The Million+ Book Project

books.pngThe Million Book Project, an international venture led by Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, Zhejiang University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in India and the Library at Alexandria in Egypt, has completed the digitization of more than 1.5 million books, which are now available online.

You can access them through this portal.

A search for Baha’i related books brings up a small but interesting list which includes several books by the Hand of the Cause of God, Mason Remey as well as several books in Arabic and Persian.

I’m not a scholar so I don’t know if these titles were already available to researchers but at least now they are online and accessible to all equally.

Compared to the vast number of volumes now available online, the collection of Baha’i writings and documents is miniscule. I can’t wonder why the Afnan Library, for example, can not be similarly digitized and made available online?

Sure, we have the Baha’i Reference Library, but it is a fraction of the documents and writings being held at the World Center and elsewhere. These writings are the heritage of humanity and with today’s technology, there is no reason why they can not be made more widely available.

Not only would this spur on further scholarship from within and outside the Baha’i community, it would assuredly help spread the message of the Baha’i Faith.

  • anonymous

    Nice post!

    There’s more interesting stuff if you search for “baha”, or “effendi”, or “bahaullah” in Title and Author. (click Advanced Search)

    I had never heard of the Afnan Library, but having it online would be sweet! Seems like it would be in line with Balyuzi’s wishes, too:

    “In a codicil to his will, Mr Balyuzi indicated that he wished his vast and unique collection of precious papers letters, notebooks – many in his own hand – manuscripts, rare books, photographs and newspaper cuttings to form the basis of a research library ?for the benefit of all who seek knowledge’”

  • anonymous

    Nice post!

    There’s more interesting stuff if you search for “baha”, or “effendi”, or “bahaullah” in Title and Author. (click Advanced Search)

    I had never heard of the Afnan Library, but having it online would be sweet! Seems like it would be in line with Balyuzi’s wishes, too:

    “In a codicil to his will, Mr Balyuzi indicated that he wished his vast and unique collection of precious papers letters, notebooks – many in his own hand – manuscripts, rare books, photographs and newspaper cuttings to form the basis of a research library ?for the benefit of all who seek knowledge’”

  • http://mynahbird.wordpress.com Gerald

    I would love to read some of Mason Remeys work, he strikes me as one of the most fascinating Hands save Amatu’l Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. I think it is sad that most Baha’is dismiss him. Yes, in the end he failed miserably and let down the community and the trust Abdu’l Baha and Shoghi Effendi had put in him, but they both loved him dearly, he designed many of our buildings, and will have a lasting good legacy on the Baha’i community long after his little team of covenant breakers has dissipated. (As is mostly has already.)

  • http://mynahbird.wordpress.com Gerald

    I would love to read some of Mason Remeys work, he strikes me as one of the most fascinating Hands save Amatu’l Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. I think it is sad that most Baha’is dismiss him. Yes, in the end he failed miserably and let down the community and the trust Abdu’l Baha and Shoghi Effendi had put in him, but they both loved him dearly, he designed many of our buildings, and will have a lasting good legacy on the Baha’i community long after his little team of covenant breakers has dissipated. (As is mostly has already.)

  • Robert Clifton

    Hello Gerald:
    Some of Mason Remey’s work can be found on the links below. There is a very good chronology of his life written by Ray Bennett but I’m not sure it is on these websites.
    His ‘little team of covenant-breakers’ still exist as the provisional councils of the United States, India, Africa, Canada and of course Joel in Australia

    USA http://www.rt66.com/~obfusa/council.htm (they do a very poor job of keeping this site updated.)

    The provisional council of India (always up to date)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian/india.html

    The official web page of the Guardian (Joel)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian (recently completely rebuilt and the old site is gone. Other sites linking to the old guardian site get a 404 error.

    The provisional council of Bengali (my computer loads giberish because I lack the right language stuff.)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian/bengali.html

    There are two for Canada one on each coast.

    That little band of CB’s further splintered into the Tarbiyat (Rex King now run by Gene King. These people agree with but are not assosciated with the LSA of Luknow, India.) http://www.tarbiyatcenter.org/index.html

    The Jensenites of Montana now under a guardian named Dave, no official web site that I know of.
    Another group split from Mason into a group under Jacques Shoghomonian of France (no official web site but Heart of the Baha’i Faith operated by Madison Reed stands its stead).

    At the rate the Orthodox are growing and the rate the UHJ is declining I’m not sure but what they are nearing the same numbers. I just got a report a couple months old now that some firecracker Orthodox in Australia gathered twenty some new declarations in his home town.

    Then of course there are the splits from the UHJ – Jaun Cole, Fred Glaysher, Karen Baquet, John Carre’, Sen Glen and others who have garnered small hangers on if not followers.

    Then we have the Babis, and others.

    Do you suppose you could tell me where the truth really is???
    I’ve been told rather emphatically that it is Jesus.

    Robert

  • Robert Clifton

    Hello Gerald:
    Some of Mason Remey’s work can be found on the links below. There is a very good chronology of his life written by Ray Bennett but I’m not sure it is on these websites.
    His ‘little team of covenant-breakers’ still exist as the provisional councils of the United States, India, Africa, Canada and of course Joel in Australia

    USA http://www.rt66.com/~obfusa/council.htm (they do a very poor job of keeping this site updated.)

    The provisional council of India (always up to date)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian/india.html

    The official web page of the Guardian (Joel)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian (recently completely rebuilt and the old site is gone. Other sites linking to the old guardian site get a 404 error.

    The provisional council of Bengali (my computer loads giberish because I lack the right language stuff.)
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~guardian/bengali.html

    There are two for Canada one on each coast.

    That little band of CB’s further splintered into the Tarbiyat (Rex King now run by Gene King. These people agree with but are not assosciated with the LSA of Luknow, India.) http://www.tarbiyatcenter.org/index.html

    The Jensenites of Montana now under a guardian named Dave, no official web site that I know of.
    Another group split from Mason into a group under Jacques Shoghomonian of France (no official web site but Heart of the Baha’i Faith operated by Madison Reed stands its stead).

    At the rate the Orthodox are growing and the rate the UHJ is declining I’m not sure but what they are nearing the same numbers. I just got a report a couple months old now that some firecracker Orthodox in Australia gathered twenty some new declarations in his home town.

    Then of course there are the splits from the UHJ – Jaun Cole, Fred Glaysher, Karen Baquet, John Carre’, Sen Glen and others who have garnered small hangers on if not followers.

    Then we have the Babis, and others.

    Do you suppose you could tell me where the truth really is???
    I’ve been told rather emphatically that it is Jesus.

    Robert

  • http://www.historylines.net/ Eric Hadley-Ives

    Robert’s reply to Gerald’s comment about Mason Remey’s little groups of splintered covenant breakers described some friends of mine as persons who “split” from the UHJ. I do not think that is a fair characterization of what happened. I also do not think it is fair to suggest that these persons who are no longer offically enrolled with the Baha’i administration as believers have in any way taken on followers or “hangers-on.” They certainly do not deserve to be compared to covenant breakers.

    I agree with Gerald’s characterization of Remey’s later followers. They are splintered and tiny in comparison to the masses of people (including myself) who recognize the UHJ as the legislative leadership of the Baha’i Faith. I also agree with Gerald that Mason Remey’s earlier work deserves careful study. He was a wonderful Hand of the Cause, and I suspect mental illness played a role in his behavior later in life. No one knows what his spiritual condition was at the moment of his death. For all we know he repented and realized his errors at the last moment. I like to assume that of everyone who has died, that they turned toward the truth in the final moments.

    – Eric

  • http://www.historylines.net/ Eric Hadley-Ives

    Robert’s reply to Gerald’s comment about Mason Remey’s little groups of splintered covenant breakers described some friends of mine as persons who “split” from the UHJ. I do not think that is a fair characterization of what happened. I also do not think it is fair to suggest that these persons who are no longer offically enrolled with the Baha’i administration as believers have in any way taken on followers or “hangers-on.” They certainly do not deserve to be compared to covenant breakers.

    I agree with Gerald’s characterization of Remey’s later followers. They are splintered and tiny in comparison to the masses of people (including myself) who recognize the UHJ as the legislative leadership of the Baha’i Faith. I also agree with Gerald that Mason Remey’s earlier work deserves careful study. He was a wonderful Hand of the Cause, and I suspect mental illness played a role in his behavior later in life. No one knows what his spiritual condition was at the moment of his death. For all we know he repented and realized his errors at the last moment. I like to assume that of everyone who has died, that they turned toward the truth in the final moments.

    – Eric

  • Brendan Cook

    Eric and Robert,

    I just noticed this thread, I wanted to say that I agree with Eric. It’s sad to hear how completely the Remeyites splintered — all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story.

    But what I most wanted to say, Robert, is that Eric is right in that you’ve misunderstood Cole, Baquet, and McGlinn. You’ve assumed that their goal is similar to that of the various Remeyite factions, to create their own splinter group, to attract followers. That might be true of Mr. Glaysher — although he hasn’t had much luck — but as for the others you’ve mentioned. That’s not what they want. They’re just individuals who had individual difficulties with the Baha’i administration. They don’t want to create division by proposing a new center of authority, and they certainly don’t want a following.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Eric and Robert,

    I just noticed this thread, I wanted to say that I agree with Eric. It’s sad to hear how completely the Remeyites splintered — all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story.

    But what I most wanted to say, Robert, is that Eric is right in that you’ve misunderstood Cole, Baquet, and McGlinn. You’ve assumed that their goal is similar to that of the various Remeyite factions, to create their own splinter group, to attract followers. That might be true of Mr. Glaysher — although he hasn’t had much luck — but as for the others you’ve mentioned. That’s not what they want. They’re just individuals who had individual difficulties with the Baha’i administration. They don’t want to create division by proposing a new center of authority, and they certainly don’t want a following.

    Brendan

  • Robert Clifton

    Hello Brendon,
    Good to hear from you again.

    Your statement:
    “all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story. ”
    does not clearly include the faction of the UHJ, nor does it clearly exclude the people who you say I misunderstand. Additionally it also does not address the factions of every other religion, but I agree with you that it is indeed a pathetic although too human story.

    My Statement: “Then of course there are the splits from the UHJ – Jaun Cole, Fred Glaysher, Karen Baquet, John Carre’, Sen Glen and others who have garnered small hangers on if not followers.”
    ilicited your response which is a clear indication of the pathology in the pathetic situation.

    Depending upon what is er-uh is my statement stands valid as is. One can address all sorts of semanic ommissions and thus skirt away from the intent of the posting or one can muddle through imprecise language attempting to address precise concepts to address the intent and continue a decent conversation.

    All the people I named are split – dissasociated – not longer identified with – the UHJ. Some of those (as you agree) have garnered small groups of souls in agreement, hangers on, adherents, well wishers, members and so on. Almost everyone can find a kindred soul in tacit if not explicit agreement. Groups form around consensus of concept, and they splinter under dissention, and contention. Such strife leads to estrangement and then to apathy. (Gleanings p9)

    Do we really want then to discuss the state of my mind in relationship to the above listed people? I really think I have exclusive privey to that.

    Wouldn’t we better discuss the opening posts concerning the writings of Mason Remey, “his little band of followers”, and the general splintering of the people of Baha? Even maybe go on to discuss, as you suggest, the pathetic splintering of all six billion of us into larger and smaller groups each of whom are “… certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light.”

    Would you please advise me of what is the truth, the way and the light? I have a manufacturer standing by to bottle it. We’ll split the profits.

    Robert Clifton

  • Robert Clifton

    Hello Brendon,
    Good to hear from you again.

    Your statement:
    “all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story. ”
    does not clearly include the faction of the UHJ, nor does it clearly exclude the people who you say I misunderstand. Additionally it also does not address the factions of every other religion, but I agree with you that it is indeed a pathetic although too human story.

    My Statement: “Then of course there are the splits from the UHJ – Jaun Cole, Fred Glaysher, Karen Baquet, John Carre’, Sen Glen and others who have garnered small hangers on if not followers.”
    ilicited your response which is a clear indication of the pathology in the pathetic situation.

    Depending upon what is er-uh is my statement stands valid as is. One can address all sorts of semanic ommissions and thus skirt away from the intent of the posting or one can muddle through imprecise language attempting to address precise concepts to address the intent and continue a decent conversation.

    All the people I named are split – dissasociated – not longer identified with – the UHJ. Some of those (as you agree) have garnered small groups of souls in agreement, hangers on, adherents, well wishers, members and so on. Almost everyone can find a kindred soul in tacit if not explicit agreement. Groups form around consensus of concept, and they splinter under dissention, and contention. Such strife leads to estrangement and then to apathy. (Gleanings p9)

    Do we really want then to discuss the state of my mind in relationship to the above listed people? I really think I have exclusive privey to that.

    Wouldn’t we better discuss the opening posts concerning the writings of Mason Remey, “his little band of followers”, and the general splintering of the people of Baha? Even maybe go on to discuss, as you suggest, the pathetic splintering of all six billion of us into larger and smaller groups each of whom are “… certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light.”

    Would you please advise me of what is the truth, the way and the light? I have a manufacturer standing by to bottle it. We’ll split the profits.

    Robert Clifton

  • Brendan Cook

    Robert,

    It’s good to hear from you again as well. But I think you misunderstand me. I don’t claim to have the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and I don’t think that any person or any religion does, at least not exclusively. Don’t imagine for one moment that I’m trying to imply it. There are as many paths to heaven as points upon the earth, I think. All religions and all people partake of the truth in varying degrees. But anyone who thinks he has the whole truth has simply made the mistake of cutting truth down to their own limited, human scale.

    But the fact remains that you included Karen, Sen, and Juan in a list of Baha’i factions. You mentioned them in the context of the various Remeyite groups, and this will give the impression — in these matters context counts more than your intentions — that their goals are at least remotely similar. And they aren’t. There’s a world of difference between religious factions deliberately setting up their own leaders and their own center of authority and some people who have resigned or been removed for thinking a little too freely. Your reference to “hangers-on if not followers” only compounds the mistaken impression that these people are, like the Remeyites, looking to create a following. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    That being said, please don’t be offended. I’m glad to see that you’re still out and about. I still remember your thoughtful comments on the first essay I ever posted online, and I still appreciate them.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Robert,

    It’s good to hear from you again as well. But I think you misunderstand me. I don’t claim to have the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and I don’t think that any person or any religion does, at least not exclusively. Don’t imagine for one moment that I’m trying to imply it. There are as many paths to heaven as points upon the earth, I think. All religions and all people partake of the truth in varying degrees. But anyone who thinks he has the whole truth has simply made the mistake of cutting truth down to their own limited, human scale.

    But the fact remains that you included Karen, Sen, and Juan in a list of Baha’i factions. You mentioned them in the context of the various Remeyite groups, and this will give the impression — in these matters context counts more than your intentions — that their goals are at least remotely similar. And they aren’t. There’s a world of difference between religious factions deliberately setting up their own leaders and their own center of authority and some people who have resigned or been removed for thinking a little too freely. Your reference to “hangers-on if not followers” only compounds the mistaken impression that these people are, like the Remeyites, looking to create a following. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    That being said, please don’t be offended. I’m glad to see that you’re still out and about. I still remember your thoughtful comments on the first essay I ever posted online, and I still appreciate them.

    Brendan

  • Robert Clifton

    Misunderstandings come in many garbs, and always depend upon what is is.
    Context counts, and is used adeptly here and there in media of all sorts.
    My intent was (1.) To point out that there are as many paths to heaven as there are points on earth and among those points are those consensus’ of concept centered on the UHJ concept as well as those no longer assosciated with the uhj concept such as Remey, Baquet, et al. Context here could put Remey and Baquet in the same cubby hole. They are not in concepts but are in seperations.
    (2.) Groups form around consensus of concept and like it or not, intentionally or not, if a person presents a seperate opinion some sheep will attempt to get into the fold. Karen has quite a number of people happily expressing mutual support on her web page. I have no idea if that was her goal.
    My ulterior motive here? My (maybe not too well) hidden agenda is to remind whoever reads my post that no world view has any greater authority, veracity or legitimacy than any other world view. thus
    (3.) To label any group in any negative manner is, according to my concept, in error.

    As is often the case, we agree, but we don’t know it.

    Robert

  • Robert Clifton

    Misunderstandings come in many garbs, and always depend upon what is is.
    Context counts, and is used adeptly here and there in media of all sorts.
    My intent was (1.) To point out that there are as many paths to heaven as there are points on earth and among those points are those consensus’ of concept centered on the UHJ concept as well as those no longer assosciated with the uhj concept such as Remey, Baquet, et al. Context here could put Remey and Baquet in the same cubby hole. They are not in concepts but are in seperations.
    (2.) Groups form around consensus of concept and like it or not, intentionally or not, if a person presents a seperate opinion some sheep will attempt to get into the fold. Karen has quite a number of people happily expressing mutual support on her web page. I have no idea if that was her goal.
    My ulterior motive here? My (maybe not too well) hidden agenda is to remind whoever reads my post that no world view has any greater authority, veracity or legitimacy than any other world view. thus
    (3.) To label any group in any negative manner is, according to my concept, in error.

    As is often the case, we agree, but we don’t know it.

    Robert

  • Brendan Cook

    Robert,

    I’m sure we’d agree on plenty of things, but there’s at least one point where we really don’t see eye to eye. That’s not a bad thing, but there it is. The purely negative definition you use: Baquet and Remey both *not* getting along with Haifa is just about worthless. You can put me in the same group with Martin Luther and Gandhi if you employ the negative definition that we’re all not Catholics and we all can’t accept the authority of the pope in Rome. That’s true as far as it goes, but it’s also meaningless.

    But even apart from that, you’re still stuck on applying the Remeyite model to contexts where it doesn’t apply. You seem to imply that just because people agree with Karen they’re “followers or at least hangers-on.” In a narrow, dare I say it, cult-like organizations, groups that prize consensus, agreeing with the ‘party line’ is equated with belonging to the larger unit. But that’s not how free-thinking, liberal individuals operate. They can agree with someone, wholeheartedly endorse what they say in fact, without being “followers” in the sense you mean.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Robert,

    I’m sure we’d agree on plenty of things, but there’s at least one point where we really don’t see eye to eye. That’s not a bad thing, but there it is. The purely negative definition you use: Baquet and Remey both *not* getting along with Haifa is just about worthless. You can put me in the same group with Martin Luther and Gandhi if you employ the negative definition that we’re all not Catholics and we all can’t accept the authority of the pope in Rome. That’s true as far as it goes, but it’s also meaningless.

    But even apart from that, you’re still stuck on applying the Remeyite model to contexts where it doesn’t apply. You seem to imply that just because people agree with Karen they’re “followers or at least hangers-on.” In a narrow, dare I say it, cult-like organizations, groups that prize consensus, agreeing with the ‘party line’ is equated with belonging to the larger unit. But that’s not how free-thinking, liberal individuals operate. They can agree with someone, wholeheartedly endorse what they say in fact, without being “followers” in the sense you mean.

    Brendan

  • Andrew

    Eric Hadley-Ives writes:

    “I agree with Gerald’s characterization of Remey’s later followers. They are splintered and tiny in comparison to the masses of people (including myself) who recognize the UHJ as the legislative leadership of the Baha’i Faith.”

    The NSA Reply Memorandum to the OBF Response to Motion for Rule to Show Cause states that “the Baha’i Faith has no denominations whatsoever” and that any “so-called organizations” consist of “a few misinformed people in a corner of the Internet … exceedingly small in scale.” Ah, the numbers game …

    When, on another forum, I suggested to a Baha’i National Convention delegate that membership numbers provided by the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” might be (in the words of one “apostate”) “grossly exaggerated, manipulated, and so far from reality that only the delusional or uninformed would believe them to be true,” he responded by writing:

    “Better a few good men who know why they joined and can be relied on than a herd of people who blow away with the first gust of cold wind.”

    The assumption underlying this argument is that it’s acceptable for the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” to eventually become “small in scale,” provided it attracts “a few good men,” but it’s not acceptable for non-Haifan Baha’i movements to have only “a few good men,” because there are “no denominations whatsoever” in the Baha’i Faith. In other words: I’m okay, you’re not okay, but that’s okay, because you don’t exist … because you’re “Covenant-breakers.” How sad.

    “He was a wonderful Hand of the Cause, and I suspect mental illness played a role in his behavior later in life.”

    Upon what basis do you make this dismissive assertion? Do you have any evidence aside from conjecture or innuendo in support of your suspicion? This reminds me of the characterization of a certain Baha’i “apostate” as “benign but paranoid”: a backhanded compliment that simultaneously praises and diminishes.

    “I like to assume that of everyone who has died, that they turned toward the truth in the final moments.”

    Whose truth would that be, and who might enforce it? Is his truth of less worth than your truth or my truth?

    Brendan Cook writes:

    “It’s sad to hear how completely the Remeyites splintered — all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story.”

    I submit that uniformity of organization under the banner of visible unity is merely a fa?ade of unity. In their book “Victims and Values,” Amato and Monge have argued that “in the period preceding the Reformation, theological diversity and a whole horizon of reform movements sharply questioned and openly contradicted every phase of church authority and practice.” Fredrica Thompsett has written that “in the Reformation, there were various traditions” that “mirrored the diversity of early Christianity,” while Mojtaba Mahdavi has noted that “the Reformers shifted the basis of religion from an authoritarian and hierarchical epistemology (in which the truth was available only to a very small number of people) to an essentially democratic one.” You seem to regard the creation of “little factions” as “typically” pathetic, while I see these “little factions” as part of a vital efflorescence of diversity, particularity, and creative activity, however fraught or compromised.

    “They don’t want to create division by proposing a new center of authority, and they certainly don’t want a following.”

    This seems to presume the sole and exclusive legitimacy of a single authority or interpretation, and that “division” is a necessary corollary of any deviation from it. However, unless one’s concept of unity is a purely utilitarian one, there is no inherent contradiction between a lack of institutional cohesiveness and “unity in Christ” or, in this case, “unity in Baha’u’llah.” The Sufi scholar Fleur Nassery Bonnin has said that unity only exists at the esoteric or spiritual level of each religion; religion is like a fruit that contains the husk and the kernel: so often we have seen the outer mistaken as the whole. She has also said that individual transformation and consequently the unity of religions takes place primarily in the spiritual dimension. Indeed, from this perspective, the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” is itself a faction of the Baha’i Faith.

    In his “Studies in Honor of the Late Hasan M. Balyuzi,” Moojan Momen
    writes:

    “Wilhelm Herrigel was the founder of the Bahai World Union. Only a few Baha’is followed him, and when he died in 1932, many of them returned to the Baha’i community.”

    This seems to privilege the idea that there is only one (legitimate)
    Baha’i community: it is “the” Baha’i community. In other words: the members of the Bahai World Union were not members of “the” Baha’i community; only those Baha’is who are members of the “Baha’i International Community” are “real” Baha’is, in the same sense that only those Catholics who are in complete obedience to Rome are real Catholics. But Anglicans and members of the Utrecht Union beg to differ, as do I.

    In fact, the Bahai World Union remains in existence to this day, and has members in Germany, Russia, Israel, India, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Perhaps its members enjoy only a “personal fantasy in isolation,” but as John Roger Barrie has pointed out, playing the numbers game as a criterion of gauging success “is a function of commercialism, which demands that products be sold to the greatest numbers of people. But in the world of spiritual values, the numbers game holds no meaning whatsoever.”

  • Andrew

    Eric Hadley-Ives writes:

    “I agree with Gerald’s characterization of Remey’s later followers. They are splintered and tiny in comparison to the masses of people (including myself) who recognize the UHJ as the legislative leadership of the Baha’i Faith.”

    The NSA Reply Memorandum to the OBF Response to Motion for Rule to Show Cause states that “the Baha’i Faith has no denominations whatsoever” and that any “so-called organizations” consist of “a few misinformed people in a corner of the Internet … exceedingly small in scale.” Ah, the numbers game …

    When, on another forum, I suggested to a Baha’i National Convention delegate that membership numbers provided by the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” might be (in the words of one “apostate”) “grossly exaggerated, manipulated, and so far from reality that only the delusional or uninformed would believe them to be true,” he responded by writing:

    “Better a few good men who know why they joined and can be relied on than a herd of people who blow away with the first gust of cold wind.”

    The assumption underlying this argument is that it’s acceptable for the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” to eventually become “small in scale,” provided it attracts “a few good men,” but it’s not acceptable for non-Haifan Baha’i movements to have only “a few good men,” because there are “no denominations whatsoever” in the Baha’i Faith. In other words: I’m okay, you’re not okay, but that’s okay, because you don’t exist … because you’re “Covenant-breakers.” How sad.

    “He was a wonderful Hand of the Cause, and I suspect mental illness played a role in his behavior later in life.”

    Upon what basis do you make this dismissive assertion? Do you have any evidence aside from conjecture or innuendo in support of your suspicion? This reminds me of the characterization of a certain Baha’i “apostate” as “benign but paranoid”: a backhanded compliment that simultaneously praises and diminishes.

    “I like to assume that of everyone who has died, that they turned toward the truth in the final moments.”

    Whose truth would that be, and who might enforce it? Is his truth of less worth than your truth or my truth?

    Brendan Cook writes:

    “It’s sad to hear how completely the Remeyites splintered — all these little factions, each resenting the other, each certain of knowing the Way, the Truth, and the Light. What a typically, pathetically human story.”

    I submit that uniformity of organization under the banner of visible unity is merely a fa?ade of unity. In their book “Victims and Values,” Amato and Monge have argued that “in the period preceding the Reformation, theological diversity and a whole horizon of reform movements sharply questioned and openly contradicted every phase of church authority and practice.” Fredrica Thompsett has written that “in the Reformation, there were various traditions” that “mirrored the diversity of early Christianity,” while Mojtaba Mahdavi has noted that “the Reformers shifted the basis of religion from an authoritarian and hierarchical epistemology (in which the truth was available only to a very small number of people) to an essentially democratic one.” You seem to regard the creation of “little factions” as “typically” pathetic, while I see these “little factions” as part of a vital efflorescence of diversity, particularity, and creative activity, however fraught or compromised.

    “They don’t want to create division by proposing a new center of authority, and they certainly don’t want a following.”

    This seems to presume the sole and exclusive legitimacy of a single authority or interpretation, and that “division” is a necessary corollary of any deviation from it. However, unless one’s concept of unity is a purely utilitarian one, there is no inherent contradiction between a lack of institutional cohesiveness and “unity in Christ” or, in this case, “unity in Baha’u’llah.” The Sufi scholar Fleur Nassery Bonnin has said that unity only exists at the esoteric or spiritual level of each religion; religion is like a fruit that contains the husk and the kernel: so often we have seen the outer mistaken as the whole. She has also said that individual transformation and consequently the unity of religions takes place primarily in the spiritual dimension. Indeed, from this perspective, the “mainstream, Haifan tradition” is itself a faction of the Baha’i Faith.

    In his “Studies in Honor of the Late Hasan M. Balyuzi,” Moojan Momen
    writes:

    “Wilhelm Herrigel was the founder of the Bahai World Union. Only a few Baha’is followed him, and when he died in 1932, many of them returned to the Baha’i community.”

    This seems to privilege the idea that there is only one (legitimate)
    Baha’i community: it is “the” Baha’i community. In other words: the members of the Bahai World Union were not members of “the” Baha’i community; only those Baha’is who are members of the “Baha’i International Community” are “real” Baha’is, in the same sense that only those Catholics who are in complete obedience to Rome are real Catholics. But Anglicans and members of the Utrecht Union beg to differ, as do I.

    In fact, the Bahai World Union remains in existence to this day, and has members in Germany, Russia, Israel, India, Dubai, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Canada, Australia, and the United States. Perhaps its members enjoy only a “personal fantasy in isolation,” but as John Roger Barrie has pointed out, playing the numbers game as a criterion of gauging success “is a function of commercialism, which demands that products be sold to the greatest numbers of people. But in the world of spiritual values, the numbers game holds no meaning whatsoever.”

  • Brendan Cook

    Andrew,

    I always enjoy your posts, but it seems like you’re out to pick a fight today. You’ve read my works, you know I’m not against religious diversity *per se*. The reason I called the fragmentation of Remeyite factions “typically, pathetically human” was primarily in reference to the fact that they all dislike one another. Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.

    As for the question of Remey’s mental illness/senility, I suggest you investigate further before dismissing what Eric says. But for now, consider this.

    1. Remey was very old when he broke away from the Haifan Baha’i Faith.
    2. Shoghi Effendi’s death was a very stressful event for all of the Hands of the Cause, Remey was not the only one who seems to have suffered psychologically from the loss of the Guardian and the lack of a will.
    3. The majority of Remey’s own followers soon decided he was not *compos mentis* and began to follow Joel Marangella as their guardian, against the protestations of the still-living Remey.

    Another sad, all-too-human tale. And one you should study before dismissing what anyone says as mere prejudice.

    Brendan

  • Brendan Cook

    Andrew,

    I always enjoy your posts, but it seems like you’re out to pick a fight today. You’ve read my works, you know I’m not against religious diversity *per se*. The reason I called the fragmentation of Remeyite factions “typically, pathetically human” was primarily in reference to the fact that they all dislike one another. Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.

    As for the question of Remey’s mental illness/senility, I suggest you investigate further before dismissing what Eric says. But for now, consider this.

    1. Remey was very old when he broke away from the Haifan Baha’i Faith.
    2. Shoghi Effendi’s death was a very stressful event for all of the Hands of the Cause, Remey was not the only one who seems to have suffered psychologically from the loss of the Guardian and the lack of a will.
    3. The majority of Remey’s own followers soon decided he was not *compos mentis* and began to follow Joel Marangella as their guardian, against the protestations of the still-living Remey.

    Another sad, all-too-human tale. And one you should study before dismissing what anyone says as mere prejudice.

    Brendan

  • Sincere Friend

    I could agree with you if it were understood that concepts are vehicles for the movement of consciousness rather than ultimate destinations. Authoritative types though view their point of view as the ultimate destination, and in some contexts(law, medicine, control of traffic lights, number of tickets to a Rollings Stones concert) this may be preferable to the alternative which would be chaotic relativism. But in the context of this discussion group, where all points of view seem to be welcome, I would have to agree with you, lest we exclude some valuable perspective, each person then would have to judge for themselves what is of value.

  • Sincere Friend

    I could agree with you if it were understood that concepts are vehicles for the movement of consciousness rather than ultimate destinations. Authoritative types though view their point of view as the ultimate destination, and in some contexts(law, medicine, control of traffic lights, number of tickets to a Rollings Stones concert) this may be preferable to the alternative which would be chaotic relativism. But in the context of this discussion group, where all points of view seem to be welcome, I would have to agree with you, lest we exclude some valuable perspective, each person then would have to judge for themselves what is of value.

  • Robert Clifton

    great minds at work!! I’m impressed.
    Concepts are indeed vehicles.
    I’m not sure what the Remeyite model is. Cause and effect dictates that everything came from somewhere. broke off, grown from etc.
    Karen told me that I could not mention “the Guardians” on her blog. I understand that objection but that does tend toward a demand for consensus of concept and according to a post above tends toward cultism.
    If one can not engage in respectful dialogue with another entity then I define that as ‘not getting along’.
    We all take offense from time to time but none was given so any offense we have in our pocket has been stolen.
    But all that as it may, unless you want to further refine this, I think we are in agreement even on this. I’m willing to get back to Remey.
    Andrew made some good points, but missed a few too.
    The Remeyite divisions do get along, they communicate with each other, and unlike the UHJ group any person from any group is welcome at others gatherings of any sort. (Individuals get a bit beligerent from time to time.)
    That Remey became senile is a pretty well established fact. Reagan became totally blank too, but the Berlin Wall is still down. -for awhile.
    The succession argument is strictly a legal one. What did who know when and what was intended by this message or that?
    The details have been pretty well hammered out in other forums over a lengthy period of time. After a lengthy period of entrenchment rigor mortise has now set in. Madison Reed did a marvelous bit of research to write his disputation of Joels claim. All this information is mostly available online for the person who started this thread.
    I don’t know that I can add anything to that knowledge base.
    I think I’ll just read for awile.

    Robert Clifton

  • Robert Clifton

    great minds at work!! I’m impressed.
    Concepts are indeed vehicles.
    I’m not sure what the Remeyite model is. Cause and effect dictates that everything came from somewhere. broke off, grown from etc.
    Karen told me that I could not mention “the Guardians” on her blog. I understand that objection but that does tend toward a demand for consensus of concept and according to a post above tends toward cultism.
    If one can not engage in respectful dialogue with another entity then I define that as ‘not getting along’.
    We all take offense from time to time but none was given so any offense we have in our pocket has been stolen.
    But all that as it may, unless you want to further refine this, I think we are in agreement even on this. I’m willing to get back to Remey.
    Andrew made some good points, but missed a few too.
    The Remeyite divisions do get along, they communicate with each other, and unlike the UHJ group any person from any group is welcome at others gatherings of any sort. (Individuals get a bit beligerent from time to time.)
    That Remey became senile is a pretty well established fact. Reagan became totally blank too, but the Berlin Wall is still down. -for awhile.
    The succession argument is strictly a legal one. What did who know when and what was intended by this message or that?
    The details have been pretty well hammered out in other forums over a lengthy period of time. After a lengthy period of entrenchment rigor mortise has now set in. Madison Reed did a marvelous bit of research to write his disputation of Joels claim. All this information is mostly available online for the person who started this thread.
    I don’t know that I can add anything to that knowledge base.
    I think I’ll just read for awile.

    Robert Clifton

  • Andrew

    Brendan Cook writes:

    “I always enjoy your posts, but it seems like you’re out to pick a fight today.”

    I think it’s unfortunate you’ve chosen to place that construction on my critique of the statements I responded to in my previous post. You are imputing a motive which was not present. I don’t buy it. You also appear to have missed the main points of my response, which addressed issues of adherent demographics, valuation of sectarian diversity, denominational organization, and the nature of religious unity.

    “The reason I called the fragmentation of Remeyite factions ‘typically, pathetically human’ was primarily in reference to the fact that they all dislike one another.”

    I don’t believe this to be the case, but what if it were? One could validly argue that since the adherents of the mainstream, Haifan tradition seem to dislike the “Remeyite factions,” their behavior is equally “typically, pathetically human.”

    “Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.”

    Does this also apply to the UHJ on Mt. Carmel? I would think it must.

    “Another sad, all-too-human tale. And one you should study before dismissing what anyone says as mere prejudice.”

    Nice try, Brendan, but again, you’re imputing a motive which was not present. I didn’t characterize what anyone said as “mere prejudice,” I questioned the basis for making an assumption of mental illness, the presence of which requires a clinical diagnosis. It seems that the only way some are making an assumption of Remey’s presumed mental illness is through his behavior as reported by his detractors: hardly a sound basis for assessing someone’s character, let alone his mental state. None of the points you list justifies such an assessment.

    Robert Clifton writes:

    “The Remeyite divisions do get along, they communicate with each other, and unlike the UHJ group any person from any group is welcome at others gatherings of any sort.”

    This has been my observation as well, hence my critique of any suggestions to the contrary.

    I find it very interesting (quite fascinating, really) that one may cavalierly dismiss non-Haifan Baha’i movements as splintered, factional; one of their leaders as mentally ill and in spiritual error, i.e., not “turned toward the truth”; filled with resentment (or is that ressentiment?); promoters of division, etc., with apparent impunity: whereas any critique of these assertions is seized upon as evidence that one wishes to “pick a fight.” Astonishing, really, but not, perhaps, surprising.

    I didn’t wish to “pick a fight” with anyone, but neither did I wish to let accusation and innuendo go unchallenged, something which seems to pass as acceptable discourse on many Baha’i forums. Since at this point I think I’ve acquired a fairly clear appreciation of how Baha’i dynamics play out in these exchanges, I’ll refrain from making any further comment on this. I’m in agreement with what Robert has written on the matter, and I hope he continues to post. I won’t.

  • Andrew

    Brendan Cook writes:

    “I always enjoy your posts, but it seems like you’re out to pick a fight today.”

    I think it’s unfortunate you’ve chosen to place that construction on my critique of the statements I responded to in my previous post. You are imputing a motive which was not present. I don’t buy it. You also appear to have missed the main points of my response, which addressed issues of adherent demographics, valuation of sectarian diversity, denominational organization, and the nature of religious unity.

    “The reason I called the fragmentation of Remeyite factions ‘typically, pathetically human’ was primarily in reference to the fact that they all dislike one another.”

    I don’t believe this to be the case, but what if it were? One could validly argue that since the adherents of the mainstream, Haifan tradition seem to dislike the “Remeyite factions,” their behavior is equally “typically, pathetically human.”

    “Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.”

    Does this also apply to the UHJ on Mt. Carmel? I would think it must.

    “Another sad, all-too-human tale. And one you should study before dismissing what anyone says as mere prejudice.”

    Nice try, Brendan, but again, you’re imputing a motive which was not present. I didn’t characterize what anyone said as “mere prejudice,” I questioned the basis for making an assumption of mental illness, the presence of which requires a clinical diagnosis. It seems that the only way some are making an assumption of Remey’s presumed mental illness is through his behavior as reported by his detractors: hardly a sound basis for assessing someone’s character, let alone his mental state. None of the points you list justifies such an assessment.

    Robert Clifton writes:

    “The Remeyite divisions do get along, they communicate with each other, and unlike the UHJ group any person from any group is welcome at others gatherings of any sort.”

    This has been my observation as well, hence my critique of any suggestions to the contrary.

    I find it very interesting (quite fascinating, really) that one may cavalierly dismiss non-Haifan Baha’i movements as splintered, factional; one of their leaders as mentally ill and in spiritual error, i.e., not “turned toward the truth”; filled with resentment (or is that ressentiment?); promoters of division, etc., with apparent impunity: whereas any critique of these assertions is seized upon as evidence that one wishes to “pick a fight.” Astonishing, really, but not, perhaps, surprising.

    I didn’t wish to “pick a fight” with anyone, but neither did I wish to let accusation and innuendo go unchallenged, something which seems to pass as acceptable discourse on many Baha’i forums. Since at this point I think I’ve acquired a fairly clear appreciation of how Baha’i dynamics play out in these exchanges, I’ll refrain from making any further comment on this. I’m in agreement with what Robert has written on the matter, and I hope he continues to post. I won’t.

  • Brendan Cook

    BRENDAN: Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.

    ANDREW: Does this also apply to the UHJ on Mt. Carmel? I would think it must.

    BRENDAN: When I said ‘wherever’, I meant ‘wherever’. I don’t agree with everything the House says. That’s the main reason I was refused my card…

  • Brendan Cook

    BRENDAN: Each believes it is right and that all the other groups are wrong. Such certainty that you have the answers and everyone else doesn’t is sad wherever it manifests itself.

    ANDREW: Does this also apply to the UHJ on Mt. Carmel? I would think it must.

    BRENDAN: When I said ‘wherever’, I meant ‘wherever’. I don’t agree with everything the House says. That’s the main reason I was refused my card…

  • Brendan Cook

    I guess I’m also just surprised to hear myself being accused of hesitating to criticize the UHJ. Sort of how Pope Benedict must feel if he were called a ‘secular liberal’. Have you read my stuff, Andrew?

  • Brendan Cook

    I guess I’m also just surprised to hear myself being accused of hesitating to criticize the UHJ. Sort of how Pope Benedict must feel if he were called a ‘secular liberal’. Have you read my stuff, Andrew?

  • A

    salam,

    ??? ?? ???????? ???? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ???????. ??? ???? ?????? ? ?????? ? ??????? ????? ? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ????
    ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?????

    TNX

  • A

    salam,

    ??? ?? ???????? ???? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ???????. ??? ???? ?????? ? ?????? ? ??????? ????? ? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ????
    ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?????

    TNX

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""][quote comment=""]salam,

    ??? ?? ???????? ???? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ???????. ??? ???? ?????? ? ?????? ? ??????? ????? ? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ????
    ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?????

    TNX[/quote][/quote]

    Salam,

    een weblog az yekee Bahai hast, baleh, vali harfha keh eenja dareed mikhooned rajabeh cheezha degar’am hast. Fekrnakonam Baquia farsi baladeh man’ ham mibakhsham farsi nanivishtam. Beshtar’een sohbat dar een weblog rojebeh seemayih Baha’i ast.

  • anonymouz

    [quote comment=""][quote comment=""]salam,

    ??? ?? ???????? ???? ? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???????? ???????. ??? ???? ?????? ? ?????? ? ??????? ????? ? ????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???? ??? ???? ????
    ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ??? ????? ?????
    ??? ??? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ?????

    TNX[/quote][/quote]

    Salam,

    een weblog az yekee Bahai hast, baleh, vali harfha keh eenja dareed mikhooned rajabeh cheezha degar’am hast. Fekrnakonam Baquia farsi baladeh man’ ham mibakhsham farsi nanivishtam. Beshtar’een sohbat dar een weblog rojebeh seemayih Baha’i ast.

  • Moje242

    salam man mojtaba shoghi hastam va nemidonam famile man rabti be bahai ha darad ya na ?