2122. Our Expectant Eyes are Fixed on Bahá’í Youth!
"The endurance of youth under arduous conditions, their vitality and vigour, and their ability to adapt themselves to local situations, to meet new challenges, and to impart their warmth and enthusiasm to those they visit, combined with the standard of conduct upheld by Bahá’í youth, make them potent instruments for the execution of the contemplated projects. Indeed, through these distinctive qualities they can become the spearhead of any enterprise and the driving force of any undertaking in which they participate, whether local or national. Our expectant eyes are fixed on Bahá’í youth!"
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, May 25, 1975)
"You who are at present in your teens, or twenties, must realize that tomorrow, to a large extent, the burden of the Cause will rest on your shoulders; you will have to be the administrators and teachers and scholars of the Faith. Now is the time to prepare yourselves for your future duties.
"He hopes you will study the teachings deeply, their spiritual, moral, and administrative precepts, and at the same time take as active a part as possible in the life of your respective Bahá’í communities."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi: Dawn of a New Day, p. 183)
2124. Special Message and Mission for Youth
"This Cause, although it embraces with equal esteem people of all ages, has a special message and mission for the youth of your generation. It is their charter for their future, their hope, their guarantee of better days to come. Therefore, the Guardian is especially happy that the young Bahá’ís are active in the pioneer work."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, June 16, 1942: Bahá’í News, No. 161, p. 1, March 1943)
2125. Youth Should Open Their Eyes to Existing Situation of World Conditions and Inquire About What the Future is Going to Bring
"The present condition of the world—its economic instability, social dissensions, political dissatisfaction and international distrust—should awaken the youth from their slumber and make them enquire what the future is going to bring. It is surely they who will suffer most if some calamity sweeps over the world. They should therefore open their eyes to the existing conditions, study the evil forces that are at play and then with a concerted effort arise and bring about the necessary reforms—reforms that shall contain within their scope the spiritual as well as social and political phases of human life."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, March 13, 1932)
2126. To Make Their Views Known to Others the Young People Should Keep in Touch With Local Youth Activities
"…the young Bahá’ís in every city should make a point of keeping in touch with local youth activities and clubs, and endeavouring to make their views known to as many young people in as many ways as possible. Above all they should set a high example to them; chastity, politeness, friendliness, hospitality, joyous optimism about the ultimate future happiness and well-being of mankind should distinguish them and win over to them the love and admiration of their fellow youth. The thing which is most conspicuously lacking in modern life is a high standard of conduct and good character; the young Bahá’ís must demonstrate both, if they hope to seriously win over to the Faith members of their own generation, so sorely disillusioned and so contaminated by the laxity war gives rise to."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Youth Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, October 20, 1945)
2127. Youth Should be Scholars of the Faith—Material Training and Material Progress are Insufficient
"In regard to your questions in your letter of June 15th:
No. 1. The Guardian has always advised young people to study deeply such subjects as History, Economics and Sociology as they are all related to the teachings and aid in understanding the Faith.
No. 2. A course on the Faith suitable for university use should be worked out by some body of Bahá’ís and educators and approved by the N.S.A.
No. 3. The greatest need of youth today is character training. Prayer is only one factor in this; they must learn to live up to the ethical teachings of the Faith…
No. 4. Once young people become convinced of the existence of the soul they should not need much convincing that material training and material progress are not sufficient. The soul needs training and help too.
"He feels that teaching the Faith to the youth is of the utmost importance in these days, as they will not only become the workers of the future but will be able to widely spread the Message among their own generation. He approves of your devoting as much time to this work as feasible…."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, May 12, 1944)
2128. Saints, Heroes, Martyrs and Administrators
"He urges you to make up your minds to do great, great deeds for the Faith; the condition of the world is steadily growing worse, and your generation must provide the saints, heroes, martyrs and administrators of future years. With dedication and will power you can rise to great heights."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, October 2, 1951: Bahá’í Youth, p. 6)
2129. Cause Doomed to Stagnation If Youth Fail
"… If the younger Bahá’í generation, in whom Shoghi Effendi has great hopes, take the pain of studying the Cause deeply and thoroughly, read its history, find its underlying principles and become both well informed and energetic, they surely can achieve a great deal. It is upon their shoulders that the Master has laid the tremendous work of teaching. They are the ones to raise the call of the Kingdom and arouse the people from slumber. If they fail the Cause is doomed to stagnation…."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi: Dawn of a New Day, p. 3)
2130. The Responsibility for Teaching is Placed on the Shoulders of the Bahá’í Youth
"…The responsibilities that have been laid upon your shoulders are manifold, and unless you exert your utmost to carry them out there can be not much hope for any further progress in the field of Bahá’í teaching activity. The obligation to teach is essentially the responsibility of young believers. Their whole training should therefore be directed in such a way as to make them competent teachers. It is for this very purpose that Bahá’í Summer Schools, which constitute the very basis upon which the Bahá’í universities of the future will be established, should be widely attended by young believers."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to five Bahá’í Youth Groups in the United States, May 15, 1936)
2131. Youth Will Inherit the Work of the Older Bahá’ís
"The responsibility of young believers is very great, as they must not only fit themselves to inherit the work of the older Bahá’ís and carry on the affairs of the Cause in general, but the world which lies ahead of them—as promised by Bahá’u’lláh—will be a world chastened by its sufferings, ready to listen to His Divine Message at last; and consequently a very high character will be expected of the exponents of such a religion. To deepen their knowledge, to perfect themselves in the Bahá’í standards of virtue and upright conduct, should be the paramount duty of every young Bahá’í."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi: Dawn of a New Day, pp. 179-180)
2132. The Need of Modern Youth For a Type of Ethics Founded on Pure Religious Faith
"… He quite agrees … that the dangers facing the modern youth are becoming increasingly grave, and call for immediate solution. But as experience clearly shows, the remedy to this truly sad and perplexing situation is not to be found in traditional and ecclesiastical religion. The dogmatism of the church has been discarded once for all. What can control youth and save it from the pitfalls of the crass materialism of the age is the power of a genuine, constructive and living Faith such as the one revealed to the world by Bahá’u’lláh. Religion, as in the past, is still the world's sole hope, but not that form of religion which our ecclesiastical leaders strive vainly to preach. Divorced from true religion, morals lose their effectiveness and cease to guide and control man's individual and social life. But when true religion is combined with true ethics, then moral progress becomes a possibility and not a mere ideal.
"The need of our modern youth is for such a type of ethics founded on pure religious faith. Not until these two are rightly combined and brought into full action can there be any hope for the future of the race."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, April 17, 1936: Bahá’í Youth, pp. 8-9)
2133. Associate in a Friendly Spirit with Others
"By all means persevere and associate in a friendly spirit with other groups of young people, particularly of a different race or minority nationality, for such an association will demonstrate your complete conviction of the oneness of mankind and attract others to the Faith, both young and old alike. A spirit of prejudice-free, loving comradeship with others is what will open the eyes of people more than any amount of words."
- (From a letter of the Guardian to the Dayton Bahá’í Youth Group, January 18, 1945)
2134. From Beginning Bahá’í Era Youth Played Vital Part
"… From the very beginning of the Bahá’í Era, youth have played a vital part in the promulgation of God's Revelation. The Báb Himself was but twenty-five years old when He declared His Mission, while many of the Letters of the Living were even younger. The Master, as a very young man, was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the service of His Father in 'Iráq and Turkey, and His brother, the Purest Branch, yielded up his life to God in the Most Great Prison at the age of twenty-two that the servants of God might 'be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united'. Shoghi Effendi was a student at Oxford when called to the throne of his guardianship, and many of the Knights of Bahá’u’lláh, who won imperishable fame during the Ten Year Crusade, were young people. Let it, therefore, never be imagined that youth must await their years of maturity before they can render invaluable services to the Cause of God."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to Bahá’í youth in every land, June 10, 1966)
2135. We May Well Emulate the Youth
"… We may well emulate Bahá’í youth whose recent surge forward into the van of proclamation and teaching is one of the most encouraging and significant trends in the Faith, and who storm the gates of heaven for support in their enterprises by long-sustained, precedent and continuing prayer. We are all able to call upon Bahá’u’lláh for His Divine, all-powerful aid, and He will surely help us. For He is the Hearer of prayers, the Answerer."
- (From the Message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 1972)
2136. Upsurge of Bahá’í Youth
"The first, the heartwarming upsurge of Bahá’í youth, has changed the face of teaching work; impenetrable barriers have been broken or over passed by eager teams of young Bahá’ís, dedicated and prayerful, presenting the Divine Message in ways acceptable to their own generation from which it has spread and is spreading throughout the social structure. The entire Bahá’í world has been thrilled by this development. Having rejected the values and standards of the old world, Bahá’í youth are eager to learn and adapt themselves to the standards of Bahá’u’lláh and so to offer the Divine Programme to fill the gap left by the abandonment of the old order."
- (Message from the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 1973)
2137. Youth Should be Encouraged to Think of Their Studies
"Bahá’í youth should be encouraged to think of their studies and of their training for a trade or profession as part of their service to the Cause of God and in the context of a lifetime that will be devoted to advancing the interests of the Faith. At the same time, during their years of study, youth are often able to offer specific periods of weeks or months, or even of a year or more, during which they can devote themselves to travel teaching or to serving the Bahá’í community in other ways, such as conducting children's classes in remote villages. They should be encouraged to offer such service, which will in itself be admirable experience for the future, and the National Assembly should instruct an appropriate committee to receive such offers and to organize their implementation so as to derive the greatest possible advantage from them."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, Naw-Rúz 1974)
2138. Youth Will Arise for the Sake of God
"We sincerely hope that the forefront of the volunteers, the Bahá’í youth will arise for the sake of God and, through their driving force, their ability to endure inhospitable and arduous conditions, and their contentment with the bare necessities of life, they will offer an inspiring example to the peoples and communities they set out to serve, will exert an abiding influence on their personal lives, and will promote with distinction the vital interests of God"s Cause at this crucial stage in the fortunes of the Plan."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies, March 25, 1975)
2139. The House of Justice Calls on the Bahá’í Youth as "Legatees of the Heroic Early Believers" to Re-Double Their Efforts in Spreading the Divine Message
"As to Bahá’í youth, legatees of the heroic early believers and now standing on their shoulders, we call upon them to redouble their efforts, in this day of widespread interest in the Cause of God, to enthuse their contemporaries with the divine Message and thus prepare themselves for the day when they will be veteran believers able to assume whatever tasks may be laid upon them. We offer them this passage from the Pen of Bahá’u’lláh:
'Blessed is he who in the prime of his youth and the heyday of his life will arise to serve the Cause of the Lord of the beginning and of the end, and adorn his heart with His love. The manifestation of such a grace is greater than the creation of the heavens and of the earth. Blessed are the steadfast and well is it with those who are firm'."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the World, Ridván 1982)
2140. Youth Should not Indict Non-Bahá’í Friends For They Only See a World Crumbling but We See a New World Being Built Up
"Even though the Bahá’í youth should feel with the condition in which they see their non-Bahá’í friends and not indict them for it, they should not let themselves be carried by the wave of world events as they are being carried. Whereas they see before them only a world that is crumbling down we are also seeing a new world being built up. Whereas they experience the destruction of old institutions that commanded their respect, we are beholding the dawn of a new era with its strict commands and new social bonds. Their materialistic outlook shows them the futility of all things while our faith in a regenerated and spiritualized man makes us look to the future and build for it. To make them follow our ways we should sympathize with their plight but should not follow their ways. We should take our stand on a higher plane of moral and spiritual life and, setting for them the true example, urge them up to our level. The young people should read what Bahá’u’lláh and the Master say on such matters and follow them conscientiously. That is if they desire to be true to the teachings and establish them throughout the world."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, October 26, 1932: Bahá’í Youth, a compilation, pp. 4-5)
2141. Education, One of the Most Fundamental Factors of True Civilization
"Being a Bahá’í you are certainly aware of the fact that Bahá’u’lláh considered education as one of the most fundamental factors of a true civilization. This education, however, in order to be adequate and fruitful should be comprehensive in nature and should take into consideration not only the physical and the intellectual side of man but also his spiritual and ethical aspects. This should be the program of the Bahá’í Youth all over the world."
- (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, July 9, 1931: Bahá’í Youth, pp. 10-11)
2142. Future Peace—Great Responsibility Borne by Youth
"A very great responsibility for the future peace and well-being of the world is borne by the youth of today. Let the Bahá’í youth by the power of the Cause they espouse be the shining example for their companions."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, April 15, 1965)
2143. The Universal House of Justice Calls on Bahá’í Youth to Rededicate Themselves to the Urgent Needs of the Cause
"RECENT MARTYRDOMS COURAGEOUS STEADFAST YOUTH IN SHIRAZ, SCENE INAUGURATION MISSION MARTYR-PROPHET, REMINISCENT ACTS VALOUR YOUTHFUL IMMORTALS HEROIC AGE. CONFIDENT BAHA'I YOUTH THIS GENERATION WILL NOT ALLOW THIS FRESH BLOOD SHED ON VERY SOIL WHERE FIRST WAVE PERSECUTION FAITH TOOK PLACE REMAIN UNVINDICATED OR THIS SUBLIME SACRIFICE UNAVAILING. AT THIS HOUR OF AFFLICTION AND GRIEF, AND AS WE APPROACH ANNIVERSARY MARTYRDOM BLESSED BAB CALL ON BAHA'I YOUTH TO REDEDICATE THEMSELVES TO URGENT NEEDS CAUSE BAHA'U'LLAH. LET THEM RECALL BLESSINGS HE PROMISED THOSE WHO IN PRIME OF YOUTH WILL ARISE TO ADORN THEIR HEARTS WITH HIS LOVE AND REMAIN STEADFAST AND FIRM. LET THEM CALL TO MIND EXPECTATIONS MASTER FOR EACH TO BE A FEARLESS LION, A MUSK-LADEN BREEZE WAFTING OVER MEADS VIRTUE. LET THEM MEDITATE OVER UNIQUE QUALITIES YOUTH SO GRAPHICALLY MENTIONED IN WRITINGS GUARDIAN WHO PRAISED THEIR ENTERPRISING AND ADVENTUROUS SPIRIT, THEIR VIGOUR, THEIR ALERTNESS, OPTIMISM AND EAGERNESS, AND THEIR DIVINELY-APPOINTED, HOLY AND ENTHRALLING TASKS. WE FERVENTLY PRAY AT SACRED THRESHOLD THAT ARMY OF SPIRITUALLY AWAKENED AND DETERMINED YOUTH, MAY IMMEDIATELY ARISE RESPONSE NEEDS PRESENT HOUR DEVOTE IN EVER GREATER MEASURE THEIR VALUED ENERGIES TO PROMOTE BOTH ON HOMEFRONTS AND IN FOREIGN FIELDS, CAUSE THEIR ALL-WATCHFUL AND EXPECTANT LORD. MAY THEY MANIFEST SAME SPIRIT SO RECENTLY EVINCED THEIR MARTYR BRETHREN CRADLE FAITH, SCALE SUCH HEIGHTS OF ENDEAVOUR AS TO BECOME PRIDE THEIR PEERS CONSOLATION HEARTS PERSIAN BELIEVERS, AND DEMONSTRATE THAT THE FLAME HIS OMNIPOTENT HAND HAS KINDLED BURNS EVER BRIGHT AND THAT ITS LIFE-IMPARTING WARMTH AND RADIANCE SHALL SOON ENVELOP PERMEATE WHOLE EARTH."
- (From a cable of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’í youth throughout the world, June 24, 1983)
2144. The Bahá’í Youth of Today Have the Distinction of Seeing the Establishment of the Lesser Peace and the Reconciliation of Society
"This generation of Bahá’í youth enjoys a unique distinction. You will live your lives in a period when the forces of history are moving to a climax, when mankind will see the establishment of the Lesser Peace, and during which the Cause of God will play an increasingly prominent role in the reconstruction of human society. It is you who will be called upon in the years to come to stand at the helm of the Cause in face of conditions and developments which can, as yet, scarcely be imagined."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the European Youth Conference in Innsbruck, July 4, 1983)
2145. The Key to Success is to Deepen Your Understanding of the Teachings and be Able to Explain Them to Your Peers
"European Bahá’í youth in particular face tremendous and challenging tasks in the immediate future. Can one doubt that the manner in which the governments of the European nation have rallied to the defence of the persecuted Bahá’ís in Írán will draw down blessings from on high upon this continent? And who among the people of Europe are more likely to be kindled by the challenge and hope of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh than the youth? Now is an opportunity to awaken the interest, set afire the hearts and enlist the active support of young people of every nation, class and creed in that continent. The key to success in this endeavour is, firstly, to deepen your understanding of the Teachings of the Cause so that you will be able to apply them to the problems of individuals and society, and explain them to your peers in ways that they will understand and welcome; secondly, to strive to model your behaviour in every way after the high standards of honesty, trustworthiness, courage, loyalty, forbearance, purity and spirituality set forth in the Teachings; and, above all, to live in continual awareness of the presence and all-conquering power of Bahá’u’lláh, which will enable you to overcome every temptation and surmount every obstacle."
2146. Youth and Fellow Believers Exhorted to Arise and Revolutionize the Progress of the Cause
"A vibrant band of Bahá’í youth on the European continent, committed to the promotion of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh and the upholding of His laws and principles, determined to work in harmony and unity with their fellow believers of all ages and classes, can revolutionize the progress of the Cause. With a rapid increase in the size of the Bahá’í communities in Europe, the believers of that continent, the cradle of western civilization, will be the better able to serve as a fountainhead of pioneers, travelling teachers and financial assistance to the Bahá’í communities of the Third World.
"A particular challenge to the Bahá’í youth of Europe is the vast eastern half of the continent that is as yet scarcely touched by the light of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. It is not easy to settle in those lands, but with ingenuity, determination and reliance upon the confirmations of Bahá’u’lláh it is certainly possible both to settle and to persevere in service in goals which demand a spirit of self-sacrifice, detachment and purity of heart worthy of those who would emulate the shining example set by the martyrs in Írán, so many of whom are youth, who have given their lives rather than breathe one word that would be a betrayal of the trust of God placed upon them.
"With love and utmost longing we call upon you to immerse yourselves in the divine Teachings, champion the Cause of God and His Law, and arise for the quickening of mankind."
2147. Courses of Study that One can Pursue to Acquire Skills Needed to Assist the Developing Countries
"When deciding what course of training to follow, youth can consider acquiring those skills and professions that will be of benefit in education, rural development, agriculture, economics, technology, health, radio and in many other areas of endeavour that are so urgently needed in the developing countries of the world. You can also devote time in the midst of your studies, or other activities, to travel teaching or service projects in the Third World."
2148. Simultaneously With the Proclamation Engendered by the Persecutions in Iran, More People Are Seeking Their True Identity
"A highlight of this period of the Seven Year Plan has been the phenomenal proclamation accorded the Faith in the wake of the unabating persecutions in Írán; a new interest in its Teaching has been aroused on a wide scale. Simultaneously, more and more people from all strata of society frantically seek their true identity, which is to say, although they would not so plainly admit it, the spiritual meaning of their lives; prominent among these seekers are the young. Not only does this knowledge open fruitful avenues for Bahá’í initiative, it also indicates to young Bahá’ís a particular responsibility so to teach the Cause and live the life as to give vivid expression to those virtues that would fulfil the spiritual yearning of their peers."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’í youth of the world, January 3, 1984)
2149. Persevere in Your Individual Efforts to Teach the Faith, Study the Writings, Serve Mankind, Volunteer For Projects
"May you all persevere in your individual efforts to teach the Faith, but with added zest, to study the Writings, but with greater earnestness. May you pursue your education and training for future service to mankind, offering as much of your free time as possible to activities on behalf of the Cause. May those of you already bent on your life's work and who may have already founded families, strive towards becoming the living embodiments of Bahá’í ideals, both in the spiritual nurturing of your families and in your active involvement in the efforts on the home front or abroad in the pioneering field. May all respond to the current demands upon the Faith by displaying a fresh measure of dedication to the tasks at hand.
"Further to these aspirations is the need for a mighty mobilization of teaching activities reflecting regularity in the patterns of service rendered by young Bahá’ís. The native urge of youth to move from place to place, combined with their abounding zeal, indicates that you can become more deliberately and numerously involved in these activities as travelling teachers. One pattern of this mobilization could be short-term projects, carried out at home or in other lands, dedicated to both teaching the Faith and improving the living conditions of people. Another could be that, while still young and unburdened by family responsibilities, you give attention to the idea of volunteering a set period, say one or two years, to some Bahá’í service, on the home front or abroad, in the teaching or development field. It would accrue to the strength and stability of the community if such patterns could be followed by succeeding generations of youth. Regardless of the modes of service, however, youth must be understood to be fully engaged, at all times, in all climes and under all conditions. In your varied pursuits you may rest assured of the loving support and guidance of the Bahá’í institutions operating at every level."
2150. The Assembly Should Encourage the Invaluable Aid of Youth as Travelling Teachers, to Hold Youth Class, etc.
"The incalculable value of Bahá’í youth in the service of our Faith cannot be overlooked. They should be enlisted as travelling teachers, going on foot when necessary, in the mountains and jungles to visit, teach and encourage the local Bahá’ís and to help them to elect their Local Spiritual Assemblies should the friends be either unaware of the procedure required, or perhaps illiterate and in need of help in casting their ballots. The youth should be encouraged to hold youth classes, to convey to their peers the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, to learn to give courses and lectures on the Teachings, and above all, to exemplify by their high moral behavior that which makes the Bahá’ís outstanding in a corrupt and decadent society."
- (From the Message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of Ecuador, Ridván 1984)
2151. Youth Must be Encouraged to Devise and Execute Their Own Teaching Plans
"Bahá’í youth, now rendering exemplary and devoted service in the forefront of the army of life, must be encouraged, even while equipping themselves for future service, to devise and execute their own teaching plans among their contemporaries."
- (From the Message of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the world, Ridván 1984)
2152. The House of Justice Applauds Efforts of Youth to Acquire Spiritual Qualities
"We applaud those youth who, in respect of this period,* have already engaged in some activity within their national and local communities or in collaboration with their peers in other countries, and call upon them to persevere in their unyielding efforts to acquire spiritual qualities and useful qualifications. For if they do so, the influence of their high-minded motivations will exert itself upon world developments conducive to a productive, progressive and peaceful future."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’í youth of the world, May 8, 1985)
*(International Youth Year)
2153. The Youth Have the Inescapable Duty of Reflecting the Transforming Power of the Faith to Society
"The present requirements of a Faith whose responsibilities rapidly increase in relation to its rise from obscurity impose an inescapable duty on the youth to ensure that their lives reflect to a marked degree the transforming power of the new Revelation they have embraced. Otherwise, by what example are the claims of Bahá’u’lláh to be judged? How is His healing Message to be acknowledged by a skeptical humanity if it produces no noticeable effect upon the young, who are seen to be among the most energetic, the most pliable and promising elements in any society?
"The dark horizon faced by a world which has failed to recognize the Promised One, the Source of its salvation, acutely affects the outlook of the younger generations; their distressing lack of hope and their indulgence in desperate but futile and even dangerous solutions make a direct claim on the remedial attention of Bahá’í youth, who, through their knowledge of that Source and the bright vision with which they have thus been endowed, cannot hesitate to impart to their despairing fellow youth the restorative joy, the constructive hope, the radiant assurances of Bahá’u’lláh's stupendous Revelation.
"The words, the deeds, the attitudes, the lack of prejudice, the nobility of character, the high sense of service to others—in a word, those qualities and actions which distinguish a Bahá’í—must unfailingly characterize their inner life and outer behaviour, and their interactions with friend or foe."
2154. The Youth Must Aspire to Excellence, Move Towards Front Ranks of Professions, Trades, Arts and Crafts
"Rejecting the low sights of mediocrity, let them scale the ascending heights of excellence in all they aspire to do. May they resolve to elevate the very atmosphere in which they move, whether it be in the school rooms or halls of higher learning, in their work, their recreation, their Bahá’í activity or social service.
"Indeed, let them welcome with confidence the challenges awaiting them. Imbued with this excellence and a corresponding humility, with tenacity and a loving servitude, today's youth must move towards the front ranks of the professions, trades, arts and crafts which are necessary to the further progress of humankind—this to ensure that the spirit of the Cause will cast its illumination on all these important areas of human endeavour. Moreover, while aiming at mastering the unifying concepts and swiftly advancing technologies of this era of communications, they can, indeed they must also guarantee the transmittal to the future of those skills which will preserve the marvelous, indispensable achievements of the past. The transformation which is to occur in the functioning of society will certainly depend to a great extent on the effectiveness of the preparations the youth make for the world they will inherit."
2155. The Youth Must Constantly Strive to Exemplify a Bahá’í Life Which is the Opposite of the Moral Decay of Society
"He feels that the youth, in particular, must constantly and determinedly strive to exemplify Bahá’í life. In the world around us we see moral decay, promiscuity, indecency, vulgarity, bad manners—the Bahá’í young people must be the opposite of these things, and, by their chastity, their uprightness, their decency, their consideration and good manners, attract others, old and young, to the Faith. The world is tired of words; it wants example, and it is up to the Bahá’í youth to furnish it."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’í Youth who attended the Green Acre Summer School, August 4, 1946, September 19, 1946)
2156. Contact with Racial Minorities in a Country With Such a Large Element of Prejudice is Important
"He urges you all to devote particular attention to the contact with racial minorities. In a country which has such a large element of prejudice against its colored citizens as the United States, it is of the greatest importance that the Bahá’ís—and more especially the youth—should demonstrate actively our complete lack of prejudice and, indeed, our prejudice in favour of minorities."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the friends who were present at the Senior Youth Session, Louhelen Bahá’í School, November 11, 1951)
2157. The Bahá’í Faith is a Religion that Belongs to the Youth
"If ever it could be said that a religion belonged to the youth, then surely the Bahá’í Faith today is that religion. The whole world is suffering, it is sunk in misery, crushed beneath its heavy problems. The task of healing its ills and building up its future devolves mainly upon the youth. They are the generation who, after the war, will have to solve the terrible difficulties created by the war and all that brought it about. And they will not be able to upbuild the future except by the laws and principles laid down by Bahá’u’lláh. So their task is very great and their responsibility very grave."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’í children and youth of Peoria, May 8, 1942)
2158. Second Declaration: no Such Thing
"There is no such thing as a 'second declaration' in Bahá’í administration. The procedure to be followed in a youth's claiming, or being granted, voting rights at the age of 21 is within the discretion of the National Assembly."
- (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Austria, June 29, 1967)
2159. The Solution to Difficulties Which Stand in the Way of Co-Operation Between Young and Old Believers
"…the Guardian fully realizes the difficulties that stand in the way of co-operation between the young and old believers. This is a problem that confronts the Cause almost everywhere, specially in those communities where the number of young and old Bahá’ís is nearly the same. The solution, as in all such cases, is to be found through intelligent and mutual compromise. The old believers have to give up something of their old conceptions and ways of working in order to better adapt themselves to the changing social conditions and circumstances. The young too must learn to act with wisdom, tact and moderation, and to take advantage and benefit from the age-long experience of their older fellow-believers. The old and the young have each something specific to contribute to the progress and welfare of the Bahá’í community. The energy of youth should be tempered and guided by the wisdom of old age."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 4, 1936)
2160. Laws and Precepts Which Some Young Believers are Inclined to Resent
"As to the attitude of resentment which the young believers are inclined to assume regarding certain precepts of the Cause such as obligatory prayers: There can and should be no compromise whatever in such matters that are specifically enjoined by Bahá’u’lláh. We should neither have any feeling of shame when observing such laws and precepts, nor should we over-estimate their value and significance. Just as the friends have no difficulty in recognizing the value of the specific prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, such as the Tablets of Fasting and Healing, so also they should recognize that the obligatory prayers are by their very nature of greater effectiveness and are endowed with a greater power than the non-obligatory ones, and as such are essential."
2161. After Each Prayer Supplicate God to Bestow Mercy and Forgiveness Upon Your Parents
"It is seemly that the servant should, after each prayer, supplicate God to bestow mercy and forgiveness upon his parents. Thereupon God's call will be raised: 'Thousand upon thousand of what thou hast asked for thy parents shall be thy recompense!' Blessed is he who remembereth his parents when communing with God. There is, verily, no God but Him, the Mighty, the Well-Beloved."
- (The Báb: Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 94)
2162. Reaching the Age of Nineteen
"…it behooveth man, upon reaching the age of nineteen, to render thanksgiving for the day of his conception as an embryo. For had the embryo not existed, how could he have reached his present state? Likewise had the religion taught by Adam not existed, this Faith would not have attained its present state…."
- (Ibid., p. 89)
2163. Regarding a National Committee to Supervise the Work of the Youth
"The Guardian fully appreciates the significance of the problems involved. Surely there should be no division according to general outlook among the friends. Should we do such a thing we will soon have parties and factions among the Bahá’ís—a thing which is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Faith.
"At the same time if we say that no older person should take part in the organization of the youth it will be depriving them of the necessary experience needed to have a permanent and working institution.
"Shoghi Effendi believes that the best solution is to have some reasonable age limit for the actual membership of the body of the organization so that only the young people may take part in the different activities and have no older person usurp the floor or deprive them from their chances to train themselves, and express their ideas. At the same time the National Assembly could appoint on the National committee that is to supervise their work some older and experienced persons who could co-operate with them and guide them in their activities. The National committee should be composed of both people within the age limit and also older people."
- (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October 27, 1932)