Monday, March 07, 2011

On a Bigger Deal Than Turning 21: Turning 15

Jamie's daughter turns 21. Congratulations to her and to her parents. How time flies!
In American culture turning 21 is a big deal. There are rights and responsibilities that go along with crossing that threshhold.
Interestingly, in Baha'i culture it's turning 15 that's the biggest deal. It's considered the age of spiritual maturity. If you're 15, you are no longer going to be pariticipating in a Junior Youth Group. You'll be participating in a Ruhi Baha'i study circle, perhaps with the intention of becoming a Junior Youth Group animator. -gw
Something magical happens to many Baha'is when they turn 15. They become more responsible. Everything they’ve learned from growing up in the Faith kicks in, and, although they aren’t yet adults, they grow the mental equivalent of three inches.

Turning 15, the “age of maturity,” as the Faith terms it, is a time when a child is considered spiritually mature and is responsible for stating on his own behalf whether or not he wishes to remain a member of the Baha'i community.

One of the basic principles of the Baha’i Faith is independent investigation of truth. As Shoghi Effendi, explained, "This applies to us as much as to our children. They should be free to choose for themselves any religion they wish. How can we make the future generation think as we do or follow our dictates? God has made them free. All that we can do is to open their eyes and tell them of what we think to be the truth."

Upon turning 15, Baha’is are expected to begin observing certain Baha’i laws, such as obligatory prayer and fasting.

“Being a Baha'i feels more ‘official’ than it did before,” says Layla Tavangar of Berwyn, Pa., near Philadelphia, who turned 15 in March. “I’ve said prayers daily all my life, but now I think more about them and about spirituality.”


Posted via email from Baha'i Views

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