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Old 06-03-2016, 07:43 AM   #1
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I feel bad and just dont understand this

Perhaps in my rush to become a Baha'i I should have researched things, but I have a deep faith in God and Baha'u'llah's message and I know if I am patient answers will come to me.

I'm not expecting miracles though.

This has bothered me for a long time, since I started reading the texts and history of this faith, and like a little rock in one's shoe, it just wont stop irritating me. I don't want to spread disturbing thoughts, but I really just need help. I hope this does not sound disrespectful. But' here goes

Why did the Guardian leave such a mess? I have looked and looked and it never seemed as it if was Abdu'l Baha's intention that the Guardian should die without a Will, heir, or any plan forward on how to handle the administration. This was no minor thing. At least the next 1000 years of human history seems to have hinged on it.

We have the Universal House of Justice and I'm grateful, obviously, but it certainly seems to me that ad hoc changes had to be made to create the current administrative order, essentially, people in high places having to do something in an emergency to make the faith run as it does today. But is that what was intended?

We seem, without a succession of Guardians, stuck in a kind of theological cul de sac, because issues like gay rights hinge on a comment the 1st and Final Guardian made or possibly his letter writer made, which can not be interpreted any further. Religions do change over time. They must. We cannot.

Maybe this has been answered to everyone's satisfaction over time, but I don't know, and I am not close enough to my local community to bring it up or ask, I dont even know who I could talk to.
 
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:35 AM   #2
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Alláh-u-Abhá,

The Guardian dying without a will was of course upsetting. However, without a second guardian, we are able to decide things for ourselves through the UHJ. God wants us to search for our faith ourselves through study, not by what a man says. The Guardian's job was to translate religious texts and to interpret them, most of which has been done.

As for gay rights, this is only when it comes to marriage. Marriage is a sacred vow between man and woman to create a child. As homosexuals can not produce children, marriage would seem pointless. I see nothing wrong with unions or even marriage of homosexual non-Bahá'ís. The Guardian's speaking on homosexuality was scientifically flawed, and as the Guardian said, his speaking on things that are not of the Faith are not to be taken infallibly.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 09:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noogan View Post
Perhaps in my rush to become a Baha'i I should have researched things, but I have a deep faith in God and Baha'u'llah's message and I know if I am patient answers will come to me.

I'm not expecting miracles though.

This has bothered me for a long time, since I started reading the texts and history of this faith, and like a little rock in one's shoe, it just wont stop irritating me. I don't want to spread disturbing thoughts, but I really just need help. I hope this does not sound disrespectful. But' here goes

Why did the Guardian leave such a mess? I have looked and looked and it never seemed as it if was Abdu'l Baha's intention that the Guardian should die without a Will, heir, or any plan forward on how to handle the administration. This was no minor thing. At least the next 1000 years of human history seems to have hinged on it.

We have the Universal House of Justice and I'm grateful, obviously, but it certainly seems to me that ad hoc changes had to be made to create the current administrative order, essentially, people in high places having to do something in an emergency to make the faith run as it does today. But is that what was intended?

We seem, without a succession of Guardians, stuck in a kind of theological cul de sac, because issues like gay rights hinge on a comment the 1st and Final Guardian made or possibly his letter writer made, which can not be interpreted any further. Religions do change over time. They must. We cannot.

Maybe this has been answered to everyone's satisfaction over time, but I don't know, and I am not close enough to my local community to bring it up or ask, I dont even know who I could talk to.
Dear Noogan,

Your questions really are right to the point. I have no good answers, just a multitude of questions.

gnat
 
Old 06-03-2016, 10:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemuel View Post
Alláh-u-Abhá,

The Guardian dying without a will was of course upsetting. However, without a second guardian, we are able to decide things for ourselves through the UHJ.
But I wonder if that is what Baha'u'llah intends? Does God will it? I don't want to lead a life of just accepting things and then have to answer for not doing what I should have known was right in the next life.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 11:25 AM   #5
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Dear Lemuel,

You have stated that "Guardian's speaking on homosexuality was scientifically flawed". I don't have much knowledge regarding it, can you please explain this a little.

Thanks in anticipation. :-)
 
Old 06-03-2016, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noogan View Post
But I wonder if that is what Baha'u'llah intends? Does God will it? I don't want to lead a life of just accepting things and then have to answer for not doing what I should have known was right in the next life.
God must've willed it. The guardian passing in such a way would have to be an intervention of some sort. Bahá'ís might have started to idol guardians, something Shoghí Effendí was very against.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 11:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by arcane View Post
Dear Lemuel,

You have stated that "Guardian's speaking on homosexuality was scientifically flawed". I don't have much knowledge regarding it, can you please explain this a little.

Thanks in anticipation. :-)

Homosexuality has been seen in many species of animals besided human and has been resarched to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a mental illness (as the Guardian said it was) and is incurable.

The Guardian's secretary said:

"The infallibility of the Guardian is confined to matters which are related strictly to the Cause and interpretation of the teachings; he is not an infallible authority on other subjects, such as economics, science, etc. When he feels that a certain thing is essential for the protection of the Cause, even if it is something that affects a person personally, he must be obeyed, but when he gives advice, such as that he gave you in a previous letter about your future, it is not binding; you are free to follow it or not as you please."


Abdu'l Bahá also said:

"When science conflicts with religion, choose science."


That is why.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 11:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemuel View Post
Homosexuality has been seen in many species of animals besided human and has been resarched to the conclusion that homosexuality is not a mental illness (as the Guardian said it was) and is incurable.

The Guardian's secretary said:

"The infallibility of the Guardian is confined to matters which are related strictly to the Cause and interpretation of the teachings; he is not an infallible authority on other subjects, such as economics, science, etc. When he feels that a certain thing is essential for the protection of the Cause, even if it is something that affects a person personally, he must be obeyed, but when he gives advice, such as that he gave you in a previous letter about your future, it is not binding; you are free to follow it or not as you please."


Abdu'l Bahá also said:

"When science conflicts with religion, choose science."


That is why.
Although I am directing the discussion somewhat away from the initial question of the thread, but I think it is the right opportunity to ask another question as well.

First off, thank you for the previous response.

The question that often comes to my mind is regarding Alain LeRoy Locke. He was gay. It is said that he received a tablet from Abdu'l-Baha in response to his declaration of faith as a Baha'i, and he was close to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian. I often wonder did Abdu'l-Baha ever comment on this subject of homosexuality especially as it might have come up in regards to Alain Locke?

Lastly, Abdu'l-Baha said that we should choose science but, for example, regarding evolution of man Abdu'l-Baha said that man has always been man and the view of European Philosophers is wrong. That view of European Philosophers, the Darwinian Evolution, is even more accepted in scientific communities now-a-days. Should we choose science then and not the words of Abdu'l-Baha?

Thank you for bearing with my questions.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 12:05 PM   #9
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I am not sure what you mean by Shoghi Effendi made a mess.

To me, Bahai administration is perfect.

Bahaullah wrote, Bahais are to elect members of UHJ and they have Authority to make new laws for anything that is not explicitly mentioned in the Book.

Yes, Abdulbaha in His will wrote that the Gardian must choose next gardian after Himself. But Abdulbaha also wrote, whatever Gardian does is indeed the Will of God. Whoever has obeyed the Gardian, has indeed obeyed God.

Lets remember how God tests us.

Lets remember how in bygone Ages, God tested previous people.

One of the ways, God had always tested the believers, has been through Bada. I am sure you know what Bada is.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 12:55 PM   #10
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The "original plan" so far as we know, was for a community governed by the House of Justice, which would have no authority to interpret texts or to govern matters of worship: understanding, worship and theology would all be in the sphere of the individual.

The Guardianship emerged as a surprise in Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament. It might well be something that Baha'u'llah discussed with Abdu'l-Baha, but we know that neither Baha'u'llah nor Abdu'l-Baha referred directly to it in their voluminous writings, prior to the W&T of Abdu'l-Baha. Baha'u'llah gives us some unspecified allusions to the role of his descendants, the Aghsan, but that is all. So the Guardianship is not exactly the cornerstone of the Bahai teachings. It was and is an inspired creation of Abdu'l-Baha, which had the effect of ensuring unity, and of ensuring that no-one could claim any authority of his own interpretations: to do so would be lesse majesteit, trying to stand in the shoes of the Guardian. This is still true today.

We may assume that Abdu'l-Baha foresaw that the line of Guardians would end eventually, because the appointment system he specified, like the appointments of the 10 Imams after Ali, guaranteed a failure at some point. A Guardian had to appoint a successor in his lifetime, and get that approved by a majority of the 9 selected Hands (in the Bahai case), or announce it to the faithful (in the Shiah case). A new Guardian would not make an appointment in a hurry, because he would want to see how his preferred successor matured. But the Guardians could not foresee the future (despite Bahai lore to the contrary). Sooner or later, one was bound to die unexpectedly, without appointing a successor. It's our bad luck that this happened in the first generation - for this I blame not Shoghi Effendi, but the other Aghsan who could have been named, had they lived up to the requirements of the position, for Shoghi Effendi lived to an age where he must have been aware that he would remain childless; therefore, he must have considered the potential of all the Aghsan for this role.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 01:20 PM   #11
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It is not true that the lack of a Guardianship limits the potential of the Faith to stay in the forefront of progressive movements. The lack of a Guardian's reassurance makes the any possible change a lot more scary, but the community can still move foreward just as it could with a living Guardian. The reasons are two-fold:

1) the Guardian could not legislate. What we need to adapt to a changing world is changing legislation, not changing theology. Same-sex marriage is an example: the present House of Justice has defined it as a union between a man and a woman, and a future House of Justice can change that definition. A future house of justice can decide that since Abdu'l-Baha has specified that National Spiritual Assemblies should define the forbidden degrees of marriage - beyond that specified in the Aqdas - the NSAs must also decide on the permissibility and procedures for same-sex marriage, bearing in mind the civil legislation in their jurisdictions.

2) there is in any case no requirement that the rulings of the House of Justice must align with the opinions of the Guardian. The Guardian states that
Quote:
"... the Guardian ... can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He 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 Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances. He interprets what has been specifically revealed, and cannot legislate except in his capacity as member of the Universal House of Justice. He is debarred from laying down independently the constitution that must govern the organized activities of his fellow-members, and from exercising his influence in a manner that would encroach upon the liberty of those whose sacred right is to elect the body of his collaborators." (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 150)
If the House of Justice is able to act and legislate even despite the warning of a living Guardian that its enactment is contrary to the Bahai teachings, then the decisions taken by Shoghi Effendi as head of the Faith and as Guardian some 3 generations ago cannot bind its hands now.

The same sentences from Shoghi Effendi also tell us that his words cannot be considered as Bahai law, that they do not limit the right of the UHJ to define its own constitution, or the right of the international delegates to elect whomever they feel moved to elect, to the House of Justice. The latter two points have obvious relevance to arguments about the election of women to the House of Justice, but do not close those arguments -- for while the House of Justice's freedom to act in this sphere is not limited by the words of Shoghi Effendi, or those written on his behalf, the House is constrained by the words of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha.

What constrains the freedom of the House of Justice today, in my view, is the regrettable habit of the international delegates of electing, not NSA members with a long experience in Bahai administration, but rather the most visible male members of the International Teaching Centre. As the communities around the world encounter changing conditions, it is the NSAs who are continually deciding whether a change of policy is necessary, what change is necessary, how this can be done and so forth. The appointed arm are not initiators of change in this sense; they are rather apologists and protectors of a status quo they are not empowered to alter. So today, when every member of the Universal House of Justice has been a serving Counsellor member of the ITC at the time of election, and none have long experience on an NSA, the institution is bound to be more conservative than it would be if it were dominated by former NSA members.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 01:46 PM   #12
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I wonder, what would have been the outcome if Abdulbaha, had not formulate that shoghi Effendi to choose next Gardian after Him. Would have things gone in the same way, or differently?
 
Old 06-03-2016, 04:10 PM   #13
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Hello Noogan,

Well, I remember many years ago going to a talk about this very subject... I wish I could find the quotes, but Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha envisioned just this possibility.

Baha'u'llah mentions that should a Guardian not be able to be appointed, then nine men would take on the affairs of the Faith. It is an obscure quote and deals with treasury related matters.

Also, Abdul-Baha in the first part of his Will (the part written in 1908 when he was threatened with arrest by Turkish authorities) says that should the Faith be leaderless that "wise men" should be assembled to direct the affairs of the Faith.

In fact, this is a big reason why Shoghi Effendi got a lot of opposition from his family. They felt that he wasn't experienced or wise enough and relied a lot on this part of Abdul-Baha's will to "prove their case".

As for Shoghi Effendi himself... I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he didn't prepare a Will and Testament. I think it had a lot to do with "one era passing and another dawning".

In my personal opinion, the Guardianship was always meant to be temporary, but that's just my own feeling.

Orange

Last edited by OrangeD; 06-03-2016 at 04:12 PM.
 
Old 06-03-2016, 08:40 PM   #14
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Noogan:

I appreciate you bringing up this challenging topic which can tend to stir sensitivities in the believers.

As for myself, I believe it is important to study and ponder on the Covenant of Baha’u’llah (including the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) in light of what Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Cause of God and the Expounder of the words of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdul-Baha , himself actually wrote about the Institution of the Guardianship from the beginning to end of his ministry within the context in which he wrote. It is also important to read what those closest to Shoghi Effendi wrote about the Institution of the Guardianship, and approved by Shoghi Effendi for publication, prior to his passing. In all of this there is a consistency. Although pilgrims notes are not authoritative, there is also that same consistency, from beginning to end, in what he reportedly said to visiting pilgrims about the Institution of the Guardianship. That consistency in his writings and reported utterances did not change with the expulsion of the Family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the last male member being expelled in December of 1951. After that date, Shoghi Effendi continued to write about the continuation of the Institution of the Guardianship in his numerous messages and cablegrams with the same consistency. This consistency in itself should be something we pay attention to.

Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, much has been written by Baha’i Institutions (i.e. Hands of the Cause of God and the Universal House of Justice) and written and spoken by prominent Baha’i individuals, all surmising why there is no Guardian to fill the vacancy. As these conclusions did not come from the Expounder himself, they are really no more than speculation, which has over the years since the Guardian’s passing become what I call “authoritative supposition”. These suppositions appear to have now attained the same status as Baha’i Doctrine in the Baha’i community. So at this point in time, no Baha’i Institution or individual really knows the answers as to why the Guardianship did not continue. Having said this, I want to clarify that I mean no disrespect to the Institutions of the Faith and to prominent Baha’i individuals. “Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters, they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom.” (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, LXXXIX) From my perspective, this why I must study this matter in light of, and within the context of, what Shoghi Effendi actually wrote verses those speculations and suppositions provided by those not authorized to do so.

One thing we cannot question for sure is the validity of the Revelations of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, and the divinely appointed interpretive roles that ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi played in the unfoldment of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah and His divine intent. ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament was without question the intent and Will of Baha’u’llah. Shoghi Effendi’s clear explanations were indeed a reflection of that divine intent and were consistent from beginning to end.

Much more can be said, but this is all I can offer at this time. Thank you again for having the courage to bring this topic up for discussion.

LR
 
Old 06-04-2016, 12:37 AM   #15
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It is very clear Shoghi Effendi had no one to appoint, end of Story in that regard. That He had no will, is adequately explained as well.

To me there is no doubt that Shoghi Effendi left all that the Guardian needed to give us in this Dispensation.

Mankind rejected the Most Great Peace. What we need for the Lesser peace has been abundantly given.

The Universal House of Justice will guide us into the Future and what will be.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 07:03 AM   #16
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Noogan:

You mentioned that even though you have been “bothered” for a long time by the absence of a Guardian participating in the affairs of the Faith, that you “have a deep faith in God and Baha'u'llah's message”. Please consider that your “deep faith” must remain your anchor and the “cord” and the “hem of His robe” that you cling to while you continue to examine this challenging topic worthy of much more study.

Consider that Shoghi Effendi wrote that we must “differentiate” the “administrative machinery” of the Faith “from the soul of the Faith itself” (World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 73). Shoghi Effendi also wrote that “it behooves us to reflect on the animating purpose and the primary functions of these divinely-established institutions, the sacred character and the universal efficacy of which can be demonstrated only by the spirit they diffuse and the work they actually achieve. I need not dwell upon what I have already reiterated and emphasized that the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation.” and that “the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to cöordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Bahá'í Faith.” and that we cannot “for a moment question the necessity of some sort of administrative machinery that will insure, amid the storm and stress of a struggling civilization, the unity of the Faith, the preservation of its identity, and the protection of its interests.” and that “It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh."
(World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp. 9-10)

You must first cling to your “deep faith in God and Baha'u'llah's message”. Then using this standard provided by the Guardian himself, you may be able to examine the Guardianship topic more objectively without entangling it all up with your deepest and most heart-felt belief.

I too, have been giving this same topic serious study for some years now because the Guardian himself, and through secretaries writing on his behalf, and in his conversations with visiting pilgrims consistently wrote and spoke to the end of his life about the further unfoldment and continuation of the Institution of the Guardianship well into the future.

Take care

LR

Last edited by Larry Roofener; 06-05-2016 at 07:11 AM. Reason: addition of a word
 
Old 06-05-2016, 09:24 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by OrangeD View Post
Hello Noogan,

Well, I remember many years ago going to a talk about this very subject... I wish I could find the quotes, but Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha envisioned just this possibility.

Baha'u'llah mentions that should a Guardian not be able to be appointed, then nine men would take on the affairs of the Faith. It is an obscure quote and deals with treasury related matters.

Also, Abdul-Baha in the first part of his Will (the part written in 1908 when he was threatened with arrest by Turkish authorities) says that should the Faith be leaderless that "wise men" should be assembled to direct the affairs of the Faith.

In fact, this is a big reason why Shoghi Effendi got a lot of opposition from his family. They felt that he wasn't experienced or wise enough and relied a lot on this part of Abdul-Baha's will to "prove their case".

As for Shoghi Effendi himself... I think he knew exactly what he was doing when he didn't prepare a Will and Testament. I think it had a lot to do with "one era passing and another dawning".

In my personal opinion, the Guardianship was always meant to be temporary, but that's just my own feeling.

Orange
Orange,

I think I know what you are referring to. It is actually not obscure at all, and is found in verse 42 of the Aqdas:

Quote:
"Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice..."

The institution of the guardianship, among other things, is an institution based on the aghsan, ie the male progeny of Baha'u'llah. Shoghi Effendi was of the aghshan and he was the only guardian. Although Abdu'l-baha was not called so, he might be regarded as a guardian too in that he was aghsan and appointed head of the faith. The term guardian first occurs in the will and testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, but guardian is aghsan. In the passage it is possible to see a sequence of successor-ship emerge:

1. Baha'u'llah
2. the Aghsan (Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi)
after them
3. The House of Justice

It seems to me that it is a reasonable conclusion that Baha'u'llah did in fact know that the rule by Aghsan would not endure and that there would not be a situation where the guardian and House co-existed. Naturally we do still have the guardianship, which is the legacy of Shoghi effendi, the final guardian ie aghsan head of faith.

Cheers

Last edited by Fadl; 06-05-2016 at 10:06 AM.
 
Old 06-05-2016, 12:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
I too, have been giving this same topic serious study for some years now because the Guardian himself, and through secretaries writing on his behalf, and in his conversations with visiting pilgrims consistently wrote and spoke to the end of his life about the further unfoldment and continuation of the Institution of the Guardianship well into the future.

Take care LR
You take care to Larry

There was also a time when Abdul'Baha wrote His will and Testament appointing Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian when he was but still a very young child. This was because Abdul'Baha said he was in such danger He did not know if life would be His for much longer.

This is a great Meditation for us all. Given the insight of Abdul'Baha, it is humbling to know that the outcome of all things can not be known. If they could be then the Will not have been written at that time.

Shoghi Effendi would have still been working towards the possibility of a new Guardian, but it was not and could not be. Shoghi Effendi passed and no person was or could have be appointed. As Fadl said above there were no aghsan remaining fit for the task, they had all broken the covenant.

Thus it is now end of Story, the Last Guardian was Shoghi Effendi. There can be no other, there is no provision to appoint another.

Firstly the Hands of the Cause acted as great caretakers of the cause and in humble unity came to what we can see as a divinely guided conclusion. Now as covenanted, the Universal House of Justice have indeed guided this Cause as per those wonderful quotes you have posted and I for one am very confident it will continue to be so long into the future.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 01:13 PM   #19
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I believe that the Master and the Guardian both foresaw the way the faith was developing and the relationship of the aghsan to the Faith, so many of whom were covenant breakers, and they saw the House of Justice as the safest leadership of the Faith
 
Old 06-05-2016, 02:15 PM   #20
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Fadl:


Thank you for your comments and there is certainly no question of the validity of your comments about the line of Aghsan (Branches), and that Shoghi Effendi was one of the Aghsan. As you no doubt well know, he was also an Afnan, being connected to the extended and exalted family of the Bab. As ‘Abdu’l-Baha said of Shoghi Effendi, he is “that primal branch of the Divine and Sacred Lote Tree, grown out, blest, tender, verdant, and flourishing from the Twin Holy Trees, . . . for behold! he is the blest and sacred bough that hath branched out from the Twin Holy Trees.” the “youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness” . . . “the chosen branch”, . . . the “sacred and youthful branch” and the “twig that hath branched from and the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees” (Will and Testament of ‘Adu’l-Baha, Parts 1 and 3)

As we know, ‘Abd’u-Baha was designated by Baha’u’llah as the “Most Mighty Branch” and as the “Limb of the Law of God”. Baha’u’llah revealed, "There hath branched from the Sadratu'l-Muntahá this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted as to encompass the whole of creation.” (Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch)

It is without a doubt apparent then that Shoghi Effendi and the Institution of the Guardianship is an extension of that “Most Mighty Branch” and that “Limb of the Law of God”. Of this branch, ‘Adu’l-Baha said, [B]“Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter of his shade that shadoweth all mankind.” and that “All must be under his shadow and obey his command.” (Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Part 1) ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s words seem to echo the words of Baha’u’llah where in the Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch) Baha’u’llah said, “They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of worldly desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish."

Consider then that Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian, (and being the extension that “primal branch” grown out from the “Sadratu'l-Muntahá”) appears, in turn again, to reflect Baha’u’llah’s words where he writes in his ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’ treatise: “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as `Abdu'l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. . . . Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.” Shoghi Effendi also emphasizes the essential legislative and administrative functions of the Universal House of Justice stating that: “Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice this same System of the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.” (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 144)

In all of this above, I am not promoting an interpretation but only sharing my observation of parrallels and patterns in the writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi. Many more parrallels exist as well.

As far as the portion of the Verse in the Kitab-i-Aqdas you quoted is concerned, "Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice...", I have not found any place where Shoghi Effendi translated that Verse or expounded upon its meaning. I do know of some other variations of it translated by others. It would seem “reasonable” (your word) to interpret the Verse in the manner currently promoted in the Baha’i community if in fact Shoghi Effendi would have at least referred to it either prior to or following the expulsion of the male members of ‘Abdul-Baha’s family (the last male member being expelled in December 1951), especially in the 6 years prior to his passing on November 4, 1957. The thing about it is, he didn’t. What he did do in his many letters and cablegrams, and in his conversations with the pilgrims (following the expulsion of the family members of ‘Abdu’l-Baha) was to mention over and again the continuation of the Institution of the Guardianship as well as the other institutions of the Faith. To site only a few examples, he wrote of the continued “unfoldment of the institution of the Guardianship, the pivot of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament” into the future (letter, May 4, 1953); and the continued unfoldment of the institution of the Hands of the Cause of God “destined to assume in the fullness of time, under the aegis of the Guardian, the dual and sacred responsibility for the protection and propagation of the Cause of Baha’u’llah” (Cablegram, April 6, 1954); and the “construction, in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of several . . . structures which will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause and the Universal House of Justice.” (letter November 27, 1954); and the [B]“weighty responsibilities now resting upon the members of these two institutions (the Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies), occupying, with the Universal House of Justice, next to the Institution of the Guardianship, foremost rank in the divinely ordained administrative hierarchy of the World Order of Baha’u’llah.” (Cablegram, June 4, 1957). More examples can be sited but my point and question is this: Should the current translation of the verse you have sited and the current interpretation of it being promoted in the Baha’i community have priority over what the Guardian actually consistently wrote, what he consistently expressed through his secretaries, what he consistently spoke to the pilgrims, and what was written by those closest to him that he approved for publication?

I do not claim to have the answer to the vacancy in the Institution of the Guardianship, but I will cling to the Guardian’s written words over the interpretations of those not authorized to make them.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Respectfully,

LR
 
Old 06-05-2016, 02:41 PM   #21
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I do not claim to have the answer to the vacancy in the Institution of the Guardianship, but I will cling to the Guardian’s written words over the interpretations of those not authorized to make them.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Respectfully,

LR
Very, very accurate quotes concerning a very, very important question. The Guardian's own words are most disturbing and makes one ponder the future of the Faith and also the past years since the Guardian's passing.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 06-05-2016 at 02:45 PM.
 
Old 06-05-2016, 02:57 PM   #22
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The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

Thus we read

The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice - 21 April 1963

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 03:15 PM   #23
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Tony:

I appreciate your comments in this chain. To clarify for you, I am in no way attempting to undermine the divinely designated legislative and administrative role of the Universal House of Justice. I am commenting on the Institution of the Guardianship. The House of Justice is not the successor of the Guardianship. It is one of the twin pillars of the Administrative Order and of the future World Order of Baha'u'llah. All that Shoghi Effendi wrote from beginning to end about the Administrative Order and the future World Order of Baha'u'llah included the "essential" Institution of the Guardianship as one of two "essential" institutions of the Faith, the other being the Universal House of Justice. One does not substitute or replace the other. Thank you again for your comments.

Regards,

LR
 
Old 06-05-2016, 05:36 PM   #24
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Tony:

I appreciate your comments in this chain. To clarify for you, I am in no way attempting to undermine the divinely designated legislative and administrative role of the Universal House of Justice. I am commenting on the Institution of the Guardianship. The House of Justice is not the successor of the Guardianship. It is one of the twin pillars of the Administrative Order and of the future World Order of Baha'u'llah. All that Shoghi Effendi wrote from beginning to end about the Administrative Order and the future World Order of Baha'u'llah included the "essential" Institution of the Guardianship as one of two "essential" institutions of the Faith, the other being the Universal House of Justice. One does not substitute or replace the other. Thank you again for your comments.

Regards,

LR
Dear Noogan and Larry,

I for my part, in no way see any attempt whatsoever to undermine anything. I just see a terribly interesting and important subject. I'm fascinated by this discussion and feel that, over the years, we have had a multitude of different exchanges that now have matured into this unexpectedly thought-awakening topic. At the moment, I don't feel ready to say much. I just make a comment now and then.

Personally, I have touched upon this now and then, but never felt ready to grasp the issue in its entirety. Maybe I will be able to add something in a day or two, but it's also possible that it will require months or even years of meditation at the back of my head.

I see so many potential implications, so many alternative outcomes, so many explanations of past events that I'm lost in thoughts. Yes indeed, the Guardian's passing without an heir was a historic event of the first order - an event that will leave its mark on many centuries to come. It dawned upon the Hands already some fifty-odd years ago. Only now, I can say that it has dawned upon me.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 06-05-2016 at 05:46 PM.
 
Old 06-05-2016, 05:40 PM   #25
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Tony:

I appreciate your comments in this chain. To clarify for you, I am in no way attempting to undermine the divinely designated legislative and administrative role of the Universal House of Justice. I am commenting on the Institution of the Guardianship. The House of Justice is not the successor of the Guardianship. It is one of the twin pillars of the Administrative Order and of the future World Order of Baha'u'llah. All that Shoghi Effendi wrote from beginning to end about the Administrative Order and the future World Order of Baha'u'llah included the "essential" Institution of the Guardianship as one of two "essential" institutions of the Faith, the other being the Universal House of Justice. One does not substitute or replace the other. Thank you again for your comments.

Regards,

LR
Larry, yes they have been designated specific functions and powers within the Covenant of Baha'u'llah to which can not be transgressed.

This subject is the most important subject, thus lets us reach an understanding as to how it is unfolding.

The way I see it is the Institutuon of the Guardian, to which Shoghi Effendi was the last possible Guardian , is now always with us for this Dispensation. All the work he did as the Guardian will be the foundation of that Institution into the future.

So as the future unfolds this is extremly important to be clear as to how Iit is explained, thus How can it have any other meaning? and

What is the need to put any other speculative ideas on this?

What are we saying when we say the essential Institution will always be with us. There can only be a few thoughts.

It is with us, Shoghi Effendi was the last,
It is with us, but there should be another,
It is not with us and needs another.

Is there another thought?

To me if there is more to it that comes to light the Universal House of Justice will Guide us.

This is a subject that can not be clouded with half thoughts and it is a subject every Baha'i needs to be well grounded in.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 05:51 PM   #26
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What are we saying when we say the essential Institution will always be with us. There can only be a few thoughts.

It is with us, Shoghi Effendi was the last,
It is with us, but there should be another,
It is not with us and needs another.

Is there another thought?

Regards Tony
Yes, there is a fourth thought: that we Bahá'ís, all and sundry, are the Guardian's heirs, that all of us are called upon to act as his true heirs.

gnat
 
Old 06-05-2016, 05:59 PM   #27
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And there is a site that discusses these things: A Covenant Unique in the Spiritual Annals of Mankind: "Divorced from the Institution of the Guardianship"

gnat
 
Old 06-05-2016, 06:05 PM   #28
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Yes, there is a fourth thought: that we Bahá'ís, all and sundry, are the Guardian's heirs, that all of us are called upon to act as his true heirs.

gnat
There is no doubt we are called on to be True Baha'is in Action and not just word. All the writings guide us to this.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 06:08 PM   #29
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The heading is wrong to me before the discussion started.

I do not see us as Divorced of a Guardian.

That said before I look at what is said

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 06:27 PM   #30
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The heading is wrong to me before the discussion started.

I do not see us as Divorced of a Guardian.

That said before I look at what is said

Regards Tony
But it is a true quote from the Guardian's own writings, and thus a most worthy topic to discuss. And the site seems to be perfectly kosher.

And I think the positive interpretation of the Guardian's passing without an heir is that it's symbolic of humanity's coming of age. we no longer need a living Guardian. We are able to take care of ourselves.

gnat

Last edited by gnat; 06-05-2016 at 06:47 PM.
 
Old 06-05-2016, 06:51 PM   #31
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Noogan:

I will offer a few more thoughts on our consideration of the Institution of the Guardianship, and its anticipated role in the unfoldment Baha’u’llah’s Covenant, the new born Administrative Order, and the future World Order of Baha’u’llah. There is some very clear written guidance that Shoghi Effendi does give to us as believers. I have not found anywhere that he later altered that guidance. You are no doubt familiar with Shoghi Effendi’s treatise dated February 8, 1934, and titled ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah (found in the ‘The World Order of Baha’u’llah’, pp. 95–157, 1974 edition) It has been mentioned over and again by those closest to Shoghi Effendi that he reportedly said that this document was his own testament of belief and his will and testament. Regardless of the accuracy of those reported utterances (pilgrim’s notes?), he does urge the study of this treatise to better understand the Institution of the Guardianship, as well as to form more correct understandings of several other misperceptions in the Baha’i community at that time.

I will call your attention to a letter dated May 2, 1934, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi about 3 months after his ‘Dispensation’ treatise: “Concerning the institution of the Guardianship and its true position in the Administrative Order of the Cause, the Guardian would urge you to make a careful study of the subject in his last general letter addressed to the West and published under the title of ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’. In the last part of this important treatise you will find an adequate and authoritative analysis of the origins, nature and function of that institution, and of its unique significance in the World Order of Baha’u’llah. You should also recommend your fellow-believers to better acquaint themselves with the contents of that same letter, so that their vision of the Cause and their understanding of its present-day administration may acquire in strength and in depth.”

In another letter written on his behalf (May 11, 1934) it was explained that “Shoghi Effendi was also pleased to learn of the response which his last general communication ['The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh' (in 'The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh', pp. 97-161)] addressed to the friends in the West has awakened in your community. It is his hope that the believers will, through their careful and continued study of this important communication, acquire a new vision of the Cause, and will be stimulated to redouble their efforts for the expansion and consolidation of their work for the Faith."


Again, in another communication he states through his secretary: "He feels, indeed, that the time has come for the German believers to acquire a thorough knowledge as well as a full understanding of such important Tablets as Baha'u'llah's "Book of Covenant" and 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament, both of which constitute the very bedrock upon which the entire administrative system of the Faith has been raised and established. As to "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" it also constitutes an invaluable supplement to these afore-mentioned Tablets...." (Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and signed by him, 10 January 1935; The Importance of Deepening in our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, no.123)


There are many who attempt to explain away the Guardian’s words in the ‘Administrative Order’ section of this treatise where he refers to impacts to the Faith “without such an institution”. Shoghi Effendi was appointed as the “Expounder” (“Interpreter”) of the words of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and the one designated to “explain the character and functions” of the Guardianship and Universal House of Justice in “clear and unambiguous language”. He explained that the functions of both Institutions were “essential”. He is very clear in his written communications that the Institution of the Guardianship was to play a significant role in the Administrative Order of his day and in the future World Order of Baha’u’llah.

I would recommend that you study deeply those “important Tablets” mentioned in the quote above from the letter written on behalf of the Guardian “which constitute the very bedrock upon which the entire administrative system of the Faith has been raised and established” (those being the Kitab-i-Ahd/Book of the Covenat and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha). I would also urge you to seek out those “verses” in the Kitab-i-Aqdas that Shoghi Effendi states “clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship”, as well as read and ponder deeply Baha’u’llah’s Súriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch). In these Writings you may find parallels and patterns related to the spiritual reality of the Institution of the Guardianship, especially when studied in the light of that "invaluable supplement", being Shoghi Effendi’s ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’ and in light of his many other communications.

Be assured that as you cling to the words of those Tablets and to the words of the divinely appointed Expounder, Shoghi Effendi, you will receive the confirmations you say you are seeking, especially when combined with the “deep faith in God and Baha’u’llah’s message” that you mentioned you have. The mystery and question of the vacancy of the Guardianship will likely not be answered, but you will experience assurances that you are acting in accordance and alignment with the Covenant of Baha’u’llah. Study and pondering on these writings may also help satisfy the “research” you mentioned you should have done prior to becoming a Baha’i.

Please take care and the very best to you in your further “research”.

LR
 
Old 06-05-2016, 08:17 PM   #32
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Friends,

The way I see it is rather simple, although the hard reality of it might be difficult to accept for some: The guardian did not appoint a successor, and as a consequence there is no possibility for the guardianship to continue, beyond the rather abstract way that it continues as an institution today. I can imagine it is possible somewhere way down the road when the next manifestation comes that he or she might proclaim themselves as the guardian, thus resolving the problem and causing a test an controversy for the people of that day. Of course, this is pure speculation and fantasy on my part.

The guardian was both human and infallible (conferred infallibility via the covenant). Why didn't he appoint a successor? Perhaps he simply couldn't due to the stringent requirements needed of appointing one, ie none were found worthy of the office. In light of all the covenant breaking it is not hard for me to accept this. Some have quoted the the guardian at length about the importance of the office and how devastating it would be to the faith without it. This does not, however, mean that the office must continue or was destined to. It does indicate how much he considered it necessary and important, making it more likely that in not doing so he just couldn't.

Another possibility was that he just didn't know his time would come so sudden and soon, and therefore failed to do so. After all, he was a human. That being said, it seems that Baha'u'llah was not unaware of it as the quote I posted from the Aqdas suggests, even if only anecdotally. I am disinclined to believe the Guardian was derelict in his duty and instead, in capacity of his infallibility did what he had to do which was let the line end.

Cheers
 
Old 06-05-2016, 08:19 PM   #33
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Quote:
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But it is a true quote from the Guardian's own writings, and thus a most worthy topic to discuss. And the site seems to be perfectly kosher.

And I think the positive interpretation of the Guardian's passing without an heir is that it's symbolic of humanity's coming of age. we no longer need a living Guardian. We are able to take care of ourselves.

gnat
Yes I have copied it for a read Later, the conclusion was as such

"....What it does not do is state that the Universal House of Justice cannot properly function without a living Guardian, nor state that the World Order would be "mutilated" without a living Guardian. What it does not do is to state that we are today "divorced" from the institution of the Guardianship".

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-05-2016, 09:29 PM   #34
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Noogan:

Thank you for bringing up a topic so worthy of discussion. I hope you have received enough diverse responses from those participating in this thread that it has further stimulated and expanded your thought processes. Tony had briefly posted comments expressing his frustrations with some of the comments, then apparently rapidly removed it. In that brief post, he also mentioned covenant breaking relative to this topic. From my experience, this is definitely a topic that tends to stir up sensitivities in some which frequently brings with it those kinds of accusations. Most of my posts were directed to you in response to your invitation for comment. Anyway, I hope you are able to satisfactorily resolve this matter in your own mind and heart through further study. Please take care.

LR

Last edited by Larry Roofener; 06-05-2016 at 09:32 PM. Reason: added missing word
 
Old 06-05-2016, 10:40 PM   #35
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Rhui Book 8 Unit 1 - http://bahai-library.com/pdf/ruhi/ruhi8a.pdf - The Covernant of Baha'u'llah - The Centre of the Covenant and His Will and Testament

Rhui Book 8 Unit 2 - http://bahai-library.com/pdf/ruhi/ruhi8b.pdf - The Guardian of the Baha'i Faith

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-06-2016, 08:59 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Noogan:

Thank you for bringing up a topic so worthy of discussion. I hope you have received enough diverse responses from those participating in this thread that it has further stimulated and expanded your thought processes. Tony had briefly posted comments expressing his frustrations with some of the comments, then apparently rapidly removed it. In that brief post, he also mentioned covenant breaking relative to this topic. From my experience, this is definitely a topic that tends to stir up sensitivities in some which frequently brings with it those kinds of accusations. Most of my posts were directed to you in response to your invitation for comment. Anyway, I hope you are able to satisfactorily resolve this matter in your own mind and heart through further study. Please take care.

LR
I appreciated your comments, Larry, I really do along with everyone else of course. I have been studying what you wrote. I can't give a lot of replies about it as I still have to think about it. I do think from what reading I have read though, and the material you have shown that Shoghi Effendi clearly saw the Guardianship as something that was to continue, and there does not seem to be any reason to think Abdu'l Baha saw the Guardianship as something that would be real and then vague later on. There were no clear cut instructions on how to handle the lack of a Guardian. That IS curious, there is no way around that, considering the last Guardian must have known after he died there would be some confusion.

If you were a monarch, and you had heir left to hand your kingdom to, and this is an absolute monarch of course, and your health takes a turn for the worse, you might very well perceive that after you die a legislative body would arrive to handle affairs as it was meant to, and perhaps take on extra responsibilities that your successor otherwise would have handled. I cannot put my mind into the mind of the Guardian, clearly, but it would have seemed like in my musings about this monarch, he might leave at least have left some word behind.

I don't think it's wrong to wonder about this because despite its station, the Guardian was a man, a great man, but not someone to be worshiped, only God should be worshiped, and if we begin to be afraid to discuss things because someone starts murmurings of covenant breaking, we've killed the kind of deep introspection into our faith we should have. That is when religions turn to cults and superstition. We have this wonderful gift of texts but also the lives within living memory of these great people. Perhaps lessons are there to be found, like gems in a mine still hiding in rocks that miners have passed over a few times already.

Looking at religious history, if we take each manifestation from a Baha'i standpoint though, one can't help but see in each case that things went at least somewhat awry after the founders and initial framework of the religion they created passed on. Or we would not have sects and divisions and misunderstandings. This does not imply a lack of ability in the Divine Manifestatations themselves, but maybe the process has to be the way it is.

I don't know. I do apologize for the lack of replies, but I am more absorbing and less replying as this subject for whatever reason is important to me, and my scholarship is poor.
 
Old 06-06-2016, 12:14 PM   #37
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I don't think it's wrong to wonder about this because despite its station, the Guardian was a man, a great man, but not someone to be worshiped, ...
Absolutely not wrong. On the contrary. Absolutely everything can be discussed, as long as it's done in a respectful manner. And that has been the case here. I just thoroughly enjoy this thread.

gnat
 
Old 06-06-2016, 12:42 PM   #38
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The key is always God Doeth as He Willeth.

To me the best way to study this is to see how it was handled by the Blessed Souls that were faced with the Decision that had to be made. It was they that were given this task by the fate that was and which is always ultimatly Gods Hand.

I would consider the direction taken was the result of a gathering and prayerful contemplation of a number of "Hands of the Cause" who fulfilled the task and offerd explanations as it should be.

In turn the Universal House of Justice then offered more on the subject, now the Rhui Book 8 Course contains all this material. If one wishes to be well grounded, then the Rhui Book 8 course with friends is priceless.

Regards Tony
 
Old 06-06-2016, 01:30 PM   #39
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Quote:
We seem, without a succession of Guardians, stuck in a kind of theological cul de sac, because issues like gay rights hinge on a comment the 1st and Final Guardian made or possibly his letter writer made, which can not be interpreted any further. Religions do change over time. They must. We cannot.
I think that the absence of an ongoing series of Guardians is, in some sense, what it means for humanity to attain the stage of adulthood. We don't have any individual or collective telling us what to believe anymore. Instead, each of us must read Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and the interpretations of the Guardian and figure out what they mean for us, in the nexus of our individual lives and the Baha'i Revelation.

We have unity of administration and community through the Universal House of Justice, but the doors of official interpretation are closed until the time of the next Manifestation.

I believe that it boils down to what our Lord wrote to us here in the Aqdas:

"In My presence amongst you there is a wisdom, and in My absence there is yet another, inscrutable to all but God, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing. "

and here in the Hidden Words:

"...thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor."
 
Old 06-06-2016, 03:48 PM   #40
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I think we have to go back to foundarion of Religion, and the mind of Bahaullah.

There was a similar instance in Shia Islam, when the successorship was altered.
It was when Imam Sadiq, had first appointed His son Ismael as the next Imam. But later this was changed, and He selected another son.
This caused a division among the Shia and a sect called Ismaelies were generated. These were the ones who said, God does not change His will and since Ismael was chosen first, they maintained that he was the rightful successor.
The rest of Shia said this is Bada. Alteration in divine Will...

Bahaullah confirmed this was Bada. In Iqan, Bahaullah explained the purpose of Bada is to test the followers.
 
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