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Old 03-03-2018, 12:49 AM   #1
djg
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Relative Fallibility of The Guardian and the Universal House of Justice

What is the relative fallibility of the Universal House of Justice and Shoghi Effendi?

In other words, does the House have the necessary potency of authority to modify interpretations made by Shoghi Effendi?
 
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Old 03-03-2018, 02:28 AM   #2
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Originally Posted by djg View Post
What is the relative fallibility of the Universal House of Justice and Shoghi Effendi?

In other words, does the House have the necessary potency of authority to modify interpretations made by Shoghi Effendi?
No, the Universal House of Justice does not give interpretation of the scriptures, that finished with Shoghi Effendi.

It can offer advice on any new material that may surface in the future. I like to be not too rigid and decide on matters as they arise.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-03-2018, 06:04 AM   #3
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No, the Universal House of Justice does not give interpretation of the scriptures, that finished with Shoghi Effendi.

It can offer advice on any new material that may surface in the future. I like to be not too rigid and decide on matters as they arise.

Regards Tony
The House of Justice operates within its own mandate from Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, and has its own type of infallibility. The function of the House of Justice is legislation, not interpretation. If you read any of the messages from the House of Justice, you will see quotations from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Bab, and quotations of interpretations that Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi made, but it is left up to the individual to see with their own eyes and and understand with their own hearts.

In my understanding, the House of Justice does not mandate what we must believe, but what we must do, in other words, when it creates a Plan, it is infallibly true the execution of that plan is the Will of God, and that is what God wants the Baha'i Community to do during the period of the Plan. At a future time, there will be a new Plan with new goals that are appropriate for that time. In terms of other types of legislation, the House of Justice is gradually applying the Laws of Baha'u'lah as the Baha'i Community matures and develops, and whatever is not specified in the Text of Baha'u'llah's Writings may be filled in with legislation which the House of Justice creates. We can be assured that whatever the House of Justice legislates is infallibly in accordance with the Will of God for the period of time it is enforced. A future House of Justice may change or repeal some of its own legislation, and whatever it decides is the Will of God for that time.
 
Old 03-03-2018, 11:04 AM   #4
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I would add a thought to what has been said here:

While the UHJ is not invested with power to interpret Scriptures, in order to legislate, it has to "interpret" (so to speak) the actual conditions of the world.

For example, it has to integrate knowledge from social changes, prevalent ideologies, scientific discoveries, ongoing concerns of national assemblies, teams or individuals, international affairs, financial constraints, and much more, in order to appreciate when, where or how a given law has to be applied or cease to be applied.

This work, I guess, is far from easy or automatic. It requires divine inspiration.
 
Old 03-03-2018, 10:32 PM   #5
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In my understanding, the House of Justice does not mandate what we must believe, but what we must do, in other words, when it creates a Plan, it is infallibly true the execution of that plan is the Will of God, and that is what God wants the Baha'i Community to do during the period of the Plan.
This strikes me as eerily similar to what Christians believe about the Holy Spirit guiding the Church.

It also sounds a lot like the Catholic Church who believe the Pope is infallible....

But if Baha'u'llah said so, Baha'u'llah said so... I won't argue with that... I just would not want to see the Baha'i Faith repeating the mistakes of Christianity...
 
Old 03-03-2018, 10:34 PM   #6
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I would add a thought to what has been said here:
This work, I guess, is far from easy or automatic. It requires divine inspiration.
You raise a good point... How can we really know?
 
Old 03-04-2018, 02:54 AM   #7
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The House of Justice operates within its own mandate from Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-I-Aqdas, and has its own type of infallibility. The function of the House of Justice is legislation, not interpretation. If you read any of the messages from the House of Justice, you will see quotations from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Bab, and quotations of interpretations that Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi made, but it is left up to the individual to see with their own eyes and and understand with their own hearts.

In my understanding, the House of Justice does not mandate what we must believe, but what we must do, in other words, when it creates a Plan, it is infallibly true the execution of that plan is the Will of God, and that is what God wants the Baha'i Community to do during the period of the Plan. At a future time, there will be a new Plan with new goals that are appropriate for that time. In terms of other types of legislation, the House of Justice is gradually applying the Laws of Baha'u'lah as the Baha'i Community matures and develops, and whatever is not specified in the Text of Baha'u'llah's Writings may be filled in with legislation which the House of Justice creates. We can be assured that whatever the House of Justice legislates is infallibly in accordance with the Will of God for the period of time it is enforced. A future House of Justice may change or repeal some of its own legislation, and whatever it decides is the Will of God for that time.
My understanding is that not every decision of the Universal House of Justice is infallible, but only those decisions that have to do with legislation. Still the Universal House of Justice should be obeyed.
 
Old 03-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #8
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My understanding is that not every decision of the Universal House of Justice is infallible, but only those decisions that have to do with legislation. Still the Universal House of Justice should be obeyed.
I see it we must view all Decisions as Gods Purpose.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-05-2018, 06:31 AM   #9
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This strikes me as eerily similar to what Christians believe about the Holy Spirit guiding the Church.

It also sounds a lot like the Catholic Church who believe the Pope is infallible....

But if Baha'u'llah said so, Baha'u'llah said so... I won't argue with that... I just would not want to see the Baha'i Faith repeating the mistakes of Christianity...
There are, at least, three big differences here, that I think make the UHJ institution less vulnerable than the Papacy to the same mistakes of the past:

First, the Pope is one, while the UHJ are nine. This represents a powerful barrier against one-sided perspectives.
Second, the Pope is not elected by the Catholic community... not even indirectly as the Cardinals themselves (or bishops for that matter) are not elected by the community.
Third, the Pope can remain in office until his death, if he chooses so. But the UHJ membership can be renovated periodically.

Now, there is no collective of any kind in which members agree 100% at all times with their leaders and the laws they enact. This is true for a collective as small as a family or as big as a country.

So I guess it is natural that we sometimes will disagree with UHJ decisions at a personal level, but we are still expected to follow them for the sake of unity which is the cornerstone of the current Revelation.

***

In terms of the need to interpret Scriptures for the next 900 years or so, I feel it will be needed sooner or later.
In many instances of issues not discussed in the Writings, the UHJ is already recommending to use personal judgment... and this is great in my opinion.

In other issues, though (e.g. the big bioethical dilemmas that will pose a future with artificial intelligence, action on climate change, widespread legal recognition of gay marriage, etc.) the UHJ will understand that, in order to provide guidance, it must perform some interpretation of the current context and of the original intention of the Scriptures.

My personal opinion is that, to do this, the UHJ will make a clear distinction between the principles that underpin all statements contained in the Writings, and the historical context in which those principles needed to be expressed.

Once this clear distinction is made, the UHJ will help us to uphold the spiritual principles unchanged (i.e. the original intention of the Central Figures and the Guardian) while adapting their specific requirements to the contemporary needs.

For example, I believe there is a fundamental distinction between the Law of Chastity and the Law of Marriage. The first representing a universal, spiritual principle and the second representing the social application of that principle.

That is why it is my personal belief (and of course I can be completely wrong) that in the future, once Eastern countries legalize gay marriage, the conditions will be set for the UHJ to state something like:

"The advice from the Guardian was perfect given the scientific, legal and social context at the time his advice was given. At that time, the prevailing medical paradigm was that homosexuality was a mental illness, civil laws on marriage forbid such unions and the unity of society could have been disrupted for accepting something different.

While these scientific, legal and social conditions survived in any extent at some parts of the world, the UHJ upheld the prohibition of homosexual marriage.

Both Progressive revelation and chastity are universal, spiritual principles applicable to all men at all time.
Progressive revelation means that truth is revealed according to the ability of the majority of humankind to understand it and live up to it at a given point of history.
Chastity means that sexual impulses must find expression within a relationship of true love and long-term commitment, regardless of the sexual orientation of the person.

With these principles in mind, we [the UHL] believe that the time has come in which science has demonstrated that homosexuality cannot be "treated" and does not lead to any mental pathology.
Civil laws have now recognized unions of people from the same sex all over the world.
Finally, the Baha'i community and society in general are ready to accept a change in the law of marriage without compromising unity.

So, the UHJ approves that married people of the same sex are accepted as members in full right, so that the same terms of the Law of Chastity (expressing sexual impulses only within the bond of marriage) can be demanded from and lived by people from all sexual orientations."

Last edited by camachoe; 03-05-2018 at 06:48 AM.
 
Old 03-05-2018, 10:49 AM   #10
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So, the UHJ approves that married people of the same sex are accepted as members in full right, so that the same terms of the Law of Chastity (expressing sexual impulses only within the bond of marriage) can be demanded from and lived by people from all sexual orientations."[/I]
I see that science has a long way to go on this subject. It is yet to find the details in the genetics as to when and why this change may happen.

Personally we have to go deeper into what we have done to the environment and with our food with all the things we have altered or put into our bodies.

It is now becoming known how critical it is for the fetus inside the womb of its mother and that all things contribute to the development of this new Human Being. We may find that a specific food additive messes around with this critical component of our growth, or exposure to smoke, or ?

The important thing here is that the law of Baha'u'llah can not be changed.

What can change is our perception as to what this all means and what we as an individual choose to do, in the radiant light which are the Laws of Baha'u'llah. This has issue has become a great test for many Baha'i's. We can not cling to old world order thought, if we are to build a new world order.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 03-05-2018 at 10:52 AM.
 
Old 03-05-2018, 07:13 PM   #11
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Chastity means that sexual impulses must find expression within a relationship of true love and long-term commitment, regardless of the sexual orientation of the person.

With these principles in mind, we [the UHL] believe that the time has come in which science has demonstrated that homosexuality cannot be "treated" and does not lead to any mental pathology.
Civil laws have now recognized unions of people from the same sex all over the world.
Finally, the Baha'i community and society in general are ready to accept a change in the law of marriage without compromising unity.

So, the UHJ approves that married people of the same sex are accepted as members in full right, so that the same terms of the Law of Chastity (expressing sexual impulses only within the bond of marriage) can be demanded from and lived by people from all sexual orientations."
I think that you and I probably feel the same way on this issue. I feel that a married homosexual couple is much more in accord with the spirit of the teachings of Baha'u'llah on chastity than an unmarried heterosexual who are "living together." Yet people in this society do not even bat an eyelash at fornication. On another forum comprised of believers and nonbelievers all but a couple of Christians thought I am very strange to even have an issue with it at all. But I have a huge issue with it and I will take a stand on it every time the subject arises, not only because of what Baha'u'llah wrote about spotless chastity but also because of what He wrote about following the things of the flesh. Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 100-101 I tend to believe that applies to all of us, even married people, but we all interpret the Writings in our own ways.

Anyhow, regarding homosexuals who are married being in accord with the Law, I do not think that the UHJ can legislate on that because it is clearly written in the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

134. the subject of boys # 107
The word translated here as “boys” has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.

The Bahá’í teachings on sexual morality centre on marriage and the family as the bedrock of the whole structure of human society and are designed to protect and strengthen that divine institution. Bahá’í law thus restricts permissible sexual intercourse to that between a man and the woman to whom he is married.

In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi it is stated:
No matter how devoted and fine the love may be between people of the same sex, to let it find expression in sexual acts is wrong. To say that it is ideal is no excuse. Immorality of every sort is really forbidden by Bahá’u’lláh, and homosexual relationships He looks upon as such, besides being against nature. To be afflicted this way is a great burden to a conscientious soul. But through the advice and help of doctors, through a strong and determined effort, and through prayer, a soul can overcome this handicap.

Bahá’u’lláh makes provision for the Universal House of Justice to determine, according to the degree of the offence, penalties for adultery and sodomy (Q and A 49).
The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 223

~~~~~

Definition of sodomy
: anal or oral copulation with a member of the same or opposite sex;

So does this Law apply only to homosexuals? That seems like a double standard. I do not see anywhere where this is specified so I have to assume it also applies to heterosexuals. This has certain implications about the primary (only?) purpose of sex being procreation if the Law also applies to heterosexuals.

1160. Question of Birth Control not Specifically Answered in Writings

"As to the problem of birth control, neither Bahá’u’lláh nor ‘Abdu'l-Bahá has revealed anything direct or explicit regarding this question. But the Bahá’í Teachings, when carefully studied imply that such current conceptions like birth control, if not necessarily wrong and immoral in principle, have nevertheless to be discarded as constituting a real danger to the very foundations of our social life. For Bahá’u’lláh explicitly reveals in His Book of Laws that the very purpose of marriage is the procreation of children who, when grown up, will be able to know God and to recognize and observe His Commandments and Laws as revealed through His Messengers. Marriage is thus, according to the Bahá’í Teachings, primarily a social and moral act. It has a purpose which transcends the immediate personal needs and interests of the parties…."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, October 14, 1935)

~~~~~

Regarding the Law as stated above, similar Laws have been in force since the Old Testament was written so there is no reason to believe they will ever be abrogated; although they could be abrogated with the next Prophet, I find it highly unlikely.

I do not know what to say about the issue of homosexuals except that it seems discriminatory; but I am not God so I do not make the rules...
 
Old 03-06-2018, 09:48 AM   #12
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Anyhow, regarding homosexuals who are married being in accord with the Law, I do not think that the UHJ can legislate on that because it is clearly written in the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

134. the subject of boys # 107
The word translated here as “boys” has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations.
Well, I would say that what is clearly written is the prohibition of pederasty.
This is clear.
Shoghi Effendi was an interpretation... an expansion of the meaning.
That interpretation was necessary and adequate at that time it was issued to the world, just as the interpretation of Abdul Bahá on the law of marriage of the Kitab-i-Aqas was necessary and adequate at the time it was pronounced.

In the case of Abdul Bahá, the social law of marriage of Bahaullah that allowed a man marrying with two women should be reframed or restated to go according to the principle of equity or justice under new social conditions.

The conditions in which Bahaullah wrote the Kitab-i-Aqas were different from the time Abdul Bahaá provided interpretation.

For Bahaullah, marrying with only two wives instead of four as the Islamic dispensation allowed was an important step forward.

Some decades later, though, as the Islamic world also transitioned into monogamy, the world was ready for new light from Abdul Bahá, who had no issue in declaring that the spirit of the law (justice, equity) should take precedence over the letter of the law.

Did any Baha'i of that time ever think that by changing the Law of Marriage to monogamy, The Master had betrayed Bahá'u'lláh's Kitab-i-Aqas, become a Covenant Breaker or something of that sort?

No. The change to the law of marriage was accepted, because it made total sense with the spirit of the law and because the small Bahai community was ready for such new light.

In both cases we see God's Wisdom being revealed progressively.

This is why I think that our descendants should not feel surprised if, in the future, (not now) the UHJ could state that Shoghi Effendi provided the correct interpretation that the world needed at that time, when marriage for homosexual people would have been inconceivable, unfeasible, and a threat to the family and social order.
Shoghi Effendi's authority would not be threatened, as the divine knowledge of Bahá'u'lláh was not threatened when Abdul' Bahá reduced the number of wives from two to one.

Anyway, the debate here is not about gay marriage but about the authority of the UHJ.

My point is that social laws could be changed by the UHJ as part of their legislative responsibilities without having to "nullify" or "contradict" any previous statement by the Central Figures or Shoghi Effendi.
 
Old 03-07-2018, 07:45 PM   #13
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djg asks in post #1:

Quote:
What is the relative fallibility of the Universal House of Justice and Shoghi Effendi?

In other words, does the House have the necessary potency of authority to modify interpretations made by Shoghi Effendi?
The following quote is offered as it relates to future Guardians modifying the interpretations of past Guardians. Considering the quote, one might imagine then how much less authority the Universal House of Justice, as a legislative institution, has to modify Shoghi Effendi’s interpretations. In this letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (with some closing comments added by the Guardian himself), dated March 15, 1947, his secretary (R. Rabbani) conveys: “He feels that there must have been some misapprehension on your part of his statements regarding future Guardians: they cannot "abrogate" the interpretations of former Guardians, as this would imply not only lack of guidance but mistakes in making them; however they can elaborate and elucidate former interpretations, and can certainly abrogate some former ruling laid down as a temporary necessity by a former Guardian.” (Messages to Canada, p. 89)

-LR
 
Old 03-08-2018, 04:08 AM   #14
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These issues can be difficult to understand, particularly given our knowledge of the history of past religions and relative lack of knowledge of the how the Baha'i Revelation is applied in practice. We wonder how the Faith can be safeguarded when we no longer have an authoritative source of interpretation of the Holy Writings. There is nothing in the Writings of Baha'u'lah or Abdu'l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi that guarantees a succession of Guardians for the entire duration of the Baha'i Dispensation, and as things turned out, the Guardians were limited to only one. Baha'u'llah foresaw a termination of the line of Aghsan in the Aqdas and makes clear that the Universal House of Justice is fully invested with divine authority to fulfill His Purpose.

So, how does that work? The House of Justice does not interpret the Writings, but takes what is clearly written and clearly interpreted, and fills in whatever is not clear in the Writings with legislation. If there were a Guardian, then what is not clear could be filled in with interpretation, but since there is not, then what is not clear is filled in with legislation as required by the needs of society at the time. There is no gap in divine authority or lack of guidance. The House of Justice does not overstep its mandate and interpret the Writings, but whatever might have required interpretation can be answered by legislation. That is what Baha'u'llah intended and is operational, guiding the Baha'i world today.
 
Old 03-10-2018, 03:20 AM   #15
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Jcc commented (in part):

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Baha'u'llah foresaw a termination of the line of Aghsan in the Aqdas and makes clear that the Universal House of Justice is fully invested with divine authority to fulfill His Purpose.
I will comment that we might remain open minded as to Baha’u’llah’s meaning(s) in verse 42 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, keeping in mind that neither ‘Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi (as far as I am aware) referred to, or “interpreted”, that verse. It is interesting that the verse was not included in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament in some manner as guidance should the Guardian be unable to appoint another to that position. Considering all of the other quotes from the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and from ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, in Shoghi Effend’s many references to the Guardianship and to the Universal House of Justice he used in his “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise that he did not include that verse. Rather he commented on the serious impacts to Faith and the future World Order of Baha’u’llah should the Cause be severed from either of those chief institutions. That is why I perceive that we should remain open minded as to the verse’s meaning(s). From my limited perspective, and meaning no disrespect, it appears that the House of Justice has interpreted that verse to some degree using it reinforce its comments related to the absence of a Guardian. You have repeated above that same interpretation.

Also please understand that I am not suggesting that a Guardian could have been appointed or that someone can claim to be the Guardian of the Cause of God. The absence of the Guardianship does remain an unsolved mystery because Shoghi Effendi did clearly write about the continuation of the Guardianship well into the future, even after his expulsion from the Faith of the family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (December 1951), and to the end of his life (November 4, 1957)

-LR
 
Old 03-10-2018, 03:37 PM   #16
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Jcc commented (in part):



I will comment that we might remain open minded as to Baha’u’llah’s meaning(s) in verse 42 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, keeping in mind that neither ‘Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi (as far as I am aware) referred to, or “interpreted”, that verse. It is interesting that the verse was not included in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament in some manner as guidance should the Guardian be unable to appoint another to that position. Considering all of the other quotes from the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and from ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, in Shoghi Effend’s many references to the Guardianship and to the Universal House of Justice he used in his “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise that he did not include that verse. Rather he commented on the serious impacts to Faith and the future World Order of Baha’u’llah should the Cause be severed from either of those chief institutions. That is why I perceive that we should remain open minded as to the verse’s meaning(s). From my limited perspective, and meaning no disrespect, it appears that the House of Justice has interpreted that verse to some degree using it reinforce its comments related to the absence of a Guardian. You have repeated above that same interpretation.

Also please understand that I am not suggesting that a Guardian could have been appointed or that someone can claim to be the Guardian of the Cause of God. The absence of the Guardianship does remain an unsolved mystery because Shoghi Effendi did clearly write about the continuation of the Guardianship well into the future, even after his expulsion from the Faith of the family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (December 1951), and to the end of his life (November 4, 1957)

-LR
Larry, I appreciate and understand your points her, and I agree that it is mysterious how the current state of the Administrative Order came to be, but I for one am completely secure in my faith that the Universal House of Justice is fully empowered to provide all of the guidance needed to fulfill in its entirety the Divne Purpose of the Faith of Baha'u'lah.

It's true that 'Abdu'l-Baha made provision for a succession of Guardians to guide the Faith along side the House of Justice, but appointed the first Guardian long before the House of Justice could be elected, so obviously it was not required that both have to exist simultaneously. Only the Guardian could appoint his successor, so obviously if for any reason that doesn't occur, then the line ends. Although inherently a mystery, it certainly appears to me the reason why Shoghi Effendi did not is because there was no one remotely qualified to fill that role. Perhaps he was still holding out hope that such a person would appear through divine providence before he passed. In any event, his duty was to fulfill the high calling that he was entrusted with by the Master, which he did until his last breath.

Of course, we should still keep in mind, that the Institution of the Guardianship was never mentioned by Baha'u'llah Himself, whereas the House of Justice certainly is. The provision for the House of Justice to legislate upon any thing not explicitly mentioned in the Book was made by Baha'u'llah Himself.
 
Old 03-10-2018, 07:50 PM   #17
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Jcc, you wrote in part:

Quote:
Of course, we should still keep in mind, that the Institution of the Guardianship was never mentioned by Baha'u'llah Himself, whereas the House of Justice certainly is. The provision for the House of Justice to legislate upon any thing not explicitly mentioned in the Book was made by Baha'u'llah Himself.
You have repeated what many others have said and wrote before you. My perception differs from this supposition based on the Guardian’s own words which I hold higher in value than mere supposition. Due to time constraints, I will site only two examples at this time:

In Shoghi Effendi’s “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise he states that, “It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.” In this context, Shoghi Effendi is referring to the “Administrative Order, which ever since `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension has evolved and is taking shape . . . “, so that “appointed . . . person to interpret His Word” in this paragraph cannot but be a reference to the Guardianship that “Bahá'u'lláh has Himself” designated. (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 144 – 145)

Two pages later in that same treatise Shoghi Effendi refers to “the verses of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas the implications of which clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship. . . .” (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 147)

So from my feeble perspective, we should be immersing ourselves in the Word of God and searching for those verses referred to by the Guardian rather than denying them. As Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed, ‘Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established.” (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, verse 182) Again, considering the Guardian’s words above related to that appointed interpreter and the anticipated Guardianship, we should be seeking to “unravel” those hidden “secrets” and “potentialities” in the revealed words of Bahá'u'lláh related to the Guardianship.

Until more time is available, please take care. -LR
 
Old 03-11-2018, 12:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
In Shoghi Effendi’s “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise he states that, “It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.” In this context, Shoghi Effendi is referring to the “Administrative Order, which ever since `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension has evolved and is taking shape . . . “, so that “appointed . . . person to interpret His Word” in this paragraph cannot but be a reference to the Guardianship that “Bahá'u'lláh has Himself” designated. (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 144 – 145)
Larry hope you are well.

When I read that particular passage, I see it as a reference to Abdul'Baha. I would not have read it any other way.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-11-2018, 01:21 AM   #19
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Well, looking for mistakes in the Guardian's work is not an activity that will lead to positive results. I think that there is a passage in the Apocalypse that can be interpreted as a reference to the Guardian. I just don't quite remember where it can be found.

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Old 03-13-2018, 05:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Larry hope you are well.

When I read that particular passage, I see it as a reference to Abdul'Baha. I would not have read it any other way.

Regards Tony
Tony:

Thank you for your brief comment in response to my post #17. For many years, I as well just assumed it is a reference to ‘Abdu’l-Baha, but the more I studied “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise I began to – as you say - “see it” differently and as a reference to the Guardian, the “appointed . . . person to interpret His Word”. Should you be interested at all, I invite you at least read paragraphs 2 through the first part of paragraph 6 and “see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others . . .” (Baha’u’llah, Arabic Hidden Words, verse 2). Ponder the sequence of Shoghi Effendi’s words and the context within which he is writing as he progressively explains the transition from the Heroic and Apostolic Age and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s high station, to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament being “an instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order . . .” (paragraph 4), to “(t)he Administrative Order, which ever since ‘Adu’l-Baha’s ascension has evolved and is taking shape . . .” (paragraph 5). In paragraph 6 he marries the “appointed . . . person to interpret His Word” with “the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances”, making it even clearer that it is a reference to the Guardian. Also keep in mind that ‘Abdu’l-Baha is the architect of the Administrative Order, not a product and result of it.

Thank you for considering my further brief explanation. Take care.

-LR

Last edited by Larry Roofener; 03-13-2018 at 05:34 PM.
 
Old 03-13-2018, 06:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Jcc, you wrote in part:



You have repeated what many others have said and wrote before you. My perception differs from this supposition based on the Guardian’s own words which I hold higher in value than mere supposition. Due to time constraints, I will site only two examples at this time:

In Shoghi Effendi’s “The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” treatise he states that, “It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.” In this context, Shoghi Effendi is referring to the “Administrative Order, which ever since `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension has evolved and is taking shape . . . “, so that “appointed . . . person to interpret His Word” in this paragraph cannot but be a reference to the Guardianship that “Bahá'u'lláh has Himself” designated. (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 144 – 145)

Two pages later in that same treatise Shoghi Effendi refers to “the verses of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas the implications of which clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship. . . .” (The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 147)

So from my feeble perspective, we should be immersing ourselves in the Word of God and searching for those verses referred to by the Guardian rather than denying them. As Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed, ‘Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established.” (Kitáb-i-Aqdas, verse 182) Again, considering the Guardian’s words above related to that appointed interpreter and the anticipated Guardianship, we should be seeking to “unravel” those hidden “secrets” and “potentialities” in the revealed words of Bahá'u'lláh related to the Guardianship.

Until more time is available, please take care. -LR

Thank you Larry. It is indeed a statement worthy of consideration;

After again reading, I still see that passage in the same light. I have considered this following passage in a different light though.

"...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. “In all the Divine Dispensations,” He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, “the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.” 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...."

It appears that God has thrown us a curve ball! That there was no one to appoint a quandry in light of that passage.

It was a great failure of those that could have been chosen, for them not to abide within the Covernant.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 03-13-2018 at 06:25 PM.
 
Old 03-13-2018, 07:18 PM   #22
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Tony wrote:

Quote:
Thank you Larry. It is indeed a statement worthy of consideration;

After again reading, I still see that passage in the same light. . . .
Would you expand on your perception please? Thank you.

-LR
 
Old 03-13-2018, 07:57 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Tony wrote:

Would you expand on your perception please? Thank you.

-LR
Larry with that statement as follows;

"..inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.”

I see no reason to break it down and Interpret that it is also refers to the Guardian.

The person Baha'u'llah appointed was Abdul'baha and I see no reason to add the Guardian in that passage, as I see He was just stating what was written by Baha'u'llah.

Abdul'baha did appoint the Guardian, so clearly we now know there is a Guardian allowed for in Baha'u'llahs writings.

The issue is that how could a Guardian be appointed? I have read the story of the transition quite a few times over yhe years and I see the complexity they faced. At the same time I know they were very well read and suited to give the conclusion they came up with as a Body of the Hands.

If there was any another option at all, I am sure it would have been put on the table.

I will discuss these passages with a good friend of mine when I get a chance and get His ideas as well.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-14-2018, 12:32 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Tony wrote: Would you expand on your perception please? Thank you. -LR
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
Larry with that statement as follows;

"..inasmuch as Bahá'u'lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.”

I see no reason to break it down and Interpret that it is also refers to the Guardian.

The person Baha'u'llah appointed was Abdul'baha and I see no reason to add the Guardian in that passage, as I see He was just stating what was written by Baha'u'llah.

Abdul'baha did appoint the Guardian, so clearly we now know there is a Guardian allowed for in Baha'u'llahs writings.

The issue is that how could a Guardian be appointed? I have read the story of the transition quite a few times over the years and I see the complexity they faced. At the same time I know they were very well read and suited to give the conclusion they came up with as a Body of the Hands.

If there was any another option at all, I am sure it would have been put on the table.

I will discuss these passages with a good friend of mine when I get a chance and get His ideas as well.

Regards Tony
Larry - I spoke to my friend on this subject and we are mostly in tune to what we currently understand on this subject.

Firstly the Line of the Guardian is Hereditary, thus any Hereditary line is always mostly likely to finish at some time. The fact that it finished after the first Guardian in this age is a mystery that we will only know after we pass from this life.

My friend also strong in the thought that Shoghi Effendi really left the legacy of the institution that will guide the Universal House of Justice for many centuries. The work he undertook and the writings He has left are so complete that it will be enough to carry us through.

He was also under the opinion if there was any other action that could be found to be taken in the writings then the institute of the Hands of the Cause would have made that known.

Thus we are happy in the Knowledge that the Universal House of Justice will guide us into the future and will guide us if any other information may come to hand.

I will remain curious as to the power of the statement made by Shoghi Effendi about being devoid of a Guardian.

Hope you are well and happy.

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-14-2018, 03:53 AM   #25
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The fact that we are devoid of a Guardian at this point is unfortunate and due to the fact that nearly all of Baha'u'llah's descendents broke the Covenant. A further mystery is why Shoghi Effendi had no children, but given the history of Covenant breaking, even having children wouldn't guarantee that one of them would be suitable to be Guardian.

You can compare this with Baha'u'llah's messages to the Kings and rulers. If some of them had accepted Baha'u'llah and worked to implement His teachings, the world would have been so much different and the world wars would not have happened. So, there is a "plan b", which is the lesser peace, which will come about after many tribulations. Of course, Baha'u'llah knew what would occur, but He had to give the first option, in which the people obey God in the first instance instead of after countless trials.
 
Old 03-14-2018, 03:58 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcc View Post
The fact that we are devoid of a Guardian at this point is unfortunate and due to the fact that nearly all of Baha'u'llah's descendents broke the Covenant. A further mystery is why Shoghi Effendi had no children, but given the history of Covenant breaking, even having children wouldn't guarantee that one of them would be suitable to be Guardian.

You can compare this with Baha'u'llah's messages to the Kings and rulers. If some of them had accepted Baha'u'llah and worked to implement His teachings, the world would have been so much different and the world wars would not have happened. So, there is a "plan b", which is the lesser peace, which will come about after many tribulations. Of course, Baha'u'llah knew what would occur, but He had to give the first option, in which the people obey God in the first instance instead of after countless trials.
Like

Always thought it would be good if we could have a like button option

Regards Tony
 
Old 03-18-2018, 01:38 PM   #27
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Hello Tony. Some days have passed until I have now had some time and an opportunity to respond to your comments.

In Post # 21 you commented in part:

Quote:
I have considered this following passage in a different light though.

"...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. “In all the Divine Dispensations,” He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, “the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.” 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...."

It appears that God has thrown us a curve ball! That there was no one to appoint a quandry in light of that passage.

It was a great failure of those that could have been chosen, for them not to abide within the Covernant.

Regards Tony
And again in your Post # 24 you wrote in part:

Quote:
Larry - . . . I will remain curious as to the power of the statement made by Shoghi Effendi about being devoid of a Guardian.

Tony – having had the same “curious(ity)” for several years now, this “power(ful)” statement of the Guardian has been a focus of my study over those years as time has allowed. We might first consider that we should not take the Guardian's paragraph in isolation given that in the very next paragraph he wrote: “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.” In this sentence Shoghi Effendi refers to the Universal House of Justice as an institution “no less essential” than the Guardianship, reinforcing what he wrote two paragraphs prior stating that both institutions are “essential in their functions” and are “inseparable institutions” that “supplement each other’s authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.” (The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, The Administrative Order; World Order of Baha’u’llah, 148) This clarifies that the institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice were designed to operate as different spheres but belonging to one complete unit, being the Administrative Order and the future World Order of Baha'u'llah. The Guardian’s sphere does appear to overlap more into the sphere of the Universal House of justice than in the reverse. For example, ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote in His Will and Testament (Part 1) that “the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body” and that “(t)he 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.” This may be related to what ‘Abdul-Baha wrote earlier in Part 1 of His Will, referring to what He later in Part 1 of His Will was to call the “Guardian” as “the Light that after my passing shineth from the Dayspring of Divine Guidance – for behold! he is the blest and sacred bough that hath branched out from the Twin Holy Trees. Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter of his shade that shadoweth all mankind.”

Getting back to that powerful statement you quote (“Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship. . . “), that is not the only place where Shoghi Effendi wrote of the impacts to the Cause of God without a Guardian or the Universal House of Justice. In an earlier world order letter the Guardian expounded upon the institutions of the Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship and referenced Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament (“their Will and Testament” and “their Book” and “their Will), and stating, “For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will, could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously labored all their lives. Nothing short of this could protect it . . .” (Letter March 21, 1930, World Order Of Baha’u’llah, p. 22). We might consider that in the Guardian’s words “nothing short of . . .” that he perceived his point significant enough to emphasize those words twice in two successive sentences.

Realizing that pilgrims notes are often promptly dismissed by most as being immaterial, I will still share from May Maxwell and Mary Maxwell (Shoghi Effendi’s future mother in law and his future wife) what is written in their notes reflecting what Shoghi Effendi said to them explaining there are “(t)hree elements in the Will: the Guardian is the Interpreter, the International House of Justice the Legislator; the Hands propagate and teach the Cause, through research work and the example of their lives and conduct. The Administrative Order would be paralyzed if one of these institutions should cease to function.” (Haifa Notes of Shoghi Effendi’s Word; January, February, March 1937, Volume 1, p. 29) Please take that information for what it may be worth to you, but it certainly does reinforce what the Guardian wrote in his The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, p. 148, in his statement on the impacts to the Faith and to the future World Order of Baha’u’llah “(w)ithout such an institution . . .” (the Guardianship), and the paralyzing impact to the administrative System should it be “(s)evered from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice . . .”

In 1948 Shoghi Effendi’s wife and frequent secretary, Ruhiyyih Khanum (Mary Maxwell),finished writing her work “Twenty-Five Years of the Guardianship” stating that “. . . for the first time in history, a religion has been given to men which cannot be split up into sects, for the two Wills — those of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master — are so strongly constructed and so authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is impossible to divorce the body of the teachings from their provisions. The principle of successor ship, endowed with the right of Divine interpretation, is the very hub of the Cause into which its Doctrines and Laws fit like the spokes of a wheel — tear out the hub and you have to throw away the whole thing. . . .” (page 23) Note: Some have referred to this publication as a pilgrims note but we should keep in mind that Shoghi Effendi evidently thought it worthy enough to be published in The Baha’i World, Volume XI, 1946-1950 and published again in A Compendium of Volumes of The Baha’i World, I-XII, 1925-1954. We might also consider that this publication of Ruhiyyih Khanum’s was valued authoritative enough for the Research Department to quote a different paragraph from it in late 1992 when providing a memorandum to the Universal House of Justice related to the anticipation of the Guardianship in the verses of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

Again and related, the 1937 pilgrims notes of May Maxwell and Mary Maxwell record that Shoghi Effendi told them that “(i)n Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha the words "irremovable and expounder" are found (irremovable Head of International House of Justice and expounder of teachings).” (Haifa Notes of Shoghi Effendi’s Word; January, February, March 1937, Volume 1, p. 44) Ruhiyyih Khanum wrote on this same topic again in her work titled ‘The Priceless Pearl’ stating, “I only know of one instance in which Shoghi Effendi said he had slightly modified something that existed in the original and that was when he translated, immediately after the passing of the Master, His Will. The sentence in question reads, referring to the Universal House of Justice, ‘the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.’ Shoghi Effendi said the actual word, for which he substituted the milder ‘member for life’, was ‘irremovable’. Nothing could be more revealing of his profound humility than this toning down of his own relationship to the Universal House of Justice.” (pp. 203-204) Shoghi Effendi seems to confirm this when he referred to the Guardian as “the permanent head of so august a body” (The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah; World Order Of Baha’u’llah, p. 150)

In summary, much more could be said and written on this topic as time allows, but I thought that perhaps at this point in my comments that the parallels in the information offered above may be, if nothing else, interesting to you, as well as perhaps furthering your “curious(ity)” Please take care Tony.

-LR
 
Old 03-18-2018, 04:54 PM   #28
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Larry,

You quoted:
“For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will, could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously labored all their lives. Nothing short of this could protect it . . .” (Letter March 21, 1930, World Order Of Baha’u’llah, p. 22). We might consider that in the Guardian’s words “nothing short of . . .” that he perceived his point significant enough to emphasize those words twice in two successive sentences.

Would you agree that we have their "Book", in other words, all of the writings of Baha'u'lah and Abdu'l-Baha, and we also have their Will -- the appointment of Abdu'l-Baha as Successor and of Shoghi Effendi as Guardian. Nothing short of these could protect the Faith, and they have protected the Faith, and continue to do so.
 
Old 03-18-2018, 09:37 PM   #29
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Jcc , you asked in post #28:

Quote:
Would you agree that we have their "Book", in other words, all of the writings of Baha'u'lah and Abdu'l-Baha, and we also have their Will -- the appointment of Abdu'l-Baha as Successor and of Shoghi Effendi as Guardian. Nothing short of these could protect the Faith, and they have protected the Faith, and continue to do so.
I would not agree that anything revealed by Baha’u’llah (i.e. Kitab-i-Aqdas, Suriy-i-Ghusn, Kitab-i-Ahd, . . .) can be considered as “their Book”, nor can I even imagine that ‘Abdu’l-Baha would make such a claim. I do agree that ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament is definitely “their Book” (“their Will and Testament”) as indicated by the Guardian. “For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will, could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously labored all their lives. Nothing short of this could protect it . . .” (Letter March 21, 1930, World Order Of Baha’u’llah, p. 22).

Please consider the following words of the Guardian related to this topic:

“It would, however, be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, which, together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá'í Faith. A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit. A comparison of their contents with the rest of Bahá'í sacred Writings will similarly establish the conformity of whatever they contain with the spirit as well as the letter of the authenticated writings and sayings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá. In fact, he who reads the Aqdas with care and diligence will not find it hard to discover that the Most Holy Book itself anticipates in a number of passages the institutions which `Abdu'l-Bahá ordains in His Will. By leaving certain matters unspecified and unregulated in His Book of Laws, Bahá'u'lláh seems to have deliberately left a gap in the general scheme of Bahá'í Dispensation, which the unequivocal provisions of the Master's Will have filled. To attempt to divorce the one from the other, to insinuate that the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh have not been upheld, in their entirety and with absolute integrity, by what `Abdu'l-Bahá has revealed in His Will, is an unpardonable affront to the unswerving fidelity that has characterized the life and labors of our beloved Master.” (Letter Februart 27, 1929; The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh pp. 3-4)

“The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá'u'lláh, permeating and evolving within the mind of `Abdu'l-Bahá, have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant--the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God--the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Bahá'u'lláh's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith.” (The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah; The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 144)

Take care. -LR
 
Old 03-19-2018, 04:07 AM   #30
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Ok, so taking your assertion that the "Book" refers to the Will and Testament of Baha'u'llah and of Abdu'l-Baha, they have protected and continue to protect the Faith. What the Guardian said is true in every sense. What is also true is that according to the provisions of the Master's Will, only the Guardian can appoint another Guardian. For the House of Justice to do so would have violated the provisions of that Will. So again, the Will is protecting the Faith from the possibility of someone being appointed Guardian who is not fully qualified, and could lead the Faith astray. That is also a form of protection, isn't it?
 
Old 03-22-2018, 08:08 PM   #31
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Jcc: You commented:

Quote:
Ok, so taking your assertion that the "Book" refers to the Will and Testament of Baha'u'llah and of Abdu'l-Baha, they have protected and continue to protect the Faith. What the Guardian said is true in every sense. What is also true is that according to the provisions of the Master's Will, only the Guardian can appoint another Guardian. For the House of Justice to do so would have violated the provisions of that Will. So again, the Will is protecting the Faith from the possibility of someone being appointed Guardian who is not fully qualified, and could lead the Faith astray. That is also a form of protection, isn't it?
Please recall, in Post #15 I had previously commented:

Quote:
Also please understand that I am not suggesting that a Guardian could have been appointed or that someone can claim to be the Guardian of the Cause of God. The absence of the Guardianship does remain an unsolved mystery because Shoghi Effendi did clearly write about the continuation of the Guardianship well into the future, even after his expulsion from the Faith of the family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (December 1951), and to the end of his life (November 4, 1957)
To further clarify, I also have not suggested that the Universal House of Justice could have appointed a Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi. I perceive that the Universal House of Justice will do the best it can to function as fully as possible in the absence of the “essential” institution of the Guardianship and the institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, those who Shoghi Effendi called “this vital and indispensable organ of the embryonic and steadily unfolding Baha’I Administrative Order” who were “destined to assume in the fullness of time, under the aegis of the Guardian, the dual sacred responsibility for protection and propagation of the Cause of God”. (Cablegram, April 6, 1954; Messages to the Baha’i World, p. 59)

We might keep in mind and ponder that Shoghi Effendi wrote this communication some two years and four months after having expelled from the Faith his youngest brother, the last remaining male member of 'Adul-Baha's family (except for the Guardian of course). Apparently, Shoghi Effendi envisioned at that time the institution of the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause continuing to unfold "in the fullness of time".

-LR
 
Old 03-31-2018, 06:04 PM   #32
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gnat commented in post #19:

Quote:
Well, looking for mistakes in the Guardian's work is not an activity that will lead to positive results. I think that there is a passage in the Apocalypse that can be interpreted as a reference to the Guardian. I just don't quite remember where it can be found.
Hello gnat:

I have pondered some on your comment above and it was unclear to me what post you were referring to as “looking for mistakes in the Guardian’s work” . From my limited perspective, Shoghi Effendi, writing as the Guardian of the Cause of God, did not make “mistakes”. In my post #13 above, I offered a quote that emphasizes the absence of “mistakes” in the Guardian’s interpretations:

The same quote is offered again. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (with some closing comments added by the Guardian himself) and dated March 15, 1947, his wife and frequent secretary (R. Rabbani) conveys: “He feels that there must have been some misapprehension on your part of his statements regarding future Guardians: they cannot ‘abrogate’ the interpretations of former Guardians, as this would imply not only lack of guidance but mistakes in making them; however they can elaborate and elucidate former interpretations, and can certainly abrogate some former ruling laid down as a temporary necessity by a former Guardian.” (Messages to Canada, p. 89)

I cannot bring myself to believe that the Guardian, being one of the twin institutions “under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One” (Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Part 1), wrote mistakenly about future events related to the unfoldment of the Cause of God.

Would you please further explain what you mean by “looking for mistakes in the Guardian’s work”? Thank you.

-LR
 
Old 04-01-2018, 04:51 AM   #33
Jcc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
gnat commented in post #19:



Hello gnat:

I have pondered some on your comment above and it was unclear to me what post you were referring to as “looking for mistakes in the Guardian’s work” . From my limited perspective, Shoghi Effendi, writing as the Guardian of the Cause of God, did not make “mistakes”. In my post #13 above, I offered a quote that emphasizes the absence of “mistakes” in the Guardian’s interpretations:

The same quote is offered again. In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi (with some closing comments added by the Guardian himself) and dated March 15, 1947, his wife and frequent secretary (R. Rabbani) conveys: “He feels that there must have been some misapprehension on your part of his statements regarding future Guardians: they cannot ‘abrogate’ the interpretations of former Guardians, as this would imply not only lack of guidance but mistakes in making them; however they can elaborate and elucidate former interpretations, and can certainly abrogate some former ruling laid down as a temporary necessity by a former Guardian.” (Messages to Canada, p. 89)

I cannot bring myself to believe that the Guardian, being one of the twin institutions “under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One” (Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Part 1), wrote mistakenly about future events related to the unfoldment of the Cause of God.

Would you please further explain what you mean by “looking for mistakes in the Guardian’s work”? Thank you.

-LR
The quote you provide above describes the nature of the Guardianship and interpretation of the Scriptures. It is not addressing the question of how many Guardians there will be in the future. The relevant point is to understand that interpretations made by the Guardian clarify the meaning of the scripture, they are not legislation created to suit the needs of the time, like the House of Justice does. At the time it was written, the House of Justice didn't exist yet, so the Twin Institutions didn't actually overlap in time, but they still function in the complementary fashion as intended.
 
Old 04-01-2018, 01:32 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Roofener View Post
Would you please further explain what you mean by “looking for mistakes in the Guardian’s work”? Thank you.

-LR
I obviously have to make myself absolutely clear. I object to the very heading of this thread, as it presupposes some kind of fallibility on the part of the Guardian and the UHJ. I tried to formulate that position in a mild way, but the meaning is that there are no mistakes to be found in the Guardian's or the UHJ's work, and the search for them is a senseless and meaningless activity.

In order to reach an understanding of these issues, however, it can be a stimulating exercise to test different hypotheses and see where they lead. In that way, I personally have reached a deeper understanding of these issues. One has to be careful, though, and not overstep the limits of respect for the institutions.

Those matters have been discussed at length in some studies. At the end of the day, the conclusion is that anything that the Guardian did in relation to the Faith was infallible, whereas his (and how hard it it to be obedient to his will and not capitalize "His") activities regarding gardening, architecture, etc, are inspired, but not infallible.

Best,

from

gnat
 
Old 04-03-2018, 07:54 PM   #35
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Hello gnat:

Thank you for taking the time to provide further explanation of your post #34 above, and for stating your perceptions on "infallibility".

As time allows, I may offer some thoughts for consideration.

Take care.

-LR
 
Old 04-05-2018, 08:54 AM   #36
djg
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As for the heading of the thread, I should have written "Relative Infallibility of the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice." But I see no way to edit it now.
 
Old 04-05-2018, 02:05 PM   #37
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My apologies if this has been answered already, I've tried reading as much of this thread as I can, but there is a lot here and in reading I came up with a question:

Since the UHJ is divinely guided though run by people who themselves are fallible, is advice given to individual believers considered infallible? Or would it be advice based on the Faith, and nothing more? I'm curious mostly because I find myself at odds with occasional pieces of advice I've seen from the UHJ and don't know what to think. I know the plans they make and laws they pass are divinely guided - But the advice?
 
Old 04-05-2018, 02:30 PM   #38
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saveyist View Post
My apologies if this has been answered already, I've tried reading as much of this thread as I can, but there is a lot here and in reading I came up with a question:

Since the UHJ is divinely guided though run by people who themselves are fallible, is advice given to individual believers considered infallible? Or would it be advice based on the Faith, and nothing more? I'm curious mostly because I find myself at odds with occasional pieces of advice I've seen from the UHJ and don't know what to think. I know the plans they make and laws they pass are divinely guided - But the advice?
As an individual they are a Baha'i, just as you and I are and can have an opinion that we can each consider. There is no authority in this personal view.

As the body of the Universal Hiuse of Justice. The documents that are sealed with that signature is the guidance that Baha'u'llah has promised and will have His authority.

I have heard and it is worth reading stories of those that have served, that all decisions to date have been unanimous, after the point has been discussed.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 04-05-2018 at 02:33 PM.
 
Old 04-09-2018, 07:52 PM   #39
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Hello Jcc:

Thank you for your comments in post #33 in response to my post #32 directed to gnat. You wrote:

Quote:
The quote you provide above describes the nature of the Guardianship and interpretation of the Scriptures. It is not addressing the question of how many Guardians there will be in the future. The relevant point is to understand that interpretations made by the Guardian clarify the meaning of the scripture, they are not legislation created to suit the needs of the time, like the House of Justice does. At the time it was written, the House of Justice didn't exist yet, so the Twin Institutions didn't actually overlap in time, but they still function in the complementary fashion as intended.
For convenience, my quote you refer to is as follows:

Quote:
“He feels that there must have been some misapprehension on your part of his statements regarding future Guardians: they cannot ‘abrogate’ the interpretations of former Guardians, as this would imply not only lack of guidance but mistakes in making them; however they can elaborate and elucidate former interpretations, and can certainly abrogate some former ruling laid down as a temporary necessity by a former Guardian.” (Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi and dated March 15, 1947 by his wife and frequent secretary, R. Rabbani, with some closing comments added by the Guardian himself; Messages to Canada, p. 89)
I have considered your comments above. I agree that the quote I provided addresses the “nature of the Guardianship” (your words) to some degree as far as Baha’i scriptural interpretation is concerned. The “nature of the Guardianship” is indeed a very vast topic worthy of further indepth study, but to address it adequately with brevity in a post here would prove to be most challenging.

But for those who may be interested in that further study on the “nature of the Guardianship”, and as a starting point, I will call attention to a letter dated May 2, 1934 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi a couple of months after he wrote his ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’ 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.” For those unfamiliar with the last part of the treatise referred to above, it can be found in The World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 141 – 157 (1974 edition) and titled ‘The Administrative Order’. Of course the present day Baha’i administrative system is structured differently than described in the Guardian’s treatise, and as explained by Shoghi Effendi in numerous other places, due to the unanticipated vacancy in the seat of the institution of the Guardianship that occurred with Shoghi Effendi’s unexpected passing.

You are correct that the quote I provided (top) does not address specifically how many Guardians there were to be in the future, nor do I know of anywhere in Shoghi Effendi’s written communications, or in his conversations with pilgrims, that he provided a specific number, but in those numerous communications and conversations he explained that the institution would continue into the “fullness of time”, even as far out as the appearance of the next Manifestation of God. In his ‘Dispensation’ treatise to which he “urge(d) . . . a careful study”, he does refer to the Faith’s “present and future Guardians” and refers to the “Guardians who are its (the Covenant’s) chosen ministers” (see The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 151). Numerous other sources could be cited to reinforce this brief comment if necessary.

You state that the “interpretations made by the Guardian clarify the meaning of the scripture, they are not legislation created to suit the needs of the time, like the House of Justice does.” Because the role of the Guardianship should neither be under emphasized or over emphasized, we should examine what the Guardian actually wrote relative to your comment. Admittedly, Shoghi Effendi does write “it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings.” (The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, see World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp. 149-150). But beyond that, he also explains the participatory role of the Guardian in the legislative process of the House of Justice. The Guardian is the “sacred”,” permanent”/irremovable head of that legislative body. The Guardian has explained that “(w)ithout such an institution (as the Guardianship) . . . the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.” (see The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh p. 148) Even though he “cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members (the Guardian) 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” (see The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 150), and should such an occurrence arise, and as clearly stated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Part 1), the House of Justice and others have a sacred obligation to obey the Guardian: “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.” It appears the way the Guardian has explained it, the twin institutions were designed so that the interactions between them were to result in “this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose”, meaning the Administrative Order as a whole, and the future World Order of Baha’u’llah as a whole. The Guardian wrote: “Out of the pangs of anguish which His bereaved followers have suffered, amid the heat and dust which the attacks launched by a sleepless enemy had precipitated, the Administration of Bahá'u'lláh's invincible Faith was born. The potent energies released through the ascension of the Center of His Covenant crystallized into this supreme, this infallible Organ for the accomplishment of a Divine Purpose. The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá unveiled its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions.” (see The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 89).

I appreciate the opportunity to provide these condensed comments in response the perspectives you have offered.

-LR
 
Old 04-10-2018, 03:05 PM   #40
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Larry,

Thank you for the above summary, and I agree it makes clear how the Twin Institutions were designed to function together. It is perplexing and tragic that this could not occur, but ultimately it does not prevent the Revelation of Baha'u'llah from fulfilling its purpose.

"without such an institution (as the Guardianship) . . . the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.”

Unfortunately an active presence was withdrawn, but all of the work the Guardian did to delineate the sphere of legislation remains and is used every day. The fact that this was mentioned shows that it was a possibility that was contemplated by the Guardian. The Universal House of Justice legislates on whatever is not "expressly revealed" in the Teachings. The Guardian, through his interpretive function, added to the body of Teachings that were "expressly revealed", as opposed to implicitly revealed, by clarifying the meaning of the Writings. Whatever else in the Writings that remains unclarified is open to legislation.

Last edited by Jcc; 04-10-2018 at 03:33 PM.
 
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