Confirmation: Maxwell International To Close

About three months ago I was the first to break the sad story that the Maxwell Baha’i school in Canada would be closing after 20 years of operation.

Almost immediately, a group of students, faculty, alumni, student families and well-wishers joined together to come up with ideas to save the school. They wrote a proposal that would result in the continuation of the school and sent it to the national administrative body in charge.

Unfortunately, their proposal was rejected and the decision to close Maxwell Baha’i School was reiterated and finalized by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada.

In their letter (see below), the NSA refers to the lack of funds as one of the primary reasons for the decision. As I mentioned in my first story, the fund is really the heart of the matter here.

The Canadian Baha’i community, as well as the US counterpart are undergoing a severe cash crunch. Donations have fallen dramatically over the years and the NSAs have been reluctant or unable to cut back. But as with the decision to close Maxwell, difficult options are being forced on them.

While this specific cutback is a tragic setback for the Baha’i community in Canada (and the world, since Maxwell had international students)… the bigger picture beckons.

Why is the fund persistently low? Are the resources of the Faith being managed as best as they can be? What, if any, is the silent message that the Baha’i community as a group may be sending the administration by reducing their donations?


[Note: bolded text is my own emphasis]

24 January 2008 / 6 Sovereignty 164

Dear Friends,

The National Spiritual Assembly warmly appreciated the proposal and supporting documents forwarded for consideration at our January 18-20 meeting. You have made extraordinary efforts to meet the National Assembly’s request for additional information related to your December 2007 proposal to continue the Maxwell International School as a Baha’i-inspired project, and have gained substantial support for the school’s continuation.

The National Assembly gave careful and detailed attention to your proposal, including financial resources available to you, recruitment strategies, governance structure and management expertise. We have concluded with regret that your submission is not sufficiently viable to allow the school to succeed in what you describe as a highly competitive international market and ensure the security of the sacrificial investment of the friends in the project. In addition, it still calls for substantial investment on the National Assembly’s part over a number of years, in the form of lost revenues. The funds of the Faith cannot be used to undertake the commitments you would require, nor could the National Assembly accept the implied moral responsibility for the success of the project.

The Assembly is not asking you to revise and resubmit the proposal, as it is not in the best interests of the school or the Faith to prolong this process. Nonetheless, our representatives would be happy to meet with you in due course to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, should you wish to offer explanation of the National Assembly’s decision to other Maxwell supporters, we would appreciate your using this letter, in order to avoid misunderstanding and promote unity.

With warmest regards,
Karen McKye, Secretary

cc: National Spiritual Assembly (9)
Board of Directors – Maxwell International School

LA Class Newsletter [#33]


My Notes:

This newsletter is the two year anniversary of the LA Classes! I just had my third birthday, so this is mighty apropos.

Within this newsletter it is obvious that there was now clear friction between the status quo and new ideas being thrown around. In other notes this was implicit if you read between the lines. But here, it is very evident.

Tony Lee presents an idea that can not be easily shot down: that the process of revelation is a dialogue, rather than a monologue. Although most Baha’is assume that individual believers had no role, except as subservient and passive believers that simply followed the Central Figure of their day, the actual historical evidence is surprising.

And although the writer of this newsletter, as always, pokes fun at the class as being “heretical”… the institutions were by now taking notice of the same thing. But they weren’t laughing.

If this is your first newsletter, you might also want to read the introduction to the LA study class, here.

On with the 70’s class . . .


[Ed. personal address]
“Hermosa Bench, love it or leave it.”
Vol. III No. 11

We celebrated the second anniversary of our study class with a verbal dustup over what special role – if any – individual Baha’is have in shaping the Abha Dispensation, Tony Lee got things off and running by re-stating a favorite theory of his. It is his thesis that the Baha’i Faith as we know it is the result of interaction between the Central Authorities of the Faith (be they the Bab, Baha’u’llah, Abdu’l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi or the Universal House of Justice) and individual Baha’is. Most Baha’is, however, behave as if the revelation as a monologue spoken from the prophet to the people. While a central figure provides authority and spiritual impetus for the body of the believers, Lee argued that it is an interaction between charismatic figure and the followers that creates the dynamic of growth and change.
Continue reading

“Pre-Approved” Individual Investigation of Truth?

Neysan Zoelzer-Mehrabkhani, a Baha’i from Germany has created a Baha’i search engine (through Google Co-Op) named Majn??n.

Regular Google search already does a great job of providing information, Baha’i related or otherwise.

So why do we need this service? Well, as Neysan’s site explains, Majn??n:

Searches approved Baha’i-related websites only…

Searches approved Baha’i-related blogs only.

Searches approved Baha’i Book Stores only.

You may ask, “approved”? Approved by whom, exactly?

Well it seems by “Majn??n editors”. Whoever they may be.

The site then goes on to quote from Baha’u’llah’s mystical work, The Seven Valleys to explain the inspiration behind the name of the site (please read carefully):

It is related that one day they came upon Majn??n sifting the dust, and his tears flowing down. They said, ‘What doest thou?’ He said, ‘I seek for Layla­.’ They cried, ‘Alas for thee! Layla­ is of pure spirit, and thou seekest her in the dust!’ He said, ‘I seek her everywhere that some editors have pre-approved for me; haply somewhere within those limits I shall find her.’ Yea, although to the wise it be shameful to seek the Lord of Lords in the dust, yet this betokeneth intense ardor in searching. ‘Whoso seeketh out a thing among pre-approved websites with zeal shall find it.’

ok, that was tongue-in-cheek (for those that are bereft of a sense of humor). But I hope you get my drift.

Among the most powerful animating principles of the Baha’i Faith is the unfettered individual investigation of truth.

It is truly sad that some Baha’is do not understand this fundamental feature of their Faith and through ignorance of it, do things like this.

If history teaches us anything, it is that anyone who has ever attempted to “fetter” information in any way, has failed most spectacularly.


Baha’i Belief Advisory System

Inspired by Moojan Momen’s recent paper (and the United States Homeland Security), I’ve drawn up an easy to use chart which should help fellow Baha’is and the institutions in identifying and categorizing members of the community.

Note that each label is directly taken from Momen’s recently published paper. [takes out laser pointer and slowly removes glasses for effect]

“Let the name calling and mud-slinging… errr… I mean, sociological categorization… BEGIN!”


So… which are you!?

And here is Comic Book Guy to pronounce his succinct review of Momen’s paper:


“Worst. Paper. Ever.”