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Core Beliefs:

 

The Bahá'í Faith is the youngest of the world's independent religions. Its founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá'ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.
 
The central theme of Bahá'u'lláh's message is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society. God, Bahá'u'lláh said, has set in motion historical forces that are breaking down traditional barriers of race, class, creed, and nation and that will, in time, give birth to a universal civilization. The principal challenge facing the peoples of the earth is to accept the fact of their oneness and to assist the processes of unification.

 
One of the purposes of the Bahá'í Faith is to help make this possible. A worldwide community of some six million Bahá'ís, representative of most of the nations, races and cultures on earth, is working to give Bahá'u'lláh's teachings practical effect. Their experience will be a source of encouragement to all who share their vision of humanity as one global family and the earth as one homeland.
 
The Local Spiritual Assembly
 
The Bahá'ís Faith does not have any priest or clergy, rather, it is the nine-member institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly that coordinates the activities of the community. Elected each year in every community where there are nine or more adult Bahá'ís, the processes that underlie the Local Spiritual Assembly can be said to offer a new model for participatory, democratic decision making at the grassroots level.
 
At the present time, Local Spiritual Assemblies oversee the wide variety of activities that constitute the essence of Bahá'í community life. These include the education of children, the observance of holy days, devotional services, study classes, discussions, social events, marriages, and funeral services. Many Local Spiritual Assemblies around the world also sponsor ongoing small-scale educational, social and economic, or environmental development projects.
 
Local Spiritual Assemblies also perform executive and judicial functions, handling correspondence and money for the community and overseeing the application of Bahá'í law in matters such as divorce or disputes between community members.
 
As with all other Bahá'í elected institutions, national or international, Local Spiritual Assemblies function only as a body, making all decisions as a group, using the process of consultation in arriving at those decisions. Individual Assembly members have no special authority, status, or power outside the Assembly itself.

 


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