You Can’t Pick & Choose… or Can You?

pick-and-choose-bahai-faithIn the comment discussion that took place for the previous post: Pre-Approved Individual Investigation of Truth an interesting concept was touched on.

Because it is worthy of further discussion, I wanted to spend some more time on it. Since I read a very good treatment of it by another Baha’i, I’d thought I’d simply share their thoughts with you, rather than try to rehash it myself.

Here’s a morsel to whet your appetite (the link at the bottom takes you to the complete post):

I was facilitating the class, and I pointed out that the last part of discussion question #12 was added in by the editors. The original text says nothing about “accepting the Truth of His Cause in its entirety.” Also, if you read the whole tablet, it’s kept ambiguous whether this is “Baha’u’llah’s Cause” or “God’s Cause” or whether we mortals can even make a distinction between those two, since God is unknowable to us. This use (by the Ruhi editors) of “His Cause” instead of “God’s Cause” or “This Cause” puts the focus on Baha’u’llah. This may be where the focus should be, or it may not. The point is, the discussion question has changed the ambiguity and higher-level abstractions in the original text and asked participants to react to a statement more clearly centered on Baha’u’llah and the Baha’i Faith, rather than God and the “changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.”

When I pointed out the problems with inserting the phrase “in its entirety” I met with some of the typical remarks I often hear from my co-religionists. A favorite one is “you can’t pick and choose. You must accept everything.” Bad logic, of course, but it’s a popular notion. I responded as I often do, with the idea that if you accept everything in its entirety, then you accept the Kitab-i-Iqan, our “Book of Certitude,” in which Baha’u’llah reveals to us that much scripture is in the language of metaphor, and not to be taken literally. You must also accept the idea that we should use science and our rational thinking to enhance our understanding of our religion. You can’t reject that, because if you take the Baha’i Faith in its entirety, you can’t get away from such fundamental teachings. And, with that said, we do in fact pick and choose. The Baha’i book of laws (the “Most Great Book”) suggests that we be buried in caskets of crystal, but few Baha’is do this. Arsonists are to be burned, but no Baha’i seriously advocates for us to use branding or burning-at-the-stake as a punishment for arson. A law that men should not grow their hair beyond their ears is probably a polite way of forbidding men from engaging in sex work, if you understand the 19th century Persian context into which that Book was revealed. Clearly one can see in photographs that ‘Abdu’l-Baha, our perfect example, didn’t follow that law literally. So, we Baha’is do pick and choose which rules or teachings we accept literally and which we take metaphorically, and without any authorized interpreter left on this mortal plane, we really don’t have any persons with authority to tell us when we are correct or incorrect in our interpretations and understandings of the many metaphorical teachings. So often the scriptures are abstract, and rarely are they concrete or specific. So, we’re left to be mature and thoughtful and rational, and take things as best we may. So, this is a religion where we do some picking and choosing.

Embrace the Truth – Eric Hadley-Ives Blog

  • Anonymous

    The first thing that comes to my mind is, Why be a Bah??’? if you’re going to consciously pick-and-choose what laws to follow? It has always occurred to me that the distinction between someone who is a Bah??’? and an agnostic is that the latter can choose to adopt for himself whatever laws he finds worthy of assent in the writings of Bah??’u’ll??h (et al.) without additionally committing himself to imperatives that do not appear useful or the truth of claims he cannot verify for himself. The Bah??’? does not have this luxury. The Bah??’? is committed (in virtue of being a Bah??’?) to the whole of the teachings of his religion. He does not get to pick and choose. As Shoghi Effendi unambiguously states:

    To follow Bah??’u’ll??h does not mean accepting some of His teachings and rejecting the rest. Allegiance to His Cause must be uncompromising and whole-hearted.

    Bah??’u’ll??h is equally unambiguous when he writes in the first lines of the Kit??b-i-Aqdas:

    The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. [Emphasis mine.]

    Shoghi Effendi also reminds us that to have faith means to submit to every word and command of Bah??’u’ll??h, no matter how ridiculous it may appear to you personally:

    Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perlexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

    There is no ambiguity, as far as I can see — clearly, a person who becomes a Bah??’? is expected to submit to the whole of the Bah??’? Faith. Indeed, it would seem that Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h went out of their way to leave no room for us to conclude that Bah??’?s can pick-and-choose what teachings to follow. So how did two educated young scholars like you and Eric come to the profoundly opposite conclusion? Let’s examine Eric’s arguments, shall we?

    Eric writes:

    When I pointed out the problems with inserting the phrase ?in its entirety? I met with some of the typical remarks I often hear from my co-religionists. A favorite one is ?you can’t pick and choose. You must accept everything.? Bad logic, of course, but it’s a popular notion.

    As we have already seen from what I have written above, this claim is actually not “bad logic,” but is scripturally based. In fact, there’s no “logic” involved here at all. It is sufficient to simply refer Eric to the writings of Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h.

    Eric writes:

    I responded as I often do, with the idea that if you accept everything in its entirety, then you accept the Kitab-i-Iqan, our ?Book of Certitude,? in which Baha’u’llah reveals to us that much scripture is in the language of metaphor, and not to be taken literally.

    Yes, Bah??’u’ll??h says in the Kit??b-i-??q??n that “much scripture is in the language of metaphor, and not to be taken literally,” but he never sanctions the individual believer to give authoritative interpretation or to reject the authority of interpretations made by himself, ‘Abdu’l-Bah??, or the Guardian. As the UHJ summarizes:

    A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed.

    So individuals are not given the right to pick-and-choose based on their own understanding. On the contrary, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? himself clearly forbids individuals from making any interpretation that might contradict the authoritative one:

    To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

    Eric writes:

    You must also accept the idea that we should use science and our rational thinking to enhance our understanding of our religion. You can’t reject that, because if you take the Baha’i Faith in its entirety, you can’t get away from such fundamental teachings.

    And what about science then? Aren’t Bah??’?s supposed to submit to the findings of science? No. Bah??’u’ll??h’s famously prescribes circular logic as the standard whereby he be judged:

    Say: O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men.

    Shoghi Effendi also is clear that where science and religion come into conflict, believers must subordinate the authority of scientists to that of religion:

    You see our whole approach to each matter is based on the belief that God sends us divinely inspired Educators; what they tell us is fundamentally true, what science tells us today is true; tomorrow may be entirely changed to better explain a new set of facts.

    This was ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s whole basis for denying the validity of Darwinism on dogmatic, religious grounds (that if man was ever animal, it would mean that man was imperfect; and that is unacceptable). The UHJ also reiterates this doctrine when they write:

    While it may often be the part of wisdom to approach individuals or an audience from a standpoint of current knowledge, it should never be overlooked that the Revelation of the Manifestation of God is the standard for all knowledge, and scientific statements and theories, no matter how close they may come to the eternal principles proclaimed by God’s Messenger, are in their very nature ephemeral and limited. Likewise, attempting to make the Bah??’? Faith relevant to modern society is to incur the grave risk of compromising the fundamental verities of our Faith in an effort to make it conform to current theories and practices.

    So despite all the admonitions of ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? to the opposite, the Bah??’? Faith is dogmatic through and through. And what’s more relevant to our discussion is that Bah??’?s are expected reflect that dogmatism. Bah??’u’ll??h’s words testify this fact:

    Blessed is the learned who doth not allow science to intervene as a veil between him and the Known, and when the Self-existent cometh, he advanceth unto Him with a bright face — verily he is of the divines, — by whose wit the people of paradise will be exalted, and by whose lamp whosoever is in heaven and earth will be illuminated.

    In fact, only insofar as science agrees with what the Bah??’? Faith claims is science to be regarded with any respect at all. The UHJ expresses this point when they write:

    The danger Bah??’? scholars must avoid is the distortion of religious truth, almost forcibly at times, to make it conform to understandings and perceptions current in the scientific world. True Bah??’? scholars should guard against this.

    Lastly, Eric writes:

    And, with that said, we do in fact pick and choose. […] Clearly one can see in photographs that ?Abdu’l-Baha, our perfect example, didn’t follow that law literally. So, we Baha’is do pick and choose which rules or teachings we accept literally and which we take metaphorically, and without any authorized interpreter left on this mortal plane, we really don’t have any persons with authority to tell us when we are correct or incorrect in our interpretations and understandings of the many metaphorical teachings.

    First of all, I want to argue that the examples Eric gives (not here cited) are not instances of Bah??’?s picking-and-choosing. It’s true that Bah??’u’ll??h prescribed that Bah??’?s be buried in crystal coffins, but he also gave them the option of being buried in “stone or hard fine wood.” Why did Eric ignore this? Moreover, the two laws that he mentions (burning arsonists and men’s hair length) are explicitly said by the UHJ to be for future generations. The UHJ, according to Bah??’u’ll??h, has the right to postpone when laws become applicable (although they cannot repeal them once they have made them applicable). Thus, there is no “picking and choosing” going on here, since those laws aren’t even in application yet.

    But let’s suppose that Eric was right that Bah??’?s do indeed pick and choose. Would that fact be relevant to our question? I will argue that it doesn’t matter. In this vein, it’s important to distinguish between what the Bah??’? Faith, as a religion, expects of Bah??’?s, and what expectations Bah??’?s actually fulfill. This is analogous to the distinction between what the state expects of its citizens and what laws the citizens actually follow. In a democracy, although the citizenry is (indirectly) responsible for what laws are passed, how the citizens behave at any one time nevertheless has no bearing on what laws they are expected to obey at that time. This is even more true in an authoritarian scheme like the one presented by the Bah??’? Faith. In a word, how Bah??’?s behave is utterly irrelevant with respect to the question of how they are expected to behave. To argue otherwise is to confuse is and ought, which surely does too much violence to the illustrious David Hume than we are willing to endure. Therefore, the (supposed) fact that Bah??’?s do actually pick-and-choose is irrelevant for answering the question of whether they can or whether they are allowed to pick-and-choose while remaining Bah??’?s.

    In a sense, of course, you can pick-and-choose what laws to follow and which to ignore while calling yourself a Bah??’?. You “can” do whatever you like. But I think that beyond being profoundly dishonest intellectually, it also contradicts the expectation of being a Bah??’? as found in the writings of the Central Figures, UHJ, and Shoghi Effendi.

    For these reasons, I think that a Bah??’? who wants to pick-and-choose should instead consider surrendering his membership and severing his affiliation with the religion. He will not only free himself of a lingering cognitive dissonance, but he will be happier for freeing his mind to think for himself and taking responsibility for his own imperatives. In this state, he can adopt for himself what he finds worthy of assent from the blissful writings of Bah??’u’ll??h (or anyone else who he finds inspirational) while refraining from committing himself to doctrines of whose truth he cannot convince himself.

  • The first thing that comes to my mind is, Why be a Bah??’? if you’re going to consciously pick-and-choose what laws to follow? It has always occurred to me that the distinction between someone who is a Bah??’? and an agnostic is that the latter can choose to adopt for himself whatever laws he finds worthy of assent in the writings of Bah??’u’ll??h (et al.) without additionally committing himself to imperatives that do not appear useful or the truth of claims he cannot verify for himself. The Bah??’? does not have this luxury. The Bah??’? is committed (in virtue of being a Bah??’?) to the whole of the teachings of his religion. He does not get to pick and choose. As Shoghi Effendi unambiguously states:

    To follow Bah??’u’ll??h does not mean accepting some of His teachings and rejecting the rest. Allegiance to His Cause must be uncompromising and whole-hearted.

    Bah??’u’ll??h is equally unambiguous when he writes in the first lines of the Kit??b-i-Aqdas:

    The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other. [Emphasis mine.]

    Shoghi Effendi also reminds us that to have faith means to submit to every word and command of Bah??’u’ll??h, no matter how ridiculous it may appear to you personally:

    Is not faith but another word for implicit obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however perlexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings, the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age?

    There is no ambiguity, as far as I can see — clearly, a person who becomes a Bah??’? is expected to submit to the whole of the Bah??’? Faith. Indeed, it would seem that Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h went out of their way to leave no room for us to conclude that Bah??’?s can pick-and-choose what teachings to follow. So how did two educated young scholars like you and Eric come to the profoundly opposite conclusion? Let’s examine Eric’s arguments, shall we?

    Eric writes:

    When I pointed out the problems with inserting the phrase ?in its entirety? I met with some of the typical remarks I often hear from my co-religionists. A favorite one is ?you can’t pick and choose. You must accept everything.? Bad logic, of course, but it’s a popular notion.

    As we have already seen from what I have written above, this claim is actually not “bad logic,” but is scripturally based. In fact, there’s no “logic” involved here at all. It is sufficient to simply refer Eric to the writings of Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h.

    Eric writes:

    I responded as I often do, with the idea that if you accept everything in its entirety, then you accept the Kitab-i-Iqan, our ?Book of Certitude,? in which Baha’u’llah reveals to us that much scripture is in the language of metaphor, and not to be taken literally.

    Yes, Bah??’u’ll??h says in the Kit??b-i-??q??n that “much scripture is in the language of metaphor, and not to be taken literally,” but he never sanctions the individual believer to give authoritative interpretation or to reject the authority of interpretations made by himself, ‘Abdu’l-Bah??, or the Guardian. As the UHJ summarizes:

    A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed.

    So individuals are not given the right to pick-and-choose based on their own understanding. On the contrary, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? himself clearly forbids individuals from making any interpretation that might contradict the authoritative one:

    To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

    Eric writes:

    You must also accept the idea that we should use science and our rational thinking to enhance our understanding of our religion. You can’t reject that, because if you take the Baha’i Faith in its entirety, you can’t get away from such fundamental teachings.

    And what about science then? Aren’t Bah??’?s supposed to submit to the findings of science? No. Bah??’u’ll??h’s famously prescribes circular logic as the standard whereby he be judged:

    Say: O leaders of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men.

    Shoghi Effendi also is clear that where science and religion come into conflict, believers must subordinate the authority of scientists to that of religion:

    You see our whole approach to each matter is based on the belief that God sends us divinely inspired Educators; what they tell us is fundamentally true, what science tells us today is true; tomorrow may be entirely changed to better explain a new set of facts.

    This was ‘Abdu’l-Bah??’s whole basis for denying the validity of Darwinism on dogmatic, religious grounds (that if man was ever animal, it would mean that man was imperfect; and that is unacceptable). The UHJ also reiterates this doctrine when they write:

    While it may often be the part of wisdom to approach individuals or an audience from a standpoint of current knowledge, it should never be overlooked that the Revelation of the Manifestation of God is the standard for all knowledge, and scientific statements and theories, no matter how close they may come to the eternal principles proclaimed by God’s Messenger, are in their very nature ephemeral and limited. Likewise, attempting to make the Bah??’? Faith relevant to modern society is to incur the grave risk of compromising the fundamental verities of our Faith in an effort to make it conform to current theories and practices.

    So despite all the admonitions of ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? to the opposite, the Bah??’? Faith is dogmatic through and through. And what’s more relevant to our discussion is that Bah??’?s are expected reflect that dogmatism. Bah??’u’ll??h’s words testify this fact:

    Blessed is the learned who doth not allow science to intervene as a veil between him and the Known, and when the Self-existent cometh, he advanceth unto Him with a bright face — verily he is of the divines, — by whose wit the people of paradise will be exalted, and by whose lamp whosoever is in heaven and earth will be illuminated.

    In fact, only insofar as science agrees with what the Bah??’? Faith claims is science to be regarded with any respect at all. The UHJ expresses this point when they write:

    The danger Bah??’? scholars must avoid is the distortion of religious truth, almost forcibly at times, to make it conform to understandings and perceptions current in the scientific world. True Bah??’? scholars should guard against this.

    Lastly, Eric writes:

    And, with that said, we do in fact pick and choose. […] Clearly one can see in photographs that ?Abdu’l-Baha, our perfect example, didn’t follow that law literally. So, we Baha’is do pick and choose which rules or teachings we accept literally and which we take metaphorically, and without any authorized interpreter left on this mortal plane, we really don’t have any persons with authority to tell us when we are correct or incorrect in our interpretations and understandings of the many metaphorical teachings.

    First of all, I want to argue that the examples Eric gives (not here cited) are not instances of Bah??’?s picking-and-choosing. It’s true that Bah??’u’ll??h prescribed that Bah??’?s be buried in crystal coffins, but he also gave them the option of being buried in “stone or hard fine wood.” Why did Eric ignore this? Moreover, the two laws that he mentions (burning arsonists and men’s hair length) are explicitly said by the UHJ to be for future generations. The UHJ, according to Bah??’u’ll??h, has the right to postpone when laws become applicable (although they cannot repeal them once they have made them applicable). Thus, there is no “picking and choosing” going on here, since those laws aren’t even in application yet.

    But let’s suppose that Eric was right that Bah??’?s do indeed pick and choose. Would that fact be relevant to our question? I will argue that it doesn’t matter. In this vein, it’s important to distinguish between what the Bah??’? Faith, as a religion, expects of Bah??’?s, and what expectations Bah??’?s actually fulfill. This is analogous to the distinction between what the state expects of its citizens and what laws the citizens actually follow. In a democracy, although the citizenry is (indirectly) responsible for what laws are passed, how the citizens behave at any one time nevertheless has no bearing on what laws they are expected to obey at that time. This is even more true in an authoritarian scheme like the one presented by the Bah??’? Faith. In a word, how Bah??’?s behave is utterly irrelevant with respect to the question of how they are expected to behave. To argue otherwise is to confuse is and ought, which surely does too much violence to the illustrious David Hume than we are willing to endure. Therefore, the (supposed) fact that Bah??’?s do actually pick-and-choose is irrelevant for answering the question of whether they can or whether they are allowed to pick-and-choose while remaining Bah??’?s.

    In a sense, of course, you can pick-and-choose what laws to follow and which to ignore while calling yourself a Bah??’?. You “can” do whatever you like. But I think that beyond being profoundly dishonest intellectually, it also contradicts the expectation of being a Bah??’? as found in the writings of the Central Figures, UHJ, and Shoghi Effendi.

    For these reasons, I think that a Bah??’? who wants to pick-and-choose should instead consider surrendering his membership and severing his affiliation with the religion. He will not only free himself of a lingering cognitive dissonance, but he will be happier for freeing his mind to think for himself and taking responsibility for his own imperatives. In this state, he can adopt for himself what he finds worthy of assent from the blissful writings of Bah??’u’ll??h (or anyone else who he finds inspirational) while refraining from committing himself to doctrines of whose truth he cannot convince himself.

  • Anonymous

    On his blog, Eric also mentions a fourth reason why picking-and-choosing is (supposedly) justified:

    Shoghi Effendi emphasized, in his published work (The Promised Day is Come) that the Baha’i Faith accepts, at least to some degree, the idea of relative truth. So, part of not picking and choosing is accepting the official Baha’i statements that compel us to do some picking and choosing. The Baha’i religion assumes a well-educated body of believers who prize critical thinking (rational faculties), and who accept as a core belief the idea that some aspects of religious teachings are appropriate according to contextual considerations (culture, time in history, readiness of people to listen or understand, etc.) That’s my answer for my co-religionists who tell me “we can’t pick and choose.”

    It would seem that the implicit argument that Eric is making is that since truth is relative, and Bah??’?s are expected to be intelligent people; therefore, individual Bah??’?s are responsible for deciding what scriptures are relevant for the age in which they live. Although intuitively plausible, this is manifestly contrary to the intention of the actual Bah??’? scripture. The whole idea behind the Bah??’? Faith is that humanity is too stupid to figure out what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false without the help of Divine manifestations to guide us aright.’Abdu’l-Bah?? summarizes this point when he writes:

    If there were no educator, there would be no such things as comforts, civilization or humanity. If a man be left alone in a wilderness where he sees none of his own kind, he will undoubtedly become a mere brute; it is then clear that an educator is needed.

    Never mind the obviously contradictory nature of this doctrine (it considers humanity utterly depraved morally without the help of God while simultaneously expecting us to be able to identify God’s manifestations by their goodly signs). Just notice that the Bah??’? view of humanity is one of depravity. Thus, that truth is relative only means that the manifestation of God has the right to change what laws are imperative depending on the exigences of the time. It does not follow that humanity has the right to do the same independent of God’s sanction. So the fact that Bah??’?s are expected to be intelligent only means that they are expected to be able to recognize that the Bah??’? Faith is the “correct” religion for today, not that they are supposed to think for themselves or decide what laws of Bah??’u’ll??h are relevant.

    On the contrary, (as we see in my above post) they are told to submit completely and unconditionally without regard for whether they understand why the particular laws are true. In short, the relativity of truth in the Bah??’? Faith does not allow room for free thinking about what laws are imperative and what descriptions about humanity and the world are truths. If you want to be a free thinker, be a freethinker. But don’t call yourself a Bah??’? if you expect people to understand that you are a freethinker. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • On his blog, Eric also mentions a fourth reason why picking-and-choosing is (supposedly) justified:

    Shoghi Effendi emphasized, in his published work (The Promised Day is Come) that the Baha’i Faith accepts, at least to some degree, the idea of relative truth. So, part of not picking and choosing is accepting the official Baha’i statements that compel us to do some picking and choosing. The Baha’i religion assumes a well-educated body of believers who prize critical thinking (rational faculties), and who accept as a core belief the idea that some aspects of religious teachings are appropriate according to contextual considerations (culture, time in history, readiness of people to listen or understand, etc.) That’s my answer for my co-religionists who tell me “we can’t pick and choose.”

    It would seem that the implicit argument that Eric is making is that since truth is relative, and Bah??’?s are expected to be intelligent people; therefore, individual Bah??’?s are responsible for deciding what scriptures are relevant for the age in which they live. Although intuitively plausible, this is manifestly contrary to the intention of the actual Bah??’? scripture. The whole idea behind the Bah??’? Faith is that humanity is too stupid to figure out what is good or bad, right or wrong, true or false without the help of Divine manifestations to guide us aright.’Abdu’l-Bah?? summarizes this point when he writes:

    If there were no educator, there would be no such things as comforts, civilization or humanity. If a man be left alone in a wilderness where he sees none of his own kind, he will undoubtedly become a mere brute; it is then clear that an educator is needed.

    Never mind the obviously contradictory nature of this doctrine (it considers humanity utterly depraved morally without the help of God while simultaneously expecting us to be able to identify God’s manifestations by their goodly signs). Just notice that the Bah??’? view of humanity is one of depravity. Thus, that truth is relative only means that the manifestation of God has the right to change what laws are imperative depending on the exigences of the time. It does not follow that humanity has the right to do the same independent of God’s sanction. So the fact that Bah??’?s are expected to be intelligent only means that they are expected to be able to recognize that the Bah??’? Faith is the “correct” religion for today, not that they are supposed to think for themselves or decide what laws of Bah??’u’ll??h are relevant.

    On the contrary, (as we see in my above post) they are told to submit completely and unconditionally without regard for whether they understand why the particular laws are true. In short, the relativity of truth in the Bah??’? Faith does not allow room for free thinking about what laws are imperative and what descriptions about humanity and the world are truths. If you want to be a free thinker, be a freethinker. But don’t call yourself a Bah??’? if you expect people to understand that you are a freethinker. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • Matt

    If I would have read all of that nearly three years ago when I began my membership in the Baha’i Faith, I would have hit the ground running as far as possible in a completely different direction.

    It took nearly three years to really understand the game’s rules, and I discovered that I did not want to play anymore.

    But if Shoghi Effendi said Baha’is should accept all of the Texts without question, then does that not also go for the Texts that free-thinkers and liberals like to quote?

    Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to blindly imitate his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind.

    Admittedly, I am used to the people who discourage individuality and autonomy at the altar of dependency and conformity using the “You can’t pick and choose” argument. But, if what I just quoted is also part of the Baha’i Scriptures, then that as well has to be “taken with the whole.” I couldn’t reconcile it, so I decided to leave the Faith because I couldn’t both be an independent searcher and a blind submitter at the same time.

    peace,

  • Matt

    If I would have read all of that nearly three years ago when I began my membership in the Baha’i Faith, I would have hit the ground running as far as possible in a completely different direction.

    It took nearly three years to really understand the game’s rules, and I discovered that I did not want to play anymore.

    But if Shoghi Effendi said Baha’is should accept all of the Texts without question, then does that not also go for the Texts that free-thinkers and liberals like to quote?

    Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to blindly imitate his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind.

    Admittedly, I am used to the people who discourage individuality and autonomy at the altar of dependency and conformity using the “You can’t pick and choose” argument. But, if what I just quoted is also part of the Baha’i Scriptures, then that as well has to be “taken with the whole.” I couldn’t reconcile it, so I decided to leave the Faith because I couldn’t both be an independent searcher and a blind submitter at the same time.

    peace,

  • concourse_on_low

    Matt,

    Simply put, Bahai scripture is inconsistent and self-contradictory, precipitating cognitive dissonance in individuals who actually read the scriptures (beyond just “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”) and think seriously and deeply about them.

    I, too, decided that being a freethinker and a Bahai are mutually, and irredeemably, at odds.

  • concourse_on_low

    Matt,

    Simply put, Bahai scripture is inconsistent and self-contradictory, precipitating cognitive dissonance in individuals who actually read the scriptures (beyond just “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”) and think seriously and deeply about them.

    I, too, decided that being a freethinker and a Bahai are mutually, and irredeemably, at odds.

  • Andrew

    A polite term for apologetics is mental gymnastics, but in essence it is sophistry and prevarication. Apologetics requires the fabrication of justifications for why God or his alleged Manifestation does or does not mean what his scriptures appear to state or imply he means. The apologist tactic is to accuse the skeptic of being misinformed or of taking the scriptures out of context. The apologist will switch between literal and spiritual interpretations and redefine the meaning of words as needed. Thank you for helping to clarify the confusion.

  • Andrew

    A polite term for apologetics is mental gymnastics, but in essence it is sophistry and prevarication. Apologetics requires the fabrication of justifications for why God or his alleged Manifestation does or does not mean what his scriptures appear to state or imply he means. The apologist tactic is to accuse the skeptic of being misinformed or of taking the scriptures out of context. The apologist will switch between literal and spiritual interpretations and redefine the meaning of words as needed. Thank you for helping to clarify the confusion.

  • Randy Burns

    I think some are missing Eric’s and Baha’u’llah’s point in all this: namely that the path to Gnosis (Irfan in the original) or the True Understanding of the believer (as Shoghi Effendi translated it) must account for all the natural contradictions in man–but the result of such a full accounting is not a contradiction, rather it is what we term wisdom.

    Cheers, Randy

  • Randy Burns

    I think some are missing Eric’s and Baha’u’llah’s point in all this: namely that the path to Gnosis (Irfan in the original) or the True Understanding of the believer (as Shoghi Effendi translated it) must account for all the natural contradictions in man–but the result of such a full accounting is not a contradiction, rather it is what we term wisdom.

    Cheers, Randy

  • concourse_on_low

    You’re totally on the mark, Andrew.

    Scriptural ambiguity and contradiction give rise to the industry of priestcraft, particularly theology and apologetics (partisan exegetes).

    When a believer or investigator flags an inconsistency or contradiction, the apologist reassures the individual by appropriating discursive vernacular to offer convoluted explanations and covers. When the individual remonstrates, his or her motives and spiritual “receptiveness” are maligned.

  • concourse_on_low

    You’re totally on the mark, Andrew.

    Scriptural ambiguity and contradiction give rise to the industry of priestcraft, particularly theology and apologetics (partisan exegetes).

    When a believer or investigator flags an inconsistency or contradiction, the apologist reassures the individual by appropriating discursive vernacular to offer convoluted explanations and covers. When the individual remonstrates, his or her motives and spiritual “receptiveness” are maligned.

  • Brian

    It’s generally a simple matter to select quotations from the Writings that support both a given position and its opposite. In the present context, we have:

    God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.

    `Abdu’l-Bah??, “MAN AND NATURE”, Bah??’? World Faith p. 235-242

  • Brian

    It’s generally a simple matter to select quotations from the Writings that support both a given position and its opposite. In the present context, we have:

    God has endowed man with intelligence and reason whereby he is required to determine the verity of questions and propositions. If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation.

    `Abdu’l-Bah??, “MAN AND NATURE”, Bah??’? World Faith p. 235-242

  • concourse_on_low

    “Polysyllabic pretentious 10 cent words”

    Awful lot of syllables there to make a point about terse writing.

  • concourse_on_low

    “Polysyllabic pretentious 10 cent words”

    Awful lot of syllables there to make a point about terse writing.

  • concourse_on_low

    Just want to add another quote. This one clearly claims that there is an asymmetric relationship between science and religion, that is, religion must yield to science, not vice versa.

    Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth. Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.
    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 287)

  • concourse_on_low

    Just want to add another quote. This one clearly claims that there is an asymmetric relationship between science and religion, that is, religion must yield to science, not vice versa.

    Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth. Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.
    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 287)

  • Anonymous

    It’s generally a simple matter to select quotations from the Writings that support both a given position and its opposite.

    Yes, you are right, of course. That a single source of literature can provide both support and opposition to the same conclusion is the technical definition of contradiction. What we see here is a single example of contradiction in a religion full of contradictions. The believers, not willing to admit of internal struggle in their religion, take these contradictions as two extremes between which they are supposed to “moderate” themselves, as if the text never means what it says. Why the authors of the religion didn’t simply prescribe the moderate path explicitly is, of course, never explained.

    It seems to me that Bah??’u’ll??h, Shoghi Effendi, and ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? sincerely struggled with these issues and grappled with them in their minds. In certain contexts, they were more assured of one position than the other, but in those contexts, they would forget that they had already committed themselves to the opposite position. For example, when speaking generally, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? freely admitted that religion should submit to the findings of science. He readily makes this admission in many places and he seemed to take it seriously.

    And yet, when it came time for him to abandon his dogmas in the face of opposing scientific evidence, he clung ever more fervently to his mythical presupposition that man has always been separate from the animal kingdom. Never mind that he had no formal training in biology, never read Darwin nor conducted any investigation into the matter. ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was convinced on a priori grounds, without any evidence, that humans were distinct from animals.

    This same general principle is used by Shoghi Effendi, the UHJ, and by Bah??’?s today. When faced with the contradictions between modern scientific findings and the Bah??’? teachings (e.g., regarding the nature of homosexuality, life on other planets, the biological ancestry of humans, or the luminiferous aether), Bah??’?s will always “hold out” for “better science” that confirms their presuppositions, rather than submit to the findings of modern science. This is because their beliefs are not based on evidence or reason, but rather on trust in the dogmas of their religion.

    These innumerable conceptual tensions, idealogical battles and blatant contradictions that the Bah??’? central figures had with one another (and with themselves) is the surest sign of the lowly origins of this religion. That they didn’t even realize that they were contradicting one another is even surer evidence yet.

    Anyway, the point is simply that even though Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h taught that people should investigate the truth for themselves, they nevertheless also taught that, in the final analysis, no one should question their authority. It is not meant for man to question his lord, and to that extent, it does seem that investigation of truth within the Bah??’? Faith is (at best) limited. But I think the situation is more sinister than that.

  • It’s generally a simple matter to select quotations from the Writings that support both a given position and its opposite.

    Yes, you are right, of course. That a single source of literature can provide both support and opposition to the same conclusion is the technical definition of contradiction. What we see here is a single example of contradiction in a religion full of contradictions. The believers, not willing to admit of internal struggle in their religion, take these contradictions as two extremes between which they are supposed to “moderate” themselves, as if the text never means what it says. Why the authors of the religion didn’t simply prescribe the moderate path explicitly is, of course, never explained.

    It seems to me that Bah??’u’ll??h, Shoghi Effendi, and ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? sincerely struggled with these issues and grappled with them in their minds. In certain contexts, they were more assured of one position than the other, but in those contexts, they would forget that they had already committed themselves to the opposite position. For example, when speaking generally, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? freely admitted that religion should submit to the findings of science. He readily makes this admission in many places and he seemed to take it seriously.

    And yet, when it came time for him to abandon his dogmas in the face of opposing scientific evidence, he clung ever more fervently to his mythical presupposition that man has always been separate from the animal kingdom. Never mind that he had no formal training in biology, never read Darwin nor conducted any investigation into the matter. ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? was convinced on a priori grounds, without any evidence, that humans were distinct from animals.

    This same general principle is used by Shoghi Effendi, the UHJ, and by Bah??’?s today. When faced with the contradictions between modern scientific findings and the Bah??’? teachings (e.g., regarding the nature of homosexuality, life on other planets, the biological ancestry of humans, or the luminiferous aether), Bah??’?s will always “hold out” for “better science” that confirms their presuppositions, rather than submit to the findings of modern science. This is because their beliefs are not based on evidence or reason, but rather on trust in the dogmas of their religion.

    These innumerable conceptual tensions, idealogical battles and blatant contradictions that the Bah??’? central figures had with one another (and with themselves) is the surest sign of the lowly origins of this religion. That they didn’t even realize that they were contradicting one another is even surer evidence yet.

    Anyway, the point is simply that even though Shoghi Effendi and Bah??’u’ll??h taught that people should investigate the truth for themselves, they nevertheless also taught that, in the final analysis, no one should question their authority. It is not meant for man to question his lord, and to that extent, it does seem that investigation of truth within the Bah??’? Faith is (at best) limited. But I think the situation is more sinister than that.

  • Anonymous

    the path to Gnosis (Irfan in the original) or the True Understanding of the believer (as Shoghi Effendi translated it) must account for all the natural contradictions in man–but the result of such a full accounting is not a contradiction, rather it is what we term wisdom.

    Randy, could you clarify what you mean here? It seems like you’re just asserting that there is no contradiction between the things I’ve written and Eric’s claim that Bah??’? can pick and choose. But isn’t this just begging the question? It sure seems like there is a contradiction, right? So how do you reconcile it? Do you simply ignore the problem and assume there is a solution? Surely an apparent contradiction is not justifiably termed “wisdom” unless we can see why it is not a contradiction, right?

    And what are these “contradictions in man” that you speak of? Do you mean opposing tendencies? But surely opposing tendencies are not contradictions, per se, but merely conflicts of interest within people. Unless a person simultaneously entertains both tendencies (that are supposedly at odds), then there is no contradiction. Am I understanding you? Can you clarify?

    Thanks!

  • the path to Gnosis (Irfan in the original) or the True Understanding of the believer (as Shoghi Effendi translated it) must account for all the natural contradictions in man–but the result of such a full accounting is not a contradiction, rather it is what we term wisdom.

    Randy, could you clarify what you mean here? It seems like you’re just asserting that there is no contradiction between the things I’ve written and Eric’s claim that Bah??’? can pick and choose. But isn’t this just begging the question? It sure seems like there is a contradiction, right? So how do you reconcile it? Do you simply ignore the problem and assume there is a solution? Surely an apparent contradiction is not justifiably termed “wisdom” unless we can see why it is not a contradiction, right?

    And what are these “contradictions in man” that you speak of? Do you mean opposing tendencies? But surely opposing tendencies are not contradictions, per se, but merely conflicts of interest within people. Unless a person simultaneously entertains both tendencies (that are supposedly at odds), then there is no contradiction. Am I understanding you? Can you clarify?

    Thanks!

  • Randy Burns

    Hi Mavaddat, Well I don’ think Eric is saying it is “Okay” to pick and choose, rather he is saying we “must” pick and choose because no one of us is “big” enough to encapsulate the entire revelation. You have to start where you are and proceed onwards, that always entails picking and choosing. Nature itself forces us to pick and choose, its not by choice–so to pretend otherwise, to pretend that we can somehow avoid this picking and choosing is to willfully ignore the human condition.

    So how do we “solve” this problem of the human condition? By accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it “holistically.” That is the entrance to the hallway of wisdom. Part of that acceptance is to understand that people will always pick and choose because it is human nature, there is no way to change that.

    The resolution to all the contradictions then is simply that by nature we are hybrid creatures, an amalgam of spirit and dirt, and that full acceptance of this dualistic or hybrid nature can bring inner peace. The idea here is that the two natures must be fully fused by the fire of experience, so that the soul of man (enriched by the two fundamentally opposed elements of spirit and matter) can arise like the Phoenix to a new life.

    To attempt to divorce the two parts of the human being, and either become all dirt or all spirit, is not the path of success, at least according to Baha’u’llah. Of course to “become what you already are” means gaining a full understanding of all aspects of the self, both high and low, and life generally does a pretty good job of that if we accept all our life lessons in full.

    Anybody with an interest in really discussing these things might want to get on Talisman9 at Yahoo. I have also started a group for discussing the Iqan, but no one is there yet:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Iqan/

    If you have any interest, just join.

    Peace, Randy

  • Randy Burns

    Hi Mavaddat, Well I don’ think Eric is saying it is “Okay” to pick and choose, rather he is saying we “must” pick and choose because no one of us is “big” enough to encapsulate the entire revelation. You have to start where you are and proceed onwards, that always entails picking and choosing. Nature itself forces us to pick and choose, its not by choice–so to pretend otherwise, to pretend that we can somehow avoid this picking and choosing is to willfully ignore the human condition.

    So how do we “solve” this problem of the human condition? By accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it “holistically.” That is the entrance to the hallway of wisdom. Part of that acceptance is to understand that people will always pick and choose because it is human nature, there is no way to change that.

    The resolution to all the contradictions then is simply that by nature we are hybrid creatures, an amalgam of spirit and dirt, and that full acceptance of this dualistic or hybrid nature can bring inner peace. The idea here is that the two natures must be fully fused by the fire of experience, so that the soul of man (enriched by the two fundamentally opposed elements of spirit and matter) can arise like the Phoenix to a new life.

    To attempt to divorce the two parts of the human being, and either become all dirt or all spirit, is not the path of success, at least according to Baha’u’llah. Of course to “become what you already are” means gaining a full understanding of all aspects of the self, both high and low, and life generally does a pretty good job of that if we accept all our life lessons in full.

    Anybody with an interest in really discussing these things might want to get on Talisman9 at Yahoo. I have also started a group for discussing the Iqan, but no one is there yet:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Iqan/

    If you have any interest, just join.

    Peace, Randy

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “?Abdu’l-Bah?? was convinced on a priori grounds, without any evidence, that humans were distinct from animals.”

    How does one define Truth? Truth (in the theological sense) depends entirely on the parameters one uses to define it. Both the Catholic Church and the Baha’i Faith are locked into an Aristotelian philosophical orientation that has led their collective thinking to certain conclusions. It was Aristotelian philosophy that reigned during the Middle Ages, a mode of thinking that sought Turth through inference from pre-existing premises, rather than Facts from hypotheses based on observed phenomena.

    In his book “Intellectual Traditions in Islam,” Farhad Daftary writes:

    “The Bab wrote a tafsir of the Surat Yusuf (Sura 12) of the Qur’an. What he seems to have done is to express his opinion, at least in the end. There are, in his work, some vestiges of what might be called the orthodox technique, but in the end he simply used the Qur’an as a prompt to express his own religious experience. In the course of his lifetime, he was both perceived to be, and in the end claimed to be, the founder of a new religion. It was a deviation from orthodoxy, an abandonment of tradition, which is symbolized in his failure to acknowledge in his tafsir the experience of the community — I mean here the intellectual experience represented in generations of exegetical activity. It is perhaps odd, and it does not sound like the religion we so often hear about, and yet it is insistently the case: the intellectual tradition of Islam is one which makes it a requirement that each succeeding generation look at and take into consideration the work of the preceding generations. It is not a religion which, from generation to generation, goes back to the original words of scripture and revelation. When a scholar makes this attempt to go back to the original sources and to look at them with an unprejudiced eye (if there is such a thing), people are not sure about this and, in the case of the Bab, he is liable to rejection.” Likewise, Jesus is not accepted as an exponent of Judaism, nor are the Christian Gospels accepted within Judaism, because Jesus is seen by them as anti-nationalistic, cosmopolitan, antinomian and accepting of foreigners and persons with perceived impurities.

    As one wag has written, “A lot of modern legalists would cringe at the idea that Jesus was antinomian, but that seems to be the most fair interpretation of his life we can give him. To Jesus, principles were always above the law and its specifics.” I believe it was Eric Stetson who once wrote, “The Bab was a lunatic.” Precisely. And if the Bab was a lunatic, Tahirih was a moonstruck madwoman. The Bab was martyred and the Babi community was demoralised. How could this be reconciled with the promises of scripture? A literalist approach to scripture interpretation would seek and even require such reconciliation, but an antinomian one would not. These questions gave Baha’u’llah was able to consolidate his position within the Babi community through his interpretation of passages about the promised Day of God in both the Qur’an and the Bayan: thus his adamant insistence on the recognition of his station as the source of his spiritual legitimacy and his appropriation of religious power as a personal privilege. Opportunists create religions in order to gain power; religious institutions need stable communities over which to exercise their authority. Jesus rejected all attempts to invest him with political power; Tahirih announced “no commandments, no prohibitions and no castigation.” Hardly a recipe for theocratic religion, but quite amenable to change and highly congruent with modernity.

  • Andrew

    Mavaddat wrote:

    “?Abdu’l-Bah?? was convinced on a priori grounds, without any evidence, that humans were distinct from animals.”

    How does one define Truth? Truth (in the theological sense) depends entirely on the parameters one uses to define it. Both the Catholic Church and the Baha’i Faith are locked into an Aristotelian philosophical orientation that has led their collective thinking to certain conclusions. It was Aristotelian philosophy that reigned during the Middle Ages, a mode of thinking that sought Turth through inference from pre-existing premises, rather than Facts from hypotheses based on observed phenomena.

    In his book “Intellectual Traditions in Islam,” Farhad Daftary writes:

    “The Bab wrote a tafsir of the Surat Yusuf (Sura 12) of the Qur’an. What he seems to have done is to express his opinion, at least in the end. There are, in his work, some vestiges of what might be called the orthodox technique, but in the end he simply used the Qur’an as a prompt to express his own religious experience. In the course of his lifetime, he was both perceived to be, and in the end claimed to be, the founder of a new religion. It was a deviation from orthodoxy, an abandonment of tradition, which is symbolized in his failure to acknowledge in his tafsir the experience of the community — I mean here the intellectual experience represented in generations of exegetical activity. It is perhaps odd, and it does not sound like the religion we so often hear about, and yet it is insistently the case: the intellectual tradition of Islam is one which makes it a requirement that each succeeding generation look at and take into consideration the work of the preceding generations. It is not a religion which, from generation to generation, goes back to the original words of scripture and revelation. When a scholar makes this attempt to go back to the original sources and to look at them with an unprejudiced eye (if there is such a thing), people are not sure about this and, in the case of the Bab, he is liable to rejection.” Likewise, Jesus is not accepted as an exponent of Judaism, nor are the Christian Gospels accepted within Judaism, because Jesus is seen by them as anti-nationalistic, cosmopolitan, antinomian and accepting of foreigners and persons with perceived impurities.

    As one wag has written, “A lot of modern legalists would cringe at the idea that Jesus was antinomian, but that seems to be the most fair interpretation of his life we can give him. To Jesus, principles were always above the law and its specifics.” I believe it was Eric Stetson who once wrote, “The Bab was a lunatic.” Precisely. And if the Bab was a lunatic, Tahirih was a moonstruck madwoman. The Bab was martyred and the Babi community was demoralised. How could this be reconciled with the promises of scripture? A literalist approach to scripture interpretation would seek and even require such reconciliation, but an antinomian one would not. These questions gave Baha’u’llah was able to consolidate his position within the Babi community through his interpretation of passages about the promised Day of God in both the Qur’an and the Bayan: thus his adamant insistence on the recognition of his station as the source of his spiritual legitimacy and his appropriation of religious power as a personal privilege. Opportunists create religions in order to gain power; religious institutions need stable communities over which to exercise their authority. Jesus rejected all attempts to invest him with political power; Tahirih announced “no commandments, no prohibitions and no castigation.” Hardly a recipe for theocratic religion, but quite amenable to change and highly congruent with modernity.

  • Matt

    Nature itself forces us to pick and choose, its not by choice–so to pretend otherwise, to pretend that we can somehow avoid this picking and choosing is to willfully ignore the human condition.

    So how do we ?solve? this problem of the human condition? By accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it ?holistically.? That is the entrance to the hallway of wisdom. Part of that acceptance is to understand that people will always pick and choose because it is human nature, there is no way to change that.

    I agree with this statement that picking and choosing is part of our human nature, and to avoid it would be to willfully ignore the human condition. I don’t think your solution will work within the Baha’i context because you used the phrase “accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it ‘holistically.'”

    In my understanding, the Baha’i System does not allow for a holistic approach to spirituality and/or the Baha’i Teachings. It also will not admit of contradictions. Any perceived contradiction is “evidence” of the person’s mis-understanding of what the Text “really” means. What I think is one of the main causes for confusion is the lack of historical context in regards to the Texts.

    In the Islamic tradition, there is an entire system devoted to finding the exact historical context for each verse that was written in the Qur’an. This was because the Qur’an was recited with the assumption that the hearer already knows the context, unlike the Bible which has the history built in the book itself. I see no tradition in the Baha’i context. I’m not implying that we would still disagree with some of the Writings, but we would at least know what was going on so it doesn’t just appear to be a bunch of books that came out of nowhere during a period of forty years.

    To attempt to divorce the two parts of the human being, and either become all dirt or all spirit, is not the path of success, at least according to Baha’u’llah. Of course to ?become what you already are? means gaining a full understanding of all aspects of the self, both high and low, and life generally does a pretty good job of that if we accept all our life lessons in full.

    Once again I agree with what you write, but it seems to me that Baha’u’llah abandoned this mysticism in favor of mystic-legalism, which is not very different to the solution that Al-Ghazali proposed some centuries before Baha’u’llah. It’s the idea that following the Law can be a mystical experience itself. This was supposed to bridge the gap between the mystics and the orthodox. The mystics didn’t like the Law much and favored spiritual experiences over correct ritual practice. The orthodox saw the Law as something that must be followed regardless if it makes them happy or not. Whether it gives them a spiritual experience or not, whether they feel depressed or not; they must practice the rituals with correct precision. God demands it. Both Al-Ghazali and Baha’u’llah observed this division and sought to mystify the Law so that the mystics would be bound by some limits, and the orthodox would feel the “essence” of their faith and not just follow rituals for the sake of following rituals. It sounds good in theory, but it can get scary at times. For instance, when a Baha’i boldly believes that burning an arsonist as punishment for committing arson is part of the “choice wine unsealed by the fingers of Might and Glory”; is a bit scary.

    And the same goes for Muslims who think cutting the hands off of thieves is “glorious.” Crime and Punishment serve a purpose in any justice system, yes. But, to mystify Law is irksome to me.

  • Matt

    Nature itself forces us to pick and choose, its not by choice–so to pretend otherwise, to pretend that we can somehow avoid this picking and choosing is to willfully ignore the human condition.

    So how do we ?solve? this problem of the human condition? By accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it ?holistically.? That is the entrance to the hallway of wisdom. Part of that acceptance is to understand that people will always pick and choose because it is human nature, there is no way to change that.

    I agree with this statement that picking and choosing is part of our human nature, and to avoid it would be to willfully ignore the human condition. I don’t think your solution will work within the Baha’i context because you used the phrase “accepting it in all its contradictory aspects, by approaching it ‘holistically.'”

    In my understanding, the Baha’i System does not allow for a holistic approach to spirituality and/or the Baha’i Teachings. It also will not admit of contradictions. Any perceived contradiction is “evidence” of the person’s mis-understanding of what the Text “really” means. What I think is one of the main causes for confusion is the lack of historical context in regards to the Texts.

    In the Islamic tradition, there is an entire system devoted to finding the exact historical context for each verse that was written in the Qur’an. This was because the Qur’an was recited with the assumption that the hearer already knows the context, unlike the Bible which has the history built in the book itself. I see no tradition in the Baha’i context. I’m not implying that we would still disagree with some of the Writings, but we would at least know what was going on so it doesn’t just appear to be a bunch of books that came out of nowhere during a period of forty years.

    To attempt to divorce the two parts of the human being, and either become all dirt or all spirit, is not the path of success, at least according to Baha’u’llah. Of course to ?become what you already are? means gaining a full understanding of all aspects of the self, both high and low, and life generally does a pretty good job of that if we accept all our life lessons in full.

    Once again I agree with what you write, but it seems to me that Baha’u’llah abandoned this mysticism in favor of mystic-legalism, which is not very different to the solution that Al-Ghazali proposed some centuries before Baha’u’llah. It’s the idea that following the Law can be a mystical experience itself. This was supposed to bridge the gap between the mystics and the orthodox. The mystics didn’t like the Law much and favored spiritual experiences over correct ritual practice. The orthodox saw the Law as something that must be followed regardless if it makes them happy or not. Whether it gives them a spiritual experience or not, whether they feel depressed or not; they must practice the rituals with correct precision. God demands it. Both Al-Ghazali and Baha’u’llah observed this division and sought to mystify the Law so that the mystics would be bound by some limits, and the orthodox would feel the “essence” of their faith and not just follow rituals for the sake of following rituals. It sounds good in theory, but it can get scary at times. For instance, when a Baha’i boldly believes that burning an arsonist as punishment for committing arson is part of the “choice wine unsealed by the fingers of Might and Glory”; is a bit scary.

    And the same goes for Muslims who think cutting the hands off of thieves is “glorious.” Crime and Punishment serve a purpose in any justice system, yes. But, to mystify Law is irksome to me.

  • Matt

    I’m not implying that we would still disagree with some of the Writings, but we would at least know what was going on so it doesn’t just appear to be a bunch of books that came out of nowhere during a period of forty years.

    There was an error in my typing. I intended to write “I’m not implying that we would still NOT disagree with some of the Writings…”

  • Matt

    I’m not implying that we would still disagree with some of the Writings, but we would at least know what was going on so it doesn’t just appear to be a bunch of books that came out of nowhere during a period of forty years.

    There was an error in my typing. I intended to write “I’m not implying that we would still NOT disagree with some of the Writings…”

  • Noname

    Really sad to read your wife’s reality. I think there are other religions besides Bahai that would teach the same garb… Religion to me is a fish desiding to submit itself to living in a glass fishbowl in the middle of the sea… Here is an interesting Bahai quote for your wife about her religion:

    Thought this one is a keeper…

    Religion should be the Cause of Love and Affection
    Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician.
    Sacred Writings of the Bahai Faith

  • Noname

    Really sad to read your wife’s reality. I think there are other religions besides Bahai that would teach the same garb… Religion to me is a fish desiding to submit itself to living in a glass fishbowl in the middle of the sea… Here is an interesting Bahai quote for your wife about her religion:

    Thought this one is a keeper…

    Religion should be the Cause of Love and Affection
    Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. All the holy prophets were as doctors to the soul; they gave prescriptions for the healing of mankind; thus any remedy that causes disease does not come from the great and supreme Physician.
    Sacred Writings of the Bahai Faith

  • Anonymous

    I’d also like to thank you for sharing the example of your wife with us. It is very sad what happened to her, but I think it illustrates well what evil can come from such a banal ideal as unity.

    I disagree, however, that the cause of unity is misunderstood. I think the problem here is the Bah??’? adoption of the old Platonic dogma that unity by itself is somehow a good thing. But it’s not. Unity by itself is neutral, and it can often lead to extreme violence and genocide (the examples are too many here, but think of fascism or communism as a start). I would argue that, rather than being a good, unity is the product of the good, something like sugar. For example, scientists and doctors are in agreement about a great many things because they subject their ideas to a rigorous and convincing process of empirical testing. If scientists or doctors got together and agreed to be united about the truth (or falsity) of some conclusion prior to testing it, the results would be utterly disastrous. And yet, the religious are still somehow convinced that unity is both a means to achieving the good, and a good in itself. Well, I’m sorry, but this is just false.

  • I’d also like to thank you for sharing the example of your wife with us. It is very sad what happened to her, but I think it illustrates well what evil can come from such a banal ideal as unity.

    I disagree, however, that the cause of unity is misunderstood. I think the problem here is the Bah??’? adoption of the old Platonic dogma that unity by itself is somehow a good thing. But it’s not. Unity by itself is neutral, and it can often lead to extreme violence and genocide (the examples are too many here, but think of fascism or communism as a start). I would argue that, rather than being a good, unity is the product of the good, something like sugar. For example, scientists and doctors are in agreement about a great many things because they subject their ideas to a rigorous and convincing process of empirical testing. If scientists or doctors got together and agreed to be united about the truth (or falsity) of some conclusion prior to testing it, the results would be utterly disastrous. And yet, the religious are still somehow convinced that unity is both a means to achieving the good, and a good in itself. Well, I’m sorry, but this is just false.

  • Justin

    Unity is subservient to its prerequisite: justice

    “O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”

  • Justin

    Unity is subservient to its prerequisite: justice

    “O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”

  • Craig Parke

    Mavaddat ,

    I fully agree with your analysis. But I can honestly say that the current concept of “Stepford Unity” in the Baha’i Faith did NOT exist in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    Unity back then was thought to come from frank and open discussion in bottom up real consultation to find the truth of any situation. The current “Stepford Unity” or “Borg Unity” du jour comes from the abysmal fact that the Baha’is cannot consult at ANY level of the Institutions. The facts speak for themselves. That faith in North American is at ZERO GROWTH. Very long time, once very dedicated Baha’is, are leaving in droves. The Funds will eventually go into true free fall crisis. People are fed up.

    This manufactured cosmetic “Unity” comes from this appalling failure of the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith at EVERY level of the Administrative Order to be able to freely and openly consult. The people currently on our Institutions could not consult their way out of a paper bag. You have a religion run by people living in a bubble who haven’t been out for dinner and a movie for 40 years!

    Anyone living in Israel (or anywhere in the Middle East for that matter) is guaranteed to be paranoid within one year. After five years Electro Shock Therapy would not even have any effect whatsoever on serotonin transmitters. It is all about deranged brain chemistry. No one can think straight and no one will speak out at any level.

    You have to have a system of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis to grow and progress at any level in life in human affairs. The Baha’i Faith in it’s current form no longer has such a mechanism. The result is spiritual death. The system can deal with nothing. Therefore, it is going to go further and further into free fall and no one will be able to do ANYTHING whatsoever to address this condition.

    Unity comes from the justice of finding out the truth from free and open consultation. That is now completely unthinkable in the top down moribund pre-approved thought Ruhiized NewSpeak Faith.

    It could change if there is a revolution in thinking worldwide in the Faith. But right now the odds of that ever happening are almost entirely non-existent in the now completely top down lock step Faith.

    Your analysis is spot on regarding the currently existing problem.

    Thank you for your post.

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Mavaddat ,

    I fully agree with your analysis. But I can honestly say that the current concept of “Stepford Unity” in the Baha’i Faith did NOT exist in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    Unity back then was thought to come from frank and open discussion in bottom up real consultation to find the truth of any situation. The current “Stepford Unity” or “Borg Unity” du jour comes from the abysmal fact that the Baha’is cannot consult at ANY level of the Institutions. The facts speak for themselves. That faith in North American is at ZERO GROWTH. Very long time, once very dedicated Baha’is, are leaving in droves. The Funds will eventually go into true free fall crisis. People are fed up.

    This manufactured cosmetic “Unity” comes from this appalling failure of the Institutions of the Baha’i Faith at EVERY level of the Administrative Order to be able to freely and openly consult. The people currently on our Institutions could not consult their way out of a paper bag. You have a religion run by people living in a bubble who haven’t been out for dinner and a movie for 40 years!

    Anyone living in Israel (or anywhere in the Middle East for that matter) is guaranteed to be paranoid within one year. After five years Electro Shock Therapy would not even have any effect whatsoever on serotonin transmitters. It is all about deranged brain chemistry. No one can think straight and no one will speak out at any level.

    You have to have a system of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis to grow and progress at any level in life in human affairs. The Baha’i Faith in it’s current form no longer has such a mechanism. The result is spiritual death. The system can deal with nothing. Therefore, it is going to go further and further into free fall and no one will be able to do ANYTHING whatsoever to address this condition.

    Unity comes from the justice of finding out the truth from free and open consultation. That is now completely unthinkable in the top down moribund pre-approved thought Ruhiized NewSpeak Faith.

    It could change if there is a revolution in thinking worldwide in the Faith. But right now the odds of that ever happening are almost entirely non-existent in the now completely top down lock step Faith.

    Your analysis is spot on regarding the currently existing problem.

    Thank you for your post.

    Craig

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry Justin, but there is no reason to think that unity is subservient to justice in the Bah??’? Faith, and especially in a Bah??’? family. Consider this advice written on behalf of the UHJ, 1 August 1978, to an individual:

    In considering the problems that you and your wife are experiencing, the House of Justice points out that the unity of your family should take priority over any other consideration. Bah??’u’ll??h came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental unity is that of the family.

    This is precisely the advice that Ruhi Roo’s wife’s family was following. I see no mention of justice in the UHJ’s advice. Yes, the irony is sickening.

    Your quotation proves nothing, as these kinds of overriding and contradictory superlatives are innumerable in the Bah??’? scriptures.

    Consider the idea of a Bah??’?’s “first duty” for example. You would think that there should be agreement among the authorities of the religion regarding what this first duty is, right? And yet, they disagree with themselves on the question! In different places, for example, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? says that the first duty is “[to] strive by all possible means to educate both sexes,” “to investigate reality,” and then, “to effect their own unity and harmony.”

    For his own part, Bah??’u’ll??h says concurrently that the first duty is “steadfastness in His Cause,” “the recognition of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation,” “to recognize the one true God,” and lastly, “to choose for himself that which no other may infringe and none usurp from him [the love of God]”.

    And Shoghi Effendi says that the first duty of the believers is “loyalty to this foundation principle [of the oneness of mankind],” “to endeavour to uphold and promote [the standards of Bah??’? conduct],” and, “to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigor.”

    Well, I’m sorry friends, but there cannot be nine separate first duties, and unity cannot be both above and below justice in importance. And yet, the subservience of unity to justice in one place in the writings is contradicted by its superiority in another. The Bah??’? writings want to have it both ways. And as we all know, there is no defence of religion more convincing than to blame all the problems of the religion on its followers (who correctly apply its principles) by providing a contradictory quote that says they should not have done what they did.

  • I’m sorry Justin, but there is no reason to think that unity is subservient to justice in the Bah??’? Faith, and especially in a Bah??’? family. Consider this advice written on behalf of the UHJ, 1 August 1978, to an individual:

    In considering the problems that you and your wife are experiencing, the House of Justice points out that the unity of your family should take priority over any other consideration. Bah??’u’ll??h came to bring unity to the world, and a fundamental unity is that of the family.

    This is precisely the advice that Ruhi Roo’s wife’s family was following. I see no mention of justice in the UHJ’s advice. Yes, the irony is sickening.

    Your quotation proves nothing, as these kinds of overriding and contradictory superlatives are innumerable in the Bah??’? scriptures.

    Consider the idea of a Bah??’?’s “first duty” for example. You would think that there should be agreement among the authorities of the religion regarding what this first duty is, right? And yet, they disagree with themselves on the question! In different places, for example, ‘Abdu’l-Bah?? says that the first duty is “[to] strive by all possible means to educate both sexes,” “to investigate reality,” and then, “to effect their own unity and harmony.”

    For his own part, Bah??’u’ll??h says concurrently that the first duty is “steadfastness in His Cause,” “the recognition of Him Who is the Day Spring of His Revelation,” “to recognize the one true God,” and lastly, “to choose for himself that which no other may infringe and none usurp from him [the love of God]”.

    And Shoghi Effendi says that the first duty of the believers is “loyalty to this foundation principle [of the oneness of mankind],” “to endeavour to uphold and promote [the standards of Bah??’? conduct],” and, “to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction, understanding and vigor.”

    Well, I’m sorry friends, but there cannot be nine separate first duties, and unity cannot be both above and below justice in importance. And yet, the subservience of unity to justice in one place in the writings is contradicted by its superiority in another. The Bah??’? writings want to have it both ways. And as we all know, there is no defence of religion more convincing than to blame all the problems of the religion on its followers (who correctly apply its principles) by providing a contradictory quote that says they should not have done what they did.

  • This is an excellent discussion. One that I’ve been looking forward to.

    I like to try to simplify things; I feel that the basic questions in life are at their root inherently simple.

    Eric quotes Baha’ullah:

    “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established.”

    Firstly, we are told to immerse ourselves in an ocean or words. This metaphor implies that we cannot comprehend Baha’ullah’s words completely — if one is immersed in an ocean it is impossible to embrace it entirely.

    And what are we doing in this ocean — we are cherry picking! We are looking for pearls of wisdom, another way of saying cherry picking.

    I wonder what constitutes the revelation Baha’ullah refers to? My conclusion so far is it is not every word he wrote. Nor is it all within the Baha’i writings. What if the revelation came from God and many received it? Anyway this is my current belief; that to understand what was revealed one must seek pearls of wisdom from the ocean and the rest of the world as well.

    I am convinced that Baha’ullah was not always revealing wisdom from God when he wrote. Sometimes he seems completely inspired — The Hidden Words — other times he seems to be writing to fulfill a human need — The Aqdas. In the first case he is full of enthusiasm and is spiritually coherent, in the second he seems to be laboring and is quite inelegant. His mystical writings are very spiritual, his doctrinaire writings are administrative.

    In the Tablets Revealed after the Aqdas we have what appears to be a confluence of the two voices of Baha’ullah. But here he is self conscious, perhaps because he is aware, late in life that he has established (God help us) a new religion wherein people must understand and be motivated by the reward and the punishment. Not a very spiritual outlook on life.

    Discernment is one of the highest virtues. As we immerse ourselves in Baha’ullah’s words we need to seek the pearls of wisdom therein. Baha’ullah speaks of veils and clouds that make discernment difficult. These are not separate from the Ocean of his words: the veils and clouds are part of the ocean as well as the pearls. It is up to us to find them. In addition its not a bad idea to seek dry land for the diamonds and other gems that can be found there as well.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • This is an excellent discussion. One that I’ve been looking forward to.

    I like to try to simplify things; I feel that the basic questions in life are at their root inherently simple.

    Eric quotes Baha’ullah:

    “Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established.”

    Firstly, we are told to immerse ourselves in an ocean or words. This metaphor implies that we cannot comprehend Baha’ullah’s words completely — if one is immersed in an ocean it is impossible to embrace it entirely.

    And what are we doing in this ocean — we are cherry picking! We are looking for pearls of wisdom, another way of saying cherry picking.

    I wonder what constitutes the revelation Baha’ullah refers to? My conclusion so far is it is not every word he wrote. Nor is it all within the Baha’i writings. What if the revelation came from God and many received it? Anyway this is my current belief; that to understand what was revealed one must seek pearls of wisdom from the ocean and the rest of the world as well.

    I am convinced that Baha’ullah was not always revealing wisdom from God when he wrote. Sometimes he seems completely inspired — The Hidden Words — other times he seems to be writing to fulfill a human need — The Aqdas. In the first case he is full of enthusiasm and is spiritually coherent, in the second he seems to be laboring and is quite inelegant. His mystical writings are very spiritual, his doctrinaire writings are administrative.

    In the Tablets Revealed after the Aqdas we have what appears to be a confluence of the two voices of Baha’ullah. But here he is self conscious, perhaps because he is aware, late in life that he has established (God help us) a new religion wherein people must understand and be motivated by the reward and the punishment. Not a very spiritual outlook on life.

    Discernment is one of the highest virtues. As we immerse ourselves in Baha’ullah’s words we need to seek the pearls of wisdom therein. Baha’ullah speaks of veils and clouds that make discernment difficult. These are not separate from the Ocean of his words: the veils and clouds are part of the ocean as well as the pearls. It is up to us to find them. In addition its not a bad idea to seek dry land for the diamonds and other gems that can be found there as well.

    Peace,
    Frank

  • Brian

    It’s refreshing to read what others have to say on this subject. Frankly, I suspect that some of you have an agenda, but I don’t find it disagreeable; I’m ready to “pursue truth even if it leads me into the jaws of Hell.” I started reading the Writings when I was 14. I kept finding contradictions within them, and it troubled me. When I asked Baha’is about it, I was told that it was only apparent contradiction; that the quotations were taken from different occasions and were directed to different audiences with different needs and capacities.

    The most obvious was ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s direct self-contradiction, regarding the means by which we can know what is true. In one case, He says that the four approaches to truth (reason, intuition, tradition, and senses) are flawed, and that the only way we can know the truth is if the truth approaches us, through the Holy Spirit. Yet in another talk, He says that if a statement agrees with all four, then it’s certain to be true!

    I don’t pretend to know what it means.

  • Brian

    It’s refreshing to read what others have to say on this subject. Frankly, I suspect that some of you have an agenda, but I don’t find it disagreeable; I’m ready to “pursue truth even if it leads me into the jaws of Hell.” I started reading the Writings when I was 14. I kept finding contradictions within them, and it troubled me. When I asked Baha’is about it, I was told that it was only apparent contradiction; that the quotations were taken from different occasions and were directed to different audiences with different needs and capacities.

    The most obvious was ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s direct self-contradiction, regarding the means by which we can know what is true. In one case, He says that the four approaches to truth (reason, intuition, tradition, and senses) are flawed, and that the only way we can know the truth is if the truth approaches us, through the Holy Spirit. Yet in another talk, He says that if a statement agrees with all four, then it’s certain to be true!

    I don’t pretend to know what it means.

  • Craig parke

    Hi Brian,

    I also learned many years ago that for every thought or maxim in the Writings of the Baha’i Faith you can find an EXACT OPPOSITE statement. It never upset me, though, in any way because that is true in ALL thought systems that require hitting upon an inner mode of contemplative being where wisdom and insight eventually come to you between the profound opposing statements. That is certainly true of ANY esoteric system in any of the systems of insight of Mankind that have come down through the centuries. Anyone from a Christian background (like me) back in the 1960’S and 1970’s w It isas certainly aware of that. No big wup. That is a dynamic of ALL wisdom systems. It is a Cosmic signature. I still very much love the Kitab-I-Iqan and get much insight from it ever single day of my life.

    Completely contradictory statements was not a problem in the Baha’i Faith until it began to become a system of manipulated top down controlled fundamentalist manufactured hack drivel where the individual is completely forbidden to have any personal insight on anything or, worse yet, ever speak their insight to any other fellow Baha’i. It is now all a system of terrifying self-censorship where no one dares speak lest they get reported to a Ruhi tutor, an AABM, or an ABM as a renegade or free thinker and get a file opened on them in the NewSpeak ITC World Headquarters. Unless you are completely towing the “Party line” you will be declared “NFITC” (Not Firm in the Covenant) and will be deemed a “marginal” in the top down sorting between “marginal Baha’is” and “core Baha’is”. Personal thinking and personal insight is now heresy itself enough to bring in the “thought police” in the New Order of Things.

    People have to ALWAYS choose the “officially” approved quote in the double star system with the exact opposite quote.

    The result is now the complete collapse of wisdom in individuals in the the Baha’i Faith.

    As they say in Hollywood, “You have to let the scene breathe”, meaning you have to let gifted artists commune with the story material in their own creative hearts and find the proper voice for it through their own INNER perception about the experience of life. If you don’t your film will NOT RING TRUE and will fail to communicate with people.

    Not letting the scene breathe of itself is like a football team that finishes 18-1 because they did not have any fun in playing the biggest game of all on their schedule.

    The actual fun in life is having Cosmic wisdom come to you. It is always an astonishing experience.

    That is completely individual and personal and therefore is no longer permitted in the needy psychological collective of the current Baha’i Faith.

    I say these things more in sadness now than in anger.

    So it goes.

    Thank you for your post.

    It was very insightful.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig parke

    Hi Brian,

    I also learned many years ago that for every thought or maxim in the Writings of the Baha’i Faith you can find an EXACT OPPOSITE statement. It never upset me, though, in any way because that is true in ALL thought systems that require hitting upon an inner mode of contemplative being where wisdom and insight eventually come to you between the profound opposing statements. That is certainly true of ANY esoteric system in any of the systems of insight of Mankind that have come down through the centuries. Anyone from a Christian background (like me) back in the 1960’S and 1970’s w It isas certainly aware of that. No big wup. That is a dynamic of ALL wisdom systems. It is a Cosmic signature. I still very much love the Kitab-I-Iqan and get much insight from it ever single day of my life.

    Completely contradictory statements was not a problem in the Baha’i Faith until it began to become a system of manipulated top down controlled fundamentalist manufactured hack drivel where the individual is completely forbidden to have any personal insight on anything or, worse yet, ever speak their insight to any other fellow Baha’i. It is now all a system of terrifying self-censorship where no one dares speak lest they get reported to a Ruhi tutor, an AABM, or an ABM as a renegade or free thinker and get a file opened on them in the NewSpeak ITC World Headquarters. Unless you are completely towing the “Party line” you will be declared “NFITC” (Not Firm in the Covenant) and will be deemed a “marginal” in the top down sorting between “marginal Baha’is” and “core Baha’is”. Personal thinking and personal insight is now heresy itself enough to bring in the “thought police” in the New Order of Things.

    People have to ALWAYS choose the “officially” approved quote in the double star system with the exact opposite quote.

    The result is now the complete collapse of wisdom in individuals in the the Baha’i Faith.

    As they say in Hollywood, “You have to let the scene breathe”, meaning you have to let gifted artists commune with the story material in their own creative hearts and find the proper voice for it through their own INNER perception about the experience of life. If you don’t your film will NOT RING TRUE and will fail to communicate with people.

    Not letting the scene breathe of itself is like a football team that finishes 18-1 because they did not have any fun in playing the biggest game of all on their schedule.

    The actual fun in life is having Cosmic wisdom come to you. It is always an astonishing experience.

    That is completely individual and personal and therefore is no longer permitted in the needy psychological collective of the current Baha’i Faith.

    I say these things more in sadness now than in anger.

    So it goes.

    Thank you for your post.

    It was very insightful.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Brian

    Hi Craig,

    Thank you for your kind and insightful reply!

    I’ve never been willing to “sign the card”; it never felt honest. So, I’m still schlepping along as a sort-of Baha’i after all these years. It’s boggling to read what’s been going on inside the mainstream Faith. There is no way I’m going to let some dude in Haifa (or anywhere else) tell me what to think and say about the Baha’i Writings! It’s between me and God, I guess. If I’m judged seriously wanting for it in the next life, well, I’d have to say that I’ve made much bigger screw-ups to be held accountable for; it’ll have to take its place in line.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the Tablet of the Holy Mariner was talking about the present situation. It’s always struck me that it starts out so well, things going well for the Arabian Youth, but then it all just goes too far:

    “They passed the grades of worldly limitations and reached that of the divine unity, the center of heavenly guidance.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

    They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

    Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence”

    Curiously, “Shahab”, the name of the medium-range Iranian missiles, means “meteor”. If one lands on an expensive tract of Haifa real estate, I’ll call it a confirmation. What then? I don’t know.

  • Brian

    Hi Craig,

    Thank you for your kind and insightful reply!

    I’ve never been willing to “sign the card”; it never felt honest. So, I’m still schlepping along as a sort-of Baha’i after all these years. It’s boggling to read what’s been going on inside the mainstream Faith. There is no way I’m going to let some dude in Haifa (or anywhere else) tell me what to think and say about the Baha’i Writings! It’s between me and God, I guess. If I’m judged seriously wanting for it in the next life, well, I’d have to say that I’ve made much bigger screw-ups to be held accountable for; it’ll have to take its place in line.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the Tablet of the Holy Mariner was talking about the present situation. It’s always struck me that it starts out so well, things going well for the Arabian Youth, but then it all just goes too far:

    “They passed the grades of worldly limitations and reached that of the divine unity, the center of heavenly guidance.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

    They have desired to ascend unto that state which the Lord hath ordained to be above their stations.

    Glorified be my Lord, the All-Glorious!

    Whereupon the burning meteor cast them out from them that abide in the Kingdom of His Presence”

    Curiously, “Shahab”, the name of the medium-range Iranian missiles, means “meteor”. If one lands on an expensive tract of Haifa real estate, I’ll call it a confirmation. What then? I don’t know.

  • Amishindian

    Craig,
    I just happened here and saw your name. I think we met a couple times. Those 60s and 70s were a good time to be a Bahai. I left in 1981. Haven’t followed the Faith much but a couple years ago ran across Juan Cole’s website. All this Ruhi stuff. And I remember Paul Lample as such a nice, quiet guy.

  • Amishindian

    Craig,
    I just happened here and saw your name. I think we met a couple times. Those 60s and 70s were a good time to be a Bahai. I left in 1981. Haven’t followed the Faith much but a couple years ago ran across Juan Cole’s website. All this Ruhi stuff. And I remember Paul Lample as such a nice, quiet guy.

  • This happens ALL the time in the Baha’i Community. There is ALOT of sexual violence and victims are routinely told by institutions to stay with abusers, rape victims told to seek LSA mediation with their rapists, child violence doesn’t get reported to civil authorities even when LSAs know about it, which is criminal. It’s disgusting and devoid of conscience.

    I was thinking today about how the Baha’i/religious edict to ignore your conscience and “submit your will to the institutions” diagnostically breeds sociopaths- people with literally no conscience, who are surrounded by a community of people who suppress their conscience. They have free reign to do anything they want.

    Weird how much lenience abusers get from the AO when criticism gets you on everybodys black list.

  • This happens ALL the time in the Baha’i Community. There is ALOT of sexual violence and victims are routinely told by institutions to stay with abusers, rape victims told to seek LSA mediation with their rapists, child violence doesn’t get reported to civil authorities even when LSAs know about it, which is criminal. It’s disgusting and devoid of conscience.

    I was thinking today about how the Baha’i/religious edict to ignore your conscience and “submit your will to the institutions” diagnostically breeds sociopaths- people with literally no conscience, who are surrounded by a community of people who suppress their conscience. They have free reign to do anything they want.

    Weird how much lenience abusers get from the AO when criticism gets you on everybodys black list.

  • Kate

    Amanda,
    If you know if any instance of violence against children, you should go directly to the police. There is no need to refer it to the LSA, to the NSA, to anyone or anybody – just go to the police. Even if the instance was in the past, go to the police because you don’t know if the violence is continuing.

  • Kate

    Amanda,
    If you know if any instance of violence against children, you should go directly to the police. There is no need to refer it to the LSA, to the NSA, to anyone or anybody – just go to the police. Even if the instance was in the past, go to the police because you don’t know if the violence is continuing.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    I can only tell you I am the 10th person to unenroll in the last few years of a community of around 50 total somewhat active Bahai’s. In one case, a young lady in a Youth Group, was sexually assalted by a Youth Leader & LSA member. The young woman was over 18 and said she told him no but it happen at his house and he was her Teacher of the Bahai Faith. She was ashamed.

    With no one she trusted to tell she held it in until I called her and asked why she had not come around, a routine action of mine to keep in touch with new declarants… After her really finding that I was not a “stepford Bahai” she confided in me.

    I told her we needed to go straight to the LSA. I went with her, they listened and we left. The LSA member stayed on the LSA until the next voting term. I could not beleive it myself. She left and I tried to justify to her thier actions. All that is wronged will be made right… Nope, not yet.

    That girls was smarter then I… for sure… I stayed another 7 years and even though I was never sexually assaluted, I was certainly emotionally abused. My postion remains the same that I gave her that evening. It was not the Writings of the Bahai Faith that made that guy an asshole, the Bahai’s probably got him that way. But they let him stay. Like a Catholic priest who does the same, this guy left the community to go “Pioneer” the Faith in Russia… Wonder how many victims he’s made here in the name of the Bahai Faith…. Way bad…

  • Bird out of the Cage

    I can only tell you I am the 10th person to unenroll in the last few years of a community of around 50 total somewhat active Bahai’s. In one case, a young lady in a Youth Group, was sexually assalted by a Youth Leader & LSA member. The young woman was over 18 and said she told him no but it happen at his house and he was her Teacher of the Bahai Faith. She was ashamed.

    With no one she trusted to tell she held it in until I called her and asked why she had not come around, a routine action of mine to keep in touch with new declarants… After her really finding that I was not a “stepford Bahai” she confided in me.

    I told her we needed to go straight to the LSA. I went with her, they listened and we left. The LSA member stayed on the LSA until the next voting term. I could not beleive it myself. She left and I tried to justify to her thier actions. All that is wronged will be made right… Nope, not yet.

    That girls was smarter then I… for sure… I stayed another 7 years and even though I was never sexually assaluted, I was certainly emotionally abused. My postion remains the same that I gave her that evening. It was not the Writings of the Bahai Faith that made that guy an asshole, the Bahai’s probably got him that way. But they let him stay. Like a Catholic priest who does the same, this guy left the community to go “Pioneer” the Faith in Russia… Wonder how many victims he’s made here in the name of the Bahai Faith…. Way bad…

  • Kyle

    Brian, only an idiot doesnt have a “agenda”
    you are smart cookie
    different is one agenda is virtues nda other is not

  • Kyle

    Brian, only an idiot doesnt have a “agenda”
    you are smart cookie
    different is one agenda is virtues nda other is not

  • I agree COMPLETELY, and actually have gone to the police when I’ve been in a position to. The weird part is that most of the community doesn’t even consider reporting this stuff to civil authorities and keeps it within the institutions.

    Thanks for your clarity on this issue. It’s important.

  • I agree COMPLETELY, and actually have gone to the police when I’ve been in a position to. The weird part is that most of the community doesn’t even consider reporting this stuff to civil authorities and keeps it within the institutions.

    Thanks for your clarity on this issue. It’s important.

  • Bird out of the Cage,
    Thank you for your comments. Your “Out of the cage” title is apt. I am glad for you.

    What you describe is exactly what I’m talking about. I know VERY FEW Baha’i (or ex-Baha’i) women who have NOT been victimized in the community, and I have never once known an institution response to be just. This has been the case in every community I’ve lived in.

    I think Kate’s advice to always go to the civil authorities is the way to handle it. I agree that it IS like the epidemic abuse in the Catholic church.

    Although I agree that the Baha’i writings didn’t make that rapist “an asshole,” he clearly is responsible or his own actions, I do think that Baha’i theology creates a climate that is sexually and spiritually oppressive.

  • Bird out of the Cage,
    Thank you for your comments. Your “Out of the cage” title is apt. I am glad for you.

    What you describe is exactly what I’m talking about. I know VERY FEW Baha’i (or ex-Baha’i) women who have NOT been victimized in the community, and I have never once known an institution response to be just. This has been the case in every community I’ve lived in.

    I think Kate’s advice to always go to the civil authorities is the way to handle it. I agree that it IS like the epidemic abuse in the Catholic church.

    Although I agree that the Baha’i writings didn’t make that rapist “an asshole,” he clearly is responsible or his own actions, I do think that Baha’i theology creates a climate that is sexually and spiritually oppressive.

  • Grover

    This is a common issue with just about any dispute in the Baha’i community, we are told to go to the LSA to get it resolved, otherwise if we go to the civil authorities we are tarnishing the Baha’i community image. The problem is the LSA, or even the NSA, doesn’t have the expertise to resolve the problems, because they are a bunch of elected individuals with widely varying backgrounds. All they do is throw some quotations at you, either in a letter or at Feast, and expect that to fix the problem. In the end you have a bunch of very unhappy individuals in the community. The civil authorities and courts are the best prepared to handle any cases of rape, child abuse, financial disputes and so on.

  • Grover

    This is a common issue with just about any dispute in the Baha’i community, we are told to go to the LSA to get it resolved, otherwise if we go to the civil authorities we are tarnishing the Baha’i community image. The problem is the LSA, or even the NSA, doesn’t have the expertise to resolve the problems, because they are a bunch of elected individuals with widely varying backgrounds. All they do is throw some quotations at you, either in a letter or at Feast, and expect that to fix the problem. In the end you have a bunch of very unhappy individuals in the community. The civil authorities and courts are the best prepared to handle any cases of rape, child abuse, financial disputes and so on.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Brian,

    Yes. I would say the Tablet of the Holy Mariner IS in effect. That is my own personal view. The feeling that I get at least from reading in cyber space is that there are many “Mariner Baha’is” out there across the world who have essentially taken their own spiritual insights into the Teachings of Baha’u’llah underground fully expecting the other Cosmic shoe to drop some time over the next 100 years.

    I know of people who were Knights of Baha’u’llah who have completely given up that the current lifetime incumbency system can ever change or anyone, anywhere, will wake up to the impending collapse in the fortunes of the Faith. We are no longer in the game all across the planet. Other spiritual communities will take up the planetary mission.

    What happens in the immediate future is anybody’s guess. I hope and pray that it is just on the inner plane of spirit and consciousness and plays out there. There is no need for anything to go further than that.

    Every long time Baha’i I know is very well aware of that famous quote of Baha’u’llah in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and the Iranian “Shahab” missile name. This is no new awareness. I hope and pray nothing like that will ever happen. Like everyone else I put some of my own money into the World Center.

    I would think the Archetypal End of the World Age story of Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple would be something much more to fear in my dreams if I was currently in a high position in the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith. I would be consulting the Hindu Layla Board Game for immediate guidance tomorrow morning if I was in their positions.

    Thanks for your post.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Brian,

    Yes. I would say the Tablet of the Holy Mariner IS in effect. That is my own personal view. The feeling that I get at least from reading in cyber space is that there are many “Mariner Baha’is” out there across the world who have essentially taken their own spiritual insights into the Teachings of Baha’u’llah underground fully expecting the other Cosmic shoe to drop some time over the next 100 years.

    I know of people who were Knights of Baha’u’llah who have completely given up that the current lifetime incumbency system can ever change or anyone, anywhere, will wake up to the impending collapse in the fortunes of the Faith. We are no longer in the game all across the planet. Other spiritual communities will take up the planetary mission.

    What happens in the immediate future is anybody’s guess. I hope and pray that it is just on the inner plane of spirit and consciousness and plays out there. There is no need for anything to go further than that.

    Every long time Baha’i I know is very well aware of that famous quote of Baha’u’llah in the Tablet of the Holy Mariner and the Iranian “Shahab” missile name. This is no new awareness. I hope and pray nothing like that will ever happen. Like everyone else I put some of my own money into the World Center.

    I would think the Archetypal End of the World Age story of Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple would be something much more to fear in my dreams if I was currently in a high position in the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith. I would be consulting the Hindu Layla Board Game for immediate guidance tomorrow morning if I was in their positions.

    Thanks for your post.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Brian

    Hi Craig,

    Over the weekend, I happened upon the name Ruth White, and read her book challenging the legitimacy of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament. It was a very interesting perspective, actually quite refreshing to read. I don’t know much about the particulars surrounding the discovery of the document; it was buried in the ground? It was signed only by Him, with no witnesses? One of its sections wasn’t sealed? The handwriting expert she sent it to said that the signatures weren’t His, and that more than one person’s handwriting was present in it. I read Taherzadeh’s Covenant of Baha’u’llah and saw her name almost as a footnote, but had never read what she had to say before.

    At very least, it’s an interesting idea that the Faith could have carried forward on an individual basis, without a Guardian or any heavy-handed controllers. Personally, I’ve never been able to generate any self-interest in what Shoghi Effendi wrote. I find it incredibly dry and dull, particularly in contrast to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s joyful and uplifting insights. I have no interest whatsoever in “administration”.

    If you know more about the particulars of the Will and Testament, and whether there are any references to a guardian elsewhere in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s works, I’d be very interested to hear. Thank you,

    Brian

  • Brian

    Hi Craig,

    Over the weekend, I happened upon the name Ruth White, and read her book challenging the legitimacy of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament. It was a very interesting perspective, actually quite refreshing to read. I don’t know much about the particulars surrounding the discovery of the document; it was buried in the ground? It was signed only by Him, with no witnesses? One of its sections wasn’t sealed? The handwriting expert she sent it to said that the signatures weren’t His, and that more than one person’s handwriting was present in it. I read Taherzadeh’s Covenant of Baha’u’llah and saw her name almost as a footnote, but had never read what she had to say before.

    At very least, it’s an interesting idea that the Faith could have carried forward on an individual basis, without a Guardian or any heavy-handed controllers. Personally, I’ve never been able to generate any self-interest in what Shoghi Effendi wrote. I find it incredibly dry and dull, particularly in contrast to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s joyful and uplifting insights. I have no interest whatsoever in “administration”.

    If you know more about the particulars of the Will and Testament, and whether there are any references to a guardian elsewhere in ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s works, I’d be very interested to hear. Thank you,

    Brian

  • Brian

    Hi Kyle,

    Yes, I should have been more specific; sorry about that. I meant something like, “an agenda to convince people of a certain position”.

  • Brian

    Hi Kyle,

    Yes, I should have been more specific; sorry about that. I meant something like, “an agenda to convince people of a certain position”.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Brian,

    It seems that by “having an agenda” you mean to suggest that some people have ulterior motives in posting their ideas. But a motive can only be ulterior if you have presupposed that people should be free of any motives, which is an unwarranted assumption, I think, on your part.

    Personally, I find your suspicion of people who are convinced of a certain position disturbing. It appears that you have guarded yourself from ideas that might lead you to change your life simply because they are persuasive for a particular conclusion. Is this not strange?

  • Hi Brian,

    It seems that by “having an agenda” you mean to suggest that some people have ulterior motives in posting their ideas. But a motive can only be ulterior if you have presupposed that people should be free of any motives, which is an unwarranted assumption, I think, on your part.

    Personally, I find your suspicion of people who are convinced of a certain position disturbing. It appears that you have guarded yourself from ideas that might lead you to change your life simply because they are persuasive for a particular conclusion. Is this not strange?

  • Brian

    Hi Mavadatt,

    Yes, in part I was referring to you in making the comment. I don’t wish to dwell on specific words and their precise meanings; but in this context, “suspect” meant “imagine to be the case or true or probable”, rather than “be suspicious of”; and “agenda” meant “an underlying personal viewpoint or bias”. We all have those, yes; it’s not always important to us that others agree. It seems from your posts that you do feel it’s important to convince others that your viewpoint on the Baha’i religion is “true”. As such, it’s hardly ulterior, meaning “intentionally hidden”.

    Argument and ideas are useful but will bring you no further than the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.

  • Brian

    Hi Mavadatt,

    Yes, in part I was referring to you in making the comment. I don’t wish to dwell on specific words and their precise meanings; but in this context, “suspect” meant “imagine to be the case or true or probable”, rather than “be suspicious of”; and “agenda” meant “an underlying personal viewpoint or bias”. We all have those, yes; it’s not always important to us that others agree. It seems from your posts that you do feel it’s important to convince others that your viewpoint on the Baha’i religion is “true”. As such, it’s hardly ulterior, meaning “intentionally hidden”.

    Argument and ideas are useful but will bring you no further than the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.

  • Amanda

    Brian,

    You say, “I don’t wish to dwell on specific words and their precise meanings; but in this context, ?suspect? meant ?imagine to be the case or true or probable?, rather than ?be suspicious of?; and ?agenda? meant ?an underlying personal viewpoint or bias?.

    So, you don’t wish to use words to mean what those words actually mean? In English, “suspect” indicates something hidden or negative, unless you are using it ironically.

    “Agenda” basicly means you have a plan of action, a to-do list of sorts. Like, “what’s on the agenda at Feast tonight?” It’s only a “bias” if it’s not YOUR agenda.

    To couple those words together is an obvious implication of “suspect,” as in “be suspicious of, distrust.”

    I ask because it seems you are backpeddling from your previous statement, which is unfair, and maybe deceptive. (That’s me being suspicious of your agenda–meaning “negative and hidden.” Pretty light fare as far as suspicious agendas go, but I have distrust nonetheless. Which I admit to.)

    I don’t like it when people insult each other, or cast aspersions, and then try to play nice like they didn’t. Just say what you mean and stick by it. It reminds me of my best friend as a kid who would always say, “Just kidding,” right after she called someone a name IF she thought they were going to call her on it. Stick by your words if you mean them. If you have to hide the evidence later, maybe you should be mindful of what you say to begin with.

    This may not seem like a big deal, but folks who actually try to engage Baha’is in conversation (and I don’t know if you consider yourself a Baha’i) in a way that offers honest feedback that isn’t of the blowing-smoke-up-the-ass variety are often maligned. Even by subtle “take back” suspicions of agendas. It’s not playing fair.

    You also say: “Argument and ideas are useful but will bring you no further than the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.”

    First, that statement IS an argument (against argument) and in your line of thinking it brings you “no closer to the sea of grandeur.”

    Also, I imagine (not “suspect” because it is neither hidden or negative) that you are using the “Sea of Grandeur” as a metaphor of somekind, which is an IDEA, which, according to you brings you no closer to that Sea. Unless, of course, I am mistaken and you actually mean a literal body of water, in which case you are right, arguments and ideas will not bring you closer. Only walking.

    Unless you drive. Which WOULD require SOMEONE to have had ideas and probably arguments that resulted in the design of your car. But whatever, I get it, I imagine (or do I suspect?) that you mean that ideas and arguments are bad or incomplete. I think that’s what you mean, anyway?

    What WILL get you into that Sea of Grandeur, that isn’t an idea? I’m interested.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    Brian,

    You say, “I don’t wish to dwell on specific words and their precise meanings; but in this context, ?suspect? meant ?imagine to be the case or true or probable?, rather than ?be suspicious of?; and ?agenda? meant ?an underlying personal viewpoint or bias?.

    So, you don’t wish to use words to mean what those words actually mean? In English, “suspect” indicates something hidden or negative, unless you are using it ironically.

    “Agenda” basicly means you have a plan of action, a to-do list of sorts. Like, “what’s on the agenda at Feast tonight?” It’s only a “bias” if it’s not YOUR agenda.

    To couple those words together is an obvious implication of “suspect,” as in “be suspicious of, distrust.”

    I ask because it seems you are backpeddling from your previous statement, which is unfair, and maybe deceptive. (That’s me being suspicious of your agenda–meaning “negative and hidden.” Pretty light fare as far as suspicious agendas go, but I have distrust nonetheless. Which I admit to.)

    I don’t like it when people insult each other, or cast aspersions, and then try to play nice like they didn’t. Just say what you mean and stick by it. It reminds me of my best friend as a kid who would always say, “Just kidding,” right after she called someone a name IF she thought they were going to call her on it. Stick by your words if you mean them. If you have to hide the evidence later, maybe you should be mindful of what you say to begin with.

    This may not seem like a big deal, but folks who actually try to engage Baha’is in conversation (and I don’t know if you consider yourself a Baha’i) in a way that offers honest feedback that isn’t of the blowing-smoke-up-the-ass variety are often maligned. Even by subtle “take back” suspicions of agendas. It’s not playing fair.

    You also say: “Argument and ideas are useful but will bring you no further than the shore of the Sea of Grandeur.”

    First, that statement IS an argument (against argument) and in your line of thinking it brings you “no closer to the sea of grandeur.”

    Also, I imagine (not “suspect” because it is neither hidden or negative) that you are using the “Sea of Grandeur” as a metaphor of somekind, which is an IDEA, which, according to you brings you no closer to that Sea. Unless, of course, I am mistaken and you actually mean a literal body of water, in which case you are right, arguments and ideas will not bring you closer. Only walking.

    Unless you drive. Which WOULD require SOMEONE to have had ideas and probably arguments that resulted in the design of your car. But whatever, I get it, I imagine (or do I suspect?) that you mean that ideas and arguments are bad or incomplete. I think that’s what you mean, anyway?

    What WILL get you into that Sea of Grandeur, that isn’t an idea? I’m interested.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

  • Brian

    I’m not back-pedaling. Both “suspect” and “agenda” have many meanings, those I provided and intended as well as the two you gave. It allows for a wide range of interpretation and, clearly, misinterpretation. I see that I’ve stepped amongst a group of people who demand more precision in wording than I care to offer. So, I’ll exit. Bleah.

    Regarding the Sea of Grandeur, I suggest that you read Baha’u’llah’s passage in The Seven Valleys about the grammarian. Since you ask: inner experience will get you there, and not belief. I’ve only dipped my toes in, during the Midnight Prayer. Its vastness scares the shit out of me.

    Good-bye.

  • Brian

    I’m not back-pedaling. Both “suspect” and “agenda” have many meanings, those I provided and intended as well as the two you gave. It allows for a wide range of interpretation and, clearly, misinterpretation. I see that I’ve stepped amongst a group of people who demand more precision in wording than I care to offer. So, I’ll exit. Bleah.

    Regarding the Sea of Grandeur, I suggest that you read Baha’u’llah’s passage in The Seven Valleys about the grammarian. Since you ask: inner experience will get you there, and not belief. I’ve only dipped my toes in, during the Midnight Prayer. Its vastness scares the shit out of me.

    Good-bye.

  • Amanda

    Brian,

    I did not mean to offend you with my specificity. I hope that you will not decide to take your thoughts elsewhere in response to my questioning your meaning. I did (and do) think you were backpeddling, based on what you said. Why does that have to be the end of the discussion? Wouldn’t it make a good beginning?

    I think you can appreciate that when you compare someones “agenda, “bias” or motive” with “the jaws of hell–” that that comes across as very negative.

    As to motive, I am glad you are willing to seek truth. If your Sea of Grandeur in any way symbolizes that truth, I hope you find it. I thought you might be refering to the learned grammarian story from the 7 Valleys, which is a great story. There are parts of human experience that are just that, experience, and are not ruled by grammer. (Like e.e. cummings said, you cannot disect a kiss) But, the language of symbolism (ideas) is really the only way we have to communicate about those experiences. If we want to go beyond that to talking about our shared experience with others, then that involves some arguing. Arguing doesn’t have to be bad. I think “inner experience” is a fine way to seek truth, but can only benefit from the exchange of arguments and ideas. Cutting yourself off from them seems dangerous.

    In any case, peace.
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    Brian,

    I did not mean to offend you with my specificity. I hope that you will not decide to take your thoughts elsewhere in response to my questioning your meaning. I did (and do) think you were backpeddling, based on what you said. Why does that have to be the end of the discussion? Wouldn’t it make a good beginning?

    I think you can appreciate that when you compare someones “agenda, “bias” or motive” with “the jaws of hell–” that that comes across as very negative.

    As to motive, I am glad you are willing to seek truth. If your Sea of Grandeur in any way symbolizes that truth, I hope you find it. I thought you might be refering to the learned grammarian story from the 7 Valleys, which is a great story. There are parts of human experience that are just that, experience, and are not ruled by grammer. (Like e.e. cummings said, you cannot disect a kiss) But, the language of symbolism (ideas) is really the only way we have to communicate about those experiences. If we want to go beyond that to talking about our shared experience with others, then that involves some arguing. Arguing doesn’t have to be bad. I think “inner experience” is a fine way to seek truth, but can only benefit from the exchange of arguments and ideas. Cutting yourself off from them seems dangerous.

    In any case, peace.
    Amanda

  • concourse_on_low

    Typical Bahai response when they get called on their bs.

  • concourse_on_low

    Typical Bahai response when they get called on their bs.

  • Anonymous

    Brian, it seems to me that you did indeed mean the accusation of “having an agenda” as a pejorative, not just a random factual description.

    Your apparently wanted to trivialize the opinions of others by making them personal rather than relevant to you, which would mean holding yourself accountable to the reasoning of others.

    For this reason, I cannot resist the conclusion that you would rather jettison the conversation than for one moment defend your convictions. It is a shame that the walls of the fortress that protects you from the ideas of others has also become your own prison. It reminds me of a short story by Immanuel Kant about reaching adulthood:

    The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of humankind have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and making sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.

  • Brian, it seems to me that you did indeed mean the accusation of “having an agenda” as a pejorative, not just a random factual description.

    Your apparently wanted to trivialize the opinions of others by making them personal rather than relevant to you, which would mean holding yourself accountable to the reasoning of others.

    For this reason, I cannot resist the conclusion that you would rather jettison the conversation than for one moment defend your convictions. It is a shame that the walls of the fortress that protects you from the ideas of others has also become your own prison. It reminds me of a short story by Immanuel Kant about reaching adulthood:

    The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of humankind have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and making sure that these placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.

  • ep

    The original dissident bahai-left (dialog-kalimat-talisman) had an agenda that was obviously imported from 60s protest, counterculture anti-establishment thinking. That is why it failed in its attempts to thwart the slide towards fundamentalism and fascism in the bahai community.

    It seems like the current crop of ex/bahais & dissidents is much more interesting and not tied into postmodernist/leftist ideological garbage, at least not as deeply.

    Congratulations!

    You guys are great, keep up the good work!

    The longer I’m an ex-bahai (I “declared” in early 70s), the more obvious it is that bahai theology has a lot of stupid cr*p in it.

    The whole debate about “science and religion” is resolved by integral theory and neuroscience, and makes bahai theology (rehashed sufi metaphysics) irrelevant except as a semi-interesting historical footnote.

    As the brilliant contributors to this blog have indicated, there are two “contradictory” concerns in bahai scripture:

    – avoiding superstition (science is better than religion at “factual truth”)

    – avoiding nihilism (religion is better than science at “finding meaning”)

    unfortunately I had to leave bahai (after 30 yrs of cr*p fascist conformist silliness) and study integral theory to understand that basic point.

    please people, don’t waste your time with confusing bahai theology and ridiculous outdated metaphysics, study integral theory instead (or at least together).

    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • ep

    The original dissident bahai-left (dialog-kalimat-talisman) had an agenda that was obviously imported from 60s protest, counterculture anti-establishment thinking. That is why it failed in its attempts to thwart the slide towards fundamentalism and fascism in the bahai community.

    It seems like the current crop of ex/bahais & dissidents is much more interesting and not tied into postmodernist/leftist ideological garbage, at least not as deeply.

    Congratulations!

    You guys are great, keep up the good work!

    The longer I’m an ex-bahai (I “declared” in early 70s), the more obvious it is that bahai theology has a lot of stupid cr*p in it.

    The whole debate about “science and religion” is resolved by integral theory and neuroscience, and makes bahai theology (rehashed sufi metaphysics) irrelevant except as a semi-interesting historical footnote.

    As the brilliant contributors to this blog have indicated, there are two “contradictory” concerns in bahai scripture:

    – avoiding superstition (science is better than religion at “factual truth”)

    – avoiding nihilism (religion is better than science at “finding meaning”)

    unfortunately I had to leave bahai (after 30 yrs of cr*p fascist conformist silliness) and study integral theory to understand that basic point.

    please people, don’t waste your time with confusing bahai theology and ridiculous outdated metaphysics, study integral theory instead (or at least together).

    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • Amanda

    EP:

    Hello!

    You say: “Congratulations!
    You guys are great, keep up the good work!”

    Thanks, on behalf of any dissidents who that went out to.

    But, you say: “The original dissident bahai-left (dialog-kalimat-talisman) had an agenda that was obviously imported from 60s protest, counterculture anti-establishment thinking. That is why it failed in its attempts to thwart the slide towards fundamentalism and fascism in the bahai community.”

    I’m not really sure that’s fair or accurate. I wouldn’t say they failed, I’d say that the struggle for consciousness and justice is ongoing. Not an easy fix, you see.

    And, 60’s protest, counterculture and “anti-establishment thinking” is not a bad thing. I wonder why you characterize it that way?

    Thanks!
    Amanda

  • Amanda

    EP:

    Hello!

    You say: “Congratulations!
    You guys are great, keep up the good work!”

    Thanks, on behalf of any dissidents who that went out to.

    But, you say: “The original dissident bahai-left (dialog-kalimat-talisman) had an agenda that was obviously imported from 60s protest, counterculture anti-establishment thinking. That is why it failed in its attempts to thwart the slide towards fundamentalism and fascism in the bahai community.”

    I’m not really sure that’s fair or accurate. I wouldn’t say they failed, I’d say that the struggle for consciousness and justice is ongoing. Not an easy fix, you see.

    And, 60’s protest, counterculture and “anti-establishment thinking” is not a bad thing. I wonder why you characterize it that way?

    Thanks!
    Amanda

  • ep

    Hi Amanda,

    You are correct that the struggle for justice and consciousness is ongoing. In many cases, “the left” has become the enemy of truth.

    The basic problem with the bahai left is that it failed to learn from its mistakes, same as the pc-left in general. also, many people on the left have themselves turned into thought police and “sensitivity fascists”. The real issue isn’t “liberalism vs. conservatism” as it is about the way in which postmodernism has degenerated.

    In holist terms, ideological issues are like layers of an onion, constantly evolving, adding new layers.

    Integralists have various classification schemes to explain the layers, but they are basically:

    tribal (ego-centric)
    premodern (traditional-orthodox-conservative-imperialist)
    modern (capitalist-conservative or capitalist-moderate-liberal)
    postmodern (green/progressive/pluralist)
    integral (holistic)

    Unfortunately the 60s approach didn’t do much to bring
    about *radical* social change except provide fodder for advertisements for aging baby boomers, like the one where dennis hopper sells retirement funds, or the utopian beatles songs in ads. ick. see rabbi michael lerner’s “tikkun” web site, and his books like “Surplus Powerlesness” for how New Left politics imploded from lack of spirituality, ethics. there was lots of fake new age spirituality (I lived in Santa Cruz in the 70s). transpersonal psychology melted down into bickering camps. the list is long.

    Ken Wilber refers to the whole phenomena as “Boomeritis”, which he defines as the “mean green meme” (pluralism that regresses to narcicissism and nihilism). Integral pioneer Jean Gebser first wrote of “paradigm regression” in the late 1940s. Gebser was with the Jung school in Switzerland, ad participated in the experiements in democracy in Spain in the 1930s before dictatorship, etc.

    The parts of the pc-left-counterculture that didn’t sell out and give up on believing anything worthwhile, tended to become nasty and snarling. Cole-talisman is a perfect example. Having failed to accomplish the utopian social change agenda that they tried to sell to the legitimately disaffected people in the community, the pc-left bahai intellectuals turned to demonizing bahai traditions in order to obscure their own absurdly failed rhetoric and polemic activities.

    There was an excellent PBS documentary on Ralph Nader recently in which Nader chronicles how corrupt liberal politics are. The Clintons, quintesesstial boomers, wantd power and money, and were willing to sell out the very “activist” “radical” “populist” ideals that they originally espoused to get it. Nader ran for President in 2000 to protest the sell out. He states that the liberal politicos first offered him vast sums of money to stop the protest, then whe he refused on principle, they threatened to ruin his activist network, which has done far more to improve the lives of consumers, improve the environment, etc., than “liberal” politicians have for 40 years.

    Here is the holistic enchilada:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptA/intro.cfm

    If you do nothing to research the issues other than google “pre/trans fallacy”, you will be far ahead.

    The questions isn’t whether or not bahai culture/administration is corrupt and exhausted, it is how the failure was/is used by people with various agendas to promote their ideas/memes.

    The bahai-left is just as capable of being nasty and conformist as the conservatives, viritually every historical instance where the bahai left developed some kind of power (minimal as they are) clearly demonstrates the point.

    Paolo Friere, father of the modern literacy movement in Brazil during dictatorship, made the classic statement that revolutionaries always turn out to be just like the “oppressors” that they seek to replace.

    From a Wilberian/integralist viewpoint, the underlying paradigm of revolutionaries doesn’t advanced to a new state of consciousness, so it is doomed to regress to the previous “oppressive” state.

    I hope that the current generation of bahai “revolutionaries” discovers a better path. Back in the 90s, Terry Culhane led the way toward breaking free of the limits of leftism and moving to integralism and higher truth. Few of the bahai-left followed, they apparently preferred to refine the art of reinflicting and licking old wounds to breaking out of their comfort zones to try some new ideas that might actually work.

    Regards,
    Eric

  • ep

    Hi Amanda,

    You are correct that the struggle for justice and consciousness is ongoing. In many cases, “the left” has become the enemy of truth.

    The basic problem with the bahai left is that it failed to learn from its mistakes, same as the pc-left in general. also, many people on the left have themselves turned into thought police and “sensitivity fascists”. The real issue isn’t “liberalism vs. conservatism” as it is about the way in which postmodernism has degenerated.

    In holist terms, ideological issues are like layers of an onion, constantly evolving, adding new layers.

    Integralists have various classification schemes to explain the layers, but they are basically:

    tribal (ego-centric)
    premodern (traditional-orthodox-conservative-imperialist)
    modern (capitalist-conservative or capitalist-moderate-liberal)
    postmodern (green/progressive/pluralist)
    integral (holistic)

    Unfortunately the 60s approach didn’t do much to bring
    about *radical* social change except provide fodder for advertisements for aging baby boomers, like the one where dennis hopper sells retirement funds, or the utopian beatles songs in ads. ick. see rabbi michael lerner’s “tikkun” web site, and his books like “Surplus Powerlesness” for how New Left politics imploded from lack of spirituality, ethics. there was lots of fake new age spirituality (I lived in Santa Cruz in the 70s). transpersonal psychology melted down into bickering camps. the list is long.

    Ken Wilber refers to the whole phenomena as “Boomeritis”, which he defines as the “mean green meme” (pluralism that regresses to narcicissism and nihilism). Integral pioneer Jean Gebser first wrote of “paradigm regression” in the late 1940s. Gebser was with the Jung school in Switzerland, ad participated in the experiements in democracy in Spain in the 1930s before dictatorship, etc.

    The parts of the pc-left-counterculture that didn’t sell out and give up on believing anything worthwhile, tended to become nasty and snarling. Cole-talisman is a perfect example. Having failed to accomplish the utopian social change agenda that they tried to sell to the legitimately disaffected people in the community, the pc-left bahai intellectuals turned to demonizing bahai traditions in order to obscure their own absurdly failed rhetoric and polemic activities.

    There was an excellent PBS documentary on Ralph Nader recently in which Nader chronicles how corrupt liberal politics are. The Clintons, quintesesstial boomers, wantd power and money, and were willing to sell out the very “activist” “radical” “populist” ideals that they originally espoused to get it. Nader ran for President in 2000 to protest the sell out. He states that the liberal politicos first offered him vast sums of money to stop the protest, then whe he refused on principle, they threatened to ruin his activist network, which has done far more to improve the lives of consumers, improve the environment, etc., than “liberal” politicians have for 40 years.

    Here is the holistic enchilada:

    http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/books/kosmos/excerptA/intro.cfm

    If you do nothing to research the issues other than google “pre/trans fallacy”, you will be far ahead.

    The questions isn’t whether or not bahai culture/administration is corrupt and exhausted, it is how the failure was/is used by people with various agendas to promote their ideas/memes.

    The bahai-left is just as capable of being nasty and conformist as the conservatives, viritually every historical instance where the bahai left developed some kind of power (minimal as they are) clearly demonstrates the point.

    Paolo Friere, father of the modern literacy movement in Brazil during dictatorship, made the classic statement that revolutionaries always turn out to be just like the “oppressors” that they seek to replace.

    From a Wilberian/integralist viewpoint, the underlying paradigm of revolutionaries doesn’t advanced to a new state of consciousness, so it is doomed to regress to the previous “oppressive” state.

    I hope that the current generation of bahai “revolutionaries” discovers a better path. Back in the 90s, Terry Culhane led the way toward breaking free of the limits of leftism and moving to integralism and higher truth. Few of the bahai-left followed, they apparently preferred to refine the art of reinflicting and licking old wounds to breaking out of their comfort zones to try some new ideas that might actually work.

    Regards,
    Eric

  • Abdul’-Bahai’s Will and Testament was written in Persian. Ruth White didn’t know Persian and neither did the hand-writing expert she consulted. So he was illiterate in the language he was making a judgement about.

    There’s more info on p. 347 in Taherzadeh’s Covenant of Baha’u’llah, but perhaps you read this already.

    Abdul’-Bahai’s will was hidden in the wall of a well for some time because this first part was written while they were prisioners.
    Abdul’-Bahai states in his will + testament that he wrote this at three different periods and in three parts and was addressed to Shoghi Effendi.

    As far as I know the only individuals to challenge the authenticity of this will have been people who do not read Persian. No one literate in this language has challenged the authenticity and there were plenty of Persian literate Covenant Breakers around. So if there was something suspect there, I think they would have had no hesitation in making a challenge.

  • Abdul’-Bahai’s Will and Testament was written in Persian. Ruth White didn’t know Persian and neither did the hand-writing expert she consulted. So he was illiterate in the language he was making a judgement about.

    There’s more info on p. 347 in Taherzadeh’s Covenant of Baha’u’llah, but perhaps you read this already.

    Abdul’-Bahai’s will was hidden in the wall of a well for some time because this first part was written while they were prisioners.
    Abdul’-Bahai states in his will + testament that he wrote this at three different periods and in three parts and was addressed to Shoghi Effendi.

    As far as I know the only individuals to challenge the authenticity of this will have been people who do not read Persian. No one literate in this language has challenged the authenticity and there were plenty of Persian literate Covenant Breakers around. So if there was something suspect there, I think they would have had no hesitation in making a challenge.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Brain,

    I am sorry I could not reply until now. My workload has been very great of late.

    I have read Ruth White’s books myself and she certainly seems like a reasonable, selfless, and quite interesting person, but I just don’t have the expertise to evaluate either side in this matter.

    I can only say just that I have always thought it was so incredibly strange that Shoghi Effendi did not fulfill his sacred duty to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha to appoint a living Guardian in his own life time.

    Naming one in his Will after his death would NOT have fulfilled that obligation. It was to be done WHILE LIVING.

    I have tried to understand various viewpoints on this, but I find it completely unfathomable. I, myself, do not buy the Mason Remey argument either. In a matter this important, a person with such a responsibility should do it very clearly before the entire Baha’i World of that time, not in the half assed way set forth in the Mason Remey argument.

    To my mind the only understanding possible lay in the realm of psychoanalysis. I have always also kind of blamed RK too. She should have given him a paper every day in the 1950’s that said:

    THINGS TO DO TODAY:

    1. Buy milk.

    2. Buy bread.

    3. Appoint a Living Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.

    Apparently she didn’t, and it never got done.

    It is a complete mystery.

    But perhaps it is a kind of Cosmic “bank shot” that will eventually produce a much greater good. There is one thing no one can deny: Shoghi Effendi got the rise of such a technological innovation as the Internet right on the money. This is a fact. Maybe he foresaw another course of events?

    The most radical people on Earth right now are working and gainfully employed programmers and software engineers. The effect of their work will eclipse all as the new World Age expands hour by hour for the next 1,000 years. I am very proud to be one of them. Nothing can stop the rise and reach of the Internet. Not any government or religion or ideology or system of belief on Earth.

    Too bad the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith was sound asleep and was not prepared in 1994 to advance the Faith through this means in a well thought out approach AT ALL. They got it all wrong because they were all living at every level in 1938.

    So the cat is now completely out of the bag and has largely by-passed and eclipsed the “official” top down AO of the Baha’i Faith anyway . Perhaps this was the purpose of the Divine Spirit all along?

    As I have said here before, I very much take the view that the Tablet of the Holy Mariner IS fully in effect on a much, much bigger Cosmic scale now more than nayone yet comprehends. There are going to be a lot of surprises as this train wreck all plays out in agonizing slow motion.

    Read Lynne McTaggart’s new breakthrough book that just came out this month. Of one thing you can be very, very, very sure: absolutely NO ONE at ANY LEVEL in the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith will read it or study any of the concepts set forth in it. But EVERYONE ELSE on Earth WILL , and THEY will now get the cosmic power brought by Baha’u’llah. It is all about hard scientific inquiry now.

    The power of the ideas of the new World Age have gone to other spiritual communities across the Earth. I still believe the Baha’i Faith could get connected back up at some time over the next 1,000 years. But right now things look very, very bleak. You essentially have a religion led by a very tiny group of people who have not been out for dinner and a movie for 40 years.

    So every one keep posting!

    Meanwhile I recommend reading these below books also to move on and keep trying to do something meaningful and vital every day of your life.

    I myself am working with veterans of the Iraq and Afghan Wars and their families who are trying to put their lives back together after experiencing the stresses and horrors of war. This is the service of my soul in bottom up community. There is plenty of work to be done out there.

    http://phoenixandturtle.net/excerptmill/santillana.htm

    http://www.robertschoch.net/The%20Temple%20of%20Man.htm

    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n21_v43/ai_11597179

    http://tinyurl.com/yqwlfz

    There is a crisis of wisdom in the current version of the Baha’i Faith and an even greater crisis of wisdom in this currently incredibly dumbed down American society and greater world in general at every level. These books should help every spiritual seeker try to get some spiritual footing.

    I enjoy your intelligent and inquiring posts!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Brain,

    I am sorry I could not reply until now. My workload has been very great of late.

    I have read Ruth White’s books myself and she certainly seems like a reasonable, selfless, and quite interesting person, but I just don’t have the expertise to evaluate either side in this matter.

    I can only say just that I have always thought it was so incredibly strange that Shoghi Effendi did not fulfill his sacred duty to the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha to appoint a living Guardian in his own life time.

    Naming one in his Will after his death would NOT have fulfilled that obligation. It was to be done WHILE LIVING.

    I have tried to understand various viewpoints on this, but I find it completely unfathomable. I, myself, do not buy the Mason Remey argument either. In a matter this important, a person with such a responsibility should do it very clearly before the entire Baha’i World of that time, not in the half assed way set forth in the Mason Remey argument.

    To my mind the only understanding possible lay in the realm of psychoanalysis. I have always also kind of blamed RK too. She should have given him a paper every day in the 1950’s that said:

    THINGS TO DO TODAY:

    1. Buy milk.

    2. Buy bread.

    3. Appoint a Living Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.

    Apparently she didn’t, and it never got done.

    It is a complete mystery.

    But perhaps it is a kind of Cosmic “bank shot” that will eventually produce a much greater good. There is one thing no one can deny: Shoghi Effendi got the rise of such a technological innovation as the Internet right on the money. This is a fact. Maybe he foresaw another course of events?

    The most radical people on Earth right now are working and gainfully employed programmers and software engineers. The effect of their work will eclipse all as the new World Age expands hour by hour for the next 1,000 years. I am very proud to be one of them. Nothing can stop the rise and reach of the Internet. Not any government or religion or ideology or system of belief on Earth.

    Too bad the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith was sound asleep and was not prepared in 1994 to advance the Faith through this means in a well thought out approach AT ALL. They got it all wrong because they were all living at every level in 1938.

    So the cat is now completely out of the bag and has largely by-passed and eclipsed the “official” top down AO of the Baha’i Faith anyway . Perhaps this was the purpose of the Divine Spirit all along?

    As I have said here before, I very much take the view that the Tablet of the Holy Mariner IS fully in effect on a much, much bigger Cosmic scale now more than nayone yet comprehends. There are going to be a lot of surprises as this train wreck all plays out in agonizing slow motion.

    Read Lynne McTaggart’s new breakthrough book that just came out this month. Of one thing you can be very, very, very sure: absolutely NO ONE at ANY LEVEL in the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith will read it or study any of the concepts set forth in it. But EVERYONE ELSE on Earth WILL , and THEY will now get the cosmic power brought by Baha’u’llah. It is all about hard scientific inquiry now.

    The power of the ideas of the new World Age have gone to other spiritual communities across the Earth. I still believe the Baha’i Faith could get connected back up at some time over the next 1,000 years. But right now things look very, very bleak. You essentially have a religion led by a very tiny group of people who have not been out for dinner and a movie for 40 years.

    So every one keep posting!

    Meanwhile I recommend reading these below books also to move on and keep trying to do something meaningful and vital every day of your life.

    I myself am working with veterans of the Iraq and Afghan Wars and their families who are trying to put their lives back together after experiencing the stresses and horrors of war. This is the service of my soul in bottom up community. There is plenty of work to be done out there.

    http://phoenixandturtle.net/excerptmill/santillana.htm

    http://www.robertschoch.net/The%20Temple%20of%20Man.htm

    http://www.cosmosandpsyche.com/

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1282/is_n21_v43/ai_11597179

    http://tinyurl.com/yqwlfz

    There is a crisis of wisdom in the current version of the Baha’i Faith and an even greater crisis of wisdom in this currently incredibly dumbed down American society and greater world in general at every level. These books should help every spiritual seeker try to get some spiritual footing.

    I enjoy your intelligent and inquiring posts!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Whoops.

    I misspoke. Lynne McTaggart’s new book came out in 2007. Sorry!

    http://www.wddtyhealthshop.com/products.asp?recnumber=348

  • Craig Parke

    Whoops.

    I misspoke. Lynne McTaggart’s new book came out in 2007. Sorry!

    http://www.wddtyhealthshop.com/products.asp?recnumber=348

  • Craig Parke

    Maybe it is just coming out now in paperback?

  • Craig Parke

    Maybe it is just coming out now in paperback?

  • Bird out of the Cage

    You know Craig

    I feel a great deal of empathy for Bah?’?’s in that fact that it is highly unlikely the “wrong” to eliminate the Guardianship, will ever be made “right” when the very people who make the decision still control it. I would also like to point out the difficult position Shoghi put himself in when he excommunicated most of his entire and extended family and all their lineal descendants.

    I too never agreed with Mason’s claim because the specifics were never clearly spelled out. I do however wonder what happened to the precedence Shoghi did set of the embryonic IBC by naming a woman as VP and another as Secretary. It certainly leaves a lot to be explained with what essentially occurred in the 1963 formation of the all male UHJ…

    I also can’t help but think of the good fortune all the non-Bah?’? women who will grow up their whole life and not know they are not qualified based on their gender for any position on earth. Imagine the empowerment in that. To be raised from birth knowing that they may attain any position based on ability and not gender, truly quite an amazing concept in the global goal for the advancement of women. I would further speculate that such a measure, such equal opportunity philosophy would certainly be a sign of progressive revelation, for surely a notion contrary to equality is man made and not possibly divine in any form.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    You know Craig

    I feel a great deal of empathy for Bah?’?’s in that fact that it is highly unlikely the “wrong” to eliminate the Guardianship, will ever be made “right” when the very people who make the decision still control it. I would also like to point out the difficult position Shoghi put himself in when he excommunicated most of his entire and extended family and all their lineal descendants.

    I too never agreed with Mason’s claim because the specifics were never clearly spelled out. I do however wonder what happened to the precedence Shoghi did set of the embryonic IBC by naming a woman as VP and another as Secretary. It certainly leaves a lot to be explained with what essentially occurred in the 1963 formation of the all male UHJ…

    I also can’t help but think of the good fortune all the non-Bah?’? women who will grow up their whole life and not know they are not qualified based on their gender for any position on earth. Imagine the empowerment in that. To be raised from birth knowing that they may attain any position based on ability and not gender, truly quite an amazing concept in the global goal for the advancement of women. I would further speculate that such a measure, such equal opportunity philosophy would certainly be a sign of progressive revelation, for surely a notion contrary to equality is man made and not possibly divine in any form.

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Bird Out of the Cage,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    You have brought up a point that has crossed my mind over many years also. I put it in similar terms regarding many issues in the current version of the Baha’i Faith. Ponder the long term implications of the astounding failure by SE to appoint a Living Guardian in his lifetime as he was formally charged to do, the fact that the hands on advancement of women in the modern world has now completely out distanced the existing organization of the Baha’i Faith, and the fact that the secular civil laws of every society on Earth are now in many cases much more highly advanced and refined as to manifesting actual day to day justice in the real world than the “religious” law of any “organized” religion on Earth including the Kitab-I-Aqdas of the Baha’i Faith. Go figure?

    To gain a better perspective I try to go much more esoteric and much more Cosmic in trying to develop a system of insight on these developments.

    I have been a Baha’i for 36 years and am still a BIGS (Baha’i In Good Standing). Coming out of the 1960’s and 1970’s this movement had incredible potential as anyone who was of age in that time of turmoil can attest. Looking back it looks like it may have been simply because the Middle Classes of the world up until then in the 20th Century had to actually fight and die THEMSELVES in war and were, therefore, looking for a way out of endless war, endless death, and endless killing. It was the great hope back then after the deeply shared carnage of World War II. It was the hope of their children that came of age in the 1960’s.

    But you now have a world where professional armies do the fighting and the dying while the citizens of the nation THEMSELVES play video games, collect and read comic books, download term papers from the Internet via credit card, and make clueless juvenile posts on the Internet. You have millions of people that have never seen anything in their completely sheltered Middle Class bubble wrapped lives. You have people who have never been anywhere on the road of life. Such people are now mass produced by the society.

    Into this mix you add the above issues which are incredible and astonishing COSMIC BLOCKING FORCES in the Baha’i Faith that will insure mathematical mind bending failure as the World Age expands.

    But look at the mechanism in this.

    These amazing blocking forces will insure that it will be the “non-Baha’i” world that will REALLY manifest the spiritual power of the World Age unfettered and uninhibited by the internal self defeating organic blocking forces in the Baha’i Faith and it’s free falling cognitive dissonant “organization” itself.

    All of the huge movements of the 20th Century came from the survivors of wars who had political and deeply spiritual issues to deal with. It will be the same in the 21st. The Baha’i Faith could have been a major player, but has now taken itself out of the game with the top down micro managed substitute hack Faith which has disconnected tens of thousands of Baha’is worldwide from their own personal inner connection to Source. Some say we are in a 100 year mistake. To my mind it is at least 100 years. But it could well be much more even up to the full next 1000 years. It is that bad.

    But you have these incredible blocking forces in play that have occurred simultaneously with the rise of the Internet. This is a very, very interesting simultaneous development and is cause for a search for the Divine in this. It is a very explosive mix.

    Everything is greatly speeded up in Internet time and there are projects out there as we all know to get an inexpensive lap top to every person on Earth. This is all going somewhere and the Baha’is are not players at all in any thoughtful way because the Faith is largely out of sync with the zeitgeist because it is now famously over controlled.

    But I feel something very, very good and even amazing will yet come from this current Cosmic stew of seeming failure and monumental stupidity.

    2,000 years ago a clueless religious organization of arrogant dolt archetypes crucified a Jewish stone mason (the word does not really connotate “carpenter”) and because of the movement that came from this blunder the idea of the equal “priesthood of all believers” was born and advanced in the Early Church and new energies came into play in human relations. With the Reformation these ideas in the New Testament were re-discovered and then amplified by the invention of the printing press and we eventually achieved the concept of the modern liberal democracy over the last 500 years. I say this development was a delayed “bank shot” that was Divine in origin.

    Keep your eye on the veterans coming back form Iraq and Afghanistan. I am in touch with many. There is a lot of soul searching going on under everyone’s radar.

    The U.S. may yet start to grow a soul again. The Baha’is of the world may yet start to grow a pair. And boys who post on the Internet of late may yet grow to be men.

    Much greater works than these have happened in human history.

    Stay tuned!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Hi Bird Out of the Cage,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    You have brought up a point that has crossed my mind over many years also. I put it in similar terms regarding many issues in the current version of the Baha’i Faith. Ponder the long term implications of the astounding failure by SE to appoint a Living Guardian in his lifetime as he was formally charged to do, the fact that the hands on advancement of women in the modern world has now completely out distanced the existing organization of the Baha’i Faith, and the fact that the secular civil laws of every society on Earth are now in many cases much more highly advanced and refined as to manifesting actual day to day justice in the real world than the “religious” law of any “organized” religion on Earth including the Kitab-I-Aqdas of the Baha’i Faith. Go figure?

    To gain a better perspective I try to go much more esoteric and much more Cosmic in trying to develop a system of insight on these developments.

    I have been a Baha’i for 36 years and am still a BIGS (Baha’i In Good Standing). Coming out of the 1960’s and 1970’s this movement had incredible potential as anyone who was of age in that time of turmoil can attest. Looking back it looks like it may have been simply because the Middle Classes of the world up until then in the 20th Century had to actually fight and die THEMSELVES in war and were, therefore, looking for a way out of endless war, endless death, and endless killing. It was the great hope back then after the deeply shared carnage of World War II. It was the hope of their children that came of age in the 1960’s.

    But you now have a world where professional armies do the fighting and the dying while the citizens of the nation THEMSELVES play video games, collect and read comic books, download term papers from the Internet via credit card, and make clueless juvenile posts on the Internet. You have millions of people that have never seen anything in their completely sheltered Middle Class bubble wrapped lives. You have people who have never been anywhere on the road of life. Such people are now mass produced by the society.

    Into this mix you add the above issues which are incredible and astonishing COSMIC BLOCKING FORCES in the Baha’i Faith that will insure mathematical mind bending failure as the World Age expands.

    But look at the mechanism in this.

    These amazing blocking forces will insure that it will be the “non-Baha’i” world that will REALLY manifest the spiritual power of the World Age unfettered and uninhibited by the internal self defeating organic blocking forces in the Baha’i Faith and it’s free falling cognitive dissonant “organization” itself.

    All of the huge movements of the 20th Century came from the survivors of wars who had political and deeply spiritual issues to deal with. It will be the same in the 21st. The Baha’i Faith could have been a major player, but has now taken itself out of the game with the top down micro managed substitute hack Faith which has disconnected tens of thousands of Baha’is worldwide from their own personal inner connection to Source. Some say we are in a 100 year mistake. To my mind it is at least 100 years. But it could well be much more even up to the full next 1000 years. It is that bad.

    But you have these incredible blocking forces in play that have occurred simultaneously with the rise of the Internet. This is a very, very interesting simultaneous development and is cause for a search for the Divine in this. It is a very explosive mix.

    Everything is greatly speeded up in Internet time and there are projects out there as we all know to get an inexpensive lap top to every person on Earth. This is all going somewhere and the Baha’is are not players at all in any thoughtful way because the Faith is largely out of sync with the zeitgeist because it is now famously over controlled.

    But I feel something very, very good and even amazing will yet come from this current Cosmic stew of seeming failure and monumental stupidity.

    2,000 years ago a clueless religious organization of arrogant dolt archetypes crucified a Jewish stone mason (the word does not really connotate “carpenter”) and because of the movement that came from this blunder the idea of the equal “priesthood of all believers” was born and advanced in the Early Church and new energies came into play in human relations. With the Reformation these ideas in the New Testament were re-discovered and then amplified by the invention of the printing press and we eventually achieved the concept of the modern liberal democracy over the last 500 years. I say this development was a delayed “bank shot” that was Divine in origin.

    Keep your eye on the veterans coming back form Iraq and Afghanistan. I am in touch with many. There is a lot of soul searching going on under everyone’s radar.

    The U.S. may yet start to grow a soul again. The Baha’is of the world may yet start to grow a pair. And boys who post on the Internet of late may yet grow to be men.

    Much greater works than these have happened in human history.

    Stay tuned!

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Thanks for taking the time to write Craig. I was a Bah?’? for 14 years. It is interesting that you still consider yourself a BIGS. I was a BIGS until I certified to have myself and family removed early this year. You are correct in the internet and how Bah?’? are not on board with info. available at the speed of lightening. Most of the people left in my former community are all from the 60’s & 70’s era and they are aging rapidly and the internet is unknown to them outside of email. They have kept re-electing themselves to the LSA like the congress, from the LSA to the NSA, the senate… There have been very few changes in the AO where I live except for those moving up or moving on. There is one man, whom I do love dearly, has been on the LSA where I live for 35 years.

    You remind me of a dear friend, you even wear his name, maybe the only reason I held on to the concepts of the Bah?’? religion were largely in part of his teaching style. He was not well liked by the community, in the sense he was not invited to the homes of the clique Bah?’?’s as I call them. I fell for the guy the day I really met him. At a beach one day a woman saw a sign that said ?We are the Bah?’??. She came to me, new and eager to teach and asked if I was a Bah?’?. I told her yes and asked if she wanted a flyer. She told me she only met one person in her life who was a Bah?’?, 20 years ago, on another beach nearly 7,000 from the beach I was speaking to her on. She said his name and the most beautiful testimony of the BF (Bah?’? Faith), before I knew it I told her I had heard the name in my community somewhere. They had a nice reunion and I made a life time friend. He passed away in 2002. I liked how he answered my questions and even more so that he made me comfortable enough to ask them. At the end of his life he talked about the internet and many other things that were moving faster than the BF.

    I had asked many questions about what I considered oxymoron’s of the BF and he would always refer somewhere to AB or SE but then he would get this look in his eyes about the current BF, as you put it, the UHJ. He never once put down the UHJ. However I could see some deep longing in his well knowledge eyes that he had his own set of questions, much deeper and well read in the SWOBF (Sacred Writings of the Bah?’? Faith) than I but he would find many two step dancing moves to go around his own questions to insure he didn’t add his to mine.

    Well thanks to the internet I found and answered my own set of questions about the religion I was a part of for nearly 1/3 of my life and no one was there to two step them this time. Almost like a gasket blew my whole engine stopped. I realized for the second time in my life I had gone from one set of elitist principles to another. The Source, as you put it, to me, is not the BF, not the SWOBF, not the Bible, Torah, Koran, Bagavagita, the I-Ching, or any religion for that matter. In fact they each lead me to believe that none it is God, but man’s hopeful rendition of It, what ever It is.

    I guess what is really funny is when I told a Bah?’? in my community that I had decided to unenroll, she asked me if I was really prepared to renounce Baha’u’llah. I told her what I had read from SF about Bah?’?’s leaving the faith because they no longer believe in the Teachings or Institutions and that renouncing any belief was no longer any ones business but mine as I am a non-Bah?’?. She asked me if I was communing with my dead friend. In fact I had been talking to him all along my study in my heart the whole time. I think he did have the power over me to continue the dance if he still believed it where ever he is. I know he found what he was looking for when he passed and I found it while I am alive. What we both found is that no one knows anything about life or death until you get there. Since I am not in death it’s life and living I must choose. It is a bitter sweet feeling of leaving something I once loved with ardency, but I know that living out of the cage has got to be better then living in it. Flying free is an amazing feeling and I am glad I got out while my wings still work.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Thanks for taking the time to write Craig. I was a Bah?’? for 14 years. It is interesting that you still consider yourself a BIGS. I was a BIGS until I certified to have myself and family removed early this year. You are correct in the internet and how Bah?’? are not on board with info. available at the speed of lightening. Most of the people left in my former community are all from the 60’s & 70’s era and they are aging rapidly and the internet is unknown to them outside of email. They have kept re-electing themselves to the LSA like the congress, from the LSA to the NSA, the senate… There have been very few changes in the AO where I live except for those moving up or moving on. There is one man, whom I do love dearly, has been on the LSA where I live for 35 years.

    You remind me of a dear friend, you even wear his name, maybe the only reason I held on to the concepts of the Bah?’? religion were largely in part of his teaching style. He was not well liked by the community, in the sense he was not invited to the homes of the clique Bah?’?’s as I call them. I fell for the guy the day I really met him. At a beach one day a woman saw a sign that said ?We are the Bah?’??. She came to me, new and eager to teach and asked if I was a Bah?’?. I told her yes and asked if she wanted a flyer. She told me she only met one person in her life who was a Bah?’?, 20 years ago, on another beach nearly 7,000 from the beach I was speaking to her on. She said his name and the most beautiful testimony of the BF (Bah?’? Faith), before I knew it I told her I had heard the name in my community somewhere. They had a nice reunion and I made a life time friend. He passed away in 2002. I liked how he answered my questions and even more so that he made me comfortable enough to ask them. At the end of his life he talked about the internet and many other things that were moving faster than the BF.

    I had asked many questions about what I considered oxymoron’s of the BF and he would always refer somewhere to AB or SE but then he would get this look in his eyes about the current BF, as you put it, the UHJ. He never once put down the UHJ. However I could see some deep longing in his well knowledge eyes that he had his own set of questions, much deeper and well read in the SWOBF (Sacred Writings of the Bah?’? Faith) than I but he would find many two step dancing moves to go around his own questions to insure he didn’t add his to mine.

    Well thanks to the internet I found and answered my own set of questions about the religion I was a part of for nearly 1/3 of my life and no one was there to two step them this time. Almost like a gasket blew my whole engine stopped. I realized for the second time in my life I had gone from one set of elitist principles to another. The Source, as you put it, to me, is not the BF, not the SWOBF, not the Bible, Torah, Koran, Bagavagita, the I-Ching, or any religion for that matter. In fact they each lead me to believe that none it is God, but man’s hopeful rendition of It, what ever It is.

    I guess what is really funny is when I told a Bah?’? in my community that I had decided to unenroll, she asked me if I was really prepared to renounce Baha’u’llah. I told her what I had read from SF about Bah?’?’s leaving the faith because they no longer believe in the Teachings or Institutions and that renouncing any belief was no longer any ones business but mine as I am a non-Bah?’?. She asked me if I was communing with my dead friend. In fact I had been talking to him all along my study in my heart the whole time. I think he did have the power over me to continue the dance if he still believed it where ever he is. I know he found what he was looking for when he passed and I found it while I am alive. What we both found is that no one knows anything about life or death until you get there. Since I am not in death it’s life and living I must choose. It is a bitter sweet feeling of leaving something I once loved with ardency, but I know that living out of the cage has got to be better then living in it. Flying free is an amazing feeling and I am glad I got out while my wings still work.

  • This is a beautiful post, Bird. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is nice to hear.

    I also appreciate the spirit of your and Craig’s dialogue.

    Thanks for sharing. I wonder what you will do with your wings next. 🙂

  • This is a beautiful post, Bird. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your journey with us. It is nice to hear.

    I also appreciate the spirit of your and Craig’s dialogue.

    Thanks for sharing. I wonder what you will do with your wings next. 🙂

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    Thank you for your tender and heartfelt post. I understand where you are coming from. I think for many people they met some very memorable fellow spiritual seekers in the Baha’i Community along the way in their journey. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s this was certainly a very interesting movement where you could meet thinkers from every conceivable spiritual background, tradition, and cast of mind. I regret none of it in those days. It was cutting edge stuff. But it appears that inner vortex on the inner horizon (especially in the Egyptian sense) has now moved somewhere else.

    I’m still a BIGS after 36 years (although I have my resignation letter written and sitting in a drawer) but I completely stopped teaching the Faith 4 years ago. Sadly, I would NEVER bring a soul into this cult of incredible top down coercion and even spiritual brutality now. By my personal code of honor to do such a thing would be completely immoral in front of both God and man.

    A rule of thumb I learned rather late in life is from the 1991 film “Boyz ‘n the Hood”. Furious (the father) says to his son “Never give respect to people who do not respect you.” People should teach this simple touch stone saying to their children and it will save them from much grief and false pathways in life. If people applied this, no one would ever join the U.S. military for starters. Do you think the Neocon’s give a s**t about any 19 year old son or daughter of any U.S. citizen blown to pieces in Iraq? these people could care less. They only care about their theorist Ideology.

    Same with the lifetime incumbent ideologues now running the Baha’i Faith for going on 40 years now. The simple truth is that the people in the high lifetime incumbent positions in the current BAO have absolutely no respect whatsoever for the souls of the rank and file. It is because these people themselves have absolutely zero spiritual acumen themselves.

    They do not seem to understand themselves that all spiritual power comes from one’s own inner connection to Source. As Jesus said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” If you take both Jesus’s Sayings and Baha’u’llah’s Writings and read “ME” as “MY CONSCIOUSNESS” you get a completely different religion. You then get a liberating spiritual Teacher and a liberating spiritual religion. If you see that “Me” as solely a person you get a totalitarian nightmare. This is the fork in the road that has been before every spiritual movement in history that we know about. To my mind this was, in fact, the great contribution to mankind of the Abrahamic religions: They were all a 3,000 year study of the psycho pathology of organized religions and the people who are drawn to them from their own projected psychological problems.

    I thought the Baha’i Faith would go a different route. I thought peoplewere better than this after the carnage of two World Wars and the invention of nuclear weapons. Alas, I was wrong. It is sadly the same old, same old.

    To my mind as I have said the current BAO is now spiritually operating under the resolute Cosmic Divine Judgment of the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. That ever recurring Divine archetypal cosmic movie story line truly is getting very interesting. It is not that the other shoe is about to drop in thye Baha’i Faith, IT IS DROPPING minute by minute! What are the dysfunctional clueless cowardly dolts now running the show going to do? Pass the popcorn with extra butter and salt. It is getting very interesting.

    I keep my card after 36 years so that I can go to some future talk by a US NSA member, a current UHJ member, or a retired or soon to be retired UHJ member and sit in the front row and study their soul in person face to face. I plan on then getting up in front of 500 people and giving that unfortunate soul an ear full. I feel it is my spiritual duty.

    Everyone must go their own path as to how they deal with their particular end of the road in the Baha’i Faith.

    Again, thank you for your tender personal post.

    Best regards to you!

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    Thank you for your tender and heartfelt post. I understand where you are coming from. I think for many people they met some very memorable fellow spiritual seekers in the Baha’i Community along the way in their journey. Back in the 1960’s and 1970’s this was certainly a very interesting movement where you could meet thinkers from every conceivable spiritual background, tradition, and cast of mind. I regret none of it in those days. It was cutting edge stuff. But it appears that inner vortex on the inner horizon (especially in the Egyptian sense) has now moved somewhere else.

    I’m still a BIGS after 36 years (although I have my resignation letter written and sitting in a drawer) but I completely stopped teaching the Faith 4 years ago. Sadly, I would NEVER bring a soul into this cult of incredible top down coercion and even spiritual brutality now. By my personal code of honor to do such a thing would be completely immoral in front of both God and man.

    A rule of thumb I learned rather late in life is from the 1991 film “Boyz ‘n the Hood”. Furious (the father) says to his son “Never give respect to people who do not respect you.” People should teach this simple touch stone saying to their children and it will save them from much grief and false pathways in life. If people applied this, no one would ever join the U.S. military for starters. Do you think the Neocon’s give a s**t about any 19 year old son or daughter of any U.S. citizen blown to pieces in Iraq? these people could care less. They only care about their theorist Ideology.

    Same with the lifetime incumbent ideologues now running the Baha’i Faith for going on 40 years now. The simple truth is that the people in the high lifetime incumbent positions in the current BAO have absolutely no respect whatsoever for the souls of the rank and file. It is because these people themselves have absolutely zero spiritual acumen themselves.

    They do not seem to understand themselves that all spiritual power comes from one’s own inner connection to Source. As Jesus said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” If you take both Jesus’s Sayings and Baha’u’llah’s Writings and read “ME” as “MY CONSCIOUSNESS” you get a completely different religion. You then get a liberating spiritual Teacher and a liberating spiritual religion. If you see that “Me” as solely a person you get a totalitarian nightmare. This is the fork in the road that has been before every spiritual movement in history that we know about. To my mind this was, in fact, the great contribution to mankind of the Abrahamic religions: They were all a 3,000 year study of the psycho pathology of organized religions and the people who are drawn to them from their own projected psychological problems.

    I thought the Baha’i Faith would go a different route. I thought peoplewere better than this after the carnage of two World Wars and the invention of nuclear weapons. Alas, I was wrong. It is sadly the same old, same old.

    To my mind as I have said the current BAO is now spiritually operating under the resolute Cosmic Divine Judgment of the Tablet of the Holy Mariner. That ever recurring Divine archetypal cosmic movie story line truly is getting very interesting. It is not that the other shoe is about to drop in thye Baha’i Faith, IT IS DROPPING minute by minute! What are the dysfunctional clueless cowardly dolts now running the show going to do? Pass the popcorn with extra butter and salt. It is getting very interesting.

    I keep my card after 36 years so that I can go to some future talk by a US NSA member, a current UHJ member, or a retired or soon to be retired UHJ member and sit in the front row and study their soul in person face to face. I plan on then getting up in front of 500 people and giving that unfortunate soul an ear full. I feel it is my spiritual duty.

    Everyone must go their own path as to how they deal with their particular end of the road in the Baha’i Faith.

    Again, thank you for your tender personal post.

    Best regards to you!

    Craig

  • Bird out of the Cage

    The pleasure is mine. I values the opportunty to share without reserve. Thank you.

    I have to say I took a good chuckle at your ?spiritual duty? and I would not mind a word or two myself in front of some of the upper management of the BOA. LOL

    I am a motivator. I have a pitch called Mutual Exhange, one of my personal favorites.

    I grew up in the 60’ & 70’s, a child of pot smoking, free thinking rebel hippies. My father had a saying in the 70’s …ass, grass or gas, kid, no one rides for free… Don’t take free riders don’t be one. What a way to intoduce the concept of the value of a mutual exchange. Very similar to the “respect” in your post.

    I later correlate this message to the rent exchange for people and memories I allow to live in my heart. Is it real love? Does it make me feel good? Will it take me somewhere I want to go? There are no squatters in my heart. No room, plenty on a God’s waiting list to get in willing to exchange true value for the space.

    I knew for years I was struggling with many concepts of the organized religion of the BF. In fact, I even isolated why I stayed was for the only (1) ?privilege? I found calling myself a Bah?’?, and that is the privilege to give to the Funds, the SWOBF themselves are open to the public. It was with joy that I gave to the Funds throughout the world. In doing so, I got gas, so to speak, to fuel my jets to soar to higher successes so that I could give more. Praise God for the gas.

    Unfortunately much money actually sat, in a non-interet account, some still is, in the community I was in. Very little acts of charity… can’t think of too many in the last 10 years. Without tangible measures of passing things forward, my fuel was less and less while my gratitudes were more and more. No fuel, no go. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vacations but I am in this life to serve, f/t, until I get my “next” service assignment.

    If your holding on, in part, to personally enlighten some NSA or UHJ member, in the meantime have they provided you some type of retainer for the space taken up in your heart preparing for the occation? If so, will you share in what form you are being compensated?

  • Bird out of the Cage

    The pleasure is mine. I values the opportunty to share without reserve. Thank you.

    I have to say I took a good chuckle at your ?spiritual duty? and I would not mind a word or two myself in front of some of the upper management of the BOA. LOL

    I am a motivator. I have a pitch called Mutual Exhange, one of my personal favorites.

    I grew up in the 60’ & 70’s, a child of pot smoking, free thinking rebel hippies. My father had a saying in the 70’s …ass, grass or gas, kid, no one rides for free… Don’t take free riders don’t be one. What a way to intoduce the concept of the value of a mutual exchange. Very similar to the “respect” in your post.

    I later correlate this message to the rent exchange for people and memories I allow to live in my heart. Is it real love? Does it make me feel good? Will it take me somewhere I want to go? There are no squatters in my heart. No room, plenty on a God’s waiting list to get in willing to exchange true value for the space.

    I knew for years I was struggling with many concepts of the organized religion of the BF. In fact, I even isolated why I stayed was for the only (1) ?privilege? I found calling myself a Bah?’?, and that is the privilege to give to the Funds, the SWOBF themselves are open to the public. It was with joy that I gave to the Funds throughout the world. In doing so, I got gas, so to speak, to fuel my jets to soar to higher successes so that I could give more. Praise God for the gas.

    Unfortunately much money actually sat, in a non-interet account, some still is, in the community I was in. Very little acts of charity… can’t think of too many in the last 10 years. Without tangible measures of passing things forward, my fuel was less and less while my gratitudes were more and more. No fuel, no go. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vacations but I am in this life to serve, f/t, until I get my “next” service assignment.

    If your holding on, in part, to personally enlighten some NSA or UHJ member, in the meantime have they provided you some type of retainer for the space taken up in your heart preparing for the occation? If so, will you share in what form you are being compensated?

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    You write:

    “If your holding on, in part, to personally enlighten some NSA or UHJ member, in the meantime have they provided you some type of retainer for the space taken up in your heart preparing for the occation? If so, will you share in what form you are being compensated?”

    There is a lot of food for thought here in both your post and your question to me. I will have to ponder this a bit as to what is my FINAL EXCHANGE … hummm … but you just clarified a recurring theme that seems to be in all of my movie scripts in some form. The protagonist it seems is ALWAYS trying to formulate some FINAL EXCHANGE WITH THE COSMOS! Yes. Of course it is a projection of some kind from my subconscious mind that lives through my film characters. This is a very major insight that has now somehow come to me through your question. I will have to ponder this and get back to you!

    Your pitch does sound interesting.

    Your “exchange” system sounds much like “transactional analysis” from the famous book “I’m OK, You’re OK”.

    But I was once going to write a book and call it “I’m NOT OK, You’re NOT OK” from my observations in life!

    We do appear to be moving on the same ground. To my mind everything in life is the manifestation of the recurring depth psychology that is going on. And the real horizon of one’s existence is the one within your soul. It is mystical and is the real Universe.

    This is what the journey looks like outwardly on the physical plane:

    You kind of start out here:
    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    And you end up in something like this:
    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

    There is a lot of inner space to traverse.

    The Universe appears to be a system of dimensional vortexes. Who you meet is in the Archetypal Tarot Cards you traffic in.

    I love the Sufis but in my view the real Gnostics of this individual empowering World Age are the depth psychologists. So to me combining C.G. Jung AND Rumi is a pretty good system of insight.

    I will have to think about your post and see what I can come up with as I muse on your question this week.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    You write:

    “If your holding on, in part, to personally enlighten some NSA or UHJ member, in the meantime have they provided you some type of retainer for the space taken up in your heart preparing for the occation? If so, will you share in what form you are being compensated?”

    There is a lot of food for thought here in both your post and your question to me. I will have to ponder this a bit as to what is my FINAL EXCHANGE … hummm … but you just clarified a recurring theme that seems to be in all of my movie scripts in some form. The protagonist it seems is ALWAYS trying to formulate some FINAL EXCHANGE WITH THE COSMOS! Yes. Of course it is a projection of some kind from my subconscious mind that lives through my film characters. This is a very major insight that has now somehow come to me through your question. I will have to ponder this and get back to you!

    Your pitch does sound interesting.

    Your “exchange” system sounds much like “transactional analysis” from the famous book “I’m OK, You’re OK”.

    But I was once going to write a book and call it “I’m NOT OK, You’re NOT OK” from my observations in life!

    We do appear to be moving on the same ground. To my mind everything in life is the manifestation of the recurring depth psychology that is going on. And the real horizon of one’s existence is the one within your soul. It is mystical and is the real Universe.

    This is what the journey looks like outwardly on the physical plane:

    You kind of start out here:
    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA05547_modest.jpg

    And you end up in something like this:
    http://www.solstation.com/x-objects/and2disk.jpg

    There is a lot of inner space to traverse.

    The Universe appears to be a system of dimensional vortexes. Who you meet is in the Archetypal Tarot Cards you traffic in.

    I love the Sufis but in my view the real Gnostics of this individual empowering World Age are the depth psychologists. So to me combining C.G. Jung AND Rumi is a pretty good system of insight.

    I will have to think about your post and see what I can come up with as I muse on your question this week.

    Best regards,

    Craig

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    I am not sure where you live, but in most Western countries, not reporting mistreatment of children to civil authorities is liabale to a heavy prosecution.

    All Baha’i institutions have clear instruction in regards with this subject. Saying “it happens all the time” if a child is concerned and you have not reported it, is testifying to your own transgression of the law.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    I am not sure where you live, but in most Western countries, not reporting mistreatment of children to civil authorities is liabale to a heavy prosecution.

    All Baha’i institutions have clear instruction in regards with this subject. Saying “it happens all the time” if a child is concerned and you have not reported it, is testifying to your own transgression of the law.

  • Farhan,

    Thanks for your comment. Saying “it happens all the time,” is a statement of fact, and I HAVE reported all instances of child abuse which I have become aware of to the civil authorities. There is nothing more important to me than the safety of children.

    Thanks for also taking this matter seriously,
    Amanda

  • Farhan,

    Thanks for your comment. Saying “it happens all the time,” is a statement of fact, and I HAVE reported all instances of child abuse which I have become aware of to the civil authorities. There is nothing more important to me than the safety of children.

    Thanks for also taking this matter seriously,
    Amanda

  • farhan

    Thanks for your work; the writings and the UHJ are very clear on the need to comply by civil laws; any delay would be the violation of both

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Thanks for your work; the writings and the UHJ are very clear on the need to comply by civil laws; any delay would be the violation of both

  • farhan

    Craig, the unfathomable will of God is not to make things too easy for us, so that as Baha’u’llah says, the loyal and the wayward should be differenciated. This is why the prophecies concerning Christ were symbolic, Azal misled many, Baha’u’llah openly announced His mission in 1863 and not in 1853 as had been expected, Abdu’l-Baha was unable to establish the UHJ during His life-time and Shoghi effendi had no idea that He would be a Guadian, and was unable to appoint the UHJ during His own life-time, and appointed a graet number of Hands of the Cause, without announcing that there would not be another Guardian, as we had expected. These tests distinguish those who come to give their lives to the Faith and those who come to make a name or a living for themselves.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Craig, the unfathomable will of God is not to make things too easy for us, so that as Baha’u’llah says, the loyal and the wayward should be differenciated. This is why the prophecies concerning Christ were symbolic, Azal misled many, Baha’u’llah openly announced His mission in 1863 and not in 1853 as had been expected, Abdu’l-Baha was unable to establish the UHJ during His life-time and Shoghi effendi had no idea that He would be a Guadian, and was unable to appoint the UHJ during His own life-time, and appointed a graet number of Hands of the Cause, without announcing that there would not be another Guardian, as we had expected. These tests distinguish those who come to give their lives to the Faith and those who come to make a name or a living for themselves.

  • ep

    Farhan,

    The problem is that the wayward are running the bahai faith and making things difficult for everyone involved in it.

    Silly metaphysics that maintain a corrupt, premodern tribal mentality are the main reason that the wayward have taken power.

    The only solutions are
    1) to protest and reject the silly superstitions about loyalty/waywardness, and then get attacked by the corrupt administrative fascists, or
    2) leave.

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • ep

    Farhan,

    The problem is that the wayward are running the bahai faith and making things difficult for everyone involved in it.

    Silly metaphysics that maintain a corrupt, premodern tribal mentality are the main reason that the wayward have taken power.

    The only solutions are
    1) to protest and reject the silly superstitions about loyalty/waywardness, and then get attacked by the corrupt administrative fascists, or
    2) leave.

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • farhan

    Eric, you are suggesting to intervene because perhaps you belive that some imperfect Baha’is are misbehaving, and God has become absent-minded and does not know hat H is letting people do.. The faith of god has weathered terrible tests and will weather many more. As queen Victoria wisely said, if this Faith is not from God it will disappera, if it is from God, it does not need our help. We need to serve as the true purpose of our lives in this life. Tests are provided so that we can grow spiritually, not by doing what teh world around us would do, but what God’s Manifestation has advised us to do. The UHj is to me the continued presence of God amongst us as promised by John’s revelation chapter 21

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Eric, you are suggesting to intervene because perhaps you belive that some imperfect Baha’is are misbehaving, and God has become absent-minded and does not know hat H is letting people do.. The faith of god has weathered terrible tests and will weather many more. As queen Victoria wisely said, if this Faith is not from God it will disappera, if it is from God, it does not need our help. We need to serve as the true purpose of our lives in this life. Tests are provided so that we can grow spiritually, not by doing what teh world around us would do, but what God’s Manifestation has advised us to do. The UHj is to me the continued presence of God amongst us as promised by John’s revelation chapter 21

  • Farhan,
    You wrote: “These tests distinguish those who come to give their lives to the Faith and those who come to make a name or a living for themselves.”

    I think that’s an unfair distinction. To imagine that anyone who disagrees with the AO is trying to make a “name or a living” for themselves is fantasy. Although I am sure there are individuals within any group, Baha’is in Good Standing, ex-Baha’is, whoever– that have self-aggrandizement as a motive, the vast majority do not. When you look at what people have to gain versus what they have to lose when they risk speaking up against the AO, it becomes obvious that most who challenge their authority or decisions do so at great personal risk.

  • Farhan,
    You wrote: “These tests distinguish those who come to give their lives to the Faith and those who come to make a name or a living for themselves.”

    I think that’s an unfair distinction. To imagine that anyone who disagrees with the AO is trying to make a “name or a living” for themselves is fantasy. Although I am sure there are individuals within any group, Baha’is in Good Standing, ex-Baha’is, whoever– that have self-aggrandizement as a motive, the vast majority do not. When you look at what people have to gain versus what they have to lose when they risk speaking up against the AO, it becomes obvious that most who challenge their authority or decisions do so at great personal risk.

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    I am not judging the situation of fellow baha’is. I am saying that our funcion is to offer and not to direct.

    There is this story of the prnce who wanted to meet baha’u’llah at night, so as not to jeopardise his position; baha’u’llah advised him that if he wanted to come and lay down his life, he was welcome to come and bring others with him, but if not, he should not waste his time.

    Marcus Bach pointed out to Soghi Effendi that churches in the US were doing so much better than the Baha’i Faith, and he replied that these churches were offering something, whereas the Baha’is were inviting people to lay down their lives. If our function is to give, why worry about what God is going to do with what we have offered?

    Yes, unfair as it might seem to you, I see that the West has deveopped a consumer attitude to religion. We are trying to save the world from what is an autoprogrammed destruction, but some of us feel we need recognition for what we are giving. We are here to give what we can, and we should be expecting nothing: neither recognition nor praise; just for the love of it, even in the face of undue blame and opposition. So why worry? God will judge what we have contributed; the aim is to give as much as we can, not to receive recognition. Why oppose the administrative order? We can display our contribution and offer our jewels; if they are accepted, all the better, if not, do we imagine that God will abandon His Cause in the hands of inexperienced fellow believers?

    Do you think Abdu’l-Baha “opposed” the misbehaving Baha’is around Him? He tried to educate them with love. The whole process of the Faith is to educate us all. Why compare what we have to gain and lose when we are trying to do what is not in our power nor within our responsibility before God.

    Why go to a clash, unless we are convinced that we are right and invested with a divine mission to save the Faith of God from those that we consider as irresponsible and incompetent fellow Baha’is? Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?

    Why not just do our best and then step aide and let God do the rest? What would we loose if we did that?

    It is like constantly opposing the referee in a match; if we are playing for the love and pleasure, who cares who wins or looses?

    Of course if we do not believe that this Faith is invested with surnatural spiritual potentialities and if we imagine that it is just another of the many human enterprises under our control, we would certainly choose to go to a clash.

    warmest

    farhan

    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    I am not judging the situation of fellow baha’is. I am saying that our funcion is to offer and not to direct.

    There is this story of the prnce who wanted to meet baha’u’llah at night, so as not to jeopardise his position; baha’u’llah advised him that if he wanted to come and lay down his life, he was welcome to come and bring others with him, but if not, he should not waste his time.

    Marcus Bach pointed out to Soghi Effendi that churches in the US were doing so much better than the Baha’i Faith, and he replied that these churches were offering something, whereas the Baha’is were inviting people to lay down their lives. If our function is to give, why worry about what God is going to do with what we have offered?

    Yes, unfair as it might seem to you, I see that the West has deveopped a consumer attitude to religion. We are trying to save the world from what is an autoprogrammed destruction, but some of us feel we need recognition for what we are giving. We are here to give what we can, and we should be expecting nothing: neither recognition nor praise; just for the love of it, even in the face of undue blame and opposition. So why worry? God will judge what we have contributed; the aim is to give as much as we can, not to receive recognition. Why oppose the administrative order? We can display our contribution and offer our jewels; if they are accepted, all the better, if not, do we imagine that God will abandon His Cause in the hands of inexperienced fellow believers?

    Do you think Abdu’l-Baha “opposed” the misbehaving Baha’is around Him? He tried to educate them with love. The whole process of the Faith is to educate us all. Why compare what we have to gain and lose when we are trying to do what is not in our power nor within our responsibility before God.

    Why go to a clash, unless we are convinced that we are right and invested with a divine mission to save the Faith of God from those that we consider as irresponsible and incompetent fellow Baha’is? Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?

    Why not just do our best and then step aide and let God do the rest? What would we loose if we did that?

    It is like constantly opposing the referee in a match; if we are playing for the love and pleasure, who cares who wins or looses?

    Of course if we do not believe that this Faith is invested with surnatural spiritual potentialities and if we imagine that it is just another of the many human enterprises under our control, we would certainly choose to go to a clash.

    warmest

    farhan

    Farhan

  • Farhan,

    Thanks or your thoughts. You say:
    [quote comment=”44373″]some of us feel we need recognition for what we are giving. We are here to give what we can, and we should be expecting nothing: neither recognition nor praise; just for the love of it, even in the face of undue blame and opposition. So why worry? God will judge what we have contributed; the aim is to give as much as we can, not to receive recognition.”[/quote]

    I don’t see what this has to do with my comment? Can you explain? Are you saying that people who express disagreement with the AO are doing it for recognition or praise? My point was that more often than not, they are doing it out of genuine love, respect, and concern and I don’t think it’s right to prejudge their motives.

    And, again, I don’t see how respectful, articulate dissent can be viewed as a lack of love, or somehow separate from an appropriate approach. Can you explain why you think it is wrong?

    You say, “Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?” Again, this is an arbitrary distinction. It’s ok to say to someone you love, “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” That isn’t “speaking against,” “opposing,” or “clashing.” It’s looking out for someone’s best interests.

    And if you DO feel that a loved one is headed for the edge of a cliff, what could be more loving than opposing that action?

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  • Farhan,

    Thanks or your thoughts. You say:
    [quote comment=”44373″]some of us feel we need recognition for what we are giving. We are here to give what we can, and we should be expecting nothing: neither recognition nor praise; just for the love of it, even in the face of undue blame and opposition. So why worry? God will judge what we have contributed; the aim is to give as much as we can, not to receive recognition.”[/quote]

    I don’t see what this has to do with my comment? Can you explain? Are you saying that people who express disagreement with the AO are doing it for recognition or praise? My point was that more often than not, they are doing it out of genuine love, respect, and concern and I don’t think it’s right to prejudge their motives.

    And, again, I don’t see how respectful, articulate dissent can be viewed as a lack of love, or somehow separate from an appropriate approach. Can you explain why you think it is wrong?

    You say, “Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?” Again, this is an arbitrary distinction. It’s ok to say to someone you love, “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” That isn’t “speaking against,” “opposing,” or “clashing.” It’s looking out for someone’s best interests.

    And if you DO feel that a loved one is headed for the edge of a cliff, what could be more loving than opposing that action?

    Thanks,
    Amanda

  • Craig Parke

    Amanda,

    Your wrote to Farhan:

    You (Farhan) say, ?Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?? Again, this is an arbitrary distinction. It’s ok to say to someone you love, ?I love you. Your shoes are untied.? That isn’t ?speaking against,? ?opposing,? or ?clashing.? It’s looking out for someone’s best interests.

    In the case of the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith I think saying “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” is a bit on the mild side. I think it would be much more accurate to say “I love you. But your fly is open and your d**k is hanging out in public.” In the case of the all male UHJ this would be a much better metaphor. Individuals of the “Y” chromosome persuasion should have a much higher level of zipper awareness in what they say and do in public. Zipper management is one of the main qualifications for leadership in ANY walk of life including the BAO. Especially when you get in front of the cameras of World History. Just read the individual comments of these people in public in recent years and your heart goes out to them in the sheer embarrassment. Didn’t their mothers teach them to do that final zipper tug check before speaking in public?

  • Craig Parke

    Amanda,

    Your wrote to Farhan:

    You (Farhan) say, ?Why speak against other believers instead of simply offering our loving suggestions?? Again, this is an arbitrary distinction. It’s ok to say to someone you love, ?I love you. Your shoes are untied.? That isn’t ?speaking against,? ?opposing,? or ?clashing.? It’s looking out for someone’s best interests.

    In the case of the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith I think saying “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” is a bit on the mild side. I think it would be much more accurate to say “I love you. But your fly is open and your d**k is hanging out in public.” In the case of the all male UHJ this would be a much better metaphor. Individuals of the “Y” chromosome persuasion should have a much higher level of zipper awareness in what they say and do in public. Zipper management is one of the main qualifications for leadership in ANY walk of life including the BAO. Especially when you get in front of the cameras of World History. Just read the individual comments of these people in public in recent years and your heart goes out to them in the sheer embarrassment. Didn’t their mothers teach them to do that final zipper tug check before speaking in public?

  • ep

    Thanks for the interesting feedback.

    Typically what one hears in the bahai mainstream is utterly lacking in meaning while simultaneously reinforcing a conformist “feel good” comfort zone of New World Disorder.

    All that is of course shared with a wide variety of other dysfunctional organizations, but bahais are at least somewhat unique in wrapping it in a vague attempt at devout medieval authenticity that would make earlier inquisitors beam with pride and glee.

    “Framing” dissident so that it looks like godlessness and faithlessness is a classic ploy used effectively by corrupt, self-serving and usually greedy (or power seeking) elites in backward, premodern, medieval cultures to keep the exploited masses quiet, poor, uneducated and subservient.

    As you might know, the Baha’i scriptures do abolish slavery and strongly discourage injustice and dishonesty (although perhaps not strongly enough given how little real emphasis is placed on them these days within bahai culture).

    Human history for at least 500 years has rejected that formula. To the extent that it is used to keep a corrupt Bahai system intact, it will indeed eventually “disappear” as the queen predicted.

    (Please note that the queen was advised by Lord Acton who famously stated that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.)

    As I said quite clearly, wayward people have taken over the Baha’i faith. Incompetence and corruption is pervasive, and largely unopposed. The people in power have themselves generally done nothing of note -other than keep the machinery slowing grinding itself into oblivion- for a very long time, and fiercely resist anyone that tries to get anything done because any such actual accomplishment will make the leadership’s incompetence all that much more obvious. For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites (“big pigs”) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that the “little pigs” did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.). Now the corrupt leaders have taken the next step towards the absurd endgame, and effectively abolished any activity that departs from the corrupt leadership agenda. All it usually takes is “peer pressure”, and the herd of sheeple goes where they are supposed to. No one dares to risk the “discomfort” of being called godless/faithless by the honey lipped liars and inquisitors. However, every once in a while a stray nonconformist dares to leaves the herd, and a snarlingly smiley two faced administrative “investigator” (inquisitor?) is sent to drive them back to the herd.

    The Baha’i writings warn of this problem several places (though not in Ruhi circular study for “some reason”), although any rudimentary understanding of human nature and history would be suffice to clearly indicate that when corrupt people start hiding behind invocations of divine power and intervention, that “true faith”, also known as “good, beauty and truth” (not to mention the leading wave of evolutionary consciousness) is very very very far away.

    The kind of silly metaphysics that you believe in is completely contrary to human advancement and bettement, and can only lead to corruption, incompetence and backwardness.

    What you are advocating is a pure scam.

    God has no interest in such scams, and the Baha’i writings are clear that God abandons evil people, and expects the real faithful to do so too. In the process of leaving a comfort zone of lies they might even grow up and learn how to think clearly for themselves and thereby make some kind of real contribution to the betterment of humanity instead of perpetuating scams.

    Integral philosophy, which the Universal House of Justice’s letter writers have told Baha’i scholars to adopt, states quite simply that for “meaning”, people should seek religion and spiritual answers. For “truth”, people should seek good science (clear rational thinking).

    When you mix religion and politics (administration), you always get corruption.

    There are a few places where the Baha’i scriptures tell believers to stay current in science and social theories, but generally, Baha’i scripture simply isn’t attuned enough to the principles of self-learning and self-correction that are necessary to avoid the corrupt and dysfunctional aspects of human nature, also known as “bureacracy”. In other words, Bahai culture (like all other premodern, medieval cultures that maintain silly metaphysics) is pervaded with lies and dishonesty.

    Ivan Illich explained the long history of dysfunctional tendencies in society, religion, politics and bureacuracy in “Vernacular Values”. Illich chronicles the rise of the “cult of expertise”, which, predictably, is what has gone wrong “socially” (administratively) with the Baha’i Faith.

    Similarly, Jugen Habermas explains clearly how “systems have colonized lifeworld”.

    There is little or nothing spontaneous or creative about the Baha’i faith anyore, it is a cold, lifeless system attempting to use the rhetoric of dynamism to put forth a big fat, stupid and evil lie.

    Baha’is, since the time of Mazandarani’s inquisition by proto-fundamentalist polemicists, have marginalized truth and rational thought in favor of a missionary agenda and various prevailing dysfunctional organizational fads in society.

    The world has grown tired of failed attempts to build better mousetraps, but Baha’is, having chanted the mantra of “better mousetraps” for so long that they don’t even know what a better mousetrap is anymore, are clueless as to the irrelevance of the whole activity.

    Have a nice day.

    [quote comment=”44359″]Eric, you are suggesting to intervene because perhaps you belive that some imperfect Baha’is are misbehaving, and God has become absent-minded and does not know hat H is letting people do.. The faith of god has weathered terrible tests and will weather many more. As queen Victoria wisely said, if this Faith is not from God it will disappera, if it is from God, it does not need our help. We need to serve as the true purpose of our lives in this life. Tests are provided so that we can grow spiritually, not by doing what teh world around us would do, but what God’s Manifestation has advised us to do. The UHj is to me the continued presence of God amongst us as promised by John’s revelation chapter 21[/quote]
    [quote comment=””]

  • ep

    Thanks for the interesting feedback.

    Typically what one hears in the bahai mainstream is utterly lacking in meaning while simultaneously reinforcing a conformist “feel good” comfort zone of New World Disorder.

    All that is of course shared with a wide variety of other dysfunctional organizations, but bahais are at least somewhat unique in wrapping it in a vague attempt at devout medieval authenticity that would make earlier inquisitors beam with pride and glee.

    “Framing” dissident so that it looks like godlessness and faithlessness is a classic ploy used effectively by corrupt, self-serving and usually greedy (or power seeking) elites in backward, premodern, medieval cultures to keep the exploited masses quiet, poor, uneducated and subservient.

    As you might know, the Baha’i scriptures do abolish slavery and strongly discourage injustice and dishonesty (although perhaps not strongly enough given how little real emphasis is placed on them these days within bahai culture).

    Human history for at least 500 years has rejected that formula. To the extent that it is used to keep a corrupt Bahai system intact, it will indeed eventually “disappear” as the queen predicted.

    (Please note that the queen was advised by Lord Acton who famously stated that “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.)

    As I said quite clearly, wayward people have taken over the Baha’i faith. Incompetence and corruption is pervasive, and largely unopposed. The people in power have themselves generally done nothing of note -other than keep the machinery slowing grinding itself into oblivion- for a very long time, and fiercely resist anyone that tries to get anything done because any such actual accomplishment will make the leadership’s incompetence all that much more obvious. For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites (“big pigs”) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that the “little pigs” did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.). Now the corrupt leaders have taken the next step towards the absurd endgame, and effectively abolished any activity that departs from the corrupt leadership agenda. All it usually takes is “peer pressure”, and the herd of sheeple goes where they are supposed to. No one dares to risk the “discomfort” of being called godless/faithless by the honey lipped liars and inquisitors. However, every once in a while a stray nonconformist dares to leaves the herd, and a snarlingly smiley two faced administrative “investigator” (inquisitor?) is sent to drive them back to the herd.

    The Baha’i writings warn of this problem several places (though not in Ruhi circular study for “some reason”), although any rudimentary understanding of human nature and history would be suffice to clearly indicate that when corrupt people start hiding behind invocations of divine power and intervention, that “true faith”, also known as “good, beauty and truth” (not to mention the leading wave of evolutionary consciousness) is very very very far away.

    The kind of silly metaphysics that you believe in is completely contrary to human advancement and bettement, and can only lead to corruption, incompetence and backwardness.

    What you are advocating is a pure scam.

    God has no interest in such scams, and the Baha’i writings are clear that God abandons evil people, and expects the real faithful to do so too. In the process of leaving a comfort zone of lies they might even grow up and learn how to think clearly for themselves and thereby make some kind of real contribution to the betterment of humanity instead of perpetuating scams.

    Integral philosophy, which the Universal House of Justice’s letter writers have told Baha’i scholars to adopt, states quite simply that for “meaning”, people should seek religion and spiritual answers. For “truth”, people should seek good science (clear rational thinking).

    When you mix religion and politics (administration), you always get corruption.

    There are a few places where the Baha’i scriptures tell believers to stay current in science and social theories, but generally, Baha’i scripture simply isn’t attuned enough to the principles of self-learning and self-correction that are necessary to avoid the corrupt and dysfunctional aspects of human nature, also known as “bureacracy”. In other words, Bahai culture (like all other premodern, medieval cultures that maintain silly metaphysics) is pervaded with lies and dishonesty.

    Ivan Illich explained the long history of dysfunctional tendencies in society, religion, politics and bureacuracy in “Vernacular Values”. Illich chronicles the rise of the “cult of expertise”, which, predictably, is what has gone wrong “socially” (administratively) with the Baha’i Faith.

    Similarly, Jugen Habermas explains clearly how “systems have colonized lifeworld”.

    There is little or nothing spontaneous or creative about the Baha’i faith anyore, it is a cold, lifeless system attempting to use the rhetoric of dynamism to put forth a big fat, stupid and evil lie.

    Baha’is, since the time of Mazandarani’s inquisition by proto-fundamentalist polemicists, have marginalized truth and rational thought in favor of a missionary agenda and various prevailing dysfunctional organizational fads in society.

    The world has grown tired of failed attempts to build better mousetraps, but Baha’is, having chanted the mantra of “better mousetraps” for so long that they don’t even know what a better mousetrap is anymore, are clueless as to the irrelevance of the whole activity.

    Have a nice day.

    [quote comment=”44359″]Eric, you are suggesting to intervene because perhaps you belive that some imperfect Baha’is are misbehaving, and God has become absent-minded and does not know hat H is letting people do.. The faith of god has weathered terrible tests and will weather many more. As queen Victoria wisely said, if this Faith is not from God it will disappera, if it is from God, it does not need our help. We need to serve as the true purpose of our lives in this life. Tests are provided so that we can grow spiritually, not by doing what teh world around us would do, but what God’s Manifestation has advised us to do. The UHj is to me the continued presence of God amongst us as promised by John’s revelation chapter 21[/quote]
    [quote comment=””]

  • ep

    Craig,

    Excellent, except you forgot the part where the believers realize that the thing that has long been lodged up their metaphorical rectum is the very thing hanging out of the metaphorial zipper. 🙂

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

    [quote comment=”44475″]

    In the case of the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith I think saying “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” is a bit on the mild side. I think it would be much more accurate to say “I love you. But your fly is open and your d**k is hanging out in public.” In the case of the all male UHJ this would be a much better metaphor.

  • ep

    Craig,

    Excellent, except you forgot the part where the believers realize that the thing that has long been lodged up their metaphorical rectum is the very thing hanging out of the metaphorial zipper. 🙂

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

    [quote comment=”44475″]

    In the case of the Administrative Order of the Baha’i Faith I think saying “I love you. Your shoes are untied.” is a bit on the mild side. I think it would be much more accurate to say “I love you. But your fly is open and your d**k is hanging out in public.” In the case of the all male UHJ this would be a much better metaphor.

  • farhan

    Amanda, you write:
    Are you saying that people who express disagreement with the AO are doing it for recognition or praise? My point was that more often than not, they are doing it out of genuine love, respect, and concern and I don’t think it’s right to prejudge their motives.
    My point is that there are different ways, different times and different places for giving suggestions. Those who come into the Baha’i faith, a typically minority group, are typically « dissidents » of the generality of humanity. They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common project. They are typically the ?one-man-show? type of individuals. They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.
    Just imagine that we need to harmonise our efforts to make an orchestra or to build a building. We need to follow the same maestro or the blue prints of the same architect. We need harmony, collaboration, cooperation and specialisation. This is a big move for those who arrived into the Faith as dissidents and who are now required to become collaborators.
    This switch is a difficult one. Those invested with responsibilities are sometimes wont to adopt power issues and arrogant attitudes, which are endemic in the world around us and forget that individual authority and privileges are entirely banished in our faith and replaced by individual responsibility and collegial authority. Those who are mishandled by these outdated attitudes adopt attitudes of revolt and opposition, also caracteristic of the outside world and not attitudes of loving and constructive suggestions.
    We are weathering exactly the same adaptation crisis that we weathered when Mrs White opposed the administrative system, imagining that a growing world community could function without any structure.
    Amanda, many of the posts I am reading here are not lovingly telling the institutions that their shoelaces are undone. Many of the posts are telling people we are too good for this orchestra, we will play solo else where; we are too good constructors for this building project, lets live in the open air or go and build a hut elsewhere.
    The Faith is going through a growth crisis; the butterfly is emerging from the chrysalis under the loving attention of the UHJ, God’s presence in this world as promised in John’s Revelation chapter 21. You do as you wish; as uncomfortable as I might feel at times, I want to remain part of it.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda, you write:
    Are you saying that people who express disagreement with the AO are doing it for recognition or praise? My point was that more often than not, they are doing it out of genuine love, respect, and concern and I don’t think it’s right to prejudge their motives.
    My point is that there are different ways, different times and different places for giving suggestions. Those who come into the Baha’i faith, a typically minority group, are typically « dissidents » of the generality of humanity. They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common project. They are typically the ?one-man-show? type of individuals. They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.
    Just imagine that we need to harmonise our efforts to make an orchestra or to build a building. We need to follow the same maestro or the blue prints of the same architect. We need harmony, collaboration, cooperation and specialisation. This is a big move for those who arrived into the Faith as dissidents and who are now required to become collaborators.
    This switch is a difficult one. Those invested with responsibilities are sometimes wont to adopt power issues and arrogant attitudes, which are endemic in the world around us and forget that individual authority and privileges are entirely banished in our faith and replaced by individual responsibility and collegial authority. Those who are mishandled by these outdated attitudes adopt attitudes of revolt and opposition, also caracteristic of the outside world and not attitudes of loving and constructive suggestions.
    We are weathering exactly the same adaptation crisis that we weathered when Mrs White opposed the administrative system, imagining that a growing world community could function without any structure.
    Amanda, many of the posts I am reading here are not lovingly telling the institutions that their shoelaces are undone. Many of the posts are telling people we are too good for this orchestra, we will play solo else where; we are too good constructors for this building project, lets live in the open air or go and build a hut elsewhere.
    The Faith is going through a growth crisis; the butterfly is emerging from the chrysalis under the loving attention of the UHJ, God’s presence in this world as promised in John’s Revelation chapter 21. You do as you wish; as uncomfortable as I might feel at times, I want to remain part of it.

  • farhan

    Craig,
    My medical thesis in 1976 considered Illich; it is available in French under my name through Google; I applied Baha’i principles to his thoughts, and not the contrary. You are disillusioned and consider the Baha’i Faith as a scam. I believe that we are moving towards something much greater than before and we are going through a period of adaptation. No body is herding anyone anywhere.
    By no means I am unaware of misbehaviour and dysfunction on the part of those who claim to love Baha’u’llah and believe that they can serve the interests of the Faith by being dishonest, but these are individual misgivings and not characteristics of the Faith of God.
    I believe that between the choices of chaotic ?no structure? and a corrupt structure we have the choice of a gradually developing structure, inspired by moral values and that can grow, learn and adapt by trial and error. As Shoghi Effendi describes it in the WOB :
    Such is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society.

    We are approaching the 40th anniversary of May 1968 that I went through as a medical student in France and debates here are on this very subject.
    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Craig,
    My medical thesis in 1976 considered Illich; it is available in French under my name through Google; I applied Baha’i principles to his thoughts, and not the contrary. You are disillusioned and consider the Baha’i Faith as a scam. I believe that we are moving towards something much greater than before and we are going through a period of adaptation. No body is herding anyone anywhere.
    By no means I am unaware of misbehaviour and dysfunction on the part of those who claim to love Baha’u’llah and believe that they can serve the interests of the Faith by being dishonest, but these are individual misgivings and not characteristics of the Faith of God.
    I believe that between the choices of chaotic ?no structure? and a corrupt structure we have the choice of a gradually developing structure, inspired by moral values and that can grow, learn and adapt by trial and error. As Shoghi Effendi describes it in the WOB :
    Such is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society.

    We are approaching the 40th anniversary of May 1968 that I went through as a medical student in France and debates here are on this very subject.
    Farhan

  • farhan

    Sorry, Eric,
    I replied to Craig for your post
    You write :
    « For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites « (?big pigs?) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that « the ?little pigs? did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.).
    Took cr?dit for what, Eric, before whom ? Are we working for cr?dit or for the love of humanity ? Are we not taking cr?dit for what Quddus and Mullah Husayn did ? I Wonder how those luminaries would act now if they were placed in an NSA or to an appointed position. Did those pioneers (of whom I am part since my childhood) expect recognition, praise or a position for theit labors, or did they contribute for love ? Yes, I agree, we do have people adopting attitudes of arrogance and superiority which are clear violations of our teachings, but these people will have to learn that this to is also part of our Faith :

    To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself (…)It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha’u’llah. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Sorry, Eric,
    I replied to Craig for your post
    You write :
    « For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites « (?big pigs?) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that « the ?little pigs? did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.).
    Took cr?dit for what, Eric, before whom ? Are we working for cr?dit or for the love of humanity ? Are we not taking cr?dit for what Quddus and Mullah Husayn did ? I Wonder how those luminaries would act now if they were placed in an NSA or to an appointed position. Did those pioneers (of whom I am part since my childhood) expect recognition, praise or a position for theit labors, or did they contribute for love ? Yes, I agree, we do have people adopting attitudes of arrogance and superiority which are clear violations of our teachings, but these people will have to learn that this to is also part of our Faith :

    To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself (…)It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha’u’llah. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)

  • Farhan,

    Thanks for your comments. You say, ?My point is that there are different ways, different times and different places for giving suggestions.?

    And what is wrong with giving suggestions or critique respectfully and articulately at ANY time? How could that be harmful? Many sanctioned outlets for critique within the Bah??’? community do not work. What if EVERY member of a community is writing secretly to their LSA to air grievous concerns, and has no idea the ENTIRE community feels the same way? Why should respectful critique be secretive or behind closed doors? Also, many voices of dissent do not have ACCESS to the appropriate channels. Only Baha’is with their administrative rights can be heard at a nineteen day Feast or Convention. And as many of us know, the fastest way to lose your administrative rights is to expres dissent to begin with. It’s like the “Let 100 Flowers Bloom” in Maoist China.

    Under what circumstances could criticism EVER be harmful? Do not confuse criticism with attack, for they are very different things.

    You say the Faith contains, ?« dissidents » of the generality of humanity. They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common project.? This says to me that you are unfamiliar with the extraordinary organization and discipline that has fueled the labor movement, women’s movement, abolitionist movement, civil rights movement, anti-apartheid movement, etc. Just because an individual or group stands outside the dominant order does not mean they do not have discipline or organization.

    You say, ?They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.? What do you suppose can ?change the world,? if not individuals?

    You say, ?Just imagine that we need to harmonise our efforts to make an orchestra or to build a building. We need to follow the same maestro or the blue prints of the same architect.? But what if the blueprint is flawed? I recently commented on Mavaddat’s blog and will share it here:

    ?In either instance, when you turn a blind eye to the teachings that turn you off (let’s say the ones that are discriminatory and abusive towards homosexuals or women, just for a hypothetical) you become complicit in oppressing other people. What if you were a construction worker building something and haven’t bothered to thoroughly read the blueprint? You are just enjoying your coffee and donuts at the construction site, enjoying hanging out with the other workers, and just taking the foreman’s word for it that you are building a shelter of some kind. You notice every once in a while some strange things that get your attention, like “why would a shelter need all these complicated nozzles connected to the gasline…?” Or, maybe, “I wonder why this shelter needs an oven as big as a room?” But, you just shrug it off and say, “Ok, whatever. The foreman must know what he’s doing, and I’m certainly no architect. Maybe you do need all that stuff for a shelter.” And you go back to work. You eat more donuts. You build up more camaraderie with your co-workers. At what point does it enter into your head that certain features of this “shelter” are ominous and antithetical to the supposed goal of the building project? At what point does that feeling in the pit of your stomach every time you lay another tile in the room-sized ovens get your attention? Do you just keep ignoring those feelings and thoughts to be a good worker? Are you such a good worker that you don’t even realize you have built a gas chamber and death ovens until it is too late??

    You say, ?We need harmony, collaboration, cooperation and specialisation. This is a big move for those who arrived into the Faith as dissidents and who are now required to become collaborators. This switch is a difficult one.? Again, you seem to not be aware of the monumental work and collaboration that effective dissent involves. Characterizing those who you disagree with as being in an immature state of spiritual development is not entirely on the up and up, it seems to me.

    You say, ?that individual authority and privileges are entirely banished in our faith and replaced by individual responsibility and collegial authority.? On this point, I would have to agree that the Bah??’? Faith banishes individual authority. But what genuine ?responsibility? can be borne without the individual moral authority to carry it out? Are we just yes men, or sentient beings? And I disagree that the authority of the individual is being replaced by ?collegial authority.? Colleagues are peers. The Bah??’? structure is not democratic, it is dictatorial, carried out by many and varied administrators. As a woman, to even hint to me that the Bah??’? administration, with an all-male UHJ is ?collegial? is a vitiation of WHO I AM. Those men are not my colleagues.

    You say, ?We are weathering exactly the same adaptation crisis that we weathered when Mrs White opposed the administrative system, imagining that a growing world community could function without any structure.? Again, a DIFFERENT structure is NOT the same thing as ?no structure.? I see this all the time, where many Baha’is think rejecting a law means embracing anarchy. It doesn’t. And, I don’t know the ?truth? of ?Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, but I have to say that the documents Ruth White placed in the US Library of Congress are unsettling. But nowhere near as unsettling as Shoghi Effendi’s responses. Now, I don’t know the truth. But if there is such credible evidence in existence that the Will was potentially a fake, why in the world wouldn’t we feel it our moral obligation to figure that out? Just hypothetically- imagine that ‘Abdu’l-Baha DIDN’T write that Will, wouldn’t the only moral thing to do be to try and find out the truth? And if he DID write it, why did Shoghi Effendi (and the UHJ in turn) handle it the way they did? If it’s real, what do they have to lose in having it authenticated? [And before I get 400 responses saying, ?It was authenticated!? Please read the Library of Congress documents first. I’ve read all of them and the ?expert? Shoghi Effendi used confirmed that the Will was the same document that was in Ruth White’s photos, not that it was an authenticated document of ?Abdu-l-Baha. And for anyone crying, ?Covenant Breaker!,? I’m not a Bah??’?. I wouldn’t be a Bah??’? if there were a different Guardian, an all female UHJ, or if ?Abdu’l-Baha appeared to me himself and signed the thing with my own blood. I’m secular. Through and through. You can call me a Covenant Breaker if you want, though. I’ll just add it to the ever-growing list.]

    You also say, ?Amanda, many of the posts I am reading here are not lovingly telling the institutions that their shoelaces are undone. Many of the posts are telling people we are too good for this orchestra, we will play solo else where; we are too good constructors for this building project, lets live in the open air or go and build a hut elsewhere.? And, what’s wrong with that?

    You say,?You do as you wish; as uncomfortable as I might feel at times, I want to remain part of it.? As is your right.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

  • Farhan,

    Thanks for your comments. You say, ?My point is that there are different ways, different times and different places for giving suggestions.?

    And what is wrong with giving suggestions or critique respectfully and articulately at ANY time? How could that be harmful? Many sanctioned outlets for critique within the Bah??’? community do not work. What if EVERY member of a community is writing secretly to their LSA to air grievous concerns, and has no idea the ENTIRE community feels the same way? Why should respectful critique be secretive or behind closed doors? Also, many voices of dissent do not have ACCESS to the appropriate channels. Only Baha’is with their administrative rights can be heard at a nineteen day Feast or Convention. And as many of us know, the fastest way to lose your administrative rights is to expres dissent to begin with. It’s like the “Let 100 Flowers Bloom” in Maoist China.

    Under what circumstances could criticism EVER be harmful? Do not confuse criticism with attack, for they are very different things.

    You say the Faith contains, ?« dissidents » of the generality of humanity. They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common project.? This says to me that you are unfamiliar with the extraordinary organization and discipline that has fueled the labor movement, women’s movement, abolitionist movement, civil rights movement, anti-apartheid movement, etc. Just because an individual or group stands outside the dominant order does not mean they do not have discipline or organization.

    You say, ?They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.? What do you suppose can ?change the world,? if not individuals?

    You say, ?Just imagine that we need to harmonise our efforts to make an orchestra or to build a building. We need to follow the same maestro or the blue prints of the same architect.? But what if the blueprint is flawed? I recently commented on Mavaddat’s blog and will share it here:

    ?In either instance, when you turn a blind eye to the teachings that turn you off (let’s say the ones that are discriminatory and abusive towards homosexuals or women, just for a hypothetical) you become complicit in oppressing other people. What if you were a construction worker building something and haven’t bothered to thoroughly read the blueprint? You are just enjoying your coffee and donuts at the construction site, enjoying hanging out with the other workers, and just taking the foreman’s word for it that you are building a shelter of some kind. You notice every once in a while some strange things that get your attention, like “why would a shelter need all these complicated nozzles connected to the gasline…?” Or, maybe, “I wonder why this shelter needs an oven as big as a room?” But, you just shrug it off and say, “Ok, whatever. The foreman must know what he’s doing, and I’m certainly no architect. Maybe you do need all that stuff for a shelter.” And you go back to work. You eat more donuts. You build up more camaraderie with your co-workers. At what point does it enter into your head that certain features of this “shelter” are ominous and antithetical to the supposed goal of the building project? At what point does that feeling in the pit of your stomach every time you lay another tile in the room-sized ovens get your attention? Do you just keep ignoring those feelings and thoughts to be a good worker? Are you such a good worker that you don’t even realize you have built a gas chamber and death ovens until it is too late??

    You say, ?We need harmony, collaboration, cooperation and specialisation. This is a big move for those who arrived into the Faith as dissidents and who are now required to become collaborators. This switch is a difficult one.? Again, you seem to not be aware of the monumental work and collaboration that effective dissent involves. Characterizing those who you disagree with as being in an immature state of spiritual development is not entirely on the up and up, it seems to me.

    You say, ?that individual authority and privileges are entirely banished in our faith and replaced by individual responsibility and collegial authority.? On this point, I would have to agree that the Bah??’? Faith banishes individual authority. But what genuine ?responsibility? can be borne without the individual moral authority to carry it out? Are we just yes men, or sentient beings? And I disagree that the authority of the individual is being replaced by ?collegial authority.? Colleagues are peers. The Bah??’? structure is not democratic, it is dictatorial, carried out by many and varied administrators. As a woman, to even hint to me that the Bah??’? administration, with an all-male UHJ is ?collegial? is a vitiation of WHO I AM. Those men are not my colleagues.

    You say, ?We are weathering exactly the same adaptation crisis that we weathered when Mrs White opposed the administrative system, imagining that a growing world community could function without any structure.? Again, a DIFFERENT structure is NOT the same thing as ?no structure.? I see this all the time, where many Baha’is think rejecting a law means embracing anarchy. It doesn’t. And, I don’t know the ?truth? of ?Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, but I have to say that the documents Ruth White placed in the US Library of Congress are unsettling. But nowhere near as unsettling as Shoghi Effendi’s responses. Now, I don’t know the truth. But if there is such credible evidence in existence that the Will was potentially a fake, why in the world wouldn’t we feel it our moral obligation to figure that out? Just hypothetically- imagine that ‘Abdu’l-Baha DIDN’T write that Will, wouldn’t the only moral thing to do be to try and find out the truth? And if he DID write it, why did Shoghi Effendi (and the UHJ in turn) handle it the way they did? If it’s real, what do they have to lose in having it authenticated? [And before I get 400 responses saying, ?It was authenticated!? Please read the Library of Congress documents first. I’ve read all of them and the ?expert? Shoghi Effendi used confirmed that the Will was the same document that was in Ruth White’s photos, not that it was an authenticated document of ?Abdu-l-Baha. And for anyone crying, ?Covenant Breaker!,? I’m not a Bah??’?. I wouldn’t be a Bah??’? if there were a different Guardian, an all female UHJ, or if ?Abdu’l-Baha appeared to me himself and signed the thing with my own blood. I’m secular. Through and through. You can call me a Covenant Breaker if you want, though. I’ll just add it to the ever-growing list.]

    You also say, ?Amanda, many of the posts I am reading here are not lovingly telling the institutions that their shoelaces are undone. Many of the posts are telling people we are too good for this orchestra, we will play solo else where; we are too good constructors for this building project, lets live in the open air or go and build a hut elsewhere.? And, what’s wrong with that?

    You say,?You do as you wish; as uncomfortable as I might feel at times, I want to remain part of it.? As is your right.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda

  • Andrew

    An excellent series of points, Amanda.

    Your comments on Mavaddat’s blog are also well worth reading. And one of Mavaddat’s responses to you is worth quoting as well:

    “By their faith in faith, religious moderates insulate and shelter fundamentalists from criticism. In this case, what we see is that, by their faith in the Administrative Order, these silent freethinking Bah??’?s are allowing the Orwellian abuses of thought perpetrated by the Bah??’? administration on all their followers. This is to say nothing of the perpetuation of untruth and misunderstanding about homosexuality, the continued classification of women according to set roles, and the normalization of unscientific thinking in general by the Bah??’? writings and administrative system.”

    Even some prominent “unenrolled” Bah??’?s unhesitatingly accept that the Administrative Order is indeed the legitimate elected leader of the world Bah??’? Faith. Supportive beliefs reinforce enabling behavior.

    No “wrestling with God” (as it is called in Judaism) is permitted in the Bah??’? Faith. To even suggest that Bah??’u’ll??h might be anything other than a Manifestation of God — that he might have been, for example, a Sufi mystic with a few megalomaniacal delusions and authoritarian tendencies — is seen as the height of blasphemy, even among many “liberal” Bah??’?s. What a fragile faith. What a weak world-conception.

    Fortunately, liberal Christians and Jews (among others) are not intimidated by absolutist religious authority, which is why they repudiate all authoritarian orthodoxies and conformist principles. If it weren’t for those “moderates” who remain the enabling handmaids of authoritarian religion, potential adherents would be less likely to fall for religious extremism. There would be no need to guild the lily of religious self-representation. “Truth in (religious) advertising” might actually become a reality!

  • Andrew

    An excellent series of points, Amanda.

    Your comments on Mavaddat’s blog are also well worth reading. And one of Mavaddat’s responses to you is worth quoting as well:

    “By their faith in faith, religious moderates insulate and shelter fundamentalists from criticism. In this case, what we see is that, by their faith in the Administrative Order, these silent freethinking Bah??’?s are allowing the Orwellian abuses of thought perpetrated by the Bah??’? administration on all their followers. This is to say nothing of the perpetuation of untruth and misunderstanding about homosexuality, the continued classification of women according to set roles, and the normalization of unscientific thinking in general by the Bah??’? writings and administrative system.”

    Even some prominent “unenrolled” Bah??’?s unhesitatingly accept that the Administrative Order is indeed the legitimate elected leader of the world Bah??’? Faith. Supportive beliefs reinforce enabling behavior.

    No “wrestling with God” (as it is called in Judaism) is permitted in the Bah??’? Faith. To even suggest that Bah??’u’ll??h might be anything other than a Manifestation of God — that he might have been, for example, a Sufi mystic with a few megalomaniacal delusions and authoritarian tendencies — is seen as the height of blasphemy, even among many “liberal” Bah??’?s. What a fragile faith. What a weak world-conception.

    Fortunately, liberal Christians and Jews (among others) are not intimidated by absolutist religious authority, which is why they repudiate all authoritarian orthodoxies and conformist principles. If it weren’t for those “moderates” who remain the enabling handmaids of authoritarian religion, potential adherents would be less likely to fall for religious extremism. There would be no need to guild the lily of religious self-representation. “Truth in (religious) advertising” might actually become a reality!

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    Thanks for your post; You write :
    <And what is wrong with giving suggestions or critique respectfully and <articulately at ANY time? (…)
    <Under what circumstances could criticism EVER be harmful?

    Amanda, as child, I learnt that there was a time and a place for everything. As a mature hospital surgeon and forensic expert, I know that each patient requires adequate information and adapted solutions. If I went through my ward throwing around everything I knew, in wrong amounts, at a wrong time and in wrong circumstances, I would create havoc and bring no benefit to my patients. Acting as an ostrich is inacceptable, identifying the problems is essential, but not sufficient. We have to find a solution, sometimes after consultation, but also find the way to present the solution in an acceptable manner. The posts you made on abuse are not IMHO adequate ways of lovingly pointing out that shoelaces are undone. Being franc, outspoken and spontaneous is a virtue, but in some circumstances also we need diplomacy.

    If your aim were to improve the way abuse victims are coped with in the Baha’i community, you would have better results by informing the institutions of civil law and of the very clear Baha’i directives concerning abuse and in case you were not heard, involving the nSA and the UHJ.

    <Many sanctioned outlets for critique within the Bah??’? community do not
    <work.

    This might well be so in some immature communities and can be slowly remedied through a polite and loving action. Any institutions will be overwhelmed if belittled and humiliated.

    <Why should respectful critique be secretive or behind closed doors?

    Criticism should be offered openly and frankly as Shoghi Effendi advises:

    « … you had asked whether the believers have the right to openly express their criticism of any Assembly action or policy: it is not only the right, but the vital responsibility of every loyal and intelligent member of the Community to offer fully and frankly, but with due respect and consideration to the authority of the Assembly, any suggestion, recommendation or criticism he conscientiously feels he should in order to improve and remedy certain existing conditions or trends in his local Community, and it is the duty of the Assembly also to give careful consideration to any such views submitted to them by any one of the believers…. But again it should be stressed that all criticisms and discussions of a negative character which may result in undermining the authority of the Assembly as a body should be strictly avoided. For otherwise the order of the Cause itself will be endangered, and confusion and discord will reign in the Community. ?(13 December 1939 to an individual believer) Revised November 1990?(Shoghi Effendi: Nineteen Day Feast, Page: 452)

    <Also, many voices of dissent do not have ACCESS to the appropriate
    <channels. Only Baha’is with their administrative rights can be heard at a
    <nineteen day Feast or Convention. And as many of us know, the fastest way
    <to lose your administrative rights is to expres dissent to begin with.

    I am truly sad to hear that; in that case the comments should go to the Counsellors, the NSA or the UHJ. If that does not work, too bad; once I have clearly explained the situation to my patients, I am no longer responsible; it is between them and God and I get along with something else. US regulations require ?informed consent? before an operation. French regulations require ?consentement ?clair?? which means that I have to make sure that the patient has understood; after if I am providing loving attention and if I am not concerned with having my authority recognised, I am no longer responsible and I can relax.

    <You say the Faith contains, « dissidents » of the generality of humanity.
    <They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common
    <project.?

    Amanda, I know that armies, societies, orchestras, political movements space agencies etc function with coordination and discipline; what I am saying that it takes nerve and character to become and to stay Baha’is and that it is even more difficult for people with nerve and character to fit into specialised functions. All revolutions are confronted with the aftermath of reorganisation, and that is where totalitarian systems can come in.

    <You say, ?They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and
    <devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.?
    <What do you suppose can ?change the world,? if not individuals?

    I am saying that many necessary and essential aspects of life are not sufficient per se. Gas, oil and tyres are essential to run a car, but they are not sufficient. 20 extra tyres will not replace the battery. In our case, we are not trying to win personal redemption, and not only trying to have virtuous individuals, but we are trying to build a virtuous social system. Both individual AND collective morality is necessary. We need all those individual qualities, but IN ADDITION, we need collaboration, harmony and respect. Good musicians AND synchronised action under the same maestro.

    <But what if the blueprint is flawed?

    If you feel that the blue print is flawed, you cannot work with those who believe that the blue print is valid. Like the majority of my family and best friends, you either have to find a blue print that suits you better, or else work on your own personal project, which is something perfectly OK.

    <Characterizing those who you disagree with as being in an immature state
    <of spiritual development is not entirely on the up and up, it seems to me.

    We need one man shows, and we also need orchestras; we need industrial fishing and farming, and we also need fishermen and kitchen gardens. If you feel that playing in an orchestra is not your cup of tea, choose your way, but don’t criticize belittle the efforts of those who strive in another way which is more difficult but also necessary. This is the crux of the Ruhi controversy to me.

    <But what genuine ?responsibility? can be borne without the individual
    <moral authority to carry it out?

    There is a perfect reply to your question in a compilation by the UHJ called « Unlocking the Power of Action » available through Google.

    <As a woman, to even hint to me that the Bah??’? administration, with an
    <all-male UHJ is ?collegial? is a vitiation of WHO I AM. Those men are not
    <my colleagues.

    I promise to post a separate reply to that, but at the same time, I see few religious movements more open to women than the Baha’i Faith.

    <Again, a DIFFERENT structure is NOT the same thing as ?no structure.? I
    <see this all the time, where many Baha’is think rejecting a law means
    <embracing anarchy.

    I agree with you; any society has some structure; I will post a separate relpy on that.

    <I have to say that the documents Ruth White placed in the US Library of
    <Congress are unsettling. But nowhere near as unsettling as Shoghi
    <Effendi’s responses.

    I promise to attempt a reply to that too. However, I believe that the world situation is critical and we need to engage all our energies into finding solutions; instead of digging up outdated controversies, if you feel uneasy about the Guardianship, the AO, etc, I see no reason why you should not engage your efforts into any other path of service where you feel happy.

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    Thanks for your post; You write :
    <And what is wrong with giving suggestions or critique respectfully and <articulately at ANY time? (…)
    <Under what circumstances could criticism EVER be harmful?

    Amanda, as child, I learnt that there was a time and a place for everything. As a mature hospital surgeon and forensic expert, I know that each patient requires adequate information and adapted solutions. If I went through my ward throwing around everything I knew, in wrong amounts, at a wrong time and in wrong circumstances, I would create havoc and bring no benefit to my patients. Acting as an ostrich is inacceptable, identifying the problems is essential, but not sufficient. We have to find a solution, sometimes after consultation, but also find the way to present the solution in an acceptable manner. The posts you made on abuse are not IMHO adequate ways of lovingly pointing out that shoelaces are undone. Being franc, outspoken and spontaneous is a virtue, but in some circumstances also we need diplomacy.

    If your aim were to improve the way abuse victims are coped with in the Baha’i community, you would have better results by informing the institutions of civil law and of the very clear Baha’i directives concerning abuse and in case you were not heard, involving the nSA and the UHJ.

    <Many sanctioned outlets for critique within the Bah??’? community do not
    <work.

    This might well be so in some immature communities and can be slowly remedied through a polite and loving action. Any institutions will be overwhelmed if belittled and humiliated.

    <Why should respectful critique be secretive or behind closed doors?

    Criticism should be offered openly and frankly as Shoghi Effendi advises:

    « … you had asked whether the believers have the right to openly express their criticism of any Assembly action or policy: it is not only the right, but the vital responsibility of every loyal and intelligent member of the Community to offer fully and frankly, but with due respect and consideration to the authority of the Assembly, any suggestion, recommendation or criticism he conscientiously feels he should in order to improve and remedy certain existing conditions or trends in his local Community, and it is the duty of the Assembly also to give careful consideration to any such views submitted to them by any one of the believers…. But again it should be stressed that all criticisms and discussions of a negative character which may result in undermining the authority of the Assembly as a body should be strictly avoided. For otherwise the order of the Cause itself will be endangered, and confusion and discord will reign in the Community. ?(13 December 1939 to an individual believer) Revised November 1990?(Shoghi Effendi: Nineteen Day Feast, Page: 452)

    <Also, many voices of dissent do not have ACCESS to the appropriate
    <channels. Only Baha’is with their administrative rights can be heard at a
    <nineteen day Feast or Convention. And as many of us know, the fastest way
    <to lose your administrative rights is to expres dissent to begin with.

    I am truly sad to hear that; in that case the comments should go to the Counsellors, the NSA or the UHJ. If that does not work, too bad; once I have clearly explained the situation to my patients, I am no longer responsible; it is between them and God and I get along with something else. US regulations require ?informed consent? before an operation. French regulations require ?consentement ?clair?? which means that I have to make sure that the patient has understood; after if I am providing loving attention and if I am not concerned with having my authority recognised, I am no longer responsible and I can relax.

    <You say the Faith contains, « dissidents » of the generality of humanity.
    <They find it difficult to become disciplined and submitted to a common
    <project.?

    Amanda, I know that armies, societies, orchestras, political movements space agencies etc function with coordination and discipline; what I am saying that it takes nerve and character to become and to stay Baha’is and that it is even more difficult for people with nerve and character to fit into specialised functions. All revolutions are confronted with the aftermath of reorganisation, and that is where totalitarian systems can come in.

    <You say, ?They believe that an addition of very erudite, competent and
    <devoted individuals can change the world. This is unfortunately not so.?
    <What do you suppose can ?change the world,? if not individuals?

    I am saying that many necessary and essential aspects of life are not sufficient per se. Gas, oil and tyres are essential to run a car, but they are not sufficient. 20 extra tyres will not replace the battery. In our case, we are not trying to win personal redemption, and not only trying to have virtuous individuals, but we are trying to build a virtuous social system. Both individual AND collective morality is necessary. We need all those individual qualities, but IN ADDITION, we need collaboration, harmony and respect. Good musicians AND synchronised action under the same maestro.

    <But what if the blueprint is flawed?

    If you feel that the blue print is flawed, you cannot work with those who believe that the blue print is valid. Like the majority of my family and best friends, you either have to find a blue print that suits you better, or else work on your own personal project, which is something perfectly OK.

    <Characterizing those who you disagree with as being in an immature state
    <of spiritual development is not entirely on the up and up, it seems to me.

    We need one man shows, and we also need orchestras; we need industrial fishing and farming, and we also need fishermen and kitchen gardens. If you feel that playing in an orchestra is not your cup of tea, choose your way, but don’t criticize belittle the efforts of those who strive in another way which is more difficult but also necessary. This is the crux of the Ruhi controversy to me.

    <But what genuine ?responsibility? can be borne without the individual
    <moral authority to carry it out?

    There is a perfect reply to your question in a compilation by the UHJ called « Unlocking the Power of Action » available through Google.

    <As a woman, to even hint to me that the Bah??’? administration, with an
    <all-male UHJ is ?collegial? is a vitiation of WHO I AM. Those men are not
    <my colleagues.

    I promise to post a separate reply to that, but at the same time, I see few religious movements more open to women than the Baha’i Faith.

    <Again, a DIFFERENT structure is NOT the same thing as ?no structure.? I
    <see this all the time, where many Baha’is think rejecting a law means
    <embracing anarchy.

    I agree with you; any society has some structure; I will post a separate relpy on that.

    <I have to say that the documents Ruth White placed in the US Library of
    <Congress are unsettling. But nowhere near as unsettling as Shoghi
    <Effendi’s responses.

    I promise to attempt a reply to that too. However, I believe that the world situation is critical and we need to engage all our energies into finding solutions; instead of digging up outdated controversies, if you feel uneasy about the Guardianship, the AO, etc, I see no reason why you should not engage your efforts into any other path of service where you feel happy.

  • farhan

    Hi Andrew,

    you write:

    <No ?wrestling with God? (as it is called in Judaism) is permitted in the Bah??’? <Faith. To even suggest that Bah??’u’ll??h might be anything other than a <Manifestation of God — that he might have been, for example, a Sufi mystic with a <few megalomaniacal delusions and authoritarian tendencies — is seen as the height <of blasphemy, even among many ?liberal? Bah??’?s. What a fragile faith. What a <weak world-conception.

    Everything is allowed to every one, unless you want to hold a label. If you want to call yourself a US citizen, a Catholic Priest, a Buddhist monk, a Lawyer or a surgeon, you will have to abide by specific rules. If you want to call yourself a Baha’i, you have to abide by some rules that are only applicable to those who want to hold that label. My children admire and apply Baha’i values, but do not hold that label and are not bound by those cumbersome rules that I am happy to abide by. I dont love them any less!

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Hi Andrew,

    you write:

    <No ?wrestling with God? (as it is called in Judaism) is permitted in the Bah??’? <Faith. To even suggest that Bah??’u’ll??h might be anything other than a <Manifestation of God — that he might have been, for example, a Sufi mystic with a <few megalomaniacal delusions and authoritarian tendencies — is seen as the height <of blasphemy, even among many ?liberal? Bah??’?s. What a fragile faith. What a <weak world-conception.

    Everything is allowed to every one, unless you want to hold a label. If you want to call yourself a US citizen, a Catholic Priest, a Buddhist monk, a Lawyer or a surgeon, you will have to abide by specific rules. If you want to call yourself a Baha’i, you have to abide by some rules that are only applicable to those who want to hold that label. My children admire and apply Baha’i values, but do not hold that label and are not bound by those cumbersome rules that I am happy to abide by. I dont love them any less!

  • Andrew

    In the first place, these are non-equivalent analogies. There is no social, religious, or vocational equivalence between any of these delimiting categories and the label of Bah??’?. In the second place, there are self-described Bah??’?s who have no formal affiliation with Haifa: they would not accept your definition of what it means to be Bah??’?. Religious freedom allows individuals to choose for themselves those religious delimiters that seem to best describe their own faith convictions. The label “Bah??’?” is not, to my knowledge, a legally protected term. In the third place, as Mavaddat has written on his blog, there are claims about so-called objective moral truths by the Bah??’? Faith that are intended to apply to everyone, not just Bah??’?s, so your comment that non-Bah??’?s need not be bound by Baha’i rules is self-refuting.

    My observation with regard to the religious freedom of liberal Christians and Jews to question the soteriological status of Jesus or the omniscience of God has elicited a predictably defensive response on your part. Such responses are indicative of a religious weltanschauung that privileges absolutist doctrines, authoritarian methodologies and conformist principles over the concept of “wrestling with God.” In the words of one rabbi, “I think it is better for us to embrace the rigors, uncertainties, and agonies of beseeching God for better answers, than to accept the closure that comes from acquiescence to a system of theological thought that gives us tidy answers but a terrible God.” As T.R. Young notes, “Modern science has destroyed the traditional view of God and the traditional bases for moral action. We have yet to develop a religion and a morality that embodies the best of post-modern understandings.” Of one thing I am absolutely certain: it won’t be the Bah??’? Faith, whatever fond imaginings one might claim to the contrary.

  • Andrew

    In the first place, these are non-equivalent analogies. There is no social, religious, or vocational equivalence between any of these delimiting categories and the label of Bah??’?. In the second place, there are self-described Bah??’?s who have no formal affiliation with Haifa: they would not accept your definition of what it means to be Bah??’?. Religious freedom allows individuals to choose for themselves those religious delimiters that seem to best describe their own faith convictions. The label “Bah??’?” is not, to my knowledge, a legally protected term. In the third place, as Mavaddat has written on his blog, there are claims about so-called objective moral truths by the Bah??’? Faith that are intended to apply to everyone, not just Bah??’?s, so your comment that non-Bah??’?s need not be bound by Baha’i rules is self-refuting.

    My observation with regard to the religious freedom of liberal Christians and Jews to question the soteriological status of Jesus or the omniscience of God has elicited a predictably defensive response on your part. Such responses are indicative of a religious weltanschauung that privileges absolutist doctrines, authoritarian methodologies and conformist principles over the concept of “wrestling with God.” In the words of one rabbi, “I think it is better for us to embrace the rigors, uncertainties, and agonies of beseeching God for better answers, than to accept the closure that comes from acquiescence to a system of theological thought that gives us tidy answers but a terrible God.” As T.R. Young notes, “Modern science has destroyed the traditional view of God and the traditional bases for moral action. We have yet to develop a religion and a morality that embodies the best of post-modern understandings.” Of one thing I am absolutely certain: it won’t be the Bah??’? Faith, whatever fond imaginings one might claim to the contrary.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed your posts. I need a heart warmer now that I am adapting my life without a religion or a fellowship community. Within a few weeks of unenrolling from the Bah?’? Faith, myself and family began to be shunned. I was informed it was announced to the community not to contact me. BTW- I did nothing wrong. I was a loving contributor and ardent adherent the whole 14 years.

    My small children, recently in a store, said hello to a Bah?’? man they have known all their life and he just walk by them after he gave me a sharp look.

    I’m glad to be out of the “fake” and “meaningless” relationships I was in and even more so to protect my children from the dysfunctional, conditional and hypocritical people I associated with.

    I’m not sure of how I will adapt to this whole ugly mess I have now found my heart in. Not sure how I will tell my sons, who know nothing but Bah?’? and a tiny little bit of Catholic, which my whole family is, that I am not a Bah?’? any longer and neither is their father. They know something is up. They notice all the books gone and pictures down but mom and dad isn’t talking. I haven’t found the words yet to explain to them why I gave up. They have never seen me give up on anything, only give in. As for my husband, he only declared because he loves me, no other reason. It means nothing to him to leave the BF what so ever. He never even studied it. He can now drink his beer again in peace…LOL

    However your posts have brought me a little joy. Craig & Eric, your post as well, for that matter the whole conversation.

    I, like the construction worker noted above, just moved along without knowing the blue prints until I saw the flaws. Gradually they came hurling at me, like rain turned to thunder, then hail that started off the size of a peanuts but snowballed into the size of basketballs. I didn’t build a bomb shelter thick enough for my heart to take on hail that size. I was not prepared but guess I am not surprised. Thanks for cheering me.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed your posts. I need a heart warmer now that I am adapting my life without a religion or a fellowship community. Within a few weeks of unenrolling from the Bah?’? Faith, myself and family began to be shunned. I was informed it was announced to the community not to contact me. BTW- I did nothing wrong. I was a loving contributor and ardent adherent the whole 14 years.

    My small children, recently in a store, said hello to a Bah?’? man they have known all their life and he just walk by them after he gave me a sharp look.

    I’m glad to be out of the “fake” and “meaningless” relationships I was in and even more so to protect my children from the dysfunctional, conditional and hypocritical people I associated with.

    I’m not sure of how I will adapt to this whole ugly mess I have now found my heart in. Not sure how I will tell my sons, who know nothing but Bah?’? and a tiny little bit of Catholic, which my whole family is, that I am not a Bah?’? any longer and neither is their father. They know something is up. They notice all the books gone and pictures down but mom and dad isn’t talking. I haven’t found the words yet to explain to them why I gave up. They have never seen me give up on anything, only give in. As for my husband, he only declared because he loves me, no other reason. It means nothing to him to leave the BF what so ever. He never even studied it. He can now drink his beer again in peace…LOL

    However your posts have brought me a little joy. Craig & Eric, your post as well, for that matter the whole conversation.

    I, like the construction worker noted above, just moved along without knowing the blue prints until I saw the flaws. Gradually they came hurling at me, like rain turned to thunder, then hail that started off the size of a peanuts but snowballed into the size of basketballs. I didn’t build a bomb shelter thick enough for my heart to take on hail that size. I was not prepared but guess I am not surprised. Thanks for cheering me.

  • Farhan,

    I hope to respond to you lucidly around dissent issues generally, and to your concerns about the way I discussed abuse within the Baha’i community on this blog specifically.

    Before that, a couple of loose ends:

    You wrote, “There is a perfect reply to your question in a compilation by the UHJ called « Unlocking the Power of Action » available through Google.” My question, “what individual responsibility can be borne without the individual moral authority to carry it out” was a rhetorical one. If you would like to answer it, I could see maybe “blind obedience” as a possible answer. But, of course, I see that as a forfeiture of conscience. In any case, I’ve read the compilation you mention, what part did you feel “answered my question?”

    You wrote: “I see few religious movements more open to women than the Baha’i Faith.” Then you’re not looking very hard. Again, I’m not a fan of religion generally, and I think most religions have their fair share of scriptural misogyny. But, in terms of getting rid of the “stained glass ceiling,” and welcoming women to the highest positions of leadership, here’s a short list of religions more “open to women” than the Baha’i Faith: much of Mahayana Buddhism, Native American Religion, modern Shinto, Tenrikyo, Paganism, most Anglican/Episcopal churches, European and some American Baptist churches, Christian Church, Church of Scotland, Presbyterans, Evangelical Lutherans, the IOCCA, Moravians, Pentecostal, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Unitarian Universalist, African Methodist Episcopal, Quakers, Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Baha’i, and some Hindu groups.

    Also, you wrote regarding my response to your mentioning the controversy over Ruth White: ” I believe that the world situation is critical and we need to engage all our energies into finding solutions…” If you are going to compel people to follow that document and sanction them if they don’t, it seems like you might want that Will authenticated. Again, I wouldn’t become a Baha’i even if the Will was authenticated, because I disagree with its contents. But your advice to forget about it and avert your eyes doesn’t really address the issues involved. Unless, of course, you feel that the Baha’i Administrative Order born from that document is something you can take or leave as a Baha’i. If that’s the case, I assume you have no problem with “Covenant Breakers” and will be adding back Baha’is who have lost their administrative rights to your definition of a Baha’i. Right? Or was that document maybe important to you after all?

    And you also wrote regarding “dissenters:” “We need one man shows, and we also need orchestras.” If you believe that, then why do you want “one man shows” to to be silent or leave the discussion? And what about the “one man shows” who are only performing alone because the rules of the orchestra are arbitrary and keep them out? If they want in the orchestra, sorry, you’re analogy doesn’t work. What if playing in an orchestra is their “cup of tea,” but your rules won’t let them play?

    Okay, now on to bigger and better things.

    You make the comparison of offering criticism within/regarding the Baha’i community to your role as “a mature hospital surgeon and forensic expert.” I don’t see why, really. Surely you recognize the many ways that critique of/in a religious milieu has nothing to do with this model. In a medical situation, a patient SEEKS the treatment/diagnosis of a physician, and is then free to ignore said advice if it’s bad. In the Baha’i “dissenter” case we have the “Divine Physician” and his representatives giving directives and administration to the “community” of the patient. In this role the “doctor” wields the power to sanction/punish the patient if the patient doesn’t comply. A more apt analogy of criticism in this scenario would be to reverse the roles of the doctor and patient, where the PATIENT becomes the giver of critique. Not the doctor. If a doctor is giving you bad medicine, you do not simply offer your loving advice and swallow the pill anyway. No, sir. You offer your critique, spit out the medicine, and report the doctor for malpractice, yes? You hope to discourage others from being victims of this bad medicine. Your analogy just doesn’t fit our scenario for many, many reasons. You go on to say, “If I went through my ward throwing around everything I knew, in wrong amounts, at a wrong time and in wrong circumstances, I would create havoc and bring no benefit to my patients.” Again, this is a nonsensical analogy. No one is advocating for the elevation of non-sequiturs or verbal diarrhea, like you wandering a hospital and mumbling “everything you know.” How does this relate to the thoughtful voicing of criticism?

    Perhaps you do not understand the gravity of the situation for women and other victims of abuse. A more apt, although still inadequate, analogy would be to imagine that someone is standing on your nut sack, and you would like them to stop. Or that someone is standing on the respective scrotums of those you love, including children. Women are PEOPLE, you see, and our unnecessary suffering is not to be tolerated in any way, and not for ANY amount of time.

    When you say there is a time, a place and a way to voice dissent, you seem to be saying that the time is never, the place is nowhere, and the way is not at all to those who do not fit into the streamlined system.

    Regarding what I said about abuse within the Baha’i community, you said: “The posts you made on abuse are not IMHO adequate ways of lovingly pointing out that shoelaces are undone. Being franc, outspoken and spontaneous is a virtue, but in some circumstances also we need diplomacy.”

    Here are my exact words, which you object to:

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 5:40 am Quote

    This happens ALL the time in the Baha’i Community. There is ALOT of sexual violence and victims are routinely told by institutions to stay with abusers, rape victims told to seek LSA mediation with their rapists, child violence doesn’t get reported to civil authorities even when LSAs know about it, which is criminal. It’s disgusting and devoid of conscience.

    I was thinking today about how the Baha’i/religious edict to ignore your conscience and “submit your will to the institutions” diagnostically breeds sociopaths- people with literally no conscience, who are surrounded by a community of people who suppress their conscience. They have free reign to do anything they want.

    Weird how much lenience abusers get from the AO when criticism gets you on everybodys black list.”

    And again,

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 11:43 pm Quote

    I agree COMPLETELY, and actually have gone to the police when I’ve been in a position to. The weird part is that most of the community doesn’t even consider reporting this stuff to civil authorities and keeps it within the institutions.

    Thanks for your clarity on this issue. It’s important.”

    And again,

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 11:52 pm Quote

    Bird out of the Cage,
    Thank you for your comments. Your “Out of the cage” title is apt. I am glad for you.

    What you describe is exactly what I’m talking about. I know VERY FEW Baha’i (or ex-Baha’i) women who have NOT been victimized in the community, and I have never once known an institution response to be just. This has been the case in every community I’ve lived in.

    I think Kate’s advice to always go to the civil authorities is the way to handle it. I agree that it IS like the epidemic abuse in the Catholic church.

    Although I agree that the Baha’i writings didn’t make that rapist “an asshole,” he clearly is responsible or his own actions, I do think that Baha’i theology creates a climate that is sexually and spiritually oppressive.”

    And finally,

    “Feb 26th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Farhan,

    Thanks for your comment. Saying “it happens all the time,” is a statement of fact, and I HAVE reported all instances of child abuse which I have become aware of to the civil authorities. There is nothing more important to me than the safety of children.

    Thanks for also taking this matter seriously,
    Amanda”

    So, which part do you object to, exactly? To the statement of the fact that this is occurring in the community, to my moral evaluation of sexual violence and non-reporting to civil authorities as disgusting and devoid of conscience, to my disapproval of forfeiture of conscience generally in a Baha’i context, or to my observation that those who voice criticism come under harsher fire than those who commit and perpetuate abuse? Is the kibosh on all statements of fact, or just the ones that clearly reveal the weaknesses of the Baha’i community? For example, to state that the Bab was slapped in the face is a fact, is it acceptable to say aloud? Is it inappropriate to state the fact that he was shot by a firing squad? Are those abuses acceptable to state as facts? Is it offensive to say Quddus was dragged through the streets or Baha’u’llah wore a chain in the siyyah chal? Because I am trying to understand if it is the identity of the victim that makes it inappropriate to discuss abuse in a public forum, or the identity of the perpetrator? Do you follow?

    You say these posts are not “adequately loving.” What a disturbing thing to say. What a DISTURBING thing to say. What do you see in these comments but love for the people who are undergoing abuse? Or should my love be directed elsewhere? Perhaps via my lips to the hindquarters of the Baha’i institutions? Would that be adequately loving? Perhaps I should have voiced my concerns, “Dearly beloved child molesters, rapists, wife-beaters and Baha’i Administrative Institutions, I love the way you lovingly have your d*ck in the mouth of every Baha’i victim of sexual violence, thereby choking her ability to speak up about it. If I might lovingly remove it for one small moment I would like to take this opportunity to adore the way you have repeatedly hospitalized my very best friends, and then required them to remain silent about it and undergo “mediation” with their rapists for the sake of “unity.” I especially love how you victimize children and care more about your own Public Relations image than reporting the crimes that are reported to you to the police. p.s. The inclusion of a punishment for rape as zina in the Aqdas gets me every time.”

    Would that be loving enough? Or should I just not bring it up again? Would that make everyone more comfortable?

    You also wrote: “Amanda, as child, I learnt that there was a time and a place for everything…Acting as an ostrich is inacceptable, identifying the problems is essential, but not sufficient. We have to find a solution, sometimes after consultation, but also find the way to present the solution in an acceptable manner.” The “problem,” Farhan, is that Baha’i women and children are sexually victimized by other Baha’is in epidemic proportions, and that the Baha’i Institutions at the local, national, and international level have AT BEST responded to this incompetently, and AT WORST been the perpetrators and smokescreen for this abuse. The “solution” is to have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy towards sexual violence, to report any and every instance to the civil authorities, and to correct the institutional response, which has been to further abuse these victims by condoning the violence and requiring their silence and continued harassment. What “consultation” is necessary to arrive at that solution? And, if you would please instruct me, what is an “acceptable manner” to present this solution?

    Since you have taken the time to give me some “loving” etiquette lessons regarding communicating about abuse, I will now return the favor: If someone is courageous enough to admit to you that she is aware of abuse within the Baha’i community, 1st: close your mouth and listen to her, 2nd: Close your mouth and believe her, 3rd: If children are involved, immediately report it to the CIVIL authorities. Under NO circumstances should you advise or require her to communicate these atrocities to you on your terms, in a style that you prefer. Under NO circumstances should you use her cry for help or statement of fact as an opportunity to “teach” her how to be a better, quieter, “more loving” Baha’i.

    I understand that there are guidelines for assemblies who are responding to instances of violence in the community. They are good guidelines. Do YOU understand that those guidelines are not followed in the vast majority of cases? Do you understand that that is, in part, due to the trajectory of cultural inertia in the Baha’i community? Do you understand that it is, in part because scripture itself has conflicting viewpoints on this issue and Baha’is are, understandably, confused about which conflicting advice to follow? Do you understand that that confusion often leads to paralysis?

    IF you think these are random or infrequent acts of violence, you are clearly not informed. And do you know why you are not informed? Because Baha’i women who speak the facts of their lives are silenced by their direct abusers, and then again by the institutions and community at EVERY level, and even by the Writings.

    You asked me if ‘Abdu’l-Baha would “oppose” fellow Baha’is… I certainly hope so. If you know these things are happening and do nothing you are morally complicit. How do you justify this?

    More than half of all sexual assaults go unreported in the larger society. How much bigger do you think that percentage is for victims in the Baha’i community who face the additional obstacles presented to them by people with your attitude?

    And if you plead ignorance of these events, where do you think that ignorance comes from? From insisting that victims not speak.

    If you propose we shut our mouths (and our eyes) and open our legs and wait for abusive men to grow up enough to stop abusing without any controversy, because you imagine god prefers conformity and not rocking the boat to stopping women being raped, then your god is a misogynist who entitles men to rape and desires the subjugation of women. I am for opposing that god. I think any righteous person would be, too. Prioritizing “appropriate loving communication” of these issues over the immediate needs of victims is casting controversy and honesty as worse crimes than rape. Instead of telling victims how they should better not hurt your ears or your comfort zone, listen to them and offer them help.

    In short, your “comfort zone” or desire for a particular style is not more important than a woman’s life.

    You say: “in case you were not heard, involving the nSA and the UHJ.” You know that’s “been done,” right? I include them in my analysis of incompetent (or worse) responders.

    And you say, “Any institutions will be overwhelmed if belittled and humiliated.” If you find the statement of facts belittling and humiliating you have a psychological problem. AGAIN, stating facts and criticism does not = abuse/attack.

    And you say: “comments should go to the Counsellors, the NSA or the UHJ. If that does not work, too bad; once I have clearly explained the situation to my patients, I am no longer responsible; it is between them and God and I get along with something else…if I am providing loving attention and if I am not concerned with having my authority recognised, I am no longer responsible and I can relax.” So if the institutions mishandle abuse, you can “relax?” How nice for you.

    And you say: “Both individual AND collective morality is necessary. We need all those individual qualities, but IN ADDITION, we need collaboration, harmony and respect.” But if the basis of the law/practice is unjust what you get is collective IMMORALITY. “collective morality” would have to be the result of individual humans searching their conscience, and then creating laws, systems that reflect this. No one is disputing the need for respect or collaboration.

    For anyone in need, http://www.rainn.org is a great resource for escaping/dealing with violence and abuse. If you cannot safely access that website on your computer, try calling them at 1-800-656-HOPE (in the U.S.) from a safe location.

    Amanda

  • Farhan,

    I hope to respond to you lucidly around dissent issues generally, and to your concerns about the way I discussed abuse within the Baha’i community on this blog specifically.

    Before that, a couple of loose ends:

    You wrote, “There is a perfect reply to your question in a compilation by the UHJ called « Unlocking the Power of Action » available through Google.” My question, “what individual responsibility can be borne without the individual moral authority to carry it out” was a rhetorical one. If you would like to answer it, I could see maybe “blind obedience” as a possible answer. But, of course, I see that as a forfeiture of conscience. In any case, I’ve read the compilation you mention, what part did you feel “answered my question?”

    You wrote: “I see few religious movements more open to women than the Baha’i Faith.” Then you’re not looking very hard. Again, I’m not a fan of religion generally, and I think most religions have their fair share of scriptural misogyny. But, in terms of getting rid of the “stained glass ceiling,” and welcoming women to the highest positions of leadership, here’s a short list of religions more “open to women” than the Baha’i Faith: much of Mahayana Buddhism, Native American Religion, modern Shinto, Tenrikyo, Paganism, most Anglican/Episcopal churches, European and some American Baptist churches, Christian Church, Church of Scotland, Presbyterans, Evangelical Lutherans, the IOCCA, Moravians, Pentecostal, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Unitarian Universalist, African Methodist Episcopal, Quakers, Reform Judaism, Reconstructionist Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Baha’i, and some Hindu groups.

    Also, you wrote regarding my response to your mentioning the controversy over Ruth White: ” I believe that the world situation is critical and we need to engage all our energies into finding solutions…” If you are going to compel people to follow that document and sanction them if they don’t, it seems like you might want that Will authenticated. Again, I wouldn’t become a Baha’i even if the Will was authenticated, because I disagree with its contents. But your advice to forget about it and avert your eyes doesn’t really address the issues involved. Unless, of course, you feel that the Baha’i Administrative Order born from that document is something you can take or leave as a Baha’i. If that’s the case, I assume you have no problem with “Covenant Breakers” and will be adding back Baha’is who have lost their administrative rights to your definition of a Baha’i. Right? Or was that document maybe important to you after all?

    And you also wrote regarding “dissenters:” “We need one man shows, and we also need orchestras.” If you believe that, then why do you want “one man shows” to to be silent or leave the discussion? And what about the “one man shows” who are only performing alone because the rules of the orchestra are arbitrary and keep them out? If they want in the orchestra, sorry, you’re analogy doesn’t work. What if playing in an orchestra is their “cup of tea,” but your rules won’t let them play?

    Okay, now on to bigger and better things.

    You make the comparison of offering criticism within/regarding the Baha’i community to your role as “a mature hospital surgeon and forensic expert.” I don’t see why, really. Surely you recognize the many ways that critique of/in a religious milieu has nothing to do with this model. In a medical situation, a patient SEEKS the treatment/diagnosis of a physician, and is then free to ignore said advice if it’s bad. In the Baha’i “dissenter” case we have the “Divine Physician” and his representatives giving directives and administration to the “community” of the patient. In this role the “doctor” wields the power to sanction/punish the patient if the patient doesn’t comply. A more apt analogy of criticism in this scenario would be to reverse the roles of the doctor and patient, where the PATIENT becomes the giver of critique. Not the doctor. If a doctor is giving you bad medicine, you do not simply offer your loving advice and swallow the pill anyway. No, sir. You offer your critique, spit out the medicine, and report the doctor for malpractice, yes? You hope to discourage others from being victims of this bad medicine. Your analogy just doesn’t fit our scenario for many, many reasons. You go on to say, “If I went through my ward throwing around everything I knew, in wrong amounts, at a wrong time and in wrong circumstances, I would create havoc and bring no benefit to my patients.” Again, this is a nonsensical analogy. No one is advocating for the elevation of non-sequiturs or verbal diarrhea, like you wandering a hospital and mumbling “everything you know.” How does this relate to the thoughtful voicing of criticism?

    Perhaps you do not understand the gravity of the situation for women and other victims of abuse. A more apt, although still inadequate, analogy would be to imagine that someone is standing on your nut sack, and you would like them to stop. Or that someone is standing on the respective scrotums of those you love, including children. Women are PEOPLE, you see, and our unnecessary suffering is not to be tolerated in any way, and not for ANY amount of time.

    When you say there is a time, a place and a way to voice dissent, you seem to be saying that the time is never, the place is nowhere, and the way is not at all to those who do not fit into the streamlined system.

    Regarding what I said about abuse within the Baha’i community, you said: “The posts you made on abuse are not IMHO adequate ways of lovingly pointing out that shoelaces are undone. Being franc, outspoken and spontaneous is a virtue, but in some circumstances also we need diplomacy.”

    Here are my exact words, which you object to:

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 5:40 am Quote

    This happens ALL the time in the Baha’i Community. There is ALOT of sexual violence and victims are routinely told by institutions to stay with abusers, rape victims told to seek LSA mediation with their rapists, child violence doesn’t get reported to civil authorities even when LSAs know about it, which is criminal. It’s disgusting and devoid of conscience.

    I was thinking today about how the Baha’i/religious edict to ignore your conscience and “submit your will to the institutions” diagnostically breeds sociopaths- people with literally no conscience, who are surrounded by a community of people who suppress their conscience. They have free reign to do anything they want.

    Weird how much lenience abusers get from the AO when criticism gets you on everybodys black list.”

    And again,

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 11:43 pm Quote

    I agree COMPLETELY, and actually have gone to the police when I’ve been in a position to. The weird part is that most of the community doesn’t even consider reporting this stuff to civil authorities and keeps it within the institutions.

    Thanks for your clarity on this issue. It’s important.”

    And again,

    “Feb 10th, 2008 at 11:52 pm Quote

    Bird out of the Cage,
    Thank you for your comments. Your “Out of the cage” title is apt. I am glad for you.

    What you describe is exactly what I’m talking about. I know VERY FEW Baha’i (or ex-Baha’i) women who have NOT been victimized in the community, and I have never once known an institution response to be just. This has been the case in every community I’ve lived in.

    I think Kate’s advice to always go to the civil authorities is the way to handle it. I agree that it IS like the epidemic abuse in the Catholic church.

    Although I agree that the Baha’i writings didn’t make that rapist “an asshole,” he clearly is responsible or his own actions, I do think that Baha’i theology creates a climate that is sexually and spiritually oppressive.”

    And finally,

    “Feb 26th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Farhan,

    Thanks for your comment. Saying “it happens all the time,” is a statement of fact, and I HAVE reported all instances of child abuse which I have become aware of to the civil authorities. There is nothing more important to me than the safety of children.

    Thanks for also taking this matter seriously,
    Amanda”

    So, which part do you object to, exactly? To the statement of the fact that this is occurring in the community, to my moral evaluation of sexual violence and non-reporting to civil authorities as disgusting and devoid of conscience, to my disapproval of forfeiture of conscience generally in a Baha’i context, or to my observation that those who voice criticism come under harsher fire than those who commit and perpetuate abuse? Is the kibosh on all statements of fact, or just the ones that clearly reveal the weaknesses of the Baha’i community? For example, to state that the Bab was slapped in the face is a fact, is it acceptable to say aloud? Is it inappropriate to state the fact that he was shot by a firing squad? Are those abuses acceptable to state as facts? Is it offensive to say Quddus was dragged through the streets or Baha’u’llah wore a chain in the siyyah chal? Because I am trying to understand if it is the identity of the victim that makes it inappropriate to discuss abuse in a public forum, or the identity of the perpetrator? Do you follow?

    You say these posts are not “adequately loving.” What a disturbing thing to say. What a DISTURBING thing to say. What do you see in these comments but love for the people who are undergoing abuse? Or should my love be directed elsewhere? Perhaps via my lips to the hindquarters of the Baha’i institutions? Would that be adequately loving? Perhaps I should have voiced my concerns, “Dearly beloved child molesters, rapists, wife-beaters and Baha’i Administrative Institutions, I love the way you lovingly have your d*ck in the mouth of every Baha’i victim of sexual violence, thereby choking her ability to speak up about it. If I might lovingly remove it for one small moment I would like to take this opportunity to adore the way you have repeatedly hospitalized my very best friends, and then required them to remain silent about it and undergo “mediation” with their rapists for the sake of “unity.” I especially love how you victimize children and care more about your own Public Relations image than reporting the crimes that are reported to you to the police. p.s. The inclusion of a punishment for rape as zina in the Aqdas gets me every time.”

    Would that be loving enough? Or should I just not bring it up again? Would that make everyone more comfortable?

    You also wrote: “Amanda, as child, I learnt that there was a time and a place for everything…Acting as an ostrich is inacceptable, identifying the problems is essential, but not sufficient. We have to find a solution, sometimes after consultation, but also find the way to present the solution in an acceptable manner.” The “problem,” Farhan, is that Baha’i women and children are sexually victimized by other Baha’is in epidemic proportions, and that the Baha’i Institutions at the local, national, and international level have AT BEST responded to this incompetently, and AT WORST been the perpetrators and smokescreen for this abuse. The “solution” is to have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy towards sexual violence, to report any and every instance to the civil authorities, and to correct the institutional response, which has been to further abuse these victims by condoning the violence and requiring their silence and continued harassment. What “consultation” is necessary to arrive at that solution? And, if you would please instruct me, what is an “acceptable manner” to present this solution?

    Since you have taken the time to give me some “loving” etiquette lessons regarding communicating about abuse, I will now return the favor: If someone is courageous enough to admit to you that she is aware of abuse within the Baha’i community, 1st: close your mouth and listen to her, 2nd: Close your mouth and believe her, 3rd: If children are involved, immediately report it to the CIVIL authorities. Under NO circumstances should you advise or require her to communicate these atrocities to you on your terms, in a style that you prefer. Under NO circumstances should you use her cry for help or statement of fact as an opportunity to “teach” her how to be a better, quieter, “more loving” Baha’i.

    I understand that there are guidelines for assemblies who are responding to instances of violence in the community. They are good guidelines. Do YOU understand that those guidelines are not followed in the vast majority of cases? Do you understand that that is, in part, due to the trajectory of cultural inertia in the Baha’i community? Do you understand that it is, in part because scripture itself has conflicting viewpoints on this issue and Baha’is are, understandably, confused about which conflicting advice to follow? Do you understand that that confusion often leads to paralysis?

    IF you think these are random or infrequent acts of violence, you are clearly not informed. And do you know why you are not informed? Because Baha’i women who speak the facts of their lives are silenced by their direct abusers, and then again by the institutions and community at EVERY level, and even by the Writings.

    You asked me if ‘Abdu’l-Baha would “oppose” fellow Baha’is… I certainly hope so. If you know these things are happening and do nothing you are morally complicit. How do you justify this?

    More than half of all sexual assaults go unreported in the larger society. How much bigger do you think that percentage is for victims in the Baha’i community who face the additional obstacles presented to them by people with your attitude?

    And if you plead ignorance of these events, where do you think that ignorance comes from? From insisting that victims not speak.

    If you propose we shut our mouths (and our eyes) and open our legs and wait for abusive men to grow up enough to stop abusing without any controversy, because you imagine god prefers conformity and not rocking the boat to stopping women being raped, then your god is a misogynist who entitles men to rape and desires the subjugation of women. I am for opposing that god. I think any righteous person would be, too. Prioritizing “appropriate loving communication” of these issues over the immediate needs of victims is casting controversy and honesty as worse crimes than rape. Instead of telling victims how they should better not hurt your ears or your comfort zone, listen to them and offer them help.

    In short, your “comfort zone” or desire for a particular style is not more important than a woman’s life.

    You say: “in case you were not heard, involving the nSA and the UHJ.” You know that’s “been done,” right? I include them in my analysis of incompetent (or worse) responders.

    And you say, “Any institutions will be overwhelmed if belittled and humiliated.” If you find the statement of facts belittling and humiliating you have a psychological problem. AGAIN, stating facts and criticism does not = abuse/attack.

    And you say: “comments should go to the Counsellors, the NSA or the UHJ. If that does not work, too bad; once I have clearly explained the situation to my patients, I am no longer responsible; it is between them and God and I get along with something else…if I am providing loving attention and if I am not concerned with having my authority recognised, I am no longer responsible and I can relax.” So if the institutions mishandle abuse, you can “relax?” How nice for you.

    And you say: “Both individual AND collective morality is necessary. We need all those individual qualities, but IN ADDITION, we need collaboration, harmony and respect.” But if the basis of the law/practice is unjust what you get is collective IMMORALITY. “collective morality” would have to be the result of individual humans searching their conscience, and then creating laws, systems that reflect this. No one is disputing the need for respect or collaboration.

    For anyone in need, http://www.rainn.org is a great resource for escaping/dealing with violence and abuse. If you cannot safely access that website on your computer, try calling them at 1-800-656-HOPE (in the U.S.) from a safe location.

    Amanda

  • Thanks, Andrew.

  • Thanks, Andrew.

  • Hey, Bird.

    Maybe you should tell your children their mom has a strong and healthy conscience, and was willing to make a painful decision to stay true to what she perceived as right.

    I’ve had Baha’is (even former friends) look the other way when they see me on the street, too. It’s no fun.

    Thanks for your nice words.
    🙂

  • Hey, Bird.

    Maybe you should tell your children their mom has a strong and healthy conscience, and was willing to make a painful decision to stay true to what she perceived as right.

    I’ve had Baha’is (even former friends) look the other way when they see me on the street, too. It’s no fun.

    Thanks for your nice words.
    🙂

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Thanks Amanda…I needed that!

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Thanks Amanda…I needed that!

  • farhan

    Thanks Amanda for this very long post

    For some reason my replies on the page are not being accepted

    I will try this way:

    I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in. I have been professionnaly involved in such issues and if this is what you feel about the communities you have been in contact with, I fully agree that leaving a community such as the ones you describe would be a religious act.

    What I do not understand is that you seem to imply that civil authorities and the BWC ignore such issues; if this is the case, I fully understand your need to scream it out, although again, I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities. We also have many Baha’i medical associations that are well informed of such issues.

    Also, you seem to accuse me of complicity for the dysfunctions you report from your community, as if I were responsible personally.

    I would have to drop my family and job and do ranting full time to reply in details to all the points you raise, but I promise to attempt to do so if I am not flagged, as it has been the case several times.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Thanks Amanda for this very long post

    For some reason my replies on the page are not being accepted

    I will try this way:

    I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in. I have been professionnaly involved in such issues and if this is what you feel about the communities you have been in contact with, I fully agree that leaving a community such as the ones you describe would be a religious act.

    What I do not understand is that you seem to imply that civil authorities and the BWC ignore such issues; if this is the case, I fully understand your need to scream it out, although again, I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities. We also have many Baha’i medical associations that are well informed of such issues.

    Also, you seem to accuse me of complicity for the dysfunctions you report from your community, as if I were responsible personally.

    I would have to drop my family and job and do ranting full time to reply in details to all the points you raise, but I promise to attempt to do so if I am not flagged, as it has been the case several times.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Anonymous

    Farhan Yazdani,

    With all due respect, your responses here bear every stamp of an impetuous, automatic, and inattentive defense of the Bah??’? Faith for the sake of nothing more than defending your religion. You show no real concern for the women being described, and your defense has apparently left you blind to real injustices in the world, which are the real abuses of women happening right now. Yes. Right now. If you lifted your eyes from your keyboard, this might become apparent.

    Your analogies have no resemblance to the situation at hand. They cry of a desperation to guard the reputation of the Bah??’? Faith, and they only further demonstrate your unobservant and sloppy thinking in the sheltering of your religion from all possible criticism.

    And the fact that you take more issue with people criticizing your religion’s leaders than the abuses perpetrated by the members of your religion is disgusting, shameful, and outrageous.

    In a word, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Go learn about abuses to women and do something about it instead of trying to drown the discussion with your digital logorrhea. Now please tell me: Is that a loving enough suggestion?

  • Farhan Yazdani,

    With all due respect, your responses here bear every stamp of an impetuous, automatic, and inattentive defense of the Bah??’? Faith for the sake of nothing more than defending your religion. You show no real concern for the women being described, and your defense has apparently left you blind to real injustices in the world, which are the real abuses of women happening right now. Yes. Right now. If you lifted your eyes from your keyboard, this might become apparent.

    Your analogies have no resemblance to the situation at hand. They cry of a desperation to guard the reputation of the Bah??’? Faith, and they only further demonstrate your unobservant and sloppy thinking in the sheltering of your religion from all possible criticism.

    And the fact that you take more issue with people criticizing your religion’s leaders than the abuses perpetrated by the members of your religion is disgusting, shameful, and outrageous.

    In a word, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Go learn about abuses to women and do something about it instead of trying to drown the discussion with your digital logorrhea. Now please tell me: Is that a loving enough suggestion?

  • Farhan,

    You say: “I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities,” and “I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in.”

    You could build a bridge to Haifa or even backwards in time to “Sodom and Gomorrah” with all of the appeals for help to these institutions that have come from Baha’i women, including myself. Would you like a body count of women who have been beaten and raped while at the BWC? While on pilgrimage? Sexual violence is a human epidemic, and Baha’is are not immune. We just like to cover it up.

    The planet I live on is one where women talk to me plainly, because I am a woman, and because I am not telling them their experiences aren’t real.

  • Farhan,

    You say: “I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities,” and “I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in.”

    You could build a bridge to Haifa or even backwards in time to “Sodom and Gomorrah” with all of the appeals for help to these institutions that have come from Baha’i women, including myself. Would you like a body count of women who have been beaten and raped while at the BWC? While on pilgrimage? Sexual violence is a human epidemic, and Baha’is are not immune. We just like to cover it up.

    The planet I live on is one where women talk to me plainly, because I am a woman, and because I am not telling them their experiences aren’t real.

  • Wayne Senior

    [quote comment=””]Farhan,

    You say: “I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities,” and “I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in.”

    You could build a bridge to Haifa or even backwards in time to “Sodom and Gomorrah” with all of the appeals for help to these institutions that have come from Baha’i women, including myself. Would you like a body count of women who have been beaten and raped while at the BWC? While on pilgrimage? Sexual violence is a human epidemic, and Baha’is are not immune. We just like to cover it up.

    The planet I live on is one where women talk to me plainly, because I am a woman, and because I am not telling them their experiences aren’t real.[/quote]

    Amanda, based on my 36 years of experience in the Baha’i community and conversations with numerous women who have worked at the BWC since the 1970s, I must say that I have serious doubts about your claims of abuse. It is very easy in the anonymity of the internet to make any kind of completetly false claim or accusation. Someone who wisheds to damage the reputation of ANY religion can readily post negative or outlandish claims without facts to back them up.

    Another thing that concerns me is that I have had several experiences in internet marketing forums where people post anonymously what was later discovered to be blatant lying for malicous reasons.

    If women told you what you claim kindly provide proof by informing us of reports to the police or other appropriate authorities and the investigations that were undertaken. Surely with so many examples that you know of you should be able to give concrete proof of your allegations in the form of investigations done by at least one Israeli or other national or international institution about such serious matters and the results of the investigations?.

    It would be incredible to expect us to believe that all these women have “confided in you” but have not filed even formal complaint! Saying it is so doesn’t make it so and I doubt very much that you are telling the truth.

  • Wayne Senior

    [quote comment=””]Farhan,

    You say: “I would have repeatedly referred to the BWC and civil authorities,” and “I must say reading all this about child and gender abuse, with institutions ignoring Baha’i and civil laws makes me wonder if you are not living on another planet or in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrhe and not in any of the communities I have lived in.”

    You could build a bridge to Haifa or even backwards in time to “Sodom and Gomorrah” with all of the appeals for help to these institutions that have come from Baha’i women, including myself. Would you like a body count of women who have been beaten and raped while at the BWC? While on pilgrimage? Sexual violence is a human epidemic, and Baha’is are not immune. We just like to cover it up.

    The planet I live on is one where women talk to me plainly, because I am a woman, and because I am not telling them their experiences aren’t real.[/quote]

    Amanda, based on my 36 years of experience in the Baha’i community and conversations with numerous women who have worked at the BWC since the 1970s, I must say that I have serious doubts about your claims of abuse. It is very easy in the anonymity of the internet to make any kind of completetly false claim or accusation. Someone who wisheds to damage the reputation of ANY religion can readily post negative or outlandish claims without facts to back them up.

    Another thing that concerns me is that I have had several experiences in internet marketing forums where people post anonymously what was later discovered to be blatant lying for malicous reasons.

    If women told you what you claim kindly provide proof by informing us of reports to the police or other appropriate authorities and the investigations that were undertaken. Surely with so many examples that you know of you should be able to give concrete proof of your allegations in the form of investigations done by at least one Israeli or other national or international institution about such serious matters and the results of the investigations?.

    It would be incredible to expect us to believe that all these women have “confided in you” but have not filed even formal complaint! Saying it is so doesn’t make it so and I doubt very much that you are telling the truth.

  • Wayne,
    I am sorry to hear that you believe I am lying. (That is exactly the attitudinal obstacle I was talking about, btw. Why WOULD anyone come forward when they know they will be disbelieved or attacked?) That is profoundly disheartening.

    As much as I would like to call out a list of names, of course you know I am unable to do so in a public forum. “These women” are my friends and former community members who have trusted me. Women who, in large part, still have to interact with their abusers at community functions, as co-parents, etc. Women TALK amongst themselves. Sometimes it seems men don’t realize that. I am not unique in knowing these things. Women confide in each other. To imagine that women going through something like this would easily share it with the men of the community, who are likely to respond to them like you have to me (or worse) is again, putting an undue UNJUST burden on people who are current victims of violence. You can choose to distrust me, or you can take what I am saying seriously and be grateful that I am a woman willing to suffer a little distrust and attack myself to put this information out there. Why don’t you ask about it at your next Feast, if you disbelieve me? Why don’t you ask your daughter if you have one, your wife? Anyone with experience in these matters understands that protecting the safety and security of the individual (victims) involved is far more important than providing “evidence” to an uninvolved party. I can point you towards some evidence, I can share my personal experience, and I can invite others who are aware of these happenings to come forward if they feel safe to do so. Anononymously, if they like.

    Anybody out there care to back me up here, anonymously or otherwise?

    The part I have a hard time believing, or understanding, is why you imagine the Baha’i community would be somehow immune from this problem that the rest of the world suffers from? Why do you think that? That is another belief that makes it harder for victims to come forward. Research shows that around 1/3 of American women are sexually assaulted. Why would the Baha’i community be any different? An American woman is raped every 2 minutes. Why do you think the Baha’is are immune?

    Notice that it is only men who have responded with disbelief. Men have ALSO responded with belief and their own knowledge of these events. Do you also disbelieve them and the other women who have mentioned violence in this thread, or just me? I am certainly being more vocal about it, but I’m in a position to be. What do you seriously think I would have to gain in lying?

    Please keep in mind this is just scratching the surface, but here are some places to start if you are genuinely interested in learning more about this:
    http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html?PHPSESSID=a2157e479391651ca9eac0418dc74b8e

    http://www.vday.org

    http://www.geocities.com/revelacionbahai/index.html

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/1999/danesh.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/shirinstory/bacquet.html

    http://www.groupsrv.com/religion/about23785.html

  • Wayne,
    I am sorry to hear that you believe I am lying. (That is exactly the attitudinal obstacle I was talking about, btw. Why WOULD anyone come forward when they know they will be disbelieved or attacked?) That is profoundly disheartening.

    As much as I would like to call out a list of names, of course you know I am unable to do so in a public forum. “These women” are my friends and former community members who have trusted me. Women who, in large part, still have to interact with their abusers at community functions, as co-parents, etc. Women TALK amongst themselves. Sometimes it seems men don’t realize that. I am not unique in knowing these things. Women confide in each other. To imagine that women going through something like this would easily share it with the men of the community, who are likely to respond to them like you have to me (or worse) is again, putting an undue UNJUST burden on people who are current victims of violence. You can choose to distrust me, or you can take what I am saying seriously and be grateful that I am a woman willing to suffer a little distrust and attack myself to put this information out there. Why don’t you ask about it at your next Feast, if you disbelieve me? Why don’t you ask your daughter if you have one, your wife? Anyone with experience in these matters understands that protecting the safety and security of the individual (victims) involved is far more important than providing “evidence” to an uninvolved party. I can point you towards some evidence, I can share my personal experience, and I can invite others who are aware of these happenings to come forward if they feel safe to do so. Anononymously, if they like.

    Anybody out there care to back me up here, anonymously or otherwise?

    The part I have a hard time believing, or understanding, is why you imagine the Baha’i community would be somehow immune from this problem that the rest of the world suffers from? Why do you think that? That is another belief that makes it harder for victims to come forward. Research shows that around 1/3 of American women are sexually assaulted. Why would the Baha’i community be any different? An American woman is raped every 2 minutes. Why do you think the Baha’is are immune?

    Notice that it is only men who have responded with disbelief. Men have ALSO responded with belief and their own knowledge of these events. Do you also disbelieve them and the other women who have mentioned violence in this thread, or just me? I am certainly being more vocal about it, but I’m in a position to be. What do you seriously think I would have to gain in lying?

    Please keep in mind this is just scratching the surface, but here are some places to start if you are genuinely interested in learning more about this:
    http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html?PHPSESSID=a2157e479391651ca9eac0418dc74b8e

    http://www.vday.org

    http://www.geocities.com/revelacionbahai/index.html

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/1999/danesh.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/shirinstory/bacquet.html

    http://www.groupsrv.com/religion/about23785.html

  • Beth

    “It would be incredible to expect us to believe that all these women have “confided in you” but have not filed even formal complaint! Saying it is so doesn’t make it so and I doubt very much that you are telling the truth.”

    Wayne Sr –

    Why is it incredible? Because they didn’t tell you first? And how do you know that they didn’t file formal complaints?

    In MY 36 years of experience in and around the baha’i community, I have also known many Women, Men, and Children who were victims of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their baha’i friends and family. Victims who have gone to their LSAs, and their NSAs, and the civil authorities. I do know of one such case where it was actually attempted to be prosecuted, but in my experience it was definitely in the minority. For the most part, they were told to keep quiet, or to stop spreading disunity, or that they should submit to mediation with their abuser, or that they didn’t have the right kind of evidence. This is not the same as being robbed by stranger – it is very difficult for victims of this type of abuse to continually speak truth to power without the support of family, friends, and community, and in most cases, victims give up on getting help and try to move on with their lives. And with responses like yours, I’m not surprised.

    I absolutely WILL NOT give you names and case numbers unless the victims I am speaking of decide for themselves that they want to go public with the community at large, especially to a community that has already let them down so profoundly. They have suffered enough, and I am not going to subject them to your scrutiny – who are you anyway to demand it?

    I’m glad that this information is alarming to you – it SHOULD be alarming. But how about responding with some empathy instead of jumping in and accusing someone of lying and demanding proof? If you are that worried about whether Amanda or myself are lying, report it to your assembly and see what happens. In fact, PLEASE report it to your assembly. I would be THRILLED if they took it seriously and started an investigation. And although I have no interest in naming names to you just b/c you cried “liar, liar, pants on fire”, I would be more than happy to cooperate in an official inquiry.

  • Beth

    “It would be incredible to expect us to believe that all these women have “confided in you” but have not filed even formal complaint! Saying it is so doesn’t make it so and I doubt very much that you are telling the truth.”

    Wayne Sr –

    Why is it incredible? Because they didn’t tell you first? And how do you know that they didn’t file formal complaints?

    In MY 36 years of experience in and around the baha’i community, I have also known many Women, Men, and Children who were victims of physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their baha’i friends and family. Victims who have gone to their LSAs, and their NSAs, and the civil authorities. I do know of one such case where it was actually attempted to be prosecuted, but in my experience it was definitely in the minority. For the most part, they were told to keep quiet, or to stop spreading disunity, or that they should submit to mediation with their abuser, or that they didn’t have the right kind of evidence. This is not the same as being robbed by stranger – it is very difficult for victims of this type of abuse to continually speak truth to power without the support of family, friends, and community, and in most cases, victims give up on getting help and try to move on with their lives. And with responses like yours, I’m not surprised.

    I absolutely WILL NOT give you names and case numbers unless the victims I am speaking of decide for themselves that they want to go public with the community at large, especially to a community that has already let them down so profoundly. They have suffered enough, and I am not going to subject them to your scrutiny – who are you anyway to demand it?

    I’m glad that this information is alarming to you – it SHOULD be alarming. But how about responding with some empathy instead of jumping in and accusing someone of lying and demanding proof? If you are that worried about whether Amanda or myself are lying, report it to your assembly and see what happens. In fact, PLEASE report it to your assembly. I would be THRILLED if they took it seriously and started an investigation. And although I have no interest in naming names to you just b/c you cried “liar, liar, pants on fire”, I would be more than happy to cooperate in an official inquiry.

  • Anonymous

    Wayne wrote,[quote comment=”44720″]…I must say that I have serious doubts about your claims of abuse. It is very easy in the anonymity of the internet to make any kind of completetly [sic] false claim or accusation. Someone who wisheds [sic] to damage the reputation of ANY religion can readily post negative or outlandish claims without facts to back them up.

    Another thing that concerns me is that I have had several experiences in internet marketing forums where people post anonymously what was later discovered to be blatant lying for malicous [sic] reasons.[/quote]First of all, how do you think these claims in any way tarnish the reputation of the Baha’i Faith? Not a single person has suggested that these allegations in any way imply anything about the Baha’i Faith or imply anything about the Baha’i community at large (except that they reflect the ills of the society in which they live). Every other Baha’i is an ardent espouser of the whole “you cannot judge the religion by its followers” philosophy — So, why aren’t you? Is it, perhaps, that you realize that it is legitimate to judge a religion by the behaviour of its followers? Is that why you are apparently so afraid that these accusations might be true? Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

    And in case you didn’t notice, Wayne, you are the one posting anonymously, not Amanda. Your whole semi-literate criticism based on the ease of making anonymous claims caries no weight whatsoever; and it belies, moreover, your pretense of sympathy for abused women. In every other circumstance, when a non-anonymous source reports a secondhand account of abuse, the reasonable person would encourage the abused to pursue the course of justice. Instead, you wax skeptical and demand “proofs” of abused before accepting that the stories of abuse are worthy of taking seriously. Thus, it is clear that your overriding motive here is to guard your religion — the Baha’i Faith — from criticism and protect its reputation at whatever potential cost to the people who suffer in its community. The fact that no one has suggested anything about the worthiness of the Baha’i Faith based on these accusations exposes the depth of your paranoia.

    Ironically, your obsession with reputation reveals an important insight about the nature of those committed to a particular ideology: that they would rather preserve the appearance of sanctity of their ideology than protect those potentially harmed by their fellow ideologues. This shows how potentially dangerous the commitment to unity-at-all-costs really can be. The reason this is ironic is that people like you really do damage the reputation of the Baha’i Faith by obsessing so much over the reputation of the Baha’i Faith.

    It is, moreover, absurd to demand that the proof of these women’s abuse be made either privately to you or (even more absurdly) in public on the Internet. That you would set such an outrageous burden of proof I think further reveals your intent and emphasizes the sinister nature of your skepticism. If these abuses were going on, then the community’s desire to preserve the reputation of the religion would make the Baha’i community far more culpable than the original abuses themselves. When faced with such an accusation of abuse, the only appropriate response is, first, to express shock, then to demand that an investigation be made, and lastly, that justice be meted out.

    That is all.

    Any hemming and hawing about “proofs” prior to investigation and accusing the abused (or those who speak on their behalf) of lying ultimately exposes your intention that the reputation of the Baha’i Faith fundamentally trumps the establishment of justice, and suggests that the Baha’i Faith truly is little more that a well-marketed cult — lots of talk about “justice” and “fairness”, but no show of action when its own community is potentially responsible for that injustice.

  • Wayne wrote,[quote comment=”44720″]…I must say that I have serious doubts about your claims of abuse. It is very easy in the anonymity of the internet to make any kind of completetly [sic] false claim or accusation. Someone who wisheds [sic] to damage the reputation of ANY religion can readily post negative or outlandish claims without facts to back them up.

    Another thing that concerns me is that I have had several experiences in internet marketing forums where people post anonymously what was later discovered to be blatant lying for malicous [sic] reasons.[/quote]First of all, how do you think these claims in any way tarnish the reputation of the Baha’i Faith? Not a single person has suggested that these allegations in any way imply anything about the Baha’i Faith or imply anything about the Baha’i community at large (except that they reflect the ills of the society in which they live). Every other Baha’i is an ardent espouser of the whole “you cannot judge the religion by its followers” philosophy — So, why aren’t you? Is it, perhaps, that you realize that it is legitimate to judge a religion by the behaviour of its followers? Is that why you are apparently so afraid that these accusations might be true? Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.

    And in case you didn’t notice, Wayne, you are the one posting anonymously, not Amanda. Your whole semi-literate criticism based on the ease of making anonymous claims caries no weight whatsoever; and it belies, moreover, your pretense of sympathy for abused women. In every other circumstance, when a non-anonymous source reports a secondhand account of abuse, the reasonable person would encourage the abused to pursue the course of justice. Instead, you wax skeptical and demand “proofs” of abused before accepting that the stories of abuse are worthy of taking seriously. Thus, it is clear that your overriding motive here is to guard your religion — the Baha’i Faith — from criticism and protect its reputation at whatever potential cost to the people who suffer in its community. The fact that no one has suggested anything about the worthiness of the Baha’i Faith based on these accusations exposes the depth of your paranoia.

    Ironically, your obsession with reputation reveals an important insight about the nature of those committed to a particular ideology: that they would rather preserve the appearance of sanctity of their ideology than protect those potentially harmed by their fellow ideologues. This shows how potentially dangerous the commitment to unity-at-all-costs really can be. The reason this is ironic is that people like you really do damage the reputation of the Baha’i Faith by obsessing so much over the reputation of the Baha’i Faith.

    It is, moreover, absurd to demand that the proof of these women’s abuse be made either privately to you or (even more absurdly) in public on the Internet. That you would set such an outrageous burden of proof I think further reveals your intent and emphasizes the sinister nature of your skepticism. If these abuses were going on, then the community’s desire to preserve the reputation of the religion would make the Baha’i community far more culpable than the original abuses themselves. When faced with such an accusation of abuse, the only appropriate response is, first, to express shock, then to demand that an investigation be made, and lastly, that justice be meted out.

    That is all.

    Any hemming and hawing about “proofs” prior to investigation and accusing the abused (or those who speak on their behalf) of lying ultimately exposes your intention that the reputation of the Baha’i Faith fundamentally trumps the establishment of justice, and suggests that the Baha’i Faith truly is little more that a well-marketed cult — lots of talk about “justice” and “fairness”, but no show of action when its own community is potentially responsible for that injustice.

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  • Wayne Senior

    [quote comment=”44722″]Wayne,
    http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html?PHPSESSID=a2157e479391651ca9eac0418dc74b8e

    http://www.vday.org

    http://www.geocities.com/revelacionbahai/index.html

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/1999/danesh.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/shirinstory/bacquet.html

    http://www.groupsrv.com/religion/about23785.html%5B/quote%5D

    Amanda, Beth and Mavaddat,

    When I refer to proof I mean concrete examples of an actual civil authority to whom at least one of the many women and children Amanda claims were victims of abuse and confided in her have reported their abuse to. Surely the name of the civil authority and the results of its findings can be given without disclosing to me the names of the alleged victims? This would be easy to do, for example, in the case of Israel where the many victims at the BWC have supposedly confided in Amanda.

    I don’t need the names of alleged victims just any appropriate organization that anyone can contact for independent information on their findings to verify that they actually investigated some reports of abuse. The Danesh case (which is I knew about) as one instance does not demonstrate a systematic pattern of many cases of abuse any more than one Baha’i treasurer resigning over the mishandling of funds is proof of a widespread systemic problem with many Baha’i treasurers (or any other example we could use).

    The links do not impress me. Data on sexual molestation in America is not proof by inference of a corresponding pattern in the Baha’i or any other religious communities. Proof in the form of an allegation by a “Guest” and by Karen Bacquet who has been attacking the administration for a long time and has a motive to provide false information is simply more of this smear campaign.

    If Amanda really wants to support her assertion that this involves many women and children she will have to do better than this. As I said, it is very easy to write anything online but asserting it is so does not make it so. I could, for example, claim that there was racial discrimination in a local Baha’i community in the US. This could have happened but this does not provide proof by inference of many cases of discrimination in a national community which has made great strides in this area since the beginning of the last century. There is a huge difference between a few instances of something and the kind of allegedly systemic problem Amanda refers to.

    I am not surprised that Farhan found Amanda’s assertions so alien and bewildering as they certainly seem so to me and to many Baha’is from different countries I have met over the years. Sorry Amanda, but I will continue to believe that you are not telling the truth unless you can support your assertions of widespread child and gender abuse with something more than anonymous “guest” allegations, data on the problem in America as a whole or the Danesh case! Otherwise, in 19th century Iran for example, everyone might as well have assumed (as they in fact erroneously concluded) that there was a systemic problem with Babis being assassins because of one Babi’s attempt on the life of the Shah.

    I am getting a bit tired of reading internet allegations which are not substantiated by hard facts including Fred Glaysher’s assertion that the administration murdered Dan Jordan when in fact the police had investigated and found he was a victim of street crime.

    Mavaddat, interpret my comments as you like. Any organizations or individual’s reputation, Baha’i or non-Baha’i, can be damaged by mere allegations unless these are supported by facts proven in a court of law or verified by a civil authority. Surely systemic and widespread occurrences such as Amanda reports should be held to a burden of providing proof in the interest of fairness? Names need not be disclosed just independent non-Baha’i institutions someone can contact re the alleged allegations.

  • Wayne Senior

    [quote comment=”44722″]Wayne,
    http://www.rainn.org/statistics/index.html?PHPSESSID=a2157e479391651ca9eac0418dc74b8e

    http://www.vday.org

    http://www.geocities.com/revelacionbahai/index.html

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jrcole/bahai/1999/danesh.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/shirinstory/bacquet.html

    http://www.groupsrv.com/religion/about23785.html%5B/quote%5D

    Amanda, Beth and Mavaddat,

    When I refer to proof I mean concrete examples of an actual civil authority to whom at least one of the many women and children Amanda claims were victims of abuse and confided in her have reported their abuse to. Surely the name of the civil authority and the results of its findings can be given without disclosing to me the names of the alleged victims? This would be easy to do, for example, in the case of Israel where the many victims at the BWC have supposedly confided in Amanda.

    I don’t need the names of alleged victims just any appropriate organization that anyone can contact for independent information on their findings to verify that they actually investigated some reports of abuse. The Danesh case (which is I knew about) as one instance does not demonstrate a systematic pattern of many cases of abuse any more than one Baha’i treasurer resigning over the mishandling of funds is proof of a widespread systemic problem with many Baha’i treasurers (or any other example we could use).

    The links do not impress me. Data on sexual molestation in America is not proof by inference of a corresponding pattern in the Baha’i or any other religious communities. Proof in the form of an allegation by a “Guest” and by Karen Bacquet who has been attacking the administration for a long time and has a motive to provide false information is simply more of this smear campaign.

    If Amanda really wants to support her assertion that this involves many women and children she will have to do better than this. As I said, it is very easy to write anything online but asserting it is so does not make it so. I could, for example, claim that there was racial discrimination in a local Baha’i community in the US. This could have happened but this does not provide proof by inference of many cases of discrimination in a national community which has made great strides in this area since the beginning of the last century. There is a huge difference between a few instances of something and the kind of allegedly systemic problem Amanda refers to.

    I am not surprised that Farhan found Amanda’s assertions so alien and bewildering as they certainly seem so to me and to many Baha’is from different countries I have met over the years. Sorry Amanda, but I will continue to believe that you are not telling the truth unless you can support your assertions of widespread child and gender abuse with something more than anonymous “guest” allegations, data on the problem in America as a whole or the Danesh case! Otherwise, in 19th century Iran for example, everyone might as well have assumed (as they in fact erroneously concluded) that there was a systemic problem with Babis being assassins because of one Babi’s attempt on the life of the Shah.

    I am getting a bit tired of reading internet allegations which are not substantiated by hard facts including Fred Glaysher’s assertion that the administration murdered Dan Jordan when in fact the police had investigated and found he was a victim of street crime.

    Mavaddat, interpret my comments as you like. Any organizations or individual’s reputation, Baha’i or non-Baha’i, can be damaged by mere allegations unless these are supported by facts proven in a court of law or verified by a civil authority. Surely systemic and widespread occurrences such as Amanda reports should be held to a burden of providing proof in the interest of fairness? Names need not be disclosed just independent non-Baha’i institutions someone can contact re the alleged allegations.

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    You wrote:

    “Within a few weeks of unenrolling from the Bah?’? Faith, myself and family began to be shunned. I was informed it was announced to the community not to contact me. BTW- I did nothing wrong. I was a loving contributor and ardent adherent the whole 14 years.”

    Can you tell us WHY people were told not to contact you? I know from other forums on the Internet when some people leave the Faith, they ask that no one contact them and their wish is formally announced and honored. There is nothing wrong with that position. If, however, you did not do this, then you really have a lawsuit on the idiots running your former local Baha’i community.

    Since Shoghi Effendi apparently listened to American Baha’is early on who seemed to have pushed him toward the creation of “LSA corporations” as the organizational structure tactic in the first 20 years of his ministry, the Faith is now ever more and more susceptible to post Enron corporate law. A few lawsuits where LSA members lose their homes, cars, and life savings as “corporate officers” making bad decisions could concentrate the mind wonderfully and generally advance the AO to step up to the plate and get much more competent overnight. The same with not reporting abuse of any kind they learn about, to the proper legal authorities. Make a mistake in judgment and pay with your own personal bank account as a “corporate officer”. I hope the folks at the top have some legal acumen. Be administratively incompetent and hang just like everybody else in an organization on Earth before advanced civil law.

    You wrote:

    “However your posts have brought me a little joy. Craig & Eric, your post as well, for that matter the whole conversation.”

    I am glad if I can cheer you in some way. Everyone who has been in the Baha’i Faith for a long time who is articulate and capable of genuine critical thought (like you and Amanda here of late!) are very special people who share many valuable insights in life with others through their life long experience in this rapidly deteriorating situation. As I have said, I have 36 years in. I have been through it all and seen it all. So to discuss things with other people is very interesting.

    When I first found the Unenrolled Baha’is site four years ago I was astonished at the sheer humanity of the posts in the eight year archive.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    I spent weeks reading the archives there before I ever posted. I was astonished at the life affirming humanity of those posts from people worldwide. Baquia’s blog has also helped many people speak up and discuss important issues that are not being addressed at any level by the AO.

    I am going to reply at some point to the implications of your insight that the ultimate “exchange” is with…death! There are oceans of profound cosmic depth psychology in this insight and I shall get a major motion picture script out of it if I hone and focus all the import of this tack in the seas of life.

    Thanks to both you and Amanda for your long and articulate posts of late. Fiery women speaking truth to idiocy! You are both good company!

    People have every right to defend their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety in life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5oR-sv1tY

  • Craig Parke

    Bird,

    You wrote:

    “Within a few weeks of unenrolling from the Bah?’? Faith, myself and family began to be shunned. I was informed it was announced to the community not to contact me. BTW- I did nothing wrong. I was a loving contributor and ardent adherent the whole 14 years.”

    Can you tell us WHY people were told not to contact you? I know from other forums on the Internet when some people leave the Faith, they ask that no one contact them and their wish is formally announced and honored. There is nothing wrong with that position. If, however, you did not do this, then you really have a lawsuit on the idiots running your former local Baha’i community.

    Since Shoghi Effendi apparently listened to American Baha’is early on who seemed to have pushed him toward the creation of “LSA corporations” as the organizational structure tactic in the first 20 years of his ministry, the Faith is now ever more and more susceptible to post Enron corporate law. A few lawsuits where LSA members lose their homes, cars, and life savings as “corporate officers” making bad decisions could concentrate the mind wonderfully and generally advance the AO to step up to the plate and get much more competent overnight. The same with not reporting abuse of any kind they learn about, to the proper legal authorities. Make a mistake in judgment and pay with your own personal bank account as a “corporate officer”. I hope the folks at the top have some legal acumen. Be administratively incompetent and hang just like everybody else in an organization on Earth before advanced civil law.

    You wrote:

    “However your posts have brought me a little joy. Craig & Eric, your post as well, for that matter the whole conversation.”

    I am glad if I can cheer you in some way. Everyone who has been in the Baha’i Faith for a long time who is articulate and capable of genuine critical thought (like you and Amanda here of late!) are very special people who share many valuable insights in life with others through their life long experience in this rapidly deteriorating situation. As I have said, I have 36 years in. I have been through it all and seen it all. So to discuss things with other people is very interesting.

    When I first found the Unenrolled Baha’is site four years ago I was astonished at the sheer humanity of the posts in the eight year archive.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/unenrolledbahai/

    I spent weeks reading the archives there before I ever posted. I was astonished at the life affirming humanity of those posts from people worldwide. Baquia’s blog has also helped many people speak up and discuss important issues that are not being addressed at any level by the AO.

    I am going to reply at some point to the implications of your insight that the ultimate “exchange” is with…death! There are oceans of profound cosmic depth psychology in this insight and I shall get a major motion picture script out of it if I hone and focus all the import of this tack in the seas of life.

    Thanks to both you and Amanda for your long and articulate posts of late. Fiery women speaking truth to idiocy! You are both good company!

    People have every right to defend their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety in life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5oR-sv1tY

  • [quote comment=”44755″]Bird,

    You wrote:

    “Thanks to both you and Amanda for your long and articulate posts of late. Fiery women speaking truth to idiocy! You are both good company!

    People have every right to defend their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety in life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5oR-sv1tY%5B/quote%5D

    Thank you, Craig. And Mavaddat, and Beth.

    There is alot of “good company” on this blog.
    🙂

  • [quote comment=”44755″]Bird,

    You wrote:

    “Thanks to both you and Amanda for your long and articulate posts of late. Fiery women speaking truth to idiocy! You are both good company!

    People have every right to defend their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety in life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv5oR-sv1tY%5B/quote%5D

    Thank you, Craig. And Mavaddat, and Beth.

    There is alot of “good company” on this blog.
    🙂

  • farhan

    Beth wrote:

    Does this mean that if victims reported their abuse to Baha’i Institutions but not to the police, that it doesn’t count? Can I give you a list of specific LSAs and NSAs and dates so you can contact them to verify our claims? How about that? Because I’m working on that list…

    Dear Beth and others,

    After 5 years of foresnsic medicine in French Polynesia, I have seen more horror than any of you can ever imagine; I know the extent of the problem of gender and domestic violence.

    When women follow our advice and report violence to the authorities, they are rejected by their churches and families for having “tarnished” the reputation o their group. Th problem is such that bishop Monseigneur Coppenrath has openly declared that opposing inceste would lead to the collapse of many communities.

    What seens appropriate to me is to identify the violations, report them to competent professionnals, after having provided shelters for the victims. What everyone can do is to study the subject and participate in the educationnal efforts. The document produced by the NSA of the US is one of the bast I have ever seen, by which all Baha’i individuals and professionnals should abide. It is available at :

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

    The work Beth is doing in establishing statistics can be highly instructive to the Baha’i institutions. The next step would be to also do this work in other religious communities.

    What I feel as inappropriate is to highlight a paricular problem not with the aim of defending the victims, but with the aim of discrediting any particular religious community.

    This to me is an immature and counterproductive; It is like churning the toilet, hoping that enough smell will result so that “someone” will do “something” about it “somewhere”.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Beth wrote:

    Does this mean that if victims reported their abuse to Baha’i Institutions but not to the police, that it doesn’t count? Can I give you a list of specific LSAs and NSAs and dates so you can contact them to verify our claims? How about that? Because I’m working on that list…

    Dear Beth and others,

    After 5 years of foresnsic medicine in French Polynesia, I have seen more horror than any of you can ever imagine; I know the extent of the problem of gender and domestic violence.

    When women follow our advice and report violence to the authorities, they are rejected by their churches and families for having “tarnished” the reputation o their group. Th problem is such that bishop Monseigneur Coppenrath has openly declared that opposing inceste would lead to the collapse of many communities.

    What seens appropriate to me is to identify the violations, report them to competent professionnals, after having provided shelters for the victims. What everyone can do is to study the subject and participate in the educationnal efforts. The document produced by the NSA of the US is one of the bast I have ever seen, by which all Baha’i individuals and professionnals should abide. It is available at :

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

    The work Beth is doing in establishing statistics can be highly instructive to the Baha’i institutions. The next step would be to also do this work in other religious communities.

    What I feel as inappropriate is to highlight a paricular problem not with the aim of defending the victims, but with the aim of discrediting any particular religious community.

    This to me is an immature and counterproductive; It is like churning the toilet, hoping that enough smell will result so that “someone” will do “something” about it “somewhere”.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • farhan

    Bird out of the Cage,

    an additionnal service you can render the victims is to provide them with this document:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Bird out of the Cage,

    an additionnal service you can render the victims is to provide them with this document:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • farhan

    Beth, I agree with Amanda that it would be out of question to give details of any case you are counselling.

    As a worker in this field, have you studied the directives of the NSA of teh US on this subject? If so, please give us your opinion. I expect you provide this document to the Baha’i institutions and victims. it is available at :

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Beth, I agree with Amanda that it would be out of question to give details of any case you are counselling.

    As a worker in this field, have you studied the directives of the NSA of teh US on this subject? If so, please give us your opinion. I expect you provide this document to the Baha’i institutions and victims. it is available at :

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • Wayne Senior

    Amanda,
    Thank you for your reply. I never wanted the names of the women and children and it was never my intention that they be disclosed. In the same way that you were able to provide a link re Dr.Danesh (which I have known about for many years) surely of the many women you claim have been allegedly abused you can provide a reference to one or more independent organizations to whom this systemic abuse (sounds like a lot of women have confided in you re just the BWC alone) has been reported to? The organizations will surely not disclose this information to me or anyone else unless they deem it appropriate.

    This is the kind of proof that I am looking for and not just allegations and assertions which no one can verify. Anyone could go on any number of Islamic, Christian, et al blogs and make the statements you make but if they cannot back them up with independently verifiable information they remain unsubstantiated allegations.

    Your proof provided in the form of the Danesh link is not satisfactory since one case is not indicative of a systemic widespread problem any more than one case of misuse of funds by a treasurer (for example) is proof that many treasurers are misusing funds! The comments by a “Guest” re abuse is no more proof than your comments and Karen Bacquet is not a reliable source in my opinion since she has a consistently negative stance regarding so many administrative issues. I am well aware of the general data on sexual and other forms of abuse (e.g. beating of women by husbands) in the US but again the fact that this exists is not proof that, ipso facto, there is an equally widespread and systemic problem in the Baha’i commumnity either in the US, at the BWC or globally.

    To use a comparison, Fred Glaysher has claimed that a member (Dan Jordan) of the American NSA was murdered by the administration decades ago but the independent police investigation concluded he was a victim of a street crime. Does Glayhser’s claim make his assertion true? Similarly, if you are going to refer to what you assert involves many women and children people have the right to ask that more than just your word should be taken as proof. If no police, child protective services, or other organizations with the responsibility for looking into such issues can even be named by you then I will continue to have serious reservations about your claims re a systemic problem and justifiably so.

    Mavaddat’s comments are just what I would have expected from someone who considers the Faith to be a cult. It isn’t okay for me to ask for some sort of substantiation beyond personal assertions made online but it is perfectly okay for anyone to level all sorts of accusations against Baha’is and the Baha’is Faith. It’s just anyone who dares to question these accusations that he has a problem with.

  • Wayne Senior

    Amanda,
    Thank you for your reply. I never wanted the names of the women and children and it was never my intention that they be disclosed. In the same way that you were able to provide a link re Dr.Danesh (which I have known about for many years) surely of the many women you claim have been allegedly abused you can provide a reference to one or more independent organizations to whom this systemic abuse (sounds like a lot of women have confided in you re just the BWC alone) has been reported to? The organizations will surely not disclose this information to me or anyone else unless they deem it appropriate.

    This is the kind of proof that I am looking for and not just allegations and assertions which no one can verify. Anyone could go on any number of Islamic, Christian, et al blogs and make the statements you make but if they cannot back them up with independently verifiable information they remain unsubstantiated allegations.

    Your proof provided in the form of the Danesh link is not satisfactory since one case is not indicative of a systemic widespread problem any more than one case of misuse of funds by a treasurer (for example) is proof that many treasurers are misusing funds! The comments by a “Guest” re abuse is no more proof than your comments and Karen Bacquet is not a reliable source in my opinion since she has a consistently negative stance regarding so many administrative issues. I am well aware of the general data on sexual and other forms of abuse (e.g. beating of women by husbands) in the US but again the fact that this exists is not proof that, ipso facto, there is an equally widespread and systemic problem in the Baha’i commumnity either in the US, at the BWC or globally.

    To use a comparison, Fred Glaysher has claimed that a member (Dan Jordan) of the American NSA was murdered by the administration decades ago but the independent police investigation concluded he was a victim of a street crime. Does Glayhser’s claim make his assertion true? Similarly, if you are going to refer to what you assert involves many women and children people have the right to ask that more than just your word should be taken as proof. If no police, child protective services, or other organizations with the responsibility for looking into such issues can even be named by you then I will continue to have serious reservations about your claims re a systemic problem and justifiably so.

    Mavaddat’s comments are just what I would have expected from someone who considers the Faith to be a cult. It isn’t okay for me to ask for some sort of substantiation beyond personal assertions made online but it is perfectly okay for anyone to level all sorts of accusations against Baha’is and the Baha’is Faith. It’s just anyone who dares to question these accusations that he has a problem with.

  • Wayne Senior

    I forgot to add Amanda that you were quite ready and willing to provide the information re Dr.Danesh but you somehow seem to believe that the many women and children you claim to speak for should be exempt from and not be held to the same standard! If you can provide proof re Dr.Danesh here surely you should be able to do something similar re even one of the very many women you allege was abused – unless you are claiming that not even one of so many has filed a formal complaint to an authority independent of the Baha’i institutions? If they have, why can’t it be shared in the same way you shared the Danesh link? Why the double standard?

  • Wayne Senior

    I forgot to add Amanda that you were quite ready and willing to provide the information re Dr.Danesh but you somehow seem to believe that the many women and children you claim to speak for should be exempt from and not be held to the same standard! If you can provide proof re Dr.Danesh here surely you should be able to do something similar re even one of the very many women you allege was abused – unless you are claiming that not even one of so many has filed a formal complaint to an authority independent of the Baha’i institutions? If they have, why can’t it be shared in the same way you shared the Danesh link? Why the double standard?

  • Beth

    This is Beth replying, not Amanda, but I’ll tell you the difference I see in the reports on Dr. Danesh vs the ones you are asking for. First of all, Dr Danesh is a perpetrator, not a victim, therefore naming him seems appropriate. Second, his case went to court, and was reported to newspapers, so there is an outside independent report of it happening which is easy to point to. Most of the cases I am referring to DID NOT get investigated – that is the whole issue. When a victim goes to his or her LSA and is told to be quiet, appeals to the NSA and has auxilliary board members sent to their homes to tell them to stop backbiting, they are very unlikely to report it to police at all. However, b/c you (and others) are so dense, I am actually going to the women I know who had the courage to go to the authorities and asking their permission to add links to information on specific cases. I assume that you have enough heart to be patient on such a delicate matter.

    As for not believing Mavaddat because he has a negative opinion of the faith, WHAT UTTER HOR$E$HIT. Will you only listen to people who have been victimized and who still love the Faith? That’s sort of the problem isn’t it? After going through such trauma, people either shut down and stop talking about it for their “love of the faith”, or they leave, and are brokenhearted and disappointed – apparantly making them not worthy to listen to anymore. Sounds like a pretty flawless system, if you ask me. Silence the insiders and discredit the outsiders. Nice going.

    I’ll get back to you on those court cases/agengies if my friends agree.

  • Beth

    This is Beth replying, not Amanda, but I’ll tell you the difference I see in the reports on Dr. Danesh vs the ones you are asking for. First of all, Dr Danesh is a perpetrator, not a victim, therefore naming him seems appropriate. Second, his case went to court, and was reported to newspapers, so there is an outside independent report of it happening which is easy to point to. Most of the cases I am referring to DID NOT get investigated – that is the whole issue. When a victim goes to his or her LSA and is told to be quiet, appeals to the NSA and has auxilliary board members sent to their homes to tell them to stop backbiting, they are very unlikely to report it to police at all. However, b/c you (and others) are so dense, I am actually going to the women I know who had the courage to go to the authorities and asking their permission to add links to information on specific cases. I assume that you have enough heart to be patient on such a delicate matter.

    As for not believing Mavaddat because he has a negative opinion of the faith, WHAT UTTER HOR$E$HIT. Will you only listen to people who have been victimized and who still love the Faith? That’s sort of the problem isn’t it? After going through such trauma, people either shut down and stop talking about it for their “love of the faith”, or they leave, and are brokenhearted and disappointed – apparantly making them not worthy to listen to anymore. Sounds like a pretty flawless system, if you ask me. Silence the insiders and discredit the outsiders. Nice going.

    I’ll get back to you on those court cases/agengies if my friends agree.

  • Beth

    [quote comment=””][…] unless you are claiming that not even one of so many has filed a formal complaint to an authority independent of the Baha’i institutions? […][/quote]

    Does this mean that if victims reported their abuse to Baha’i Institutions but not to the police, that it doesn’t count? Can I give you a list of specific LSAs and NSAs and dates so you can contact them to verify our claims? How about that? Because I’m working on that list…

  • Beth

    [quote comment=””][…] unless you are claiming that not even one of so many has filed a formal complaint to an authority independent of the Baha’i institutions? […][/quote]

    Does this mean that if victims reported their abuse to Baha’i Institutions but not to the police, that it doesn’t count? Can I give you a list of specific LSAs and NSAs and dates so you can contact them to verify our claims? How about that? Because I’m working on that list…

  • Wayne,

    What you seem to be asking me now is to not divulge the names or identifying information (like case numbers) of victims, but to reveal to you the names and identifying information of the agencies these victims sought confidential help from, to protect themselves from abusers? Is that right? Uh, no. I’m not going to do that. You can take that as “proof” of my “unreliable witness” status (much like Karen Bacquet who also has “problems with the administrative order.” ) But, ironically, if you WERE familiar with victim advocacy in ANY way you would already know that said agencies cannot legally or ethically divulge ANY information to ANY caller, including whether or not someone used their services or what their clients religious affiliations may be. Some women’s shelters don’t even publicly list their addresses and operate much like the Underground Railroad did in the US before the abolition of slavery. You would also know that your line of questioning is preposterous and offensive, but that is neither here nor there. So, for those looking for reasons to disbelieve and minimize women, you will no doubt provide them that opportunity. But for anyone with personal experience or even the slightest savvy in advocacy work generally, you are only further proving my initial observations about how abuse is handled in the Baha’i community.

    Let me point out a few things to you. 1) ANY woman who has personally been ignored, silenced, and further endangered by the Administrative Order when she has gone to them for help and is NOT still controlled by her abuser is going to have “problems with the AO,” so congratulations in advance, you have a no-brainer way to discredit ALL victims of violence who have ever sought help from the Baha’i Administration. Cheers. And guess what else, ANYONE with a conscience is appalled by these realities and will also, at minimum, be pissed off at any institutions who have acted this way, or at you personally for behaving this way, so AGAIN, Congratulations! You can now discredit these people, too, (like Mavaddat) simply on the basis of their anger or willingness to call a spade a spade. So, let’s see, if you’ve discredited all the victims, and all people of good will who believe them, I don’t know…let me count on my fingers and see who that leaves you left with for your “legitimate” witnesses? Oh, right- that leaves the abusers!!!! (And the LSA, NSA, ABM etc members who mishandled their cases!!) Bravo, sir. Nicely done. Congratulations are again in order because those guys will happily cooperate in discrediting and disbelieving the victims. They may even give you a pointer or two on your technique. I guess that makes it “Win, Win” for you if your goal is to insulate that safe, warm-fuzzy “no abuse here” feeling you have rather than deal with violence in the community. Looks like you have a straightforward path ahead of you to meet your goal. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.

    It wasn’t so long ago that I was a Baha’i, so if you REALLY want to discredit me I’ll give you some tips on where to start, okay? Unfortunately for your quest, I mostly made friends along the way. I kinda got around, and alot of people still know me personally from serving with them side by side in various trenches, like pioneering posts, committees and institutions, and they know that I am a trustworthy sort even if they don’t agree with me about religion anymore. BUT here’s your “in,” okay? This is where the best “dirt” is likely to show up: I grew up hearing that justice was a good idea and I took that to heart, for some reason, so even when I was a Baha’i I made it my business to advocate for victims rights. In the course of that work I physically intervened in violence more than once, let people hide from their wife beater husbands at my house more than once, and even, GASP! reported a good number of people to the Auxiliary Board, my old LSA, and even the NSA of my country. More. Than. Once. I accompanied rape victims to police stations and rape crisis counseling I provided contact info on how to get a quickie restraining order. I also called a NSA member at her house, during “off-hours,” to get emergency intervention in a crazy community situation gone wrong. I’ve done plenty of other things that I am not ABOUT to tell you, as it would endanger people I love.

    So, that’s where I would start if I were you. By “following the trail,” as it were. The tricky part with discrediting me will be only listening to the wife-beaters and truth-phobes, so you may have to pre-screen for that. Unfortunately for your purposes, the people of good will I have known my whole life won’t have much in the way of discrediting info, unless you count, “Oh, yeah. She resigned from the Faith.” I wonder what “tell” the wife beaters will have that will give them away as your go-to witnesses. It brings to mind a saying, “Lord, turn the hearts of those who wish me ill, and if You will not turn their hearts, turn their ankles so I may know them by their limp.” I’m proud to say there are a few abusive men out there who GENUINELY dislike me. It’s kind of a feather in my cap. I’m sure they’ll give you something to work with.

    To facilitate your project, my name is Amanda. Respess. My Baha’i ID was something like 0139409, if I remember correctly. I am from the United States. I am not anonymous. I blog about this stuff. (www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com) I am a Sagittarius, my favorite color is red, and I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m a pretty good google, if you’re interested. I’m still not giving you victim info, though, as it is only theirs to give. You can’t have my social security number or the change in my pockets, either.

    And to assist you in your cause, here’s the phone number for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States Office of Community Administration: 847-733-3400. They’re familiar with my work. (If you’re not familiar with theirs, they are the “go-to” office for abuse issues and tattling on Baha’is, or ex-Baha’is, that make you uncomfortable.) I’m sure when you call and say “some ex-Baha’i girl online said that sexual violence ACTUALLY OCCURS in the Baha’i community, make her stop,” they will- after they stop laughing- agree that, unfortunately it does. Depending on who answers the phone, they may have alot to offer on the situation. Let me be clear that there are many individual Baha’is who are champions of victims rights and sensitive to their needs. Maybe it will be one of those who answers the phone. Maybe it will even be someone who had a hand in writing the guidelines that are actually pretty enlightened (but that nobody follows.) But, if you are LUCKY and get to talk to someone who will help you with your little plan, you’ll get someone who says, “My word, how shocking. Let’s see how we can make her stop. Maybe she’s an enemy of the Faith! Her grandmother would be so disappointed!” They may even give you some quotes to throw at me. I look forward to it.

    Lastly, any time I HAVE made “official allegations” I have done so to the appropriate parties and with the appropriate documentation. I am also allowed to talk about my experiences and engage in discussions about this aspect of Baha’i culture in an informal, personal context, like this blog. I will not omit those parts of my perspective that you don’t like (or hide them under a veil,) although I will not reveal personal identifying information here, as you have asked, as that would be completely inappropriate. The fact that people connect and talk to each other in public now online is something that critics of criticism are going to have to get used to. This blog is not a peer-reviewed journal, nor did I make mention of these issues here as a formal, specific “allegation” or thesis. I shared my experience and perspective on the comments section of a blog. A great blog. I do not have to keep silent here. The informal conversation that I participated in here was begun by a man who stated his wife had been victimized, and I and others spoke up to express our sorrow and support. For whatever reason, Farhan decided to characterize my words in that informal discussion as inappropriate. If I had chosen to make an official allegation of a specific party and use this blog as a platform, you are right that I should expect to provide documentation. But that is clearly not the nature of the discussion here, nor my intention.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda Respess

    p.s. If you get any good dirt about me, please forward it on to me so I can post it on my blog and use it in an art installation I working on. Thanks.

  • Wayne,

    What you seem to be asking me now is to not divulge the names or identifying information (like case numbers) of victims, but to reveal to you the names and identifying information of the agencies these victims sought confidential help from, to protect themselves from abusers? Is that right? Uh, no. I’m not going to do that. You can take that as “proof” of my “unreliable witness” status (much like Karen Bacquet who also has “problems with the administrative order.” ) But, ironically, if you WERE familiar with victim advocacy in ANY way you would already know that said agencies cannot legally or ethically divulge ANY information to ANY caller, including whether or not someone used their services or what their clients religious affiliations may be. Some women’s shelters don’t even publicly list their addresses and operate much like the Underground Railroad did in the US before the abolition of slavery. You would also know that your line of questioning is preposterous and offensive, but that is neither here nor there. So, for those looking for reasons to disbelieve and minimize women, you will no doubt provide them that opportunity. But for anyone with personal experience or even the slightest savvy in advocacy work generally, you are only further proving my initial observations about how abuse is handled in the Baha’i community.

    Let me point out a few things to you. 1) ANY woman who has personally been ignored, silenced, and further endangered by the Administrative Order when she has gone to them for help and is NOT still controlled by her abuser is going to have “problems with the AO,” so congratulations in advance, you have a no-brainer way to discredit ALL victims of violence who have ever sought help from the Baha’i Administration. Cheers. And guess what else, ANYONE with a conscience is appalled by these realities and will also, at minimum, be pissed off at any institutions who have acted this way, or at you personally for behaving this way, so AGAIN, Congratulations! You can now discredit these people, too, (like Mavaddat) simply on the basis of their anger or willingness to call a spade a spade. So, let’s see, if you’ve discredited all the victims, and all people of good will who believe them, I don’t know…let me count on my fingers and see who that leaves you left with for your “legitimate” witnesses? Oh, right- that leaves the abusers!!!! (And the LSA, NSA, ABM etc members who mishandled their cases!!) Bravo, sir. Nicely done. Congratulations are again in order because those guys will happily cooperate in discrediting and disbelieving the victims. They may even give you a pointer or two on your technique. I guess that makes it “Win, Win” for you if your goal is to insulate that safe, warm-fuzzy “no abuse here” feeling you have rather than deal with violence in the community. Looks like you have a straightforward path ahead of you to meet your goal. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.

    It wasn’t so long ago that I was a Baha’i, so if you REALLY want to discredit me I’ll give you some tips on where to start, okay? Unfortunately for your quest, I mostly made friends along the way. I kinda got around, and alot of people still know me personally from serving with them side by side in various trenches, like pioneering posts, committees and institutions, and they know that I am a trustworthy sort even if they don’t agree with me about religion anymore. BUT here’s your “in,” okay? This is where the best “dirt” is likely to show up: I grew up hearing that justice was a good idea and I took that to heart, for some reason, so even when I was a Baha’i I made it my business to advocate for victims rights. In the course of that work I physically intervened in violence more than once, let people hide from their wife beater husbands at my house more than once, and even, GASP! reported a good number of people to the Auxiliary Board, my old LSA, and even the NSA of my country. More. Than. Once. I accompanied rape victims to police stations and rape crisis counseling I provided contact info on how to get a quickie restraining order. I also called a NSA member at her house, during “off-hours,” to get emergency intervention in a crazy community situation gone wrong. I’ve done plenty of other things that I am not ABOUT to tell you, as it would endanger people I love.

    So, that’s where I would start if I were you. By “following the trail,” as it were. The tricky part with discrediting me will be only listening to the wife-beaters and truth-phobes, so you may have to pre-screen for that. Unfortunately for your purposes, the people of good will I have known my whole life won’t have much in the way of discrediting info, unless you count, “Oh, yeah. She resigned from the Faith.” I wonder what “tell” the wife beaters will have that will give them away as your go-to witnesses. It brings to mind a saying, “Lord, turn the hearts of those who wish me ill, and if You will not turn their hearts, turn their ankles so I may know them by their limp.” I’m proud to say there are a few abusive men out there who GENUINELY dislike me. It’s kind of a feather in my cap. I’m sure they’ll give you something to work with.

    To facilitate your project, my name is Amanda. Respess. My Baha’i ID was something like 0139409, if I remember correctly. I am from the United States. I am not anonymous. I blog about this stuff. (www.letters-of-the-living.blogspot.com) I am a Sagittarius, my favorite color is red, and I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m a pretty good google, if you’re interested. I’m still not giving you victim info, though, as it is only theirs to give. You can’t have my social security number or the change in my pockets, either.

    And to assist you in your cause, here’s the phone number for the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States Office of Community Administration: 847-733-3400. They’re familiar with my work. (If you’re not familiar with theirs, they are the “go-to” office for abuse issues and tattling on Baha’is, or ex-Baha’is, that make you uncomfortable.) I’m sure when you call and say “some ex-Baha’i girl online said that sexual violence ACTUALLY OCCURS in the Baha’i community, make her stop,” they will- after they stop laughing- agree that, unfortunately it does. Depending on who answers the phone, they may have alot to offer on the situation. Let me be clear that there are many individual Baha’is who are champions of victims rights and sensitive to their needs. Maybe it will be one of those who answers the phone. Maybe it will even be someone who had a hand in writing the guidelines that are actually pretty enlightened (but that nobody follows.) But, if you are LUCKY and get to talk to someone who will help you with your little plan, you’ll get someone who says, “My word, how shocking. Let’s see how we can make her stop. Maybe she’s an enemy of the Faith! Her grandmother would be so disappointed!” They may even give you some quotes to throw at me. I look forward to it.

    Lastly, any time I HAVE made “official allegations” I have done so to the appropriate parties and with the appropriate documentation. I am also allowed to talk about my experiences and engage in discussions about this aspect of Baha’i culture in an informal, personal context, like this blog. I will not omit those parts of my perspective that you don’t like (or hide them under a veil,) although I will not reveal personal identifying information here, as you have asked, as that would be completely inappropriate. The fact that people connect and talk to each other in public now online is something that critics of criticism are going to have to get used to. This blog is not a peer-reviewed journal, nor did I make mention of these issues here as a formal, specific “allegation” or thesis. I shared my experience and perspective on the comments section of a blog. A great blog. I do not have to keep silent here. The informal conversation that I participated in here was begun by a man who stated his wife had been victimized, and I and others spoke up to express our sorrow and support. For whatever reason, Farhan decided to characterize my words in that informal discussion as inappropriate. If I had chosen to make an official allegation of a specific party and use this blog as a platform, you are right that I should expect to provide documentation. But that is clearly not the nature of the discussion here, nor my intention.

    Sincerely,
    Amanda Respess

    p.s. If you get any good dirt about me, please forward it on to me so I can post it on my blog and use it in an art installation I working on. Thanks.

  • Beth

    Amanda – I can only say thank you. For myself, and for all the other victims I know. If anyone official contacts you to investigate, you know how to get in touch with me. For reasons you already know, I won’t post my last name here, but I would be happy to cooperate in any investigations. You know where to find me.

    Wayne Sr – If Amanda’s post did not give you enough information, then I doubt anyone can. I hope you enjoy being part of the problem and not part of the solution. And I hope you don’t have any daughters.

  • Beth

    Amanda – I can only say thank you. For myself, and for all the other victims I know. If anyone official contacts you to investigate, you know how to get in touch with me. For reasons you already know, I won’t post my last name here, but I would be happy to cooperate in any investigations. You know where to find me.

    Wayne Sr – If Amanda’s post did not give you enough information, then I doubt anyone can. I hope you enjoy being part of the problem and not part of the solution. And I hope you don’t have any daughters.

  • Beth,
    Thanks for your awesome responses. I would suggest NOT giving this man what it is he wants, which is to bait you into a false construct of proof. It’s a game. As you said, your friends who have already been victimized do not need this mans “agenda” (to quote another recent BR dramedy) creating any further harm or disempowerment. Just my 2 cents.

    When this man says “jump,” I would not say “how high.”

    Deep respect,
    Amanda

  • Beth,
    Thanks for your awesome responses. I would suggest NOT giving this man what it is he wants, which is to bait you into a false construct of proof. It’s a game. As you said, your friends who have already been victimized do not need this mans “agenda” (to quote another recent BR dramedy) creating any further harm or disempowerment. Just my 2 cents.

    When this man says “jump,” I would not say “how high.”

    Deep respect,
    Amanda

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Craig

    I was ?ranting? when I wrote that post. I do apologize for not thinking how it may be received. The word ?shunned? is not something new to me and I was having a well earned pity party when I used it. I don’t get a chance to unwind often or for that matter the luxury to complain… It actually didn’t just start. It’s been going on for years. Not being invited to peoples homes or weddings, showers, parties because my kids are hyper or I talk too much about my business, or my husband needs his hand held TV for his sports on outings and it’s a distraction, not fitting into the clique of misfits…you would not believe the ?loving? criticism I have received for who I am and just how I can be a better person, parent, contributor and friend… Don’t get me started…LOL , the irony is an abyss.

    The person in the store can be rude in general, he is someone I would just consider the source. He is a very unhappy man, but I know because of his position he read my resignation letter, it was a sharp stare, and intended avoidance, but now, in more reflection, it just may be fear that was in his eyes, not distaste, who knows? He is a zealot, and in his mind he thinks he’s knows everything. He lives, breaths, gives, volunteers, teaches and has probably taken every Ruhi Book two or three times. That one I could fill a volume on. BTW- I intimidate the shit out of weak men because I am a very successful, smart, attractive, self made and confident woman; well regarded by my peers and employees.

    In respects to my privacy, I was told by a LSA who had missed a meeting that a memo went out asking community members not to contact me, without explanation, possibly thinking I have asked to be inactive?…. Another person called me whose spouse sits on the LSA and ask if what he told her was true, she wanted to ?hear it from the horse’s mouth? that I was no longer a Bah?’? and no longer believe in Baha’u’llah. Who knows what? Frankly, I don’t give a ….. any more…. Light fades, scene in my life ends, I walk away…

    Considering that I have had a personal copy right release from the UHJ since 2000, and have been involved with creative marketing concepts for the BF, when I worded the following letter, I based my capital emphasis on the directives of that release, respectfully and as elegant as possible not to really draw to specifics or create a hostile or argument reaction. Retrospectively, I may have changed it. You tell me if you understand what I wanted and if I went about it in a befitting way…

    XXXXXXXXXXXX
    RE: Immediate Member Withdrawal

    Dear NSA

    May this communication confirm that I, XXXXXXXXX , and XXXXXXXXX, , as well as on behalf of our children, XXXXXX, XXXXXXX, & XXXXXX do hereby respectfully and without hesitation, request to be withdrawn from membership, un enrolled, resigned, effective immediately, from the BF. Neither of us, as individuals or under the unity of our marriage, consider ourselves as Baha’is and, in good conscience, we will not continue to declare ourselves as such.

    The following exert is from an email communication to ABM after our recent…

    Bird writes:

    Thank you ever so much for your kindness and generosity of time. I have made the decision to become a un enrolled Bah?’? and will need to understand the process of proceeding forward. It is my understanding according to the Writings of the Beloved Guardian that all un enrolled Bah?’?’s are to be treated as a non-Bah?’?, with the courtesy of any human being. I would therefore still be entitled to engage in any open to the public gathering as a guest. It is also my understanding should I desire to re-declare at some future date I may do so. Please be assured that I have nothing but respect for the BF and its doctrine and do not intend to make any announcements or draw any attention to this well weighed decision.

    To the very complex question with all that facts in place as to whether I am still a Bah?’? or not, that answer is no, not in it’s present day entirety and not at this juncture of my life. The conclusion is drawn from the presence that I am unable to rest on the unquestioning acceptance of labels, terms and conditioning of an organized religion. I am most certainly and ardently a life long friend and wealthy recipient of the guidance available in the Sacred Writings. I am simply a spiritual being with no label and my journey is ongoing. Where it brings me a great and laden sadness to leave the bitter sweet rapture of the organized religion of the Bah?’? Faith, it brings me hope and exhilarating liberation as the burdens of labels are now being lifted from my spirit. It is good to part amicably.

    As stated above, the decision has already been well weighed, there will be no further discussion on what XXXXXX and XXXXXXX both agree is a very private matter.

    Respectively, as well as respectfully, all Bah?’? materials have been returned to XXXXX. I am including my own Bah?’? card. XXXXX does not have one.

    The return receipt of this correspondence will deem receipt of this request and its effective date.

    Sincerely,

    XXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXX

    CC: LSA

    Follow up to the LSA

    Bird to LSA

    With all the facts in place I would never have declared myself a Bah?’?.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Craig

    I was ?ranting? when I wrote that post. I do apologize for not thinking how it may be received. The word ?shunned? is not something new to me and I was having a well earned pity party when I used it. I don’t get a chance to unwind often or for that matter the luxury to complain… It actually didn’t just start. It’s been going on for years. Not being invited to peoples homes or weddings, showers, parties because my kids are hyper or I talk too much about my business, or my husband needs his hand held TV for his sports on outings and it’s a distraction, not fitting into the clique of misfits…you would not believe the ?loving? criticism I have received for who I am and just how I can be a better person, parent, contributor and friend… Don’t get me started…LOL , the irony is an abyss.

    The person in the store can be rude in general, he is someone I would just consider the source. He is a very unhappy man, but I know because of his position he read my resignation letter, it was a sharp stare, and intended avoidance, but now, in more reflection, it just may be fear that was in his eyes, not distaste, who knows? He is a zealot, and in his mind he thinks he’s knows everything. He lives, breaths, gives, volunteers, teaches and has probably taken every Ruhi Book two or three times. That one I could fill a volume on. BTW- I intimidate the shit out of weak men because I am a very successful, smart, attractive, self made and confident woman; well regarded by my peers and employees.

    In respects to my privacy, I was told by a LSA who had missed a meeting that a memo went out asking community members not to contact me, without explanation, possibly thinking I have asked to be inactive?…. Another person called me whose spouse sits on the LSA and ask if what he told her was true, she wanted to ?hear it from the horse’s mouth? that I was no longer a Bah?’? and no longer believe in Baha’u’llah. Who knows what? Frankly, I don’t give a ….. any more…. Light fades, scene in my life ends, I walk away…

    Considering that I have had a personal copy right release from the UHJ since 2000, and have been involved with creative marketing concepts for the BF, when I worded the following letter, I based my capital emphasis on the directives of that release, respectfully and as elegant as possible not to really draw to specifics or create a hostile or argument reaction. Retrospectively, I may have changed it. You tell me if you understand what I wanted and if I went about it in a befitting way…

    XXXXXXXXXXXX
    RE: Immediate Member Withdrawal

    Dear NSA

    May this communication confirm that I, XXXXXXXXX , and XXXXXXXXX, , as well as on behalf of our children, XXXXXX, XXXXXXX, & XXXXXX do hereby respectfully and without hesitation, request to be withdrawn from membership, un enrolled, resigned, effective immediately, from the BF. Neither of us, as individuals or under the unity of our marriage, consider ourselves as Baha’is and, in good conscience, we will not continue to declare ourselves as such.

    The following exert is from an email communication to ABM after our recent…

    Bird writes:

    Thank you ever so much for your kindness and generosity of time. I have made the decision to become a un enrolled Bah?’? and will need to understand the process of proceeding forward. It is my understanding according to the Writings of the Beloved Guardian that all un enrolled Bah?’?’s are to be treated as a non-Bah?’?, with the courtesy of any human being. I would therefore still be entitled to engage in any open to the public gathering as a guest. It is also my understanding should I desire to re-declare at some future date I may do so. Please be assured that I have nothing but respect for the BF and its doctrine and do not intend to make any announcements or draw any attention to this well weighed decision.

    To the very complex question with all that facts in place as to whether I am still a Bah?’? or not, that answer is no, not in it’s present day entirety and not at this juncture of my life. The conclusion is drawn from the presence that I am unable to rest on the unquestioning acceptance of labels, terms and conditioning of an organized religion. I am most certainly and ardently a life long friend and wealthy recipient of the guidance available in the Sacred Writings. I am simply a spiritual being with no label and my journey is ongoing. Where it brings me a great and laden sadness to leave the bitter sweet rapture of the organized religion of the Bah?’? Faith, it brings me hope and exhilarating liberation as the burdens of labels are now being lifted from my spirit. It is good to part amicably.

    As stated above, the decision has already been well weighed, there will be no further discussion on what XXXXXX and XXXXXXX both agree is a very private matter.

    Respectively, as well as respectfully, all Bah?’? materials have been returned to XXXXX. I am including my own Bah?’? card. XXXXX does not have one.

    The return receipt of this correspondence will deem receipt of this request and its effective date.

    Sincerely,

    XXXXXXXXX

    XXXXXXXXX

    CC: LSA

    Follow up to the LSA

    Bird to LSA

    With all the facts in place I would never have declared myself a Bah?’?.

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda-

    “I am a Sagittarius, my favorite color is red, and I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m a pretty good google, if you’re interested. I’m still not giving you victim info, though, as it is only theirs to give. You can’t have my social security number or the change in my pockets, either.”

    Me too, only I don’t have a favorite color…

  • Bird out of the Cage

    Amanda-

    “I am a Sagittarius, my favorite color is red, and I enjoy long walks on the beach. I’m a pretty good google, if you’re interested. I’m still not giving you victim info, though, as it is only theirs to give. You can’t have my social security number or the change in my pockets, either.”

    Me too, only I don’t have a favorite color…

  • farhan

    Amanda,

    you write:
    For whatever reason, Farhan decided to characterize my words in that informal discussion as inappropriate. If I had chosen to make an official allegation of a specific party and use this blog as a platform, you are right that I should expect to provide documentation.

    Seeing that you are engaged in the prevention of domestic violence, I withdraw my words. The impression I got from your post was that you were mainly concerned with trying to discredit the Baha’i AO and not defend the victims. i apologise for my mistake.

    Since you are engaged in preventing domestic violence, please tell us how you feel about the directives of the NSA of the US to the Baha’i administration. Have you opposed this document to Baha’i institutions that were violating its rules? The document in case you have not studied it is available at : http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

    Thanks for giving us your opinion.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Amanda,

    you write:
    For whatever reason, Farhan decided to characterize my words in that informal discussion as inappropriate. If I had chosen to make an official allegation of a specific party and use this blog as a platform, you are right that I should expect to provide documentation.

    Seeing that you are engaged in the prevention of domestic violence, I withdraw my words. The impression I got from your post was that you were mainly concerned with trying to discredit the Baha’i AO and not defend the victims. i apologise for my mistake.

    Since you are engaged in preventing domestic violence, please tell us how you feel about the directives of the NSA of the US to the Baha’i administration. Have you opposed this document to Baha’i institutions that were violating its rules? The document in case you have not studied it is available at : http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

    Thanks for giving us your opinion.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • ep

    [quote comment=”44503″]Sorry, Eric,
    I replied to Craig for your post
    You write :
    « For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites « (?big pigs?) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that « the ?little pigs? did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.).
    [/quote]

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Took cr?dit for what, Eric, before whom ?
    [/quote]

    For the “accomplishments”, such as they are, of the community. Building/running Baha’i centers, SED, “teaching” projects, PR, administrative activities, deepenings, social activities, inspiring people, and so forth.

    What is actually accomplished, or not, isn’t the issue, it is how people in power falsely appropriate the real or perceived accomplishments and manipulate and abuse their position and scapegoat or belittle those that are not in power.

    The locations vary. National conventions, unit conventions, feasts, etc., etc.

    I have a transcript of one ABM in the USA that literally screamed at a bunch of LSA members about how every failing of the BF was caused by “lazy believers” where weren’t willing to make enough sacrifices.

    This was witnessed by a number of people in the near proximity of a national bahai school in the northeastern usa.

    What you and many other “establishment defenders” don’t realize is that many people with complaints don’t want to discomfort your type of people with the truth. You have an unending well of inane, meaningless platitudes that simply make it all the more obvious that bahai culture is corrupt, uninformed of advances the important areas of human advancement, and incompetent.

    I was at a mysticism conference at a national bahai school on central california years ago (one of the “talisman” yellow-snow conferences), and a prominent, well travelled young bahai scholar/administrator told of the many examples where bahai SED projects are empty shells designed to make it look like some NSA, for instance of a particular asian country, was doing something to help poor or disadvantaged people, but in reality was a hollow PR project with nothing but “FEEL GOOD” activities.

    The scholar contrasted the meaningless bahai SED project with various large “REAL” christian, buddhist and secular projects.

    I’ve been on various “support lists” for a number of years where a large number of people have chronicled in detail the massive pattern of dysfunctionalty that is overwhelmingly typical of bahai communities in most of the major countries and many minor ones.

    You are quite simply living in a bubble and are ignorant.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Are we working for cr?dit or for the love of humanity ?
    [/quote]

    I don’t know who the “we” is, but the establishmentarians in the bahai community are indulging themselves in vain imaginings and fantasy and are not about any kind of real love.

    No one that “loves” humanity would adhere to the kind of silly, discredited medieval metaphysics that you and other dull establishmentarians use all the time to defend the status quo.

    Anyone that “loves” humanity will be appropriately horrified at the manner in which bahai culture has been pulled back down into the “gravity well of shiism”, and will flee far and fast.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Are we not taking cr?dit for what Quddus and Mullah Husayn did ? I Wonder how those luminaries would act now if they were placed in an NSA or to an appointed position.
    [/quote]

    They would probably join taliban? they were absolutist and extremists, possible sociopaths/psychopaths.

    (That is almost exactly what a friend of mine, who is descended from sharazi babis, told me.)

    On the other hand, if you meant the conventional, romanticized, distorted version of babi/bahai history where they are heroic figures embracing a new, radical paradigm, and rejecting orthodox theological and cultural rigidity, that was just part of a larger response to european trade and colonialization across all of iranian society at the time, but especially in the south (e.g., shiraz) where trade with the west, and western military and economic power, was most evident.

    certainly iranian society was worried and ready for change, and typically of corrupt islamic culture in general, the resulting innovations (such as babism) that were tried were harshly put down.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Did those pioneers (of whom I am part since my childhood) expect recognition, praise or a position for theit labors, or did they contribute for love ?
    [/quote]

    They contributed for various reasons, much of which was brainwashing, family and peer pressure, and so forth.

    Sociologists are quite clearly aware that bahai culture has evolved away from the initial phases of organization where personal relationships by an elite leadership cadre of apostles with charismatic leaders (bab, bahaullah, abdul-baha, shoghi) was the driving force.

    bahai culture is becoming insitutionalized, which is the natural progression of religious cultures.

    unfortunately bahai culture is stuck in a pattern of institutionalization that most of the rest of the world left behind 50 to 75 years ago, and is increasingly unable to adapt to newly emergent realities and circumstances.

    so, the establishmentarians live in bubbles, and any unfortunate person that dares to try to break out is subject to irrational diatribes, personal attacks, etc.

    I saw one of the most promising bahai innovators in theology and social theory almost literally run out of a mysticism conference and then his local community by the adherents of rigid orthodoxy. The attack was orchestrated by vicious and evil people who severly abused their positions of authority, and who were in cohoots with people at the national level who hate any evidence of a new, innovative popular paradigm in the grass roots, and are ever on the look out for fresh scapegoats to sacrifice in order to distract the sheeple from the horrible failures of the establishment.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Yes, I agree, we do have people adopting attitudes of arrogance and superiority which are clear violations of our teachings, but these people will have to learn that this to is also part of our Faith :
    [/quote]

    They will never learn. I’ve seen dozens of very intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people that are leaders in their professional fields ground into the dust by power mongers and abusers for daring to think that the high and mightly bahai establishment might be able to reform itself in the same kinds of ways that these people have seen, over and over, other organizations and businesses change and adapt to new paradigms.

    bahai culture has a “broken incentive system”. peolpe are usually rewarded for doing the wrong thing and punished for doing the right thing.

    mass distortion of reality is normal, feedback systems are broken or absent, the truth is feared except as doled out in small doses by self-serving people reinforcing that use it to present a distorted picture of the status quo.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself (…)It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha’u’llah. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)[/quote]

    Yes, bahai culture is mutiliated. intellect, vision, creativity, humanitarianism and real (non-instrumentalized) spirituality is divorced from the organizational element, which is the “system” that has “colonized lifeworld” (Jurgen Habermas).

    In short bahai culture has become “disinformocracy”, where its institutions are facing the same “crisis of legitimization” that Habermas and other social theorists and culture critics have clearly described.

    An invariable feature of such delegitimated institutions is that they are in a constant PR war to keep the sheeple in a conforming, “dumbed down” herd.

    In other words, the bahai faith has become exactly the same kind of encrusted, inflexible, dysfunctional orthodoxy that the “dawn breakers” tried to overthrow.

    That process is of course predicted by Paolo Friere and other scholars of “revolutionary” movements.

    At this point in history, bahai culture is at best a distant follower of the most “progressive”, avant guard, cutting age theories of human consciousness.

    I predict that at some point in the future when integral thought becomes the most prevalent paradigm and will solve most of the current problems in the world, that bahais will attempt to take credit for inspiring integralism. that attempt will of course be seen as silly by peolpe capable of rational thought.

    The bahai innovators that try to “pick and choose” are the only hope, but I am sorry to say that I see nothing in the 30+ years of previously being a bahai that indicates that such innovation will be embraced in a meaningful way. I cheer on anyone, such as my old friend Eric Hadley-Ives, that is still idealistic and energetic enough to try to advocate for a non-dysfunctional form of bahai culture.

    Unfortunately I think that the great hearts and minds in the grass roots of the bahai faith, such as Eric H-I, are simply seen as quaint, marginal characters that can safely ignored by most of the bahai faith.

    Make no mistake, the prevailing form of bahai culture, is in its “organized” aspects, dysfunctional and evil. It loaths deep, profound self-examination or REAL self-correction. It is rigid and incapable of embracing the best forms of new thought and new collective practice of enlightenment and action that have emerged all over planet earth.

    Just paying lip service to high ideas won’t work anymore, the era of mindless platitudes, hypocrisy, fake action, disinformation and deception is over.

    It’s time to move on to “something better” folks, and that is integral theory, neuroscience and all sorts of other exciting activities and movements that are integrating transcendance and rationalism (transrationalism).

    While the rest of the world is full of thousands of flowers blooming, bahai fundamentalists/fascists/sympathisers are still running around dumping “spiritual herbicide” all over the place trying to turn the evolutionary clock backwards.

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • ep

    [quote comment=”44503″]Sorry, Eric,
    I replied to Craig for your post
    You write :
    « For many years, the incompetent, corrupt and wayward leadership elites « (?big pigs?) simply took credit for all the hard, dirty and/or boring work that « the ?little pigs? did (pioneers, LSA secretaries, etc.).
    [/quote]

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Took cr?dit for what, Eric, before whom ?
    [/quote]

    For the “accomplishments”, such as they are, of the community. Building/running Baha’i centers, SED, “teaching” projects, PR, administrative activities, deepenings, social activities, inspiring people, and so forth.

    What is actually accomplished, or not, isn’t the issue, it is how people in power falsely appropriate the real or perceived accomplishments and manipulate and abuse their position and scapegoat or belittle those that are not in power.

    The locations vary. National conventions, unit conventions, feasts, etc., etc.

    I have a transcript of one ABM in the USA that literally screamed at a bunch of LSA members about how every failing of the BF was caused by “lazy believers” where weren’t willing to make enough sacrifices.

    This was witnessed by a number of people in the near proximity of a national bahai school in the northeastern usa.

    What you and many other “establishment defenders” don’t realize is that many people with complaints don’t want to discomfort your type of people with the truth. You have an unending well of inane, meaningless platitudes that simply make it all the more obvious that bahai culture is corrupt, uninformed of advances the important areas of human advancement, and incompetent.

    I was at a mysticism conference at a national bahai school on central california years ago (one of the “talisman” yellow-snow conferences), and a prominent, well travelled young bahai scholar/administrator told of the many examples where bahai SED projects are empty shells designed to make it look like some NSA, for instance of a particular asian country, was doing something to help poor or disadvantaged people, but in reality was a hollow PR project with nothing but “FEEL GOOD” activities.

    The scholar contrasted the meaningless bahai SED project with various large “REAL” christian, buddhist and secular projects.

    I’ve been on various “support lists” for a number of years where a large number of people have chronicled in detail the massive pattern of dysfunctionalty that is overwhelmingly typical of bahai communities in most of the major countries and many minor ones.

    You are quite simply living in a bubble and are ignorant.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Are we working for cr?dit or for the love of humanity ?
    [/quote]

    I don’t know who the “we” is, but the establishmentarians in the bahai community are indulging themselves in vain imaginings and fantasy and are not about any kind of real love.

    No one that “loves” humanity would adhere to the kind of silly, discredited medieval metaphysics that you and other dull establishmentarians use all the time to defend the status quo.

    Anyone that “loves” humanity will be appropriately horrified at the manner in which bahai culture has been pulled back down into the “gravity well of shiism”, and will flee far and fast.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Are we not taking cr?dit for what Quddus and Mullah Husayn did ? I Wonder how those luminaries would act now if they were placed in an NSA or to an appointed position.
    [/quote]

    They would probably join taliban? they were absolutist and extremists, possible sociopaths/psychopaths.

    (That is almost exactly what a friend of mine, who is descended from sharazi babis, told me.)

    On the other hand, if you meant the conventional, romanticized, distorted version of babi/bahai history where they are heroic figures embracing a new, radical paradigm, and rejecting orthodox theological and cultural rigidity, that was just part of a larger response to european trade and colonialization across all of iranian society at the time, but especially in the south (e.g., shiraz) where trade with the west, and western military and economic power, was most evident.

    certainly iranian society was worried and ready for change, and typically of corrupt islamic culture in general, the resulting innovations (such as babism) that were tried were harshly put down.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Did those pioneers (of whom I am part since my childhood) expect recognition, praise or a position for theit labors, or did they contribute for love ?
    [/quote]

    They contributed for various reasons, much of which was brainwashing, family and peer pressure, and so forth.

    Sociologists are quite clearly aware that bahai culture has evolved away from the initial phases of organization where personal relationships by an elite leadership cadre of apostles with charismatic leaders (bab, bahaullah, abdul-baha, shoghi) was the driving force.

    bahai culture is becoming insitutionalized, which is the natural progression of religious cultures.

    unfortunately bahai culture is stuck in a pattern of institutionalization that most of the rest of the world left behind 50 to 75 years ago, and is increasingly unable to adapt to newly emergent realities and circumstances.

    so, the establishmentarians live in bubbles, and any unfortunate person that dares to try to break out is subject to irrational diatribes, personal attacks, etc.

    I saw one of the most promising bahai innovators in theology and social theory almost literally run out of a mysticism conference and then his local community by the adherents of rigid orthodoxy. The attack was orchestrated by vicious and evil people who severly abused their positions of authority, and who were in cohoots with people at the national level who hate any evidence of a new, innovative popular paradigm in the grass roots, and are ever on the look out for fresh scapegoats to sacrifice in order to distract the sheeple from the horrible failures of the establishment.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    Yes, I agree, we do have people adopting attitudes of arrogance and superiority which are clear violations of our teachings, but these people will have to learn that this to is also part of our Faith :
    [/quote]

    They will never learn. I’ve seen dozens of very intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people that are leaders in their professional fields ground into the dust by power mongers and abusers for daring to think that the high and mightly bahai establishment might be able to reform itself in the same kinds of ways that these people have seen, over and over, other organizations and businesses change and adapt to new paradigms.

    bahai culture has a “broken incentive system”. peolpe are usually rewarded for doing the wrong thing and punished for doing the right thing.

    mass distortion of reality is normal, feedback systems are broken or absent, the truth is feared except as doled out in small doses by self-serving people reinforcing that use it to present a distorted picture of the status quo.

    [quote comment=”44503″]
    To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself (…)It is surely for those to whose hands so priceless a heritage has been committed to prayerfully watch lest the tool should supersede the Faith itself, lest undue concern for the minute details arising from the administration of the Cause obscure the vision of its promoters, lest partiality, ambition, and worldliness tend in the course of time to becloud the radiance, stain the purity, and impair the effectiveness of the Faith of Baha’u’llah. (Shoghi Effendi, WOB)[/quote]

    Yes, bahai culture is mutiliated. intellect, vision, creativity, humanitarianism and real (non-instrumentalized) spirituality is divorced from the organizational element, which is the “system” that has “colonized lifeworld” (Jurgen Habermas).

    In short bahai culture has become “disinformocracy”, where its institutions are facing the same “crisis of legitimization” that Habermas and other social theorists and culture critics have clearly described.

    An invariable feature of such delegitimated institutions is that they are in a constant PR war to keep the sheeple in a conforming, “dumbed down” herd.

    In other words, the bahai faith has become exactly the same kind of encrusted, inflexible, dysfunctional orthodoxy that the “dawn breakers” tried to overthrow.

    That process is of course predicted by Paolo Friere and other scholars of “revolutionary” movements.

    At this point in history, bahai culture is at best a distant follower of the most “progressive”, avant guard, cutting age theories of human consciousness.

    I predict that at some point in the future when integral thought becomes the most prevalent paradigm and will solve most of the current problems in the world, that bahais will attempt to take credit for inspiring integralism. that attempt will of course be seen as silly by peolpe capable of rational thought.

    The bahai innovators that try to “pick and choose” are the only hope, but I am sorry to say that I see nothing in the 30+ years of previously being a bahai that indicates that such innovation will be embraced in a meaningful way. I cheer on anyone, such as my old friend Eric Hadley-Ives, that is still idealistic and energetic enough to try to advocate for a non-dysfunctional form of bahai culture.

    Unfortunately I think that the great hearts and minds in the grass roots of the bahai faith, such as Eric H-I, are simply seen as quaint, marginal characters that can safely ignored by most of the bahai faith.

    Make no mistake, the prevailing form of bahai culture, is in its “organized” aspects, dysfunctional and evil. It loaths deep, profound self-examination or REAL self-correction. It is rigid and incapable of embracing the best forms of new thought and new collective practice of enlightenment and action that have emerged all over planet earth.

    Just paying lip service to high ideas won’t work anymore, the era of mindless platitudes, hypocrisy, fake action, disinformation and deception is over.

    It’s time to move on to “something better” folks, and that is integral theory, neuroscience and all sorts of other exciting activities and movements that are integrating transcendance and rationalism (transrationalism).

    While the rest of the world is full of thousands of flowers blooming, bahai fundamentalists/fascists/sympathisers are still running around dumping “spiritual herbicide” all over the place trying to turn the evolutionary clock backwards.

    Regards,
    Eric P.
    Sacramento

  • farhan

    Thanks for your long reply, Eric. unfortunately my replies are being flagged; I will attempt to reply ASAP
    regards
    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    Thanks for your long reply, Eric. unfortunately my replies are being flagged; I will attempt to reply ASAP
    regards
    Farhan

  • Craig Parke

    Eric,

    You write:

    “They will never learn. I’ve seen dozens of very intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people that are leaders in their professional fields ground into the dust by power mongers and abusers for daring to think that the high and mightly bahai establishment might be able to reform itself in the same kinds of ways that these people have seen, over and over, other organizations and businesses change and adapt to new paradigms.

    bahai culture has a ?broken incentive system?. peolpe are usually rewarded for doing the wrong thing and punished for doing the right thing.

    mass distortion of reality is normal, feedback systems are broken or absent, the truth is feared except as doled out in small doses by self-serving people reinforcing that use it to present a distorted picture of the status quo.”

    I have been up tonight working on a very hard Java programming business process engineering project for the company I work for involving millions of dollars and the improved livelihoods in a deteriorating economy for over 400 people and their families which has steam coming out of my pleasantly tired brain! But I thought I would stop by BR and read some posts to relax before retiring for the night.

    Wow.

    Your post is one of the BEST POSTS on here in quite some time! You have hit the nail EXACTLY on the head. It is very late and I can’t write anything in reply but I will at some point over time. There are other very interesting posts here tonight too. There are many recent developments of late out in the world in the discussion of “quantum thought”. I will also comment on this topic when I get the time.

    I have been reading both Ken Wilber and your guy Jean Gebser of late and am enjoying this system of thought and insight very much.

    http://www.kheper.net/integral/index.html

    The current world is in very, very big trouble. The current Baha’i Faith is in very, very big trouble.

    What is needed by people trying to move forward is first thought, and then action. There is zero of that amid all the present franchised systems of appalling Potemkin villages on this sorry planet.

    The only thing anyone can do now is keep the discussion going with people who are alive ANYWHERE you can find them.

    It seems these days all you can say as the CAMERA MOVES IN for a CLOSE-UP like that kid in “The Sixth Sense” is:

    “I see dead people.”

    Everyone keep posting!

  • Craig Parke

    Eric,

    You write:

    “They will never learn. I’ve seen dozens of very intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people that are leaders in their professional fields ground into the dust by power mongers and abusers for daring to think that the high and mightly bahai establishment might be able to reform itself in the same kinds of ways that these people have seen, over and over, other organizations and businesses change and adapt to new paradigms.

    bahai culture has a ?broken incentive system?. peolpe are usually rewarded for doing the wrong thing and punished for doing the right thing.

    mass distortion of reality is normal, feedback systems are broken or absent, the truth is feared except as doled out in small doses by self-serving people reinforcing that use it to present a distorted picture of the status quo.”

    I have been up tonight working on a very hard Java programming business process engineering project for the company I work for involving millions of dollars and the improved livelihoods in a deteriorating economy for over 400 people and their families which has steam coming out of my pleasantly tired brain! But I thought I would stop by BR and read some posts to relax before retiring for the night.

    Wow.

    Your post is one of the BEST POSTS on here in quite some time! You have hit the nail EXACTLY on the head. It is very late and I can’t write anything in reply but I will at some point over time. There are other very interesting posts here tonight too. There are many recent developments of late out in the world in the discussion of “quantum thought”. I will also comment on this topic when I get the time.

    I have been reading both Ken Wilber and your guy Jean Gebser of late and am enjoying this system of thought and insight very much.

    http://www.kheper.net/integral/index.html

    The current world is in very, very big trouble. The current Baha’i Faith is in very, very big trouble.

    What is needed by people trying to move forward is first thought, and then action. There is zero of that amid all the present franchised systems of appalling Potemkin villages on this sorry planet.

    The only thing anyone can do now is keep the discussion going with people who are alive ANYWHERE you can find them.

    It seems these days all you can say as the CAMERA MOVES IN for a CLOSE-UP like that kid in “The Sixth Sense” is:

    “I see dead people.”

    Everyone keep posting!

  • farhan

    <For the “accomplishments”, such as they are, of the <community. Building/running Baha’i centers, <SED, “teaching” projects, PR, administrative activities, <deepenings, social activities, inspiring people, and so <forth.

    Eric,

    The Faith offers education to all; we have individuals at different levels of spiritual growth; those in kindergarten need prizes, encouragements and sometimes a tap on their bottoms; then they become understanding and run for diplomas an good exam results… in time they learn to serve humanity out of sheer love for this planet, for the creator and teh beauty of His creation, and will continue to do so, whether encoouraged or blamed. You start by pushing a child into learning notes and reading music, he ends up as Mozart producing for the love of music.

    <how people in power falsely appropriate the real or <perceived accomplishments and manipulate and abuse their <position and scapegoat or belittle those that are not in <power.

    Those are obviously the immature ones.

    <I have a transcript of one ABM in the USA that literally <screamed at a bunch of LSA members about how every failing <of the BF was caused by “lazy believers” where weren’t <willing to make enough sacrifices.

    We do have some incompetent apparatchiks amongst us; should we destry and eliminate them, or help them improve?

    <What you and many other “establishment defenders” don’t <realize is that many people with complaints don’t want to <discomfort your type of people with the truth.

    You are wrong as far as I am concerned, otherwise I would not be spending time here.

    <SED projects are empty shells designed to make it look <like some NSA, (…) was doing something to help poor or <disadvantaged people, but in reality was a hollow PR <project with nothing but “FEEL GOOD” activities.

    Yes, i have seen that kind of behaviour too; not easy opposing it, but it is possible and I often manage to do so, with support from the majority.
    <You are quite simply living in a bubble and are ignorant.

    You are wrong, Eric; We have many problems, and i believe we have to find sustainable solutions by helping people into more spiritual mature behaviours.

    What I am saying is that when the toilet is overflowing, it is immature to just stir it and wait for enough smell to rise so that “someone” will do “something” about it. The mature way is to inspect the pipes, have a look at the sewage tank, call the plummers and think how the mess can be avoided in the future by preventive measures: putting up signs on what not to throw down the toilets.

    <I don’t know who the “we” is, but the establishmentarians <in the bahai community

    Neither you or i are in a situation to label any one; we can identify disfunctions and suggest solutions and preventive measures

    <No one that “loves” humanity would adhere to the kind of <silly, discredited medieval metaphysics that you and other <dull establishmentarians use all the time to defend the <status quo.

    If you have better metaphysics, suggest them and we will consider them;

    <bahai culture is becoming insitutionalized, which is the <natural progression of religious cultures.

    Yes, Eric, the crysalis is breaking appart and a butterfy is emerging.

    <unfortunately bahai culture is stuck in a pattern of <institutionalization that most of the rest of the world

    Some Baha’is are bing left behind, still attached to personnal power as opposed to institutional and collegial responsibility, but not the mass of the believers and of our institutions are increasingly adapting to newly emergent realities and circumstances.

    <the establishmentarians live in bubbles, and any <unfortunate person that dares to try to break out is <subject to irrational diatribes, personal attacks, etc.

    I agree with you here on the behaviours of some of our zealots who feel unable to question their own Faith and who in fact are lacking Faith.

    <people at the national level who hate any evidence of a <new, innovative popular paradigm in the grass roots, and <are ever on the look out for fresh scapegoats to sacrifice <in order to distract the sheeple from the horrible <failures of the establishment.

    Eric, when you look at a garden, you should not only concentrate on the compost beneath your feet; you should also raise your eyes and look at spring showers, teh warming sun, the tiny shoots, the buds, the sprouts and the flowering boughs above you;

    <They will never learn.

    I too have seen some intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people fields ground into the dust, but these people do help bring about change and evolution. The Baha’i Faith brings together people who would never have met, let alone pray or work together. It will take generations to bring about this change, not your or my life span. Here is how Peter Khan expresses it:

    “Every religion that we know about has either started off or after a fairly short time settled down into the active leader, who is on the edge of a nervous breakdown because he is so busy, and the passive congregation that is expected just to sit there and do what it’s told.

    Bah??’u’ll??h has broken that dichotomy down to create an active participating community of believers from which administrators are elected or appointed for limited periods. We have a lot of work to do to break down this tendency of Bah??’? communities to fall into that pattern of super-active individuals who either are exalted or who exalt themselves, and the passive rest of us who do what we’re told and try not to make too much trouble. We have to break that down as our teachings tell us it is not the right pattern. We have a lot of work to do to absorb it within our bones, to make it an integral part of our functioning; it will take generations to do that. Our core activities rest upon the fact that we do not have any leader or guru who tells us what the words mean, but rather we rely on the power of consultation and understanding in order to develop a deeper vision of what the Creative Word is about. This is quite different from the elected Assemblies with their decision-making powers in the realm of action, and the appointed Counsellors and their helpers to provide advice, encouragement and counsel.”
    (Peter Khan, Torronto 2nd August 2006)

    Thanks to Bequia who has permitted me to express my views here.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • Farhan YAZDANI

    <For the “accomplishments”, such as they are, of the <community. Building/running Baha’i centers, <SED, “teaching” projects, PR, administrative activities, <deepenings, social activities, inspiring people, and so <forth.

    Eric,

    The Faith offers education to all; we have individuals at different levels of spiritual growth; those in kindergarten need prizes, encouragements and sometimes a tap on their bottoms; then they become understanding and run for diplomas an good exam results… in time they learn to serve humanity out of sheer love for this planet, for the creator and teh beauty of His creation, and will continue to do so, whether encoouraged or blamed. You start by pushing a child into learning notes and reading music, he ends up as Mozart producing for the love of music.

    <how people in power falsely appropriate the real or <perceived accomplishments and manipulate and abuse their <position and scapegoat or belittle those that are not in <power.

    Those are obviously the immature ones.

    <I have a transcript of one ABM in the USA that literally <screamed at a bunch of LSA members about how every failing <of the BF was caused by “lazy believers” where weren’t <willing to make enough sacrifices.

    We do have some incompetent apparatchiks amongst us; should we destry and eliminate them, or help them improve?

    <What you and many other “establishment defenders” don’t <realize is that many people with complaints don’t want to <discomfort your type of people with the truth.

    You are wrong as far as I am concerned, otherwise I would not be spending time here.

    <SED projects are empty shells designed to make it look <like some NSA, (…) was doing something to help poor or <disadvantaged people, but in reality was a hollow PR <project with nothing but “FEEL GOOD” activities.

    Yes, i have seen that kind of behaviour too; not easy opposing it, but it is possible and I often manage to do so, with support from the majority.
    <You are quite simply living in a bubble and are ignorant.

    You are wrong, Eric; We have many problems, and i believe we have to find sustainable solutions by helping people into more spiritual mature behaviours.

    What I am saying is that when the toilet is overflowing, it is immature to just stir it and wait for enough smell to rise so that “someone” will do “something” about it. The mature way is to inspect the pipes, have a look at the sewage tank, call the plummers and think how the mess can be avoided in the future by preventive measures: putting up signs on what not to throw down the toilets.

    <I don’t know who the “we” is, but the establishmentarians <in the bahai community

    Neither you or i are in a situation to label any one; we can identify disfunctions and suggest solutions and preventive measures

    <No one that “loves” humanity would adhere to the kind of <silly, discredited medieval metaphysics that you and other <dull establishmentarians use all the time to defend the <status quo.

    If you have better metaphysics, suggest them and we will consider them;

    <bahai culture is becoming insitutionalized, which is the <natural progression of religious cultures.

    Yes, Eric, the crysalis is breaking appart and a butterfy is emerging.

    <unfortunately bahai culture is stuck in a pattern of <institutionalization that most of the rest of the world

    Some Baha’is are bing left behind, still attached to personnal power as opposed to institutional and collegial responsibility, but not the mass of the believers and of our institutions are increasingly adapting to newly emergent realities and circumstances.

    <the establishmentarians live in bubbles, and any <unfortunate person that dares to try to break out is <subject to irrational diatribes, personal attacks, etc.

    I agree with you here on the behaviours of some of our zealots who feel unable to question their own Faith and who in fact are lacking Faith.

    <people at the national level who hate any evidence of a <new, innovative popular paradigm in the grass roots, and <are ever on the look out for fresh scapegoats to sacrifice <in order to distract the sheeple from the horrible <failures of the establishment.

    Eric, when you look at a garden, you should not only concentrate on the compost beneath your feet; you should also raise your eyes and look at spring showers, teh warming sun, the tiny shoots, the buds, the sprouts and the flowering boughs above you;

    <They will never learn.

    I too have seen some intelligent, very resourceful, very succesful people fields ground into the dust, but these people do help bring about change and evolution. The Baha’i Faith brings together people who would never have met, let alone pray or work together. It will take generations to bring about this change, not your or my life span. Here is how Peter Khan expresses it:

    “Every religion that we know about has either started off or after a fairly short time settled down into the active leader, who is on the edge of a nervous breakdown because he is so busy, and the passive congregation that is expected just to sit there and do what it’s told.

    Bah??’u’ll??h has broken that dichotomy down to create an active participating community of believers from which administrators are elected or appointed for limited periods. We have a lot of work to do to break down this tendency of Bah??’? communities to fall into that pattern of super-active individuals who either are exalted or who exalt themselves, and the passive rest of us who do what we’re told and try not to make too much trouble. We have to break that down as our teachings tell us it is not the right pattern. We have a lot of work to do to absorb it within our bones, to make it an integral part of our functioning; it will take generations to do that. Our core activities rest upon the fact that we do not have any leader or guru who tells us what the words mean, but rather we rely on the power of consultation and understanding in order to develop a deeper vision of what the Creative Word is about. This is quite different from the elected Assemblies with their decision-making powers in the realm of action, and the appointed Counsellors and their helpers to provide advice, encouragement and counsel.”
    (Peter Khan, Torronto 2nd August 2006)

    Thanks to Bequia who has permitted me to express my views here.

    warmest

    Farhan

  • farhan

    Beth,

    since you are involved in helping Baha’i victims mishandled by immature Baha’i institutions, have you used the document by teh NSA of the US in helping victims and the intitutions into better handling of these cases? It is available at:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Beth,

    since you are involved in helping Baha’i victims mishandled by immature Baha’i institutions, have you used the document by teh NSA of the US in helping victims and the intitutions into better handling of these cases? It is available at:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • farhan

    Mavaddat,

    you write:

    <You show no real concern for the women being described, <and your defense has apparently left you blind to real <injustices in the world, (…) In a word, you ought to be <ashamed of yourself. Go learn about abuses to women and do <something about it instead of trying to drown the <discussion with your digital logorrhea.

    I have nothing to be ashamed of and you need not be ashamed of misjudging me. You are young and you have time to learn.

    I have a long experience in the field of abuse and family violence, with some publications on the subjet and 5 years as a forensic expert at the appelate court in French Polynesia. I have seen more gruesome violence than you could ever imagine or that I could ever forget; a few examples would provide you with nightmares for a long time.

    Alas, arresting and punishing the offenders often results in further punishing the victims for reasons a bit long to explain here.

    If you wish to do something about PREVENTING or ERADICATING abuse and gender violence, I suggest that you study and promote this excellent document by the NSA of the US available at:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence

  • Farhan Yazdani

    Mavaddat,

    you write:

    <You show no real concern for the women being described, <and your defense has apparently left you blind to real <injustices in the world, (…) In a word, you ought to be <ashamed of yourself. Go learn about abuses to women and do <something about it instead of trying to drown the <discussion with your digital logorrhea.

    I have nothing to be ashamed of and you need not be ashamed of misjudging me. You are young and you have time to learn.

    I have a long experience in the field of abuse and family violence, with some publications on the subjet and 5 years as a forensic expert at the appelate court in French Polynesia. I have seen more gruesome violence than you could ever imagine or that I could ever forget; a few examples would provide you with nightmares for a long time.

    Alas, arresting and punishing the offenders often results in further punishing the victims for reasons a bit long to explain here.

    If you wish to do something about PREVENTING or ERADICATING abuse and gender violence, I suggest that you study and promote this excellent document by the NSA of the US available at:

    http://www.bahai.us/domestic-violence