Withdrawal - from the Faith

Grieve thou not over those that have busied themselves with the things of this world, and have forgotten the remembrance of God, the Most Great. By Him Who is the Eternal Truth! The day is approaching when the wrathful anger of the Almighty will have taken hold of them. He, verily, is the Omnipotent, the All-Subduing, the Most Powerful. He shall cleanse the earth from the defilement of their corruption, and shall give it for an heritage unto such of His servants as are nigh unto Him.

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 207

If any soul speak ill of an absent one, the only result will clearly be this: he will dampen the zeal of the friends and tend to make them indifferent. For backbiting is divisive, it is the leading cause among the friends of a disposition to withdraw.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections From The Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 230-231

In a similar way, thou beholdest some women who have abandoned the Testament, and to them the bitterness of discord is sweet. They keep aloof from the Extended Shadow and dwell under the shade of a "black smoke." Alas for them and grief for them! They will surely lament and find themselves in loss. Verily, this is but an evident truth!

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 130

If some of these isolated and inactive people gradually turn to other work than the Cause we should not always blame them -- they probably needed more help, more stimulating more teaching and Bahá’í comradeship that they received.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 84

Just because some people have lost their vision of the Cause, or never had a proper grasp of its implications before entering it, and leave the fold, should not cause undue discouragement. There are bound to be such cases, and although every moral support should be given them, if they still wish to withdraw, they fall off -- as you said -- like withered leaves from the Tree of the Faith, and do it no real harm.

Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahá’í Community, p. 448

Many of those who drift away from the Cause do so for the reason that they had ceased to go on developing. They became complacent, or indifferent, and consequently ceased to draw the spiritual strength and vitality from the Cause which they should have. Sometimes, of course, people fail because of a test they just do not meet, and often our severest tests come from each other. Certainly the believers should try to avert such things, and if they happen, remedy them through love.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113

A believer cannot escape administrative expulsion by the ruse of resigning from the Faith in order to break its law with impunity. However, the Assembly should be satisfied that there was indeed such an ulterior motive behind the withdrawal. A believer's record of inactivity and his general attitude to the Faith may well lead the Assembly to conclude that his withdrawal was bona fide . . . and in such a case the withdrawal may be accepted.

Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities

If a believer who did not like a particular law were to be permitted to leave the community to break the law, and then rejoin with impunity, this would make a mockery of the Law of God.

Universal House of Justice, NSA USA - Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities

It is not enough to bring people into the Faith, one must educate them and deepen their love for it and their knowledge of its teachings, after they declare themselves. As the Bahá’ís are few in number, especially the active teachers, and there is a great deal of work to be done, the education of these new believers is often sadly neglected, and then results are seen such as the resignations you have had recently.

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 567

It is not unusual for people to be drawn to the Faith because they see in it the fulfilment of the ideals which are dear to their hearts. But, if a soul truly recognizes Bahá’u’lláh, and his understanding of the teachings deepens, he will gradually see how his own ideals are but facets in the all-embracing Purpose of God, and will be willing to endure all manner of suffering and frustration for the sake of the fulfilment of that divine Purpose. If, however, the believer allows his own ideals and purposes to retain their pre-eminence in his thinking, and he finds he cannot pursue them as he wishes, it may result in his leaving the Faith to pursue them in other ways. This is what would seem to have happened to the friends you speak of.

The Universal House of Justice, 1989 Jun 21, 'Dialogue', 'A Modest Proposal' etc

To deny that one is a Bahá’í while one still believes in Bahá’u’lláh is not withdrawal, it is dissimulation of one's faith, and Bahá’í laws does not countenance the dissimulation of a believer's faith for the purpose of breaking the law. "If a believer who did not like a particular law were to be permitted to leave the community to break the law, and then rejoin with impunity, this would make a mockery of the Law of God... It is abundantly clear from his letters that he has continually believed in Bahá’u’lláh, that he know the law that marriage is conditioned on the consent of parents, that he dissimulated his faith in order to be able to break this law with impunity. He must, therefore, be regarded as a Bahá’í without administrative rights...

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 57-58

Embarking on an action reminiscent of His solitary retirement to the mountains of Kurdistan when the unfaithful were shamefully destroying the Cause of God, Bahá’u’lláh, who at this time was residing in the house of Amru'llah, withdrew with His family to the nearby house of Rida Big which was rented by His order, and refused to associate with anybody. This was on 10 March 1866. The reason for this withdrawal, which fortunately was of short duration, was similar to that which had motivated Him to retire to Kurdistan a decade earlier: namely, to relieve the tension and alleviate the feelings of enmity which during the course of years had been engendered in the hearts of some by Mírzá Yahyá and were fanned into flame by his latest actions.

Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 120