NSA Elections in North America 2009

Ridvan ushers in not just a great festival for the Baha’i world but also the annual National Conventions where we get a chance to reflect on the year past, accomplishments and future goals. As well as to elect the 9 members of our national governing bodies. Yes, it is springtime and incumbency is in the air.

With the retirement of Dorothy Nelson, the US NSA was given a rare opportunity to welcome a new member: Ms. Valerie Dana from Colorado. She is an attorney at law and until 2004 she was a director of the Mona Foundation.

Except for this new member, the same 8 incumbents were re-elected and not surprisingly, in almost the same order of votes: Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, David F. Young, Kenneth E. Bowers, Juana C. Conrad, William Roberts, Muin Afnani, Erica Toussaint, Robert C. Henderson.

US NSA with new member, Deloria Bighorn

US NSA with new member, Valerie Dana

The national convention in Canada had similar results except that two previous members retired, allowing for two new members to be elected. Elizabeth Wright was elected to the NSA of Canada in January 2009 as a result of a by-election caused by the resignation of Fariborz Sahba. From 2004 onward, Mr. Sahba had been a member of the national governing body and acted as the Treasurer. So although technically Wright was re-elected, I still count her as a new member because of the circumstances.

The second new member is Deloria Bighorn, replacing the retiring Mark Wedge who had been serving on the NSA for 10 consecutive years. Similar to the longstanding member she replaced and Valerie Dana, Ms. Bighorn is a North American native. Previously she acted as the Director of Aboriginal Affairs for the NSA of Canada, as well as working as a counselor at the now closed Maxwell Baha’i School.

Elizabeth Wright, Gerald Filson, Deloria Bighorn

Elizabeth Wright, Gerald Filson, Deloria Bighorn

The 7 re-elected incumbents are: Karen McKye, Todd Smith, Borna Noureddin, Judy Filson, Enayat Rawhani, Gordon Naylor, Elizabeth Wright and Susanne Tamas (in descending order of votes). Deloria Bighorn received the lowest number of votes which is in keeping with the traditional experience for new members.

Because incumbency is so prevalent, it is rare to see 2 new members in one election. Usually we see either no change, with all previous members re-elected or just one new face due to retirement. The last time we saw 2 new members, as is the case this year, was in 1999. The longest serving members of the Canadian NSA are Judy Filson and Enayat Rohani. The average consecutive years in office is 8 – meaning that the average member of the NSA of Canada has been a member for 8 years consecutively. Due to the 2 new members, this represents a slight decrease from last year’s number of 8.6 years.

There is a happy medium between too many years and too few years. If members are changing quickly, then they don’t have time to learn, make connections and to be able to take up the heavy responsibility that comes with being an NSA member. On the other hand, if membership is hardly changing at all, as we are seeing now, the disadvantages are that people get burned out, devolve into group-think, run out of ideas, form cliques and fiefdoms, etc. For this reason, it is difficult to draw the line and give a specific number of years, for example.

But when we are seeing that the only way new blood can be introduced into an NSA by the decision of an incumbent to retire due to old age, then it is safe to suggest that the pendulum has swung to an extreme. Of course, we are talking about a free election here. No one is forcing the Baha’is of the US and Canada to elect the same people over and over again.

And yet they do. There is an inherent flaw in the structure of the elections which needs be addressed. It is at this point that fellow Baha’is usually bristle with affront and close their minds. Which is unfortunate since the administrative processes are an evolving and organic framework. Even a cursory study of them and their history would attest to the fact that they are not set in stone and shouldn’t be – especially if they start to produce harmful results. They are the servants to the community, not the other way around.

To understand the flaw and how it can be remedied, please refer to a previous discussion: Baha’i Elections – How to Improve Them.

Related:

  • fubar

    Bahai NSA elections: Disturbingly Empty, as in "Meaningless" and "Vacuous". How is this relevant in any real way to the major problems that exist on planet earth, families, or people's souls? The great machine of Bureaucatic Reinvention grinds on mindlessly, clanking/rumbling into further oblivion. Where is the great drama of human redemption and atonement? Where is the application of the principles of transcendance and enlightenment to current conditions? Answer: nowhere. bahai is now nothing but self-referential, self-reinforcing nonsense. There are many good people that want to contribute, belong, and become better, but the structure of bahai is bad, and it exploits and brainwashes the people. bahai does not represent a "caring" paradigm, is dishonest, and is the opposite of "real faith". "real faith" is a belief in the capacity of human beings to group together, without dysfunctional bureacuracy and stupidly rigid dogmas, find beauty and higher meaning in life, work as communities to seek justice and work for the forward progress of humanity.

    bahai is in a state of false unity.

  • fubar

    Bahai NSA elections: Disturbingly Empty, as in "Meaningless" and "Vacuous". How is this relevant in any real way to the major problems that exist on planet earth, families, or people's souls? The great machine of Bureaucatic Reinvention grinds on mindlessly, clanking/rumbling into further oblivion. Where is the great drama of human redemption and atonement? Where is the application of the principles of transcendance and enlightenment to current conditions? Answer: nowhere. bahai is now nothing but self-referential, self-reinforcing nonsense. There are many good people that want to contribute, belong, and become better, but the structure of bahai is bad, and it exploits and brainwashes the people. bahai does not represent a "caring" paradigm, is dishonest, and is the opposite of "real faith". "real faith" is a belief in the capacity of human beings to group together, without dysfunctional bureacuracy and stupidly rigid dogmas, find beauty and higher meaning in life, work as communities to seek justice and work for the forward progress of humanity.

    bahai is in a state of false unity.

  • fubar

    Another example of an integrative social change framework:

    (have bahais forgotten that this kind of thing exists?)

    http://www.global-arina.org/researchprojects/more

    What TIP does:

    Reveals why it is hard to “wrap our arms around” issues of concern, and how to “re-size” them for productive work on them.

    Reveals connections between the issues and questions of concern, helps set priorities, and shows how work on one issue will impact related issues.

    Gets beneath the tips of the icebergs and develops peoples’ capacity to identify and “name” the problems behind the problems.

    Shows how to break down the complexity of the issues in manageable ways.

    Enables the kind of comprehensive, deliberative decision-making required by complex issues and questions in the 21st Century.

    Uses people’s diverse perspectives (instead of dismissing them) to craft the comprehensive approaches complex issues and questions require.

    Taps people’s natural motivations to act on issues that concern them.

    Introduces the habit of evaluating and learning from what is done at each step of the way, the foundation to becoming the kind of learning community that can deal with its issues.
    —end–

  • fubar

    Another example of an integrative social change framework:

    (have bahais forgotten that this kind of thing exists?)

    http://www.global-arina.org/researchprojects/more

    What TIP does:

    Reveals why it is hard to “wrap our arms around” issues of concern, and how to “re-size” them for productive work on them.

    Reveals connections between the issues and questions of concern, helps set priorities, and shows how work on one issue will impact related issues.

    Gets beneath the tips of the icebergs and develops peoples’ capacity to identify and “name” the problems behind the problems.

    Shows how to break down the complexity of the issues in manageable ways.

    Enables the kind of comprehensive, deliberative decision-making required by complex issues and questions in the 21st Century.

    Uses people’s diverse perspectives (instead of dismissing them) to craft the comprehensive approaches complex issues and questions require.

    Taps people’s natural motivations to act on issues that concern them.

    Introduces the habit of evaluating and learning from what is done at each step of the way, the foundation to becoming the kind of learning community that can deal with its issues.
    —end–

  • Craig Parke

    What can anyone say, fubar. What you have written is the Mission Statement of the Law and the Prophets in this World Age. And it all died in the mind bending mental illness of frenetic obsessive-compulsive Bureaucratic Reinvention. Truly a tragedy beyond words.

    Didn't BOTH the Third Reich and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union have "Junior Youth Animators" too? Where does this brain chemistry come from?

    Why oh why didn't the Faith just stay with the simple spiritual principles of the New World Age in the individual human heart and soul? Why did it all have to become micromanaged? Why did it all have to become "Shoghi Effendi Jungend" by those excessively psychological needy impaired and broken people who made Shoghi Effendi the Supreme Manifestation of God instead of Baha'u'llah as a simple spiritual consciousness in daily life like Jesus or Buddha? And now "The Plans" themselves as they come out year after year are God. Why oh why did people allow this to happen?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckm6VBpS1Xg

  • Craig Parke

    What can anyone say, fubar. What you have written is the Mission Statement of the Law and the Prophets in this World Age. And it all died in the mind bending mental illness of frenetic obsessive-compulsive Bureaucratic Reinvention. Truly a tragedy beyond words.

    Didn't BOTH the Third Reich and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union have "Junior Youth Animators" too? Where does this brain chemistry come from?

    Why oh why didn't the Faith just stay with the simple spiritual principles of the New World Age in the individual human heart and soul? Why did it all have to become micromanaged? Why did it all have to become "Shoghi Effendi Jungend" by those excessively psychological needy impaired and broken people who made Shoghi Effendi the Supreme Manifestation of God instead of Baha'u'llah as a simple spiritual consciousness in daily life like Jesus or Buddha? And now "The Plans" themselves as they come out year after year are God. Why oh why did people allow this to happen?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ckm6VBpS1Xg

  • Craig Parke

    WATCH: Soldiers In Afghanistan Given Bibles, Told To "Hunt People For Jesus"

    "The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business," he says.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/04/soldiers

    Why oh why does "organized religion" have to get on this level? Why did the Baha'is have to go this way too when so many people had hoped it would be different this time? So many people thought it would be deeds not words in daily conduct in a deeply personal inner spiritual path in how you live life and how you selflessly help other people that cross your path as fellow human beings..

    But that is never good enough for the "leaders" of "organized religion". You have to go out and make "converts" by any means necessary so the people at the top can feel good about themselves by thinking something is happening in the "organization" that they command. It all becomes outward for show. It all becomes part of their psychological system of self definition. Now the Baha'is go door to door to corner people too in their homes. Intrude on them to convert them like counting coup. Why oh why did it have to go this way again? The same old, same old in a top down oppressive worthless "organized religion" of zero spirituality.

  • Craig Parke

    WATCH: Soldiers In Afghanistan Given Bibles, Told To "Hunt People For Jesus"

    "The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business," he says.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/04/soldiers

    Why oh why does "organized religion" have to get on this level? Why did the Baha'is have to go this way too when so many people had hoped it would be different this time? So many people thought it would be deeds not words in daily conduct in a deeply personal inner spiritual path in how you live life and how you selflessly help other people that cross your path as fellow human beings..

    But that is never good enough for the "leaders" of "organized religion". You have to go out and make "converts" by any means necessary so the people at the top can feel good about themselves by thinking something is happening in the "organization" that they command. It all becomes outward for show. It all becomes part of their psychological system of self definition. Now the Baha'is go door to door to corner people too in their homes. Intrude on them to convert them like counting coup. Why oh why did it have to go this way again? The same old, same old in a top down oppressive worthless "organized religion" of zero spirituality.

  • Pey

    You are right Baquia no one is forcing anyone to vote for the same folks over and over again, but they do. But who is "they"? It certainly wasn't me? I assert again something I said in another post- I NEVER felt like my vote made any difference. In the one region that I lived in the longest, we always voted for the same delegate (who we all knew could afford to go on the trip with his own money, so no funds would have to be used to support him) and then this same delegate would probably vote for the same people- year after year after year. Now le'ts see if Masud pops out of the woodwork and says that I'm making things up again. :o)

  • Pey

    You are right Baquia no one is forcing anyone to vote for the same folks over and over again, but they do. But who is "they"? It certainly wasn't me? I assert again something I said in another post- I NEVER felt like my vote made any difference. In the one region that I lived in the longest, we always voted for the same delegate (who we all knew could afford to go on the trip with his own money, so no funds would have to be used to support him) and then this same delegate would probably vote for the same people- year after year after year. Now le'ts see if Masud pops out of the woodwork and says that I'm making things up again. :o)

  • pey

    I always tried to vote in someone else different as a delegate in the hopes that something fresh would happen in Wilmette, but to no avail. Everybody votes the same delegates who then really don't know who to vote for, so they elect the same people again.

  • pey

    I always tried to vote in someone else different as a delegate in the hopes that something fresh would happen in Wilmette, but to no avail. Everybody votes the same delegates who then really don't know who to vote for, so they elect the same people again.

  • Craig Parke

    Whoops! Wrong link! Please disregard! That is the really horrible 1985 film "Tunnel Vision" from the Really Bad Movie Channel. But in a strange sort of Buddhist koan way it is a fairly good expression of insipid mental tunnel vision in life. But don't waste your time watching it. Truly insipid! What were these people thinking to make this horrible tasteless mess? But it almost is a metaphor for what happens when people hold to pre-programmed courses of thinking and abandon their own critical thinking towards a higher consciousness in life.

    Baquia! Please edit remove this link from my post if you can!

  • Craig Parke

    Whoops! Wrong link! Please disregard! That is the really horrible 1985 film "Tunnel Vision" from the Really Bad Movie Channel. But in a strange sort of Buddhist koan way it is a fairly good expression of insipid mental tunnel vision in life. But don't waste your time watching it. Truly insipid! What were these people thinking to make this horrible tasteless mess? But it almost is a metaphor for what happens when people hold to pre-programmed courses of thinking and abandon their own critical thinking towards a higher consciousness in life.

    Baquia! Please edit remove this link from my post if you can!

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : I always tried to vote in someone else different as a delegate in the hopes that something fresh would happen in Wilmette

    Pey, it is the grass root community that all individuals should be doing things, establishing core activities in their neighborhood, and institutions are only there to provide the structure with harmonization, synchronization and general vision imparted by the teachings and the UHJ. Contrary to the political world, we are not waiting for institutions to do things for us.

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

    Pey wrote : I always tried to vote in someone else different as a delegate in the hopes that something fresh would happen in Wilmette

    Pey, it is the grass root community that all individuals should be doing things, establishing core activities in their neighborhood, and institutions are only there to provide the structure with harmonization, synchronization and general vision imparted by the teachings and the UHJ. Contrary to the political world, we are not waiting for institutions to do things for us.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: You are right Baquia no one is forcing anyone to vote for the same folks over and over again, but they do

    Pey, it makes sense to believe that we need some change in an institution, without removing all the experienced members. If each delegate votes for 6 old members and 3 new, those in place will still get the majority votes, unless someone for some reason is felt as not being efficient any more and is avoided by a majority of delegates. Also, delegates vote for anyone in the community, and not only amongst the delegates, which spreads the remaining votes amongst a lot of potential candidates. Hence the system creates stability and the Baha’is who believe that the AO is divinely guided, vote on spiritual basis and do not question the results that they accept as divine verdict.

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

    Pey wrote: You are right Baquia no one is forcing anyone to vote for the same folks over and over again, but they do

    Pey, it makes sense to believe that we need some change in an institution, without removing all the experienced members. If each delegate votes for 6 old members and 3 new, those in place will still get the majority votes, unless someone for some reason is felt as not being efficient any more and is avoided by a majority of delegates. Also, delegates vote for anyone in the community, and not only amongst the delegates, which spreads the remaining votes amongst a lot of potential candidates. Hence the system creates stability and the Baha’is who believe that the AO is divinely guided, vote on spiritual basis and do not question the results that they accept as divine verdict.

  • Craig Parke

    fubar,

    Thanks for this web site link. I have been studying it and passing the link around on the various economic crisis blogs where I post. This is very useful information. There is no real free and open wide ranging searching consultation and deliberation in all of the Institutions of the entire world right now. Perhaps in the hapless Baha'i Faith most off all! Zero consultation. Zero naming the real problems. Zero searching out the truth in every situation on every issue. All is now just systemic ideological self-censorship and tunnel vision. Once you hit tunnel vision in any organization, you are dead. Everyone here I am sure experienced it in business if you have been on the planet long enough. Tunnel vision like the guys in AIGFS in London! Cosmic tunnel vision Big Time on those fools!

    So it goes on this amazing planet of reckless dunces in very high places. The BAO is gambling right up there with the best of them too. "Baby need a new pair of shoes and another frenetic roll of the dice on someone's new theory of everything.

  • Craig Parke

    fubar,

    Thanks for this web site link. I have been studying it and passing the link around on the various economic crisis blogs where I post. This is very useful information. There is no real free and open wide ranging searching consultation and deliberation in all of the Institutions of the entire world right now. Perhaps in the hapless Baha'i Faith most off all! Zero consultation. Zero naming the real problems. Zero searching out the truth in every situation on every issue. All is now just systemic ideological self-censorship and tunnel vision. Once you hit tunnel vision in any organization, you are dead. Everyone here I am sure experienced it in business if you have been on the planet long enough. Tunnel vision like the guys in AIGFS in London! Cosmic tunnel vision Big Time on those fools!

    So it goes on this amazing planet of reckless dunces in very high places. The BAO is gambling right up there with the best of them too. "Baby need a new pair of shoes and another frenetic roll of the dice on someone's new theory of everything.

  • pey

    How do they know who to vote for if the only people who are ever seen doing anything, who anyone knows anytihng about are the incumbents that for free (bahai funds) get to travel around, send out messages every 19 days, etc etc. But I agree with you on the grass roots thing- THAT is where real change should happen. Hopefully we will get to the point for local communities will allow more of humanity into the Bahai community and only pay slight attention to the constant dictates of their National and International administration (including sending the majority of their funds to them).

  • pey

    How do they know who to vote for if the only people who are ever seen doing anything, who anyone knows anytihng about are the incumbents that for free (bahai funds) get to travel around, send out messages every 19 days, etc etc. But I agree with you on the grass roots thing- THAT is where real change should happen. Hopefully we will get to the point for local communities will allow more of humanity into the Bahai community and only pay slight attention to the constant dictates of their National and International administration (including sending the majority of their funds to them).

  • farhan

    187 TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS (Can Serve as Both)
    "Regarding the statement made by the Guardian … concerning the fact that believers can serve both as teachers and administrators. Shoghi Effendi would approve your Assembly making this fact known to all the friends. For although it is essential for the believers to maintain always a clear distinction between teaching and administrative duties and functions, yet they should be careful not to be led to think that these two types of Baha'i activity are mutually exclusive in their nature and as such cannot be exercised by one and the same person. As a matter of fact, the friends should be encouraged to serve in both the teaching and the administrative fields of Baha'i service. But as there are always some who are more specially gifted along one of these two lines of activity it would seem more desirable that they should concentrate their efforts in acquiring the full training for that type of work for which they are best suited by nature. Such a specialization has the advantage of saving time and of leading to greater efficiency, particularly at this early stage of our development. The great danger, however, lies in that by so doing the friends may tend to develop a sort of class consciousness which is fundamentally contrary to both the spirit and actual teachings of the Faith.
    "It is precisely in order to overcome such a danger that the Guardian thinks it advisable that the friends should be encouraged to serve from time to time in both the teaching and the administrative spheres of Baha'i work, but only whenever they feel fit to do so." (Shoghi Effendi: Directives of the Guardian, Page: 71)

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

    187 TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS (Can Serve as Both)
    "Regarding the statement made by the Guardian … concerning the fact that believers can serve both as teachers and administrators. Shoghi Effendi would approve your Assembly making this fact known to all the friends. For although it is essential for the believers to maintain always a clear distinction between teaching and administrative duties and functions, yet they should be careful not to be led to think that these two types of Baha'i activity are mutually exclusive in their nature and as such cannot be exercised by one and the same person. As a matter of fact, the friends should be encouraged to serve in both the teaching and the administrative fields of Baha'i service. But as there are always some who are more specially gifted along one of these two lines of activity it would seem more desirable that they should concentrate their efforts in acquiring the full training for that type of work for which they are best suited by nature. Such a specialization has the advantage of saving time and of leading to greater efficiency, particularly at this early stage of our development. The great danger, however, lies in that by so doing the friends may tend to develop a sort of class consciousness which is fundamentally contrary to both the spirit and actual teachings of the Faith.
    "It is precisely in order to overcome such a danger that the Guardian thinks it advisable that the friends should be encouraged to serve from time to time in both the teaching and the administrative spheres of Baha'i work, but only whenever they feel fit to do so." (Shoghi Effendi: Directives of the Guardian, Page: 71)

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

    WaveThunder, whether the Baha'i electoral system is or is not more inherently susceptible to incumbency is something that can be shown with data. Arguing about it based on opinions won't get us anywhere. Of course, there are many mechanisms in place in the US electoral system that cuts down on incumbency: campaigning, a free press, election laws, term limits, etc. None of which we currently have in the Baha'i system. To address one specifically, term limits are not currently exercised but they are not at all inherently against any Baha'i law or spirit of any law. I wouldn't be surprised if term limits were implemented eventually in some communities. We all know of many that would benefit right now!
    As I mentioned, Baha'i administration and within it, elections, are there to serve the Baha'i community. Not the other way around. It is a mistake to elevate the process and form to a level of idol worship and neglect the essence and result it provides. Furthermore, we have seen the structures and rules governing Baha'i administration change fluidly over time. And they will continue to do so in the future. The real question is, looking at the present situation, how can we improve the election process to benefit the community? This is what I'm interested in.

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

    WaveThunder, whether the Baha'i electoral system is or is not more inherently susceptible to incumbency is something that can be shown with data. Arguing about it based on opinions won't get us anywhere. Of course, there are many mechanisms in place in the US electoral system that cuts down on incumbency: campaigning, a free press, election laws, term limits, etc. None of which we currently have in the Baha'i system. To address one specifically, term limits are not currently exercised but they are not at all inherently against any Baha'i law or spirit of any law. I wouldn't be surprised if term limits were implemented eventually in some communities. We all know of many that would benefit right now!
    As I mentioned, Baha'i administration and within it, elections, are there to serve the Baha'i community. Not the other way around. It is a mistake to elevate the process and form to a level of idol worship and neglect the essence and result it provides. Furthermore, we have seen the structures and rules governing Baha'i administration change fluidly over time. And they will continue to do so in the future. The real question is, looking at the present situation, how can we improve the election process to benefit the community? This is what I'm interested in.

  • Craig Parke

    Young Americans Losing Their Religion
    New Research Finds Number Who Claim No Church Has Risen Sharply

    "In the end, he says, this "stunning" trend of young people becoming less religious could lead to America's next great burst of religious innovation. "

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=7513343&a…;

    If the professional lifetime incumbent Administrators of the Baha'i Faith had not re-created the Faith to become a top down Orwellian fundamentalist cult that has now completely choked off all thought at the grass roots, this would ALL lead to another big movement in American society toward the Baha'i Faith like back in the 1960's and 1970's.

    The myth now perpetuated by the professional UHJ-ITC Faith Complex is that people left because they were not sufficiently deepened in the Faith. This is an absolute bold face Orwellian NEW SPEAK LIE! And as Ruhi Book One so forcefully teaches (that part I thought was very good) people should NOT TELL LIES in this World Age!

    I know the truth of those days because I was there and lived it. People were VERY DEEPENED in the Faith. People served on Spiritual Assemblies and their Committees and District Teaching Committees and pioneered for a good ten years with EVERYTHING they had. There was a time when I went to a Baha'i meeting or function five nights a week!

    But after ten years of total effort by the early to mid 1980's many people began to just drift away because they clearly began to see that the Administrative Order was a system of entrenched lifetime incumbent personal mental illness for a very tiny group of highly emotionally impaired and incompetent people. It took about 15 years for the administratively crack addicted Baha'i Establishment Power Clique of the 1950's to get control of the Faith back from the energies of the streets of the 1960's.

    People that were trying to work on the real issues facing the world began to leave in utter despair and disgust because the leadership of the Faith was not interested in working on anything actually relevant to daily life. People began to see that it was a religion of reticent cowards hiding behind the robes of the Central Figures to do absolutely nothing whatsoever in the real world to address anything of real substance. The Baha'i Faith does not want social activists. It does not want spiritual seekers treading a path of true sustained thought in life. It wants people who will bend over on command like automatons. It does not want critical thought. It wants mindless group-think. It wants people who will worship Shoghi Effendi as the Supreme Manifestation of God for this World Age in the great Admin-o-centric Group Father Figure Projection of the emotionally needy lifetime incumbent clique at the top.

    So people began to leave and became UU members or Quakers or American Order Sufis or Buddhists or New Age spiritual sojourners again, or back into civil rights and movement politics to try to justify taking up space on the planet.

    The top down, dumbed down Ruhiized Faith will now completely miss this wave handed to the Faith by Jerry Falwell and his "Christian" fundamentalist ilk and socially aloof Christian conservative politics mindset as the article points out. Just watch. This will be a very telling moment for the "show me the money stress test". under the current methods. People will not last more than a year in the endless eternal Ruhi Cycle Faith without having to become alcoholics from frenetic completely un-spiritual hyper Core Activities burn out. The Faith should be about what Baha'u'llah said. Not what the professional AO say about anything. Once again, people cry out for bread and are given a stone by the professional Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees theorist class that has completely hijacked the Baha'i Faith away from the rank and file.

    I challenge any member of the UHJ-ITC leadership or the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to come onto this blog and defend their record over the last 40 years. If I had served in any of these high positions over the last 40 years I would take a loaded gun, put it to my head, and pull the trigger. What a sorry, sorry record of clueless ineptitude. So far it is one of the worst records of gross incompetence in all of human history. Just pitiful.

    So the hapless Baha'i Faith will once again miss another opportunity by getting EVERYTHING about the powers of the World Age completely 100% wrong again.

    The Judgment of the World Age is Archetypal at 24 frames a second with the cameras rolling in Dolby sound . Has anyone at the top of the present version of the Faith ever read the Kitab-I-Iqan?

  • Craig Parke

    Young Americans Losing Their Religion

    New Research Finds Number Who Claim No Church Has Risen Sharply

    "In the end, he says, this "stunning" trend of young people becoming less religious could lead to America's next great burst of religious innovation. "

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=7513343&a

    If the professional lifetime incumbent Administrators of the Baha'i Faith had not re-created the Faith to become a top down Orwellian fundamentalist cult that has now completely choked off all thought at the grass roots, this would ALL lead to another big movement in American society toward the Baha'i Faith like back in the 1960's and 1970's.

    The myth now perpetuated by the professional UHJ-ITC Faith Complex is that people left because they were not sufficiently deepened in the Faith. This is an absolute bold face Orwellian NEW SPEAK LIE! And as Ruhi Book One so forcefully teaches (that part I thought was very good) people should NOT TELL LIES in this World Age!

    I know the truth of those days because I was there and lived it. People were VERY DEEPENED in the Faith. People served on Spiritual Assemblies and their Committees and District Teaching Committees and pioneered for a good ten years with EVERYTHING they had. There was a time when I went to a Baha'i meeting or function five nights a week!

    But after ten years of total effort by the early to mid 1980's many people began to just drift away because they clearly began to see that the Administrative Order was a system of entrenched lifetime incumbent personal mental illness for a very tiny group of highly emotionally impaired and incompetent people. It took about 15 years for the administratively crack addicted Baha'i Establishment Power Clique of the 1950's to get control of the Faith back from the energies of the streets of the 1960's.

    People that were trying to work on the real issues facing the world began to leave in utter despair and disgust because the leadership of the Faith was not interested in working on anything actually relevant to daily life. People began to see that it was a religion of reticent cowards hiding behind the robes of the Central Figures to do absolutely nothing whatsoever in the real world to address anything of real substance. The Baha'i Faith does not want social activists. It does not want spiritual seekers treading a path of true sustained thought in life. It wants people who will bend over on command like automatons. It does not want critical thought. It wants mindless group-think. It wants people who will worship Shoghi Effendi as the Supreme Manifestation of God for this World Age in the great Admin-o-centric Group Father Figure Projection of the emotionally needy lifetime incumbent clique at the top.

    So people began to leave and became UU members or Quakers or American Order Sufis or Buddhists or New Age spiritual sojourners again, or back into civil rights and movement politics to try to justify taking up space on the planet.

    The top down, dumbed down Ruhiized Faith will now completely miss this wave handed to the Faith by Jerry Falwell and his "Christian" fundamentalist ilk and socially aloof Christian conservative politics mindset as the article points out. Just watch. This will be a very telling moment for the "show me the money stress test". under the current methods. People will not last more than a year in the endless eternal Ruhi Cycle Faith without having to become alcoholics from frenetic completely un-spiritual hyper Core Activities burn out. The Faith should be about what Baha'u'llah said. Not what the professional AO say about anything. Once again, people cry out for bread and are given a stone by the professional Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees theorist class that has completely hijacked the Baha'i Faith away from the rank and file.

    I challenge any member of the UHJ-ITC leadership or the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to come onto this blog and defend their record over the last 40 years. If I had served in any of these high positions over the last 40 years I would take a loaded gun, put it to my head, and pull the trigger. What a sorry, sorry record of clueless ineptitude. So far it is one of the worst records of gross incompetence in all of human history. Just pitiful.

    So the hapless Baha'i Faith will once again miss another opportunity by getting EVERYTHING about the powers of the World Age completely 100% wrong again.

    The Judgment of the World Age is Archetypal at 24 frames a second with the cameras rolling in Dolby sound . Has anyone at the top of the present version of the Faith ever read the Kitab-I-Iqan?

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

    The comment titled “NSA Elections In North America 2009” did not go nearly far enough. The election of incumbents is rapant. The problem does not end with the NSAs. It can be applied to the UHJ, Regional Councils, Delegates to the National Convention, and LSAs. I believe there were less than 20 new Delegates to the National Convention out of 171. Dorothy Nelson was a delegate for over 50 years and was a delegate again this year. But, this should in no way imply that those elected are not qualified. Rather we should be asking ourselves as electors at all levels: “Are these the only candidates that are qualified.”

    First a little statistical information based upon multiple years as a delegate to the National Convention. The incumbents elected to the NSA normally receive 60+ votes with the highest number of votes being 120+ votes (sometimes as many as 150). This in information that can be obtained from the videos from the convention if not publically announced. Valarie Dada received 37. This number is nicely in line with the number of votes received by other newly elected members. Also announced was that there were over 200 individuals voted for in the most recent election. What may not be realized is that the first runner ups normally receive about 30 votes. By the time you get to the 20th runner up, the number of votes has dropped to 5 or 6.

    In my estimation, the problem is not the incumbency itself but in educating the electors. Two years ago, the delegates were provided a deepening the clearly stated the guidelines for selecting people to vote for.

    �First, we should make a list of those qualified to hold the position. I cannot imagine that the list of incumbents is so limited that there are no other candidates.
    �Second, we need the consider changing needs of the community.
    �Third, we need to consider the ethnic and cultural background of those we vote for.
    �Finally, we need to consider change for the sake of change.

    Unfortuanately, the electors vote too heavily in favor of the qualified incumbents rather than change. They are more visible and easy choices. We need to look much deeper in our selection process. Until, we as electors at all levels place much heavier emphasis on change we will continue to see incumbents being re-elected.

    In a more controllable but related issue, I tend to see the same people being appointed to positions. At the local level, these positions include assistants to auxiliary board members, cluster coordinators, ATC members. If our institutions searched to additional qualified members for these positions and routinely rotated membership, perhaps we would increase visibility of a wider range of candidates for all elected positions. Instead, I see the same people appointed year after year building an expectation that removal from a position is a slap in the face and reappointment is the expectation. If we are unable to find 3 additional people qualified to be ATC members over three years, the cluster is certainly not ready to become an A Cluster. We need to incorporate change into all of our appointments to the greatest extent possible.

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

    The comment titled “NSA Elections In North America 2009” did not go nearly far enough. The election of incumbents is rapant. The problem does not end with the NSAs. It can be applied to the UHJ, Regional Councils, Delegates to the National Convention, and LSAs. I believe there were less than 20 new Delegates to the National Convention out of 171. Dorothy Nelson was a delegate for over 50 years and was a delegate again this year. But, this should in no way imply that those elected are not qualified. Rather we should be asking ourselves as electors at all levels: “Are these the only candidates that are qualified.”

    First a little statistical information based upon multiple years as a delegate to the National Convention. The incumbents elected to the NSA normally receive 60+ votes with the highest number of votes being 120+ votes (sometimes as many as 150). This in information that can be obtained from the videos from the convention if not publically announced. Valarie Dada received 37. This number is nicely in line with the number of votes received by other newly elected members. Also announced was that there were over 200 individuals voted for in the most recent election. What may not be realized is that the first runner ups normally receive about 30 votes. By the time you get to the 20th runner up, the number of votes has dropped to 5 or 6.

    In my estimation, the problem is not the incumbency itself but in educating the electors. Two years ago, the delegates were provided a deepening the clearly stated the guidelines for selecting people to vote for.

    �First, we should make a list of those qualified to hold the position. I cannot imagine that the list of incumbents is so limited that there are no other candidates.
    �Second, we need the consider changing needs of the community.
    �Third, we need to consider the ethnic and cultural background of those we vote for.
    �Finally, we need to consider change for the sake of change.

    Unfortuanately, the electors vote too heavily in favor of the qualified incumbents rather than change. They are more visible and easy choices. We need to look much deeper in our selection process. Until, we as electors at all levels place much heavier emphasis on change we will continue to see incumbents being re-elected.

    In a more controllable but related issue, I tend to see the same people being appointed to positions. At the local level, these positions include assistants to auxiliary board members, cluster coordinators, ATC members. If our institutions searched to additional qualified members for these positions and routinely rotated membership, perhaps we would increase visibility of a wider range of candidates for all elected positions. Instead, I see the same people appointed year after year building an expectation that removal from a position is a slap in the face and reappointment is the expectation. If we are unable to find 3 additional people qualified to be ATC members over three years, the cluster is certainly not ready to become an A Cluster. We need to incorporate change into all of our appointments to the greatest extent possible.

  • Grover

    Good points. The problem I see is that for the NSA and the UHJ elections, the delegates can vote for anyone throughout the entire country or world, so naturally they're only going to vote for people who are visible – i.e. hold prominent committee positions or are prominent speakers, have been an ABM or in the case of the UHJ, are on the ITC. Without people being allowed to campaign, or knowing what people stand for, how are the voters going to know who to vote for? Thats the weakness of the Baha'i system. It invites incumbency. While western democracy has its flaws, at least we know who wants to be elected and what they stand for. In the Baha'i system, its indirect campaigning by them being on these high-profile committees and taking up speaking roles, or heaven forbid, writing books (or in Paul Lample's case, Ruhi).

    The other unfortunate thing about the Baha'i system is what if, shock horror, the person who got elected did not want to be on the NSA or UHJ? There is no graceful way out of it. There is no way for the person to say that they do not want to be considered for election, unless they do something like getting their voting rights removed, getting unenrolled, or declared a covenant breaker. Everyone has to serve or be available to serve under the Baha'i system.

    Would it not be better if before elections, they invited people who wanted to be considered for elections to submit their names and resumes, so the delegates can at least review promising candidates? I know there would be difficulties with such a system, say for example for the UHJ – you might have a thousand candidates to wade through.

    Anyway, some thoughts…

  • Grover

    Good points. The problem I see is that for the NSA and the UHJ elections, the delegates can vote for anyone throughout the entire country or world, so naturally they're only going to vote for people who are visible – i.e. hold prominent committee positions or are prominent speakers, have been an ABM or in the case of the UHJ, are on the ITC. Without people being allowed to campaign, or knowing what people stand for, how are the voters going to know who to vote for? Thats the weakness of the Baha'i system. It invites incumbency. While western democracy has its flaws, at least we know who wants to be elected and what they stand for. In the Baha'i system, its indirect campaigning by them being on these high-profile committees and taking up speaking roles, or heaven forbid, writing books (or in Paul Lample's case, Ruhi).

    The other unfortunate thing about the Baha'i system is what if, shock horror, the person who got elected did not want to be on the NSA or UHJ? There is no graceful way out of it. There is no way for the person to say that they do not want to be considered for election, unless they do something like getting their voting rights removed, getting unenrolled, or declared a covenant breaker. Everyone has to serve or be available to serve under the Baha'i system.

    Would it not be better if before elections, they invited people who wanted to be considered for elections to submit their names and resumes, so the delegates can at least review promising candidates? I know there would be difficulties with such a system, say for example for the UHJ – you might have a thousand candidates to wade through.

    Anyway, some thoughts…

  • Craig Parke

    Thanks Baquia!

  • Craig Parke

    Thanks Baquia!

  • Craig Parke

    Grover,

    BTW, I always enjoy your posts!

    The only solution I can think of to the massive problems of the BAO is the rise of the Internet. This powerful technology is surely of the powers of the World Age. It will potentially change everything in the concepts of the Administrative Disorder of the Baha'i Faith just as it has potentially changed conventional "politics". The planet is really a world of seething ideas now. This is truly an occurrence that is fundamentally spiritual in nature. Minds can intimately communicate instantly across all barriers. But the Baha'is have taken themselves completely out of the world of free wheeling grass roots ideas. The Internet has rapidly developed while the incredible blocking forces in the BAO grow hourly. This amazing incestuous ineptitude has to be of God(ess).

    The BAO completely blew the opportunities of the Internet along with everything else. This catastrophic failure to grasp the implications of the technology and plan ahead has now given everyone else on Earth the opportunity to really advance the free wheeling energies of the World Age completely unimpeded.

    If the UHJ was in charge of all scientific development everyone's CPU designs from register to register would have to be approved by them. If this was the case the whole world would still be on the original eight bit Intel Z80 architecture. So the amazing maximizing blocking forces of Divine impairment in the Faith have to be of the Raw Powers of the Cosmos.

    At some point there will be a RateTheAO.com with open evaluation postings on every Baha'i organizational unit and functionary on Earth. In that day things are going to get better real fast. People will be called to account each day on their mind bending lifetime impairment and ineptitude on tidings of light! The only protection from public disgrace in this World Age is actual justice and competence in every action. People will be held to a very high standard 24/7/365/1000. When that starts to happen lifetime incumbency will start to end very fast because people won't be able to withstand that kind of emotional stress. All Baha'i office holders will be living in an incredible planetary fishbowl of constant surveillance and personal evaluation. It will all be deeds not words then. Things will change very, very fast for the Baha'is or any other organization anywhere that thinks it can run the planet.

    The free and open world of ideas on the Internet is building the planetary thought atom and the filaments of the Internet are the potential valence electron shells of spirit and thought. there will be new groupings of thought and action. It is a true tragedy that the Baha'is will not be players due to the staggering extremely limiting lock step group-think fundamentalism.

    As the Baha'is smoke their Ruhi books on a fundamentalist crack high, everyone else on Earth will be carrying out the liberal cosmic insights of the Kitab-I-Iqan in daily life. On the present paint-by-numbers completely top down micro managed "spirituality" course, the Baha'is will be completely out of the game for the next 1,000 years and counting. This astounding development has to be of the Spiritual Powers of the Cosmos to change the game plan down inside the Red Zone where the rubber meets the road in daily life.

  • Craig Parke

    Grover,

    BTW, I always enjoy your posts!

    The only solution I can think of to the massive problems of the BAO is the rise of the Internet. This powerful technology is surely of the powers of the World Age. It will potentially change everything in the concepts of the Administrative Disorder of the Baha'i Faith just as it has potentially changed conventional "politics". The planet is really a world of seething ideas now. This is truly an occurrence that is fundamentally spiritual in nature. Minds can intimately communicate instantly across all barriers. But the Baha'is have taken themselves completely out of the world of free wheeling grass roots ideas. The Internet has rapidly developed while the incredible blocking forces in the BAO grow hourly. This amazing incestuous ineptitude has to be of God(ess).

    The BAO completely blew the opportunities of the Internet along with everything else. This catastrophic failure to grasp the implications of the technology and plan ahead has now given everyone else on Earth the opportunity to really advance the free wheeling energies of the World Age completely unimpeded.

    If the UHJ was in charge of all scientific development everyone's CPU designs from register to register would have to be approved by them. If this was the case the whole world would still be on the original eight bit Intel Z80 architecture. So the amazing maximizing blocking forces of Divine impairment in the Faith have to be of the Raw Powers of the Cosmos.

    At some point there will be a RateTheAO.com with open evaluation postings on every Baha'i organizational unit and functionary on Earth. In that day things are going to get better real fast. People will be called to account each day on their mind bending lifetime impairment and ineptitude on tidings of light! The only protection from public disgrace in this World Age is actual justice and competence in every action. People will be held to a very high standard 24/7/365/1000. When that starts to happen lifetime incumbency will start to end very fast because people won't be able to withstand that kind of emotional stress. All Baha'i office holders will be living in an incredible planetary fishbowl of constant surveillance and personal evaluation. It will all be deeds not words then. Things will change very, very fast for the Baha'is or any other organization anywhere that thinks it can run the planet.

    The free and open world of ideas on the Internet is building the planetary thought atom and the filaments of the Internet are the potential valence electron shells of spirit and thought. there will be new groupings of thought and action. It is a true tragedy that the Baha'is will not be players due to the staggering extremely limiting lock step group-think fundamentalism.

    As the Baha'is smoke their Ruhi books on a fundamentalist crack high, everyone else on Earth will be carrying out the liberal cosmic insights of the Kitab-I-Iqan in daily life. On the present paint-by-numbers completely top down micro managed "spirituality" course, the Baha'is will be completely out of the game for the next 1,000 years and counting. This astounding development has to be of the Spiritual Powers of the Cosmos to change the game plan down inside the Red Zone where the rubber meets the road in daily life.

  • Grover

    Thanks Craig!

    You always have interesting links. Your:

    Young Americans Losing Their Religion

    New Research Finds Number Who Claim No Church Has Risen Sharply

    "In the end, he says, this "stunning" trend of young people becoming less religious could lead to America's next great burst of religious innovation. "

    <a>” target=”_blank”>http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=7513343&a…;

    led on to this commentary: <a>” target=”_blank”>http://www.newsweek.com/id/192583/page/1 about the drop in people professing to be Christian and the rise in people being agnostic, or not affiliated with an organised religion. Some very interesting points.

    I find it interesting, that perhaps if we all are in a way mirrors of God (if God exists), maybe instead of looking to organised religion, we need to look inwards, inside ourselves, to find our own truth. Maybe thats the message that we should be putting to the world. It certainly comes across many times in movies. Instead of that Christian doctrine of us being fallen and the Church and Christ is there to redeem us, we should look inside ourselves and find the spark of the divine to guide us. It is certainly what the world is pointing towards… self determination.

  • Grover

    Thanks Craig!

    You always have interesting links. Your:

    Young Americans Losing Their Religion

    New Research Finds Number Who Claim No Church Has Risen Sharply

    "In the end, he says, this "stunning" trend of young people becoming less religious could lead to America's next great burst of religious innovation. "

    <a>” target=”_blank”>http://www.newsweek.com/id/192583/page/1 about the drop in people professing to be Christian and the rise in people being agnostic, or not affiliated with an organised religion. Some very interesting points.

    I find it interesting, that perhaps if we all are in a way mirrors of God (if God exists), maybe instead of looking to organised religion, we need to look inwards, inside ourselves, to find our own truth. Maybe thats the message that we should be putting to the world. It certainly comes across many times in movies. Instead of that Christian doctrine of us being fallen and the Church and Christ is there to redeem us, we should look inside ourselves and find the spark of the divine to guide us. It is certainly what the world is pointing towards… self determination.

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

    I do not view the Baha'i electorial system being inherently supportive of incumbancy any more than the US electorial system. Regardless of the office they occupy, we tend to re-elect the same people to office from the federal level down to the local level. The electors only look for change when things are going badly in the eyes of each elector.

    Term limits might be an answer but is not allowed. Retirement is allowed only it other issues are present. Death is allowed as an excuse.

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

    I do not view the Baha'i electorial system being inherently supportive of incumbancy any more than the US electorial system. Regardless of the office they occupy, we tend to re-elect the same people to office from the federal level down to the local level. The electors only look for change when things are going badly in the eyes of each elector.

    Term limits might be an answer but is not allowed. Retirement is allowed only it other issues are present. Death is allowed as an excuse.

  • Craig Parke

    I did not know that death was actually allowed as an excuse in the AO! I figured they just embalmed members and propped them up and just kept going as the Baha'i Permanent Admin-O-Centric addiction way. Kind of like a permanent "Weekend At Bernie's" for a full thousand years until the time of the next Manifestation. A better gig than being Lenin under glass in Red Square (is he still there too?).

    Term limits will never be instituted because that requires true guts and original intestinal fortitude. That does not exist at any level in the current version of the Baha'i Faith. (I find it just amazing that Shoghi Effendi apparently never even thought of it when history shows that without term limits every organization will ultimately ossify into systemic mental illness and mind bending dysfunction. Just look at the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as an example. They took their nation to utter ruin.)

    What will ultimately cure this is a planetary Baha'i culture that is sensitive to shame. That any person who served on the UHJ for more than two terms (10 years) and any person who served on an NSA anywhere in the world for more than eight terms (8 years) will be held in the greatest contempt as an egotistical sociopath addicted to the AO as their own personal psychological system of self identity. I think we are now well on the way to that happening. The Internet will be the catalyst. Such people will be held in the greatest contempt across the entire planet and their family names shamed. Add too it their record of endless 40 years official speeches on their personal opinions to captive Baha'i audiences recorded on the Internet for posterity, and the shame will reach to the worlds beyond following them forever.

    Judgment Day has come upon the Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees mentality. The jig is up in the passage of the World Age. Same, shame, a thousand times shame upon these people in their system of shameless organizational admin-o-centric addiction. The sorry and shameful record is there for all the world to see for the Ages. There should be no gold watches ever be given out in the Baha'i Faith. A person should do their 8-10 years of maximum organizational service and then get out and get on with their personal life's work with a real job where you are personally held accountable for your performance and your decisions in life.

  • Craig Parke

    I did not know that death was actually allowed as an excuse in the AO! I figured they just embalmed members and propped them up and just kept going as the Baha'i Permanent Admin-O-Centric addiction way. Kind of like a permanent "Weekend At Bernie's" for a full thousand years until the time of the next Manifestation. A better gig than being Lenin under glass in Red Square (is he still there too?).

    Term limits will never be instituted because that requires true guts and original intestinal fortitude. That does not exist at any level in the current version of the Baha'i Faith. (I find it just amazing that Shoghi Effendi apparently never even thought of it when history shows that without term limits every organization will ultimately ossify into systemic mental illness and mind bending dysfunction. Just look at the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as an example. They took their nation to utter ruin.)

    What will ultimately cure this is a planetary Baha'i culture that is sensitive to shame. That any person who served on the UHJ for more than two terms (10 years) and any person who served on an NSA anywhere in the world for more than eight terms (8 years) will be held in the greatest contempt as an egotistical sociopath addicted to the AO as their own personal psychological system of self identity. I think we are now well on the way to that happening. The Internet will be the catalyst. Such people will be held in the greatest contempt across the entire planet and their family names shamed. Add too it their record of endless 40 years official speeches on their personal opinions to captive Baha'i audiences recorded on the Internet for posterity, and the shame will reach to the worlds beyond following them forever.

    Judgment Day has come upon the Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees mentality. The jig is up in the passage of the World Age. Same, shame, a thousand times shame upon these people in their system of shameless organizational admin-o-centric addiction. The sorry and shameful record is there for all the world to see for the Ages. There should be no gold watches ever be given out in the Baha'i Faith. A person should do their 8-10 years of maximum organizational service and then get out and get on with their personal life's work with a real job where you are personally held accountable for your performance and your decisions in life.

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 1)

    Hi Grover,

    I think there have been periods in the Baha'i Faith when people thought that actually WAS Baha'u'llah's message! He most certainly taught that you don't need "clergy" to tell you the path to God. I always saw the Kitab-I-Iqan as a very simple esoteric Sufi Teaching about the Divine Judgment upon Spiritual Archetypal States in the Heart of Man from World Age to World Age. This is the inner knowledge needed to grasp the insights to a World Age. But apparently this all went completely over the head of Shoghi Effendi. Although, in fairness, he did seem to grasp enough of it to say that the mystical union between the individual believer and it's Creator is the actual essence of what a religion is about. That is a very useful insight to indeed akways kep in mind! To his credit he seems to have told people over and over that the Baha'i Faith is actually about the concept of "God" and not whatever they were using it for in their own psyches.

    This seems to have all been a very strange psychological state in the mentality in the Faith from the beginning of the AO from the Chicago Reading Room in 1912 onward. From the very beginning of the AO the Faith seemed to become a psychological haven for people who would have been much happier in the Communist Party or Nazi Party or working for J. Edgar Hoover in his private national security Satrap.

    The 1930's were the days of private armies and private "Orders". So maybe it was something in the water supply of the entire world then? Maybe he just had to put the Faith into that league as a top down organization to feel that he was in the Big :Leagues of the world of the 1930's too. Remember, having legions of "storm troopers" was all the rage back then.

    So this needy hyper organizational psychological bent trumped everything profoundly spiritual Baha'u'llah taught. The Faith became so totally outward for mass speeches in some inner vast field psychological Nuremberg Party Rally and apparently totally forgot Jesus words of "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you." The Faith became totally non-spiritual and has sunk in the depths.

    I have pondered this curiously strange recurring fate in the Faith for decades. It appears all the energies in the street of the last 100 years have come to the Faith in some form and eventually been stopped dead in it's tracks. The loaded deck of the profoundly needy and grasping apparatchik base line mentalities in the Faith have eventually trumped all. It is a very strange phenomenon. It has been fatal in every cycle of interaction with the energies of the world. Ruhi is the latest manifestation of it.

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 1)

    Hi Grover,

    I think there have been periods in the Baha'i Faith when people thought that actually WAS Baha'u'llah's message! He most certainly taught that you don't need "clergy" to tell you the path to God. I always saw the Kitab-I-Iqan as a very simple esoteric Sufi Teaching about the Divine Judgment upon Spiritual Archetypal States in the Heart of Man from World Age to World Age. This is the inner knowledge needed to grasp the insights to a World Age. But apparently this all went completely over the head of Shoghi Effendi. Although, in fairness, he did seem to grasp enough of it to say that the mystical union between the individual believer and it's Creator is the actual essence of what a religion is about. That is a very useful insight to indeed akways kep in mind! To his credit he seems to have told people over and over that the Baha'i Faith is actually about the concept of "God" and not whatever they were using it for in their own psyches.

    This seems to have all been a very strange psychological state in the mentality in the Faith from the beginning of the AO from the Chicago Reading Room in 1912 onward. From the very beginning of the AO the Faith seemed to become a psychological haven for people who would have been much happier in the Communist Party or Nazi Party or working for J. Edgar Hoover in his private national security Satrap.

    The 1930's were the days of private armies and private "Orders". So maybe it was something in the water supply of the entire world then? Maybe he just had to put the Faith into that league as a top down organization to feel that he was in the Big :Leagues of the world of the 1930's too. Remember, having legions of "storm troopers" was all the rage back then.

    So this needy hyper organizational psychological bent trumped everything profoundly spiritual Baha'u'llah taught. The Faith became so totally outward for mass speeches in some inner vast field psychological Nuremberg Party Rally and apparently totally forgot Jesus words of "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you." The Faith became totally non-spiritual and has sunk in the depths.

    I have pondered this curiously strange recurring fate in the Faith for decades. It appears all the energies in the street of the last 100 years have come to the Faith in some form and eventually been stopped dead in it's tracks. The loaded deck of the profoundly needy and grasping apparatchik base line mentalities in the Faith have eventually trumped all. It is a very strange phenomenon. It has been fatal in every cycle of interaction with the energies of the world. Ruhi is the latest manifestation of it.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Kind of like a permanent "Weekend At Bernie's" for a full thousand years until the time of the next Manifestation.

    It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Firmness in the Covenant".

    ka kite
    Steve

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Kind of like a permanent "Weekend At Bernie's" for a full thousand years until the time of the next Manifestation.

    It brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "Firmness in the Covenant".

    ka kite
    Steve

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

    Baquia, Thank you for your comment.

    I would disagree that other than term limits the US laws to encourage change are effective. Most of them really favor the incumbent.

    I would have agree that term limits are not explicitly prohibited but they have been rejected by the administration on a number of occasions. I do not see that changing in the near future. I would like to see term limits implemented. My interest in this is not as only to force change as to allow those who are re-elected time-after-time to have a way out. I believe, that Baha'i communities tend to find someone willing to serve and never lets go of them independent of their desire to remain in office. The opportunity to serve on administrative bodies should be shared among a greater number of the followers and avoid burning out those that are elected year-after-year.

    I would like to hear more about your comments concerning "idol worship" and how the structures and rules concerning Baha'i administration have changed over time. I am not sure I understand the implications and am not comfortable responding at this time.

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

    Baquia, Thank you for your comment.

    I would disagree that other than term limits the US laws to encourage change are effective. Most of them really favor the incumbent.

    I would have agree that term limits are not explicitly prohibited but they have been rejected by the administration on a number of occasions. I do not see that changing in the near future. I would like to see term limits implemented. My interest in this is not as only to force change as to allow those who are re-elected time-after-time to have a way out. I believe, that Baha'i communities tend to find someone willing to serve and never lets go of them independent of their desire to remain in office. The opportunity to serve on administrative bodies should be shared among a greater number of the followers and avoid burning out those that are elected year-after-year.

    I would like to hear more about your comments concerning "idol worship" and how the structures and rules concerning Baha'i administration have changed over time. I am not sure I understand the implications and am not comfortable responding at this time.

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

    WaveThunder, the Baha'i administrative structures and rules governing them demonstrate an ever adapting characteristic. For example, the first LSA's in Iran were male only. There were women's only LSAs also in some larger communities like Tehran. But the women's LSA had lesser duties and authority. For example, overseeing the communities children's classes. Of course, we do not see this sort of structure in place anymore as LSAs around the world have both sexes serving. There are many more changes but my purpose isn't to delineate them all. Just to point out that what we are seeing and experiencing right now as Baha'is is for the moment. Things were not always like this and they won't be in the future.
    So casting the current structures as rigid ones and elevating them to a place where we can not even question whether there may be better ways of serving the community is idol worship. It is losing sight of the essence and spiritual significance while grabbing the dust in mistaken belief that it is the real thing.

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

    WaveThunder, the Baha'i administrative structures and rules governing them demonstrate an ever adapting characteristic. For example, the first LSA's in Iran were male only. There were women's only LSAs also in some larger communities like Tehran. But the women's LSA had lesser duties and authority. For example, overseeing the communities children's classes. Of course, we do not see this sort of structure in place anymore as LSAs around the world have both sexes serving. There are many more changes but my purpose isn't to delineate them all. Just to point out that what we are seeing and experiencing right now as Baha'is is for the moment. Things were not always like this and they won't be in the future.
    So casting the current structures as rigid ones and elevating them to a place where we can not even question whether there may be better ways of serving the community is idol worship. It is losing sight of the essence and spiritual significance while grabbing the dust in mistaken belief that it is the real thing.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: So casting the current structures as rigid ones and elevating them to a place where we can not even question whether there may be better ways of serving the community is idol worship.

    Baquia I agree with this, but the point is who will decide which institutions to change and at what time. As Shoghi Effendi outlines in WOB p 9:
    “ And now, it behooves us to reflect on the animating purpose and the primary functions of these divinely-established institutions, the sacred character and the universal efficacy of which can be demonstrated only by the spirit they diffuse and the work they actually achieve… the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Baha'u'llah, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation… the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha'i Faith. …To repudiate the validity of the assemblies of the elected ministers of the Faith of Baha'u'llah would be to reject those countless Tablets of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha wherein They have extolled the station of the "trustees of the Merciful," enumerated their privileges and duties, emphasized the glory of their mission, revealed the immensity of their task, and warned them of the attacks they must needs expect from the unwisdom of their friends as well as from the malice of their enemies. It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha'u'llah."

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Baquia wrote: So casting the current structures as rigid ones and elevating them to a place where we can not even question whether there may be better ways of serving the community is idol worship.

    Baquia I agree with this, but the point is who will decide which institutions to change and at what time. As Shoghi Effendi outlines in WOB p 9:
    “ And now, it behooves us to reflect on the animating purpose and the primary functions of these divinely-established institutions, the sacred character and the universal efficacy of which can be demonstrated only by the spirit they diffuse and the work they actually achieve… the administration of the Cause is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for the Faith of Baha'u'llah, that it should be regarded as a channel through which His promised blessings may flow, that it should guard against such rigidity as would clog and fetter the liberating forces released by His Revelation… the whole machinery of assemblies, of committees and conventions is to be regarded as a means, and not an end in itself; that they will rise or fall according to their capacity to further the interests, to coordinate the activities, to apply the principles, to embody the ideals and execute the purpose of the Baha'i Faith. …To repudiate the validity of the assemblies of the elected ministers of the Faith of Baha'u'llah would be to reject those countless Tablets of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha wherein They have extolled the station of the "trustees of the Merciful," enumerated their privileges and duties, emphasized the glory of their mission, revealed the immensity of their task, and warned them of the attacks they must needs expect from the unwisdom of their friends as well as from the malice of their enemies. It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha'u'llah."

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    The tool has now COMPLETELY superseded the Faith. The current version of the Baha'i Faith that has ZERO TERM LIMITS AT ANY LEVEL has now completely violated every single point Shoghi Effendi set out in this famous passage. Every single point has been violated! This is why many long time serving people are on this Blog railing.

    Thanks for posting that famous quote!

    It supports every critical post on this Blog for the last FIVE YEARS and counting. The Baha'i Faith now is facing pure, un-adulterated, mind bending obsessive-compulsive admin-o-centric lethal suffocating idolatry. I believe the people that created this lifetime incumbent idolatry will face very grave consequences in the next world. As the usurpers Baha'u'llah prophesied in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, as the new social engineering theorist class of the Baha'i Faith, they have personally stopped 7,000 years of human spiritual evolution completely dead in it's tracks.

    But it is all going to change somewhere down the road after all these people are long dead out of the ashes of their mind bending archetypal spiritual illiteracy and incompetence.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    The tool has now COMPLETELY superseded the Faith. The current version of the Baha'i Faith that has ZERO TERM LIMITS AT ANY LEVEL has now completely violated every single point Shoghi Effendi set out in this famous passage. Every single point has been violated! This is why many long time serving people are on this Blog railing.

    Thanks for posting that famous quote!

    It supports every critical post on this Blog for the last FIVE YEARS and counting. The Baha'i Faith now is facing pure, un-adulterated, mind bending obsessive-compulsive admin-o-centric lethal suffocating idolatry. I believe the people that created this lifetime incumbent idolatry will face very grave consequences in the next world. As the usurpers Baha'u'llah prophesied in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner, as the new social engineering theorist class of the Baha'i Faith, they have personally stopped 7,000 years of human spiritual evolution completely dead in it's tracks.

    But it is all going to change somewhere down the road after all these people are long dead out of the ashes of their mind bending archetypal spiritual illiteracy and incompetence.

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

    The casting the feeling that things are rigid as idol warship seems a bit strong. Over many years I have seen the situation actually become more rigid rather than more relaxed. I have become more aware of the tendency to re-elect the same people and the resistance to allow someone to resign. Perhaps that is my local community to some extent.

    This discussion has taken a more negative slant than I would like to see. I have much greater faith in the Baha'i electorial system than any other I have seen including the US electorial system. It incorporates many features that I prize highly. In my original comment, I mentioned that change was desireable.

    In light of this I would ask 2 questions as a transition to a more positive approach:

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.
    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

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

    The casting the feeling that things are rigid as idol warship seems a bit strong. Over many years I have seen the situation actually become more rigid rather than more relaxed. I have become more aware of the tendency to re-elect the same people and the resistance to allow someone to resign. Perhaps that is my local community to some extent.

    This discussion has taken a more negative slant than I would like to see. I have much greater faith in the Baha'i electorial system than any other I have seen including the US electorial system. It incorporates many features that I prize highly. In my original comment, I mentioned that change was desireable.

    In light of this I would ask 2 questions as a transition to a more positive approach:

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.
    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

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

    The casting the feeling that things are rigid as idol warship seems a bit strong. Over many years I have seen the situation actually become more rigid rather than more relaxed. I have become more aware of the tendency to re-elect the same people and the resistance to allow someone to resign. Perhaps that is my local community to some extent.

    This discussion has taken a more negative slant than I would like to see. I have much greater faith in the Baha'i electorial system than any other I have seen including the US electorial system. It incorporates many features that I prize highly. In my original comment, I mentioned that change was desireable.

    In light of this I would ask 2 questions as a transition to a more positive approach:

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.
    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: The tool has now COMPLETELY superseded the Faith.
    Craig, I have met people with a tool box in place of a heart, apparatchiks, usually having failed elsewhere, who suddenly fond a way of getting the upper-hand on others. These people made some damage and always swiftly calmed down or left the fold.
    Either the Baha’i community is directed by God’s revelation and being divinely guided, will survive and thrive without our help or guidance, or else it is a mere human enterprise that will ultimately fail. These were the wise words of Queen Victoria.
    I believe that God does not need our help, but graciously offers us the opportunity to serve at His threshold in this life. If we don’t seize this opportunity, others will do so in our place.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: The tool has now COMPLETELY superseded the Faith.
    Craig, I have met people with a tool box in place of a heart, apparatchiks, usually having failed elsewhere, who suddenly fond a way of getting the upper-hand on others. These people made some damage and always swiftly calmed down or left the fold.
    Either the Baha’i community is directed by God’s revelation and being divinely guided, will survive and thrive without our help or guidance, or else it is a mere human enterprise that will ultimately fail. These were the wise words of Queen Victoria.
    I believe that God does not need our help, but graciously offers us the opportunity to serve at His threshold in this life. If we don’t seize this opportunity, others will do so in our place.

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

    Craig wrote: The tool has now COMPLETELY superseded the Faith.
    Craig, I have met people with a tool box in place of a heart, apparatchiks, usually having failed elsewhere, who suddenly fond a way of getting the upper-hand on others. These people made some damage and always swiftly calmed down or left the fold.
    Either the Baha’i community is directed by God’s revelation and being divinely guided, will survive and thrive without our help or guidance, or else it is a mere human enterprise that will ultimately fail. These were the wise words of Queen Victoria.
    I believe that God does not need our help, but graciously offers us the opportunity to serve at His threshold in this life. If we don’t seize this opportunity, others will do so in our place.

  • Craig Parke

    Others have, Farhan. That is what people here have been trying to say.

    I served in the Faith for decades as I have said here and been mocked about. I tried as hard as I could. It is absolutely hopeless. The entire Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith consists of completely deranged, completely dysfunctional, completely mentally ill people.

    With no living Guardia there is no center of countervailing power to the UHJ. These men say they are the Voice of God on Earth and can completely change the Baha'i Faith at any time, for any reason, based upon their personal theories and beliefs with total impunity.

    They can call for the investigation of anyone in the Faith for their thoughts and throw them out of the faith at any time for any reason with total impunity based upon that thought interrogation and inquisition. They can abuse any situation and commit any excess with total and complete impunity.

    A tiny clique of lifetime incumbent severely disturbed people run everything and are accountable to no one. Ever. How can such a corrupt system ever achieve anything? It is all man made now, Farhan.

    This terrible state of affairs and the Divine Judgment it will bring was clearly foretold by Baha'u'llah in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. The people currently leading the Baha'i Faith solely on their personal opinions and personal interpretations of the Writings will all serve over 40 years each now with no personal accountability to anyone on Earth. Whatever they say goes. they will re-create the Faith into anything they desire.

    If they tell the Baha'is of the world to murder their parents or murder their children the Ruhiized automaton Baha'is of the world will do it without a moment's thought. It is absolutely frightening. Individual conscience is now forbidden. Where will such a system finally end up as a system of abuse?

    You can try to convince me otherwise. I will try to listen. But this is what I see.

    There are no personal freedoms or individual rights in the Baha'i Faith any more. People can be abused at any time by anyone and it can be covered up by an incompetent bureaucracy of dunces forever. Where is there any countervailing power anywhere in the Faith? Try to explain to me that this is not the case?

    I thought for decades the sacredness of the individual consciences of the believes would ALWAYS be the countervailing power. But now, according to Douglas Martin, individual conscience is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. What nine lifetime incumbent men in Haifa who have gamed the electoral process say to do is the "sacred human conscience" in the Faith now. I just cannot accept that.

    This is not the religion I joined 38 years ago and willingly served for decades in many different positions and capacities. I am done. I will not sit in the same room with such dangerous, and potentially murderous people in the system they have usurped, re-created, and manipulated.

    The individual human conscience is sacred to me. I know to think this way it is a "corrupt Western idea" in the current man made Ruhiized ideology of the Faith, but I honestly thought sacred individual personal conscience was taught by both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha. Now the leadership says it wasn't. So I no longer consider myself a Baha'i in the currently redefined 2.0 version of the Faith. The Faith is now completely corrupt and there is no way back for the foreseeable future in the lifetime of anyone here. Perhaps in 500-1000 years with the rise of the Internet there may be a change in the electoral processes. I do not rule that out. In fact it is my hope. But I see absolutely no hope for any change whatsoever at this time in human history. Ruhiification is the final end game.

  • Craig Parke

    Others have, Farhan. That is what people here have been trying to say.

    I served in the Faith for decades as I have said here and been mocked about. I tried as hard as I could. It is absolutely hopeless. The entire Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith consists of completely deranged, completely dysfunctional, completely mentally ill people.

    With no living Guardia there is no center of countervailing power to the UHJ. These men say they are the Voice of God on Earth and can completely change the Baha'i Faith at any time, for any reason, based upon their personal theories and beliefs with total impunity.

    They can call for the investigation of anyone in the Faith for their thoughts and throw them out of the faith at any time for any reason with total impunity based upon that thought interrogation and inquisition. They can abuse any situation and commit any excess with total and complete impunity.

    A tiny clique of lifetime incumbent severely disturbed people run everything and are accountable to no one. Ever. How can such a corrupt system ever achieve anything? It is all man made now, Farhan.

    This terrible state of affairs and the Divine Judgment it will bring was clearly foretold by Baha'u'llah in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. The people currently leading the Baha'i Faith solely on their personal opinions and personal interpretations of the Writings will all serve over 40 years each now with no personal accountability to anyone on Earth. Whatever they say goes. they will re-create the Faith into anything they desire.

    If they tell the Baha'is of the world to murder their parents or murder their children the Ruhiized automaton Baha'is of the world will do it without a moment's thought. It is absolutely frightening. Individual conscience is now forbidden. Where will such a system finally end up as a system of abuse?

    You can try to convince me otherwise. I will try to listen. But this is what I see.

    There are no personal freedoms or individual rights in the Baha'i Faith any more. People can be abused at any time by anyone and it can be covered up by an incompetent bureaucracy of dunces forever. Where is there any countervailing power anywhere in the Faith? Try to explain to me that this is not the case?

    I thought for decades the sacredness of the individual consciences of the believes would ALWAYS be the countervailing power. But now, according to Douglas Martin, individual conscience is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. What nine lifetime incumbent men in Haifa who have gamed the electoral process say to do is the "sacred human conscience" in the Faith now. I just cannot accept that.

    This is not the religion I joined 38 years ago and willingly served for decades in many different positions and capacities. I am done. I will not sit in the same room with such dangerous, and potentially murderous people in the system they have usurped, re-created, and manipulated.

    The individual human conscience is sacred to me. I know to think this way it is a "corrupt Western idea" in the current man made Ruhiized ideology of the Faith, but I honestly thought sacred individual personal conscience was taught by both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha. Now the leadership says it wasn't. So I no longer consider myself a Baha'i in the currently redefined 2.0 version of the Faith. The Faith is now completely corrupt and there is no way back for the foreseeable future in the lifetime of anyone here. Perhaps in 500-1000 years with the rise of the Internet there may be a change in the electoral processes. I do not rule that out. In fact it is my hope. But I see absolutely no hope for any change whatsoever at this time in human history. Ruhiification is the final end game.

  • Craig Parke

    Others have, Farhan. That is what people here have been trying to say.

    I served in the Faith for decades as I have said here and been mocked about. I tried as hard as I could. It is absolutely hopeless. The entire Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith consists of completely deranged, completely dysfunctional, completely mentally ill people.

    With no living Guardia there is no center of countervailing power to the UHJ. These men say they are the Voice of God on Earth and can completely change the Baha'i Faith at any time, for any reason, based upon their personal theories and beliefs with total impunity.

    They can call for the investigation of anyone in the Faith for their thoughts and throw them out of the faith at any time for any reason with total impunity based upon that thought interrogation and inquisition. They can abuse any situation and commit any excess with total and complete impunity.

    A tiny clique of lifetime incumbent severely disturbed people run everything and are accountable to no one. Ever. How can such a corrupt system ever achieve anything? It is all man made now, Farhan.

    This terrible state of affairs and the Divine Judgment it will bring was clearly foretold by Baha'u'llah in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. The people currently leading the Baha'i Faith solely on their personal opinions and personal interpretations of the Writings will all serve over 40 years each now with no personal accountability to anyone on Earth. Whatever they say goes. they will re-create the Faith into anything they desire.

    If they tell the Baha'is of the world to murder their parents or murder their children the Ruhiized automaton Baha'is of the world will do it without a moment's thought. It is absolutely frightening. Individual conscience is now forbidden. Where will such a system finally end up as a system of abuse?

    You can try to convince me otherwise. I will try to listen. But this is what I see.

    There are no personal freedoms or individual rights in the Baha'i Faith any more. People can be abused at any time by anyone and it can be covered up by an incompetent bureaucracy of dunces forever. Where is there any countervailing power anywhere in the Faith? Try to explain to me that this is not the case?

    I thought for decades the sacredness of the individual consciences of the believes would ALWAYS be the countervailing power. But now, according to Douglas Martin, individual conscience is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith. What nine lifetime incumbent men in Haifa who have gamed the electoral process say to do is the "sacred human conscience" in the Faith now. I just cannot accept that.

    This is not the religion I joined 38 years ago and willingly served for decades in many different positions and capacities. I am done. I will not sit in the same room with such dangerous, and potentially murderous people in the system they have usurped, re-created, and manipulated.

    The individual human conscience is sacred to me. I know to think this way it is a "corrupt Western idea" in the current man made Ruhiized ideology of the Faith, but I honestly thought sacred individual personal conscience was taught by both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha. Now the leadership says it wasn't. So I no longer consider myself a Baha'i in the currently redefined 2.0 version of the Faith. The Faith is now completely corrupt and there is no way back for the foreseeable future in the lifetime of anyone here. Perhaps in 500-1000 years with the rise of the Internet there may be a change in the electoral processes. I do not rule that out. In fact it is my hope. But I see absolutely no hope for any change whatsoever at this time in human history. Ruhiification is the final end game.

  • Craig Parke

    WaveThunder,

    To address either of these two points would require full transparency and accountability in the Baha'i Faith at every level. There has been no indication at any time in the history of the Faith that that is even possible. Without accountability enforced by an electoral process I see no possible solution. The existing Baha'i Faith has failed the entire human race and will continue to fail the entire human race until there are bottom up ruthlessly enforced term limits and fierce accountability from top to bottom.

  • Craig Parke

    WaveThunder,

    To address either of these two points would require full transparency and accountability in the Baha'i Faith at every level. There has been no indication at any time in the history of the Faith that that is even possible. Without accountability enforced by an electoral process I see no possible solution. The existing Baha'i Faith has failed the entire human race and will continue to fail the entire human race until there are bottom up ruthlessly enforced term limits and fierce accountability from top to bottom.

  • Craig Parke

    WaveThunder,

    To address either of these two points would require full transparency and accountability in the Baha'i Faith at every level. There has been no indication at any time in the history of the Faith that that is even possible. Without accountability enforced by an electoral process I see no possible solution. The existing Baha'i Faith has failed the entire human race and will continue to fail the entire human race until there are bottom up ruthlessly enforced term limits and fierce accountability from top to bottom.

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

    Since others have not yet attempted to answer these questions. I will take a first cut.

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.

    a. It has already been suggested that "Term Limits" are not strictly against the guidelines.
    b. Allowing a liberal interprtation of the rules for resignation including age, stress, and just a general feeling that you have served long enough (say 5 or more years). This should no incur any sense of shame.

    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

    a. First, the current administration needs to be made aware that extended service on a single administrative body or in any single position is not desirable.
    b. Rotate membership on any appointed position. Service of 3 years would seem to be quite adequate. For example, the ATCs generally have 3 members, if each member served a 3 year term and then would be expected to serve in other functions for at least that number of years, it would provide a greater degree of visibility. It could also be implemented immediately by the RBCs and LSAs.

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

    Since others have not yet attempted to answer these questions. I will take a first cut.

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.

    a. It has already been suggested that "Term Limits" are not strictly against the guidelines.
    b. Allowing a liberal interprtation of the rules for resignation including age, stress, and just a general feeling that you have served long enough (say 5 or more years). This should no incur any sense of shame.

    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

    a. First, the current administration needs to be made aware that extended service on a single administrative body or in any single position is not desirable.
    b. Rotate membership on any appointed position. Service of 3 years would seem to be quite adequate. For example, the ATCs generally have 3 members, if each member served a 3 year term and then would be expected to serve in other functions for at least that number of years, it would provide a greater degree of visibility. It could also be implemented immediately by the RBCs and LSAs.

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

    Since others have not yet attempted to answer these questions. I will take a first cut.

    1) What changes are allowed within the guidelines.

    a. It has already been suggested that "Term Limits" are not strictly against the guidelines.
    b. Allowing a liberal interprtation of the rules for resignation including age, stress, and just a general feeling that you have served long enough (say 5 or more years). This should no incur any sense of shame.

    2) What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

    a. First, the current administration needs to be made aware that extended service on a single administrative body or in any single position is not desirable.
    b. Rotate membership on any appointed position. Service of 3 years would seem to be quite adequate. For example, the ATCs generally have 3 members, if each member served a 3 year term and then would be expected to serve in other functions for at least that number of years, it would provide a greater degree of visibility. It could also be implemented immediately by the RBCs and LSAs.

  • Craig Parke

    Back in 1973 at one of the big conferences (it is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith to even remember radical 1973 now!) I asked someone what the term limits were in the Baha'i Faith. They said there weren't any! i was shocked. I could not believe SE or the AO had never addressed this when ever body else on Earth had that was sane. With no term limits you are doomed to be the Communist Party of the Soviet union with everyone preserved under glass in the great Hall of the people. Everything ends up being an endless Mausoleum.

    The person then said that there was a kind of un-written law that after a person sensed that it was shameful for them to serve any longer in their lifetime position they would resign from the NSA and "go pioneering" as a way to gracefully signal that they were not a sociopath.

    Apparently that sense of shame was lost a very, very long time ago. Everyone now has their faces in granite on some permanent inner movable Mount Rushmore in everyone's psyche in the Baha'i Faith.

    This is the way it all went. An utter mind bending catastrophe of moribund embarrassing fetid stagnation. But many people did pass through the Baha'i Faith to yeoman work in other movements that put them to work on the real issues facing the human race. Some of these organizations and other spiritual movements actually got something done in the 20th Century and are making a difference in the 21st Century while the Baha'is languish in Top Down Iron Rabid Ruhiization.

    The Mausoleums will be right up there with North Korea and Kim Jong-Il.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGiglVxRMmM

  • Craig Parke

    Back in 1973 at one of the big conferences (it is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith to even remember radical 1973 now!) I asked someone what the term limits were in the Baha'i Faith. They said there weren't any! i was shocked. I could not believe SE or the AO had never addressed this when ever body else on Earth had that was sane. With no term limits you are doomed to be the Communist Party of the Soviet union with everyone preserved under glass in the great Hall of the people. Everything ends up being an endless Mausoleum.

    The person then said that there was a kind of un-written law that after a person sensed that it was shameful for them to serve any longer in their lifetime position they would resign from the NSA and "go pioneering" as a way to gracefully signal that they were not a sociopath.

    Apparently that sense of shame was lost a very, very long time ago. Everyone now has their faces in granite on some permanent inner movable Mount Rushmore in everyone's psyche in the Baha'i Faith.

    This is the way it all went. An utter mind bending catastrophe of moribund embarrassing fetid stagnation. But many people did pass through the Baha'i Faith to yeoman work in other movements that put them to work on the real issues facing the human race. Some of these organizations and other spiritual movements actually got something done in the 20th Century and are making a difference in the 21st Century while the Baha'is languish in Top Down Iron Rabid Ruhiization.

    The Mausoleums will be right up there with North Korea and Kim Jong-Il.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGiglVxRMmM

  • Craig Parke

    Back in 1973 at one of the big conferences (it is now completely forbidden in the Baha'i Faith to even remember radical 1973 now!) I asked someone what the term limits were in the Baha'i Faith. They said there weren't any! i was shocked. I could not believe SE or the AO had never addressed this when ever body else on Earth had that was sane. With no term limits you are doomed to be the Communist Party of the Soviet union with everyone preserved under glass in the great Hall of the people. Everything ends up being an endless Mausoleum.

    The person then said that there was a kind of un-written law that after a person sensed that it was shameful for them to serve any longer in their lifetime position they would resign from the NSA and "go pioneering" as a way to gracefully signal that they were not a sociopath.

    Apparently that sense of shame was lost a very, very long time ago. Everyone now has their faces in granite on some permanent inner movable Mount Rushmore in everyone's psyche in the Baha'i Faith.

    This is the way it all went. An utter mind bending catastrophe of moribund embarrassing fetid stagnation. But many people did pass through the Baha'i Faith to yeoman work in other movements that put them to work on the real issues facing the human race. Some of these organizations and other spiritual movements actually got something done in the 20th Century and are making a difference in the 21st Century while the Baha'is languish in Top Down Iron Rabid Ruhiization.

    The Mausoleums will be right up there with North Korea and Kim Jong-Il.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGiglVxRMmM

  • Grover

    Hi WaveThunder,
    You're going to run into a lot of resistance, inertia from the joe-average believer, and accusations of being unfaithful to the covenant and so on from the more enthusiastic Farhan type believer, both of whom perceive that there is nothing wrong at the moment with the way things are in the Faith.

    There is a quote from Shoghi Effendi about the need to have fresh blood on institutions:

    " … He feels that it would be good to infuse more new life – by using different believers of capacity — into National Committees. … more young people and more people who are capable professional or business people in their private lives are now in the Faith than ever before, and such material should be tapped and exploited so that all Committees possess a certain amount of new blood and get an infusion of fresh ideas. As elections are by secret ballot only the education of the electorate can bring about changes on assemblies which often stagnate from lack of fresh blood — but Committees appointed as they are by Spiritual Assemblies — can be constituted with an eye for improvement and change."

    (From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, March 31, 1945) (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 165)

    Of course this is a statement on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, so how much weight you give it, I'll leave it up to you.

  • Grover

    Hi WaveThunder,
    You're going to run into a lot of resistance, inertia from the joe-average believer, and accusations of being unfaithful to the covenant and so on from the more enthusiastic Farhan type believer, both of whom perceive that there is nothing wrong at the moment with the way things are in the Faith.

    There is a quote from Shoghi Effendi about the need to have fresh blood on institutions:

    " … He feels that it would be good to infuse more new life – by using different believers of capacity — into National Committees. … more young people and more people who are capable professional or business people in their private lives are now in the Faith than ever before, and such material should be tapped and exploited so that all Committees possess a certain amount of new blood and get an infusion of fresh ideas. As elections are by secret ballot only the education of the electorate can bring about changes on assemblies which often stagnate from lack of fresh blood — but Committees appointed as they are by Spiritual Assemblies — can be constituted with an eye for improvement and change."

    (From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, March 31, 1945) (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 165)

    Of course this is a statement on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, so how much weight you give it, I'll leave it up to you.

  • Grover

    Continued from previous…

    Does it matter that there is incumbency? Not if the average Baha'i thinks whoever is in the institutions are doing an okay job. In which case they'll probably not pay any attention to the quote.

    The difficulty in implementing what you suggest is lack of numbers, and lack of Baha'is with ability. In my community of about 80 Baha'is, you would only ever select from maybe 10-12 of them because the rest don't have the caliber, don't work well in committees, are flaky, don't have the motivation, and tend to be too airy-fairy. So as a consequence, you have the same tired boring old people with the same boring old ideas with same boring old tendencies and fallibilities being elected. Sucks, but thats the reality. The Baha'i Faith would need to at least triple in numbers before you could implement term limits and rotation. And with Ruhi, I doubt the new Baha'is would be of any sufficient quality to be successful on an assembly.

    On a national or international scale, you have the problems of visibility, so only high-profile people end up on the NSA or UHJ.

    So while your ideas are fine in principle like the majority of things within the Baha'i Faith, in reality not much can be done until the numbers increase. With greater numbers, you have a greater pool of people to select from, and hopefully within that pool, some Baha'is of good caliber and good education.

    I suspect that if the Baha'i Faith grew to maybe 4-10 times its size, a lot of problems that many Baha'is have had with institutions would probably dissipate because the Baha'i Faith, grossly overburdened as it has been with administration, has had to make do with poor quality people on its committees and institutions.

    But that in itself is interesting, because that implies that the Baha'i Faith doesn't have the goods to turn "copper into gold", it has to look outside the Faith to get people of capacity rather than create the capacity within itself. In which case, the "healing message of Baha'u'llah" is a bit of a joke.

  • Grover

    Continued from previous…

    Does it matter that there is incumbency? Not if the average Baha'i thinks whoever is in the institutions are doing an okay job. In which case they'll probably not pay any attention to the quote.

    The difficulty in implementing what you suggest is lack of numbers, and lack of Baha'is with ability. In my community of about 80 Baha'is, you would only ever select from maybe 10-12 of them because the rest don't have the caliber, don't work well in committees, are flaky, don't have the motivation, and tend to be too airy-fairy. So as a consequence, you have the same tired boring old people with the same boring old ideas with same boring old tendencies and fallibilities being elected. Sucks, but thats the reality. The Baha'i Faith would need to at least triple in numbers before you could implement term limits and rotation. And with Ruhi, I doubt the new Baha'is would be of any sufficient quality to be successful on an assembly.

    On a national or international scale, you have the problems of visibility, so only high-profile people end up on the NSA or UHJ.

    So while your ideas are fine in principle like the majority of things within the Baha'i Faith, in reality not much can be done until the numbers increase. With greater numbers, you have a greater pool of people to select from, and hopefully within that pool, some Baha'is of good caliber and good education.

    I suspect that if the Baha'i Faith grew to maybe 4-10 times its size, a lot of problems that many Baha'is have had with institutions would probably dissipate because the Baha'i Faith, grossly overburdened as it has been with administration, has had to make do with poor quality people on its committees and institutions.

    But that in itself is interesting, because that implies that the Baha'i Faith doesn't have the goods to turn "copper into gold", it has to look outside the Faith to get people of capacity rather than create the capacity within itself. In which case, the "healing message of Baha'u'llah" is a bit of a joke.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    In light of this I would ask 2 questions as a transition to a more positive approach:
    What changes are allowed within the guidelines.What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

    Historically and globally, a great variety of practices have been allowed "within the guidelines". Historically, within the US, segregated meetings have been permitted at various times and prohibited at other times. Assemblies and their equivalents have been male-only at some times, and not at others, political involvement "of the right kind" has been permitted at some times and not at others.

    Globally, Baha'u'llah is able to be conceived of as a Hindu avatar by members of the Indian Baha'i community, yet he is not able to be conceived of as a Christian prophet by members of the British Baha'i community, as far as I'm aware.

    Guidelines have to be interpreted I wouldn't rely on guidelines to tell us conclusively what can be allowed. I think Baha'u'llah's guidelines allow women to be elected to the House, because Baha'u'llah accounts women as being gentlemen in this dispensation. The House appears to have a different interpretation of the guidelines.

    What I'm leading to is that the legal obstacles to having term limits or having ITC members ineligible for election to the House (some are already!) are nowhere near as great as those legal obstacles involved in allowing segregation, sexual discrimination or the fudging of core beliefs in order to retain members.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    In light of this I would ask 2 questions as a transition to a more positive approach:

    1. What changes are allowed within the guidelines.
    2. What can we do to enhance the incorporation of some of these changes.

    Historically and globally, a great variety of practices have been allowed "within the guidelines". Historically, within the US, segregated meetings have been permitted at various times and prohibited at other times. Assemblies and their equivalents have been male-only at some times, and not at others, political involvement "of the right kind" has been permitted at some times and not at others.

    Globally, Baha'u'llah is able to be conceived of as a Hindu avatar by members of the Indian Baha'i community, yet he is not able to be conceived of as a Christian prophet by members of the British Baha'i community, as far as I'm aware.

    Guidelines have to be interpreted I wouldn't rely on guidelines to tell us conclusively what can be allowed. I think Baha'u'llah's guidelines allow women to be elected to the House, because Baha'u'llah accounts women as being gentlemen in this dispensation. The House appears to have a different interpretation of the guidelines.

    What I'm leading to is that the legal obstacles to having term limits or having ITC members ineligible for election to the House (some are already!) are nowhere near as great as those legal obstacles involved in allowing segregation, sexual discrimination or the fudging of core beliefs in order to retain members.

  • farhan

    Grover wrote: With greater numbers, you have a greater pool of people to select from, and hopefully within that pool, some Baha'is of good caliber and good education.

    Grover, thanks for your interesting quotes. I am certainly not saying that the BA has reached any level of perfection, but saying that it is only through the building up of adequate human resources that things will improve and not through vilipending the BA. If I am far less sceptical than you are, it is because of the history of the Faith. The Baha’i Faith is not here to “select” good people and reject evil ones, but as you say to transform “copper to gold” at grass roots.

    This transformation can only be accomplished through contact with the Word of God and acquiring new habits and behaviours and not through any string pulling by those who would want to present themselves as the savour of God’s plans. Contrary to the world around us, the function of administrators is reduced to one of synchronisation and harmonisation and the real power is granted at grass roots to those who actually do things. As Tully Cicero wrote in Laws 3,12 : « Potestas in populo, auctoritas in Senatu » (Power in the people, authority in the senate). The transformation at grass roots seems much more vital to me than the change in leaders.

    So what if oldies are doing the boring administrative jobs? Free enterprise is encouraged in the Faith as long as we do not disrupt peace and unity. So what if we have some apparatchiks in the Institute process? Why not become a tutor ourselves and do it differently?

    It so happens historically, that by spasms and crisis the number and the quality of those transformed by God’s message has exponentially advanced. During His own lifetime Abdu’l-Baha had hoped to have the UHJ elected, but the world was not ready yet to adopt such a structure: not only because of numbers, but because of the inability of the world, including the Baha’is, to adopt more completely the words of God in their lives. God’s message belongs to humanity and not to any group of people. The limit between enrolled and un-enrolled is as arbitrary as the limit between two oceans. This is particularly obvious in the institute activities where the services rendered by non enrolled Baha’is can outshine those of enrolled Baha’is.

    This evolution has been clear to me. In the 1960s my fellow students would jeer at me when I explained the principles of the Faith, saying that they had nothing to do with religion, until the implications of the “Pacem in terris” of Pope John XXIII were understood. Now the EU constitution is largely established on Baha’i ideals. God’s mills grind slowly but surely, but at grass roots: we don’t need outstanding people to do His work for Him.

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Grover wrote: With greater numbers, you have a greater pool of people to select from, and hopefully within that pool, some Baha'is of good caliber and good education.

    Grover, thanks for your interesting quotes. I am certainly not saying that the BA has reached any level of perfection, but saying that it is only through the building up of adequate human resources that things will improve and not through vilipending the BA. If I am far less sceptical than you are, it is because of the history of the Faith. The Baha’i Faith is not here to “select” good people and reject evil ones, but as you say to transform “copper to gold” at grass roots.

    This transformation can only be accomplished through contact with the Word of God and acquiring new habits and behaviours and not through any string pulling by those who would want to present themselves as the savour of God’s plans. Contrary to the world around us, the function of administrators is reduced to one of synchronisation and harmonisation and the real power is granted at grass roots to those who actually do things. As Tully Cicero wrote in Laws 3,12 : « Potestas in populo, auctoritas in Senatu » (Power in the people, authority in the senate). The transformation at grass roots seems much more vital to me than the change in leaders.

    So what if oldies are doing the boring administrative jobs? Free enterprise is encouraged in the Faith as long as we do not disrupt peace and unity. So what if we have some apparatchiks in the Institute process? Why not become a tutor ourselves and do it differently?

    It so happens historically, that by spasms and crisis the number and the quality of those transformed by God’s message has exponentially advanced. During His own lifetime Abdu’l-Baha had hoped to have the UHJ elected, but the world was not ready yet to adopt such a structure: not only because of numbers, but because of the inability of the world, including the Baha’is, to adopt more completely the words of God in their lives. God’s message belongs to humanity and not to any group of people. The limit between enrolled and un-enrolled is as arbitrary as the limit between two oceans. This is particularly obvious in the institute activities where the services rendered by non enrolled Baha’is can outshine those of enrolled Baha’is.

    This evolution has been clear to me. In the 1960s my fellow students would jeer at me when I explained the principles of the Faith, saying that they had nothing to do with religion, until the implications of the “Pacem in terris” of Pope John XXIII were understood. Now the EU constitution is largely established on Baha’i ideals. God’s mills grind slowly but surely, but at grass roots: we don’t need outstanding people to do His work for Him.

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 1)

    Grover,

    I think if the Baha'i Faith would have stayed on a spiritual path it would have gotten the numbers by the mid-20th Century. The Kitab-I-Iqan was supernal for anyone studying the Sufi teachers of history and the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That was the node that would have led to great success. It was solely on the inner plane.

    I think Shoghi Effendi made a fatal strategic mistake by trying to immediately create the Administrative order as soon as he became the Guardian. Looking back at the sorry history of the Admin-O-Centric lifetime incumbent Faith that missed every opportunity of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II for starters while millions suffered, he should have just let the Writings of Baha'u'llah sit in the Synagogues and Churches and find connections in what later became the bottom up spiritual ecumenical movements.

    I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding.

    Anyone who has lived long enough in life knows that "bridge people" are the critical factor in the success of any undertaking that requires communication. Such people are cultural translators. They make all the difference. Such people must be left free to create very intricate systems of understanding from within themselves. They are spiritual communities being acted upon by the Holy Spirit if you will (the motive spiritual insights of the powers of a World Age). Moving too fast to a sterile and controlled Admin-O-Centric organization greatly weakened this development.

    The street energies of the 1960's with the civil rights and worldwide anti-war movements came to the Faith for a while and almost overcame this deficiency. It was high energy. But it terrified the Admin-O-Centric center of gravity with it's system of psychological administrative addiction and they eventually garnered total massive control back. The total top down institutionalization of Ruhi really sealed everyone's fate forever. No unique culture of bridge people will ever survive Ruhiization. That community and any further potential for one to form again has been totally exterminated now.

    The move was really quite brilliant and really is something right out of Stalin and the collectivization of the farmers under Soviet Communism. There are many striking parallels. Stalin was collectivization of outer fields of mere agricultural production. In the excessively over Admin-O-Centric Baha'i Faith it was carried out in the much more potentially bountiful inner fields of people's own hearts and minds where ideas and arts and sciences are produced. With the top down Ruhi domination of everything no individual bridge books will ever be permitted now. It is just too risky for the controllers to permit individual intellectual effort in the Faith now.

    (continued)

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 1)

    Grover,

    I think if the Baha'i Faith would have stayed on a spiritual path it would have gotten the numbers by the mid-20th Century. The Kitab-I-Iqan was supernal for anyone studying the Sufi teachers of history and the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That was the node that would have led to great success. It was solely on the inner plane.

    I think Shoghi Effendi made a fatal strategic mistake by trying to immediately create the Administrative order as soon as he became the Guardian. Looking back at the sorry history of the Admin-O-Centric lifetime incumbent Faith that missed every opportunity of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II for starters while millions suffered, he should have just let the Writings of Baha'u'llah sit in the Synagogues and Churches and find connections in what later became the bottom up spiritual ecumenical movements.

    I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding.

    Anyone who has lived long enough in life knows that "bridge people" are the critical factor in the success of any undertaking that requires communication. Such people are cultural translators. They make all the difference. Such people must be left free to create very intricate systems of understanding from within themselves. They are spiritual communities being acted upon by the Holy Spirit if you will (the motive spiritual insights of the powers of a World Age). Moving too fast to a sterile and controlled Admin-O-Centric organization greatly weakened this development.

    The street energies of the 1960's with the civil rights and worldwide anti-war movements came to the Faith for a while and almost overcame this deficiency. It was high energy. But it terrified the Admin-O-Centric center of gravity with it's system of psychological administrative addiction and they eventually garnered total massive control back. The total top down institutionalization of Ruhi really sealed everyone's fate forever. No unique culture of bridge people will ever survive Ruhiization. That community and any further potential for one to form again has been totally exterminated now.

    The move was really quite brilliant and really is something right out of Stalin and the collectivization of the farmers under Soviet Communism. There are many striking parallels. Stalin was collectivization of outer fields of mere agricultural production. In the excessively over Admin-O-Centric Baha'i Faith it was carried out in the much more potentially bountiful inner fields of people's own hearts and minds where ideas and arts and sciences are produced. With the top down Ruhi domination of everything no individual bridge books will ever be permitted now. It is just too risky for the controllers to permit individual intellectual effort in the Faith now.

    (continued)

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 1)

    Grover,

    I think if the Baha'i Faith would have stayed on a spiritual path it would have gotten the numbers by the mid-20th Century. The Kitab-I-Iqan was supernal for anyone studying the Sufi teachers of history and the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. That was the node that would have led to great success. It was solely on the inner plane.

    I think Shoghi Effendi made a fatal strategic mistake by trying to immediately create the Administrative order as soon as he became the Guardian. Looking back at the sorry history of the Admin-O-Centric lifetime incumbent Faith that missed every opportunity of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II for starters while millions suffered, he should have just let the Writings of Baha'u'llah sit in the Synagogues and Churches and find connections in what later became the bottom up spiritual ecumenical movements.

    I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding.

    Anyone who has lived long enough in life knows that "bridge people" are the critical factor in the success of any undertaking that requires communication. Such people are cultural translators. They make all the difference. Such people must be left free to create very intricate systems of understanding from within themselves. They are spiritual communities being acted upon by the Holy Spirit if you will (the motive spiritual insights of the powers of a World Age). Moving too fast to a sterile and controlled Admin-O-Centric organization greatly weakened this development.

    The street energies of the 1960's with the civil rights and worldwide anti-war movements came to the Faith for a while and almost overcame this deficiency. It was high energy. But it terrified the Admin-O-Centric center of gravity with it's system of psychological administrative addiction and they eventually garnered total massive control back. The total top down institutionalization of Ruhi really sealed everyone's fate forever. No unique culture of bridge people will ever survive Ruhiization. That community and any further potential for one to form again has been totally exterminated now.

    The move was really quite brilliant and really is something right out of Stalin and the collectivization of the farmers under Soviet Communism. There are many striking parallels. Stalin was collectivization of outer fields of mere agricultural production. In the excessively over Admin-O-Centric Baha'i Faith it was carried out in the much more potentially bountiful inner fields of people's own hearts and minds where ideas and arts and sciences are produced. With the top down Ruhi domination of everything no individual bridge books will ever be permitted now. It is just too risky for the controllers to permit individual intellectual effort in the Faith now.

    (continued)

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 2)

    With these two fatal mistakes the "bridge community" between the Baha'is and all the spiritual communities on Earth has been very effectively extinguished. Nothing will survive. I feel it has essentially set the actual Writings of Baha'u'llah back at least 300 years from ever being a factor in the world when they really should be. I don't even think the incredible power of the internet can overcome the salting of the top soil that has now been so effectively done in the Faith.

    Once the "bridge community" is gone in world ideas, it takes centuries to revive something that intricate. In my profession, software engineering, once you destroy the bridge community between the technical engineering people and the technical sales force you are in very big trouble. In two years your most effective and critical skill sales stop. A bridge community has a multiplier effect. Once it is gone you are swimming in Jell-O as they say in my profession. Things become just to hard to accomplish in time to be effective in a critical situation.

    Why the leadership of the Baha'i Faith has apparently never seemed to understand anything about bridge communities as multipliers of knowledge in systems of communication in social networks is a complete mystery to me? Maybe it is because most of these people in these lifetime incumbent positions came from professions where they have never had to be successful at fruitful multiplier communication in cross human systems of cultural development? Or maybe they just have very limited experience in life? The first law of economic survival is that once you destroy the seed corn in a system you are toast.

    To me it has always been a mystery why Shoghi Effendi never seemed to grasp this principle either? Maybe it is something from Persian culture where everything is just too compartmentalized for this principle to ever become a visible factor in anything?

    But it's effect in the failed potential of the Writings of Baha'u'llah to effect human thought is now incalculable. Centuries will now be lost over not first recognizing and protecting this very simple and basic principle: never destroy the bridge community.

    This is why the critical 10 fold increase you mention never happened that would have freed the Faith from the Admin-O-Centric straight jacket and would have let it take a breath in the world. This incredible strategic failure has been completely fatal to the present hour and counting.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    (Part 2)

    With these two fatal mistakes the "bridge community" between the Baha'is and all the spiritual communities on Earth has been very effectively extinguished. Nothing will survive. I feel it has essentially set the actual Writings of Baha'u'llah back at least 300 years from ever being a factor in the world when they really should be. I don't even think the incredible power of the internet can overcome the salting of the top soil that has now been so effectively done in the Faith.

    Once the "bridge community" is gone in world ideas, it takes centuries to revive something that intricate. In my profession, software engineering, once you destroy the bridge community between the technical engineering people and the technical sales force you are in very big trouble. In two years your most effective and critical skill sales stop. A bridge community has a multiplier effect. Once it is gone you are swimming in Jell-O as they say in my profession. Things become just to hard to accomplish in time to be effective in a critical situation.

    Why the leadership of the Baha'i Faith has apparently never seemed to understand anything about bridge communities as multipliers of knowledge in systems of communication in social networks is a complete mystery to me? Maybe it is because most of these people in these lifetime incumbent positions came from professions where they have never had to be successful at fruitful multiplier communication in cross human systems of cultural development? Or maybe they just have very limited experience in life? The first law of economic survival is that once you destroy the seed corn in a system you are toast.

    To me it has always been a mystery why Shoghi Effendi never seemed to grasp this principle either? Maybe it is something from Persian culture where everything is just too compartmentalized for this principle to ever become a visible factor in anything?

    But it's effect in the failed potential of the Writings of Baha'u'llah to effect human thought is now incalculable. Centuries will now be lost over not first recognizing and protecting this very simple and basic principle: never destroy the bridge community.

    This is why the critical 10 fold increase you mention never happened that would have freed the Faith from the Admin-O-Centric straight jacket and would have let it take a breath in the world. This incredible strategic failure has been completely fatal to the present hour and counting.

    So it goes.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: To me it has always been a mystery why Shoghi Effendi never seemed to grasp this principle either?

    Craig, the answer to this mystery is that Shoghi Effendi, like other Baha’is, believed that the Faith will develop according to God’s plans and not ours. My aunt was on pilgrimage in 1953 and Shoghi Effendi exposed his maps and plans and then said: we make our plans, and God makes His plans. We do our best, but the final victory will be God’s and not ours. The Baha’i faith is not club we are trying to wisely promote, but the teachings of God we are sharing with humanity and the veil of ungodliness we are helping remove: As Baha’u’llah states:

    “O thou that hast remembered Me! The most grievous veil hath shut out the peoples of the earth from His glory, and hindered them from hearkening to His call. God grant that the light of unity may envelop the whole earth, and that the seal, "the Kingdom is God's", may be stamped upon the brow of all its peoples.” (Gleanings VII)

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: To me it has always been a mystery why Shoghi Effendi never seemed to grasp this principle either?

    Craig, the answer to this mystery is that Shoghi Effendi, like other Baha’is, believed that the Faith will develop according to God’s plans and not ours. My aunt was on pilgrimage in 1953 and Shoghi Effendi exposed his maps and plans and then said: we make our plans, and God makes His plans. We do our best, but the final victory will be God’s and not ours. The Baha’i faith is not club we are trying to wisely promote, but the teachings of God we are sharing with humanity and the veil of ungodliness we are helping remove: As Baha’u’llah states:

    “O thou that hast remembered Me! The most grievous veil hath shut out the peoples of the earth from His glory, and hindered them from hearkening to His call. God grant that the light of unity may envelop the whole earth, and that the seal, "the Kingdom is God's", may be stamped upon the brow of all its peoples.” (Gleanings VII)

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

    Craig wrote: To me it has always been a mystery why Shoghi Effendi never seemed to grasp this principle either?

    Craig, the answer to this mystery is that Shoghi Effendi, like other Baha’is, believed that the Faith will develop according to God’s plans and not ours. My aunt was on pilgrimage in 1953 and Shoghi Effendi exposed his maps and plans and then said: we make our plans, and God makes His plans. We do our best, but the final victory will be God’s and not ours. The Baha’i faith is not club we are trying to wisely promote, but the teachings of God we are sharing with humanity and the veil of ungodliness we are helping remove: As Baha’u’llah states:

    “O thou that hast remembered Me! The most grievous veil hath shut out the peoples of the earth from His glory, and hindered them from hearkening to His call. God grant that the light of unity may envelop the whole earth, and that the seal, "the Kingdom is God's", may be stamped upon the brow of all its peoples.” (Gleanings VII)

  • Grover

    "I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding."

    You're right, 'Abdu'l-Baha used to go to the mosque etc. I'm not sure if he identified as a Muslim though, but in practice it didn't really matter. The Faith (not sure if it was Shoghi Effendi or the UHJ) put a stop to Baha'is affiliating with other religions by threatening people with removing their voting rights.

  • Grover

    "I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding."

    You're right, 'Abdu'l-Baha used to go to the mosque etc. I'm not sure if he identified as a Muslim though, but in practice it didn't really matter. The Faith (not sure if it was Shoghi Effendi or the UHJ) put a stop to Baha'is affiliating with other religions by threatening people with removing their voting rights.

  • Grover

    "I think if he would have let seekers be hyphenated Baha'is (ie. Jewish-Baha'is, and Christian-Baha'is, and Hindu-Baha'is, and Buddhist-Baha'is) for decades longer it would have all had legs because you would have had a community of people who could have been spiritual and intellectual bridge people for the Baha'i Writings to their own Faith communities. These would have been the seed people to an explosion of unity from common high level esoteric spiritual understanding."

    You're right, 'Abdu'l-Baha used to go to the mosque etc. I'm not sure if he identified as a Muslim though, but in practice it didn't really matter. The Faith (not sure if it was Shoghi Effendi or the UHJ) put a stop to Baha'is affiliating with other religions by threatening people with removing their voting rights.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Bit of a chicken and egg problem… what if increasing the vitality of the community’s institutions would help the community grow not only qualitatively but quantitatively?

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Bit of a chicken and egg problem… what if increasing the vitality of the community’s institutions would help the community grow not only qualitatively but quantitatively?

  • Craig Parke

    I agree with your post 100%, Farhan. God apparently made ANOTHER PLAN when He/She caused Shoghi Effendi to DIE before he had appointed a Living Guardian as he was required to do as his sacred duty to fulfill the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha.

    He had 36 years to get the job done. He didn't. God or Godess apparently then made other plans.

    There now is no Living Guardian to fulfill the function of asking the UHJ to reconsider a decision that a Living Guardian would consider to be against the Spirit of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah. Since no one is going to do that now they are completely FREE to make decisions with total impunity that ARE against the Spirit of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah.

    Like forbidding people to have a personal conscience in making their decisions in life when they have no scriptural authority to do so.

    Like making official interpretations of the Writings as a new high clergy class when they have no scriptural authority right to do so.

    Like throwing people out of the Faith as "Head of the Faith" when they have no scriptural authority to do so.

    By changing the Sacred Scriptures of the Faith and replacing them with people's mere personal opinions (like the Ruhi courses with so many glaring scriptural mistakes) when they have no scriptural authority to do do.

    By supporting the Armed Forces of the United States in all the political decisions in the use of force in the world when they have no scriptural authority to do so (especially when neither they themselves nor their own precious little Baha'i sons and daughters have to be sent into harms way themselves to support their pronouncements.

    By permitting special study circles to be created to study the speeches of fellow lifetime incumbent members of the Universal House of Justice as Scared Scripture when there is no scriptural authority whatsoever to do so.

    All of these things have happened because God or God(ess) instituted a change of plans causing Shoghi effendi to DIE when he had not done his sacred duty after 36 years to send things on this course to Divine Judgment upon the clueless that has led the Faith to failure to be what it was supposed to be

    So I agree with your statement based upon what Shoghi Effendi himself said. We have our plans and God has His and I think God has clearly spoken. Untimely death upon people that did not do their job does send a very clear message.

    I agree with your aunt's account 100%.

  • Craig Parke

    I agree with your post 100%, Farhan. God apparently made ANOTHER PLAN when He/She caused Shoghi Effendi to DIE before he had appointed a Living Guardian as he was required to do as his sacred duty to fulfill the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha.

    He had 36 years to get the job done. He didn't. God or Godess apparently then made other plans.

    There now is no Living Guardian to fulfill the function of asking the UHJ to reconsider a decision that a Living Guardian would consider to be against the Spirit of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah. Since no one is going to do that now they are completely FREE to make decisions with total impunity that ARE against the Spirit of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah.

    Like forbidding people to have a personal conscience in making their decisions in life when they have no scriptural authority to do so.

    Like making official interpretations of the Writings as a new high clergy class when they have no scriptural authority right to do so.

    Like throwing people out of the Faith as "Head of the Faith" when they have no scriptural authority to do so.

    By changing the Sacred Scriptures of the Faith and replacing them with people's mere personal opinions (like the Ruhi courses with so many glaring scriptural mistakes) when they have no scriptural authority to do do.

    By supporting the Armed Forces of the United States in all the political decisions in the use of force in the world when they have no scriptural authority to do so (especially when neither they themselves nor their own precious little Baha'i sons and daughters have to be sent into harms way themselves to support their pronouncements.

    By permitting special study circles to be created to study the speeches of fellow lifetime incumbent members of the Universal House of Justice as Scared Scripture when there is no scriptural authority whatsoever to do so.

    All of these things have happened because God or God(ess) instituted a change of plans causing Shoghi effendi to DIE when he had not done his sacred duty after 36 years to send things on this course to Divine Judgment upon the clueless that has led the Faith to failure to be what it was supposed to be

    So I agree with your statement based upon what Shoghi Effendi himself said. We have our plans and God has His and I think God has clearly spoken. Untimely death upon people that did not do their job does send a very clear message.

    I agree with your aunt's account 100%.

  • Craig Parke

    It was SE. SE apparently overrode Abdu'l-Baha on this. On AB's tour in 1912 the newspapers said there were something like 18 million Americans that thought like He did in spiritual matters. That, essentially, 18 million Americans were Baha'is in their thinking! There was a lot of godd will in that. A lot of bridge people to get to work guided by the Holy Spirit. 27 years later on the eve of World War II, SE had quarterbacked that down to something like a pitiful mere 2,900 Baha'is on the roles in the United States on the eve of the greatest war in human history. Way to go! Brilliant leadership! All he had to do was tale the spiritual approach and let the Writings of Baha'u'llah circulate out in the hyphenated community and let it all take root ab=mid the bridge people and the bridge communities. There would have been fantastic bridge books when the Internet hit! But he went the route of over administration top down micromanaged control freak fear and the rest is history. The Faith could not take a breath in the world except for a few years in the 1960's and 1970's. So much has been lost that it is incalculable. Just pitiful. The Faith is now a haven of YEAR ZERO THINKING. Yawn. The same old, same old. It has been done already by so many other deranged fanatics who were much better at actually marching people into the jungle and giving them hoes and a 400 calorie daily food ration to start building society all over again under the new ideology.

    Meanwhile the New Agers have stolen the thunder of the Baha'i Faith and will continue to clean our clock in actually getting something done.

    Meanwhile…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zydAs5bRW1U

    This is exactly what Baha'u'llah taught would happen! The Who will sit on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty while the Baha'is smoke their top down mind control Ruhi Books and go to mind bending catastrophic ruin decade after decade, century after century failing all mankind in the process dismal energy loss year after dismal energy loss year.

    The Power of the World Age will go on to other peoples and other spiritual communities who are in tune with the Maid of Heaven Divine Spirit of the Cosmos and not brain dead endless Baha'i committees from the Ministry of Micromanaged Paint-by-Numbers Hallmark Card Spirituality.

  • Craig Parke

    It was SE. SE apparently overrode Abdu'l-Baha on this. On AB's tour in 1912 the newspapers said there were something like 18 million Americans that thought like He did in spiritual matters. That, essentially, 18 million Americans were Baha'is in their thinking! There was a lot of godd will in that. A lot of bridge people to get to work guided by the Holy Spirit. 27 years later on the eve of World War II, SE had quarterbacked that down to something like a pitiful mere 2,900 Baha'is on the roles in the United States on the eve of the greatest war in human history. Way to go! Brilliant leadership! All he had to do was tale the spiritual approach and let the Writings of Baha'u'llah circulate out in the hyphenated community and let it all take root ab=mid the bridge people and the bridge communities. There would have been fantastic bridge books when the Internet hit! But he went the route of over administration top down micromanaged control freak fear and the rest is history. The Faith could not take a breath in the world except for a few years in the 1960's and 1970's. So much has been lost that it is incalculable. Just pitiful. The Faith is now a haven of YEAR ZERO THINKING. Yawn. The same old, same old. It has been done already by so many other deranged fanatics who were much better at actually marching people into the jungle and giving them hoes and a 400 calorie daily food ration to start building society all over again under the new ideology.

    Meanwhile the New Agers have stolen the thunder of the Baha'i Faith and will continue to clean our clock in actually getting something done.

    Meanwhile…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zydAs5bRW1U

    This is exactly what Baha'u'llah taught would happen! The Who will sit on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty while the Baha'is smoke their top down mind control Ruhi Books and go to mind bending catastrophic ruin decade after decade, century after century failing all mankind in the process dismal energy loss year after dismal energy loss year.

    The Power of the World Age will go on to other peoples and other spiritual communities who are in tune with the Maid of Heaven Divine Spirit of the Cosmos and not brain dead endless Baha'i committees from the Ministry of Micromanaged Paint-by-Numbers Hallmark Card Spirituality.

  • Grover

    It depends what you mean by vitality. If you mean vitality as in the Baha'i sense – aka heightened spiritual consciousness, obedience to the covenant, greater deepening in the writings, and getting jiggy with 5 year plan and Ruhi – it probably wouldn't do much good, you'd have a whole lot of zealots with not much creativity, and the people they'd bring in would be of a similar ilk. The basic operational problems within the Faith would remain.

    If you mean increasing vitality by training institutions in good management skills, communication, and making them more efficient and effective, its possible. But for the institutions to be more effective, they really need to prioritize on a few things that the community can do, pare back the millions of community events and activities to a few essentials (sometimes less is more). Ruhi and the 5 year plan for all its faults has forced them to do that but created a deadening uniformity throughout the Baha'i world.

    But, its no good having a vital institution without a good work force backing it up… So you need to hit both – choose activities that the community has no trouble with and non-Baha'is like (teaching is a painful and stressful activity if you're not a zealot, and often the best way to lose friends and make people want to kill you, so not many Baha'is actually go out and teach), e.g. sports, art, crafts, cooking, games – social stuff (A lot of people are lonely and stressed and just want to relax with some good company) – environmental activities – tree planting, cleaning parks, beaches etc (a lot of people just want to feel that they've contributed in some way).

  • Grover

    It depends what you mean by vitality. If you mean vitality as in the Baha'i sense – aka heightened spiritual consciousness, obedience to the covenant, greater deepening in the writings, and getting jiggy with 5 year plan and Ruhi – it probably wouldn't do much good, you'd have a whole lot of zealots with not much creativity, and the people they'd bring in would be of a similar ilk. The basic operational problems within the Faith would remain.

    If you mean increasing vitality by training institutions in good management skills, communication, and making them more efficient and effective, its possible. But for the institutions to be more effective, they really need to prioritize on a few things that the community can do, pare back the millions of community events and activities to a few essentials (sometimes less is more). Ruhi and the 5 year plan for all its faults has forced them to do that but created a deadening uniformity throughout the Baha'i world.

    But, its no good having a vital institution without a good work force backing it up… So you need to hit both – choose activities that the community has no trouble with and non-Baha'is like (teaching is a painful and stressful activity if you're not a zealot, and often the best way to lose friends and make people want to kill you, so not many Baha'is actually go out and teach), e.g. sports, art, crafts, cooking, games – social stuff (A lot of people are lonely and stressed and just want to relax with some good company) – environmental activities – tree planting, cleaning parks, beaches etc (a lot of people just want to feel that they've contributed in some way).

  • Grover

    Hi Craig,

    "Once the "bridge community" is gone in world ideas, it takes centuries to revive something that intricate. In my profession, software engineering, once you destroy the bridge community between the technical engineering people and the technical sales force you are in very big trouble. In two years your most effective and critical skill sales stop. A bridge community has a multiplier effect. Once it is gone you are swimming in Jell-O as they say in my profession. Things become just to hard to accomplish in time to be effective in a critical situation."

    Actually, a very similar thing happened with GE Healthcare. In a drive to reduce costs, they employed sales people with no technical expertise, and made all the ones with expertise redundant or drove them to resign because of excessive bureaucracy. As a consequence people have started turning to competitors instead and buying their products because they had the technical expertise and gave good advice.

    There are obvious parallels with the Baha'i Faith – undeepened, uneducated Baha'is trying to sell the Faith to the masses with only the briefest of training – Ruhi. The ones that were educated, academics, and so on, that could answer the curly difficult questions moved on to more interesting fields. All the major questions go unanswered: where does the Faith stand on the environment? indigenous people? relationship with other religions? science and religion? homosexuality? women's rights? The people that could bridge the gap between the Baha'i Faith and science, sociology, other religions and so on, have moved on..

  • Grover

    Hi Craig,

    "Once the "bridge community" is gone in world ideas, it takes centuries to revive something that intricate. In my profession, software engineering, once you destroy the bridge community between the technical engineering people and the technical sales force you are in very big trouble. In two years your most effective and critical skill sales stop. A bridge community has a multiplier effect. Once it is gone you are swimming in Jell-O as they say in my profession. Things become just to hard to accomplish in time to be effective in a critical situation."

    Actually, a very similar thing happened with GE Healthcare. In a drive to reduce costs, they employed sales people with no technical expertise, and made all the ones with expertise redundant or drove them to resign because of excessive bureaucracy. As a consequence people have started turning to competitors instead and buying their products because they had the technical expertise and gave good advice.

    There are obvious parallels with the Baha'i Faith – undeepened, uneducated Baha'is trying to sell the Faith to the masses with only the briefest of training – Ruhi. The ones that were educated, academics, and so on, that could answer the curly difficult questions moved on to more interesting fields. All the major questions go unanswered: where does the Faith stand on the environment? indigenous people? relationship with other religions? science and religion? homosexuality? women's rights? The people that could bridge the gap between the Baha'i Faith and science, sociology, other religions and so on, have moved on..

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Grover wrote:
    The people that could bridge the gap between the Baha'i Faith and science, sociology, other religions and so on, have moved on..

    People? Get with the programme. The Baha'i faith doesn't have people. It has "human resources".

    But, seriously, you've made a very good point. Fortunately, some who are outside the tent are continuing their work. I'm thinking particularly of Sen McGlinn.

  • http://bahaisonline.net Steve Marshall

    Grover wrote:
    The people that could bridge the gap between the Baha'i Faith and science, sociology, other religions and so on, have moved on..

    People? Get with the programme. The Baha'i faith doesn't have people. It has "human resources".

    But, seriously, you've made a very good point. Fortunately, some who are outside the tent are continuing their work. I'm thinking particularly of Sen McGlinn.

  • Grover

    Thanks Steve,

    I just read Sen's latest article "no counterfeits" about how when the Guardian selected a successor, the hands of the cause had to elect 9 hands from amongst them to approve the successor. Absolutely fascinating, you don't read that at all in the books on the Covenant, and its right there in 'Abdu'l-Baha's will and testament.

    Everyone was wondering why SE didn't do a will and testament in which he selected a successor and it turns out he didn't need to, he could have chosen one while he was still living and have it approved by the HoC. What a quandary that would have been if he had written a will and testament and selected a successor, died, and the HoC didn't approve the successor!

  • Grover

    Thanks Steve,

    I just read Sen's latest article "no counterfeits" about how when the Guardian selected a successor, the hands of the cause had to elect 9 hands from amongst them to approve the successor. Absolutely fascinating, you don't read that at all in the books on the Covenant, and its right there in 'Abdu'l-Baha's will and testament.

    Everyone was wondering why SE didn't do a will and testament in which he selected a successor and it turns out he didn't need to, he could have chosen one while he was still living and have it approved by the HoC. What a quandary that would have been if he had written a will and testament and selected a successor, died, and the HoC didn't approve the successor!

  • Craig Parke

    Yep. I have seen it happen over and over in organizations. Kill the seed corn people. Kill the people at the critical point on the meridian in the energy flow. Kill the acupuncture people who can restore the blockage. Kill anyone who understands the product, the shop floor, the sales force, and the customer base. Kill everyone who knows anything at all…so you can maintain control at the top by eliminating all threats to your entrenched position at the top.

    Have you ever noticed that the people at the top of an organization often have only ONE SKILL and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with progress in the organization! Their sole and only skill is how to stay at the top!

    In one place I worked the greatest skill of the top management clique was being able to determine if a project would succeed or fail from "over the horizon". If they knew early it would fail, they could distance themselves from it ( even if it was their own idea to start it!). If they knew it would succeed, they would maneuver to take full credit for the success and further cement their entrenched positions. It was fascinating stuff! These people were really, really good at this!

    But they still couldn't run the company in a way to achieve REAL GAINS in product development or sales. It was always a zero sum game. I believe this is how all organizations eventually come to operate if the top people are NEVER challenged or there is no new ideas and new blood.

    My observation in my life is that human beings do not do organizations. All organizations will eventually become completely dysfunctional and totally fail unless everyone is challenged 24/7/365/1000 and not once every 100 years. Witness the demise of GM here in the U.S. Just pathetic. They were on their way to a viable electric car in 1993 and got lost. Just unbelievable because they could NOT see the ultimate future. They just wanted to sell gas guzzling SUV's. So now it is game over upon clueless idiots.

    Once the bridge people are gone to new communities of thought or new energies or new markets, you are toast. That is all she wrote. A religious movement is no different.

    When you hit that point, not even God can help you. You have no bridge people. You die cold and alone in the dark never being able to connect to the highest potential energies of life.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    Yep. I have seen it happen over and over in organizations. Kill the seed corn people. Kill the people at the critical point on the meridian in the energy flow. Kill the acupuncture people who can restore the blockage. Kill anyone who understands the product, the shop floor, the sales force, and the customer base. Kill everyone who knows anything at all…so you can maintain control at the top by eliminating all threats to your entrenched position at the top.

    Have you ever noticed that the people at the top of an organization often have only ONE SKILL and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with progress in the organization! Their sole and only skill is how to stay at the top!

    In one place I worked the greatest skill of the top management clique was being able to determine if a project would succeed or fail from "over the horizon". If they knew early it would fail, they could distance themselves from it ( even if it was their own idea to start it!). If they knew it would succeed, they would maneuver to take full credit for the success and further cement their entrenched positions. It was fascinating stuff! These people were really, really good at this!

    But they still couldn't run the company in a way to achieve REAL GAINS in product development or sales. It was always a zero sum game. I believe this is how all organizations eventually come to operate if the top people are NEVER challenged or there is no new ideas and new blood.

    My observation in my life is that human beings do not do organizations. All organizations will eventually become completely dysfunctional and totally fail unless everyone is challenged 24/7/365/1000 and not once every 100 years. Witness the demise of GM here in the U.S. Just pathetic. They were on their way to a viable electric car in 1993 and got lost. Just unbelievable because they could NOT see the ultimate future. They just wanted to sell gas guzzling SUV's. So now it is game over upon clueless idiots.

    Once the bridge people are gone to new communities of thought or new energies or new markets, you are toast. That is all she wrote. A religious movement is no different.

    When you hit that point, not even God can help you. You have no bridge people. You die cold and alone in the dark never being able to connect to the highest potential energies of life.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    Thank you for your post, Farhan. Very useful. Exactly. This is why there must be a rigorous electorate and strict term limits in ALL human organizations.

    Why?

    Because history shows that without checks and balances all human beings are completely insane including everyone on this blog and everyone in the BAO. At this time there are no checks and balances in the BAO. Zero. Nada. Zippo. And so the system has gone insane. Lifetime incumbency is the final stop before total derangement in any human system of governance. It is very sad. It is embarrassing and it is disgraceful.

    Look at the caliber of the leadership of the Baha'i Faith everywhere on Earth and weep. It is one of the greatest tragedies in world history. But it was all very clearly foretold by Baha'u'llah in the Writings. It is a phase we must go through so that people will learn the sacred responsibility of being a fierce electorate. The catastrophe of the entire 20th Century was the catastrophe of clueless electorates in human affairs. so far the lesson has not been fully learned but with the rise of the internet better times are coming. At some point even the Baha'i Faith will very slowly improve. I think we will see clear improvement in about 300 years. I think the day will come when people will actually be thrown out of office in the Baha'i Faith by a fierce, aroused, and thoughtful electorate. I think at some point even in the BAO it will start to happen. I really do. Right now critical individual thought and responsibility is completely forbidden in the culture of the Baha'i Faith. But in the future that is going to change. Right now the AO is an empowered vampire system of psychologically predatory people praying on other people for their own psychologucal needs. But in the future people will see this for what it has been. About 50-100 Plans from now people will begin to see this game and take action to change the dynamics. Of course, by then all of the tasks of the World Age will have been carried out by other peoples and other spiritual and political communities that were free to think critically and act from within their own souls. But for the Baha'is it will be better late than never.

    Right now the electoral processes of the AO clearly empowers people with a narcissistic personality disorder. But in the future that is going to change with the tremendous power of the rise of the Internet. In the future the warped motives of the "dedicated lifetime service" of a lot of Baha'is is going to look very, very bad indeed.

    As I have said here before, if I was a member of the current Universal House of Justice or US NSA, I would take a loaded gun, put it to my head, and pull the trigger for the sorry, sorry record of the last 40 years. It speaks for itself. Just pathetic. This amazing entrenched moribund leadership completely botched every single opportunity that ever came it's way minute by minute.

  • Craig Parke

    Thank you for your post, Farhan. Very useful. Exactly. This is why there must be a rigorous electorate and strict term limits in ALL human organizations.

    Why?

    Because history shows that without checks and balances all human beings are completely insane including everyone on this blog and everyone in the BAO. At this time there are no checks and balances in the BAO. Zero. Nada. Zippo. And so the system has gone insane. Lifetime incumbency is the final stop before total derangement in any human system of governance. It is very sad. It is embarrassing and it is disgraceful.

    Look at the caliber of the leadership of the Baha'i Faith everywhere on Earth and weep. It is one of the greatest tragedies in world history. But it was all very clearly foretold by Baha'u'llah in the Writings. It is a phase we must go through so that people will learn the sacred responsibility of being a fierce electorate. The catastrophe of the entire 20th Century was the catastrophe of clueless electorates in human affairs. so far the lesson has not been fully learned but with the rise of the internet better times are coming. At some point even the Baha'i Faith will very slowly improve. I think we will see clear improvement in about 300 years. I think the day will come when people will actually be thrown out of office in the Baha'i Faith by a fierce, aroused, and thoughtful electorate. I think at some point even in the BAO it will start to happen. I really do. Right now critical individual thought and responsibility is completely forbidden in the culture of the Baha'i Faith. But in the future that is going to change. Right now the AO is an empowered vampire system of psychologically predatory people praying on other people for their own psychologucal needs. But in the future people will see this for what it has been. About 50-100 Plans from now people will begin to see this game and take action to change the dynamics. Of course, by then all of the tasks of the World Age will have been carried out by other peoples and other spiritual and political communities that were free to think critically and act from within their own souls. But for the Baha'is it will be better late than never.

    Right now the electoral processes of the AO clearly empowers people with a narcissistic personality disorder. But in the future that is going to change with the tremendous power of the rise of the Internet. In the future the warped motives of the "dedicated lifetime service" of a lot of Baha'is is going to look very, very bad indeed.

    As I have said here before, if I was a member of the current Universal House of Justice or US NSA, I would take a loaded gun, put it to my head, and pull the trigger for the sorry, sorry record of the last 40 years. It speaks for itself. Just pathetic. This amazing entrenched moribund leadership completely botched every single opportunity that ever came it's way minute by minute.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote : …so you can maintain control at the top by eliminating all threats to your entrenched position at the top.

    Craig, you have given a description of a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a perverse manipulating personality. You can meet them anywhere. So many people in our societies have learnt that in order to survive, they have to hold control. It is an immature vision of life, incapable of living in cooperation and collaboration as a mature organism, but as a dependant one manipulating others in order to survive: a sort of vampire. The baby controls its environment by being dependant. The histrionic personality acquires attention by showing himself being victimised. The narcissist manipulates others by humiliating them, lowering them, making them feel guilty, inadequate, breaking up social groups to an ego-centred one.
    See http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe07.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_persona
    The solution is « Potestas in populo, auctoritas in Senatu » Power to the people, authority to institutions

  • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/farhan farhan

    Craig wrote : …so you can maintain control at the top by eliminating all threats to your entrenched position at the top.

    Craig, you have given a description of a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a perverse manipulating personality. You can meet them anywhere. So many people in our societies have learnt that in order to survive, they have to hold control. It is an immature vision of life, incapable of living in cooperation and collaboration as a mature organism, but as a dependant one manipulating others in order to survive: a sort of vampire. The baby controls its environment by being dependant. The histrionic personality acquires attention by showing himself being victimised. The narcissist manipulates others by humiliating them, lowering them, making them feel guilty, inadequate, breaking up social groups to an ego-centred one.
    See http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-pe07.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_persona
    The solution is « Potestas in populo, auctoritas in Senatu » Power to the people, authority to institutions

  • farhan

    Thanks, Grover, fascinating and excellent link

  • farhan

    Thanks, Grover, fascinating and excellent link

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

    Thanks, Grover, fascinating and excellent link

  • farhan

    Fubar wrote: farhan states that the corruption and systemic incomptence in the AO is not of importance since grass roots work is what really matters.

    Fubar, I didn’t say that; what I stated is that “the power to accomplish the tasks of the community resides primarily in the mass of the believers, whereas the authority to direct the affairs of the Faith locally, nationally and internationally, is divinely conferred on elected institutions. (UHJ, 19 May 1994, in http://bahai-library.com/compilations/unlocking.a

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

    Fubar wrote: farhan states that the corruption and systemic incomptence in the AO is not of importance since grass roots work is what really matters.

    Fubar, I didn’t say that; what I stated is that “the power to accomplish the tasks of the community resides primarily in the mass of the believers, whereas the authority to direct the affairs of the Faith locally, nationally and internationally, is divinely conferred on elected institutions. (UHJ, 19 May 1994, in http://bahai-library.com/compilations/unlocking.a

  • fubar

    food-for-thought:

    http://integrallife.com/editorial/jefferson-and-h

    excerpts:
    There was a time when words like JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" really meant something to the American public, when we could feel in a tactile way how close the citizens were to the heart of the American political process. This tangible sense of civic duty seems to be quietly fading into the twilight, right at a point in history when America needs Americans the most.
    . . .

    But for many in this country, trying to understand politics in the midst of the American sound-byte-driven media can feel like trying to stand on a mountain of marbles, struggling to feel some sort of solid ground beneath our feet. Which is exactly why it is so exciting that an Integral political model is beginning to emerge
    . . .
    [excerpt]
    people develop through very distinct stages of egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric consciousness, each with an exponentially increasing sense of care, compassion, and justice. These different structures of consciousness that people develop through have a very direct influence upon their interpretations of reality, and upon the decisions that are made based upon those interpretations. Finally, Ken [Wilber] expounds upon the many dangers that lurk behind the liberal ideal of “one-person, one-vote” democracy, which may seem innocuous at first, but is in reality extremely sinister when followed to its logical conclusion: in a world where worldcentric consciousness is a minority, “one-person, one-vote” would all but guarantee an eventual return to the tyranny of power-hungry warlords and fundamentalism.
    . . .

    —end—

  • fubar

    food-for-thought:

    http://integrallife.com/editorial/jefferson-and-h

    excerpts:
    There was a time when words like JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" really meant something to the American public, when we could feel in a tactile way how close the citizens were to the heart of the American political process. This tangible sense of civic duty seems to be quietly fading into the twilight, right at a point in history when America needs Americans the most.
    . . .

    But for many in this country, trying to understand politics in the midst of the American sound-byte-driven media can feel like trying to stand on a mountain of marbles, struggling to feel some sort of solid ground beneath our feet. Which is exactly why it is so exciting that an Integral political model is beginning to emerge
    . . .
    [excerpt]
    people develop through very distinct stages of egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric consciousness, each with an exponentially increasing sense of care, compassion, and justice. These different structures of consciousness that people develop through have a very direct influence upon their interpretations of reality, and upon the decisions that are made based upon those interpretations. Finally, Ken [Wilber] expounds upon the many dangers that lurk behind the liberal ideal of “one-person, one-vote” democracy, which may seem innocuous at first, but is in reality extremely sinister when followed to its logical conclusion: in a world where worldcentric consciousness is a minority, “one-person, one-vote” would all but guarantee an eventual return to the tyranny of power-hungry warlords and fundamentalism.
    . . .

    —end—

  • fubar

    food-for-thought:

    http://integrallife.com/editorial/jefferson-and-h

    excerpts:
    There was a time when words like JFK's "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" really meant something to the American public, when we could feel in a tactile way how close the citizens were to the heart of the American political process. This tangible sense of civic duty seems to be quietly fading into the twilight, right at a point in history when America needs Americans the most.
    . . .

    But for many in this country, trying to understand politics in the midst of the American sound-byte-driven media can feel like trying to stand on a mountain of marbles, struggling to feel some sort of solid ground beneath our feet. Which is exactly why it is so exciting that an Integral political model is beginning to emerge
    . . .
    [excerpt]
    people develop through very distinct stages of egocentric, ethnocentric, and worldcentric consciousness, each with an exponentially increasing sense of care, compassion, and justice. These different structures of consciousness that people develop through have a very direct influence upon their interpretations of reality, and upon the decisions that are made based upon those interpretations. Finally, Ken [Wilber] expounds upon the many dangers that lurk behind the liberal ideal of “one-person, one-vote” democracy, which may seem innocuous at first, but is in reality extremely sinister when followed to its logical conclusion: in a world where worldcentric consciousness is a minority, “one-person, one-vote” would all but guarantee an eventual return to the tyranny of power-hungry warlords and fundamentalism.
    . . .

    —end—

  • fubar

    Wave,

    The bahai writings are negative, the predict that without truth and accountability, God will make assemblies fail.

    | Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering
    | shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught.

    The above idea was surely intended to scare the cr*p out of anyone that wanted to use bahai assemblies for “impure” reasons. Unfortunately it didn’t have that effect, at all. To the contrary, bahai culture not only tolerates a corruption of bahai scriptural intent, it is very frequently hostile to any nonconformist/dissident/critic that wants to have a “real” discussion of the problem, and alternatives/solutions being used in the non-bahai world.

    The basic fact is that bahais do not follow their own religion, and allow their elevated egos and/or emotionally needs to insist on “worship” of superficial ideas and practices, such as empty administrative rituals, perpetuating the very sick idea that “assemblies are perfect”, and so forth.

    excerpts:
    �The prime requisites of them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold.�
    Abdu’l-Baha

    �The first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God,…Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second condition:-They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. They must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views…The honoured members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another,…�
    Abdu’l-Baha

    bahais have tended to live in a small bubble, and fiercely resist any “real” discussion of coming out of the bubble, and into the real world.

    �Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is not dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation. …They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others…�
    The Guardian

    “string pulling by those who would want to present themselves as the savour of God’s plans.”

    This is a perfect example of the conformism, backwardness and cultural imperialism of the mainstream farhan-style bahai power elites.

    Anyone with a better/different way of doing anything has their reputation impugned, and becomes subject to suspicion that they are spiritually unworthy, unreliable, disloyal, and so forth.

    This is exactly why bahai is stagnant, and has uttely lost touch with the real forms of positive social change in the world, and is incapable of modeling them.

    the remainder of farhan’s statement is full of other nonsense:

    farhan states that the corruption and systemic incomptence in the AO is not of importance since grass roots work is what really matters. however, 99% of bahai culture is premised on near-blind-obedience to the AO, and most grass roots efforts that dare to veer into areas of community that involve “real” issues of power imbalances and injustices are quickly derailed by those in power.

    hardly a model for a “new world order”.

    I agree with the excellent points made about the “insularization” that goes on in bahai culture.

    As an XL-ex-bahai, I would have to add that there is another dimension to this that is more dark: there are bahais, including scholars, that would love to work on “bridge” issues, but have been driven into silence or secrecy by the bahai thought police.

    My personal experience is that that farhan-types (mainstream bahai power elites) will always pay lip service to the “idea” of bridges (using the most ethereal, utopian and non-practical language possible), but when any “dangerous” material of a practical nature that might threaten to actually upset the status quo in the bahai community is detected by the bahai thought police, subtle and then later very unsubtle “messages” are sent to indicate that “no change is welcome”.

    bahai is a sad, backward religion was left in the dust decades ago, and now has nothing to do but repeat self-perpetuating lies, regurgitate “feel good” platitudes and exploit/dehumanize its own members.

    I would doubt that a chicken/egg thing is pertinent (in modern/postmodern bahai communities). good grass roots culture arises “spontaneously” when known social conditions are present that operate against dysfunctional bureaucratic tendencies, such as dishonesty, lack of trust, “management anti-patterns” such as “one truth above all”. (see M. Scott Peck’s work for a lot of material on healthy forms of unity in “intentional community”)

    Here is one interesting bahai attempt at promoting integral values:

    http://www.bahai-library.org/file.php?file=suggs_

    It was discussed amongst some MDS practitioners (“top 100 train-the-trainers”) about 8 years ago, and a number of major improvements were going to be discussed in the future, based on suggestions from people in various related professions (international development, community health, addiction treatment, social work, business, education, environment, etc.)

    As far as I can tell, MDS fell apart, and the effort to put together a somewhat “independent” bahai think tank of some kind (with several hundred leaders were available via the MDS and Rabbani Trust efforts over several decades of “developing human resources”) that could pool R&D; around “real world” pragmatics never happened.

    the fact is that bahai culture is hostile to people that have real competency in social change and social justice that are not willing to become mindless dones that perform the “expected” rituals of conformism in front of the high priests of bahai administration.

    highly competent people that do not support the usual dysfunctional bahai tendencies are usually disrespected, undermined and eventually attacked.

    bahai is a backward religion that exploits people, including highly competent, highly trained professionals that think bahai will provide a constructive outlet for effecting social change n the world.

    after all of the “60s” people (social change advocates) became bahais, went off and got excellent education/training, spent decades refining their professional expertise in various corners of the real world, thousands of such people could have been available to “really run” the bahai community instead of the sociopaths and fundies that rose to power.

    the ruhi/AO mantra about “human resources” is 1,000% utter garbage, as proven by real history.

    As I’ve described before on this blog in other threads, a grass roots hands-on “program for personal transformation” developed amongst some (mostly) new-age and counterculture type bahais in california in the 80s. it had some overlap with the “dialogue magazine/Kalimat Press/talisman” group, but had more focus on a therapeutic/psych/meditation/yoga approach to “social change”.

    As it started to become very popular (and competed for “human resources” – people’s time and energy), it was attacked by the AO, and the leader of the group was accused of potentially wanting to gain celebrity, etc., and everyone was scared away from the “grass roots” movement (toward a bahai form of new-age spiritual transformation).

    the sad reality is that the backward power elites within bahai do not like any dynamic form of “grass roots” movements that are not rigidly constructed in such a way as to conform to the dysfunctional form of bahai governance/administration/culture that has developed over the last couple of decades.

    the bahai elites can weild ENORMOUS power, including disinformation campaigns, to stop “grass roots” bahai movements that do not “conform”.

    farhan is incredibly disingenuous, I find his arguments either ignorant of the real history of the bahai community, or vile, disgusting lies about how the bahai community “really works” to enforce conformance and police people’s thought processes.

    farhan posts disgusting lies and distortions, and is in denial about how backward and failed bahai religion has become.

  • fubar

    Wave,

    The bahai writings are negative, the predict that without truth and accountability, God will make assemblies fail.

    | Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering
    | shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught.

    The above idea was surely intended to scare the cr*p out of anyone that wanted to use bahai assemblies for “impure” reasons. Unfortunately it didn’t have that effect, at all. To the contrary, bahai culture not only tolerates a corruption of bahai scriptural intent, it is very frequently hostile to any nonconformist/dissident/critic that wants to have a “real” discussion of the problem, and alternatives/solutions being used in the non-bahai world.

    The basic fact is that bahais do not follow their own religion, and allow their elevated egos and/or emotionally needs to insist on “worship” of superficial ideas and practices, such as empty administrative rituals, perpetuating the very sick idea that “assemblies are perfect”, and so forth.

    excerpts:
    �The prime requisites of them that take counsel together are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted Threshold.�
    Abdu’l-Baha

    �The first condition is absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity of God,…Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be brought to naught. The second condition:-They must when coming together turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of Glory. They must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity, care and moderation to express their views…The honoured members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another,…�
    Abdu’l-Baha

    bahais have tended to live in a small bubble, and fiercely resist any “real” discussion of coming out of the bubble, and into the real world.

    �Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is not dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation. …They should never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the Cause, intrinsically superior to others…�
    The Guardian

    “string pulling by those who would want to present themselves as the savour of God’s plans.”

    This is a perfect example of the conformism, backwardness and cultural imperialism of the mainstream farhan-style bahai power elites.

    Anyone with a better/different way of doing anything has their reputation impugned, and becomes subject to suspicion that they are spiritually unworthy, unreliable, disloyal, and so forth.

    This is exactly why bahai is stagnant, and has uttely lost touch with the real forms of positive social change in the world, and is incapable of modeling them.

    the remainder of farhan’s statement is full of other nonsense:

    farhan states that the corruption and systemic incomptence in the AO is not of importance since grass roots work is what really matters. however, 99% of bahai culture is premised on near-blind-obedience to the AO, and most grass roots efforts that dare to veer into areas of community that involve “real” issues of power imbalances and injustices are quickly derailed by those in power.

    hardly a model for a “new world order”.

    I agree with the excellent points made about the “insularization” that goes on in bahai culture.

    As an XL-ex-bahai, I would have to add that there is another dimension to this that is more dark: there are bahais, including scholars, that would love to work on “bridge” issues, but have been driven into silence or secrecy by the bahai thought police.

    My personal experience is that that farhan-types (mainstream bahai power elites) will always pay lip service to the “idea” of bridges (using the most ethereal, utopian and non-practical language possible), but when any “dangerous” material of a practical nature that might threaten to actually upset the status quo in the bahai community is detected by the bahai thought police, subtle and then later very unsubtle “messages” are sent to indicate that “no change is welcome”.

    bahai is a sad, backward religion was left in the dust decades ago, and now has nothing to do but repeat self-perpetuating lies, regurgitate “feel good” platitudes and exploit/dehumanize its own members.

    I would doubt that a chicken/egg thing is pertinent (in modern/postmodern bahai communities). good grass roots culture arises “spontaneously” when known social conditions are present that operate against dysfunctional bureaucratic tendencies, such as dishonesty, lack of trust, “management anti-patterns” such as “one truth above all”. (see M. Scott Peck’s work for a lot of material on healthy forms of unity in “intentional community”)

    Here is one interesting bahai attempt at promoting integral values:

    http://www.bahai-library.org/file.php?file=suggs_

    It was discussed amongst some MDS practitioners (“top 100 train-the-trainers”) about 8 years ago, and a number of major improvements were going to be discussed in the future, based on suggestions from people in various related professions (international development, community health, addiction treatment, social work, business, education, environment, etc.)

    As far as I can tell, MDS fell apart, and the effort to put together a somewhat “independent” bahai think tank of some kind (with several hundred leaders were available via the MDS and Rabbani Trust efforts over several decades of “developing human resources”) that could pool R&D around “real world” pragmatics never happened.

    the fact is that bahai culture is hostile to people that have real competency in social change and social justice that are not willing to become mindless dones that perform the “expected” rituals of conformism in front of the high priests of bahai administration.

    highly competent people that do not support the usual dysfunctional bahai tendencies are usually disrespected, undermined and eventually attacked.

    bahai is a backward religion that exploits people, including highly competent, highly trained professionals that think bahai will provide a constructive outlet for effecting social change n the world.

    after all of the “60s” people (social change advocates) became bahais, went off and got excellent education/training, spent decades refining their professional expertise in various corners of the real world, thousands of such people could have been available to “really run” the bahai community instead of the sociopaths and fundies that rose to power.

    the ruhi/AO mantra about “human resources” is 1,000% utter garbage, as proven by real history.

    As I’ve described before on this blog in other threads, a grass roots hands-on “program for personal transformation” developed amongst some (mostly) new-age and counterculture type bahais in california in the 80s. it had some overlap with the “dialogue magazine/Kalimat Press/talisman” group, but had more focus on a therapeutic/psych/meditation/yoga approach to “social change”.

    As it started to become very popular (and competed for “human resources” – people’s time and energy), it was attacked by the AO, and the leader of the group was accused of potentially wanting to gain celebrity, etc., and everyone was scared away from the “grass roots” movement (toward a bahai form of new-age spiritual transformation).

    the sad reality is that the backward power elites within bahai do not like any dynamic form of “grass roots” movements that are not rigidly constructed in such a way as to conform to the dysfunctional form of bahai governance/administration/culture that has developed over the last couple of decades.

    the bahai elites can weild ENORMOUS power, including disinformation campaigns, to stop “grass roots” bahai movements that do not “conform”.

    farhan is incredibly disingenuous, I find his arguments either ignorant of the real history of the bahai community, or vile, disgusting lies about how the bahai community “really works” to enforce conformance and police people’s thought processes.

    farhan posts disgusting lies and distortions, and is in denial about how backward and failed bahai religion has become.

  • Craig Parke

    fubar,

    Start to study Douglas Rushkoff's new book coming out on June 2nd. It is cutting edge thinking and is going to be seminal.

    http://www.cnn.lifeincorporated.net/

    I am recommending it to everyone. It is a total rethink of the economic system of the last 500 years. The current crisis offers an opportunity to re-think everything on a scale we could not have ever imagined. Corporatism has been the mindset in everything over the last 500 years except for short periods like the revolution of 1848, pre-WWI wandervogel Germany around 1910, and the amazing 1960's. Now we have come to the end of the road where it hurts: the money system. We are in big trouble. The Baha'i faith became the Baha'i Faith Incorporated just in time for the total collapse of the corporatist mindset in world history! Really, really bad timing! Just another bad move on the bad of the clueless lifetime incumbent navel gazing hyper "Year Zero, Incorporated" professional theorist classes everywhere on Earth including the BAO. Timing is everything in life. Bummer.

  • Craig Parke

    fubar,

    Start to study Douglas Rushkoff's new book coming out on June 2nd. It is cutting edge thinking and is going to be seminal.

    http://www.cnn.lifeincorporated.net/

    I am recommending it to everyone. It is a total rethink of the economic system of the last 500 years. The current crisis offers an opportunity to re-think everything on a scale we could not have ever imagined. Corporatism has been the mindset in everything over the last 500 years except for short periods like the revolution of 1848, pre-WWI wandervogel Germany around 1910, and the amazing 1960's. Now we have come to the end of the road where it hurts: the money system. We are in big trouble. The Baha'i faith became the Baha'i Faith Incorporated just in time for the total collapse of the corporatist mindset in world history! Really, really bad timing! Just another bad move on the bad of the clueless lifetime incumbent navel gazing hyper "Year Zero, Incorporated" professional theorist classes everywhere on Earth including the BAO. Timing is everything in life. Bummer.

  • amishindian

    Another election of the NSA ? I live in the Wilmette area and still have not felt the buzz!

  • amishindian

    Another election of the NSA ? I live in the Wilmette area and still have not felt the buzz!

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

    "le'ts see if Masud pops out of the woodwork{…}"

    Bingo!!! I am indeed popping out, but not out of the woodwork, rather out of the intellectual clutter that has clouded this discussion.

    " I NEVER felt like my vote made any difference"

    Voter disenchantment is the preferred excuse (amongst the intellectually lazy) for inaction, "ressentiment" and attacking the "establishment". These are, however, quite clearly nothing more than pouts from a three-year-old after he is denied candy. Said child is then taught that he can't always get what he wants. As this child grows up, he realizes that in order to get what he wants, he has to work with other people, who won't always agree with him. So when decisions are made by a majority of individuals (as in a democratic election), he learns not to blame the system, but to hold the electorate responsible for its decisions.

    Your problem, pey, seems to be with Baha'i voters, essentially because they disagree with you. So instead of attacking the Baha'i structure/framework/system/meme or whatever you want to call it, why don't you go after the voters, who commit the awful crimes of voting for incumbents over and over again?

    Elections have consequences, pey; with all due respect, deal with it.

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

    "le'ts see if Masud pops out of the woodwork{…}"

    Bingo!!! I am indeed popping out, but not out of the woodwork, rather out of the intellectual clutter that has clouded this discussion.

    " I NEVER felt like my vote made any difference"

    Voter disenchantment is the preferred excuse (amongst the intellectually lazy) for inaction, "ressentiment" and attacking the "establishment". These are, however, quite clearly nothing more than pouts from a three-year-old after he is denied candy. Said child is then taught that he can't always get what he wants. As this child grows up, he realizes that in order to get what he wants, he has to work with other people, who won't always agree with him. So when decisions are made by a majority of individuals (as in a democratic election), he learns not to blame the system, but to hold the electorate responsible for its decisions.

    Your problem, pey, seems to be with Baha'i voters, essentially because they disagree with you. So instead of attacking the Baha'i structure/framework/system/meme or whatever you want to call it, why don't you go after the voters, who commit the awful crimes of voting for incumbents over and over again?

    Elections have consequences, pey; with all due respect, deal with it.

  • pey

    Wow, it took you a while Masud, but glad you popped back in with all your elitist self-righteousness. Actually if you would stop with your temper tantrums, maybe you would pay attention to the what this thread is all about- namely that the votes don't mean ANYTHING. You have a system where there is no direct vote. The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants. There is no intellectual clutter here. Some very sound points have been made which you wish to conveniently ignore because they threaten your black/white view of the world as influenced by your fundamentalism. Who is being the child now?

  • pey

    Wow, it took you a while Masud, but glad you popped back in with all your elitist self-righteousness. Actually if you would stop with your temper tantrums, maybe you would pay attention to the what this thread is all about- namely that the votes don't mean ANYTHING. You have a system where there is no direct vote. The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants. There is no intellectual clutter here. Some very sound points have been made which you wish to conveniently ignore because they threaten your black/white view of the world as influenced by your fundamentalism. Who is being the child now?

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

    pey,

    "elitist self-righteousness"

    Typical ad hominem…I've come to expect this from you now.

    "The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants"

    Oh come on; you'd be complaining no matter what; if the voting were direct, you'd criticize the elected officials (um…wait…well actually you do that anyways). Additionally, if it were the other way around and the constantly reelected incumbents agreed with you, you'd be defending them. So this whole thing about the "system that perpetuates incumbents" is a canard created to hide the fact that you just disagree with their views but want to make it look like the whole system is flawed.

    I don't have a black/white view of the world, and no sentient human being would construe my sentiment as expressed through my posts as such.

    By the way, children don't have a black/white view of the world; that's a myth, mostly propagated by "good vs. evil" video games, television, etc…

    There have been some interesting points raised in this discussion; but I think they're basically irrelevant. In my opinion, either there's fraud in order to perpetuate incumbency, in which case serious action can and should be taken, or there's constant incumbency without fraud, which means that, although one might disagree with the opinions held by the elected leaders, the people have spoken. To try to find a middle ground between these two possibilities (as is evidenced by the undertones in this page suggesting Baha'i indoctrination) is to stoop down to the level of 9/11 truthers and other reactionary conspiracy theorists.

    There comes a point (and I think it's been reached now) where one can see that these arguments are self-discrediting; they require no further comment from me.

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

    pey,

    "elitist self-righteousness"

    Typical ad hominem…I've come to expect this from you now.

    "The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants"

    Oh come on; you'd be complaining no matter what; if the voting were direct, you'd criticize the elected officials (um…wait…well actually you do that anyways). Additionally, if it were the other way around and the constantly reelected incumbents agreed with you, you'd be defending them. So this whole thing about the "system that perpetuates incumbents" is a canard created to hide the fact that you just disagree with their views but want to make it look like the whole system is flawed.

    I don't have a black/white view of the world, and no sentient human being would construe my sentiment as expressed through my posts as such.

    By the way, children don't have a black/white view of the world; that's a myth, mostly propagated by "good vs. evil" video games, television, etc…

    There have been some interesting points raised in this discussion; but I think they're basically irrelevant. In my opinion, either there's fraud in order to perpetuate incumbency, in which case serious action can and should be taken, or there's constant incumbency without fraud, which means that, although one might disagree with the opinions held by the elected leaders, the people have spoken. To try to find a middle ground between these two possibilities (as is evidenced by the undertones in this page suggesting Baha'i indoctrination) is to stoop down to the level of 9/11 truthers and other reactionary conspiracy theorists.

    There comes a point (and I think it's been reached now) where one can see that these arguments are self-discrediting; they require no further comment from me.

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

    pey,

    "elitist self-righteousness"

    Typical ad hominem…I've come to expect this from you now.

    "The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants"

    Oh come on; you'd be complaining no matter what; if the voting were direct, you'd criticize the elected officials (um…wait…well actually you do that anyways). Additionally, if it were the other way around and the constantly reelected incumbents agreed with you, you'd be defending them. So this whole thing about the "system that perpetuates incumbents" is a canard created to hide the fact that you just disagree with their views but want to make it look like the whole system is flawed.

    I don't have a black/white view of the world, and no sentient human being would construe my sentiment as expressed through my posts as such.

    By the way, children don't have a black/white view of the world; that's a myth, mostly propagated by "good vs. evil" video games, television, etc…

    There have been some interesting points raised in this discussion; but I think they're basically irrelevant. In my opinion, either there's fraud in order to perpetuate incumbency, in which case serious action can and should be taken, or there's constant incumbency without fraud, which means that, although one might disagree with the opinions held by the elected leaders, the people have spoken. To try to find a middle ground between these two possibilities (as is evidenced by the undertones in this page suggesting Baha'i indoctrination) is to stoop down to the level of 9/11 truthers and other reactionary conspiracy theorists.

    There comes a point (and I think it's been reached now) where one can see that these arguments are self-discrediting; they require no further comment from me.

  • pey

    yep you one masud. You are right. Congratulations. Keep up the good job of constantly electing the same people who have nothign better to do than remove votign rights of believers and make sure that the system stays intact. I'm sure one day you will be a star in that system. Just make sure nothing ever comes out of your closet- everyone must be spotless that serves the Faith. Cheers!

  • pey

    yep you one masud. You are right. Congratulations. Keep up the good job of constantly electing the same people who have nothign better to do than remove votign rights of believers and make sure that the system stays intact. I'm sure one day you will be a star in that system. Just make sure nothing ever comes out of your closet- everyone must be spotless that serves the Faith. Cheers!

  • Grover

    Wow, Masud, you cut straight to the bone.

  • Grover

    Wow, Masud, you cut straight to the bone.

  • Grover

    Unfortunately Pey, Masud is quite right. There is nothing that he or any of us can do regarding incumbency – apart from introducing term limits, allowing limited campaigning (e.g. allow people who want to be on the NSA or UHJ to put up a profile advertising their candidancy, experience, what they stand for and why they are suitable) and allowing those who don't want to be on the LSA, NSA or UHJ to say so and opt out. But to implement such changes implies the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing, which no strict Baha'i or anyone in the institutions would be prepared to admit.

  • Grover

    Unfortunately Pey, Masud is quite right. There is nothing that he or any of us can do regarding incumbency – apart from introducing term limits, allowing limited campaigning (e.g. allow people who want to be on the NSA or UHJ to put up a profile advertising their candidancy, experience, what they stand for and why they are suitable) and allowing those who don't want to be on the LSA, NSA or UHJ to say so and opt out. But to implement such changes implies the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing, which no strict Baha'i or anyone in the institutions would be prepared to admit.

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

    Hi Grover,

    You wrote:
    But to implement such changes implies the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing, which no strict Baha'i or anyone in the institutions would be prepared to admit.

    I disagree, to the extent that I believe i'm a strict Baha'i, and I don't believe such changes imply the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing. I don't think the mechanics of electing administrative bodies is either set in stone or only obtained by one set way of electing those institutions. There are principles to be followed, to be sure, but the electoral system is and has been, flexible.

    I could and probably should, throw in some quotes to make my point, but I'm pressed for time. So much for asserting that I'm strict!

    So maybe I'm not the sort of person you're thinking of when you use the phrase "strict Baha'i".

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

    Hi Grover,

    You wrote:
    But to implement such changes implies the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing, which no strict Baha'i or anyone in the institutions would be prepared to admit.

    I disagree, to the extent that I believe i'm a strict Baha'i, and I don't believe such changes imply the "divinely inspired" system is broke and needs fixing. I don't think the mechanics of electing administrative bodies is either set in stone or only obtained by one set way of electing those institutions. There are principles to be followed, to be sure, but the electoral system is and has been, flexible.

    I could and probably should, throw in some quotes to make my point, but I'm pressed for time. So much for asserting that I'm strict!

    So maybe I'm not the sort of person you're thinking of when you use the phrase "strict Baha'i".

  • Grover

    Hi Steve,

    You're right, I was thinking of the more blinkered type ;) It would be great if someone could throw some evidence together to show that the election system used in the Faith is not set in stone and can be changed. Sen! Oh Sen!

    Even if such a change were possible, it would require convincing the UHJ and Joe Baha'i that such changes were necessary. Not such an easy task…

  • Grover

    Hi Steve,

    You're right, I was thinking of the more blinkered type ;) It would be great if someone could throw some evidence together to show that the election system used in the Faith is not set in stone and can be changed. Sen! Oh Sen!

    Even if such a change were possible, it would require convincing the UHJ and Joe Baha'i that such changes were necessary. Not such an easy task…

  • Craig Parke

    Grover,

    I, for one, firmly believe that the Writings allow for the electoral process to be changed at any time. After all, the present situation comes from just such a change to the electoral process for the election of the UHJ made in 1983. In 1983 a top down change was made with apparently zero consultation with anyone on Earth so that the members of the UHJ are elected from a completely closed list of nominees put forth by the sitting UHJ itself rather than being open to any Baha'i soul on Earth. My original understanding back in 1983 was that the NSA electors could STILL vote for other Baha'is NOT on the authorized nominee list, but apparently my understanding was wrong. Only apparently pre-authorized and inner circle ideologically pre-screened candidates can be elected solely from the closed nominee list.

    Because this current closed nominee list system since 1983 may not AT ALL be what spiritually qualifies as the UHJ being properly elected and duly constituted by all the people of the world in accordance with the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, this may be why we are in such deep trouble. Perhaps the Spirit of the World Age just cannot take a breath in this completely top down micro-managed closed straight jacketed system. But I may be wrong. Almighty God may have decreed that the Faith is to be totally destroyed in every land on Earth and this turn of events in 1983 as to how the UHJ is elected IS the actual genius system to archive just that surgical goal with amazing Cosmic speed. And every Baha'i on Earth faithful to the Covenant must now support this infallible decision to achieve total obliteration within two more generations as part of retaining their administrative rights.

    Joseph Heller on LSD could not have dreamed up anything more ingenious. As Kurt Vonnegut would say "so it goes". Perhaps Abdu'l-Baha and Mark Twain are having tea in the next world tonight at the Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe and just shaking their heads in disbelief at this amazing turn of events. I think Abdu'l-Baha has one of those Mark Twain suits Himself now. Everyone that went down on the Titanic in 1912 may be the auidence for a nice after dinner talk show in a nearby auditorium.

    The Baha'is ended up in the same place as every other social movement in the last bloody Century: "Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others."

    Nothing new or original at all here in the course of human history. Nothing to see here. No gawking or rubber necking at the bodies under sheets along the highway. Move along now.

    So it goes.

  • Craig Parke

    Grover,

    I, for one, firmly believe that the Writings allow for the electoral process to be changed at any time. After all, the present situation comes from just such a change to the electoral process for the election of the UHJ made in 1983. In 1983 a top down change was made with apparently zero consultation with anyone on Earth so that the members of the UHJ are elected from a completely closed list of nominees put forth by the sitting UHJ itself rather than being open to any Baha'i soul on Earth. My original understanding back in 1983 was that the NSA electors could STILL vote for other Baha'is NOT on the authorized nominee list, but apparently my understanding was wrong. Only apparently pre-authorized and inner circle ideologically pre-screened candidates can be elected solely from the closed nominee list.

    Because this current closed nominee list system since 1983 may not AT ALL be what spiritually qualifies as the UHJ being properly elected and duly constituted by all the people of the world in accordance with the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, this may be why we are in such deep trouble. Perhaps the Spirit of the World Age just cannot take a breath in this completely top down micro-managed closed straight jacketed system. But I may be wrong. Almighty God may have decreed that the Faith is to be totally destroyed in every land on Earth and this turn of events in 1983 as to how the UHJ is elected IS the actual genius system to archive just that surgical goal with amazing Cosmic speed. And every Baha'i on Earth faithful to the Covenant must now support this infallible decision to achieve total obliteration within two more generations as part of retaining their administrative rights.

    Joseph Heller on LSD could not have dreamed up anything more ingenious. As Kurt Vonnegut would say "so it goes". Perhaps Abdu'l-Baha and Mark Twain are having tea in the next world tonight at the Restaurant at the Edge of the Universe and just shaking their heads in disbelief at this amazing turn of events. I think Abdu'l-Baha has one of those Mark Twain suits Himself now. Everyone that went down on the Titanic in 1912 may be the auidence for a nice after dinner talk show in a nearby auditorium.

    The Baha'is ended up in the same place as every other social movement in the last bloody Century: "Everyone is equal but some are more equal than others."

    Nothing new or original at all here in the course of human history. Nothing to see here. No gawking or rubber necking at the bodies under sheets along the highway. Move along now.

    So it goes.

  • Baquia

    Masud, did you read the discussion of incumbency which demonstrated (using math) that there is a built-in bias towards it in the present method of Baha'i elections? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote : The individuals that vote on my behalf are already entrenched in the system that perpetuates incumbants.

    Pey, whatever adjectives we might find to describe the Baha’I AO, some important facts are to be considered:
    It is a religious belief system, and not a scientific fact producing system which the Baha’i AO refers to. It is not a political power enterprise, but a belief arbitrating system that derives its authority from the fact that those who elect the body, wish to consider their choice as sacred and the decisions from those bodies as final and inarguable, hence for example the choice whether or not gay marriages are a benefit to the society which has no scientific justification at this time. It is a matter of belief and this belief for Baha’is is derived from the sacred writings as elucidated by the UHJ. It is your right to doubt about the competence of this arbitration system, and choose another arbitration system for belief, used by other religious movements, but then you cannot call yourself a Baha’i.

  • Masud

    Wow what a great comeback pey…full of substantive arguments and objectively verifiable claims…

    By the way, would you say the same thing about Abdu'l-Baha?? That he had nothing better to do than excommunicate “believers” (including his brother) and make sure the system stays intact? From your post it would seem so and that's utterly shameful.

    “[...] star in in that system.”

    In my opinion, this statement reflects a deep misunderstanding (or lack of knowledge) about the Baha'i Administrative Order. Baha'i elected officials are NOT responsible towards the electorate (i.e. to satisfy the voters' demands) as is the case in current-day partisan politics; rather, they're responsible for advancing the Cause; that's why they were elected for. In other words, they should be elected based on whether or not they display the qualities that would enable them to serve the Faith, not whether they're going to, say, overturn bans or other policy-related elements.

  • farhan

    Masud wrote : In my opinion, this statement reflects a deep misunderstanding (or lack of knowledge) about the Baha'i Administrative Order

    Masud, I am not sure it is a matter of knowledge or of understanding, from misinformed people who are not involved in community life, as much as a matter of feeling and emotion. The more I linger here, the more I am grateful to Baquia for helping me acquire this vision.

    Here we see the AO judged as if it were a political system, an association or a club competing with others. The Baha’i Faith is not a matter of intelligence but a matter of love and emotion, although there is a very close interaction between the two because emotion is closely related with learning. People come to the Faith and serve there because of love; however, we do need a certain amount of structure to organize such a community, arbitration, communication, systematized learning and discipline, and generally we Baha’is are not very good at that, except perhaps in Switzerland or Germany ;-).

    Why? Because we came to the Faith �unreasonably� for love and there is some �madness� involved here. It is all a matter of developing our left hemisphere, our EQ and SQ and at the same time insisting on sending people to universities so as to develop their IQs in a balanced fashion. Many of the Aqsan excluded themselves because they hoped to acquire material benefits from the Faith instead of burning away their substance in love. Shoghi Effendi’s brothers were reputed for a very high IQ, but apparently lacked EQ and SQ.

    This is what the world is suffering from, and for which the Institute has been designed. We are in no way here to replace universities, but to complement them on a different level. I suggested these links some time back:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danah_Zohar

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/jill_bolte_tay

  • Grover

    Hi Masud,

    “Baha'i elected officials are NOT responsible towards the electorate (i.e. to satisfy the voters' demands)”

    Hmmm, that's not, strictly speaking, true. A Baha'i elected official is responsible for doing a good job, attending most meetings, and not being a pain in the arse at those meetings. If they don't, they don't get voted back in, i.e. he or she is responsible to the electorate. Collectively, the LSA as an institution is responsible for advancing the Cause, but if the LSA as a whole is riding roughshod over a community, it means that the individual members aren't doing their job, community dissatisfaction sets in and in the next elections you might see a large change in LSA membership.

    Anyway, I had some interesting thoughts about election dynamics. Word gets around quickly, particularly in the local communities, if an elected person is being a prat. Also, in communities where there are about 30-40 that are active and voting – if the other LSA members refuse to vote for that particular person – he or she will get dropped pretty quickly at the next election. We've had this happen several times in my community. Having been a teller at LSA elections many times now, you'd be surprised how spread the voting can be and sometimes people get elected on with only 8 votes, so the combined voting of the LSA members can make a huge difference to the outcome of the elections. This is also a mechanism by which LSAs preserve membership on the LSA, particularly if the current bunch of members make a good team. I'm not saying that LSAs would deliberately do what I've said (aka Survivor Baha'i Community style lets get organised and vote that person out), but having been on assemblies and seeing how a prat can drag the meetings down, none of the other LSA members would ever vote for that person again. In much larger communities the voing practices of the LSA members don't have so much of an impact. In those cases, the LSA is really at the mercy of the electors.

  • Craig Parke

    The Worldwide Internet will eventually change everything. At some point in about 300-500 years there will be RateTheAO.com. Every human soul serving on ANY Baha'i Institution AT ANY LEVEL ANYWHERE on the planet Earth will be rated with AROUND THE CLOCK feedback 24/7/365/1000. The Maid of Heaven is One Tough Lady. The Basic 30 year evolution of the Intel 8080 Instruction Set cannot be stopped. Judgment Day has come worldwide. As the Bible predicted, in that Day everything hidden will become known. And that will included if someone is:

  • Craig Parke

    The Worldwide Internet will eventually change everything. At some point in about 300-500 years there will be RateTheAO.com. Every human soul serving on ANY Baha'i Institution AT ANY LEVEL ANYWHERE on the planet Earth will be rated with AROUND THE CLOCK feedback 24/7/365/1000. The Maid of Heaven is One Tough Lady. The Basic 30 year evolution of the Intel 8080 Instruction Set cannot be stopped. Judgment Day has come worldwide. As the Bible predicted, in that Day everything hidden will become known. And that will included if someone is:

    (1) Incompetent.

    (2) An idiot.

    (3) Mentally ill.

    (4) Incompetent., an idiot, AND mentally ill.

    I guarantee you that at some point there will be completely ruthlessly self imposed Term Limits in the Baha'i Faith at EVERY LEVEL and the cult of lifetime incumbency will end because the heat will be so fierce.

    Again, if you are incompetent, an idiot, and/or mentally ill in your term of service your personal ratings report from the rank and file of your community serving on any Institution will be available WORLDWIDE at any time of the day or night anywhere on Earth.

    For many it will not be pretty. The only defense will be actual justice in personal service, the highest personal competence, and manifest personal observable balanced sanity.

    The Promised Day has indeed come on this planet!

    But, of course, everyone else will have to use lawyers as always and sue the entire community for their bad performance reports..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyEE0wSVUhQ

  • pey

    Finally the fundamentalism comes out of Farhan. Thank you for saying what you mean- FINALLY! Gays are not welcome in this religion. But i have just one word for you Farhan- I don't give a crap what you think. I CAN doubt the competence of this system and still be in it and still call myself a Bahai. So can Baquia, so can others. Bahaullah exorted his followers against blind-eyed fundamentalism in His Faith as well, yet it seems like you and Masud and others continue to enjoy full rights in His community. Learn tolerance Farhan- follow Abdul-Baha, be as He was.

  • pey

    No he didn't. Besides, objectivity is not his best charateristic so why should he bother. He will maintain and probably be part of the system as he grows up, helping continue ruin it into the ground.

  • pey

    Since you brought up the gay issue on this thread. AND, since you are a supposed to be merely a humble servant of Baha and a supposed to be a doctor grounded in science, please consider this article: http://www.sovo.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blo
    Of course, it would such a tragic shame if YOU as a doctor, do not endorse gay unions. But the AO is excused since they don't have to believe in sciecne or reason, or care about the health of anyone.

  • fubar

    The inference was that incompetence in the AO is (mostly) irrelevant because “power is in the grass roots”.

    This is a typical deception, and the exact inverse of what is true.

    The basic fact, setting absurd “spin” aside, is that NO GRASS ROOTS ACTIVITIES WILL BE TOLERATED (FOR LONG) THAT ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENT THOUGHT.

    Independent thought leads eventually to people (not elitists or AO apologists) asking “what's really wrong”.

    Indepedent thinking (nonconformance, dissent, criticism, etc.) is always marginalized or attacked within the dysfunctitonal bahai mainstream.

    90% of what you (Farhan) do on this blog is exactly that.

  • fubar

    farhan typically, disingenuously, insultingly, mischaracterized criticism, dissent and nonconformance to the dysfunctional cultural imperialism that exists in the bahai mainstream as “a matter of feeling and emotion”.

    in reality, they sad state of failure that exists in bahai is because of the inability of bahais to transcend their emotional attachments to cultural backwardness, bad metaphysics (including prophetology), and silly ideas/feelings. One of the most appallingly idiotic of such (emotional/feeling based) ideas is that institutions/administration have some sacred nature beyond what any other group of spiritually attuned people would have if they decided to engage in a common activity requiring selflessness.

    farhan has clearly demonstrated the “polite”, but studied, indifference that is PERVASIVE amongst bahais to any new ideas, methods, movements, and so forth. as such, farhan perfectly demonstrates the insularized, narrow, reactionary form of thinking that is typically found in bahai communities. what is extraordinary is farhan's incredible (emotional) “need” to try to use rhetoric and propaganda to maintain the illusion that bahai is somehow contributing to social progress, or social justice, in any significant way.

    I've seen several mass efforts to break free of the typical limits and dysfunctional patterns in bahai, and they were all doomed to be pulled back into the “gravity well of shiism” that (sadly) exists in bahai culture.

    the “emotional” need, AS DESCRIBED IN BAHAI SCRIPTURE, that is the most basic one is for TRUTH.

    bahai has become a collection of LIES that PROPAGANDISTS use to maintain a pathetic, futile set of illusions so that they do not have to acquire the COURAGE to face reality: bahai is largely a failed religion of weak people that INSANELY worship personalities and, even more incredibly, institutions.

    the massive dehumanization that results is disgusting.

    the enormous “disconnect” from what is truly, and best, human is obvious to anyone that isn't a slave to bahai propaganda.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    this is a perfect example of the “real” bahai faith: even when someone like Pey who is BORN INTO persian “bahai” culture, you insist that unless they CONFORM to prevailing bahai culture, they DO NOT BELONG.

    As stunning as it should be to all that you have perfectly expressed the DEHUMANIZING and SPIRITUALLY DEAD “reality” of bahai culture, you probably can't do so yourself because of your “emotions/feelings” that limit your ability to SEE THE TRUTH.

  • fubar

    masud,

    your analysis is not convincing, and while it superficially attempts it, ends up lacking real sophistication. it is glaringly dishonest. in other words, “bahai”.

    the bahai voting process almost invariably reinforces the status quo. similarly, bahai culture almost invariably reinforces the status quo. most bahais, when gathered for collective activities (including elections), go to extreme lengths to “STAY IN A COMFORT ZONE” that is culturally WEIGHTED to maintaining the status quo. in other words, “BE PERSIAN”. For most of the rest of the world, there are few if any (good) reasons to want to “be persian”, or to belong to an organization that has fallen backward into a dysfunctional, culturally imperialist, reactionary, fundamentalist, form of persian culture.

    persian culture is all about “saving face”, protecting the “reputations” of clan/tribal/imperial leaders, keeping a slave mentality going amongst the “serfs” (followers), and so forth.

    it is completely opposite of the major (democratizing/etc.) trends elsewhere on planet earth towards an “ever advancing civilization” that bahai advertises itself as being about.

    the “fact” that people are PRESSURED through the common idiocy of the (PERSIAN) BAHAI COMFORT ZONE to vote for CONFORMISM and the STATUS QUO is not a “good thing”.

    the fact that you see it as being a “good thing”, and something that can be used to “emotionally” marginalize and attack nonconformists, critics and dissidents, is simply another in a huge number of examples of how bahai maintains its backwardness, its dehumanization, and its disconnection from the most basic forms of human meaning, collective “good”, truth, and a sense that 99% of people are spiritually worthy and deserve to be loved, and honored, “belong”, and contribute to “something better”.

    your horrible statement is a perfect example of the “subtext” that is so wrong in bahai.

  • pey

    To be fair fubar- it's not just a Persian thing. It's also a North Korean thing (the dear leader is always right), it's a Chinese thing (the party is always for the people and should never be questioned), an Arab (pick just about any country you want), etc etc. Whenever authority can not be questioned and people are coerced or shamed into conforming, there will be a sad outcome. In the case of the Faith it is stagnation and irrelevance when it could actually be making a difference in the world.

  • pey

    Thanks Masud- I've learned from you how to make comebacks. Abdu'l-Baha was fair minded and He had a mandate to be in power forever- so no I would never say that about Him. (Great method btw to try to silence someone through shame- you have learned the Persian technique in the Bahai community really well- congratulations!). But the people that keep gettting elected over and over and over again because the system is set up in a way that just makes that happen….well these people do NOT have the same authority and station as Abdul-Baha. They can be replaced and they should be criticized if they are running the community into the ground. But a fundamentalist wouldn't understand that…

  • pey

    Thanks Masud- I've learned my comebacks from you. Btw, great try to inflict shame by using Abdul-Baha's name; very good example of the Persian tactic inside the Bahai community. You will be a rising star for sure. But no, you see Abdul-Baha, unlike these 9 people, had the mandate to be in power forever. These 9 people are blessed by a system that is set up so incumbents are automatically voted in. Why? Well, go and actually read the article Masud. I don't have to waste space here explaining it to you.

  • Farhan

    Pey, there is an obvious mathematical bias to incumbency, but what is wrong with that? It leads to experience and specialisation. The Baha'i faith is not a political administration, but a religious organisation. Which other structure chosen by other religious orders would you prefer? Baha'u'llah has prescribed a system where decisions are taken by people chosen for their spiritual values, and who have knowledgeable people designed to assist them, with a continual feed-back with the entire community. As I quoted Shoghi Effendi, there is an advantage in specializing, and another in changing fields of service, but why would incumbency ruin everything to the ground? Knowledgeable people can be left behind in progress and need to be replaced, but does someone chosen for spiritual qualities suddenly become un-spiritual and need to be removed?

  • pey

    Yes, there is a bias, so let's help change that. Why? Because it is not working. Do you see the Faith growing tremendously under the incumbant leadership? Do you see spotless leaders who are aminated with more spirtuality than the countless other Bahais in the community? There are some for sure, but there are also those who take advantage of the system (look up the stories; I don't need to mention names). There is an advantage to specializing- so let these people go off and get jobs and then volunteer a little bit of their time to whatever specialization that the Faith needs. Thus allowing new fresh blood into the system to try a different type of leadership. But I agree with another poster who said that incumbancy is the lazy way of participating in the Bahai community. Maybe most Bahais just want the easy route of electing the same old same old- that requires very little thinking.

  • Farhan

    Pey, I do believe that the administrative order is functioning beautifully well, better than that in any other religious system we know of. This bias was no doubt intentional from the founder of the Faith. You might not be pleased with some of the decisions, and hope that less �conservative� members might elucidate the teachings in a way more favourable to your personal choices, but again leadership in the Baha’i Faith is not complying with the electors’ wishes, but helping the believers coordinate and harmonise their own efforts in compliance with God’s plan. We all struggle to painfully change our lives in compliance with Divine teachings. Just see to what the believers in the cradle of the Faith consent in their courage in adopting a way of life contrary to the traditions of their country. Baha’i leadership is totally different from what we see in the world around us, even though to some extent we might be contaminated by the traditions we live in. See: http://www.scribd.com/doc/279541/Unlocking-the-

  • pey

    Well, yes of course you would Farhan. But please share with me the growth and tangible benefits of having people get elected over and over again. Why do you feel that there skills/experience is only beneficial by being elected to the AO. Couldn't they be just as much benefit helping new people in the AO? Then they could serve just a little bit adn be able to pursue their actual professional careers in life. Of course, unless, we no longer have real volunteers elected from lay people in the Faith. What you seem to support is a religious order equal to the Catholic system where individuals are paid to serve forever (well until they mess up in some way). Actually, it seems like the Catholic church allows for fresh blood to come into its leadership ranks more so than the Bahai community. I certainly see more diversity among Catholic leadership and congregations than I do within the Bahai community. And it's not the decisions that displease me farhan, it's your inability to see that the Faith hasn't really grown much under the present incumbant leadership and actually place “some” responsibility on them- not just the lay people.

  • Farhan

    Pey wrote : But please share with me the growth and tangible benefits of having people get elected over and over again.

    Please refer to the statistic department of the BWC and share with us.

    Also, there is a long hands-on learning process involved in serving tha Faith, and it so happens that voters prefer some incumbency. You have a right to vote as you wish, but not the right to criticize how others wish to vote.

  • pey

    No Farhan, you can do the research. I think the NSA of the US trying to be honest in one Ridvan letter last year is proof enough for me- not the stats you want me to dig for from the BWC. Thank you for allowing me to vote as I wish, but I also have the right to question the system which is what we are doing here. And if I feel like complaining about incumbants being voted in continuously- basically creating a paid clergy- then I will do so. Bahaullah gave me the right to question and express myself. I don't have the right to create my own form of the AO, but I have the right to question the system's details that are not in the Writings. But of course, a fundemantalist administration worshiper would not understand that.

  • Farhan

    Pey wrote: I have the right to question the system's details that are not in the Writings

    Of course you can, Pey, but neither you nor I can advise voters how to vote. If you have any suggestions for improving the voting system, I am all ears and eyes.

  • pey

    No, no advising Farhan. Just making sure that other individuals are just as visible as those who are incumbants or already in the system. As far as improvements, read what Baquia and others have written, but it would require actually opening one's eyes and ears. Good luck!

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: As far as improvements, read what Baquia and others have written, but it would require actually opening one's eyes and ears.
    Pey, I read a huge amount of criticism here, but few suggestions. Perhaps you feel that my IQ is not up to your standards and I am unable to produce proof as to the advancing statistics of the BF…

  • pey

    One I've seen, maybe you glanced over, is term limits. Now go read again, but this time open your mind a bit. Your IQ is just fine (you are a doctor after all). That's not the problem.

  • Farhan

    So if someone is doing fine, becoming experienced, and the delegates feel spiritually inspired to re-elect him, he would be excluded?

  • pey

    Yes. She can always serve in other manners. It is after all about service, right Farhan? The cost of those who are entrenched in the system and benefitting are far worse than the ones who are such doing such great work. Btw, what great work has been done? Show me the number Farhan. Or better yet, show me the development of the Mashriq's throughout the world. No not just pretty nine sided buildings. I mean the charity, home for the aged, orphanage, etc. that is being built around those nice buildings. Where are those Farhan? In the US, the 9 in charge shut the one thing they had going- the home for the elderly. Oh but they haven't shut down the really nice fancy building in which they meet for meetings. But if you dont' like term limits, then how about no more advertising prominent individuals so that they continue to stay in the spotlight. So instead of a certain member (secretary of an NSA let's say) keeps signing off on letters or traveling to meet with communities, instead everything is signed off from the office of the NSA. No mention of names- no prominence to anyone. These are just some thoughts. I'm sure you could come up with some too- your IQ is just fine.

  • Farhan

    Pey wrote : It is after all about service,

    Farhan: Totally agree; the structure is a mere instrument for harmonising our efforts, although some administrators misunderstand their function of servitude with one of domination, a dysfunction imported from our prevailing world and totally alien to Baha’i principles

    Pey: Btw, what great work has been done? Show me the number Farhan.

    Farhan: I have provided numbers for France. I cannot do so for elsewhere, although I am well aware that when we change structures for a more complex one, we obviously go through a period of recession.

    Pey: show me the development of the Mashriq's throughout the world.

    Farhan: Pey, there are priorities we cannot do everything at one time. Some brilliant ideas I met 30 years ago are only just becoming viable. At this time humanity vitally needs spiritualization. We also believe that the earth is but one country, but we cannot go to the customs officer without a passport just yet. And we believe that in time many ailments will be prevented or cured by an appropriate diet, but contrary to what some misguided Baha’is believe, science is not advanced enough for that just yet.

    Pey: how about no more advertising prominent individuals so that they continue to stay in the spotlight.

    Farhan: I entirely agree

  • fubar

    pey,

    I completely agree. The specific bahai “context” is persian culture's regressive memes/paradigms, but they are quite “universal” otherwise.

    e.g. George Bush re-enacted various elements of the medieval (“blue meme”) paradigm, including invoking a “crusade” against “non-believers” (the revival of which was a predictable historical anti-pattern).

    The american people eventually (but not fast enough, IMO, I voted for Nader), figured out the Bush-Rove neo-con/oilogarchy scam and voted it out.

    Here is one integralists “take” on the challenge of creating a post-modern/integral culture that can support a World Federation that would enforce human rights at the highest level of compassion:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/iraq.cfm

    In this scenario, the regressive tendencies of bahai administration (attacking the human rights of its followers) would be legally prohibited.

    Which raises the tricky question: after you take away that kind of stuff, can a premodern or medieval religious system sustain any “authenticity” when its “metaphysics” have been undermined by consumerism and (hopefully)more “advanced” memes?

    What does spiritually look like, as both daily individual practice and collective enactment of an ethos of compassion and altruism, in a postmodern/integral culture?

    In the USA, we have the begining of “spiritual capitalism”. It is starting to “settle into” a slightly uncomfortable, but important and necessary, relationship with memes that have been wonderfully articulated by people like Sam Harris (an atheist who understands consciousness studies and new age culture fairly well.)

  • fubar

    http://www.goodguide.com/

    The above web site is possible one of the first, major examples of “spiritual capitalism” that integral theory predicts.

    Such activities will cause a major paradigm shift in consumer culture toward an ethos of social and environmental responsibility and “ecological intelligence”.

    (Note: I can't wait for Farhan to state that this was all somehow inspired by an obscure persian mystic.)

  • fubar

    http://www.goodguide.com/

    The above web site is possible one of the first, major examples of “spiritual capitalism” that integral theory predicts.

    Such activities will cause a major paradigm shift in consumer culture toward an ethos of social and environmental responsibility and “ecological intelligence”.

    (Note: I can't wait for Farhan to state that this was all somehow inspired by an obscure persian mystic.)

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