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

Resignation - from the Faith

Any member of the Bahá’í Community who finds that he does not believe in Bahá’u’lláh and His Revelation is free to withdraw from the Faith and such a withdrawal should be accepted. But a Bahá’í who continues to believe in Bahá’u’lláh cannot withdraw from the Bahá’í Community. While he believes in this Revelation he is subject to its laws … Of course, he may well wish to remain inactive, and if so his wish should be respected, but he should know that he is a member of the Bahá’í community.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


As you know, a believer cannot escape administrative expulsion by the ruse of resigning from the Faith in order to break its law with impunity. However, the Assembly should be satisfied that there was indeed such an ulterior motive behind the withdrawal. A believer’s record of inactivity and his general attitude to the Faith may well lead the Assembly to conclude that his withdrawal was bonafide, even though immediately succeeded by marriage, and in such a case withdrawal may be accepted.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 57)


If a person considers himself or herself a Bahá’í, and for various reasons is not able to be active in the affairs of the Community, then they should certainly not be removed from our voting list, least of all at present, when the number of the Bahá’í Community is so small.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 168)


If a person makes it quite clear that they do not wish to be considered an active member of the Bahá’í Community and be affiliated with it and exert their voting right, then their name should be removed from the voting list.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 168)


If believers become inactive it is naturally desirable that the Local Spiritual Assemblies attempt to maintain contact with them and encourage them to become active unless, of course, it is obvious that their personal situation precludes such activity. For example, a Bahá’í who is married to a non-Bahá’í may well have to limit his activities to same degree in order to maintain the unity of his family. If during this process of encouragement it becomes apparent that the Bahá’í in question has in fact ceased to believe in Bahá’u’lláh and wishes not to be a member of the Bahá’í community, the Assembly would be fully justified in accepting his withdrawal.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 86)


Should one who is a member of the Bahá’í Community lose his faith or find that he had not really believed from the beginning he would notify the Spiritual Assembly of his withdrawal from the Community.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


The House of Justice has asked us to point out that normally once a person has declared his belief in Bahá’u’lláh and this declaration has been accepted by the Assembly it should be assumed that he continues to be a Bahá’í until he states the contrary.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 86)


The National Spiritual Assembly at times receives letters directly from persons expressing a desire to leave the Faith. If they recant their faith, the National Spiritual Assembly will honor the requests to withdraw from Bahá’í membership. Likewise, if the person states that they have joined another Faith, the National Spiritual Assembly will accept their withdrawal since their action indicates that they no longer believe in Bahá’u’lláh. If no reasons are given and the persons live within the jurisdiction of a Local Spiritual Assembly, the Assembly will be asked for its comments and possible assistance in resolving whatever problems may have prompted the request. If they live in an area without a Local Spiritual Assembly, the National Spiritual Assembly may ask a nearby Assembly to handle the case.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


The objective in handling withdrawal requests is not merely to clarify individuals’ Bahá’í status or to “clean up the membership list.” Rather, the aim is to draw ambivalent Bahá’ís closer to the Faith. Often the most effective means to assist those who are wavering in their faith or having severe difficulties is to invite them to meet with the Assembly, or to send a mature and deepened believer to meet with them and discuss the nature of their belief and any other pertinent questions. Dealing with the matter entirely through correspondence or over the phone generally proves unhelpful and should be avoided when possible.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


To deny that one is a Bahá’í while one still believes in Bahá’u’lláh is not withdrawal, it is dissimulation of one’s faith, and Bahá’í laws does not countenance the dissimulation of a believer’s faith for the purpose of breaking the law. “If a believer who did not like a particular law were to be permitted to leave the community to break the law, and then rejoin with impunity, this would make a mockery of the Law of God... It is abundantly clear from his letters that he has continually believed in Bahá’u’lláh, that he know the law that marriage is conditioned on the consent of parents, that he dissimulated his faith in order to be able to break this law with impunity. He must, therefore, be regarded as a Bahá’í without administrative rights.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 57-58)


Upon investigation an Assembly may learn that the person believes in Bahá’u’lláh but does not wish to participate in the affairs of the Bahá’í community. If this is the case, his withdrawal should not be accepted, yet his wish not to participate in community life should be honored. The Assembly should strive to nurture each person and draw him closer to the Bahá’í community and to make each feel he is a welcomed and valued member. If, however, the investigation reveals that he does not believe in Bahá’u’lláh and His Revelation, then he is free to withdraw from the Faith and such a withdrawal should be accepted.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


When reporting a withdrawal case to the National Spiritual Assembly, the Local Spiritual Assembly should include the person’s Bahá’í identification number, give a brief but complete summary of the case, and include its recommendations and the reasons for them. The National Spiritual Assembly will then make the decision about whether to accept the withdrawal.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)


With regard to those who do not consider themselves Bahá’ís on the basis of the argument that they signed the Declaration Card without actually knowing the significance of what they were doing, you should determine who these people are. You should then deepen their knowledge of the Faith. If they feel, after receiving sufficient information, that they do not wish to be Bahá’í, then their names should be removed from the Bahá’í membership list.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 600)


Withdrawal from membership in the Bahá’í community means that the individual no longer believes in Bahá’u’lláh or His Revelation. It is not the same as being a Covenant-breaker, and the person should not be avoided as one would avoid a Covenant-breaker. In fact, individuals often become believers again later and are reinstated.
(Universal House of Justice, NSA-USA, Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities)