, i.e., marriage or sexual relations.
The way I see this one is that we can also read the writings and note that this is a law that will last this dispensation. It is in the book of Laws, there is no Interpretation just further clarification.

Thus we will have the writings available to us that formed any decision by the Universal House of Justice and the wisdom will be seen.

God bless and regards Tony
 
Old 04-04-2015, 05:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Clex19 - The way I see it, In the end the Universal House of Justice will use all the available resources and give the answer as it is Lawful for them to do.

They will not cross the boundary they can not cross.

Thus in the age we live, it is for is to submit to what is then relevant, we need not be concerned what may be in the future.

It is all about Unity.

God bless and regards Tony
Hi, Tony. Thanks for your thoughts.

So would you say that because "the Universal House of Justice will use all the available resources and give the answer as it is Lawful for them to do," statements about what's in the Writings are an implicit reference to an authoritative interpretation? Either way, such statements sound like *some* act of interpretation. Do you see them any differently?
 
Old 04-04-2015, 05:52 PM   #9
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Yes, the Universal House of Justice can, at one time, say that one thing is in the Bahai Writings, and later it may say no, that is not in the Writings. It relies on the facts available to it, and the level of its members' understandings, and on divine guidance. The UHJ may give right guidance, even when it is wrong about the Bahai teachings. This is because the purpose of its statements is to tell us what to do, not what the scriptures mean.

For example, on 29 July 1974 the Universal House of Justice wrote a letter about the preoccupation of some American Baha’is with the date of the Lesser Peace, and said:

It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: “The fifth candle is the unity of nations — a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, … (Messages 1963-68, 281)

In a similar letter to an individual believer dated April 15, 1976, the Universal House of Justice writes:

Abdu’l-Baha anticipated that the Lesser Peace could be established before the end of the twentieth century.”

The UHJ thought Abdu’l-Baha anticipated that the unity of nations, in the first quote, or the Lesser Peace, in the second quote, was linked to, or could be, established before the end of the twentieth century. But they were wrong: the text does not say “twentieth century,” it says “this century.” If one took either letter as a statement of what is in the text, it would lead one astray. However, those Bahais of the 1970s and later who took the UHJ’s message as a statement of what is to be done, and not an interpretation of scripture, would be on the right track. The letter of 29 July 1974 goes on to say, “It is apparent that the disintegration of the old order is accelerating, but the friends should not permit this inevitable process to deter them from giving their undivided attention to the tasks lying immediately before them.” Although the UHJ’s understanding of what the scripture said was incorrect, its guidance on what needed to be done can be seen in retrospect to have been correct, for the end of the 20th century was not accompanied by any great change in the world.

After the event, the Research Department (not the UHJ, but approved for release by them) wrote (2001):

“there is nothing in the authoritative Bahai Writings to indicate that the Lesser Peace would be established before the end of the twentieth century.”

However the Research Department achieved this, by distinguishing
between Lesser Peace and Unity of Nations – apparently not realising that
there is no authentic Bahai text that refers to either a Lesser Peace, or the
Unity of Nations, or “peace among the nations” occuring in the TWENTIETH
century – the relevant authentic texts all refer to “this century.” That statements of the Research Department represent the opinions of individuals, they may be informative but are not authoritative.

In addition to your question, which is about cases where the UHJ explitily states that something is "in the Writings," an enactment of the UHJ may be contrary to the spirit of the Bahai Teachings, as Shoghi Effendi writes:

Quote:
He [the Guardian] cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s revealed utterances. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah 150)
Therefore it is also not possible to rely on the understandings of the teachings that are implicit in the UHJ's enactments. Those understandings (each member may have a different one!) are not free from error as regards the meaning and spirit of the teachings, although -- as the quote above shows -- the decisions are still valid and must be obeyed.
 
Old 04-04-2015, 09:14 PM   #10
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Marriage is not defined as a man and a woman in the Kitab i Aqdas. As a gay Bahá'í, I plan on getting married. Now, Shoghí Effendí didn't ban gay marriage either, he stated gays are not a natural phenomenon, blah blah. But the fact is, Shoghí is fallible when it comes to ANYHING besides the TEXTS. He states himself he is fallible on science & economics. Homosexuality is not banned in the Faith by prophets, abdul Baha or the guardian. UHJ made these laws and think Effendí is infallible on everything.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 12:01 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemuel View Post
Marriage is not defined as a man and a woman in the Kitab i Aqdas. As a gay Bahá'í, I plan on getting married. Now, Shoghí Effendí didn't ban gay marriage either, he stated gays are not a natural phenomenon, blah blah. But the fact is, Shoghí is fallible when it comes to ANYHING besides the TEXTS. He states himself he is fallible on science & economics. Homosexuality is not banned in the Faith by prophets, abdul Baha or the guardian. UHJ made these laws and think Effendí is infallible on everything.
"....O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi, the twig that hath branched from and the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature, that day by day he may wax greater in happiness, in joy and spirituality, and may grow to become even as a fruitful tree.
For he is, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.
The Glory of Glories rest upon you!" Bahá'í Reference Library - The Will And Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Pages 23-26

The writings are clear, marriage is to bring forth one that will mention God, this can obviously only be achieved by a Man joined with a Woman - Baha'i Faith Marriage

“The true marriage of Bahá’ís is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118)

“The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 122)


As stated, the guidance has been given for our age, while we live under the guidance we are to obey it. There is no "Out". The future is not for us to pre-invent or guess!

God Bless all Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 04-05-2015 at 12:11 AM.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 12:08 AM   #12
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This needs to be read Bahá'í Reference Library - The Will And Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Pages 3-15

"...The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, will he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Bahá. My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!"

There is no Ifs and Buts with this from Abdul'Baha and I wish it known that if a person posts here, niggling at the Authority of Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice, Know that those views are far from welcome.

Please refrain, or please be invited to leave and consider before posting. These comments tear at the very Heart of Unity and Love of this Faith.

God Bless all to understand the Power of the Covenant. Regards Tony
 
Old 04-05-2015, 10:11 AM   #13
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The original question: "May the Universal House of Justice change its statement about what's in the Writings?"

Thank you all for your interesting comments on this topic. From my perspective and understanding of “the Writings”, and to keep on point, the answer is that the House of Justice should not make statements about what's in the Revealed Writings as that was the role of the Guardianship as the interpreter of the Word of God, i.e. the Writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. As "Abu'l-Baha stated in His Will and Testament, the House of Justice is "to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them" and “all that is not recorded therein (The Most Holy Book) must be referred to the Universal House of Justice.” And as Shoghi Effendi explained, the House of Justice's "exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed” in the Holy Text. Shoghi Effendi also stated, it was to be the responsibility of the institution of the Guardianship to progressively provide "the means required to enable (the Faith) to take a long uninterrupted view over a series of generations" and it was for the Guardianship to determine and provide the "necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives", i.e. the Universal House of Justice. As ‘Abu’l-Baha also stated in His Will and Testament, “Inasmuch as the House of Justice hath the power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same . . . This it can do because these laws form no part of the divine explicit text.”
I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

-LR
 
Old 04-05-2015, 03:17 PM   #14
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Hi, Sen. I appreciate your post. It's very thought-provoking. Here are my resulting thoughts:

I don't see the 1974 and 1976 statements by the Universal House of Justice as conflicting. Regarding the 1974 statement, a link between an event and a time frame does not imply that the event will happen during the time frame. I think it's equally possible that great advances that promoted the unity of nations happened in the twentieth century, rather than the establishment of the unity of nations itself. To me, this view satisfies a link of the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century.

Here's an example to illustrate my point. I was born in the twentieth century. I created this thread in the twenty-first century. I think I could truthfully say that the creation of this thread is linked to the twentieth century. This is because an event (my birth) in the twentieth century strongly influenced the latter event in the twenty-first century (this thread's creation).

Furthermore, synonymizing "linked to" with "could be", as in your biggest paragraph, makes it seem even less likely that the Universal House of Justice was saying what would happen. The fact that the Lesser Peace did not happen does not invalidate the 1976 statement that 'Abdu'l-Bahá anticipated the Lesser Peace *could* happen before the twentieth century's end.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 06:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
Hi, Sen. I appreciate your post. It's very thought-provoking. Here are my resulting thoughts:

I don't see the 1974 and 1976 statements by the Universal House of Justice as conflicting. Regarding the 1974 statement, a link between an event and a time frame does not imply that the event will happen during the time frame. I think it's equally possible that great advances that promoted the unity of nations happened in the twentieth century, rather than the establishment of the unity of nations itself. To me, this view satisfies a link of the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century.

Here's an example to illustrate my point. I was born in the twentieth century. I created this thread in the twenty-first century. I think I could truthfully say that the creation of this thread is linked to the twentieth century. This is because an event (my birth) in the twentieth century strongly influenced the latter event in the twenty-first century (this thread's creation).

Furthermore, synonymizing "linked to" with "could be", as in your biggest paragraph, makes it seem even less likely that the Universal House of Justice was saying what would happen. The fact that the Lesser Peace did not happen does not invalidate the 1976 statement that 'Abdu'l-Bahá anticipated the Lesser Peace *could* happen before the twentieth century's end.
Clex19 - Another important point is that a lot of things could have happened to date, if we as Baha'i's had done as we were instructed to do by the Heralds, Guardian and Institutions of the Faith and if we had followed the Masters example. We Could have help usher it in.

I also think all that was required to build the Lesser Peace was realized in the Twentieth Century.

Why the Faith is slow, is because we are slow, we are not battling in Serried Lines, we are not united as we should be, we are not as active as we should be, we are not being Like the Master.

(P/S if one reading this thinks this does not apply to them. Good on you! )

The Master will be attracted and come to our aid, the world will change when we do. At this time, in a lot of places, he still, unfortunately, has to "fly away" as we are not attracting the confirmations.

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 04-05-2015, 06:36 PM   #16
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"the Guardian is not infallible in matters of economics and science and apparently he did not claim infallibility in matters of history"

- Secretary of Shoghí Effendí


"through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap [homosexuality]"

- Shoghí Effendí


It is clear that this is scientific matter and is not from the texts. Obviously, since this has been dismissed by medical professionals, and that the Guardian is NOT infallible, that this quote means nothing to the current day Bahá'í.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 06:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemuel View Post
"the Guardian is not infallible in matters of economics and science and apparently he did not claim infallibility in matters of history"

- Secretary of Shoghí Effendí


"through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap [homosexuality]"

- Shoghí Effendí


It is clear that this is scientific matter and is not from the texts. Obviously, since this has been dismissed by medical professionals, and that the Guardian is NOT infallible, that this quote means nothing to the current day Bahá'í.
Bold and sizes added by poster

"...The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, will he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Bahá. My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!"

May all that claim to be Baha'i be given the wisdom to overcome the promptings of self, when it comes to matters of FAITH.

The current guidance is clear, the future not yet ours to see. To comment against this is Disputing and I leave it all to read the above quoted consequences for their own action and decisions.

Self is our Test, we will battle this all our lives. I pray we all can make headway. Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 04-05-2015 at 06:58 PM.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 07:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Bold and sizes added by poster

"...The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, will he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Bahá. My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!"

May all that claim to be Baha'i be given the wisdom to overcome the promptings of self, when it comes to matters of FAITH.

The current guidance is clear, the future not yet ours to see. To comment against this is Disputing and I leave it all to read the above quoted consequences for their own action and decisions.

Self is our Test, we will battle this all our lives. I pray we all can make headway. Regards Tony


And Shoghí Effendí HIMSELF stated that this only applies when it comes to interpreting the writings, you are the one who is disputing with Allah
 
Old 04-05-2015, 08:08 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
The original question: "May the Universal House of Justice change its statement about what's in the Writings?"

Thank you all for your interesting comments on this topic. From my perspective and understanding of “the Writings”, and to keep on point, the answer is that the House of Justice should not make statements about what's in the Revealed Writings as that was the role of the Guardianship as the interpreter of the Word of God, i.e. the Writings of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. As "Abu'l-Baha stated in His Will and Testament, the House of Justice is "to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them" and “all that is not recorded therein (The Most Holy Book) must be referred to the Universal House of Justice.” And as Shoghi Effendi explained, the House of Justice's "exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed” in the Holy Text. Shoghi Effendi also stated, it was to be the responsibility of the institution of the Guardianship to progressively provide "the means required to enable (the Faith) to take a long uninterrupted view over a series of generations" and it was for the Guardianship to determine and provide the "necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives", i.e. the Universal House of Justice. As ‘Abu’l-Baha also stated in His Will and Testament, “Inasmuch as the House of Justice hath the power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same . . . This it can do because these laws form no part of the divine explicit text.”
I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

-LR
Hi, Larry. Thank you, also, for your comments.

I'd like to ask you what I was trying to ask Tony. Since the Universal House of Justice cannot interpret, would you say that if it makes a statement about what's in the Writings, it's doing so based on an authoritative interpretation, even if it does not cite one?
 
Old 04-05-2015, 08:09 PM   #20
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Key word: Obedience

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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
"....O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi, the twig that hath branched from and the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature, that day by day he may wax greater in happiness, in joy and spirituality, and may grow to become even as a fruitful tree.
For he is, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.
The Glory of Glories rest upon you!" Bahá'í Reference Library - The Will And Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Pages 23-26

The writings are clear, marriage is to bring forth one that will mention God, this can obviously only be achieved by a Man joined with a Woman - Baha'i Faith Marriage

“The true marriage of Bahá’ís is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 118)

“The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other. If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 122)


As stated, the guidance has been given for our age, while we live under the guidance we are to obey it. There is no "Out". The future is not for us to pre-invent or guess!

God Bless all Regards Tony

The twin duties prescribed by God for man are "recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His Laws" and "obedience" to those Laws. "Neither is acceptable without the other."

Clearly, for one who is determined to break His Laws, no amount of dialogue or clear quotations from the Sacred Writings, even the Most Holy Book, will convince that person, who is obviously intent upon disregarding the Laws of God and inserting a wedge between the faithful followers of Baha'u'llah, to submit their own will to the Will of God.

This process of rationalization and avoidance is symptomatic of spiritual insubordination and self-assertion consistent with the "insistant self" described by Abdul Baha. When it comes to matters of obedeince, it is one thing, but promotion of division and intentional distraction, challenging the Authority of Shoghi Effendi and Abdul Baha, even Baha'u'llah Himself, is quite another matter entirely.

Ya Baha'ul'Abha!!

.
 
Old 04-05-2015, 10:55 PM   #21
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Hi, Larry. Thank you, also, for your comments.

I'd like to ask you what I was trying to ask Tony. Since the Universal House of Justice cannot interpret, would you say that if it makes a statement about what's in the Writings, it's doing so based on an authoritative interpretation, even if it does not cite one?
Sorry Clex19, thought I had replied, this was my answer, but yes not specifically to that question.

There is no further Interpretation undertaken, just further clarification. Baha'u'llah, Abdul'Baha and Shoghi Effendi have left a wealth of Interpretation and explanations that will feed our souls for many a century to come.

To me everything the Guardian needed to do had been done and as such that is why there was no Will, he could not leave one as there was no avenue to appoint another. He owned not a thing (my understanding), thus he did not need one. (This would be a big topic within itself and has been discussed many times before).

All Baha'ullahs Laws have been explained to the extent required for the Formative age and as we move on into the future to the Golden Age there is scope for the Universal House of Justice to implement, as required, subordinate Laws to some of these.

For example Death for Arsonist by Fire is the Ultimate Penalty that can be considered. It could be that the Universal House of Justice provides penalties for lesser aspects of that crime and uses that for Arson causing death to others.

The Administrative order has been set in motion by and Shoghi Effendi must be for ever thanked for the vision He had re this institution. He worked himself to an early grave implementing this Embryo of the New World Order.

As stated above all we need to Serve this Cause in the time we live has been given. Only promptings of Self will Hold us back and Self is out Martyrdom. If we do not die to self, we have not achieved the service we should.

If any one out there finds this easy, please PM me, I would like the answer

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
Old 04-06-2015, 05:37 AM   #22
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Clex 19:

Thank you for responding to my post. At this time of the day, I am very limited for time so will provide only a brief comment for now.

From my experience, discussing the topic of the "Guardianship" to any depth and as it relates to the topic of this thread can stir sensitivities in others and could potentially bring with it accusations of firmness in the covenant as the covenant is currently understood and promoted by the Baha'i Community. As individuals, I believe it is important to read and ponder what was actually written by those designated interpreters, being 'Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi.

Brief answer to your question: One would certainly hope so, and I would answer in the affirmative when it come to the writings of the interpreters of the Word of God, being 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. Then there is the challenge that translation of divinely revealed scripture adds to the mix if the designated interpreters had did already comment on or translate it during their lifetimes.

All the time I have for now.

-LR
 
Old 04-06-2015, 06:42 AM   #23
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And Shoghí Effendí HIMSELF stated that this only applies when it comes to interpreting the writings, you are the one who is disputing with Allah
I... very much agree with you. We cannot possibly have a discussion on the nature of Shoghi Effendi's infallibility while ignoring what he himself said on the subject. Since he is infallible I'd say we need to trust what he has to say about his infallibility. If he says it is limited, it is, and there's no way around it.
 
Old 04-06-2015, 07:17 AM   #24
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This is a very difficult subject for many. It's really pleasant to see it discussed in a respectful manner.

gnat
 
Old 04-06-2015, 12:26 PM   #25
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I... very much agree with you. We cannot possibly have a discussion on the nature of Shoghi Effendi's infallibility while ignoring what he himself said on the subject. Since he is infallible I'd say we need to trust what he has to say about his infallibility. If he says it is limited, it is, and there's no way around it.
Thank you
 
Old 04-06-2015, 12:45 PM   #26
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I... very much agree with you. We cannot possibly have a discussion on the nature of Shoghi Effendi's infallibility while ignoring what he himself said on the subject. Since he is infallible I'd say we need to trust what he has to say about his infallibility. If he says it is limited, it is, and there's no way around it.
Walrus - The guidance on specific subjects to date have been given as per the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.

If one wants further clarification one goes through the process so the Universal House of Justice can give a Final or updated answer.

No matter what is discussed re the Infalability of the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. No Bahai can post saying that current guidance on any subject is wrong.

Please no one sweep this under the carpet. The Unity of the Cause rests in Complete submission to these decisions, knowing there is due process and if there is any wrong it will be righted.

God bless all and regards Tony
 
Old 04-06-2015, 12:54 PM   #27
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Thank you
Lemuel - Study the Covenant, re visit your comments and then decided what you are thanking walrus for.

God bless you and all - Regards Tony
 
Old 04-06-2015, 01:20 PM   #28
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Walrus - The guidance on specific subjects to date have been given as per the Covenant of Baha'u'llah.

If one wants further clarification one goes through the process so the Universal House of Justice can give a Final or updated answer.

No matter what is discussed re the Infalability of the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice. No Bahai can post saying that current guidance on any subject is wrong.

Please no one sweep this under the carpet. The Unity of the Cause rests in Complete submission to these decisions, knowing there is due process and if there is any wrong it will be righted.

God bless all and regards Tony
That's not what I object too. My input is not related to the subject at hand, but the manner of the debate around the subject at hand. (Yeah, I'm getting a bit meta, sorry about that )

The specific thing that prompted my response was a specific reply on this thread that seemed to casually disregard what the Guardian Himself infallibly stated about his own infallibility.

Such disregard of Shoghi's words on the topic of his words strikes me as disrespectful, albeit probably not intentional disrespect, and I would never suggest that the person who made the comment did wrong or willfully attempted to disrespect the Guardian. I'm sure they had the best intentions in mind, nevertheless it strikes me as a very odd thing to disregard.

Also: we must also be careful not to assume some sort of two-party system is at work on this thread. Just because I object to the casual disregard of Shoghi's words, does not mean that I oppose on all things the one who disregarded those words, neither does it mean I agree with all things with the person they were debating.


And, I feel the need to now state that, in my own opinion:

-Scripturally, the basis of whether or not to follow the UHJ's directives, there is pretty much no question that their directives should be followed.

-This does not mean discussion on whether or not the directives are "right or wrong" (for lack of better terms) is a bad thing. We must not disregard the fact that the Guardian has explicitly stated that the UHJ can make mistakes. In fact, if done correctly and respectfully, such open discussions on this topic would only expand unity and understanding.

-The UHJ can change its own decisions, as described by Law. Thus, discussions (again, if done in the correct manner) on these decisions would be healthy to the overall semidemocratic process.

-Disagreement is not disobedience. There are laws in my state I disagree(for various reasons). with that I still follow. Voicing my disagreement (if I did so) would not be the same thing as breaking those laws.


On the direct topic this thread has wandered in to: I have no intentions or desire to discuss it at this point in time, due to how (for lack of a better term) "political" these discussions on this topic can frequently be... though I still find myself desiring to comment on some of the things I see within that discussion, such as the casual disregard of Shoghi's words, and the false equation of disagreement with disobedience. Please assume my words are not targeting the discussion at hand, but the tactics within this discussion, some of which I find objectionable.

Unity in Diversity, friends.

Last edited by Walrus; 04-06-2015 at 01:22 PM.
 
Old 04-06-2015, 01:50 PM   #29
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Unity in Diversity, friends.
Dear Walrus, another thoughtful post thank you

I would like to give you a story, as all material is but a reflection of spiritual

In my years in the Army one learns as to what the fine line is between disagreement and disobedience. The structure of the Army is devised so that any given time when an order is given it is executed without question so the ultimate victory can be won.

This obedience is gained through respect and training. The respect is that the General knows what He is doing and that He has appointed officers that will carry out the Generals Instructions. When this is achieved the troops on the ground work together in complete Harmony.

The the important things here after acceptance of the overriding ability of the General is obedience and Training.

Disagreement in the army is also through the Chain of Command and can not be voiced, let say on the parade ground. One can not sing out disagreement in this venue or they have undertaken Disobedience and I assure you you will get charged! This I have been witness to.

I also note that when this happens in the confines of a Platoon in the Army, it is not usually the Disagreement remark that gets punished, what I note from experience is that the the rest of the Troops are told to do the extra push ups while the one who voice the disagreement is allowed to stand by and watch the results of the action. This "Type" of discipline is designed as to enable all those who are obedient to guide the one that may not be.

You will note all suffer from a Disagreement. Would it not have been better to go through the chain of command in the first place?

God Bless and Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 04-06-2015 at 01:52 PM. Reason: spelling
 
Old 04-06-2015, 05:06 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Dear Walrus, another thoughtful post thank you

I would like to give you a story, as all material is but a reflection of spiritual

In my years in the Army one learns as to what the fine line is between disagreement and disobedience. The structure of the Army is devised so that any given time when an order is given it is executed without question so the ultimate victory can be won.

This obedience is gained through respect and training. The respect is that the General knows what He is doing and that He has appointed officers that will carry out the Generals Instructions. When this is achieved the troops on the ground work together in complete Harmony.

The the important things here after acceptance of the overriding ability of the General is obedience and Training.

Disagreement in the army is also through the Chain of Command and can not be voiced, let say on the parade ground. One can not sing out disagreement in this venue or they have undertaken Disobedience and I assure you you will get charged! This I have been witness to.

I also note that when this happens in the confines of a Platoon in the Army, it is not usually the Disagreement remark that gets punished, what I note from experience is that the the rest of the Troops are told to do the extra push ups while the one who voice the disagreement is allowed to stand by and watch the results of the action. This "Type" of discipline is designed as to enable all those who are obedient to guide the one that may not be.

You will note all suffer from a Disagreement. Would it not have been better to go through the chain of command in the first place?

God Bless and Regards Tony

It's not like that. Guardian Shoghí Effendí LITERALLY SAID he ONLY has infallibility when it comes to translating writings and interpreting them. Any other thing the Guardian says should not be seen as infallible but normal person saying it. He was WRONG about homosexuality, and he himself said he was infallible on that subject. Why are you so against the idea he's just a man? You are quite homophobic in my experience with you with me being a gay Bahá'í
 
Old 04-06-2015, 05:09 PM   #31
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Tony - read this:

Homosexuality in the Kitab-i-Aqdas
 
Old 04-06-2015, 05:36 PM   #32
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Lemuel - I am a a loss why you wish me to read this, But I did. This is not about the subject you are trying to direct the conversation to.

As you have missed the point I am asking you to consider, I will leave this conversations to others.

Also placing Labels upon a person, especially one you do not know, should also be considered in light of the teachings.

God Bless You and All - Regards Tony
 
Old 04-06-2015, 06:40 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Lemuel - I am a a loss why you wish me to read this, But I did. This is not about the subject you are trying to direct the conversation to.

As you have missed the point I am asking you to consider, I will leave this conversations to others.

Also placing Labels upon a person, especially one you do not know, should also be considered in light of the teachings.

God Bless You and All - Regards Tony



What my point essentially is, and has been, is that modern day Bahá'ís and the UHJ have no reason to be against same sex marriage, homosexuality or homosexual Bahá'ís. The fact remains, the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh never banned homosexuality, however, Shoghí Effendí did. Not on homosexuality, but homosexual acts (sex). Bahá'ís, as you know view sexual intercourse as a means for biological reproduction, and not for pleasure. Why does this have a ban on marriage or homosexuality as a whole? the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Guardian Shoghí Effendí would be truly disgusted at the UHJ as it is today in the case of human unity, homosexuality and the basics of human rights
 
Old 04-07-2015, 04:03 AM   #34
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I don't see the 1974 and 1976 statements by the Universal House of Justice as conflicting.
You misunderstand me: I quoted two different statements but I did not say they conflict, I said they were both incorrect. They illustrate the fact that the the UHJ may think something is in the Writings, when this is not true. It follows that, when they have better information, they may change their understanding.

The first of my two examples is clearest, and is in a message to the Bahai world. The UHJ writes:

“It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: “The fifth candle is the unity of nations — a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, … (Messages 1963-68, 281)

Any reader can see that the words of Abdu'l-Baha quoted refer to "this century", while the UHJ uses it as an example of Abdu'l-Baha's statements about "the twentieth century."

Whether you think the unity of nations was actually securely established in the 20th century is not the point (it's a matter of definition). The point is that the UHJ thought the verse said "20th century" when it does not. Nor are there any other examples, in authentic Bahai scripture, of Abdu'l-Baha making statements about events that would happen within the 20th century, or that would be linked to the 20th century.

The upshot is, when the UHJ says that X or Y is in the Bahai writings, one has to look for the source and check it, just as you would when any other Bahai says that X or Y is in the Writings. It may not be there at all, or reading the actual source in context may suggest to you some different reading.
 
Old 04-07-2015, 08:39 AM   #35
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Thank you, Sen. I understand now that you didn't mean that those quotes were conflicting.

However, I have three points regarding your first example that I would like you to kindly consider:

(1) If "securely established" is a matter of definition, then why isn't "linking the establishment..." also such? That is, why does a link between an event (establishment of the unity of nations) and a time period (the twentieth century) necessarily imply that the event *happened* during the time period? A link, to me, could simply be a correlation. For example, maybe the link between the two is that the twentieth century was a critical time for establishment of the unity of nations, which would happen later.

(2) It is stated that your first example is from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, as stated here. I don't know who wrote the statement, but if it was the Research Department, then perhaps it was just that Department's personal opinion.

(3) The Department of the Secretariat states this, in the letter linked to in my second point:

Quote:
...there are clear statements affirming that the unity of nations would be, in the words of `Abdu'l-Bahá, "securely established" during the twentieth century.
This was written after the twentieth century finished. Now, I don't know whether the Department of the Secretariat's letters are simply the opinion of that Department, as with the Research Department's memoranda. But it gives credence to the idea that your first quote was correct and that 'Abdu'l-Bahá did mean, by "this century", the twentieth century.

I understand that you are of the opinion that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's use of "this century" refers to an age (this Dispensation or Cycle?) and not merely a hundred years. Perhaps this is the case sometimes. However, I don't think it has to be all the time. If something is used as a symbol in one place in the Writings, that doesn't mean it has to be a (or the same) symbol every single place it's mentioned.

What do you think?
 
Old 04-07-2015, 08:06 PM   #36
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Tony wrote:
Quote:
There is no further Interpretation undertaken, just further clarification. Baha'u'llah, Abdul'Baha and Shoghi Effendi have left a wealth of Interpretation and explanations that will feed our souls for many a century to come.

To me everything the Guardian needed to do had been done and as such that is why there was no Will, he could not leave one as there was no avenue to appoint another. He owned not a thing (my understanding), thus he did not need one. (This would be a big topic within itself and has been discussed many times before).

All Baha'ullahs Laws have been explained to the extent required for the Formative age and as we move on into the future to the Golden Age there is scope for the Universal House of Justice to implement, as required, subordinate Laws to some of these. . . .

The Administrative order has been set in motion by and Shoghi Effendi must be for ever thanked for the vision He had re this institution. He worked himself to an early grave implementing this Embryo of the New World Order. . . . .
Tony: Thank you for your comments. I have given considerable thought to your perceptions as expressed above. I appreciate that as a practice, and to reinforce your comments, you frequently quote extensively from the divinely revealed Scriptures of Baha’u’llah, from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and from the writings of Shoghi Effendi, as well as the writings of the Universal House of Justice.

I recognize that what you have alluded to in your comments above is similar to some perceptions and conclusions developed and promoted by some very prominent and scholarly individuals, and by some institutions with and since the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November of 1957. Those perceptions have been proclaimed and accepted to the point that they currently seem to have attained the same status as Baha’i doctrine. As I previously commented in this thread, discussing certain aspects of the topic of the Guardianship can often stir sensitivities in others and sometimes result in accusatory comments related to one’s firmness in the Covenant. Be assured, it is not my intent or motive to challenge the divine Covenant.

That said, and from my perspective, I certainly would not disagree that Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian, sacrificed his entire adult life for the Cause of God, or that he contributed immensely to the unfoldment of the embryonic Administrative Order, and that he provided numerous translations, interpretations, and treaties, and that he did not appoint a successor Guardian for reasons that may never be known.

I am certainly not scholarly by any means, but I have read a considerable amount of what the Guardian wrote authoritatively and what he allegedly spoke (unauthoritatively) to those around him (i.e. pilgrims notes). I have not found where he actually said those things you refer to above. If you have access to sources for statements of the Guardian where he said those things, would you please provide them to support your comments above as you have elsewhere in this and other threads? Thank you.

-LR
 
Old 04-07-2015, 08:42 PM   #37
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(1) If "securely established" is a matter of definition, then why isn't "linking the establishment..." also such? ... maybe the link between the two is that the twentieth century was a critical time for establishment of the unity of nations, which would happen later.
I did not say anything about "linking the establishment." That's not my point. Abdu'l-Baha referred here and in other places to "this century." The UHJ, misreading the text, said that he referred to "the twentieth century." That is incorrect. It's an example of the possibility that the UHJ may say something is "in the Writings" when it is not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
(2) It is stated that your first example is from a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, as stated here. I don't know who wrote the statement, but if it was the Research Department, then perhaps it was just that Department's personal opinion.
Good! a source-critical approach is basic good scholarship. In this case however it does not help, as the letter of 29 July 1974 to The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahais of the United States is signed "With loving Bahá'í greetings, The Universal House of Justice." It is published in Messages from the UHJ 1963 to 1986, p. 281. So it's not written by the secretariat, let alone the Research Department. The Research Department's later reference to it being written "on behalf" is a fudge to encourage the kind of response you have made,. Some Bahais will be somewhat uncomfortable with evidence that the UHJ has made such a simple mistake. Yet the possibility of the UHJ not knowing all that is in the Writings, or thinking something is there when it is not there, is actually built in to the Covenant distinction between the spheres of the Guardianship and the House of Justice.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
(3) The Department of the Secretariat states this, in the letter linked to in my second point: ....
... Now, I don't know whether the Department of the Secretariat's letters are simply the opinion of that Department, as with the Research Department's memoranda."
As I understand it, the letters written by the Secretariat are circulated among UHJ members and initialed by at least five members. They are therefore not included in the scope of the UHJ's infallibility, nor do they constitute "guidance" in the strict sense, since Abdu'l-Baha says that the individual members are not infallible, and the Will and Testament says that God will guide the institution, not the individual members. However these letters are the voice of the UHJ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
But it gives credence to the idea that your first quote was correct and that 'Abdu'l-Bahá did mean, by "this century", the twentieth century.
What Abdu'l-Baha meant is a separate issue. This is a simple matter of fact: The UHJ has stated :

Quote:
'Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations -- a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, ..." And, in The Promised Day is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this century, be securely established."
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages UHJ 1963 to 1986, p. 281)
[/I]
It's perfectly simple: the texts say "this century," the UHJ asserts that they say "the twentieth century." The UHJ is wrong and, to return to the original posting, it may in the future say something like, //the Bahai writings do not contain any statements linking the establishment of the unit of nations or the lesser peace to the twentieth century.//

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clex19 View Post
I understand that you are of the opinion that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's use of "this century" refers to an age (this Dispensation or Cycle?) and not merely a hundred years. Perhaps this is the case sometimes. However, I don't think it has to be all the time. If something is used as a symbol in one place in the Writings, that doesn't mean it has to be a (or the same) symbol every single place it's mentioned.
Where Abdu'l-Baha refers in the authenticated writings, to This `asr or This qarn, both of which are usually translated "this century," he always means the Bahai era. When he refers to them in the plural, it means ages or dispensations. For example:
Quote:
1. The Spiritual Assemblies to be established in this Age of God, this holy century, have… had neither peer nor likeness in the cycles gone before.
(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, page 82)

2. The teachings of Baha’u’llah are the light of this age and the spirit of this century.
(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, page 107)

3. In every century a particular and central theme is, … confirmed by God. In this illumined age that which is confirmed is the oneness of the world of humanity.
(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, page 114)

4. Gradually whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this Holy Cycle shall appear and be made manifest, … Ere the close of this Century and of this Age, it shall be made clear and manifest how wondrous was that Springtide …
(quoted in Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i Administration, p. 16)

5. … in any of the past cycles and dispensations, no assemblies for women have ever been established … This is one of the characteristics of this glorious Dispensation and this great century.
(Compilation on Women,; Compilation of Compilations page 397)
Baha'ullah uses the terms in the same way.

In the ‘Seven Candles,’ (written in Persian) Shoghi Effendi translates qarn as century, but in other places he translates it as ‘dispensation,’ for example, “in every dispensation [qarn], the light of divine guidance …” (The World Order of Baha’u’llah p. 36)

In other places he translates it as century, but the context shows that he did not mean 100 years:
Quote:
...this wondrous revelation [duur], this glorious century [qarn] (The Promised Day is Come, p. 119)
..ere the close of this century [qarn] and of this age [`asr] (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 205)
Moreover, he translates the plural, quruun, as ‘past ages’ in the “7 Candles” itself, and elsewhere as “ages” (Gleanings pp. 132, 145), “generations” (The Promised Day is Come, p. 4) and “dispensation.”

In short, in the “Seven candles” and elsewhere, where Shoghi Effendi translates qarn as century, he expects us to see that it is simply a synonym for age or dispensation. This is very good news twice over: we do not have a ‘failed prophecy’ to explain, and it means that the century [qarn] of light has not died with a whimper, it is just dawning.

You are correct that Abdu'l-Baha does not always use `asr and qarn in the sense of a dispensation. In the Secret of Divine Civilization he refers to dates and periods such as "the fifteenth century of the Christian era." He specifies in the Persian that he is using the Gregorian calendar, or in other cases, that he is using the Islamic hejira calendar. But it is not correct to classify one use as literal and the other as symbolic. Rather it is a translation issue, and a question of reading terms in Bahai scriptures in the sense dictated by the scriptures. The words `asr and qarn do not mean "century", in themselves. They mean, respectively, an era and a span of years. When used in a specific calendar context, as in "the fifteenth century of the Christian era" they mean century. Translations such as dispensation, era, age, and century are not "symbolic," they all reflect the literal meaning of the words.

If you haven't already done so, do take a look at "Century of Light" on my blog, which has more examples.

Last edited by Sen McGlinn; 04-07-2015 at 08:46 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2015, 11:23 PM   #38
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sen McGlinn View Post

It's perfectly simple: the texts say "this century," the UHJ asserts that they say "the twentieth century." The UHJ is wrong and, to return to the original posting, it may in the future say something like, //the Bahai writings do not contain any statements linking the establishment of the unit of nations or the lesser peace to the twentieth century.//
Dear Sen. I would ask wrong about what? Here is the full Letter copied and pasted from the Bahai Liabray;

+281

149 The Lesser Peace and "the Calamity' 29 JULY 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have received your letter of 19 June 1974 describing the preoccupation of some American believers with the date of the Lesser Peace, and with their feeling that "the calamity," as a prelude to that peace, is imminent.

149.2 It is true that 'Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.", And, in The Promised Day Is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this century, be securely established. "2 There is also this statement from a letter written in 1946 to an individual 149.3 believer on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary: All we know is that the Lesser and the Most Great Peace will come their exact dates we do not know. The same is true as regards the possibility of a future war; we cannot state dogmatically it will or will not take place-all we know is that mankind must suffer and be punished sufficiently to make it turn to God.

149.4 It is apparent that the disintegration of the old order is accelerating, but the friends should not permit this inevitable process to deter them from giving their undivided attention to the tasks lying immediately before them. Let them take heart from the reassuring words of Shoghi Effendi contained in the closing paragraphs of his momentous ssage of June 5, 1947, and concentrate on the challenging tasks of this hour.3

With loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

___ 149-1. SWAB, p. 32 149-2. PDIC 298; see also SAQ p. 65. 149-3. CF, pp. 37-38.


(Note The "Me" of Message is also missing from the Library Site)

Are not he words here to consider "will be securely established".

Will not history tell us that indeed that it was "securely established"? I am sure it will!

God Bless and Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 04-07-2015 at 11:41 PM. Reason: Spelling
 
Old 04-07-2015, 11:37 PM   #39
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Posts: 1,741
United Nations, etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Dear Sen. I would ask wrong about what? Here is the full Letter copied and pasted from the Bahai Liabray;

[COLOR="Navy"]+281

149 The Lesser Peace and "the Calamity' 29 JULY 1974 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

We have received your letter of 19 June 1974 describing the preoccupation of some American believers with the date of the Lesser Peace, and with their feeling that "the calamity," as a prelude to that peace, is imminent.

149.2 It is true that 'Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.", And, in The Promised Day Is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this century, be securely established.

. "the unity of nations a unity which, in this century, will be securely established"

. It can be suggested that while it falls short of being an instrument of the Most Great Peace, the United Nations is an instrument of the Lesser Peace. This instrument, although it may be in the hands of unwilling and immature nations, in their present state, is nevertheless instrumental in securing accountability and cooperation, essential dialogue and consultation, amongst the representatives of the peoples of the world.

. It is sufficiently secure enough to have lasted nearly 70 years already, has facillitated negotiations and controlled to varying extents wildfires amidst the countries which in the past would have burned out of control.

. A drunk does not sober up with one cup of coffee. Humanity is yet sobering up. At least we have been handed a cup of coffee and not more whiskey, which has fallen out of fashion.

. This is a many generational process which the governing bodies of mankind are progressing through. There are still Nazis alive in the world who perpetrated the holocaust. We are only a couple of lifetimes away from living memory of slavery in many countries.

. The progress of dealing with aggression has gone from an eye for an eye to a sanction for an infraction, with measurable success. We are learning a new way of dealing with our own selves as a species. We have the Revelation of Baha'u'llah to thank for that.

. "These ruinous wars and the strife shall pass away, and the Most Great Peace shall come..."
 
Old 04-08-2015, 12:11 AM   #40
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Joined: Sep 2010
From: Normanton Far North Queensland
Posts: 3,791
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Tony wrote:


Tony: Thank you for your comments. I have given considerable thought to your perceptions as expressed above. I appreciate that as a practice, and to reinforce your comments, you frequently quote extensively from the divinely revealed Scriptures of Baha’u’llah, from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and from the writings of Shoghi Effendi, as well as the writings of the Universal House of Justice.

I recognize that what you have alluded to in your comments above is similar to some perceptions and conclusions developed and promoted by some very prominent and scholarly individuals, and by some institutions with and since the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November of 1957. Those perceptions have been proclaimed and accepted to the point that they currently seem to have attained the same status as Baha’i doctrine. As I previously commented in this thread, discussing certain aspects of the topic of the Guardianship can often stir sensitivities in others and sometimes result in accusatory comments related to one’s firmness in the Covenant. Be assured, it is not my intent or motive to challenge the divine Covenant.

That said, and from my perspective, I certainly would not disagree that Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian, sacrificed his entire adult life for the Cause of God, or that he contributed immensely to the unfoldment of the embryonic Administrative Order, and that he provided numerous translations, interpretations, and treaties, and that he did not appoint a successor Guardian for reasons that may never be known.

I am certainly not scholarly by any means, but I have read a considerable amount of what the Guardian wrote authoritatively and what he allegedly spoke (unauthoritatively) to those around him (i.e. pilgrims notes). I have not found where he actually said those things you refer to above. If you have access to sources for statements of the Guardian where he said those things, would you please provide them to support your comments above as you have elsewhere in this and other threads? Thank you.

-LR
Dear Larry - Firstly can I am not fit to even say this "I am certainly not scholarly by any means", in regards to knowledge of any type.

There is no need to look for quotes, as I was not quoting for the writings, I stated "To me", which are my thoughts on the issue of the Covenant.

The Study of the Rhui Book 8 course does inspire all to see the power in the Covenant. The only Mouthpiece we have now is the Universal House of Justice. For us, it is to follow the Divinely Inspired Guidance given to them and then by them to us as per the Covenant, and know that there is a course of action if we think the Writings say something other than the message from the Universal House of Justice states.

Dear Larry, The motive of all here is most likely never to attack the the Mighty Covenant, as you would be more than a fool to try. The motive of the posts I have placed, is to let people take a step back, and in Light of the Will and Testament of Abdul'Baha, actually take note of what their comments are inferring in relation to that document.

God Bless and Regards Tony
 
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