Disobeying God's Teaching On Gender Equality.

Mar 2013
541
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
#11
Hi Tony, Simply from the point that any time I tell a seeker that we say women must be equal, then have to say, but they aren't qualified enough to be a part of the UHJ, even though we are told humanity will not fly without equality of gender. It just cannot pass the smell test, it reminds me of the conflicts contained in older teachings, which many point to in the Judaeo-Christian Bible. I know for a fact the many seekers will call out BS and I cannot see that they would be wrong, I fear many in all faiths and blindly following gibberish will not help bring people to God.
Although at this point we do not know the reason that the Universal House of Justice is composed of only men, I think we need to be clear about what it does not signify, because that is what causes confusion.

It does not mean that women are not "qualified" to be members of the highest international council of the Faith, because women were part if the International Baha'i Council when it was established by Shoghi Effendi in the 1950s. And of course women are part of all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, which in the future will be Houses of Justice. In terms of "rank" within the Faith, the Hands of the Cause are of a higher spiritual rank than members of the House of Justice, and women were Hands of the Cause. Women are also Continental Counsellors, an institution that was created to carry on the functions of the Hands of the Cause. Of course a woman was also a Letter of the Living, a chosen apostle of the Bab. Women have been and still are among the greatest teachers of the Faith. There is absolutely no lack of opportunity for women to serve, and to continue to be vital to the development of the Faith and the transformation of the world as Baha'u'lah foretold.
 
Jul 2014
832
colorado/summer-Oklahoma/winter
#12
As a woman, I do not take issue with this prohibition. We are told one day it will be made clear, I believe that. There are many things in faith that are beyond a human's comprehension. That is the essence of faith. God is unknowable, so how could I know His purpose, should he choose to veil it. And, who knows, there might be a more advanced soul than me out there, and I know there is, who has a much higher level of understanding, and to whom this is no mystery. We look at everything through the lens of humanity and this physical plane of existence, yet we know there is so much more. Be still and know that I am resonates with me. I can be patient, serve others, love God and have faith that what I need to know as a Bahai, I will learn through prayer, the Writings and God's grace. Everything moves according to God's plan, who am I to question this? I know that I can be irritatingly simple, but, to me, Faith is simple, if we let it be just that. Sometimes we get in our own way. I know this from experience. And don't conflate simple with easy. Faith is not always easy, it is not meant to be. We must be tested and tried to be true.
Loving regards,
Becky
 
Sep 2010
4,437
Normanton Far North Queensland
#13
Wow, I can, as a good Bahai, disagree with whatever doesn't sound right to me, as anyone can, I'm not a mindless robot. When I see contradiction, it is of great concern to me. If I see too many conflicts and then other members start pounding away on me to not worry about understanding just blindly believe and we are back in cult mode. I would love to see the older Teachings to be left behind and for the population to follow the new Teachings of God. But I do seem to be seeing enough conflicts in teachings that I feel it will hinder new followers who have a diverse education as well as good common sense. According the Bahaullah, I will continue after mortal death, regardless of being a follower or not and I cannot in good consciousness defend what I see as obvious conflict in the Teachings. >>>> and, so far, no one here can show me where to look for documented teachings that say the UHJ is expressly prohibited from allowing women into the UHJ, just a weak attempt to make me fear gay marriage being allowed if we dare open the door to correcting what I see as a conflict.
You have stated Wow, yes it is wow.

Sorry have not a lot of time, so just go right to the point.

I encourage you to study this and see that the comments I made are not ill intent but good advice as to how we speak of these matters and how we speak about the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi.

We are told that even at Local Spiritual Assembly level of decision, that we abide by and do not complain about those decisions. If any error was made, it is made right by our submision and all will be good.

May all be well and happy for you.

Regards Tony
 
Last edited:
May 2017
26
Earth
#14
To be a devils advocate: aren't we warned about taking any persons interpretations as 'gospel'? Even AbdulBaha and Shoghi Effendhi? As the other teachings clearly states the further from the Manifestation the more the teaching becomes polluted, even AbdulBaha and Mr. Effendhi?
Yes, but Baha'u'llah clearly says that Abdu'l-Baha is to be the successor and whatever He interprets is of God. He also directs the Universal House of Justice to legislate on matters not expressly ordained by Himself. A difference in this Dispensation is that the structures of the religion were clearly ordained by Baha'u'llah, including their jurisdiction (ie, Successors interpret, elected House of Justice legislates, and neither can impinge on the jurisdiction of the other).

And I think JCC makes a very good point that apart from the Universal House of Justice, women have been at the highest levels in the Baha'i Faith, including the International Baha'i Council, on equal level as men as Hands of the Cause, and Bahiyyah Khanum serving as the acting Head of the Faith for a period.

I think most Baha'is would agree with you that it does seem contrary to the principle of equality between men and women. But the short answer is Abdu'l-Baha, who Baha'u'llah stated has authority to interpret His Writings, stated that there is a reason which will be clear in the future. Some reasons can be speculated if we inspect elements of the Writings on the relationship between men and women, but nothing conclusive IMO.
 
Mar 2015
206
Bend area, Oregon
#15
Above in this thread, Walrus cited ‘Abdu’l-Baha as stating: "The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."

In ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, He also stated that the institution of the Guardianship is “the expounder of the words of God”. As I understand it, the Persian/Arabic word used by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and translated as “expounder” or “interpreter” means to “make things clear”. Following this reasoning, it may have been ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s intent that a future Guardian would have been the one who would have helped the Baha’is to understand “as clearly as the sun at high noon” why women were excluded from serving as members of the Universal House of Justice.

Bahá'u'lláh also revealed, “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 Bahá'u'lláh, LXXXIX)

As we know, the Cause of God was designed to have “permanent” institutions not only to provide for progressive legislation (the House(s) of Justice), but also for the progressive interpretation and understanding of the Word of God (the Guardianship). Shoghi Effendi explained “in clear and unambiguous language” that without the full functioning of both institutions, those twin “pillars that sustain (the Faith’s) authority and buttress its structure”, the Faith and the World Order of Baha’u’llah would be “mutilated”, “deprived”, “imperiled” and “paralyzed”. (The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh)

Without those progressive interpretations over time by a succession of Guardians, it may be that the matter of why women were not to serve as members of the Universal House of Justice will remain unclarified and will not “ere long” become “manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon." We might also consider that 'Abdu'l-Baha stated this about a century ago and that the words "ere long" actually mean "before long" or "soon".

I appreciate the opportunity to comment.

-LR
 
Oct 2014
1,787
Stockholm
#16
And who said that being a member of the Universal House of Justice should be something to strive for? Shouldn't women rather feel relieved?

Honestly, I sometimes laugh when I read discussions about leadership issues in the Faith. As though Shoghi Effendi and Abdu'l-Bahá strived for power? Ever read about how shocked Shoghi Effendi was, on hearing that he was to be the Guardian?

Best from

a gnat,

who will never sit on the UHJ, because gnats aren't eligible.
 
Sep 2010
4,437
Normanton Far North Queensland
#17
And who said that being a member of the Universal House of Justice should be something to strive for? Shouldn't women rather feel relieved?

Honestly, I sometimes laugh when I read discussions about leadership issues in the Faith. As though Shoghi Effendi and Abdu'l-Bahá strived for power? Ever read about how shocked Shoghi Effendi was, on hearing that he was to be the Guardian?

Best from

a gnat,

who will never sit on the UHJ, because gnats aren't eligible.
I bet you men wished they were exempt ;)

It is funny how many people try to hide at assembly election time. He he.

Take that up to the work load on the Universal House of Justice....whew!

Lucky Women.

On the other side of the coin, we can always and I say always make the choice to be very active in this Faith. There is not a thing stopping us, even if we are not elected to the Universal House of Justice.

Regards Tony
 
Jul 2017
78
Denver, CO
#18
Concerning matters of the authority of Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, two very relevant documents to study -- beginning with what was written by Baha'u'llah -- are the Kitab-i-Ahd and the Last Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha.
 
Feb 2018
37
Arizona-but earth is one homeland ;)
#19
Perhaps when the social order is fully ratified this matter will become more clear. If for example, when the next age of counsel of nations is more firmly established and it be found through science and historic experience that women make better arbiters of peace, what cause would anyone have to reject a counsel of nine women chosen among the best from all nations having final say in all disputes between those nations should they reach an impasse ... Surely there will need be a final arbitration should any disagreement of nations become intractable without a final arbiter.

Time will tell...
 
Aug 2010
724
New Zealand mainly
#20
...
Abdu'l-Baha writes the following:

"The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God's which will ere long be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon."
This letter from Abdu'l-Baha was written in response to a question about the "house of Justice" in Chicago. It had only men on it, and Abdu'l-Baha later authorised a change to this policy, which is still current today. Perhaps in the future women will also be excluded from local Assemblies, or perhaps they will also be included in the Universal House of Justice. The text seems to show that things are very rigid, while the history shows that they are flexible.

There is more on this history and the various texts involved in this paper:

https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/docs/vol3/wmnuhj.htm

There's new research on both sides of this question, but no synthesis of it since this paper was presented.
 

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