Baha'i institutions : An instrument and not a substitute
Although Shoghi's writings are not Scripture, when it comes to the Administrative Order he is a source.
The following beautiful prose of Shoghi's describes what the purpose for Baha'i Institutions is. He as well clearly outlines what the limitations are and what the potential drawbacks of those institutions can be.
1) "I have already reiterated and emphasized that the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Baha'u'llah, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation."
The clear evidence that, for many Baha'is, the Administrative Order has become a substitute for the Faith of Baha'u'llah is that in many communities as many as 75% of believers are a part of that Administrative Order and the majority of the time that these individuals spend doing ' Baha'i ' activities are spent doing activities directly related to the administration of the institutions of the Baha'i Faith!
An Administrative Order myopia, a fixation on the " superstructure" of the Baha'i Faith has supplanted and now substitutes for the Faith of Baha'u'llah. That the resulting rigidity of that fixation has clogged and fettered the liberating forces of Baha'u'llah is directly shown through the lack of success of the current Administrative Order in sharing those liberating forces with humanity and their lack of success in even retaining the membership of the Baha'i Faith which has become increasingly cynical about a Baha'i Faith which has become the Amway of Religions.
A direct result of this fixation, in Canada, has been that people are leaving the Baha'i Faith as fast as they are joining; they are going into hibernation as Hosien Banyani secretary treasurer of the Canadian N.S.A.has publicly admitted. And no wonder! More and more mindless and mind numbing fixation on Ruhi # nth and the Baha'i A.O. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
As a result of this failure on the part of the Administrative Order to remain simply an 'instrument' it has become more important, for that Administrative Order to pad the membership rolls with thousands of people who are Baha'i in name only and would not even bother to put down on a census that they are Baha'i, than it is to provide the leadership which would make all Baha'is feel welcome in their religious community no matter what their cognitive style, be it conservative or liberal. In this lack of unitive leadership the Baha'i Administrative Order is an abject failure; as many people are leaving the Faith in disgust at It's current cultish drift as are joining because of an indirect attraction to the Faith of Baha'u'llah.
2) "the present restrictions imposed on the publication of Baha'i literature will be definitely abolished;"
Not only has this lifting and abolishing of restrictions on the publication of Baha'i literature not occurred, the situation has become even more narrow and restrictive than it was in Shoghi's day! With no end in sight! There is not even a Complete Works of Baha'u'llah available yet and it is doubtful with the current incompetence in Baha'i leadership that we will even see such a thing in our own lifetimes, this is nothing short of criminal!
3) "the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha'i Faith."
No only has the Administrative Order and its institutions become an end in themselves and not a means, they have become the end all and be all. An end all and be all that a Baha'i is expected to be unquestioningly obedient to even when the enactments of that Administrative Order do not reflect the spirit and meaning of Baha'u'llah's revealed utterances!
4)"prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha'u'llah."
That the tool of the Administrative Order and its institutions have superseded the 'Faith itself' is proven without a shadow of a doubt through the shallow display of self serving grandiosity and extravagance shown through those very institutions holding out the building of the Terraces as though it was a great Baha'i service to humanity; when it was in fact, clearly and plainly, only a misguided attempt to purchase worldly Baha'i prestige.
This proof is there for all of humanity to see and is only one of the more obvious examples of the current Baha'i Administrative Order's fixation on the limited unity of its own self interests; a fixation on ambition and worldliness which has greatly impaired the effectiveness of the Baha'i Faith to reflect the Faith of Baha'u'llah.
A person need only read an issue or two of Baha'i Canada or American Baha'i to see what the Baha'i Faith's current fixation on the: "minute details arising from the administration of the Cause", and on the apparatus of It's Own administerial institutions has done to spiritual and intellectual life in the Baha'i Faith - it has effectively been put on hold.
If you need more proof use your own two eyes, use your own heart and mind to understand the facts for yourself; don't use the interpretations of anyone else, including mine.
Wake up, smell the roses.
Wakey, wakey, rise and shine.
There is only us, we are them, 'as one soul'.
All the best!
Yours Larry Rowe
Source : TRB
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