Covenant-breakers’ materials to be shunned

From time to time, the, National Spiritual Assembly receives inquiries on whether the believers are permitted to read books and other printed material written by Covenant-breakers. Although reading the writings of Covenant-breakers is not forbidden, it is strongly discouraged, as stated in the following letter from the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, dated Oct. 29, 1974:

“To read the writings of Covenant-breakers is not forbidden to the believers and does not constitute in itself an act of Covenant-breaking. Indeed, some of the Baha’is have the unpleasant duty to read such literature as part of their responsibilities for protecting the Cause of Baha’u’llah. However, the friends are warned in the strongest terms against reading such literature because Covenant-breaking is a spiritual poison and the calumnies and distortions of the truth which the Covenant-breakers give out are such that they can undermine the faith of the believer and plant seeds of doubt unless he is forearmed with an unshakeable belief in Baha’u’llah and His Covenant and a knowledge of the true facts.”

With the advent of the Internet, Covenant-breakers have established several Web sites. The National Spiritual Assembly feels that the above guidance provided by the Universal House of Justice is applicable as well to the material posted in such Web sites. In addition to not reading the material, it is not necessary to copy the content of such Web sites and forward it to the National Assembly.

The National Spiritual Assembly has also received reports that Covenant-breakers have sometimes attempted to disrupt efforts by the friends to teach the Faith online. In such cases, the National Assembly has referred the friends to the following guidance from the Supreme Body:

“The Universal House of Justice feels that, when Baha’is are teaching in an online ‘chat room’ and Covenant-breakers intrude upon the discussion, the friends should not feel obliged to sign off simply because Covenant-breakers are present in this virtual space. They should, however, refrain from knowingly engaging the Covenant-breakers in discussions and, in any case, should avoid being drawn into contentious or disputatious situations.” (From a letter dated Oct. 27,1997, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

On occasion, individual believers have received mail from Covenant-breakers. They are advised to disregard such mail and to either discard it or give it to their Local Spiritual Assembly or Auxiliary Board member for Protection. If a Local Spiritual Assembly learns of any Covenant-breaking activity in its community, it should immediately inform its Auxiliary Board member for Protection and/or the National Spiritual Assembly.

October 16, 1998


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