Consequently, such behavior can be attributed to naught save the petty-mindedness of such souls as tread the valley of arrogance and pride, are lost in the wilds of remoteness, walk in the ways of their idle fancy, and follow the dictates of the leaders of their faith. Their chief concern is mere opposition; their sole desire is to ignore the truth. Unto every discerning observer it is evident and manifest that had these people in the days of each of the Manifestations of the Sun of Truth sanctified their eyes, their ears, and their hearts from whatever they had seen, heard, and felt, they surely would not have been deprived of beholding the beauty of God, nor strayed far from the habitations of glory. But having weighed the testimony of God by the standard of their own knowledge, gleaned from the teachings of the leaders of their faith, and found it at variance with their limited understanding, they arose to perpetrate such unseemly acts.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 18

If Thou wishest a discerning eye and seekest for a hearing ear, set thou aside that which thou hast heard from fathers and ancestors, for such things are imitation -- and then seek for the truth with the utmost attention until the divine confirmation may reach thee ant the matter may be properly disclosed unto thee.

Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 387

At most it is this: that some are ignorant; they must be educated in order that they may become intelligent. Some are immature as children; they must be aided and assisted in order that they may become mature. Some are sick and ailing; they must be healed. But the suffering patient must not be tested by false treatment. The child must not be warped and hindered in its development. The ignorant must not be restricted by censure and criticism. We must look for the real, true remedy.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 40.

It is incumbent upon you to strip yourselves of every old garment (i. e., old beliefs and past customs). It is incumbent upon you to be severed from this contemptible earthly world. It is incumbent upon you (to seek after) the Kingdom, in this great Day!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 144

The foundations of the divine religions are one. If we investigate these foundations, we discover much ground for agreement, but if we consider the imitations of forms and ancestral beliefs, we find points of disagreement and division; for these imitations differ, while the sources and foundations are one and the same. That is to say, the fundamentals are conducive to unity, but imitations are the cause of disunion and dismemberment. Whosoever is lacking in love for humanity or manifests hatred and bigotry toward any part of it violates the foundation and source of his own belief and is holding to forms and imitations.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 40

The third criterion or standard of proof is traditional or scriptural -- namely, that every statement or conclusion should be supported by traditions recorded in certain religious books. When we come to consider even the Holy Books -- the Books of God -- we are led to ask, "Who understands these books? By what authority of explanation may these Books be understood?" It must be the authority of human reason, and if reason or intellect finds itself incapable of explaining certain questions, or if the possessors of intellect contradict each other in the interpretation of traditions, how can such a criterion be relied upon for accurate conclusions?

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 254

The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375.

How great, therefore, how staggering the responsibility that must weigh upon the present generation of the American believers, at this early stage in their spiritual and administrative evolution, to weed out, by every means in their power, those faults, habits, and tendencies which they have inherited from their own nation, and to cultivate, patiently and prayerfully, those distinctive qualities and characteristics that are so indispensable to their effective participation in the great redemptive work of their Faith.

Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 20

The removal of imperfections is a gradual process. Constant advice and admonition are necessary so that, step by step, the community may make good the various deficiencies that beset it and run its affairs on a planned and orderly basis.

Shoghi Effendi, Trustworthiness, pp. 352-53

What is needed is excellence of character and conduct, and compliance with the laws revealed by Bahá’u’lláh -- these are the magnets that attract divine confirmation, and the means of establishing the validity and uniqueness of the Cause of the All-Glorious.

Shoghi Effendi, Compilation of Compilations, v11, p. 352.

Again applying the principle of equality evenly, women are not exempt from self-examination in the area of gender equality and must also engage in deliberate examination of their own attitudes, feelings and behaviors, which may contribute to sustaining traditional patterns of gender prejudice.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 3

All those who abuse do not fit the same mold. While some are extremely resistant to intervention or treatment others may be able to accept responsibility for their behavior. Some individuals who abuse may live with acute, and often hidden, feelings of shame and self-loathing. Despite the suffering they bring to others, they may be in need of compassion and forgiveness themselves and may hope for rehabilitation with intervention and assistance. These individuals would be in need of a supportive, loving, non-judgmental community as they strive to overcome abusive behaviors. However, this should not be interpreted to mean that an individual who abuses may shift responsibility for any lack of progress to his or her family members, community, or Bahá’í administrative institutions.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 113.

Among these teachings was the independent investigation of reality so that the world of humanity may be saved from the darkness of imitation and attain to the truth; may tear off and cast away this ragged and outgrown garment of a thousand years ago and may put on the robe woven in the utmost purity and holiness in the loom of reality.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 298

Explore the meanings of abuse and battering to the persons involved since culture, race, and ethnicity influence how these terms are defined. For example, in some cultures, various forms of abuse are tolerated or have not been considered abuse and may even be regarded by both genders as rightful forms of discipline or as expressions of caring. Nevertheless, cultural acceptance does not render abusive behaviors harmless or legal.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 93

It is essential that men engage in a careful, deliberate examination of attitudes, feelings, and behavior deeply rooted in cultural habit, that block the equal participation of women and stifle the growth of men.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Two Wings of a Bird, 1997.

The damaging effects of gender prejudice are a fault line beneath the foundation of our national life. The gains for women rest uneasily on unchanged, often unexamined, inherited assumptions. Much remains to be done. The achievement of full equality requires a new understanding of who we are, what is our purpose in life, and how we relate to one another -- an understanding that will compel us to reshape our lives and thereby our society.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Two Wings of a Bird, 1997.

While one may have enormous sympathy for how destructive patterns of behavior originate and that they are often due to the abuser having been abused earlier in life, such compassionate understanding should never be used to excuse or justify misconduct, or to bestow undue sympathy for its consequences, as that only perpetuates the problem and may extend it into the following generation.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies on Domestic Violence, p. 107