Some fascinating developments are coming out of the recent Counsellors’ meeting in Haifa. I’ve heard that the House will announce the names of about 400 newly declared Baha’is. (That is, newly declared by the House to be Baha’is). Anyone care to guess who might be on that list?
Here’s a copy of the House’s announcement about Declaration Day:
Baha'i News Wire
Baha'i World Centre
1 January 2006
Following on from its success in redefining Baha'i belief to more closely meet the needs of the Baha'i community, the Universal House of Justice has initiated a new phase in the process of Entry By Troops. It will soon begin declaring people to be Baha'is.
"This new method of growing the Baha'i community is a natural follow-on to our work in defining Baha'i disbelief", said Faith C. Lensing, a spokesperson for the Baha'i World Centre.
"We began, less than a decade ago, by declaring those Baha'is who were not a good fit in the organisation to be non-Baha'is. However, we soon realised that this approach had its limits and its problems. We also needed to identify non-Baha'is who would be a good fit in the organisation, and declare them to be Baha'is. ...It was that simple."
"As you know, removing a Baha'i from membership in the Baha'i community is not a punishment -- it simply reflects the removee's true spiritual state. Similarly, declaring a non-Baha'i to be a Baha'i has absolutely no effect on that person."
The details of the new initiative have quickly fallen into place: A new Arm of the Learned has been created. The new Counsellors for Declaration will travel within their appointed regions, conducting study classes and enquiring discreetly into the affairs of the general population. Their assistants will provide important back-up, by working within their own communities to identify candidates. The names of suitable non-Baha'is will be compiled and sent off to Haifa.
A new Holy Day -- "The Declaration of the House", falling on 1 April -- will be inaugurated. "The date set for Declaration Day conveniently comes just before Ridvan, which is, as you know, the deadline for locality goals to be met", said Ms. Lensing. On Declaration Day, the House will announce the names and locations of the newly declared Baha'is. Work will not be suspended on that Day, but all income earned will go into a Declaration Fund.
"Self-declaration is proving to be far too slow and haphazard. A potentially life-changing decision such as this [a declaration of faith in the Universal House of Justice] is far too important to be left only in the hands of fallible human beings. We need to become more obedient, more systematic, and to put greater trust in the Universal House of Justice. This is an important first step."