Re: Chastity in Youth...what do the writings say?

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on July 25, 2002 at 15:30:26:

In Reply to: Chastity in Youth...what do the writings say? posted by pyne on July 24, 2002 at 23:22:32:

For the Universal House of Justice discussing its reluctance to elaborate on exact rules (as well as some interesting tangentially related matters), see the following (it will take a while to load):
(then do a search for 133.1 and 224.1)

There is also the following from Lights of Guidance,

"What Baha'u'llah means by chastity certainly does not include the kissing that goes on in modern society. It is detrimental to the morals of young people, and often leads them to go too far, or arouses appetites which they cannot perhaps at the time satisfy legitimately through marriage, and the suppression of which is a strain on them.

"The Baha'i standard is very high, more particularly when compared with the thoroughly rotten morals of the present world. But this standard of ours will produce healthier, happier, nobler people, and induce stabler marriages."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual
believer, October 19, 1947)

Incidentally, the news just brought up a study confirming this latter point which showed that religious people's marriages were longer to survive (as well as those who don't live together before marriage first, etc.).

As to hugging, I recall reading it was permitted with one's relatives (sorry, I can't confirm it with a source), and the pilgrim's note Jonah posted seems to indicate it is ok with those about to marry. The context also indicates holding hands is ok (at least for comforting another).

Though it may be difficult to understand, since many in the West are not doing it with impure intentions, I can think of two rationales why hugging is discouraged. For one, there are those who do so with impure intentions (and make others uncomfortable when doing so). Second, the fact that it may make the person's partner jealous is to me a good indication that it is not wholly innocent.

It is not always easy to turn down a hug when initiated by another (in the film of 'Abdu'l-Baha you can see Him put in an uncomfortable position where a lady tries to kiss His blessed hand (Baha'u'llah prohibited the kissing of hands) and He kindly but firmly pulls it away). However, I find most people are ok about it if we are forthright about it. I've seen some non-Baha'is do the same. ("I don't like hugs", "I don't do hugs", etc., followed up by a warm handshake and smile)

take care,

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