Memories of Nine Years in Akka: A Review

memories-akka-book.jpgMemories of Nine Years in Akka (Khatir??t-i-Nuh-Saliy-i-â€?Akk??) is the translation of the memoirs of Dr. Youness Afroukhteh, Abdu’l-Baha’s secretary and interpreter during 1900 to 1909. It is published by George Ronald and can be found at any good Baha’i bookstore, as well as many online book sellers.

It covers the period of time when the Baha’i Faith was still struggling with Covenant-breakers, but was also starting to gain attention and followers in North America and Europe. It was also during this time that two important building projects were undertaken and completed: the Shrine of the B??b and the House of Worship in Ishqabad.

I found it full of fantastic stories about Abdu’l-Baha from the point of view of someone who was very close to him. Here is an example of the anecdotes you’ll find in the book:

… another quality of His love was that whoever evinced a more hostile attitude received a larger measure of His attention and love. Among the fanatical Protestant missionaries was an old woman known as Mrs. Ramsey, who was consumed with the fire of religious prejudice and hatred. The Covenant-breakers found out about her and fanned her flames of rancour until she became a true enemy of the Faith. It just so happened that she had to pass Abdu’l-Baha’s house several times a day on her way to the American Protestant doctor who has been mentioned in Chapter 1 of this book. Each time, as her glance fell on the blessed person of Abdu’l-Baha, she would writhe in agony, grimace and lower her head while quickening her pace to a run. Several times Abdu’l-Baha remarked to the friends, “You see how much Mrs. Ramsey dislikes me, and yet I love her very much.”

One day as she passed, looking upset and perturbed, the Master called her over and remarked to her,

“Mrs. Ramsey, do you know how much I love you?”

“How much?” she asked.

“As much as you dislike me,” He responded.

That’s a really sweet story and I don’t mean to be hypocritical but it isn’t clear if Dr. Youness Afroukhteh himself witnessed it or was told of it by someone else. Also, I can’t imagine such a fanatical person, one who would avert her eyes at the sight of Abdu’l-Baha, actually answering the invitation and coming close enough to speak with the object of her disdain.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the parts of the book which were devoted to the Covenant-breakers… which was a very large portion of the author’s work. I think I was uncomfortable because the author seemed very biased (obviously!) but more so, it made me uneasy because I felt the author was just backbiting.

I know we all have different tolerances and definitions for backbiting, but considering how harshly it is condemned by Baha’u’llah, I kept hoping, as I turned the pages, that the author would avoid it as much as possible. I know this is a very difficult path because the book is about Abdu’l-Baha’s life during a very difficult time – when was Abdu’l-Baha’s life not difficult!?

But at the same time, I wish there was more sweet stories like the one I quote above, and less… well, you know. All in all, I did enjoy the book. And I would encourage others to read it. Especially if you would like to get to know Abdu’l-Baha better.

There is another book along these line, which I enjoyed more: The Master in Akka by Myron H. Phelps:

Life and Teachings of Abbas EffendiMyron Phelps’s Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi is a classic of Bah??’?­ literature. It was the first attempt in English to write a full-length book about ‘Abdu’l-Bah??, the Master. An American lawyer from New York, Phelps was not himself a Bah??’?­ but was deeply attracted to the Bah??’?­ teachings and had come to know and to love ‘Abdu’l-Bah??. His work was published in 1903; this book reprints the first six chapters of that volume.

Phelps had traveled to Palestine and had stayed in ‘Akk?? for one month as the guest of ‘Abdu’l-Bah??. He records with tender devotion the daily life and habits of the Master–his service to the poor, his crushing workday, his tolerance, his gait, his gestures, even the food that he ate. These chapters offer the reader a unique and priceless portrait of the Perfect Exemplar of the Bah??’?­ way of life.

The most precious portion of the book, however, is the history of ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s life (and that of all the Holy Family) told in intimate detail by the Greatest Holy Leaf (Bah?­yyih Kh??num), the Master’s sister. This is the longest and most complete interview of the Holy Leaf known to exist. Her words are as simple and direct as they are powerful and moving. She tells of the intense joys and the many sorrows of her life in exile with her Father, Bah??’u’ll??h, and her brother. Her narrative provides a view of Bah??’?­ history seldom seen elsewhere. Marzieh Gail’s new foreword to this reprint provides the reader with a broad picture of the historical circumstances surrounding Phelps’s visit to ‘Akk?? and his publication of this book.

It is also much cheaper than “Memories of Nine Years in Akka” in case you’re close to maxing out your book budget (as I am).

  • Anonymous

    [quote]�Mrs. Ramsey, do you know how much I love you?�

    �How much?� she asked.

    �As much as you dislike me,� He responded.[/quote]
    These kinds of stories are the source of so much self-righteous false submissiveness among Bah??’?­s. Whenever people disagree with them, Bah??’?­s just love to be “above it all” don’t they? In this story, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? completely ignores the possible validity of the woman’s dislike of him and feigns an air of pious superiority that is disturbing. This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously.

  • http://mavaddat.livejournal.com Mavaddat

    [quote]�Mrs. Ramsey, do you know how much I love you?�

    �How much?� she asked.

    �As much as you dislike me,� He responded.[/quote]
    These kinds of stories are the source of so much self-righteous false submissiveness among Bah??’?­s. Whenever people disagree with them, Bah??’?­s just love to be “above it all” don’t they? In this story, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? completely ignores the possible validity of the woman’s dislike of him and feigns an air of pious superiority that is disturbing. This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Mavaddat,
    Mrs. Ramsey didn’t know Abdu’l-Baha, yet she hated Him. Abdu’l-Baha didn’t really know Mrs. Ramsey either, but He loved her unconditionally. Those may seem like empty words but a whole lifetime dedicated to service fills them to overflowing.
    Would you take someone’s prejudice “seriously”? Let’s say you were black and a KKK walked by you and grimaced, would you then say, Wait! I don’t want to just love this person back for the sake of God… that would be pretentious! I want to understand his opinion of hatred and ignorance?
    Love is the most powerful force in the world my friend. May you be enveloped by it :-)

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Mavaddat,
    Mrs. Ramsey didn’t know Abdu’l-Baha, yet she hated Him. Abdu’l-Baha didn’t really know Mrs. Ramsey either, but He loved her unconditionally. Those may seem like empty words but a whole lifetime dedicated to service fills them to overflowing.
    Would you take someone’s prejudice “seriously”? Let’s say you were black and a KKK walked by you and grimaced, would you then say, Wait! I don’t want to just love this person back for the sake of God… that would be pretentious! I want to understand his opinion of hatred and ignorance?
    Love is the most powerful force in the world my friend. May you be enveloped by it :-)

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Thanks for your description of these two books. I am glad to hear your discomfort at the treatment of “Covenant Breakers.” It seems to me that all of the Baha’i prescriptions to love, turn a sin covering eye, etc get thrown out the window when the magic CB label gets introduced, or even the “marginal” label now.

    When describing to non-Baha’i friends the Baha’i attitude towards “CBs,” as demonstrated by Shoghi Effendi having the roof tiles of their HOMES ground into walkways on Mt Carmel, the reaction is generally: “Ick. That’s really gross.” I have to agree. The gloves of peace, love, and understanding are OFF in Baha’i culture when someone expresses dissent. It’s extremely hypocritical. For all the prohibitions on backbiting and criticism, you can feel free to take a verbal bat to a CB or apostate with no one blinking an eye. The Writings are filled with extremely hateful language on these individuals. It’s gross.

    I also wanted to say that when Mavaddat points out, “This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously,” he’s right. There’s something to that.

    We don’t know if Ms. Ramsey had legit reasons for disliking ‘Abdu’l-Baha, if it was pure prejudice, or if she even disliked him to begin with. How many times on this blog have we seen people get accused of being out to discredit, destroy, and oppose the Baha’i Faith when they are simply voicing disagreement. Someone told me recently that because I disagreed with them about a Baha’i issue, that I didn’t LOVE them anymore. That’s insane. Love does not equal mindless agreement.

    There is a PATTERN in Baha’i discourse to discredit and mischaracterize those who voice anything other than the “party line.” And being on the receiving end of that IS maddening. As is being on the receiving end of someone refusing to address your arguments, but saying that they “love” you and “respect” your differences. How can you love and respect something that you refuse to understand?

    Also, dissent and anger often COME FROM love. That’s important to recognize. “Love is the most powerful force in the world my friend. May you be enveloped by it :-)”

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    Baquia,

    Thanks for your description of these two books. I am glad to hear your discomfort at the treatment of “Covenant Breakers.” It seems to me that all of the Baha’i prescriptions to love, turn a sin covering eye, etc get thrown out the window when the magic CB label gets introduced, or even the “marginal” label now.

    When describing to non-Baha’i friends the Baha’i attitude towards “CBs,” as demonstrated by Shoghi Effendi having the roof tiles of their HOMES ground into walkways on Mt Carmel, the reaction is generally: “Ick. That’s really gross.” I have to agree. The gloves of peace, love, and understanding are OFF in Baha’i culture when someone expresses dissent. It’s extremely hypocritical. For all the prohibitions on backbiting and criticism, you can feel free to take a verbal bat to a CB or apostate with no one blinking an eye. The Writings are filled with extremely hateful language on these individuals. It’s gross.

    I also wanted to say that when Mavaddat points out, “This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously,” he’s right. There’s something to that.

    We don’t know if Ms. Ramsey had legit reasons for disliking ‘Abdu’l-Baha, if it was pure prejudice, or if she even disliked him to begin with. How many times on this blog have we seen people get accused of being out to discredit, destroy, and oppose the Baha’i Faith when they are simply voicing disagreement. Someone told me recently that because I disagreed with them about a Baha’i issue, that I didn’t LOVE them anymore. That’s insane. Love does not equal mindless agreement.

    There is a PATTERN in Baha’i discourse to discredit and mischaracterize those who voice anything other than the “party line.” And being on the receiving end of that IS maddening. As is being on the receiving end of someone refusing to address your arguments, but saying that they “love” you and “respect” your differences. How can you love and respect something that you refuse to understand?

    Also, dissent and anger often COME FROM love. That’s important to recognize. “Love is the most powerful force in the world my friend. May you be enveloped by it :-)”

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, thank you for your comments.

    I think from the relatively little that we know about the old missionary woman, it is safe to say she was ignorant and prejudiced. She didn’t care to find out anything for herself or to speak with Abdu’l-Baha. In other words, seeing with her own eyes and hearing with her own ears. That behavior is difficult to misconstrue. She was in no way entering into a dialogue with Abudu’l-Baha. Haven’t you seen people like this in your own life? Extremely fanatical religious people who believe that if they even touch you, they will be “infected”? or that you’re “the Devil”? Unfortunately I have. And I think it is clear from the story, that is the sort of person Mrs. Ramsey was.

    This is only one tiny anecdote, in any case. The more important lesson is how Abdu’l-Baha lived His own life, every day.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Amanda, thank you for your comments.

    I think from the relatively little that we know about the old missionary woman, it is safe to say she was ignorant and prejudiced. She didn’t care to find out anything for herself or to speak with Abdu’l-Baha. In other words, seeing with her own eyes and hearing with her own ears. That behavior is difficult to misconstrue. She was in no way entering into a dialogue with Abudu’l-Baha. Haven’t you seen people like this in your own life? Extremely fanatical religious people who believe that if they even touch you, they will be “infected”? or that you’re “the Devil”? Unfortunately I have. And I think it is clear from the story, that is the sort of person Mrs. Ramsey was.

    This is only one tiny anecdote, in any case. The more important lesson is how Abdu’l-Baha lived His own life, every day.

  • Lieylak

    Baquia,
    Can you remove my comments from the “transparency” blog. People in my small island community have asked me about it. Being over 55 and not being truly part of the internet age I flew off the handle a little. If you can’t remover all my comments can you at least remove the ones that contain identifying information about my past experiences. Thank you! We still enjoy your blog.

  • Lieylak

    Baquia,
    Can you remove my comments from the “transparency” blog. People in my small island community have asked me about it. Being over 55 and not being truly part of the internet age I flew off the handle a little. If you can’t remover all my comments can you at least remove the ones that contain identifying information about my past experiences. Thank you! We still enjoy your blog.

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]

    �Mrs. Ramsey, do you know how much I love you?�

    �How much?� she asked.

    �As much as you dislike me,� He responded.

    These kinds of stories are the source of so much self-righteous false submissiveness among Bah??’?­s. Whenever people disagree with them, Bah??’?­s just love to be â€?above it allâ€? don’t they? In this story, â€?Abdu’l-Bah?? completely ignores the possible validity of the woman’s dislike of him and feigns an air of pious superiority that is disturbing. This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously.[/quote]

    While I think Mavaddat over states the issue, I have had similar feelings about such stories for years. This behavior attributed to Abdul Baha is passive aggressive, I think. Did Abdul Baha really love this (apparently) nasty woman or was he making a point in his role as Master? Were his actions practical and worthy of emulation? And as Mavaddat points out, do we really understand why the woman had this hatred?

    Years ago as a teenager at Greenacre I knew Hand of the cause Kadem. I was friendly with his sons and traveled with the Kadems on one memorable occasion. There was a fellow at Greenacre who was very annoying. He put on airs and seemed false in his spiritual affectations. He had damp, googlly eyes and tried his best to appear spiritual but was repugnant to me. He lusted after Mr. Kadem’s expensive car as if it was a work of art perhaps in a temple. But Mr. Kadem thought this fellow was “wonderful” as he said. I’ve wondered why ever since. The man needed a kick in the pants but got a pat on the back.

    A few years ago I went back to Greenacre after nearly 50 years to take a course. The same false praise was everywhere. If you are or were a Bahai, one of the senior members in residence at GA would single you out for praise — deserved or not.

    The session I attended was very poor. It was depressing and seemed nearly pointless to me and I’m sure other participants as well. But at the end one of the most senior and certainly the most learned of the course members praised the session in glowing terms describing how inspired he had been during the session. Several of us there had difficulty keeping our lunch down.

    Its shameful and lazy to speak so falsely. It is much more difficult to give praise where it is deserved and truly constructive criticism otherwise.

    I have read other stories about Abdul Baha where he is shown to have been much stronger and to the point. Such as the story of his visit to a Chicago area LSA (or equivalent) who were meeting and discussing some small matter for a long time without making a decision. AB is reported to have interpreted asking: “Is this the executive committee?” On receiving a yes, he responded: “Then why don’t you execute!”

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]

    �Mrs. Ramsey, do you know how much I love you?�

    �How much?� she asked.

    �As much as you dislike me,� He responded.

    These kinds of stories are the source of so much self-righteous false submissiveness among Bah??’?­s. Whenever people disagree with them, Bah??’?­s just love to be â€?above it allâ€? don’t they? In this story, â€?Abdu’l-Bah?? completely ignores the possible validity of the woman’s dislike of him and feigns an air of pious superiority that is disturbing. This kind of treatment is not endearing. It is not humble. And it is not loving. It is infuriating and pretentious. To love someone is to take them and their opinion seriously.[/quote]

    While I think Mavaddat over states the issue, I have had similar feelings about such stories for years. This behavior attributed to Abdul Baha is passive aggressive, I think. Did Abdul Baha really love this (apparently) nasty woman or was he making a point in his role as Master? Were his actions practical and worthy of emulation? And as Mavaddat points out, do we really understand why the woman had this hatred?

    Years ago as a teenager at Greenacre I knew Hand of the cause Kadem. I was friendly with his sons and traveled with the Kadems on one memorable occasion. There was a fellow at Greenacre who was very annoying. He put on airs and seemed false in his spiritual affectations. He had damp, googlly eyes and tried his best to appear spiritual but was repugnant to me. He lusted after Mr. Kadem’s expensive car as if it was a work of art perhaps in a temple. But Mr. Kadem thought this fellow was “wonderful” as he said. I’ve wondered why ever since. The man needed a kick in the pants but got a pat on the back.

    A few years ago I went back to Greenacre after nearly 50 years to take a course. The same false praise was everywhere. If you are or were a Bahai, one of the senior members in residence at GA would single you out for praise — deserved or not.

    The session I attended was very poor. It was depressing and seemed nearly pointless to me and I’m sure other participants as well. But at the end one of the most senior and certainly the most learned of the course members praised the session in glowing terms describing how inspired he had been during the session. Several of us there had difficulty keeping our lunch down.

    Its shameful and lazy to speak so falsely. It is much more difficult to give praise where it is deserved and truly constructive criticism otherwise.

    I have read other stories about Abdul Baha where he is shown to have been much stronger and to the point. Such as the story of his visit to a Chicago area LSA (or equivalent) who were meeting and discussing some small matter for a long time without making a decision. AB is reported to have interpreted asking: “Is this the executive committee?” On receiving a yes, he responded: “Then why don’t you execute!”

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Dear Lieylak,
    I’ve looked over you previous comments and can not find any containing “identifying” information. Perhaps you can point out specific ones.
    Also, your IP address is different than your previous messages which makes me wonder if someone is pretending to be you.

    [quote comment="45968"]Baquia,
    Can you remove my comments from the “transparency” blog. [/quote]

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Dear Lieylak,
    I’ve looked over you previous comments and can not find any containing “identifying” information. Perhaps you can point out specific ones.
    Also, your IP address is different than your previous messages which makes me wonder if someone is pretending to be you.

    [quote comment="45968"]Baquia,
    Can you remove my comments from the “transparency” blog. [/quote]

  • Praising someone’s effort in spite of a lackluster performance – be it in giving a talk, presenting a play or whatever the situation may be – is in fact an excellent strategy when it is done publicly. Mr. Winters, I know exactly how you felt when that senior course member offered what you thought were undue praises. But publicly underscoring the shortcomings of an individual is the province of shock television and politics, not Baha’i social life. This of course has no relationship to voicing constructive criticism in the context of consultation. I see it more like telling a host that the roast and soup were delicious even though I had a real hard time to swallow them. There’s no point in being negative in a social context, quite the contrary, negativity breeds contempt and had feelings.

    This reminds me of moments when, coming home from Feast, I think to myself: “There is no way I’m ever taking a new believer to Feast, it’s going to turn them right off.” Yet I always have to remind myself that Feast is only as “good” as the effort I put into it myself. If I don’t like it, I invest efforts in making it better. If you think the quality of the sessions at GA is dwindling, you should absolutely contact people in charge and offer to facilitate one of your own. Too many people complain about things that are almost inherent to social life without making true and honest efforts to correct them, me included. That’s what’s “shameful and lazy”, not praising someone for an effort that fell short…

  • Praising someone’s effort in spite of a lackluster performance – be it in giving a talk, presenting a play or whatever the situation may be – is in fact an excellent strategy when it is done publicly. Mr. Winters, I know exactly how you felt when that senior course member offered what you thought were undue praises. But publicly underscoring the shortcomings of an individual is the province of shock television and politics, not Baha’i social life. This of course has no relationship to voicing constructive criticism in the context of consultation. I see it more like telling a host that the roast and soup were delicious even though I had a real hard time to swallow them. There’s no point in being negative in a social context, quite the contrary, negativity breeds contempt and had feelings.

    This reminds me of moments when, coming home from Feast, I think to myself: “There is no way I’m ever taking a new believer to Feast, it’s going to turn them right off.” Yet I always have to remind myself that Feast is only as “good” as the effort I put into it myself. If I don’t like it, I invest efforts in making it better. If you think the quality of the sessions at GA is dwindling, you should absolutely contact people in charge and offer to facilitate one of your own. Too many people complain about things that are almost inherent to social life without making true and honest efforts to correct them, me included. That’s what’s “shameful and lazy”, not praising someone for an effort that fell short…

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]Praising someone’s effort in spite of a lackluster performance – be it in giving a talk, presenting a play or whatever the situation may be – is in fact an excellent strategy when it is done publicly. Mr. Winters, I know exactly how you felt when that senior course member offered what you thought were undue praises. But publicly underscoring the shortcomings of an individual is the province of shock television and politics, not Baha’i social life. This of course has no relationship to voicing constructive criticism in the context of consultation. I see it more like telling a host that the roast and soup were delicious even though I had a real hard time to swallow them. There’s no point in being negative in a social context, quite the contrary, negativity breeds contempt and had feelings.

    This reminds me of moments when, coming home from Feast, I think to myself: “There is no way I’m ever taking a new believer to Feast, it’s going to turn them right off.” Yet I always have to remind myself that Feast is only as “good” as the effort I put into it myself. If I don’t like it, I invest efforts in making it better. If you think the quality of the sessions at GA is dwindling, you should absolutely contact people in charge and offer to facilitate one of your own. Too many people complain about things that are almost inherent to social life without making true and honest efforts to correct them, me included. That’s what’s “shameful and lazy”, not praising someone for an effort that fell short…[/quote]

    Dear Isma?«l,

    I think you make some excellent points and I tend to agree with you. However in the case of my Greenacre experience the praise was so high and the performance so poor that I still wonder exactly what happened. I do not advocate public criticism in such a social situation, rather I advocate more moderate, appropriate thanks for the effort. I did voice my opinion when the administrator in charge asked me about the session, but i did not blast it, I merely recounted what happened.

    As to running sessions at GA myself, I no longer am a Baha’i so that might not be possible. I did join a Unitarian church recently and am running an Emerson discussion group. The Minister told me she may ask me to give a talk on Baha’i. If this happens I will be fair and will let the local Baha’is know about it as well.

    As to making an honest effort to correct social or other mistakes, I do speak out and have always attempted to face facts and be honest in my expressions of belief and in my actions. But I did not counter the praise given that day at GA. I had been quite vocal during the entire session and I’m certain the other participants knew how I felt. The praise that was given was ridiculous.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]Praising someone’s effort in spite of a lackluster performance – be it in giving a talk, presenting a play or whatever the situation may be – is in fact an excellent strategy when it is done publicly. Mr. Winters, I know exactly how you felt when that senior course member offered what you thought were undue praises. But publicly underscoring the shortcomings of an individual is the province of shock television and politics, not Baha’i social life. This of course has no relationship to voicing constructive criticism in the context of consultation. I see it more like telling a host that the roast and soup were delicious even though I had a real hard time to swallow them. There’s no point in being negative in a social context, quite the contrary, negativity breeds contempt and had feelings.

    This reminds me of moments when, coming home from Feast, I think to myself: “There is no way I’m ever taking a new believer to Feast, it’s going to turn them right off.” Yet I always have to remind myself that Feast is only as “good” as the effort I put into it myself. If I don’t like it, I invest efforts in making it better. If you think the quality of the sessions at GA is dwindling, you should absolutely contact people in charge and offer to facilitate one of your own. Too many people complain about things that are almost inherent to social life without making true and honest efforts to correct them, me included. That’s what’s “shameful and lazy”, not praising someone for an effort that fell short…[/quote]

    Dear Isma?«l,

    I think you make some excellent points and I tend to agree with you. However in the case of my Greenacre experience the praise was so high and the performance so poor that I still wonder exactly what happened. I do not advocate public criticism in such a social situation, rather I advocate more moderate, appropriate thanks for the effort. I did voice my opinion when the administrator in charge asked me about the session, but i did not blast it, I merely recounted what happened.

    As to running sessions at GA myself, I no longer am a Baha’i so that might not be possible. I did join a Unitarian church recently and am running an Emerson discussion group. The Minister told me she may ask me to give a talk on Baha’i. If this happens I will be fair and will let the local Baha’is know about it as well.

    As to making an honest effort to correct social or other mistakes, I do speak out and have always attempted to face facts and be honest in my expressions of belief and in my actions. But I did not counter the praise given that day at GA. I had been quite vocal during the entire session and I’m certain the other participants knew how I felt. The praise that was given was ridiculous.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • Frank,
    this is way off topic and is more of a personal “email” to you, but I was just reading up on Unitarianism and I find that many of the Unitarian tenets are quite close in spirit to the Baha’i teachings. Would you agree?
    (I feel like I’m hijacking this thread – sincere apologies Baquia, but I recall reading somewhere that we shouldn’t put personal info in our posts)

  • Frank,
    this is way off topic and is more of a personal “email” to you, but I was just reading up on Unitarianism and I find that many of the Unitarian tenets are quite close in spirit to the Baha’i teachings. Would you agree?
    (I feel like I’m hijacking this thread – sincere apologies Baquia, but I recall reading somewhere that we shouldn’t put personal info in our posts)

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]Frank,
    this is way off topic and is more of a personal “email” to you, but I was just reading up on Unitarianism and I find that many of the Unitarian tenets are quite close in spirit to the Baha’i teachings. Would you agree?
    (I feel like I’m hijacking this thread – sincere apologies Baquia, but I recall reading somewhere that we shouldn’t put personal info in our posts)[/quote]

    Hello Isma?«l,

    I think you are correct if you replace the ‘many’ in your question with the word ‘some.’ BTW I am still learning about Unitarianism so my answer might not be completely accurate according to some others.

    Unitarians believe that truth can be found in all religions except those that are negative or violent. They use sacred scripture from many religions as well as poetry and prose from almost any source that is consistent with a spiritual outlook. So in this way they have similar beliefs to Baha’i.

    But Unitarians don’t believe in the divinity of Christ or any other religious leader, nor do they accept dogma of any kind. This is very different from Baha’i, I believe. The Unitarian faith is not creed based but is organized around principles of behavior, not theological belief. Jesus is generally understood as a wise teacher and leader, similar to Buddha, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Unitarians value outreach and social action. The clergy do not have authority, rather that is held by the local congregation.

    I don’t think it is necessary to believe in God the way Christians and Baha’is do to be a Unitarian. The church I joined is not only Unitarian it also has an affiliation with The United Church of Christ, a more traditional church. The church does meet for the worship of God (not all Unitarian churches would say they do that I believe) and the churches covenant is: “In the love of Truth, and in the spirit of Jesus, We unite for the worship of God, and the Service of all.”

    I hope this answers you question.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • http://frankwinters.wordpress.com/ Frank Winters

    [quote comment=""]Frank,
    this is way off topic and is more of a personal “email” to you, but I was just reading up on Unitarianism and I find that many of the Unitarian tenets are quite close in spirit to the Baha’i teachings. Would you agree?
    (I feel like I’m hijacking this thread – sincere apologies Baquia, but I recall reading somewhere that we shouldn’t put personal info in our posts)[/quote]

    Hello Isma?«l,

    I think you are correct if you replace the ‘many’ in your question with the word ‘some.’ BTW I am still learning about Unitarianism so my answer might not be completely accurate according to some others.

    Unitarians believe that truth can be found in all religions except those that are negative or violent. They use sacred scripture from many religions as well as poetry and prose from almost any source that is consistent with a spiritual outlook. So in this way they have similar beliefs to Baha’i.

    But Unitarians don’t believe in the divinity of Christ or any other religious leader, nor do they accept dogma of any kind. This is very different from Baha’i, I believe. The Unitarian faith is not creed based but is organized around principles of behavior, not theological belief. Jesus is generally understood as a wise teacher and leader, similar to Buddha, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Unitarians value outreach and social action. The clergy do not have authority, rather that is held by the local congregation.

    I don’t think it is necessary to believe in God the way Christians and Baha’is do to be a Unitarian. The church I joined is not only Unitarian it also has an affiliation with The United Church of Christ, a more traditional church. The church does meet for the worship of God (not all Unitarian churches would say they do that I believe) and the churches covenant is: “In the love of Truth, and in the spirit of Jesus, We unite for the worship of God, and the Service of all.”

    I hope this answers you question.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia,

    I am soooo glad you are up and running, I thought for a minute the BIA (Bah?’?­ Internet Agency) pulled the plug..lol. One never knows where Counselor Birkland may be hovering with his wand to magically make â€?free thinkersâ€? disappear. I bought the book, Memories of Nine Years in Akka, for stiff price of $50+ shipping and I had just begun reading it when I put it down because I wasn’t getting into it from the first few pages. I was advised to read it because I was told I have the same fire as some of the American Bah?’?­ women mentioned, however, it along with all my library went back to the BF on 02.05.08. I never read it and by the sounds of it I am not sure I would really enjoy it. I would not find â€?back bitingâ€? an attractive read nor the alleged spiritual demise of people labeled â€?CB’sâ€?.

    I do find the story you quoted somewhat difficult to believe that Abdul’Baha would not only mock this woman at a time she looked upset, but do so in the presence of others and intentionally add to her discomfort and contribute to his muse and any witness. It is questioning to think of what could be gained with this type of anecdote quoted where more vanity then humility is taught.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia,

    I am soooo glad you are up and running, I thought for a minute the BIA (Bah?’?­ Internet Agency) pulled the plug..lol. One never knows where Counselor Birkland may be hovering with his wand to magically make â€?free thinkersâ€? disappear. I bought the book, Memories of Nine Years in Akka, for stiff price of $50+ shipping and I had just begun reading it when I put it down because I wasn’t getting into it from the first few pages. I was advised to read it because I was told I have the same fire as some of the American Bah?’?­ women mentioned, however, it along with all my library went back to the BF on 02.05.08. I never read it and by the sounds of it I am not sure I would really enjoy it. I would not find â€?back bitingâ€? an attractive read nor the alleged spiritual demise of people labeled â€?CB’sâ€?.

    I do find the story you quoted somewhat difficult to believe that Abdul’Baha would not only mock this woman at a time she looked upset, but do so in the presence of others and intentionally add to her discomfort and contribute to his muse and any witness. It is questioning to think of what could be gained with this type of anecdote quoted where more vanity then humility is taught.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    [quote comment=""]Baquia,

    It is questioning to think of what could be gained with this type of anecdote quoted where more vanity then humility is taught.[/quote]

    This is a great point, Bird.

  • http://www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com Amanda

    [quote comment=""]Baquia,

    It is questioning to think of what could be gained with this type of anecdote quoted where more vanity then humility is taught.[/quote]

    This is a great point, Bird.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    BooC,
    Thank you for your concern but the BIA is an innocuous group who’s aim is to help Baha’is with online activities. What happened was that my traffic was much higher than my current hosting plan so I had to bump it up to the next level to accommodate all my visitors :-)

    [quote comment="46231"]I do find the story you quoted somewhat difficult to believe that Abdul’Baha would not only mock this woman at a time she looked upset, but do so in the presence of others and intentionally add to her discomfort…[/quote]

    Mock? It is beyond me how anyone could get the impression that Abdu’l-Baha was mocking her. She was obviously bothered because of her prejudice and He attempted to let her know that He recognized her prejudice and hatred but that He loved her. None of us were there at the time of this anecdote but to characterize the Master’s behavior as ‘mocking’ is a stretch, to say the least, and also completely and categorically uncharacteristic of Him.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    BooC,
    Thank you for your concern but the BIA is an innocuous group who’s aim is to help Baha’is with online activities. What happened was that my traffic was much higher than my current hosting plan so I had to bump it up to the next level to accommodate all my visitors :-)

    [quote comment="46231"]I do find the story you quoted somewhat difficult to believe that Abdul’Baha would not only mock this woman at a time she looked upset, but do so in the presence of others and intentionally add to her discomfort…[/quote]

    Mock? It is beyond me how anyone could get the impression that Abdu’l-Baha was mocking her. She was obviously bothered because of her prejudice and He attempted to let her know that He recognized her prejudice and hatred but that He loved her. None of us were there at the time of this anecdote but to characterize the Master’s behavior as ‘mocking’ is a stretch, to say the least, and also completely and categorically uncharacteristic of Him.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia,

    I live in area that I am the minority and a well despised minority at that. Just recently while attending a function if looks could kill I would not be here to write this. It doesn’t matter what fuels hate whether it is race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, hate is hate. I could not imagine the ramifications of an action to one of those mom’s who didn’t think that I or my children belonged there by telling them in WORDS that as much as they hate me I love them. I respect their right to hate me for my color, key word is �right�.

    I most certainly would follow the directions of my grand father, serving me well this far which it to kill with kindness. Living kindness and finding a compassion for those who suffer from affliction are Writing found in the BR. I contend that hate is an affliction. The only method I have found that really works is allowing them their right to hate and living the example and teaching my son’s that it doesn’t pay to hate back or even for that matter point out that I don’t have hate because it is who I am and what I do and not what I say that matters. Love is a wordless and it is soundless, at least I think it started that way. Now with the word LOVE defined by man, it is a word used as both a sword and a salve.

    I pointed out I did not read the book, however the tone in the story really appealed to something that didn’t feel like LOVE, allowing her her G-d given right to hate with dignity in her mind she thinks she LOVES G-d and her �hate� for Abdul’Baha may just have been her way to show G-d how much she LOVES Him by her despise for the Master. Whether right or wrong her story of hating something she does not understand is not unique and did the Master win her heart? (Please share since you read the book)

    I wonder how the story would have read it the Master acted instead by asking for a fragrant rose to be secretly laid on the path he knew she would take for her to discover, privately and pick up for it’s beauty. Is it likely without knowing who put it there that she would thank G-d for the gift and the giver whom ever it may be that left it there for her. Would her despise for something she doesn’t understand begin to get a different view when she smelled the roses on her path as she walked by him? Might the smell of the rose distract her hate, at least for a moment?

    I think there are many ways to abolish hate but none of them involve WORDS.

    I agree to �mock� would be uncharacteristic of the Master which is why I commented on it.

    Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.-Bah??’u’ll??h

    What was the deed of this story?

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Baquia,

    I live in area that I am the minority and a well despised minority at that. Just recently while attending a function if looks could kill I would not be here to write this. It doesn’t matter what fuels hate whether it is race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, hate is hate. I could not imagine the ramifications of an action to one of those mom’s who didn’t think that I or my children belonged there by telling them in WORDS that as much as they hate me I love them. I respect their right to hate me for my color, key word is �right�.

    I most certainly would follow the directions of my grand father, serving me well this far which it to kill with kindness. Living kindness and finding a compassion for those who suffer from affliction are Writing found in the BR. I contend that hate is an affliction. The only method I have found that really works is allowing them their right to hate and living the example and teaching my son’s that it doesn’t pay to hate back or even for that matter point out that I don’t have hate because it is who I am and what I do and not what I say that matters. Love is a wordless and it is soundless, at least I think it started that way. Now with the word LOVE defined by man, it is a word used as both a sword and a salve.

    I pointed out I did not read the book, however the tone in the story really appealed to something that didn’t feel like LOVE, allowing her her G-d given right to hate with dignity in her mind she thinks she LOVES G-d and her �hate� for Abdul’Baha may just have been her way to show G-d how much she LOVES Him by her despise for the Master. Whether right or wrong her story of hating something she does not understand is not unique and did the Master win her heart? (Please share since you read the book)

    I wonder how the story would have read it the Master acted instead by asking for a fragrant rose to be secretly laid on the path he knew she would take for her to discover, privately and pick up for it’s beauty. Is it likely without knowing who put it there that she would thank G-d for the gift and the giver whom ever it may be that left it there for her. Would her despise for something she doesn’t understand begin to get a different view when she smelled the roses on her path as she walked by him? Might the smell of the rose distract her hate, at least for a moment?

    I think there are many ways to abolish hate but none of them involve WORDS.

    I agree to �mock� would be uncharacteristic of the Master which is why I commented on it.

    Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.-Bah??’u’ll??h

    What was the deed of this story?