NSA Elections in North America – 2010

The recent NSA elections in North America was in keeping with the well-known bias towards incumbency. All previous members were re-elected to their positions with no new members entering either NSA.

Jacqueline Left Hand Bull, Chair (standing at the podium), David F. Young (Vice-Chair), Juana C. Conrad (Deputy Secretary-General), Kenneth E. Bowers (Secretary-General), Erica Toussaint, Muin Afnani, Valerie Dana (Deputy Secretary-General), Robert C. Henderson, William L.H. Roberts (Treasurer).

Last year two members of the US NSA retired, allowing for two new members to enter the institution. I’m looking for historical data for the US NSA to verify how far this trend has been in effect but today it seems that the only way for a new member to enter the NSA is for an existing member to retire. Otherwise, forget about a chance to vote in any one new. This bias towards incumbency is not difficult to explain since it is baked into the very process of Baha’i elections and is not characteristic of just the US community.

You can clearly see this pattern in Canada as well. This year, the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada are: Deloria Bighorn, Judy Filson, Karen McKye (Secretary), Gordon Naylor, Borna Noureddin, Enayat Rawhani (Treasurer), Todd Smith ( Vice-Chair), Susanne Tamas and ?‰lizabeth Wright (Chair).

All 9 members were re-elected. In fact, the average consecutive years in office for the current Canadian NSA is 9 years. Think about that. This means that a member has been in office for an average of 9 years! Of course, since we had two retirements recently, there are also members who have only been on the institution for a short time. The relatively new member, Wright, is this year’s chairperson.

But there are also those who have been serving for much longer than the average. For example, Judy Filson and Enayat Rawhani tie for the longest duration of concurrent membership at 15 years.

There are many reasons why having zero or minimal change in membership is detrimental to the functioning of the institution and therefore the community at large. I’ll just briefly touch on a few negative consequences.

When you have the same people year after year elected to the NSA everyone gets to know everyone else very well. Being merely human, what happens is that cliques are formed and made more and more rigid after each year. Everyone’s views on different issues becomes well known to the point that even before you consult, you know exactly who will take what position and who will support whom.

As well, when the same people work with each other for a long time a natural air of casualness and collegiality develops. This informality removes the barrier that is there in a formal relationship where individuals are merely acquaintances. The consequence is that people are more and more likely to take things personally and for challenging issues to deteriorate into personality conflicts.

Finally, as a consequence of having zero or very few new members, the institution forgoes the benefit of a fresh new perspective and new mindsets. Since almost most, if not all, incumbents are re-elected, membership changes at a glacial pace. That is we have one, or at the most, two new members who join the majority who are incumbents. This majority as a consequence of multiple years of consecutive membership are already seeped in the culture that I outlined above. Quickly the new member(s) fall in line and join a clique and adopt the same paradigm as that held by the majority.

FABLE of the FIVE MONKEYS
This means that it is basically impossible to change the direction, tenor and culture of the institution as it becomes more and more hardened. Actually this reminds me of the fable of the 5 monkeys:

You begin with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hangs a banana on a string and a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, an automatic spray will soak all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result, and all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon the monkeys will try to prevent any of them from approaching the banana.

Next, unbeknownst to the monkeys, the valve to the cold water is shut off. And then, one monkey is taken out of the cage and replaced with a new one. The new monkey of course sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be beaten.

Next, another of the original five monkeys is removed and replace with a new one monkey. The newcomer goes to the stair and is attacked. The previous newcomer even takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, a third monkey is replaced, then a fourth, then finally the fifth and last.

Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of their peer. After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

And that is how organizational cultures are born.

On the off chance that an NSA does actually break out and try something new, they are quickly swatted down from a higher institution which has itself also fallen prey to the very same organizational illness. The clearest and most recent example is the fiasco surrounding the 2007 annual report from the US NSA.

  • Craig Parke

    Yep. That is pretty much it. Lock step “Groupthink” is the path to the TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF THE WORLD. You see it in governments, political parties, current Wall Street behavior, various schools of knee jerk economic thought, the oil industry, and probably most of all “organized religion”. It is the great carrier of the psychological Shiva energies of the Cosmos on the human plain. There is absolutely NO Cosmic birthing power in it. It is a continuous Cosmic abortion process.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink

    The other road to mind bending organizational calamity is when people's entrenched interpersonal psychological transactions have gone completely off the rails into dysfunctional organizational entrenched toxic mental illness.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_anal

    The safest psychological world for everyone on Earth is NOT one of “I'm OK – Your OK” in psychological transactions! Hard experience shows that the safest stance for protection from being an organizational victim of predatory behavior is “I'm *NOT* OK – Your *NOT* OK”. That way everyone KNOWS as a basic ground rule in life that ALL HUMANITY is IN CONTINUOUS THERAPY and no one has the right to abuse anyone else emotionally as organizations of human beings *ALWAYS* do! Everyone must be on continuous watch for entrenched psychic vampireism. When things hit that level there is no energy for anything positive to manifest. Ever. Every psychological transaction is a zero sum game black hole.

    The worst case is the mindset of the current top down AO since the ITC Faith take over began to become manifest since 1987 with the now top down entrenched closed election list gamed electoral process. And that is the top saying “I'm OK” to the rank and file who are now thought of as being defective in every way and “NOT OK”. Hence the CONTINUOUS ENDLESS PROGRAMS of DOCTRINE to bully and indoctrinate the “ignorant” and “impaired” rank and file “Baha'i masses.” THAT is the continuous psychological message now and it is a recipe for mind bending failure. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    These people all need to find some kind of spiritual path in life that leads to real change and progress. No one should serve on ANY Baha'i institution for more than 8-10 years TOTAL LIFETIME. To do otherwise is the height of ego and folly in history. The appalling record in my lifetime speaks for itself. It must be some sort of system of psychological addiction? There is absolutely no personal accountability by anyone at any level of the institutions of the Baha'i Faith either to themselves, each other, and the rank and file. Zero. It is absolute madness. I really feel sorry for these souls who have completely embarrassed themselves and their families in their endless lifetime incumbency without end. They have essentially walked into a trap of their own psychological making

    This is the current Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith:

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

    This is EVERYBODY ELSE ON EARTH who is moving with the Cosmic Birthing Powers of the new World Age with great individual skill away from the mind bending hyper toxicity of ossified “spiritual communism”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVWaOpa1_ic

    So it goes.

  • AmadodeDios

    The Hands of the Cause stayed out of the first UHJ election in 1963 (and Counselors are supposed to pick up the torch from the hands). Term limits were proposed reasonably decades ago. The solutions (like full rights for women) are right there, as clear as in the noon-day sun – if we would open our eyes!

  • rhapsodist

    It is an interesting proposal you remind us of. Thank you. It also brings to mind the fact that on the committee that preceded the UHJ, when it was an appointed body and not the elected institution it would someday become.

    So what does it mean, full rights for women? Women are exempt from service on the House for a specific reason.

    What that reason is, I don't know, but here is one of my personal opinions….

    Consider the abrogation of the clergy and the destruction of Monarchies. For thousands of years, clergy and monarchs ruled the earth. For thousands of years, clergy and monarchs had the responsibility of administering religion to the people and safeguarding it for the following messengers from God. As a group, it is accurate to say that each time they failed to do so, exactly as prophesied.

    Thus the responsibility of clergy and the monarchy was taken away, their power removed from their grasp.

    And what of Men? In many cultures, men have had the reigns of power for thousands of years. It is men who have been chiefly responsible for the failure of society to obey the laws of God and the failure to remain faithful to the spiritual principles of all God's revelations.

    Thus, while I do not know the truth or the answer, it is possible to say that the House of Justice is composed entirely of men.. women are EXEMPT from service, not forbidden, not refused the right, but EXEMPT from the duty, because women are not responsible for the horrible world we live in. Women are not responsible for the failures of the nations and the peoples to embrace Baha'u'llah's message, and the subsequent failures of the nations and peoples to remain faithful to God's previous covenants.

    As women didn't cause this mess, women are exempt from the central house.

    I might go so far as to suggest that it may even be a “last chance” for men to fulfill their duty. If the UHJ fulfills its task and safeguards the faith, faithfully executes its service, and fulfills its purpose, perhaps that responsibility will be extended to women, and men not be solely required to serve on the UHJ. But if men fail…. perhaps it will be transferred entirely to women? Who knows! It is so far down the road, I do not dwell on it!

    And not only this, but considering that our message is one of Unity and Equality, Mercy and Fairness, Justice and so forth… the idea that women should suffer for so many thousands of years at the feet of men, and then not have a seat at the table in the first day of a new era, is a challenge of Faith for its new believers. The very questions and doubt in some peoples minds regarding it testifies to its strength as a trial for seekers and beleivers to overcome.

    I draw comfort from these thoughts. I hope that they may offer you consolation as well.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Dear Rhapsodist,

    This is one of the most stunning and very best posts that has been on here in quite a long time! I was an extremely dedicated Baha'i for 32 straight years until 2004. I then came to the end of the road in taking one more step in the extremely limited totalitarian fundamentalist cult that the Faith has now become. Your thinking on what will now become “clear as the noon day sun” regarding no women allowed on the UHJ is what I also came to believe over many years of observation and thought.

    If you look closely at everything happening in the World today hour by hour (mass produced hate filled teenage suicide bombers in Islam, depraved pedophile priests and the subsequent massive financially destructive lawsuits in Christianity, stagnant throw back calamity stereotypes on Wall Street, lifetime incumbency for ITC members at the highest levels of the Baha'i Faith in now completely gamed and rigged elections – ALL of the Abrahamic religions are being taken to Mind Bending Cosmic Divine Judgment before the eyes of everyone on Earth including the latest version of the Baha'i Faith. It is absolutely astonishing to perceive.

    Every stunning sucker punch meme from the cultures of the first water rights systems of the Middle East is being harvested to mind bending terminal gun-to-the-head Cosmic Divine Judgment 24/7 in Internet time! Many memes from the Abrahamic religions will not be transmitted forward any longer on this planet after this time. One key one is how women were treated for the last 3,000 years!

    The Baha'i Faith was profoundly sucker punched by that clever Maid of Heaven Cosmic Spirit that dropped by for a cup of tea! She is one tough Lady passing by this tiny planet from the Cosmic stellar planes of consciousness of the Universe beyond!

    The Birthing Power of the psychological Cosmic Divine Feminine is now going to TAKE OVER EVERYTHING on this planet and make it work after the total mind bending wreckage that will come. Just watch! The function of the male psychological form now is to TOTALLY LOSE. The function of the female psychological form now is to TOTALLY WIN!

    I honestly believe and fully support the concept of the unquestionable infallibility of the UHJ as I completely innocently did for 32 years of total dedication because the Will of God(ess) IS for the Administrative order of the Baha'i Faith to go to mind bending self inflicted CATASTROPHE IN EVERY INFALLIBLE DECISION and our male only completely infallible body is doing an outstanding job with every infallible decision to insure that outcome! they are spot on every time at bat! I am with the concept of UHJ infallibility 110% percent. They are doing an absolutely brilliant job with every major strategic decision. This is an excellent visual presentation of their work since the ITC takeover of the Faith since 1987.

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

    Peter Khan's recent speech gives great confidence of this kind of continued infallible success for centuries to come which will result in the great outcome that you potentially predict in your post. This is exactly the outcome I predict also as the leadership continues to hit the infallible totalitarian home runs Peter Khan outlines in his speech:

    You can listen here

    http://natcon2010.usbnc.org/uploadedImages/Pete

    or here

    http://tinyurl.com/Khanconvention2010

    After this is all over sometime in the next 300-500 years of absolute agony , women are going to run this planet forever! this is the outcome that will be as PLAIN AS THE NOON DAY SUN as Abdu'l-Baha brilliantly stated!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izYTskwE0As

    It is all good and it is right on schedule! Our institutions since 1987 are doing an absolutely outstanding completely infallible job that this WILL be the FINAL OUTCOME as ALL the Abrahamic religions from the Middle East go to mind bending Cosmic Divine Judgment.

    Again, IT IS ALL GOOD! Our guys are up to this Final Cosmic Task and all systems are GO!

  • jimmy carterista

    very happy

  • rhapsodist

    Thanks for your compliments, and for sharing your ideas, Craig.

    Its apparent we see eye to eye on the spiritual potency of women, and share a vision that women are, in this age, slowly being ushered into a greater role in the affairs of mankind.

    The exemption of women from serving on the UHJ is a physical law that has no bearing on their spiritual equality.

    I want to pause for a minute and ask us all a question.

    In discussing these issues, are we practicing the virtues of the Holy Spirit? Galatians sums them up in 9 spiritual qualities.

    love, joy, longsuffering, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness.

    Now I will continue.

    With regard to the elections of UHJ members and NSAs across the globe, it is inevitable that these trends will change. The administration of the Faith is designed in such a way that it must inevitably change. Not only do we have new believers coming into the fold and increasing the diversity of thought within the broader Baha'i community, but also the generation of early believers is aging.

    As the spiritual qualities of Youth are strengthened and fortified over time, the NSAs of the world will inevitably become younger and the thought-process will change. This act of strengthening and fortifying the virtues of children, junior youth, youth and so forth, is a central activity of the Ruhi institute.

    Developing SPIRITUAL qualities and virtues is what enables people to make noble, righteous, positive decisions.

    Furthermore, in my home community in New Jersey, the LSA has had virtually the same pool of core members for over 30 years. As recently as 6 years ago, the membership shifted slightly to include some younger members already in their 30s. This year, one of my friends, who is 26, was elected to the assembly. As more people from her generation and younger reach the age 21, their reputations will launch them into service on LSAs, their influence will be felt in National elections, and likewise into the UHJ elections.

    Rather than worrying about the possible flaws in the administration, it will be far more useful to deepen our spirits in the virtues of the Holy Spirit, and, selflessly share that joy and beauty everywhere we travel, in order that the people we meet will spread those noble virtues throughout their communities and thus promote open minded, tradition-discarding, consultative institutions on a local level.

    Those 9 virtues– love, joy, longsuffering, peace, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, faithfulness– are the true way to spread change and goodness.

    Let us take up the banner of faithfulness and wear a sin-covering eye, and endow endow our characters with those indispensable 9 qualities of the Spirit as is our duty.

  • Craig Parke

    Dear rhapsodist,

    Thank you for you post back! I am also very familiar with Galatians and the “fruits of the Spirit”. I was once going to be a Lutheran minister! I am also familiar with Jesus of Nazareth throwing the money changes out of the Temple in great anger because they had polluted the Temple of God.

    We'll see how your precious “Administrative Order” looks to you in 40 years. I'll be gone from this life but remember me on the day they marginalize you out of the Faith after decades of service because of someone in the “ITC Baha'i Elite's” latest top down authoritarian personal opinion theories that they think are the “Voice of God on Earth”. They aren't.

    This is a paraphrase of a recent quote I found in doing some research for a current film script I am working on:

    “MASCULINE POWER is the power to create those things that can be ***CONTROLLED***.

    FEMININE POWER is the power to create those things that are ***BEYOND OUR CONTROL***, but which our hearts most deeply long for. Things such as love, intimacy, spiritual connection, self-expression, creativity, right livelihood, meaningful contribution to the world and a brighter future for generations to come. These fruits all require the awakening of a co-creative feminine power to bring them forth.”

    This power is not literally based on human form but on human depth psychology.

    The official Haifa based Baha'i Faith is now COMPLETELY out of the game in this awareness if it ever really got in it. It has been taken from the field of battle by the current flat footed tone deaf incestuous cult leadership. So the Cosmic Divine Power is being taken from the “Baha'i Faith” (Tm) and given to other peoples, other communities, and other spiritual wisdom movements who never heard of Baha'u'llah but are doing the work of the Spiritual Consciousness symbolized by the “Maid of Heaven” in the World Age Zeitgeist much better than the Baha'is. There is plenty of scriptural support for this being the prophesied course of events. Just read the “Tablet of the Holy Mariner”.

    But your intuition is spot on in my book! TOTAL MIND BENDING COLLAPSE per the truck driver in Turkey will eventually come in the endless desolation generation after generation of male energy authoritarian top down control instead of bottom up Spirit and women will inherit the planetary at bat that was completely blown by a clique of sociopaths.

    I served the Faith with everything I had for 32 straight years. There is no place in it for an open minded person like me anymore. None. Zero. It is only for completely totalitarian fundamentalist fanatics now going door to door as the Jehovah's Witnesses of Shia Islam.

    So it goes!

    But someone will inherit the Kingdom! So my prayers and best wishes are with you as a woman and your decedents!

    Very Best regards!

    Craig

  • fubar

    rhapsodist,

    craig was saying, at first with great, subtle, linguistic inversion, and now more directly, that you are a dunce.

    you practice an insipid, narcissistic, “feel good” version of a religion that is backward and oppressive to women.

    there is no good reason that women are excluded from being elected to the haifan house of justice.

    it was simply a mistake of history that, due to the excessive rigidity and orthodoxy of haifan bahai organization, is “frozen in time” with no “interpreter” to correct the mistake.

    See Dr. Susan Maneck's article on the issue.

    Thanks and have a very nice day!!!

  • Craig Parke

    Rhapsodist,

    With all due respect to fubar for his many good ideas and insights, please know that I in no way was calling you a “dunce” AT ALL! In fact, it people as clear headed and thoughtful as you can STILL find a place in the BAO there might be yet a glimmer of hope! There once were very highly intelligent people in the Baha'i Faith before “Independent Investigation of Truth” was taken off the table in the new authoritarian KGB system. I have known so many tremendously thoughtful and dedicated people in the Faith before so many left over the last 15 years as the Orwellian Nightmare manifested. So if there are any free thinking non-programmed Borg still left I am very happy! Your “Noon Day Sun” insight was spot on. I came to the exact same conclusion many years ago. It is all a set Profound Cosmic Set Up for the final total obliteration of the barren patriarchy desert religions of the dysfunctional Middle East. It is all a HUGE Cosmic Sucker Punch and some not very bright people are walking right into it wholesale completely unaware they are walking into a Cosmic trap. the Maid of Heaven is now going to put the heads of many on poles in the Age of the Internet with the cameras rolling!

    So your comments here are very much appreciated by me. I am sorry for my tone at times, but I am highly. highly angry at these people who destroyed the Baha'i Faith in their hapless lifetime incumbency. They have greatly embarrassed themselves and their family names but, like boiled frogs, are completely unaware of it in their amazing endless cult bubble. It is Archetypal Divine Judgment. The Cosmos is no respecter of persons. (Have ANY of these apparently completely spiritually illiterate people ever read the “Kitab-I-Iqan” and grasped Baha'u'llah's non-spiritual-communism-groupthink concept of ETERNAL ARCHETYPAL RETURN?)

    I hope there are some minds STILL alive and active life yours in the paint-by-numbers Ruhiized Baha'i Faith!

    Also, I went back and read some of your other posts and I now realize you are a GUY! Please forgive my mistake! I just somehow assumed you were female in the clarity of your insight. So please do not take anything I said other than it was all an innocent mistake. I meant no sarcasm or any other kind of context other than a simple mistake.

    Along the lines of your insightful post here, you might be interested in this worldwide free phone conference tomorrow:

    http://femininepower.com/teleseminar/

    I have signed up because these insights could greatly help me on two film scripts I am working on. It could really help me add a new edge in the white between the lines. I am sure the Baha'is will miss this call as the entire world moves on in the World Age because they will ALLl be doing Ruhi books tomorrow for the 100th time with the SAME fill in the blanks top down approved “answers” and going door to door looking for desperate people to convert as marks to meet the psychological needs of the people at the top.

    But everyone else on Earth is moving on actually doing the REAL WORK OF THE LIMITLESS WORLD AGE with hearts on fire from within their OWN GOD GIVEN SOULS!

    So it goes.

    PS
    I absolutely love your Biblical references! When I became a Baha'i in 1971 everyone you met knew the Bible and it helped convey thoughts very clearly! People knew Classic World Literature too. Most enjoyable! But any educated person in the Faith now is regarded with great suspicion as a “victim” of “self” and “ego” and, therefore, the “enemy of God”.

    Again…so it goes.

  • rhapsodist

    Craig,

    You have been nothing but kind to me in your replies nor do I feel insulted by your opinions of and reactions to the current order of things.

    Your excitement regarding the Bible quotations is touching. Thank you. Abdu'l-Baha exhorted all people– not just Baha'is– to acquaint themselves with that beauteous Book, and I read it sometimes every day. I never go more than 4 days without touching it.

    And that you mistook me for a women is no transgression. I am flattered. Many of the most insightful, spiritually intelligent people I have ever come to know are women. I took and take it as a compliment.

    Thank you for the recommendation, the women's empowerment link. I will check it out. Currently I'm pioneering in Russia. My parents both found the faith in the 70s as well. I went through my own journey in deciding what the writings mean for me. While I've never been rejected for my interpretations of the writings, I was deeply troubled for a long time by OTHER Baha'is.

    So I want to share with you a conversation that is common among young Baha'is today, because it's important to see what's going on with the youth who will inherit the administration.

    Rainn Wilson gave a talk at the North East Baha'i Youth (conference/festival)… he talked about many of the same issues you talk about:
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-563774

    I do think that the youth particularly are changing the way we interpret the Faith. There's no way to continue the old traditions of early Baha'i life with so many diverse peoples coming in. I just think its inevitable that it will change… but that's me.How does it all plays out? I don't know. I am more focussed on what I need to do right now. God has told us, if we ask we will recieve. I have faith that if we ask that our Baha'i Faith continues to change, though sometimes painfully, and evolve into a peaceful, glorified institution, it will happen.

    Whatever our disgreements are, I don't see them as a problem.

    I am curious to learn more about your film scripts and other views.

    Let's chat more…my email is rhapsodistnine@gmail.com

  • Craig Parke

    Rhapsodist,

    I have a very big plate coming up in the next week to ten days in my work. I am a software engineer/programmer and I have a very big project due soon. Testing starts next week for five weeks. Millions of dollars are at stake. But somewhere down the line I will contact you off line via your email which I have noted. We will continue the discussion there! I have enjoyed our conversation. Your head is on right! BTW, I had a good friend from St. Petersburg, Russia in the 90's.

    He was Vladislav Tamarov who wrote the book “Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam”. He and his American girlfriend used to stay with me all the time.

    http://www.amazon.com/Afghanistan-Russian-Soldi

    After 26 months in combat in the long Russian War he always slept with a loaded pistol under his pillow for psychological “security”. I don't know how his girlfriend stood it! But I never let him have his pistol when they stayed at my house! I took it off him. I think he lives in Las Vegas now after all that useless hell in the Cold War! What a world!

    Two members of my family are old Afghan hands from 40-45 years ago and went back to Afghanistan after 9/11. They along with 35 other Americans and 450 Afghans ran the ENTIRE medical relief effort on the ground for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA for six long years in harm's way and then two more years on another educational project. They got medical help at the village level to NINE MILLION AFGHANS. All of this, of course, is completely unknown to everyone on Earth because no one cared to know anything about it.

    But in the mid 90's Vlad and my BIL had an amazing talk in my living room that should have been filmed by PBS and broadcast! Vlad drove down the street where they used to live in Kabul in a Russian tank ten years after they left! Then they both end up having tea at my house on the Monongahela River all those years of destruction later! Then by family members went back after 9/11 in another war and Vlad moved to Las Vegas! His family was from St. Petersberg so maybe he goes back from time to time? Maybe ask around?

    Best regards to your parents on how they raised you! You are a thoughtful young man! Maybe there is yet hope!

    Yes. I am really onto something with the current two film scripts I am working on. I have some very serious interest. The hills have eyes. This is very good!

    The teachings of Baha'u'llah belong to ALL of the people of the World. They DON'T belong to the Baha'i Faith AT ALL. To not see this will be fatal for many. That sea change will happen in your lifetime. The Institutions of the Baha'i Faith (like ALL institutions of ALL types EVERYWHERE) will become completely irrelevant in the Internet Age of Self Organizing Planetary Decentralization.

    This is all because the VERY FIRST “Universal Auxiliary Language” was *NOT* a HUMAN LANGUAGE AT ALL! It was a MACHINE LANGUAGE! Who knew!? It was the Intel x86 Instruction set that has now gone from 8 bit to 64 bit instruction words since 1974. The people currently running the Baha'i Faith do not understand the full MIND BENDING implications of that evolution yet as they live frozen in 1957. They are clueless as to what is coming. But may at some point start to notice ice particles on the deck of the Titanic very, very,very soon.

    So it goes.

    Best regards to you!

    Craig

  • fubar

    http://women.susanmaneck.com/

    —excerpt—

    …Abdu'l-Baha's travels to the West in 1911-1912, he made more explicit Baha'i teachings with regard to women's rights, stressing especially the need for women's education, the lack of which he viewed as the sole reason for the perceived inferiority of women. He deemed the education of mothers so essential to the proper upbringing of children that he held that the education of daughters should take precedence over that of sons. But Abdu'l-Baha did not restrict women's function in society to the home. He urged women to excel in all the arts and sciences and, further, expected their participation on an equal footing in the political sphere as well. He stated that women's political participation would be a prerequisite for peace. The only field (aside from membership on the Universal House of justice) where Abdu'l-Baha did not extend full and equal participation was in military endeavors, since he regarded the taking of human life incompatible with women's role as mothers. Copies of Abdu'l-Baha's talks were distributed throughout Iran, and these, along with the influence of American Baha'is residing in Iran, awakened Iranian Baha'i women to possibilities unthought of in previous generations. Apparently they began to advocate the immediate abolishment of the veil, as well as women's full participation in administrative affairs. Abdu'l-Baha was not entirely pleased with these developments, for, besides the stress and disunity these issues were creating within the Baha'i community itself, he felt that actions such as discarding the veil would bring on needless persecution in an already volatile situation. Abdu'l-Baha pleaded with the Iranian women not to do anything “contrary to wisdom.” Women's assemblages at this time should be confined to educational matters so that “differences will, day by day, be entirely wiped out, not that, God forbid, it will end in argumentation between men and women.” Their efforts should be in the spiritual, not the political realm. Abdu'l-Baha would in time insure that they achieved full equality with men in all areas. in the meantime they ought not to agitate against the men for such changes. He chided the women for their impatience, saying “this newly born babe is traversing in one night the path that needeth a hundred years to tread.


    Perhaps no other religion offers a stronger scriptural basis for women's rights or a richer history for women to draw on than does the Baha'i faith. Yet cultural barriers, rigidity of certain administrative structures, conceptions of authority, and literalistic interpretations of scripture have at times militated against the ability of women to obtain full equality within the Baha'i community. Whereas all Baha'is in theory believe in the equality of men and women, there is no unanimity as to what that equality means. In many instances Baha'i conceptions of equality have distanced them from more radical forms of Western feminism. Whether or not Baha'i women will fully utilize the, potentialities of Baha'i scriptures and history, or whether they will be relegated to “separate but equal spheres” that perpetuate structures of male dominance, remains to be seen. There exists no single theory of Baha'i feminism, but Baha'is, men and women alike, are agreed on one principle: hierarchical systems that place men above women in a divinely ordained order have no sanction within the Baha'i scriptures. In this respect the Baha'i faith is unique among revealed religions.

    —end excerpt—

  • fubar

    Rhap,

    There is no “reason” that women are not electable to the uhj. There are non-scrptural “explanations” and “speculation”, but no “reason”, and certainly no “scriptural” evidence that could form the basis of a “reason”.

    From the early 70s on, I heard many stupid “reasons” stated by bahais that were in reality simply speculation justifying sexism and discrimination.

    Then in the 80s, liberal/progressive members of the LA Study Group, including some dissident bahai scholars, attemptd to formulate a way of changing the exclusion in a paper refered to as the “Service of Women” paper. You can probably still find it on the bahai-library.org web site. The paper was censored by bahai administration, and eventually some of the authors were attacked by bahai administration and individua bahai fanatics. Some of the dissidents/signatories left the faith.

    In subsequent conversations, Dr. Maneck stated (paraphrasing) that adbul-baha restricted women from serving because allowing them on administrative bodies would have resulted in attacks from muslims, probably including executions.

    SO —– Question: after 1920, how many people remembered, or cared, about these issues and conversations, until 1957?

    Probably none, or very few. No one had any reason to think about it except perhaps a few constitutional theorists/scholars (thee were very few people like this in the faith during that period). Women had been allowed on LSAs/NSAs (and various other admin/service functions), and in western communities, provided exemplary service in the few number of cases where elected/appointed. shoghi was the global leader until 1957. no revolutionary feminest bahais were fomenting dissent by asking for a woman guardian, no examination of relevant scripture with a microscope was conducted in response to public controversy.

    After 1957, WHEN , the issue arose, there was not living guardian to “reinterpret” the issue so as to allow, in a more “modern” time, women to be elected to the uhj, OR to provide an “authoritative EXPLANATION” as to “why not”.

    Those are the “facts”.

    The issue is “frozen in time”, and in a state of pepetual “non explanation” from a conventional haifan bahai perspective.

    What became “clear as noonday sun” in 1920 was that abdul-bahai came to the USA and told the men to allow men to be elected to the “spiritual assemblies”. There was substantial confusion about the meaning of terms like “houses of justice” spiritual assemblies”, etc., at that time. Many bahai ideas were defined in loose and ambiguous ways that are difficult to interpret in a linear, literalistic manner at face value, lacking historial context/interpretation (which is, by its nature SUBJECTIVE).

    The only way to change things (so women CAN be elected to the uhj) at this point, is to reject at least some aspect of shoghi effendi or abdul-baha's authority, and establish an alternative method of “reinterpreting” the issue.

    That is of course “too radical” for the vast majority of haifan bahais to accept.

    So, the current sexist, discriminatory, UNEXPLAINABLE, policy, is “frozen in time” as COMPLETE CONFUSION.

    All “speculation” simply adds to the CONFUSION and UNEXPLANATION.

    People can attempt mystical contortions, but they risk violating the truth.

    When “rational people act irrationaly” organizations start to go bad quickly.

    haifan bahaism is full of absurd contradictions. the religon claims to be universal, but its scriptures are full of cultural imperialism. it claims to advocate for women's equality, but upholds an IRRATIONAL system of scriptural interpretation that upholds sexist discrimination. it claims to believe in the harmony of science and religio but has a completely invalid scriptural interpretation of evolution. it claims to be infavor of world peace and justice, but is run by a fundamentalist administration that violates freedom of expression and supresses scholarship, dissent, nonconformism and criticism.

    WAKE UP.

    I listened to Rainn's stupid speech. He said nothing about all the previous attempts at “reforms” by “bahai youth” that were viciously supressed over the last 25 years. He said nothing about the early NSA's attacks on bahai dissidents, or the NSA's marginalization of the working class bahais and street activists in the Race Amity movement (including an attack on Louis Gregory by the NSA), or the suppression of historical research in Iran by bahai administration there (the Mazandarani case). Rainn said nothing about how the Mashriq movement in the 1990s was squelched. He said nothing about Dann May's resignation. And so forth. “Clueless For A Reason.”

    The only real “reform” of the current bahai system that could possible lead to anything of significance will have to be far more “radical” than any the sheep-like bahai youth listening to Rainn are willing to actually support.

    We now have 25+ years of known suppression of any kind of intellectual or community activity that could possibly lead to the building of a foundation for REAL reform in the haifan bahai community.

    Any tiny bubble of real dissent that ACTUALLY MATTERS (threatens structure of authority) is being tracked by haifan bahai administration, and will be suppressed.

    The primary FACT is the erasure of memory of all the “bad karma” that the bahai community has accumulated for 75 years.

    Until it is dealt with, the haifan bahai community will be in a fog of delusion, and will be incapable of accomplishing anything meaningful or significant.

    Have a nice day.

  • rhapsodist

    Hey Craig!

    I'll ask around about Vladislav. Yesterday a small group of us gathered at the Baha'i Center to celebrate the Declaration of the Bab together. It was a nice gathering… unfortunately I had a bit of a headache so I had to bow out from the presentation on the Bab's life, but the huge dinner we had afterwards cured my headache immediately!!

    I liked the part you said about UAL. Of course even Abdu'l-Baha said that the UAL created in the 20th century was insufficient. But somebody had to try first, right?

    Also, while I don't agree that people are stuck in 1957 — and I've had some really GREAT conversations in the last 2-3 years with people I've met, both Baha'i and non-Baha'i about the future of mankind.. what you said, “They are clueless as to what is coming,” reminds me of a quote from the Udana, chapter 3 (Nanda): “This world is a consuming fire. The people…proclaim disease as something good. What a man supposes will happen, the opposite to that happens. This people, who differentiate themselves…praise existence. When a man praises it, there is fear: where there is fear, there is sorrow. The complete abandonment [of the love] of existence: that is called the holy life.”

    And because it cheers me that you enjoy my Bible quotations, I found a parallel quote for you:

    But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (KJV, James 1:4)

  • AndrewRT

    “The only way to change things (so women CAN be elected to the uhj) at this point, is to reject at least some aspect of shoghi effendi or abdul-baha’s authority”

    Surprising myself, I agree completely and think you’ve hit the nail on its head. The problem – as with homosexuality – is essentially theological: how could the Baha’i community change a decision of Shoghi Effendi? The UHJ lacks the desire or confidence to do it – one day maybe it will, but that day seems a while off yet.

  • fubar

    fyi – the UBA (or UU-bahais), are currently in the process of digging into the history of the family squabbles that were involved with abdul-baha and shoghi effendi’s power grabs. this will of course cause controversy within the “haifan” bahai community.

    some of the preliminary material has been posted and is under discussion:

    http://www.unitarianbahai.org/differences.html

    http://www.uubahai.com/2010/03/ghusn-i-akbar-part-1-the-facts/

    An interesting rebuttal:

    http://senmcglinn.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/muhammad-ali/

    Note: what Sen neglects to mention is that the (haifan) form of bahai authority that he is defending was the source of a bizarro decision to ex-communicate Sen himself for publishing a “dissident” book critical of the haifan bahai administration’s promotion of theocracy!

  • AndrewRT

    The pattern of pro-encumbency elections, which gets more marked the further up you go, has been extensively discussed.

    However, the other interesting trend in recent years is the answer to the question: where do new NSA members (when vacancies do arise due to say resignation, death or relocation) come from? i.e. what body do they serve on immediately before which gives them sufficient national (or in the case of the UHJ international) profile to be, using the Catholic term, papabile?

    Historically, it has tended to be the Learned Arm – Auxiliary Board Members elected to NSAs and International Teaching Centre Counsellors elected to the UHJ. Since the creation of the Regional Bahai Councils (part of the elected arm), it has tended to be that body which has provided the new NSA members. RBCs are in turn elected by LSAs, which remain the most democratic bodies in the Bahai Faith.

    Are you seeing the same trend in the US and Canada?

  • namayn

    The Bahai Faith is the Teachings of Bahaullah, not Shoghi Effendi, a Guardianship, AbdulBaha or a Universal House of Justice or National and Local Assemblies. It is also not the Teachings of the Bab. Stick with the Writings of Bahaullah, add independent investigation of truth, form some local Houses of Justice where all local members of whatever sexual orientation can gather, consult, advise and communicate with other local Houses via the internet. Ban shunning and excommunication. Respect the independent investigation of all. Weigh the words of Bahaullah with justice and science. That is what He wants us to do and do not follow those that don’t pass the test. Keep evolving and investigate continually the history of the Bahai Faith to get at the truth.

  • Craig Parke

    I agree. The Power of the World Age COSMIC VORTEX is in what Baha’u’llah said. What anybody else said has proven completely counter productive and a complete zero sum game for decades now and counting.

    The COSMIC Houses of Justice of Divine Power are all around us everywhere! They are the spiritual vortexes of the nine most spiritually advanced souls in every locality on Earth whether they ever heard of Baha’u’llah or not. Find them and help them in the spiritual work of the World Age that they are doing in complete freedom of action. Deeds NOT words. Be of actual service in something useful. Having a signed and stamped card in your wallet as a member of Shoghi Effendi’s straight jacketed organization does not mean a thing. Just find a place of ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING TO HELP THE HUMAN RACE and jump in.

    Peace to everyone!

  • Hmazloomian

    It is the duty of the individual Baha’i to attend Baha’i meetings during the year and to notice who are the true servants of the cause. You seem to suggest a conspiracy. There is no particular reason to vote out a person if they continue to serve efficiency and humility. You failed to recognize the makeup of both NSA’s are very diverse both interns of gender and ethnicity. Surely this is a good thing. If you want to see positive changes in the community you can personally undertake to start deepening’s on the true nature of Baha’i elections. To complain is easy. We must become the change we wish to see.
    Hoda Mazloomian

  • fubar

    “true servants of the cause” is code for those that abuse authority, reinforce conformism and insularization, attack critics and dissidents, perpetuate dysfunctional ideas and practices, and promote “false unity”.

    Dreary medieval stuff left behind in the dust bin of history.

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