The refreshing acknowledgment of reality contained in the Annual Report from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States drew a swift and scathing response from the House of Justice.
You can read the response of the House of Justice (Adobe PDF document) to the legitimate concerns of the NSA of the United States regarding the perilous condition of the Baha’i community in that country.
You can also find the April 19th 2007 letter from the House, here as a simple HTML file.
So severe was the rebuke that the House of Justice forced the delegates to not base their consultation within the National Convention on the NSA’s Annual Report but instead on their own spin (the April 19th 2007 letter above). And to show that they meant business, they sent an enforcer: Ms. Penelope Walker from the International Teaching Center. She delivered the message of the House to the delegates, made sure that the focus of the convention was on the letter from the House and that reality did not creep in into the consultations.
Furthermore, the convention’s consultation would be based on the letter from the UHJ, not the annual report from the NSA. The coup de grace was when the National Spiritual Assembly formally asked delegates to the 98th Bah??’? National Convention to refer to the April 19, 2007 letter from the House as the basis of their reports to the Baha’is nationwide on the Convention – and not the annual report from the NSA. So the vast majority of the Baha’is in the community, who hadn’t attended the convention would not even learn of the major concerns from their own NSA.
So effectively was her duty performed that Counsellor Rebequa Murphy said in the closing remarks of the National Convention:
We donâ€™t want to be those people that want to see God with their own eyes or hear His melodies with their own ears. Because weâ€™ve been given the gift of being able to see through the eyes of the House of Justice and listen through the ears of the House of Justice.
New meditation pose suggested by Counsellor Rebequa Murphy
- Document: US NSA Feast Letter (Jalal/Glory)
Time: April 8th 2007
This letter contains the (in)famous 50% decline statistic.
Document: US NSA Annual Report
Time: April 12th 2007
A refreshing dose of reality: the Baha’i community in the US is in a perilous state.
- Document: UHJ Letter to US NSA in response to US annual report
Time: April 19th 2007
A rebuke to the US NSA Annual Report: presented to delegates of US convention on April 27th, 2007 as a substitute to the US NSA’s Annual Report. Ms. Penny Walker ITC counsellor sent to US convention to supervise this change of focus.
Document: UHJ Ridvan Message to world
Time: April 21, 2007
This is an annual letter sent from the House of Justice.
Document: US NSA Feast letter (Jamal/Beauty)
Time: April 27th, 2007
In this letter the NSA, obedient to the UHJ, requests that Baha’is study UHJ’s Ridvan message.
In their letter, the House of Justice sweeps aside nonchalantly the methodical reasoning of the NSA and their multi-pronged approach aimed to save the hemorrhaging Baha’i community. In its stead, the House of Justice posits a simple strategy: more of the same.
While the NSA is struggling valiently to break free of the constraints of the “framework”: “We feel a particular need for flexibility and innovation…” the House of Justice provides clear guidance: “…what is essential is for such roles and functions to take shape within the framework for action that has been elaborated in the message dated 27 December 2005…”.
While the NSA is attempting to acknowledge the marginalization of the LSAs: “…there is a pervasive feeling of confusion and dislocation among many Local Spiritual Assemblies, including those in ‘A’ clusters.” the House of Justice responds: “In every cluster the institutions and agencies guiding the process — the Auxiliary Board members and the institute, together with the Area Teaching Committee — need to examine the dynamics of growth on a regular basis…”. So basically tough luck! No elected institutions need apply.
In conclusion, the House insisits that Baha’i communities must follow the same “framework for action” that has (by the NSA’s own observation) failed to produce results, that has marginalized LSAs, caused conflict within the community, lead to a stagnant Baha’i community, straitjacketed the community’s dynamism and robbed it of the freedom of individual initiatives.
The next five years should be interesting!
Here are my own heretical questions:
How will we know, specifically, if this whole Ruhi/core curriculum/institutes process is succeeding? what metrics will we have to watch? what time frame will have to elapse? is there any point or event or situation in which we may potentially acknowledge that it didn’t work? what would that be?
Of course, I’m spiritually weak. If I were strong as Counsellor Murphy I would comprehend that although the US Baha’i community has hit the event horizon and is at imminent negative absolute growth, we shouldn’t allow this fact to dissuade us from following the UHJ’s guidance.
I would realize that reality, is not the yardstick by which we should judge the efficacy of “X-Year” plans. I would understand that rather than use our own eyes and ears as Baha’u’llah instructed us, we should see things and hear things through the eyes and ears of the House.
And that although the largest, most dynamic Baha’i community in the world is fast spinning down the tubes, we should not be alarmed nor let doubt enter our mind in the least. Rather, we should rejoice that 3 yak herders in Mongolia are taking Ruhi and parroting back perfectly what their tutor is telling them in the best tradition of taqlid.
I have quite a long ways to go to reach Counsellor Murphy’s spiritual level. Maybe I should take Ruhi again.