Our Daily Bread: The Most Great Sin

One thing that I still like about the Bahá’í Faith is its severe prohibition against backbiting:

“The worst human quality and the most great sin is backbiting, more especially when it emanates from the tongues of the believers of God. If some means were devised so that the doors of backbiting could be shut eternally, and each one of the believers of God unsealed his lips in praise of others, then the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh would be spread, the hearts illumined, the spirits glorified, and the human world would attain to everlasting felicity. ”

—`Abdu’l-Bahá’, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era

“backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul.”

—Bahá’u’lláh, the Book of Certitude

“Ye have been forbidden to commit murder or adultery, or to engage in backbiting or calumny; …”

—Bahá’u’lláh, the Most Holy Book

Funny thing, then, that—to my knowledge—a Bahá’í can lose his administrative rights for being openly gay, or worse—for drinking beer, but I have never heard of a Bahá’í losing his administrative rights for backbiting.

Oh, and I could not help but notice that these same men who preached so clearly and firmly against backbiting happened to have made so many hateful and defamatory statements against their foes.

Our Daily Bread: Non-Bahá’í Covenant-Breakers

In the following passage, Shoghi Effendi—or rather his secretary—explains the harsh treatment awaits the Bahá’í who attacks Bahá’u’lláh:

“When a person declares his acceptance of Bahá’u’lláh as a Manifestation of God he becomes a party to the Covenant and accepts the totality of His Revelation. If he then turns around and attacks Bahá’u’lláh … he violates the Covenant. If this happens every effort is made to help that person to see the illogicality and error of his actions, but if he persists he must, in accordance with the instructions of Bahá’u’lláh Himself, be shunned as a Covenant-breaker.”

—from a letter dated March 30, 1957 on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, “Messages to Canada,” pg. 64

This passage indicates that a Bahá’í, having declared his or her belief in Bahá’u’lláh as a consenting adult at—say—age 15, has no right to turn around and criticize Bahá’u’lláh. Such a Bahá’í—or Ex-Bahá’í—is to be regarded as “Covenant-breaker,” and—as if that weren’t heinous enough—an illogical.

Apparently it’s illogical to criticize someone that you once worshiped as a child.

Though apostasy is not a capital offense in the Bahá’í Faith, it was no small crime in the eyes of Shoghi Effendi.

“People who have withdrawn from the Cause because they no longer feel that they can support its Teachings and Institutions sincerely, are not Covenant-breakers—they are non-Bahá’ís and should just be treated as such. Only those who ally themselves actively with known enemies of the Faith who are Covenant-breakers, and who attack the Faith in the same spirit as these people, can be considered, themselves, to be Covenant-breakers.”

—from a letter dated March 30, 1957 on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, “Messages to Canada,” p. 64

Hence belief in Bahá’u’lláh is not a prerequisite for Covenant-breaker status. The only prerequisite is that one is or once was a believer. The key point is keep your mouth shut. You can’t be blamed for ceasing to believe, but to openly criticize the Bahá’í Faith—having once believed—is the most reprobate of offenses.

The following is a specific reference to a Bahá’í who turned against the Bahá’í Faith in its entirety. Abdu’l-Husayn Ayati had been an eminent Bahá’í historian. `Abdu’l-Bahá’ had named him “Avarih,” and Shoghi Effendi declared him a Covenant-breaker for his criticisms of the Bahá’í Faith:

“Avarih … will be condemned by posterity as being the most shameless, vicious, relentless apostate in the annals of the Faith, who, through ceaseless vitriolic attacks in recorded voluminous writings and close alliance with its traditional enemies, assiduously schemed to blacken its name and subvert the foundations of its institutions.”

—Shoghi Effendi, Messages To The Bahá’í World: 1950-1957, pages 53-54

Shoghi Effendi often spoke of apostasy of as though it is an evil in and of
itself. Let’s close with several examples:

“Some have apostatized from its principles, and betrayed ignominiously its cause.”

—World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, page 195

“The volumes which a shameless apostate composed and disseminated, during that same period in Persia, in his brazen efforts not only to disrupt that Order but to undermine the very Faith which had conceived it,…”

—God Passes By, page 327.

Apostates, rebels, betrayers, heretics, had exerted their utmost endeavors, privily or openly, to sap the loyalty of the followers of that Faith, to split their ranks or assault their institutions.”

—God Passes By, page 408.

Our Daily Bread: Sperm Donor Consent

One of the strange turns in Bahá’í legal history was the reversal of the Báb’s progressive consent decree. Bahá’u’lláh, having perhaps thought the Báb’s view on marriage too liberal, judged that parents ought to have a say in whom their children marry:

“It hath been laid down in the Bayan that marriage is dependent upon the consent of both parties. Desiring to establish love, unity and harmony amidst Our servants, We have conditioned it, once the couple’s wish is known, upon the permission of their parents, lest enmity and rancour should arise amongst them.”


I haven’t been able to find the Báb’s statement on the matter, but no matter since Bahá’u’lláh’s word is reliable enough for his followers.

To take this a step further, authoritative Bahá’í jurisprudence has dictated—and I might note without a hint of disapproval from Bahá’ís—that with regard to consent, the “parent” must be regarded as the natural parent (Directives of the Guardian, #122).

So we have it that the parents who have actually raised a child do not necessarily have any say in the matter, whether the natural parent be an addict, an invalid, or a sperm donor.

Furthermore, this decree tends to have a divisive influence on the family inasmuch as it does not permit parents to abstain from this obligation, compelling many parents to meddle where they might otherwise have sought to respect the choices of their adult children.

Though this would seem to be a regressive, ill-considered move to the modern observer and traditionalist alike, Bahá’ís are duty-bound to see it as “progressive.”

Our Daily Bread: Abhageddon

There is a wealth of doomsday prophecies and predictions in the Bahá’í scripture and literature. The following passage, for instance, clearly foresees the advent of Rock & Roll:

Suicidal Stanford

Suicidal Stanford

“The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.”

—Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings … , pages 118-119

Of course, the simple fact of the matter is that the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith had already discovered Rock & Roll:

“the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and oftentimes it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest”

Doctrine & Covenants, 85

The Bahá’í writings claim that humanity must be purged of its spiritual slumber and corruption by disaster before it will open its eyes to its Savior, Bahá’u’lláh. In the following citation, Shoghi Effendi describes the calamity that must befall mankind:

The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom. And yet it stubbornly refuses to embrace the light and acknowledge the sovereign authority of the one Power that can extricate it from its entanglements, and avert the woeful calamity that threatens to engulf it.

Ominous indeed is the voice of Bahá’u’lláh that rings through these prophetic words: “O ye peoples of the world! Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity followeth you, and grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not that which ye have committed hath been effaced in My sight.” And again: “We have a fixed time for you, O peoples. If ye fail, at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, He, verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous afflictions to assail you from every direction. How severe, indeed, is the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!”

Must humanity, tormented as she now is, be afflicted with still severer tribulations ere their purifying influence can prepare her to enter the heavenly Kingdom destined to be established upon earth?

Must the inauguration of so vast, so unique, so illumined an era in human history be ushered in by so great a catastrophe in human affairs as to recall, nay surpass, the appalling collapse of Roman civilization in the first centuries of the Christian Era? Must a series of profound convulsions stir and rock the human race ere Bahá’u’lláh can be enthroned in the hearts and consciences of the masses, ere His undisputed ascendancy is universally recognized, and the noble edifice of His World Order is reared and established?

—The Unfoldment of World Civilization.

At the time the above passage was written (1936), the world had already witnessed what it named “The Great War” and “The War To End All Wars”. At that very time, the world was bracing itself for an even more destructive world war. Even World War II, with its millions upon millions dead on the fronts, in the fire bombed cites, in the path of atomic bombs, and in Nazi and Stalinist death camps, even this “Most Great War” was not great enough to teach humanity much about war or genocide. So it is that Bahá’ís, true to their apocalyptic hypothesis, must await “still severer tribulations ere their purifying influence” bring about the utopian world they have been promised.

Our Daily Bread: Consume & Exploit!

Many Bahá’ís would have you believe, well, at least since the 1960s or 1970s, that their religion is distinctly pro-environment. I’m not sure where they get this idea, but I think it has to do with a couple factors:

  1. Bahá’u’lláh loved gardens.
  2. Bahá’u’lláh occasionally expressed the old metaphysical idea that nature is the will of God.

The Bahá’í love for gardens is certainly a step in the right direction, but even it can run afoul of environmental prudence. The Bahá’í gardens in and around Haifa Israel help to illustrate this point. Whereas some of those gardens appear to be adapted to the arid Palestinian climate, others are by contrast highly consumptive of water. There are lawns and fountains galore. This kind of landscaping does not respect the natural climate of the area, and uses like this could be at risk were Israel to have to return the Golan Heights to Syria, as one third of Israel’s water comes from the Golan.

I don’t regard the environmental aspects of the Haifa terrace gardens and “Arc” to be a horrible crime against nature or the Arab world, but I wouldn’t call it a selling point for the Bahá’ís.

As for Bahá’u’lláh’s metaphysical statements about nature being
the will of God, they are no more conservationist than the following passage from a rock song:

“You cannot go against nature
Because when you do
Go against nature
It’s part of nature too”

—Love and Rockets, “No New Tale to Tell”

Where are the pleas for conservation, reduction of consumption, reuse, recycling, etc. in the Bahá’í scriptures? I have only found messages to the contrary:

“Ye are free to wear the fur of the sable as ye would that of the beaver, the squirrel, and other animals; the prohibition of its use hath stemmed, not from the Qur’án, but from the misconceptions of the divines.”
—Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, ¶9

A more glaring example of the insensitivity of the Bahá’í writings to environmental issues can be found in The Unfoldment Of World Civilization (1936), wherein Shoghi Effendi described his vision of the future. He had a particularly consumptive attitude toward natural resources:

A world metropolis will act as the nerve center of a world civilization, the focus towards which the unifying forces of life will converge and from which its energizing influences will radiate.

… raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized …

The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic or political, will be consecrated … to the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources of the planet, …

A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources, … and bent on the exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface of the planet, …

Shoghi Effendi clearly thought natural resources would be infinitely renewable. This was a common misconception in his time, so I don’t blame him for it, but the fact remains that his vision of civilization began to show its defects soon after he died.

Our Daily Bread: Candles in the Wind

“The Seven Candles of Unity,” found in `Abdu’l-Bahá’s authoritative writings, was one of his approaches to foretelling the future progress of the world toward unity.

The most noteworthy—and controversial—of the seven is the fifth candle, of which `Abdu’l-Bahá’ says:

… is the unity of nations—a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.

Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá’, pg. 32

Because of prophecies such as this one which `Abdu’l-Bahá’ was fond of repeating, Bahá’ís expected world peace to be “securely established” in the 20th Century. This expectation was confirmed and encouraged by Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice. If any Bahá’ís believed otherwise, I didn’t hear of it.

Now that we find ourselves a decade into the new millennium, world peace and unity seem as remote as ever—no surprise for those among us not graced by divine foresight.

Let’s have a look at those candles, and see if we can hold them up to the winds of change.

Unity of Politics & Action

First, let’s look at the first two candles of unity.

  1. Unity in the political realm … the early glimmerings of which can now be discerned
  2. Unity of thought in world undertakings … the consummation of which will erelong be witnessed

It is interesting that `Abdu’l-Bahá’ seems to have expected these first two candles to be on the verge of realization, but of course, they are both cold and dark a century after the prophecy was made. If either candle bears the slightest flicker, it would have to be the latter, as some efforts toward common action have been made among groups of nations, but we’re a long way from unity. We can’t even cooperate enough to stop bands of Somali pirates!

Universal Freedom

“Unity in freedom” is in as much danger as ever, as slave labor is becoming more mainstream in the new international marketplace. Sex slavery in particular is thriving.

Any progress in lighting the first and second candles is likely to take the oxygen from this third candle. Cooperation between governments is likely to come into direct conflict with progress in civil liberties and human rights, as international cooperation depends upon compromise.

Unification of Religion

This one gets my vote for the most comical candle. `Abdu’l-Bahá’ doesn’t speak here of harmony or tolerance; no—he speaks of unity. This can only mean conversion.

Eventually, “all nations and kindreds” will be converted to the Bahá’í Faith:

“all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, … Religious and sectarian antagonism, … will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, …”

Some Answered Questions, pg. 65

Bahá’ís refer to this great world conversion as “entry by troops.”

Did `Abdu’l-Bahá’ mean that the world would convert to his religion in the 20th Century? It would be difficult enough to achieve harmony and tolerance among the world’s religions, but to foretell the conversion of all the world’s peoples to one faith—particularly such an obscure one—is to overtax the imagination.

One World Nation

Back to the big kahuna:

The fifth candle is the unity of nations—a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.

Shoghi Effendi, `Abdu’l-Bahá’s authorized—and purportedly unerring—interpreter, confirmed this prophecy by bringing it to the Bahá’í world’s attention:

“This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as `Abdu’l-Bahá’ assures us, will, in this century, be securely established.”

—The Promised Day Is Come: Religion and Social Evolution (1941)

And again:

The fifth candle is the unity of nations—a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland.

—World Order of Bahá’u’lláh: Seven Lights of Unity (1931)

As a world, are we even close to this ideal? If anything, nations have fragmented and multiplied. Political convergence, which would be necessary for the first candle, seems as remote as ever. Strife among the peoples of the world has led more to talk of ideological warfare and irreconcilable cultural divides with failures at nation building in Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. How can one even speak of unity?

This candle which was promised to be “securely established” in the 20th Century, but it has not even appeared momentarily. It would be absurd to claim that the unity of nations is “securely established.”

This was not an isolated case. `Abdu’l-Bahá’ was found to make similar prophecies on other occasions:

“[The permanent peace] will be established in this century … It will be universal in the twentieth century. All nations will be forced into it … the nations will be forced to come to peace and to agree to the abolition of war … By international agreement they will lay down their arms and the great era of peace will be ushered in.”

—`Abdu’l-Bahá’, “A Compilation on Peace” compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice


This one is going to take awhile yet:

The sixth candle is unity of races, making of all that dwell on earth peoples and kindreds of one race.


The seventh candle is unity of language, i.e., the choice of a universal tongue in which all peoples will be instructed and converse.

This one’s gonna be a piece of cake. It may be the one candle that can actually hold a flame.

God help us

How sure was `Abdu’l-Bahá’ of all this? Here’s his answer:

Each and every one of these will inevitably come to pass, inasmuch as the power of the Kingdom of God will aid and assist in their realization.

So there you have it. This is no mere vision; this is the will of God. It’s got to happen.

Our Daily Bread: Idolatry Ad Nauseam

I just stumbled across yet another grand example of idolatry in the Bahá’í religion. Bahá’u’lláh is here identified by his great-grandson as, among other names, the “Lord of Lords,” the “Self-Subsistent,” and the “Day-Star of the Universe.”

Read it and cringe …

He was formally designated Bahá’u’lláh, an appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayán, signifying at once the glory, the light and the splendor of God, and was styled the “Lord of Lords,” the “Most Great Name,” the “Ancient Beauty,” the “Pen of the Most High,” the “Hidden Name,” the “Preserved Treasure,” “He Whom God will make manifest,” the “Most Great Light,” the “All-Highest Horizon,” the “Most Great Ocean,” the “Supreme Heaven,” the “Pre-Existent Root,” the “Self-Subsistent,” the “Day-Star of the Universe,” the “Great Announcement,” the “Speaker on Sinai,” the “Sifter of Men,” the “Wronged One of the World,” the “Desire of the Nations,” the “Lord of the Covenant,” the “Tree beyond which there is no passing.”

—Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By

Our Daily Bread: Baha’i Hair Care

Here are several of my favorite passages from Bahá’u’lláh’s “Most Holy Book.” I think these passages open a window into the future of Bahá’í fashion.

it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit of the ears. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Lord of all worlds.

please read this paragraph. I know your eyes want to gaze at the photo below, but please resist that temptation.

I imagine that Bahá’í hippies will not have long hair like the Founding Fathers of the Bahá’í Faith, or rather if they do, they might use those aboriginal-style ear lobe inserts to extend their ears as far as they desire to grow their hair.

The Look of Rock’s Future

… or maybe those long-in-the-back new wave hairdos from the ’80s will be permissible. I remember when the guys in Rush all had their hair cut for Grace Under Pressure. I was so impressed by their kosher fashion that I sent them a copy of The Promise of World Peace! That was a little embarrassing, them looking so extremely anti-homophobic and me being such a pawn, but it hardly diminishes the wisdom of keeping one’s ears clear of overgrowth.

… I mean, unless you’ve got Geddy Lee’s ears. Yikes.

Here’s another window into the future:

God hath decreed, in token of His mercy unto His creatures, that semen is not unclean. Yield thanks unto Him with joy and radiance …

I think the inner significance of this is that Bahá’í Rastafarians of the future might glue their modest dreadlocks with semen, or perhaps when future Bahá’ís need a little mousse, they can come by it in an environmentally responsible manner.

I’m talking about hair mousse, of course.

Finally, here’s one the strikes close to home for yours truly:

Shave not your heads; God hath adorned them with hair, and in this there are signs from the Lord of creation to those who reflect upon the requirements of nature. He, verily, is the God of strength and wisdom.

Geeze. Did he really need to use the word reflect?

Observe that the Lizard Man does not shave his head.

Unfortunately, men of the future will not be able to conceal their bald spots by shaving their heads, so I suppose bald guys will cease reproducing and will go extinct.

It’s a little sad, but all for the betterment of the species, I guess.

Our Daily Bread: A Demon-Haunted World Order

There’s an ancient tradition in Iran of regarding some things as “ritually” unclean. Any exposure to such things can cause spiritual illness, and requires that the exposed be ritually purified. If this sounds exotic, just think of baptism or crucifixion—two Christian examples of ritual purification. Among the carriers of such contagious impurity is the infidel—the unbeliever. The tradition goes back into Zoroastrian times, and has persisted as a doctrine of Shi’a Islam and the Bahá’í Faith:

Beware! Walk not with the ungodly and seek not fellowship with him, for such companionship turneth the radiance of the heart into infernal fire.

—Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words

Though the Bahá’í Faith doesn’t provide a ritual for cleansing Bahá’ís after exposure to unbelievers, it definitely teaches that exposure to “the ungodly” sickens the soul. The contagion appears to be quite common, though its severity appears to depend on the degree of ungodliness of the “carrier,” being at its worst when acquired from exposure to people that Bahá’ís call “Covenant-breakers.”

Covenant-breakers are the demons of the Bahá’í Faith. I don’t think there’s anything quite like them in any other religion, though they are somewhat reminiscent of the old Zoroastrian demons of death. They are outwardly ordinary people, though it has been claimed that a very unpleasant odor precedes them wherever they go.

In the following passage, Bahá’u’lláh appears to employ the words of his predecessor in warning his followers against becoming infected by these “manifestations of Satan”:

“Protect yourselves with utmost vigilance, lest you be entrapped in the snare of deception and fraud.” This is the advice of the Pen of Destiny. “Therefore, to avoid these people will be the nearest path by which to attain the divine good pleasure; because their breath is infectious, like unto poison. Endeavor to your utmost to protect yourselves, because Satan appears in different robes and appeals to everyone according to each person’s own way, until he becomes like unto him — then he will leave him alone.”
“…If you detect in any man the least perceptible breath of violation, shun him and keep away from him.” Then He says: “Verily, they are manifestations of Satan.”

Bahá’í World Faith, p. 431

Bahá’u’lláh was also reported by his son Abbas to have warned Bahá’ís throughout his writings about these wicked Covenant-breakers, likening their breath to snake venom:

Bahá’u’lláh, in all the Tablets and Epistles, forbade the true and firm friends from associating and meeting the violators of the Covenant of His Holiness, the Báb, saying that no one should go near them because their breath is like the poison of the snake that kills instantly.

`Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 430

This is no incidental, secondary doctrine. It is, rather, “one of the greatest and most fundamental principles” of the Bahá’í Faith:

… one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.

`Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, paragraph 38

One fascinating aspect of Covenant breaking is that it is presumed to be passed from parents to children:

children of Covenant-breakers, who have grown up with and still associate with their parents, are probably thoroughly infused with the Covenant-breaking spirit, and the friends must not associate with them until the Hands of the Cause have ascertained that these children have understood the sin of their parents and dissociated themselves from them.

a letter of the Universal House of Justice dated 5 February 1969 to an individual believer

It should be explained that descendants of Covenant-breakers who have not positively repudiated their forebears and sought readmittance to the Cause should be viewed with caution as they may well have received the poison of Covenant-breaking from their parents and would then have to be shunned by the friends.

a memorandum of the Universal House of Justice to the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land dated 2 December 1971

For more juicy citations, see Non-association with Covenant-breakers, Directives from the Guardian, and What does the term “Covenant-breaking” mean?

Shunning of Covenant-breakers is typically done on an individual level, but Bahá’í institutions have also been seen exhibiting this practice. In a recent dispute between the United States National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) and the Second International Bahá’í Council, the WIPO panel that oversaw the dispute voiced some disapproval over the unwillingness of the conplainant (the NSA) to communicate with the other party:

Complainant did not send a copy of its request directly to Respondent, apparently believing Respondent had a “religious objection” to communicating with it. While the Panel appreciates Complainant’s sensitivity, it did not interpret the statement that Respondent had, consistent with Respondent’s religious beliefs, ignored Complainant’s cease and desist letter, to be an objection to receiving communications. Moreover, the Panel reminds Complainant of Rule 2(h): “Any communication by . . . a Party shall be copied to the other Party, the Panel and the Provider, as the case may be” (emphasis added).

Our Daily Bread: Holy Irrational

Yes, that’s right. In this context, “wholly” and “holy” are interchangeable.

Think that the Bahá’í Faith teaches harmony between science and religion? Think again!

Your sciences shall not profit you in this day, nor your arts, nor your treasures, nor your glory. Cast them all behind your backs, and set your faces towards the Most Sublime Word…

Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pg. 97-98

Perhaps Bahá’u’lláh’s actual meaning is not as it appears. Need an authoritative interpretation? Here. Have three:

You see our whole approach to each matter is based on the belief that God sends us divinely inspired Educators; what they tell us is fundamentally true, what science tells us today is true; tomorrow may be entirely changed to better explain a new set of facts.

Shoghi Effendi, Arohanui – Letters to New Zealand, pg. 85

Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perplexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

Shoghi Effendi, The New World Order, Bahá’í Administration, pg. 62

The danger Bahá’í scholars must avoid is the distortion of religious truth, almost forcibly at times, to make it conform to understandings and perceptions current in the scientific world. True Bahá’í scholars should guard against this.

Universal House of Justice, From a letter dated 7 June 1983 to an individual believer

Oh, wait. Pardon me. The Universal House of Justice is not given the authority to interpret the holy scriptures. I suppose if they express an opinion, that must mean that no authoritative interpretation is needed because the scriptures are clear on the subject. After all, they would surely never dare overstep the authority granted them by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will & Testament. … or is this—legislation?

Think there’s a broad grey area in which believers can excercise their own judgment? Careful now!

In short, the meaning of “He doeth whatsoever He willeth” is that if the Manifestation says something, or gives a command, or performs an action, and believers do not understand its wisdom, they still ought not to oppose it by a single thought, seeking to know why He spoke so, or why He did such a thing. The other souls who are under the shadow of the supreme Manifestations are submissive to the commandments of the Law of God, and are not to deviate as much as a hairsbreadth from it; they must conform their acts and words to the Law of God. If they do deviate from it, they will be held responsible and reproved in the presence of God.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’, Some Answered Questions, pg. 173

Don’t you dare entertain a doubt, and don’t you dare hesitate!

Were He to decree as lawful the thing which from time immemorial had been forbidden, and forbid that which had, at all times, been regarded as lawful, to none is given the right to question His authority. Whoso will hesitate, though it be for less than a moment, should be regarded as a transgressor.

Bahá’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, pg. 77

Take heed lest ye hesitate in recognizing this resplendent Beauty when once He hath appeared in the plenitude of His sovereign might and majesty. He, verily, is the True One, and all else besides Him is as naught before a single one of His servants, and paleth into nothingness when brought face to face with the revelation of His splendours. Hasten, then, to attain the living waters of His grace, and be not of the negligent. As to him who hesitateth, though it be for less than a moment, God shall verily bring his works to naught and return him to the seat of wrath; wretched indeed is the abode of them that tarry!

Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pg. 54

Thanks to Mavaddat Javid for his comprehensive Bahá’í dogmatism compilation.