A number of issues have been raised recently about the Bahá’í National Convention, its conduct, and the important functions it serves within the Bahá’í community. To appreciate the significance of this unique institution at which the National Spiritual Assembly is elected, and to provide a context for discussing the purposes of the Convention and their effective implementation, it is useful to reflect briefly on the station of the National Assembly, its relationship with the Bahá’í community, and a number of principles fundamental to the operation of the Administrative Order.
(Compilations, National Convention, introduction)
As material knowledge is illuminating those within the walls of this great temple of learning, so also may the light of the spirit, the inner and divine light of the real philosophy glorify this institution.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 49)
Every institution in the Faith has certain matters which it considers should be kept confidential, and any member who is privy to such confidential information is obliged to preserve the confidentiality within the institution where he learned it. Such matters, however, are but a small portion of the business of any Bahá’í institution. Most subjects dealt with are of common interest and can be discussed openly with anyone. Where no confidentiality is involved the institutions must strive to avoid the stifling atmosphere of secrecy; on the other hand, every believer mist know that he can confide a personal problem to an institution of the Faith, with the assurance that knowledge of the matter will remain confidential.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 334)
Every institution of this Divinely created Order is one more refuge for a distraught populace; every soul illumined by the light of the sacred Message is one more link in the oneness of mankind, one more servant ministering to the needs of an ailing world.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 327)
He has ordained and established the House of Justice which is … under the protecting power of Bahá’u’lláh Himself.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 247)
Marriage is a holy institution and much encouraged in this blessed cause. Now you two are no longer two, but one. Bahá’u’lláh’s wish is that all men be of one mind and consider themselves of one great household, that the mind of mankind be not divided against itself.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 78)
May it be the first to upraise the standard of the Most Great Peace, and through this nation of democracy may these philanthropic intentions and institutions be spread broadcast throughout the world.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 36-37)
Praise be to God! that this country abounds in such institutions of learning where the knowledge of sciences and arts may readily be acquired.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 244)
Suffer the friends to become firm in the Covenant and give the message of the Kingdom of Abhá to other souls. Praise be to God that the believers in America are steadfast but the firmer they are the better that no one might be able to intrude and introduce disputes, for disputes destroy the foundation of God’s Institution.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 358)
The 19 Day Feast is an institution of the Cause, first established by the Báb, later confirmed by Bahá’u’lláh and now made a prominent part of the administrative order of the Faith.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 241)
The Mashriqu’l-Adhkar is one of the most vital institutions in the world, and it hath many subsidiary branches. Although it is a House of Worship, it is also connected with a hospital, a drug dispensary, a traveller’s hospice, a school for orphans, and a university for advanced studies. Every Mashriqu’l-Adhkar is connected with these five things.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 99-100)
The day of the appearance of God’s messenger on earth is ever a sacred day, a day when man commemorates his lord. Among the ancient Persians this day was looked upon as the holy day of the year - a day when hospitals and charitable institutions were founded.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 75)
The importance of the institution of Bahá’í Archives is not due only to the many teaching facilities it procures, but is essentially to be found in the vast amount of historical data and information it offers both to the present day administrators of the Cause, and to the Bahá’í historians of the future. The institution of Bahá’í Archives is indeed a most valuable storehouse of information regarding all aspects of the Faith, historical, administrative as well as doctrinal.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 95-96)
The institution of the Summer School constitutes a vital and inseparable part of any teaching campaign, and as such ought to be given the full importance it deserves in the teaching plans and activities of the believers.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 559)
This is the basic principle on which the institution of Huququ’lláh is established, inasmuch as its proceeds are dedicated to the furtherance of these ends.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Huqúqu’lláh, #61)
While the friends may be concerned at the range of agencies of the Cause which are called institutions, attempts at classification are not useful, for of course an institution is anything which has been instituted. One group of Bahá’í institutions is of the administration of the Faith on international, national, and local levels, another represents functions based upon laws given by the Manifestation. It is sufficient to accept what is officially named an institution, while observing the range of appropriate applications of that title.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 308)
While the setting up of parliaments, the organizing of assemblies of consultation, constitutes the very foundation and bedrock of government, there are several essential requirements which these institutions must fulfill.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 17)
With the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh many familiar concepts, customs and institutions are redefined and take on new meaning. One of these is the dowry. The institution of dowry is a very ancient practice in many cultures and takes many forms.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 208)
… war is satanic institution.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 231)