Need Help Before Convert

All research or scholarship questions
FUtCYcrTo
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Need Help Before Convert

Postby FUtCYcrTo » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:28 pm

Dear Friends,

I've been around the faith for a long time. I've been observing and studying the faith. Finally, I diceded to convert to Baha'i. However, there are two things that i would like to understand. I appreciate your helps.

1) I know it is against the baha'i teachings to use alcohololic drinks. In the other hand, I've been drinking since i was 18. When I look at it, its not that I NEED to drink, but I enjoy relaxing after a hard work with a drink specially when I'm with friends. I don't drink much (may be once a week). Also, I have tried to reduce it, but it was not possible to cut it so far. I am not sure whether I have to delay my decision because of it.

2) it's been a year I am living with my girl friend. simply I can not just leave her or ask her to leave me because I am to practice baha'i. it would be not fair to her (more important) as I know this would hurt her alot. in the other hand we both know that our future would not be the same as we both are following diffrent routes in our lives, therfore it would not be possible for us to marry each other.

So, what do you recon ?

Thanks,
Zippy

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Postby senfreern » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:06 pm

that's awesome that you are looking to convert!

first off, about the alcohol.. if you drink it, you will be going against the baha'u'llah's teachings, but it's your life.. the Bible however says don't get drunk, the qu'ran says don't get drunk, and all that because it affects your prayers, but yeah, it doesn't say not to flat out drink. also, yeah, most religions, including christianity, condemn getting drunk. but hey, it's your life. :)

now as for being another religion.. the baha'i faith clearly says that you can marry anyone, baha'i or not, so no worries there.. now as for your soon to be wife being a different religion, it won't be that hard.. i have a friend who converted to the baha'i faith, and her ma's husband is still christian.. her and her ma and brother are baha'i. :) anyways, but still, and they do just fine. you can always tlk to your soon to be wife about the faith, and see if she wants to convert, or you can just go your seperate religious ways.. but trust me, it will still work out. it's not as hard as you think. :) now the wedding.. you will prolly end up having her religions wedding, but hey, no harm in that. :)

i hope i helped somewhat.. and good luck. :D

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Re: Need Help Before Convert

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:30 pm

zippy wrote:1) I know it is against the baha'i teachings to use alcohololic drinks. In the other hand, I've been drinking since i was 18. When I look at it, its not that I NEED to drink, but I enjoy relaxing after a hard work with a drink specially when I'm with friends. I don't drink much (may be once a week). Also, I have tried to reduce it, but it was not possible to cut it so far. I am not sure whether I have to delay my decision because of it.


You aren't the only one who wants to become a Baha'i, but who still wants his social drink. I have met/heard of many others like that...

If you can't stop the drinking by yourself, perhaps you may want to get some therapy?

There are many ways to relax after a day of hard work, and moreover, many constructive ways. Some people like to run. I personally like to pump iron. There are also many hobbies you could take up, but exercise (at least after your body gets accustomed to it) will start to release endorphins, the body's endogenous opiates. A lot of pleasure can be derived from hard work toward healthy goals. Drinking provides immediate pleasure, whereas exercise will eventually become just as addictive (well maybe I'm taking it too far :) ). If I miss some workouts, even if I'm studying my mind will waunder off thinking about dead-lifting, and such... Arnold Schwarzenneger himself attested to this "addiction." But I'd call it a positive addiction, at least compared to drinking.

zippy wrote:2) it's been a year I am living with my girl friend. simply I can not just leave her or ask her to leave me because I am to practice baha'i. it would be not fair to her (more important) as I know this would hurt her alot. in the other hand we both know that our future would not be the same as we both are following diffrent routes in our lives, therfore it would not be possible for us to marry each other.


Baha'is cannot have companionate marriages, have sex/exercise the sex impulse outside of marriage, or place themselves in situations where they know they will be tested and very much might fail that test.

The Writings stress a lot of importance on commitment. As a Baha'i, you would have to marry her or not live together.

zippy wrote:So, what do you recon ?


When you want to be a follower of Baha'u'llah, you have to observe all of His commandments. While the wisdom behind all His laws may not be apparent at the time (to some), nonetheless they were prescribed with the absolute Wisdom, that is, wisdom derived from God. He knows what is best for us, so we should place our trust in Him.

As Shoghi Effendi says, the Baha'i standard is very high, at least compared to the corrupt morals of today's society. If you aren't a Baha'i, obviously it's not "wrong" to drink, although the American Heart Association itself clearly states that moderate drinking is not beneficial to the health, and can actually have many negative side effects. A Johns Hopkins study found that alcohol permanently destroys neural tissue, even after just moderate drinks. Thus, with each social drink, brain volume is lost. Based on their scale, after 400 social drinks, the drinker's brain begins to rememble that of an alcoholics'.

What I'm trying to show is, God doesn't just randomly say "You'd better not do this because it is bad." There is always Wisdom behind it, and even if there wasn't, for the sake of argument, we should still obey the commandments. Much of science is very motivated by political interests these days, but even though a lot of research goes into trying to prove politcally correct things as "normal," solid research can be found that states the contrary. Put simply, observing the laws leads to our spiritual happiness and our material happiness also.

So Zippy, while you are still struggling with these issues, you can still feel more than free to be among the Baha'i friends and participate in devotions, feasts, etc. But first before declaring you must make sure not to drink, and not to live with your girlfriend, before you can do so. Perhaps you can also read some Writings for yourself so that you might be able to gain some spiritual insight in these matters.

Well, I hope this message was somewhat helpful... I hope you continue with your efforts to stop your drinking—not just because of the Baha'i Faith, but also because of the deleterious effects it has on your physical health.

Best regards,

Warrior

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:35 pm

kjf512 wrote:first off, about the alcohol.. if you drink it, you will be going against the baha'u'llah's teachings, but it's your life.. the Bible however says don't get drunk, the qu'ran says don't get drunk, and all that because it affects your prayers, but yeah, it doesn't say not to flat out drink. also, yeah, most religions, including christianity, condemn getting drunk. but hey, it's your life. :)


If you know of the law and go against it, you should also know there would be consequences, at least in the next life if not in this. It's not a "choice" where you can just shop around and pick the laws that you like and reject the ones you don't like. Well, you can, as some "Baha'is" do, but it is very ill-advised. Remember, the Writings tell us there are two types of Baha'is, those who call themselves "Baha'is," and those that lead the Baha'i life. The ones that lead the Baha'i life will most definitely gain entrance into the Kingdom of God...

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Postby senfreern » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:18 pm

very true, and i understand that. the point i was trying to make is that virtually every religion condemns drinking, epsecially getting drunk.. so if he's a christian now, he's already going against it. but hey, it's his life.. if that's what he wants to do, who are we to stop it? :)

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:40 pm

kjf512 wrote:very true, and i understand that. the point i was trying to make is that virtually every religion condemns drinking, epsecially getting drunk.. so if he's a christian now, he's already going against it. but hey, it's his life.. if that's what he wants to do, who are we to stop it? :)


Christians can drink. The Bible doesn't prohibit it.

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Postby senfreern » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:51 pm

actually, it does.... now Jesus drank wine and all, and the Bible doesn't say so much about not drinking, but it says don't get drunk..

In the Old Testament, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 20 (CEV)

1It isn't smart to get drunk!
Drinking makes a fool of you
and leads to fights.

Hosea chapter 4 (TEV)

11 The Lord says, "Wine, both old and new, is robbing my people of their senses!"

Proverbs chapter 23 (TEV)

19 Listen, my child, be wise and give serious thought to the way you live. 20 Don't associate with people who drink too much wine or stuff themselves with food. 21 Drunkards and gluttons will be reduced to poverty. If all you do is eat and sleep, you will soon be wearing rags.

29 Show me people who drink too much, who have to try out fancy drinks, and I will show you people who are miserable and sorry for themselves, always causing trouble and always complaining. Their eyes are bloodshot, and they have bruises that could have been avoided.
31 Don't let wine tempt you, even though it is rich red, and it sparkles in the cup, and it goes down smoothly. 32 The next morning you will feel as if you had been bitten by a poisonous snake. 33 Weird sights will appear before your eyes, and you will not be able to think or speak clearly. 34 You will feel as if you were out on the ocean, seasick, swinging high up in the rigging of a tossing ship. 35 "I must have been hit," you will say; "I must have been beaten up, but I don't remember it. Why can't I wake up? I need another drink."

(The passages from the Book of Proverbs are, as the title of the book indicates, proverbial, and thus are meant as wise sayings, sometimes generalisations perhaps, but not meant to be taken as absolute truth.)
A prophet of ancient Israel said:

Isaiah chapter 28 (NLT)

1 Destruction is certain for the city of Samaria - the pride and joy of the drunkards of Israel! 7 Israel is being led by drunks! The priests and prophets reel and stagger from beer and wine. They make stupid mistakes as they carry out their responsibilities.
In the Book of Proverbs, the Bible says:

Proverbs chapter 31 (TEV)

1 These are the solemn words which King Lemuel's mother said to him:
2 "You are my own dear son, the answer to my prayers. What shall I tell you?
4 Listen, Lemuel. Kings should not drink wine or have a craving for alcohol. 5 When they drink, they forget the laws and ignore the rights of people in need.
6 Alcohol is for people who are dying, for those who are in misery. 7 Let them drink and forget their poverty and unhappiness.

There are also Bible quotations in the New Testament warning Christians not to get drunk. The whole frame of mind of a Christian should be one in which we don't want to be controlled by some substance that might make us do unchristian things.
The Bible advises Christians:

Ephesians chapter 5 (NLT)

18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.
Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is a part of God who will be given to true Christians and will live in them to make them better people.
One of the writers of the letters that were put in the Bible, Paul, instructed and warned groups of Christians:

Galatians chapter 5 (NLT)

16 I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. ....

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin.

Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us:

* love,
* joy,
* peace,
* patience,
* kindness,
* goodness,
* faithfulness,
* 23 gentleness,
* and self-control....

1 Thessalonians chapter 5 (NLT)

6 ... Stay alert and be sober. 7 Night is the time for sleep and the time when people get drunk. 8 But let us ... think clearly, protected by the body armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. 9 For God decided to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 He died for us so that we can live with him forever, whether we are dead or alive at the time of his return.
http://www.broadcaster.org.uk/section2/ ... enness.htm

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Gr8

Postby FUtCYcrTo » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:39 pm

Thank you guys, it was very helpful information,

I'll keep them in my mind.

about the marriege, Its not that I dont want to get marry to someone from different faith, but I can not just leave her because I'm chaging my faith and its against my faith to be her if we are not married !

Zippy

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Postby senfreern » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:38 pm

well, baha'is can marry non baha'is... although i have heard of a lot of cotroversy, baha'u'llah made it clear that you can marry anyone of any religion. :)

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:51 pm

Kjf512,

Again, there is no explicit prohibition against it, as evidenced by the majority of Christians who openly drink.

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Postby brettz9 » Sun Oct 29, 2006 12:46 am

Kyle:

Thank you Kyle for the quotations on drinking. They were insightful. I think the choice of a modern translation may also be especially helpful for some in seeing the specifics of these teachings more clearly. But as BW says (and as it seems you are saying), Christians were not explicitly forbidden to drink, but it is helpful for us as Baha'is also to see the precedents toward the eventual proscription of wine in God's Law.

Zippy:

As far as your questions, I think the first thing to establish is your belief in Baha'u'llah. If you accept Him as God's Messenger for today, then you really already are a Baha'i. We should rely on Baha'u'llah to help us to overcome our weaknesses. With prayer, a loving community, family support, and diversion of our energies into service, such struggles can be made easier.

As far as your second question, this is such an important question. It is wonderful that you are trying to be sensitive to her, as the Baha'i Faith does not seek to destroy our old relations with people. As BW said, our Writings indicate that the only choices for a Baha'i would be to get married or separate.

The laws are meant to protect us and the community. "Serial monogamy" only leads to the likelihood of eventual break-up, and a less-than-ideal situation in the interim. It is not an ideal means of getting to judge someone for marriage (trying to "make it work" doesn't help with objectivity), nor can it bring the satisfaction and security of a committed married life. (Studies also show that the longer people have lived with others, the less likely a future marriage for either of them will be able to succeed.)

Sometimes in such relationships, people only believe that the other would not be interested in marriage because the other person has not committed to it. Maybe it is possible if you expressed an interest, that your girlfriend would also be interested? If not, then breaking off the physical aspect of the relationship--and with prayer and love, it may well be possible to maintain the friendship--is only an inevitable precipitation. As with a careful surgery, the dreaded pain can be replaced in time with tranquility and greater health for all.

Within a marriage at least, even to the extent of a lack of feelings, is not considered in the Baha'i Writings as grounds for dissolution of the union. With consultation and some sacrifice, a couple can overcome difficulties together in a union that assures that a most basic care will be afforded to the other regardless of circumstances.

It is this kind of solid (and sustainable) relationship that the Baha'i laws and teachings are trying to assure for all of us.

Erik:

Just a FYI: I recently read of some research that said that those who begin with alcohol in their teens will have a much harder time quitting later. Anyhow, my sympathies to you as you struggle through it.

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sun Oct 29, 2006 2:04 am

brettz9 wrote:Studies also show that the longer people have lived with others, the less likely a future marriage for either of them will be able to succeed.


Thanks for bringing this important point up, Brett. I have also read this, that cohabitation statistically leads to less satisfactory marriages.

I have a family member who lived with a girl for a while (many years ago), and now he is past 50, has a good job and such, but never married! This is consistent with the research out there.

Zippy:

The issue Brett brings up reinforces the point that Baha'u'llah gives us certain teachings because He knows us better than we know ourselves. We think we know ourselves and what can make us happy, but this proves to be wrong in many cases, especially when certain religious values are neglected.

brettz9 wrote:Sometimes in such relationships, people only believe that the other would not be interested in marriage because the other person has not committed to it. Maybe it is possible if you expressed an interest, that your girlfriend would also be interested? If not, then breaking off the physical aspect of the relationship--and with prayer and love, it may well be possible to maintain the friendship--is only an inevitable precipitation. As with a careful surgery, the dreaded pain can be replaced in time with tranquility and greater health for all.


Cohabitation, though it used to be stigmatized and maybe still is to some extent, seems to be a very popular thing ("alternative lifestyle") these days especially among fellow college students. In my student newspaper the other day, I read this article which emphasized that, according to the author, there is no need for commitments and that traditional marriage is "not for everyone." Besides the article not being the most eloquent one ever written, it completely overlookes research (such as the one Brett pointed to) showing that this kind of lifestyle actually leads to unhappy marriages (and perhaps less happy lives in general). It's somewhat shameful that such misinformation is published, especially when it's not grounded in any facts whatsoever, except maybe for some anecdotal ones. It is thus easy to see (in this case) how college students can easily become influenced by these ideas.

My point in this is to show as society changes its values also change, but not always for the better, as it might be framed. The advocates of such change in values will say we things like we were "puritanical" back then for not allowing certain things we do today. Somehow, having values made us "backward" because science (obviously not motivated by political interests to the slightest extent whatsoever) shows that certain lifestyles or behaviors are "natural" and part of healthy sexual development, etc. Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, puts this shift in society's values in perspective:

"What we Bahá'ís must face is the fact that society is disintegrating so rapidly that moral issues which were clear a half century ago are now hopelessly confused and what is more, thoroughly mixed up with battling political interests."

Who can we blame? Without religion, man is indeed misguided. Some, or much of what he reads such as in text books in the case of the student, is strongly skewed by certain political agendas. I am seeing this myself as a student. This is why the Baha'i principle of independent investigation of truth is so important. It doesn't only apply to religion, it applies to everything. For example (pardon this fatuous example), I used to hate avocados and papayas (mostly because of their texture) and thus avoided them as I found their taste/texture to be quite repulsive. Later on, when I forced myself to eat them after a few times I got used to them and, in fact, eventually grew to like them.

brettz9 wrote:Within a marriage at least, even to the extent of a lack of feelings, is not considered in the Baha'i Writings as grounds for dissolution of the union. With consultation and some sacrifice, a couple can overcome difficulties together in a union that assures that a most basic care will be afforded to the other regardless of circumstances.

It is this kind of solid (and sustainable) relationship that the Baha'i laws and teachings are trying to assure for all of us.


Commitment is very important, whether in the context of a relationship or a job. Without such commitment (in the case of marriage), there is a risk of infidelity or leaving and going to live with others. Without a marriage, not only is the possibility of having other partners made open, but also certainly it is much easier to walk out from one failed relationship to another. Granted, as with the example Brett gave of serial monogamy, divorce is these days is also a easy way of getting out of a commitment—but such unfaithfulness is also frowned upon by the Writings (also by Islam).

Brett said:

As far as your questions, I think the first thing to establish is your belief in Baha'u'llah. If you accept Him as God's Messenger for today, then you really already are a Baha'i. We should rely on Baha'u'llah to help us to overcome our weaknesses. With prayer, a loving community, family support, and diversion of our energies into service, such struggles can be made easier.


This was his most important point I believe. First, one should ask himself "Do I believe in Baha'u'llah"? If the answer is yes, then the implications are far reaching. If you believe Baha'u'llah to be the Manifestation of God for today, then you must also believe in every last word He uttered, as these words were all from the one Source that is the essence of all wisdom. No doubt when one becomes a Baha'i, there are certain adjustments that he has to make, some of which will be unpleasant or emotionally painful. However, such sacrifice in the path of God is a strong reflection of faithfulness to His cause. In a prayer, Baha'u'llah says: "Were it not for the trials which are borne for love of Thee, how could the station of such as yearn for Thee be revealed?"

Anyway, if you have investigated the character of your girlfriend—something that the Writings place a strong importance on—and you both truly love each other, then the next logical step would be to get married, Baha'i or not Baha'i. Again, Brett has shown that either way, people are happier in the long run if they marry than if they cohabit.

Take care.

—Warrior

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Postby EFIKIfubG » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:58 am

Hey Zippy

As you get to know Baha'u'llah better and better, the alcohol issue will take care of itself. I have learned over the years that alcohol is not as big an issue as we originally think it is. Really, don't sweat it.

For the second issue, talk this over with your girlfriend! Make her a part of the process. What are her feelings about the Faith? You are already a Baha'i in your heart and mind so don't add pressure of signing a card to the mix. Pray for assistance and for guidance, involve your girlfriend and trust that it will all work out how and when it should.

Warmest Wishes
Hadi

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Postby Dorumerosaer » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:48 pm

>>I can not just leave her because I'm changing my faith >>

Look at the comparison between these passages in Baha'u'llah's Writings;

"It is incumbent on these servants that they cleanse the heart -- which is the wellspring of divine treasures -- from every marking, and that they . . . shut the door of friendliness and enmity upon all the people of the earth." (The Seven Valleys, p. 5)

"[The true seeker] must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error." (The Book of Certitude, p. 192)


"We must reach a spiritual plane where God comes first and great human passions are unable to turn us away from Him. All the time we see people who either through the force of hate or the passionate attachment they have to another person, sacrifice principle or bar themselves from the Path of God." (From a letter dated 4 October 1950 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; From the Compilation on the Baha'i Life)

In all of these passages, they point out, that in the Path of God, all things including even love and friendship must be sacrificed.

Jesus said it this way: "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:37)

We are all promised tests in the Path of God. Shake hands with your first one.

You're in the big leagues now, and your decision and your actions really really count. This is not minor league stuff for the faint of heart. Baha'u'llah wrote, "This is not a Cause which may be made a plaything for your idle fancies, nor is it a field for the foolish and faint of heart."

You are placing your concern for her, over your relationship to God.

First, get right with God. Then, let all things seek their own level.

You present this in a way that, in a sense, the Baha'i Faith requires you to not become a Baha'i right now, because surely the Baha'i Faith says to look after people and not hurt their feelings, and not inconvenience them. And if becoming a Baha'i hurts her feelings, or she does not understand, or her expectations of you are not met, then you should not become a Baha'i. That is circular, non-rational thinking.

Baha'u'llah wrote, "Know thou and be well assured that from the first day whereon the voice of the Most Sublime Pen was raised betwixt earth and heaven We offered up Our souls, and Our bodies, and Our sons, and Our possessions in the path of God, the Exalted, the Great, and We glory therein amongst all created things and the Concourse on high." (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 84)

We are to be *more* devoted to family. But putting the needs of others first, has a boundary. You cannot break yourself, or your principles, or God's laws, and expect that it will be beneficial to your relationships.

"... obviously something bad for the Cause cannot be the highest good of the individual Bahá'í." (From a letter dated 17 December 1943 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; compilation on the Baha'i Life)

So if she is now dependent on you for a roof over her head, and she has invested in the relationship, then of course you would want to make provision for her. But not to let it linger, or she may cause you to weaken. Deal with it promptly and with integrity. As one of the others said, consult with her. However, I suggest that the above quotes show that the soul's devotion to God must come first; and all other things a distant second. If she supports you in your decision, great, maybe you can work out your relationship. But if you know that the relationship cannot sustain a marriage, then this relationship is ultimately depriving you and her of something far, far more precious. Do not allow your attachment to her to prevent you from the greatest act of a human being.

Examine what the highest instincts within you are.

Ponder the Writings of Baha'u'llah.

If you recognize Who He is, then do yourself a huge favor, and let your soul and your life respond. It is also the best thing you can do for the world.

Brent

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Postby EFIKIfubG » Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:08 am

Good Morning Brent

The quotes you provided to Zippy are all on point and worth consideration. There are other quotes, that I'm not going to spend the time compiling, that talk of nurturing and patience in helping souls newly exposed to the Light of the Lord to grow and learn and eventually take on the mantle of responsibility, to follow the guidance in our lives, to not over burdon them, etc, etc. Even as a Baha'i of 10 years after reading your post I feel like I've been thrown under Niagra Falls. Water is good but in porportion to the needs and capacities.

Respectfully,
Hadi

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Postby Dorumerosaer » Wed Nov 01, 2006 10:57 am

"There are other quotes, that I'm not going to spend the time compiling, that talk of nurturing and patience in helping souls newly exposed to the Light of the Lord to grow and learn and eventually take on the mantle of responsibility, to follow the guidance in our lives, to not over burdon them, etc, etc."

That's an appropriate principle to keep in mind. I had the same thought when I saw the long list of laws, half of which are not yet binding on us; and many of which are not laws, but moral exhortations. However, the quotes I provided were not about laws binding; they were about putting God first, and people second. My comments were directed at making a committment, and shedding anything holding him back. This is the point; I was not trying him to obey a law, but to obey his own inner urging to commit to Baha'u'llah.

As to the mention of laws to seekers, it is only fair, when a person's conduct is going to come into direct conflict with a Baha'i law that they will be responsible for, that they be told beforehand:

The young lady in question should be advised by you or the believer with whom she has been studying that the decision as to whether or not she wishes to enroll in the Faith rests with her and her alone. Your Assembly should not prevent her from enrolling should she so decide, but if she does apply for membership in the community, she obviously should understand that she will be expected to conduct herself as a Bahá'í by adjusting her relationship to the man with whom she is presently living. This means that either they must become legally married or she should sever the existing relationship between them. Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated April 4, 1977, to a Spiritual Assembly
Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities)


The acceptance of a person into the Bahá'í community should be based not on whether he is leading an exemplary life, but on whether the Assembly is reasonably certain that he is sincere in his declaration of faith in Bahá'u'lláh and that he knows of the laws which would affect his personal conduct, so that he does not enter the community under a misapprehension. Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated April 19, 1981; Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities)


There may be occasions when an enrollment must be postponed, as in the case of someone holding a political post, unless that person is able and can, in good conscience, resign from such a post immediately. Other cases may permit acceptance but indicate a need for fixing a time when the individual will be required to conform to certain laws, such as membership in the Masonic Order, church, or other ecclesiastical organizations. Still other times an individual may be encouraged to become better acquainted with the spirit, laws and principles of the Faith before submitting his application. However, the Guardian has cautioned us not to be too rigid in our requirements for accepting new believers or to place hindrances in their way. Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, dated May 13, 1979, to an individual believer, in Lights of Guidance, par. 254 Developing Distinctive Baha'i Communities)


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