LA Class Newsletter [#34]

SKIP TO NEWSLETTER

My Notes:

It has been far too long since we heard the whine of the time machine and headed back to the 1970′s to join the LA Baha’i studies class.

This latest edition is wholly made up of letters from members and readers around the world. It offers a glimpse into the ideas that other Baha’is (outside of the immediate LA group) had.

The first is a wag of the finger about the relationship what was described in a previous class between the Baha’is of Iran and the then, Shah of Iran. Here is a brief account of the history the monarch’s of Iran and their reaction to the Baha’i Faith.

The second is a reaction to the previous discussion on Degrees of Reality. Personally, I found this letter very insightful. It made me think of the Baha’i view of evolution as well as how incomprehensible the next world must be. It also made me think of this segment from a scifi TV show where a human is trying to explain to non-human (“God like”) beings what temporal linear existence is like.

The final letter is from Denis MacEoin, a giant of Baha’i theology who after some very nasty run ins with the “appointed arm” decided to become inactive and leave the community. Reading his words, it is hard to believe that what MacEoin wrote is 30 years old! His letter is by far the longest but it is the primary reason why I put this edition together after so much procrastination. A must read.

No wonder that the next class will be a discussion of this very letter. Can’t wait for that!

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 . . .

[START DOCUMENT]

[Ed. personal address removed]

January, 1979
Vol. IV No. 1

Our newsletter this time consists of several stimulating letters which we have received from abroad. We are delighted to see that we have such an active and involved, international readership. Anyone else out there who has something that he wants to get off his chest, just drop us a line.

We hope that our readers will read the essay which we have received from Mr. Denis MacEoin of Cambridge, England, with particular care. He has raised a number of issues central to the crisis which the Baha’i Community is facing today and are in urgent need of discussion. Your comments will be welcomed.

THE NEXT CLASS WILL BE HELD on Sunday, January 28th at 3:00 PM at the unworthy hovel of Anthony Lee [Ed. personal address]. The topic will be a discussion of Mr. MacEoin’s essay (The one attached.) and it should be lively. You all come, yaheah?

FROM ENGLAND, ONE READER WRITES:

‘I was deeply grieved when I saw the following statement published in your last newsletter: “As for the Shah himself, his continued reign seems to be the only hope the Baha’is have avoiding full scale persecution.”

‘As you mention a few sentences later, the Shah would not mind sacrificing Baha’is is for his own protection. But, it seems to me that this was a weak voice and was not the opinion of the majority. So after all your experiences and discussions, still the majority believes that the continued reign of the Shah is the only hope for the Baha’is. That is very sad. If the friends, aside from the truth of the matter, were only a little wise they would not publish such eloquent observations which will only cause the Baha’is to suffer the same accusations which yet decry.

‘Can you be any more contradictory than to say on page five, while claiming to be intellectual observers, that Baha’is of Iran have confused obedience to government with support for the Shah. (finding them at fault); and then, to say in the next paragraph that the existence of the Shah is better for the Baha’is than any other alternative? Further, in the same paragraph, you express regret for the opposition of the intellectual classes…

‘Those who claim to have logical minds, even if they want to speak falsehoods, should speak in such a way that their statements will at least appear acceptable. Perhaps it is better for you to speak only about such things as ‘African Traditional Religions’ which are of concern to no one, and cease discussing subjects which will only help to worsen the unfortunate situation of those Baha’is in Shiraz who were accused of having participated in pro-Shah demonstrations.

LETTERS WE GET LETTERS :

Mr. Kent Beveridge of Vienna, Austria writes:

“The discussions as contained in the newsletters are something that I have missed since I left the U.S. (a little over seven and one half years ago): a free wheeling discussion about something vital to the lives of all concerned, where no holds are barred (or at least few are barred). I read the four points formulated at the beginning of the class upon which it is based. Such opinions are of basic importance to our Faith, as the beloved Master said “The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.” I therewith arrive at a different conclusion than that Soheil Samimi of Portugal as expressed in a much finer form in Volume II No. 4. Perhaps she was referring to a newslettar that I don’t have? I haven’t noticed any “scathing remarks!”

?The newsletter summaries have whetted my appetite to take part in your class one day. For a summary — even one as good as these are (my compliments to Bob Ballenger for a difficult jobo well done) — can never be as good as the discussion itself.

“I was especially impressed with the statement that the “Baha’i administration is, in current practice, a dictatorship under which dissent is suppressed and individual Baha’is are cowed into silence.” and the following talk. Such a topic would not be salonf?hig (an Austro-German term meaning respectable enough to the front parlor) among the study classes in Austria. Not that he subject is taboo. It’s just relegated into the private sphere, where it really does amount to backbiting. This is a topic which is literally crying out to be discussed in an intellectual manner, as we cannot afford to sit back and wait until the answers are brought “down from the mountain” and presented to us. I do feel that one important aspect was missed, however. The institutions are also made up of individuals, and are not internally the same united front which is presented to the outside world. This I know from my experience as a member of the Spiritual Assembly of Vienna, which has a community of 140 Baha’is — not much in your neck of the woods, but one of the largest Baha’i communities in Europe.

“It is difficult to put my feelings into words, but the portrayal of “the Assembly” as a anonymous, brooding, Orwellian body, watching over each and every believer in order to stifle the seeds of dissent even before they start to sprout was a trifle disturbing. However, it gave me a lot of food for thought, and I will meditate on the relationship between the believers and the institutions intensively.”

Mr. Gene Hendershot of Berberati, Central African Empire writes:

“The last newsletter on Degrees of Reality reached me today and Betty Conow touched a field that has always interested me. However, she didn’t get involved in my specific area of interest, but instead seemed to he covering several different topics, some of which didn’t seem to be directly concerned with the main topic. But, I don’t want to get involved in that since I don’t have enough information to judge. I can’t say that I realty understood it from the little information that was sent out…

“What interests me though is the idea of the Cosmos, the totality of existence. Use whatever word you like, Cosmos seems as good as any. We know that God created a lot of different “worlds” and that our physical, material universe is only one of them. It is the only physical one and the only one with time. Therefore, why can’t we simply say that the Cosmos is all of the “worlds of God”, plus God Himself….

“As I understand it, in this world all progress is related to time. As time passes, we try to make progress — physical, intellectual and spiritual. Can anyone explain progress to me without relating it to time? I have tried, but I cannot understand progress otherwise. And yet, we know that there is progress in the other worlds, from one state of existence to another and towards God. I would appreciate any comments on this. For me, this is one example of different degrees of reality. Here, the understanding of progress is based on time. However, the Manifestation improves our comprehension of progress by relating it to other worlds, but still our understanding is limited. Obviously, the Manifestation seas the reality of progress differently then we do….

“The use of a circle in describing the Cosmos is the only way we have of showing no beginning and no end, that is, timelessness. But, we know that this is the first world of the individual soul and that before this there was a collective soul. Does this mean that in the world of the collective soul there is also time, since it comes before? Or, is this only a way of expressing it symbolical taking account of Our limited comprehension? Are all of these worlds existing in the same “time” in the eyes of God? In which case, all life is one, has always existed, and the future is already here now. Thus the All-Knowing God has knowledge of past and future, since there is no past and future.

“If all man progress until they attain the presence of God, what does this do with the idea of heaven and hell? If there is no time in the next worlds, then all souls are already in the presence of God. I guess what I am showing is that, as I said before, I don’t understand the concept of timelessness.”

KEEP THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS COMING IN, FOLKS !

[Ed. illegible text]
Cambridge
England
7 January 1979

Dear Friends,

I have read your latest (November 1978) Newsletter with more than usual interest and sympathy, and feel that I would like to add a few words in its wake. I shall not try to expand on Tony’s account of our seminar here in Cambridge, much as it is tempting to do so — from the report in your Newsletter, he seems to have done a thorough job of leading you through a very complicated set of issues raised there. The full report, as stated, is available, and dwells more thoroughly on the major topics mentioned by Tony.

I was most interested by the discussion reported on pages 3-4 of your summary. As Tony knows, this is a topic about which I personally feel very strongly. In the simplest terms, I fear that the Baha’i faith as it stands today is in very real danger of becoming irrelevant to the problems faced by people in the world outside — if it has not already become so. As the faith has become more and more organized, with, as you so rightly point out, a growing obsession with figures, numbers, and statistics for their own sake, and a tendency to evaluate the significance of the faith as a religion in terms which have no bearing whatever on this (such as how many languages literature has been ‘translated’ into), we seem to have become more and more introspective and withdrawn, exclusive rather than all-embracing. As a result, most Baha’is appear to be completely ignorant of the issues facing modern man. And, what is worse, they don’t care — if you suggest that hey read, say, Marouse [Ed. unclear word], most Baha’is react with a disdainful, slightly superior shrug: ‘we have the writings, we don’t need to waste our time on the book of false physicians’. As one friend, for some time an NSA secretary (not in the U.K.) put it to me: ‘nothing worth reading has ever been written in the twentieth century’. In fact, it is not even a case of whether people are up on Patti Smith or Malcolm Bradbury’s latest novel, they have yet to read Marx or early Koestler! Instead, the community is locked into an obsession with issues which were vital before or just after the first World War and, what is worse, are a lot less forthright now about issues such as war, poverty, race, and so forth that they were then. To speak about race integration in the States in the 20′s was genuinely progressive. Last year at a Youth Conference in the U.K. (facing a major race problem and the threat of growing fascism — the country’s fascist party is the fourth largest in the country), an NSA member told the youth that we should have nothing to do with the issue of race, since it is political!

In recent years, I feel, the situation has become even more serious (in this country at least). Whereas about ten or more years ago, the Baha’i community tried (in however outdated a fashion) to be involved with society around it, we now seem to think about and talk about and be told about nothing but goals, organization, conferences, and other purely internal matters — very few of them even of a spiritual or genuinely religious nature. Your phrase ‘shopping list’ goals sums up very well indeed the utterly meaningless hole we seem to have dug ourselves into. The Five Year Plan in this country has been a mindless race after numbers, constant reshuffles, juggling with statistics, bombastic sermons which have passed beyond banality to the depths of uninspiration. Success is judged in teh most material and sterile terms, important long-term tasks of the community have been shelved in order to win insignificant short-term goals, and above all, everybody knows that we will ‘win’ the Plan, whatever the real result. Beneath the surface, fairly large numbers of people are withdrawing, even larger numbers have become inactive, leaving things in the hands of thick-skinned administrators whom we could as well hire from an employment agency, the teaching work becomes more and more geared to attracting the less spiritual, and the circle becomes a spiral.

Worst of all, I fear, is that the Baha’is are gradually gaining a reputation for hypocrisy and self-interestedness. To give one example, several years ago, when the troubles began in Northern Ireland, a few Baha’is gave help for some time at a refugee centre, along with other groups. Despite the fact that the Quakers, who ran the centre, had asked for no publicity, the Baha’is were the only group to seek and obtain newspaper publicity for their work with refugees. Since then, the Baha’is as a group, in Northern Ireland have done nothing to help anybody, have never even condemned the violence publicly, and have held numerous conferences and teaching activities which even the believers are beginning to avoid. To give just one other example: the Public Relations Officer of the U.K. Baha’i Community recently told a Mayor, in the course of a tree-planting (!) ceremony (which seems to be the most radical activity we engage in) that ‘Baha’is the world over were working hard in thousands of centres to help improve the environment and the quality of life of all the inhabitants of the earth. They were also involved in efforts to resist the spread of deserts which themselves resulted from the wholesale destruction of trees. At world level, through United Nations agencies, the Baha’i International Community was constantly involved in this work of improving the environment’. As any Baha’i should know, this is, quite simply, dishonest and unethical — but this type of exaggeration and distortion, coupled with the fact that we only ever become involved in any activity where there is a chance of publicity for ourselves, will, I feel, soon be regarded as the chief characteristic of the Baha’is, if it is not already in many quarters.

To a large degree, this lack of involvement in live issues is linked to the fact that many contemporary social issues (such as those mentioned in your Newsletter, and others, such as unemployment, prisoners of conscience, the union) have, or appear to have, a high political content. Since Baha’is have failed to define what they mean by politics in the context of ‘non-involvement in politics’, they are now taking the easiest course, which is to avoid anything which may be remotely political — which means, in effect, just about any relevant social or humanitarian issue today. By dealing with ‘safe’ issues (such as tree-planting) and ‘pie in the sky’ policies, we manage to preserve intact our integrity on the principle of non-involvement in politics, even if to do so we have to sacrifice other basic principles regarding war, racialism, sex inequality, tyranny, freedom of conscience, economic adjustment, and so on. The non-involvement tag is our get-out pass from just about everything, and the more we use it the more out of touch and irrelevant we become.

The simple fact is that, in a real sense, the Baha’i faith is one of the most political movements around. After all, principles such as the ending of absolute national sovereignty, world government, universal currency, universal language, sex equality, racial integration, disarmament, world tribunal, anti-communism, retention of constitutional monarchism, the abolition of non-Baha’i religious legal systems (such as the Islamic sharia), the retention of a class system, the abolition of tariffs, international police force, and so on are among the hottest political issues around. Do we just dismember the faith, trimming off any principle or concept that seems likely to offend the political susceptibilities of someone or some government somewhere, or do we accept that we have these principles and that we intend to establish them, destroying, in the process, any other system or ideology which seeks to oppose them? We should also bear in mind that the apparently non-political activity of just teaching the faith is highly political. Quite apart from problems such as teaching race unity, say, South Africa, it is obvious that they will be able to (in theory, at least) to exert pressure on society as a whole, particularly in a democracy. It is hardly enough to say that we are ‘non-political’ — after all, we do plan to bring into being a series of Baha’i states and, in the end, a Baha’i world — no less extreme than the aim of every Marxist. And, in the same way that nto everyone jumps with joy at the thought of his country becoming Marxist, so we can hardly expect that there will be universal rejoicing at the news that the Baha’i faith is becoming a threat to the established political system. We may say that the old order is destroying itself and that we intend merely to step in when it collapses, not to actively work for its destruction — but take another look at Marx’s theory of the dialectic of history: capitalism destroys itself in order to give way to communism. Instead of engaging in violent revolution to speed up the process, we ‘teach the faith’.

Tragically, however, in order to pretend not to be concerned with politics, we have more and more adopted a line of expediency in our relationship with the outside world. This has reached such proportions that Baha’is cannot officially be involved with a totally non-aligned organization such as Amnesty International because it might give rise to a false impression. As a result, we are totally uninvolved with one of the major evils of this century — political and religious oppression coupled with wrongful imprisonment, torture, and execution on the most appalling scale — despite the numerous statements in the writings about opposing injustice and tyranny. Baha’u’llah wrote directly to rulers to reprimand them for their brutality and repression, while we today pose for pictures with Pinochet and Amin (thank God for your reference to the Pinochet photograph – I thought I was the only person who had noticed it). Yet, the moment anyone lifts a finger to harm Baha’is, in however a minor way, there is a universal outcry and we appeal for aid to the UN and suchlike. The Iranian regime has been massacring its people for decades, and thousands are dying in the present troubles, but the only thing to excite protests from the Baha’is has been the threat of violence to themselves. No mention is made of the fact that Jews or Christians have been threatened or attacked. The fact is that we seem to judge the justice of a regime according to how well it treats the Baha’is. An injust regime treating us well is tolerated or even extolled, while a popular regime which deprives us of certain freedoms (perhaps along with other religious groups) is regarded as evil. No one has asked, for example, what the people of Iran, as a whole, want, but what would ensure the safety of the Baha’is there; so if thousands of Shi’i Muslims are killed, who cares? — they deserve it anyway for having persecuted the Baha’is.

As you say in your Newsletter, the Shah’s ‘continued reign seems to be the only hope the Baha’is have of avoiding full-scale persecution’. There was a time when this need not have been so. The fact is that the Baha’is of Iran have done nothing to help their fellow countryman inside or outside of the country. They have been content to benefit economically and in other ways from the present regime and have gained a real reputation as an inwar-looking community which would sacrifice the country for its own ends. Baha’is actually hate the Muslims and try to have as little as possible to do with them. And they seem unable to understand the impression they create. Many years ago, when some Baha’i villages in Adhirbayjan [Azerbaijan] were suffering from a boycott, a well-known and [illegible].

No one could understand when I pointed out that this would only worsen the situation in the long term. Not only this, but there is a serious level of class distinction between the Baha’is in Ran, a fact which has not escaped the rest of the population, especially the intellectuals. I have lived in a reasonably wealthy Baha’i home in Tihran while, in a room underneath, another Baha’i family with two children lived on bread and yogurt with no furniture – and this is not abnormal. There are many Baha’i meetings in Iran at which a 400 dollar suit would be more of a passport than Baha’i credentials. I don’t wish to be mistaken – some of the most wonderful Baha’is in the world (and some of my dearest friends) live in Iran but the community is known for its wealth, inequality, and exclusiveness.

In general, a deradicalization of the Baha’i faith has occurred over recent years. Like many other originally radical religious movements, the faith has moved from a position of active hostility to the existing order (under the Babis) to non-violent condemnation of abuses in politics and religion, to a passive acceptance of the establishment and, of late, a positive attempt to become integrated with the establishment. This latter development is typical of an originally sectarian movement which becomes a denomination, and is generally a consequence (as has taken place in Iran) of second and third generation prosperity, the removal of charisma, and the growth of organizational elements. Baha’is in many places now show considerable eagerness to become respectable. Being a member of a quaint, exotic religious movement is usually acceptable in the first generation, but it can become an embarrassment to later believers who are successful in society and derive benefits from it. We have now reached that stage in several places. To give one example: almost two years ago, the LSA here suggested to the NSA that every LSA in this country should have 5 pounds (about 9 dollars) to the Venezuela earthquake disaster fund; the suggestion was dismissed on the grounds that we were not concerned with such matters. Not long after, Assemblies and groups throughout the country were asked to give their assistance to government bodies organizing the Queen’s Jubilee Fund, collecting money for British youth clubs and organizations. The reason? It was a ‘door to proclamation’. A pamphlet was even produced and widely distributed by one Assembly detailing the links of the Baha’i faith with the British monarchy and our support for it. When our Assembly pointed out to the NSA that this kind of activity could be construed in many quarters as political, and that, in areas such as Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (where there is strong anti-monarchical feeling), the faith would be identified with political views of wide unpopularity, the reply made by the secretary was simply that he could not understand the point we were making. Nor could he understand our making a distinction between loyalty to one’s government and active support for the establishment.

It is a tragic situation when, as seems to be happening more and more often, Baha’is show themselves to be proud of the fact that they have gained some form of recognition from the old order. Something subtle is wrong, I think, when, for example, such publicity is given to the fact that Baha’is have been asked to join in an inter-faith service in Westminster Abbey. We now think it a wonderful thing when the very churches which we used to described as defunct and despiritualized patronize us in this way, adn do what we can to ingratiate ourselves with clerics, bishops, and ‘respectable’ religious organizations. It seems curious too that we appear to be increasingly favourable to establishment, right-wing, and conservative religions and government bodies; we have very little do to with groups which advocate social change, such as Amnesty, race harmony bodies, sex discrimination groups, anti-war movements, and so on, and more and more with bodies advocating stability, order, law, and respectable social behaviour. It is not surprising that Pinochet and others show such favour towards the Baha’is – we are the ideal religious fringe group for repressive regimes: the offer of outward radicalism with absolute acceptance of the status quo in return for toleration. In Marcusan [Ed. unclear word] terms, we are an acceptable alternative to genuine radicalism which may threaten to actually change society. And, as you so well point out in your Newsletter and I have shown above, we are politically naive.

Here again, we are faced with a vicious circle. The faith, as it stands, is predominantly middle-class and conservative (in the West, at least): students, radicals, the …[Ed. segment missing]… as presented and the community as met unattractive and irrelevant to their concerns (to the extent that anybody actually tries to teach such socially unacceptable people), and so the only converts are won among middle class quasi-liberals — and the circle repeats itself.

The faith seems to be going through a severe crisis — without being aware of it. I have personally little doubt that, if a trenchant radicalization of the community does not take place within the next decade or sooner, it will stagnate and collapse inwards. Exaggerated news items of mass teaching successes and ‘unprecedented’ campaigns in some areas should not make us lose sight of the fact that, in the longer established communities, there is a growing disillusion, retrogression, routinizatin, and apathy — highlighted by the increasingly frenetic pronouncements that ‘things have never been better’. The administration, particularly, the mobile, distant, and woolly appointed side (which is rapidly acquiring many of the characteristics of a clergy), seems to have lost all touch with the mass of believers. At meetings and conferences in this country, it is increasingly rare to find someone not an NSA member, Board Member, Counsellor, or, recently, Assistant, to speak formally — and most of the best-informed and stimulating people belong to none of these bodies. As you write, ‘…now, more often than not, the body of the believers are expected to only carry out policies, rather than help form them.’

To find a solution to any problems I have outlined above is hardly an easy task. But it is an urgent one — most of all because it is little recognized and even less admitted. Clearly fresh Baha’i scholarship in all fields, with considerably greater freedom of expression than is at present permitted, is a priority, as we discussed at Cambridge. But it is not only scholarship, but any fresh thinking, whether scholarly or not, which is being suppressed by those who are convinced that their version of the Baha’i faith is the one and only true version and anything else is heresy. If greater latitude in such matters is not very soon permitted, I fear that the faith will lose at increasing speed its most intelligent, sensitive, and creative believers — and we will be in the hands of civil servants and clergy. The Baha’is must make the decision … [Ed. illegible] … develop naturally as a universal religion or to prematurely ossify as an establishment ‘church’. New ideas are needed — and new actions. It is rubbish to say that, in view of our size and poverty we cannot do anything to help the sufferings of mankind. Single individuals, poor, humble, and dedicated, have, before this, become major forces for good among mankind. The Baha’i community could become a great force for the betterment of the world if, instead of planting trees and talking about the wonderful society of centuries hence, we were to take positive action on the principles for which we claim to stand, if we were to become known as a people for whom expediency and compromise were anathema, if we were to fight, in however a small and restricted an arena, against injustice, tyranny, oppression, corruption, exploitation, and other social evils — without ever taking sides. Perhaps we would be persecuted in some places, perhaps a few Baha’is would die, perhaps we would be misunderstood by some people — but the faith has always been richer for that. It has been well said that to sit on the fence is to take sides — is it not time to we came off the fence and showed our true commitment to the cause of good and humanity?

With warmest wishes,
[Ed. signature]
Denis MacEoin

[END DOCUMENT]

Related Links:

The original scanned documents can be found here.

  • Craig Parke

    "It has been well said that to sit on the fence is to take sides — is it not time to we came off the fence and showed our true commitment to the cause of good and humanity?"

    It is now 30 years later. That pretty much says it all.

    The whole world is moving on. Many people today 30 years later are much more spiritual and, indeed, much more talented than the Baha'is in actually getting something useful done in the world.

    The spectacular failure of the Baha'i Faith was apparently just another episode in the sorry, sorry history of the Abrahamic religions of the dysfunctional martyrdom obsessed suicidal Middle East. From Jesus of Nazareth to Tomás de Torquemada it appears the arc to totalitarian thinking cannot be broken. From individual inspiration to mind bending lock step groupthink seems to be the inevitable pattern of history. The same old, same old. Nothing new or original at all. I had hoped for so much more in my efforts all these years. But I now honestly do not think that brain chemistry can ever be overcome in the human race.

    It appears Ruhiization was the inevitable final stage. But I think everyone here at one point in their lives really thought the Faith could have been a contender. So this dismal and ignoble end is bitter. The Baha'i Faith is more inward and incestuous than ever. The Baha'i Faith will be ruled by nine endless Peter Khans for the next 1,000 years. The apparatus is now all set up and in place to make that happen with absolute mathematical precision. That is how it tuned out and it just has to be accepted. But it all could have turned out much better if the Faith had been actually composed of people of spiritual courage and spiritual heart. Now people just live with a railroad car supply of vaseline from cradle to the grave. There are no sparks of conflicting opinions permitted at any level whatsoever and so oblivion will come at a faster and faster rate as all is lost from a once great idea.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    "It has been well said that to sit on the fence is to take sides — is it not time to we came off the fence and showed our true commitment to the cause of good and humanity?"

    It is now 30 years later. That pretty much says it all.

    The whole world is moving on. Many people today 30 years later are much more spiritual and, indeed, much more talented than the Baha'is in actually getting something useful done in the world.

    The spectacular failure of the Baha'i Faith was apparently just another episode in the sorry, sorry history of the Abrahamic religions of the dysfunctional martyrdom obsessed suicidal Middle East. From Jesus of Nazareth to Tomás de Torquemada it appears the arc to totalitarian thinking cannot be broken. From individual inspiration to mind bending lock step groupthink seems to be the inevitable pattern of history. The same old, same old. Nothing new or original at all. I had hoped for so much more in my efforts all these years. But I now honestly do not think that brain chemistry can ever be overcome in the human race.

    It appears Ruhiization was the inevitable final stage. But I think everyone here at one point in their lives really thought the Faith could have been a contender. So this dismal and ignoble end is bitter. The Baha'i Faith is more inward and incestuous than ever. The Baha'i Faith will be ruled by nine endless Peter Khans for the next 1,000 years. The apparatus is now all set up and in place to make that happen with absolute mathematical precision. That is how it tuned out and it just has to be accepted. But it all could have turned out much better if the Faith had been actually composed of people of spiritual courage and spiritual heart. Now people just live with a railroad car supply of vaseline from cradle to the grave. There are no sparks of conflicting opinions permitted at any level whatsoever and so oblivion will come at a faster and faster rate as all is lost from a once great idea.

    So it goes.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Craig, it could be argued that the whole Ruhi, "framework for action" and pyramids in clusters and all that was an attempt by the institutions to re-awaken the Baha'i community. Whether it is working or not is another matter.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Craig, it could be argued that the whole Ruhi, "framework for action" and pyramids in clusters and all that was an attempt by the institutions to re-awaken the Baha'i community. Whether it is working or not is another matter.

  • Keats Thomas

    I was a Baha'i in the 70s – 90s. I got sick and tired of it and became a Unitarian Universalist. UU isn't perfect, but it feeds my soul. We live our faith. UU is poor, but does good in the world. The Faith, the way it's been run, didn't. It made me miserable.

  • Keats Thomas

    I was a Baha'i in the 70s – 90s. I got sick and tired of it and became a Unitarian Universalist. UU isn't perfect, but it feeds my soul. We live our faith. UU is poor, but does good in the world. The Faith, the way it's been run, didn't. It made me miserable.

  • Craig Parke

    They would not have to "re-awaken" anything as in a "Deutschland Erwache" program like nine breathless Bavarian corporals with bad haircuts and mustaches trying to organize Party Rallies if the Baha'i Faith would have just worked on the problems actually facing the human race all along! Very good and motivated people left because the Baha'i Faith did nothing to actually try to solve any of the actual problems facing the world. It all became a mind bending incestuous cult that devoured it's own. Baha'u'llah said "Let your vision be world embracing." The religion He founded did not do that. It is now solely based upon fulfilling the psychological needs of a very tiny group of people at the top. So the bottom up powers of the World Age will move on to other people and other spiritual movements. And the official top down Baha'i Faith completely missed the Internet. Internet 2.0 will completely pass the Faith by unless there can be a once a week global chat with the members of the UHJ. I don't see that ever happening. But everyone else on Earth will move on to build a better world step by step under many different names and many different movements. Not even Leni Riefenstahl on LSD could save us now. Whoever liberates true spirituality and true intelligence will own the future. i once hoped and thought it would be the Baha'is. I worked very had for that ideal. I was wrong.

  • Craig Parke

    They would not have to "re-awaken" anything as in a "Deutschland Erwache" program like nine breathless Bavarian corporals with bad haircuts and mustaches trying to organize Party Rallies if the Baha'i Faith would have just worked on the problems actually facing the human race all along! Very good and motivated people left because the Baha'i Faith did nothing to actually try to solve any of the actual problems facing the world. It all became a mind bending incestuous cult that devoured it's own. Baha'u'llah said "Let your vision be world embracing." The religion He founded did not do that. It is now solely based upon fulfilling the psychological needs of a very tiny group of people at the top. So the bottom up powers of the World Age will move on to other people and other spiritual movements. And the official top down Baha'i Faith completely missed the Internet. Internet 2.0 will completely pass the Faith by unless there can be a once a week global chat with the members of the UHJ. I don't see that ever happening. But everyone else on Earth will move on to build a better world step by step under many different names and many different movements. Not even Leni Riefenstahl on LSD could save us now. Whoever liberates true spirituality and true intelligence will own the future. i once hoped and thought it would be the Baha'is. I worked very had for that ideal. I was wrong.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Keats, what exactly did you get "sick and tired of"? Since you've been a Baha'i so long, what are your thoughts about where the Baha'i Faith is headed?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Baquia Baquia

    Keats, what exactly did you get "sick and tired of"? Since you've been a Baha'i so long, what are your thoughts about where the Baha'i Faith is headed?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/FreeBirdSoaring FreeBirdSoaring

    Wow Baquia you are really getting tech on this blog. How amazing to read that letter from 1979 and see how much of it is true today. I could not have spoken any better myself 30 years later.

    I stopped by some of my Bah?’? friends today, one on the LSA who openly admits to me he is inactive, it was an interesting convo. We have not seen each other in a few years and we used to see each other monthly for years, 15 to be exact. I recalled to him a conversation he had with me about 5 years ago when in a meeting with the LSA he asked me why I still was a Bah?’? after all the pain and insults I had taken from members being myself, the questioning bird I told him the people failed me but the writings never did and until they did I found something divine in them. We then disused a deceased friend of mine, I have mention him when he asked about why I un-enrolled verses just become inactive. I told him Shoghi Effedi gave me a loop whole when I could un-enroll when I no longer agreed with the Teachings and Institutions which is precisely where I am at. I told him I left before I would be kicked out for all the questions I have that no one wants to talk about. I mentioned the question, why did Shoghi Effendi declare his whole family CB’s, where was the mercy?

    ? Even though Remey went rouge what was not one Bah?’? at his funeral? Had he conformed to the general consensus and joined that party instead of split it could he not have gone down as one of the greatest servant of the Cause it it’s history outside of a family member?. It was so apparent I was upsetting them but with thier love and grace they listened and I left and sent the following email:

    Friend, I hope I didn’t offend you about my statements and my unconstrained opinions. As I shared I deeply miss my deceased friend Craig who was a soul I could ask any question to, discuss any subject, and he always gave me something to hold on to, and even more, he truly adored all of me, even the annoying bits and never once made me feel ashamed of being me. He could turn sadness into joy and irony into luck. He was an open hearted expert on the Bah?’? Faith and while he was alive he answered all of my questions or lead to the books where I could find the answers for myself. It is my hope that one day someday I will find his kindred spirit and it will be then that some of my “unanswered questions’, new to arise since his passing, will be lovingly and intellectually explained to me without the fear of repercussions to the depth of my unbounded inquiry. Wish me his luck!

    Why did Shoghi Effendi declare his whole family CB’s?
    Who died and made the UJH an infallible voice of God?
    Who came up with the idea of creating the very division Baha’u’llah hoped to abolish by coining the phrase ?Bah?’???
    Who profits most in the BF, the AO or the people?
    Why do I still yearn for resolve on a matter nearly one year ago I thought I had in un-enrolling?
    Why do I still mourn?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/FreeBirdSoaring FreeBirdSoaring

    Wow Baquia you are really getting tech on this blog. How amazing to read that letter from 1979 and see how much of it is true today. I could not have spoken any better myself 30 years later.

    I stopped by some of my Bah?’? friends today, one on the LSA who openly admits to me he is inactive, it was an interesting convo. We have not seen each other in a few years and we used to see each other monthly for years, 15 to be exact. I recalled to him a conversation he had with me about 5 years ago when in a meeting with the LSA he asked me why I still was a Bah?’? after all the pain and insults I had taken from members being myself, the questioning bird I told him the people failed me but the writings never did and until they did I found something divine in them. We then disused a deceased friend of mine, I have mention him when he asked about why I un-enrolled verses just become inactive. I told him Shoghi Effedi gave me a loop whole when I could un-enroll when I no longer agreed with the Teachings and Institutions which is precisely where I am at. I told him I left before I would be kicked out for all the questions I have that no one wants to talk about. I mentioned the question, why did Shoghi Effendi declare his whole family CB’s, where was the mercy?

    ? Even though Remey went rouge what was not one Bah?’? at his funeral? Had he conformed to the general consensus and joined that party instead of split it could he not have gone down as one of the greatest servant of the Cause it it’s history outside of a family member?. It was so apparent I was upsetting them but with thier love and grace they listened and I left and sent the following email:

    Friend, I hope I didn’t offend you about my statements and my unconstrained opinions. As I shared I deeply miss my deceased friend Craig who was a soul I could ask any question to, discuss any subject, and he always gave me something to hold on to, and even more, he truly adored all of me, even the annoying bits and never once made me feel ashamed of being me. He could turn sadness into joy and irony into luck. He was an open hearted expert on the Bah?’? Faith and while he was alive he answered all of my questions or lead to the books where I could find the answers for myself. It is my hope that one day someday I will find his kindred spirit and it will be then that some of my “unanswered questions’, new to arise since his passing, will be lovingly and intellectually explained to me without the fear of repercussions to the depth of my unbounded inquiry. Wish me his luck!

    Why did Shoghi Effendi declare his whole family CB’s?
    Who died and made the UJH an infallible voice of God?
    Who came up with the idea of creating the very division Baha’u’llah hoped to abolish by coining the phrase ?Bah?’???
    Who profits most in the BF, the AO or the people?
    Why do I still yearn for resolve on a matter nearly one year ago I thought I had in un-enrolling?
    Why do I still mourn?

  • Keats Thomas

    There is no real consultation, not even at the local level. So many things are taboo, so many topics are off limits, one might as well not speak at all. And, if one does not sound like Shoghi Effendi, one is given the evil eye. The leadership is truly horrible – particularly the 'appointed' branch. Of all the ABMs I met during my time as a Baha'i, there was only one who wasn't a complete asshole. I am being completely serious. No exaggeration. After a while, it dawned on me that this should not be the case. They are worse than clergy. Looking back on it, I am shocked that I lasted so long. And, there is no end in sight and no way to change it. The crazy thing is, the people at the top think that this is the way it should be – God guided and all that. I am convinced if the Faith lost 90% of its members through resignation, the people at the top would stay the course. Nothing would change because they would think that this is just another test. Sad.

  • Keats Thomas

    There is no real consultation, not even at the local level. So many things are taboo, so many topics are off limits, one might as well not speak at all. And, if one does not sound like Shoghi Effendi, one is given the evil eye. The leadership is truly horrible – particularly the 'appointed' branch. Of all the ABMs I met during my time as a Baha'i, there was only one who wasn't a complete asshole. I am being completely serious. No exaggeration. After a while, it dawned on me that this should not be the case. They are worse than clergy. Looking back on it, I am shocked that I lasted so long. And, there is no end in sight and no way to change it. The crazy thing is, the people at the top think that this is the way it should be – God guided and all that. I am convinced if the Faith lost 90% of its members through resignation, the people at the top would stay the course. Nothing would change because they would think that this is just another test. Sad.

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  • sheelanainish

    I have read Mr. MacEoin's 30 year old comments here. The Framework of the Five Year Plan is the very tool (!) by which all the weaknesses outlined in his letter are addressed in real time. I am writing is to say that propagating angst about Baha'i political positions and attitudes is a sad distraction from the work at hand.

    The work at hand is defined through the framework of the Five Year Plan which has been delivered through the agency of an Instiution unlike any other in the expereince of history. We must needs experience this re-educative effort (or as I suspect), we are finally mature enough to receive this new learning which feels profoundly humbling.

    For some, Ruhi Training and taking direct teaching efforts into extremely impoverished neighborhoods has been a disorienting experience that challenges the presumptions we have nourished for the last 30 years.

    I have witnessed true confusion and lack of comprehension for how the Five Year Plan works among older Baha'is. These are same Baha'i who have had complete freedom in the past 30 years to implement almost any idea that came to mind, yet they failed to substanially and consistently expand the Faith.

    As a foot soldier, I have knowingly participated in past teaching efforts that started and ended, as well meaning but clumsy, attempts to teach the Faith that were uniformly abandoned.

    Why there is hugh and cry for old ways, old habits, old assumptions, even for old outdated intellectual conceits? Really, should I be reading Engels, after Communism has gone to dust? The only consideration the dictiator Pinochet needs from me now is prayer consideration as he is long dead.

    This above letter may have been posted as a demonstration of “foresight” but actually makes a substanial case for how the 5 Year Plan advances the community and serves up a lesson that we may all want to take re taking the Master's warnings about attachment to worldy pursuits.