Writings about ID cards, please, I missed them some how

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jenniferatemple
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Writings about ID cards, please, I missed them some how

Postby jenniferatemple » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:27 am

I did understand ID cards in North America were mandatory to vote, I never heard they were required to attend regular functions or that they were required the world over. I would love to read the messages from the Universal House of Justice on the topic of registration and ID cards and their use. Many thanks to anyone that can direct me.

brettz9
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Re: Writings about ID cards, please, I missed them some how

Postby brettz9 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 1:24 pm

Hi Jennifer,

They have been used in North America (probably more so in earlier times) to ensure that those attending Baha'i Feasts and claiming to be Baha'is are indeed Baha'is, as the administrative portion of a Feast (if held in full) is restricted to Baha'is (I recall a quotation about it being to make the participants feel more comfortable in discussing things freely).

And although this requirement has considerably loosened, there had been warnings starting in the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha on the need to confirm that Baha'is of Middle Eastern background were indeed Baha'is in order to avoid commotion and disunity that had been deliberately caused by some individuals from these backgrounds earlier on when the Baha'i Faith was less developed (e.g., 'Abdu'l-Baha warned the Western friends not to accept someone even if of His own family unless the person came with a signature of 'Abdu'l-Baha's approval).

But besides Feasts and Conventions, enrollment cards are not required for any other functions, and indeed all other meetings such as devotionals, it is encouraged for non-believers to be invited. Even those whose administrative rights have been removed are welcomed to attend such meetings (unless perhaps they have a pattern of being extremely and egregiously disruptive).

Here is one quote on the fact that the card has some role, but that the deeper aspect is between the individual and God:

You should bear in mind that the signature on a card, in the sense that it represents a record of the date of the declaration and data about the declarant, is to satisfy administrative requirements enabling the enrollment of the new believer in the community. The deeper implications of the act of declaration of faith are between the individual and God. Shoghi Effendi has made several statements on this important subject, and we have been asked to share with you the following two excerpts from letters written on his behalf to individual believers:

'There is a difference between character and faith; it is often very hard to accept this fact and put up with it, but the fact remains that a person may believe in and love the Cause--even to being ready to die for it--and yet not have a good personal character, or possess traits at variance with the teachings. We should try to change, to let the Power of God help recreate us and make us true Bahá'ís in deed as well as in belief. But sometimes the process is slow, sometimes it never happens because the individual does not try hard enough. But these things cause us suffering and are a test to us in our fellow-believers, most especially if we love them and have been their teacher!'

'The process of becoming a Bahá'í is necessarily slow and gradual. The essential is not that the beginner should have a full and detailed knowledge of the Cause, a thing which is obviously impossible in the vast majority of cases, but that he should, by an act of his own will, be willing to uphold and follow the truth and guidance set forth in the Teachings, and thus open his heart and mind to the reality of the Manifestation.'"

(On behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, June 7, 1974, in Lights of Guidance, no. 264)


And this one establishes that it is not a requirement the world over although it is apparently true for "most countries":

"There is no requirement in Bahá'í administration for a new believer to sign an enrolment card. It is for each National Spiritual Assembly to decide, in the light of conditions in the territory under its jurisdiction, how it wishes a declaration of faith to be made. For a number of reasons it has been found in most countries that an enrolment card is a simple and useful way of registering new believers, but this is not a universal requirement...."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Germany, October 28, 1975, in Lights of Guidance, no. 265)


Best wishes to you,
Brett

jenniferatemple
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Re: Writings about ID cards, please, I missed them some how

Postby jenniferatemple » Sat Dec 21, 2013 3:28 pm

"...unless the person came with a signature of 'Abdu'l-Baha's approval". I would have thought references from 3 different LSAs would fulfill that condition while one awaits a material card. I became a Baha'i about 1970 or 71. We were not issued ID cards after signing the declaration card. As I recall, they came a while later. Nor were we required to have a physical card to attend feasts if we were known Baha'is. It is very difficult to not become a known Baha'i. We do get around. Especially in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia!

brettz9
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Re: Writings about ID cards, please, I missed them some how

Postby brettz9 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:26 pm

Sorry, I haven't read the other thread yet to know your background on this question, but have you asked your National Spiritual Assembly? As perhaps the reason you are asking, it would be good to know this for the sake of others in the future as well, and since things have not only changed since the early history of the Faith, but since the Administrative Order is deliberately flexible enough in design to allow changes within shorter periods of time, any previous regulations might have changed.

No doubt the friends wishing to attend quickly are motivated by love of the Faith and those seeking to enforce the administrative regulations to the letter (as they understand them) are also motivated by love, although the spirit in which these regulations are carried out is of course important as well.


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