February 12, 2014

The Research Department of the Universal House of Justice – their function and statements

Among the functions assigned to the Research Department at the World Centre is that of preparing statements at the request of the House of Justice. We are to point out that the statement appearing in the current Bahá'i World Centre Manual in connection with the duties of this Department includes the following:

"...To prepare commentaries on various subjects related to the Faith, as requested by the Universal House of Justice."

These commentaries are sent to believers, where applicable, as separate statements, such as those on the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age, or on Bahá'i scholarship, or as memoranda which are enclosures to letters written on behalf of the House of Justice....

To preclude any possibility of their being confused with letters written by the House of Justice, or on its behalf, it is important that such commentaries be distinctly identified. It is also vital that the believers understand clearly that these Research Department statements should be regarded as representing no more than the views of the members of that Department. While such views are very useful as an aid to resolving perplexities or gaining an enhanced understanding of the Bahá'i teachings, they should never be taken to be in the same category as the elucidations and clarifications provided by the House of Justice in the exercise of its assigned functions.... 
(From a letter dated 16 August 1987 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)