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Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:02 am
by Prometheus
Alláh-u-Abhá! Can you help with topic above?

What is the procedure of reviewing and answering for the believer's letters to the the World Center?

1. Who receiving it? What next?
2. How the letters goes to the members of Universal House of Justice? Or to the one of them? Or how it goes?
3. When the letter formulating - who make the text?
4. How should we respect signatures like «Department of the Secretariat», is this the same like answer of Universal House of Justice? Or there is another signatures under the opinion of Universal House of Justice itself, like in Messages.

Thank you.

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:30 am
by brettz9
As far as question #1 and #3, there is this:

"According to the guidance of the House of Justice, letters received at the Bahá'í World Centre are sent to various Departments, according to their topic. For instance, all the letters related to the Research Department are sent to that Department so that, with the guidance of the House of Justice, appropriate responses could be prepared which are then sent out through its Department of the Secretariat."

(at http://bahai-library.com/uhj_letters_behalf_guardian#s3 )


As far as your questions #2, #3, and #4, there is the following guidance regarding the difference between letters on behalf of the House (from the Secretariat) and those written directly by the House of Justice (and info on who prepares them):

As to whether there is a distinction between correspondence from the World Centre that has been signed "The Universal House of Justice" and that signed on behalf of the Secretariat: In brief, the manner in which each of these letters is prepared depends upon the contents of the letter. Drafts of letters which contain newly formulated policies are consulted upon and approved during a meeting of the House of Justice; correspondence dealing with previously enunciated policies, or with matters of a routine nature, are prepared, as delegated by the House of Justice, by its Secretariat and initialed by at least the majority of the members of the House of Justice before being dispatched. All letters written over the signature of the Department of the Secretariat are authorized by the Universal House of Justice.


So it would seem to me that something like The Promise of World Peace which was signed by the Universal House of Justice went through a full review by the entire membership, whereas others may only have been a majority. Since 'Abdu'l-Baha stated "That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself" (WT 19), it should make no difference as far as authoritativeness, but perhaps there is a difference here similar to that with letters by or on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:


Although the secretaries of the Guardian convey his thoughts and instructions and these messages are authoritative, their words are in no sense the same as his, their style certainly not the same, and their authority less, for they use their own terms and not his exact words in conveying his messages.

(25 February 1951 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles, cited in http://bahai-library.com/uhj_letters_behalf_guardian#s2 )


A related issue you may also be interested to know about is for materials prepared by the Research Department (and presumably other departments). Here is the guidance on these types of documents:

As to whether the materials prepared by the Research Department constitute the authoritative word of the Universal House of Justice on a particular subject, as raised in your third question, the House of Justice indicates that such materials, though prepared at its direction, represent the views of that Department. While such views are very useful as an aid to resolving perplexities or gaining an enhanced understanding of the Bahá'í Teachings, they should never be taken to be in the same category as the elucidations and clarifications provided by the Universal House of Justice in the exercise of its assigned functions. However, the House of Justice chooses to convey the materials prepared by the Research Department to the friends because it wishes them to be thoughtfully attended to and seriously considered.


A similar quotation is found at http://bahai-library.com/uhj_letters_behalf_guardian#s3

I've linked to these letters from http://bahai9.com/wiki/On_behalf_of_the ... of_Justice and you may also be interested in http://bahai9.com/wiki/On_behalf_of_Shoghi_Effendi

I'm not sure what you mean by "Or there is another signatures under the opinion of Universal House of Justice itself, like in Messages."... Can you give an example? I guess you mean letters like those with the Guardian where one part is on his behalf and another is in his handwriting? I don't recall if there are such examples by the House of Justice; from what I recall, it is just one or the other.

Best wishes,
Brett

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:25 am
by MontanaDon
The undocumented citations above are in a email to an individual dated 1996-10-22.
http://bahai-library.com/uhj_authenticity_some_texts
An older link no longer works.

Don C

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:54 am
by Prometheus
Big thanks! Now I'll try to translate it into Russian :)

I think you (administrators) should sent a invitation for all NSA's to use your resource by individuals before sending any requests to the Universal House of Justice.

May be you have any information about Yaran and Cademin? Their differences from LSA and NSA?

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:34 am
by MontanaDon
May be you have any information about Yaran and Cademin? Their differences from LSA and NSA?


I can only give my impression -
A better correlation would be to the Institution of the Learned.
I'm guessing that the House of Justice, being obedient at least to the letter of Iranian law, has designated these individuals to provide counseling but w/ little or no authority. That while they may meet to exchange information, they do not "consult" or engage in any decision-making.

In this regard, see the msg from the House of Justice to all NSA's 13 Sept 1983, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986, #377:
377.2 IN CONFORMITY PRINCIPLE LOYALTY OBEDIENCE GOVERNMENT NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLY IRAN IMMEDIATELY TOOK ACTION DISSOLVE BAHA'I ADMINISTRATION THROUGHOUT COUNTRY THUS UPHOLDING INTEGRITY COMMUNITY DESPITE HEAVY YOKE CRUELTIES BORNE BY ITS MEMBERS FOR SEVERAL GENERATIONS.

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 9:25 am
by brettz9
Thanks for adding the source, Don--forgot that.

As far as your suggestion, Prometheus, for making an invitation to NSAs to view the site "by individuals before sending any requests to the Universal House of Justice", there is at least a quotation which does indeed advise our making use of our fellow believers before contacting the House of Justice:

You also inquire as to the circumstances under which an individual believer may submit questions to the National Assembly or the House of Justice, directly. As you know, Bahá'ís turn to Bahá'í literature, their fellow-believers (particularly those well-versed in the Writings) and the local and national institutions of the Faith for answers to any question they may have. If these avenues are explored to the utmost and further clarification is still needed, the friends are free to refer to the House of Justice for such guidance.

(at http://bahai-library.com/uhj_contacting ... ons#letter )


However, due to our own fallibility, I for one would be hesitant to suggest that all believers in a region turn here specifically.

Nevertheless, I did write a letter to my own NSA suggesting they make use of the collaborative power of wikis such as http://bahai9.com (which draws on the content here, but is open to public editing) as a possible resource for their own research (e.g., for questions they were asked) or to "outsource" research requests so that the community might help find relevant quotations on a topic of relevance, and in the process, also build up a resource which could indeed hopefully address questions to those seeking answers on the web (and of course if the NSA decided it was developed enough to refer to, then by all means). However, this suggestion was made at a time that wikis were not well known, so maybe another suggestion would be relevant.

Documents such as from the BIC often mention the need to see the masses of humanity not as mere recipients of aid or such, but as potentially productive servants of humanity; I hope our communities will do more of the same in more freely engaging with and seeking the assistance of those in the wider community (rather than giving into the institutional tendency to falsely believe that everything beneficial is of necessity carried out directly under Assembly auspices and that any other active projects merit suspiciousness).

Best wishes,
Brett

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:15 pm
by Prometheus
Returning to procedure of decison-making. Do you have any information about it when appeals is received to the NSA's or LSA's decisions?

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:21 pm
by brettz9
I am not aware of any quotations on the exact procedures.

I do recall hearing, however, that the Universal House of Justice is to be cc'd by the National Spiritual Assembly whenever a Local Spiritual Assembly writes to them (with suggestions?); if this is the case, perhaps it is due to the fact that it may be an evidence of maturity that the local community is taking ownership for the welfare of the national community as a whole, while demonstrating that the individuals within that community are suppressing their individual egos in favor of working together with their fellow believers to make such suggestions with efficiency and greater quality by using the prescribed channels:

The main purpose of the Nineteen Day Feasts is to enable individual believers to offer any suggestion to the Local Assembly, which in its turn will pass it to the National Spiritual Assembly. The Local Assembly is, therefore, the proper medium through which local Bahá'í communities can communicate with the body of the national representatives. The Convention should be regarded as a temporary gathering, having certain specific functions to perform during a limited period of time. Its status is thus limited in time to the Convention sessions, the function of consultation at all other times being vested in the entire body of the believers through the Local Spiritual Assemblies.

(In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 18 November 1933 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, at http://bahai-library.com/compilation_ni ... sultation1 )


"If this feast be held in the proper fashion," 'Abdu'l-Bahá states, "the friends will, once in nineteen days, find themselves spiritually restored, and endued with a power that is not of this world." To ensure this glorious outcome the concept of the Feast must be adequately understood by all the friends. The Feast is known to have three distinct but related parts: the devotional, the administrative, and the social. The first entails the recitation of prayers and reading from the Holy Texts. The second is a general meeting where the Local Spiritual Assembly reports its activities, plans and problems to the community, shares news and messages from the World Centre and the National Assembly, and receives the thoughts and recommendations of the friends through a process of consultation. The third involves the partaking of refreshments and engaging in other activities meant to foster fellowship in a culturally determined diversity of forms which do not violate principles of the Faith or the essential character of the Feast.

...

But it is not only in the sense of its gradual unfoldment as an institution that the evolution of the Feast must be regarded; there is a broader context yet. The Feast may well be seen in its unique combination of modes as the culmination of a great historic process in which primary elements of community life-acts of worship, of festivity and other forms of togetherness- over vast stretches of time have achieved a glorious convergence. The Nineteen Day Feast represents the new stage in this enlightened age to which the basic expression of community life has evolved. Shoghi Effendi has described it as the foundation of the new World Order, and in a letter written on his behalf, it is referred to as constituting "a vital medium for maintaining close and continued contact between the believers themselves, and also between them and the body of their elected representatives in the local community."

Moreover, because of the opportunity which it provides for conveying messages from the national and international levels of the administration and also for communicating the recommendations of the friends to those levels, the Feast becomes a link that connects the local community in a dynamic relationship with the entire structure of the Administrative Order. But considered in its local sphere alone there is much to thrill and amaze the heart. Here it links the individual to the collective processes by which a society is built or restored. Here, for instance, the Feast is an arena of democracy at the very root of society, where the Local Spiritual Assembly and the members of the community meet on common ground, where individuals are free to offer their gifts of thought, whether as new ideas or constructive criticism, to the building processes of an advancing civilization. Thus it can be seen that aside from its spiritual significance, this common institution of the people combines an array of elemental social disciplines which educate its participants in the essentials of responsible citizenship.

(at http://bahai-library.com/uhj_scheduling_feast )


As far as appeals specifically, a number of quotes can be found at http://bahai-library.com/compilation_na ... ssembly#IX which describe when appeals should be made (not if unimportant, but one does have the right and privilege to appeal if necessary "any infringement of Bahá'í rights, or lapse in the proper procedure" or for "views" or "problems" or "Anything whatsoever affecting the interests of the Cause and in which the National Assembly as a body is involved"), what to do in the meantime (abide by the decision), what to do if unsatisfied (one may appeal but not outside of these channels), in what order to make appeals (first to the Local, then to the National, and then to the Guardian (now Universal House of Justice)). For example:

Appeal can be made from the Local Assembly's decision to the National Assembly, and from the National Assembly's decision to the Guardian. But the principle of authority invested in our elected bodies must be upheld.

(From a letter dated 30 June 1949 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany and Austria, at http://bahai-library.com/compilation_na ... embly#1511 )

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:24 pm
by Prometheus
Thank you, but I need to know about procedure inside World Center... I'll try to search.

Re: Procedure of Universal House of Justice decision-making

Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:12 am
by Sen McGlinn
Did you find anything, in addition to the 1996 letter from the Secretariat?
( https://bahai-library.com/uhj_authentic ... e_texts#s0 )