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

Peyote

An effective way of assisting the ... friends to abandon the use of peyote would be for believers like yourself, who are themselves ... imbued with the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and determined to live in accordance with His laws, to assist their fellow ... to understand the importance of turning wholeheartedly to the Manifestation of God for this Day and giving up practices that conflict with these Teachings. It is important for them to realize that Bahá’u’lláh is the Promised One Who alone is able to set the course and guarantee the attainment of their destiny; this implies adherence to His laws and ordinances. Moreover, they must know that they are not the only group that is obliged to give up certain cultural practices which are not in accord with His will. Every people is faced with the same challenge, because no people can be said to be living in harmony with the purpose of God for our time. Giving up such practices does not mean that any people must abandon every other feature of its cultural heritage. On the contrary, what Bahá’u’lláh has done for us all is to provide a standard by which to determine what is pleasing in God’s sight, thereby freeing us to maintain those elements of diversity which are unique to our different cultures. The adoption of this divine standard enables each people to be confident in the permissibility of what it can retain from its past.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1998 Dec 16, Traditional practices in Africa)


In the specific matter of the use of peyote, the House of Justice is given to understand that, in the United States at the present time, the use of peyote for any purpose is prohibited by law. If this is not so, or if in future it should become legally permissible for peyote to be prescribed for medicinal purposes, you should refer the matter to the House of Justice once again for further elucidation.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1998 Dec 16, Traditional practices in Africa)


The Universal House of Justice has asked us to respond to your letter … seeking guidance with respect to the permissibility of a Bahá’í’s using peyote, under the direction of a Native American medicine man, and whether such a practitioner “could be considered under some circumstances or by some people a legitimate practising physician", in which case, presumably, his prescription to use peyote would represent the kind of professional guidance the Guardian referred to as “the advice of a competent and conscientious physician”. The House of Justice does not wish to comment on the medical qualifications of such Native American healers. However, it is informed that peyote is customarily prescribed, not as a simple therapeutic remedy, but as a part of a religious ritual in which it plays the part of a sacrament, much as sacramental wine is used in the Roman Catholic mass. Indeed, it is said that those who follow this ritual not infrequently draw a comparison between the two practices. If this is so, it is clearly not permissible for a Bahá’í to resort to the use of peyote in such a manner, no matter who prescribes it, since it would imply acceptance of the doctrines of the Native American Church …
(The Universal House of Justice, 1998 Dec 16, Traditional practices in Africa)