Posted by Brett Zamir (126.96.36.199) on August 16, 2002 at 15:59:15:
In Reply to: Brett should elaborate posted by Stuart Gilman on August 16, 2002 at 07:52:08:
I apologize for posting the question without much context. Thanks for bringing it up. A discussion of excommunication without context may give people the impression of there being an arbitrary exercise of power such as many of the Popes exercised--which is of course not true with our own infallible institutions.
The Covenant of Baha'u'llah does discuss this in great detail--see pp. 358-366 especially (as also does Priceless Pearl I believe), and I'd recommend we all read these books to get a fuller picture of the issues if we haven't already (especially since we can't find these in detail in the main works of Shoghi Effendi--probably since he wanted to avoid disgracing the Holy Family as much as possible, especially where it revolved around their obedience to him, given his humility). Also, there is some information at http://www.bahai-library.org/encyclopedia/covenant.html towards the bottom of the page.
Many of the members of the Holy Household were excommunicated for involvement in marriages with Covenant-breakers (including not only those against Shoghi Effendi but even those against 'Abdu'l-Baha) and refusal to sever ties with Covenant-breakers. Their behavior included such things as selling property sacred to the Faith, associating with external enemies of the Faith to undermine its position, and so on. And it was not just all this, but a compounding of these terrible things. Its really quite awful to consider the suffering poor Shoghi Effendi faced at their hands--with very few competent believers to help him or shield him--especially considering the work-load he carried on and brought out for our sakes.
Shoghi Effendi, as with Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha before him, showed a great deal of patience before resorting to such measures of expulsion--measures he was nevertheless fully entitled to take under the provisions of the Covenant.
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