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Messages from the Universal House of Justice

“How striking that, amid the cacophony of fixed opinions and opposing interests that grows everywhere more fierce, you are focused on drawing people together to build communities that are havens of unity. Far from disheartening you, let the world’s prejudices and hostilities be reminders of how urgently souls all around you need the healing balm that you alone can present to them. ..[S]pare no effort in applying all you have learned and every God-given ability and skill you possess…”

“Though misunderstandings and problems sometimes arose, you forgave one another and marched together in serried lines…Before you, beloved friends, lies stretched out the blank scroll of the future on which you and your spiritual descendants will inscribe fresh and lasting deeds of renunciation and heroism for the betterment of the world.”

“…the communities you build will directly combat and eventually eradicate the forces of corruption, of moral laxity, and of ingrained prejudice eating away at the vitals of society…cast away the idle fancies and distractions of a world that has lost its way that you may consecrate yourselves in the next five years to the priceless opportunities and inescapable obligations of the latest stage of a spiritual enterprise on which the fate of humanity ultimately depends.”

“In this respect, it may be useful to give consideration to insights that have contributed to the community’s progress: the relationship between study and action, the need for focus, which is not to be confused with uniformity, the challenge of fostering the capacity of individuals and accompanying others in service, the dynamics of organic development, the institutional arrangements necessary to sustain ever more complex patterns of activity, the coherence required among all areas of endeavour, and sound relations among individuals, the community, and the institutions. Perhaps the most important of these is learning in action; the friends participate in an ongoing process of action, reflection, study, and consultation in order to address obstacles and share successes, re-examine and revise strategies and methods, and systematize and improve efforts over time…” UHJ

The UHJ encouraged groups of participants with experience in certain professions or academic disciplines such as “philosophy or religious studies” to select specific topics, hold a number of small seminars to assist each other to “examine some aspect” or “specific topic” of the discourse of their field” sharing articles, preparing papers, and consulting on “contemporary perspectives and related Bahá’í concepts.

“Though devastating in their effects, the forces of disintegration tend to sweep away barriers that block humanity’s progress, opening space for the process of integration to draw diverse groups together and disclosing new opportunities for cooperation and collaboration.” UHJ 2 March 2013

“The 28 December letter is a 16 page, 44 paragraph document of the House of Justice to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors. It describes the goals and plans for the Bahá’í community during the 2011-2016 Five Year Plan, calls upon the Auxiliary Board members to support the friends with “love free of paternalism”, describes intensive programs of growth, warns against scaling back flourishing activity, calls upon the community to raise the number of IPG’s over the next five years from 1,600 to 5,000, reflects on innovations to the cluster that resulted from rapidly growing communities, emphasizes the importance of developing Local Spiritual Assemblies and increasing the capacity of the institutions, discusses the pattern of growth rural clusters should follow, touches on the purpose of consultation at the Nineteen Day Feast, stresses the importance of “sacrifice on the part of those entrusted to administer the affairs of the Faith”, highlights the Guardian’s words in The Advent of Divine Justice regarding the distinguishing characteristics of the life of the Bahá’í community and that of the individual; including “the extent to which young minds are affected by the choices parents make for their own lives”, reaffirms that prejudice of any kind is alien to the very purpose of the Faith, encourages the friends to strive to understand “the totality of the vision conveyed in the messages” of the House of Justice; warning against focusing on isolated fragments, and lastly covers “the three protagonists in the Divine Plan”: the individual, the institutions, and the community.” (bahaitext)

“That political life everywhere has continued to deteriorate at an alarming rate in the intervening years, as the very conception of statesmanship has been drained of meaning, as policies have come to serve the economic interests of the few in the name of progress, as hypocrisy has been allowed to undermine the operation of social and economic structures, is evident. If indeed great effort was required for the friends to uphold the high standards of the Faith then, how much greater must be the exertion in a world that rewards dishonesty, that encourages corruption, and that treats truth as a negotiable commodity.” UHJ 28 December 2010

V. A Turning Point for All Nations: A Call to World Leaders

We have reached a turning point in the progress of nations.

“Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.”[45] Over a century ago, Bahá’u’lláh taught that there is but one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world’s religions represent stages in the revelation of God’s will and purpose for humanity. Bahá’u’lláh announced the arrival of the time, foretold in all of the world’s scriptures, when humanity would at last witness the uniting of all peoples into a peaceful and integrated society.

He said that human destiny lies not merely in the creation of a materially prosperous society, but also in the construction of a global civilization where individuals are encouraged to act as moral beings who understand their true nature and are able to progress toward a greater fulfillment that no degree of material bounty alone can provide.

“The 20th Century, one of the most tumultuous periods in human history, has been marked by numerous upheavals, revolutions and radical departures from the past. Ranging from the collapse of the colonial system and the great nineteenth century empires to the rise and fall of broad and disastrous experiments with totalitarianism, fascism and communism, some of these upheavals have been extremely destructive, involving the deaths of millions, the eradication of old lifestyles and traditions, and the collapse of time-honored institutions (BIC 1995).”
“Other movements and trends have been more obviously positive. Scientific discoveries and new social insights have spurred many progressive social, economic and cultural transformations. The way has been cleared for new definitions of human rights and affirmations of personal dignity, expanded opportunities for individual and collective achievement, and bold new avenues for the advancement of human knowledge and consciousness (BIC 1995).”

“These twin processes — the collapse of old institutions on the one hand and the blossoming of new ways of thinking on the other — are evidence of a single trend which has been gaining momentum during the last hundred years: the trend toward ever-increasing interdependence and integration of humanity (BIC 1995).”

“The Four Year Plan marked a “turning point of epochal magnitude” in the life of the Bahá’í community (Arbab 2015).”

” “[E]ntry by troops,” the House of Justice has written, “is not merely a stage of the progress of the Cause destined to occur in its own good time, dependent on the receptivity of the population as a whole—it is a phenomenon which the Bahá’í communities, by their own activities, can prepare for and help to bring about. It is also a process which, once started, can be sustained.” (Arbab 2015)

Century of Light. Universal House of Justice.

La Libertad de Expresión. Casa Universal de Justicia. Spanish translation of “Individual Rights and Freedoms”
Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan): Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh (in Australia and the Pacific): Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in North America: Alaska, Canada, Greenland and the United States: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Western and Central Asia: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Africa: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1996 (Four Year Plan) – To the Followers of Bahá’u’lláh in Europe: Bahá’í Era 153. Universal House of Justice. (1996).

Ridván 1997: Baha’i Era 154. Universal House of Justice. (1997).

Ridván 1998: Baha’i Era 155. Universal House of Justice. (1998).

Ridván 1999: Baha’i Era 156. Universal House of Justice. (1999).

Ridván 2000: Baha’i Era 157. Universal House of Justice. (2000).

Ridvan 2001: Baha’i Era 158. Universal House of Justice. (2001).

Ridvan 2002: Baha’i Era 159. Universal House of Justice. (2002).

Ridván 2003: Bahá’í Era 160. Universal House of Justice. (2003).

Ridvan 2004: Baha’i Era 161. Universal House of Justice. (2004).

Ridvan 2005: Baha’i Era 162. Universal House of Justice.

Ridvan 2006: Baha’i Era 163. Universal House of Justice.

Ridván 2007: Baha’i Era 164. Universal House of Justice.

Ridvan 2008: Baha’i Era 165. Universal House of Justice.

Wellspring of Guidance: Messages of the Universal House of Justice 1963-68. Universal House of Justice, First Revised Edition (Wilmette, IL: Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1969).

Statements from the Bahá’í International Community (BIC)

  • 1995 “The Prosperity of Humankind.” A statement prepared in 1995 by the Bahá’í International Community Office of Public Information, Haifa, and first distributed at the United Nations World Summit on Social Development, Copenhagen, Denmark.

“These rising impulses for change must be seized upon and channeled into overcoming the remaining barriers that block realization of the age-old dream of global peace. The effort of will required for such a task cannot be summoned up merely by appeals for action against the countless ills afflicting society. It must be galvanized by a vision of human prosperity in the fullest sense of the term—an awakening to the possibilities of the spiritual and material well-being now brought within grasp. Its beneficiaries must be all of the planet’s inhabitants, without distinction, without the imposition of conditions unrelated to the fundamental goals of such a reorganization of human affairs (The Prosperity of Humankind BIC 1995).”

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