A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Masons


Any Bahá’í determined retain membership (in) Freemasonry loses voting rights. The directive regarding membership in Freemasonry should be carried out by your Assembly in all areas under your Assembly’s jurisdiction.
(Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 46)


As regards your question about the Masonic Order, he considers that the honest and courageous thing for you to do is to inform your lodge that you no longer consider yourself, purely personal reasons, a Mason; and would like to have your name taken off their list. If they should press you for an explanation, which he imagines is unlikely, everybody being free to do as they please in the world, you can explain to them that in the present chaotic period the world is passing through, with so many streams and counterstreams of political thoughts and prejudices of all kinds, racial, religious etc., storming the minds of men, that you wish to disentangle yourself from all association with the past and to stand alone, free in your own ideas. He does not think that such an explanation will prejudice the Masons or their friends, or arouse in them a feeling of anger against the Faith, or indeed been involve the Faith at all. Generally speaking the friends should not enter secret societies. It is certainly much better for the believers to dissociate themselves from such organizations...
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 422)


As regards your question about Masonry, the Bahá’ís, the Guardian feels very strongly, must learn at the present time to think internationally and not locally. Although each believer realizes that he is a member of one great spiritual family, a member of the New World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, he does not often carry this thought through to its logical conclusion; which is that if the Bahá’ís all over the world each belong to some different kind of society or church or political party, the unity of the Faith will be destroyed; because inevitably they will become involved in doctrines and policies that are in some way against our Teachings, and often against another group of people in another part of the world, or another race, or another religious block. Therefore, all the Bahá’ís everywhere have been urged to give up their old affiliations and withdraw from membership in the Masonic and other secret Societies in order to be entirely free to serve the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh as a united Body. Such groups as Masonry, however high the local standard may be, are in other countries gradually being influenced by the issues sundering the nations at present. The Guardian wants the Bahá’ís to disentangle themselves from anything that may in any way now or in the future, compromise their independent status as Bahá’ís and the supra- national nature of their Faith.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 421)


Formal affiliation with and acceptance of membership in organizations whose programs or policies are not wholly reconcilable with the Teachings is not permissible to the friends. The friends should not become members of secret societies. Your Assembly is advised to carefully inform the friends of these principles and to deepen them in their understanding and appreciation of them. Having made certain that all friends, especially those directly concerned, have been so deepened, your Assembly should then set a time limit by which the friends must obey your directive to withdraw their membership in the organization. Each case will have to be considered on its own merits. Some of the friends may have to fulfill certain commitments as officers before they can withdraw with honor. The time limit should make allowances in such cases. Whereas persistence in membership in these and in similar organizations is ample ground for deprivation of voting rights, your Assembly is advised to give sufficient time for each of the friends to be thoroughly deepened, and to comply with the principles before any disciplinary action is taken.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


The friends should not become members of secret societies. Your Assembly is advised to carefully inform the friends of these principles and to deepen them in their understanding and appreciation of them. Having made certain that all friends, especially those directly concerned, have been so deepened, your Assembly should then set a time limit by which the friends must obey your directive to withdraw their membership in the organizations. Each case will have to be considered on its own merits. Some of the friends may have to fulfill certain commitments as officers before they can withdraw with honor. The time limit should make allowance in such cases. “Whereas persistence in membership in these and in similar organization is ample ground for deprivation of voting rights, your Assembly is advised to give sufficient time for each of the friends to be throughout deepened, and to comply with the principles before any disciplinary action is taken.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 54)


The point is not that there is something intrinsically wrong with Masonry, which no doubt has many very high ideals and principles, and has had a very good influence in the past. The reasons why the Guardian feels that it is imperative for the Bahá’ís to be dissociated from masonry at this time, and I might add, other secret associations, is that we are the building blocks of Bahá’u’lláh’s New World Order... the Bahá’ís should be absolutely independent, and stand identified only with their own teachings. That is why they are requested to withdraw from membership in the church, the synagogue, or whatever other previous religious organization they may have affiliated with, to have nothing whatsoever to do with secret societies, or with political movements etc. It protects the Cause; to reinforces the Cause, and it asserts before all the world its independent character … He is fully aware that certain individuals are struck much forcibly by such requests than others. This has been the case with some of the old Bahá’ís in England, who have been Masons from their boyhood on; but, as it is his duty to protect the Faith, he can only appeal to the Bahá’ís to assist him in doing so; and to consider the general good, rather than their personal feelings, however deep they may be, in such matters.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 422)


Their Faith, Bahá’ís firmly believe, is moreover undenominational, non-sectarian, and wholly divorced from every ecclesiastical system, whatever its form, origin, or activities. No ecclesiastical organization, with its creeds, its traditions, its limitations, and exclusive outlook, can be said (as is the case with all existing political factions, parties, systems and programmes) to conform, in all its aspects, to the cardinal tenets of Bahá’í belief. To some of the principles and ideals animating political and ecclesiastical institutions every conscientious follower of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh can, no doubt, readily subscribe. With none of these institutions, however, can he identify himself, nor can he unreservedly endorse the
creeds, the principles and programmes on which they are based.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 89)


There is another aspect to this question which the friends should seriously ponder, and that is that, whereas organizations such as Freemasonry may have been in the past entirely free from any political taint, in the state of flux the World is in at present, and the extraordinary way in which things become corrupted and tainted by political thought and influences, there is no guarantee that such an association might not gradually or suddenly become a political instrument. The less Bahá’ís have to do, therefore, with such things, the better.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 421)