The cause of God is like unto a college. The believers are like unto the students. The college is founded for the sake of the acquirements of science, arts and literature. If the sciences are not achieved and the scholars are not educated the object of the college is not achieved.... To them the cause of God must be a dynamic force transforming the lives of men...
UHJ Letter on Study Circles and Individual Responsibility
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'Ali Nakhjavani recently made some strong statements to the effect that the House of Justice had never asked us to cease individual teaching. Here is a most explicit letter from the House of Justice itself, making this very point.
DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT
31 October 2002
Transmitted by email: …………….
Dear Bahá’í Friend,
In reply to your email of 23 October 2002 to the Universal House of Justice, we have been asked to convey the following. It is not possible, given all of the instructions and exhortations addressed to the believers by Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, that the House of Justice would ever advise communities that are free to pursue teaching plans that it was not timely to talk about such efforts and enrol new Bahá’ís. Nor could it, contrary to Bahá’u’lláh’s explicit command, allow any other activity in the Bahá’í community to diminish the responsibility of individuals to teach the Cause. Precisely the opposite is true. A major object of the recent emphasis on establishing training institutes is to increase the capacity of individuals to teach the Cause effectively. Study circles, which are local extensions of an institute, are intended to serve this purpose. While it is highly desirable to include seekers in study circles wherever possible, the individual believer retains the inescapable duty to teach the Faith on his or her own initiative. Anyone who carefully reads the messages of the House of Justice will find that it has consistently exhorted and encouraged individuals to teach the Faith, pointing to the many possibilities of exploiting the opportunities that the turmoil of the present age provides. In this regard, there is abundant evidence from countries around the world, including the United States, that the institutions of the Faith at all levels and institutes through their courses focus attention on the importance of teaching.
The friends should not allow discussions that go on in the community to confuse or divert them from what has always been a clear understanding of their individual responsibility for teaching the Cause of God. The unfortunate consequence of so much discussion about teaching is that the friends often talk themselves out of taking action, when this is clearly a matter in which action speaks louder than words. Indeed, it is always time to teach the Faith and enrol new believers.
We are to assure you of the prayers of the House of Justice in the Holy Shrines on your behalf that your individual efforts to teach the Faith may be divinely confirmed.
With loving Bahá’í greetings,
Department of the Secretariat