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In 1912, Abdu’l-Bahá announced that the Temple is already built after having put in place the corner store of the Chicago House of Worship. How can a Temple, with no walls, structures or doors be already built with one stone? Abdu’l-Bahá also said that peace “will be established in this century, It will be universal in the twentieth century. All nations will be forced into it.” similarly to the Temple, how can peace have been established when there are refugee crisis, extremist groups growing stronger, unimaginable poverty and suffering?”. Perhaps a fresh viewpoint of “evolutionary processes”, which “stands in contrast to pre-occupation with the short term in the wider society today,”  will aid in understanding this outwardly seemingly contradiction. Hopefully this semi-compilation can provide some insights. You can read the text below or view it below or The Temple is already built.
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Soon, on 21st of April, Local Spiritual Assemblies are elected or formed in many locations in every corner of our world. Furthermore, in almost all countries, National Conventions will be held between first and twelfth of Ridvan. It might therefore be worthwhile to refresh our understanding on Bahai Elections and National Conventions. A good start would be to re-read the Letter of Universal House of Justice dated 25 March 2007 on the sacredness and uniqueness of Bahai Elections. Next, it might be interesting to take a look at this Compilation on National Bahai Conventions that covers topics such as
- Purpose of Conventions
- Within the context of Bahai Administration
- Function and Purpose of National Conventions
- Purpose of Consultations at National Conventions
- The Institution of the National Spiritual Assembly
- Bahai Elections
- Nature of Bahai Elections
- Preparation for Voting
- Mindset when Voting
- Qualifications of those to vote for
- Changes in Membership
- When it is difficult to find suitable candidates
- Voting for oneself
- The Role of Delegates
- The Role of the National Spiritual Assembly
If this proves to be too much, try this Bahai Elections – A Pocket Compilation. Finally, if you are elected to serve the Local or National Spiritual Assembly, it might be worthwhile to read about the Duties of Officers of an Assembly.
Bahai Elections, be it for electing delegates, Local, Regional or National Spiritual Assembly Members, is very different from what is common today in the world. It might be valuable to, in these coming months of elections, have a “pocket compilation” about Bahai Elections.
In this “Bahai Elections – A Pocket Compilation“, there are quotes from the Bahai Writings on the following topics;
Bahai Elections within the Context of Bahai Administration
The Nature of Bahai Elections
Preparation for voting
Mind set when voting
Qualifications of those to vote for
Voting for Institution, not individual
Changes in Membership
When it is Difficult to Find suitable candidates
Voting for Oneself
…the annual Convention is not to be regarded as a body entitled to exercise functions similar to those which an ordinary parliament possesses under a democratic form of government. The Administrative Order which lies embedded in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, …, should, under no circumstances, be identified with the principles underlying present-day democracies. Nor is it identical with any purely aristocratic or autocratic form of government. The objectionable features inherent in each of these political systems are entirely avoided. It blends, as no system of human polity has as yet achieved, those salutary truths and beneficial elements which constitute the valuable contributions which each of these forms of government have made to society in the past. Consultation, frank and unfettered, is the bedrock of this unique Order. Authority is concentrated in the hands of the elected members of the National Assembly. Power and initiative are primarily vested in the entire body of the believers acting through their local representatives. (Postscript in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi appended to a letter dated 18 November 1933 written on his behalf to a National Spiritual Assembly)
I hope this compilation on National Bahai Conventions, can help the friends to better understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of Bahai Elections and Conventions. Although almost all the quotes refers to National Conventions and Election of the National Spiritual Assembly, I believe it applies to Unit Conventions and other Elections within the Bahai Administration. You can find the compilation here Compilation on National Bahai Conventions.
Here is a brief compilation of the duties of the Officers of Spiritual Assemblies. Its mainly for National Spiritual Assemblies but it is, in my opinion, very valid and valuable for Local Spiritual Assemblies as well. Its just four pages but gives a feeling of what the main responsibilities are. I hope it will be of use for you. You can find the compilation here Duties of Officers of an Assembly.