Why I Abandoned the Baha’i Faith?

By Dale Husband (Former Baha'i, now atheist)

From 1995 to 2004, I was a member of a religion known as the Baha’i Faith. This religion teaches that God is called by various names but is still the same all over the world, that all religions teach the same basic message, and that humanity is actually one race and is destined to unite under the banner of the Baha’i Faith in a new age of peace and unity.
I was eager to see and to achieve the highest goodness in my life and in the world, so this was a Godsend to me! I embraced the faith after attending firesides about it in Bedford, Texas and became an active teacher of it, even attempting to convert others to it. I had been a Christian, specifically a Southern Baptist, in my teens, but had become disgusted with Christianity and left that faith in my early 20s because I saw the errors, contradictions, and failures of it. The Baha’i Faith explained that away by claiming that while Jesus was indeed a Messenger (or Manifestation) of God, His faith had become corrupted over time and thus most Christians were not truly following him, but the doctrines of men. In joining the Baha’i community, I thought I was seeing what the early Christians in the Roman Empire were like, except that unlike them the Baha’is would not split into competing sects and engage in wars against each other. If only everyone in the world became Baha’i, I was told, we would be at peace and prosperity forever.
What a wonderful vision! But human nature will NEVER allow for it! The reason is that the leadership of the Baha’i Faith, from its founder, Baha’u’llah, to the Universal House of Justice today, claims to be infallible because it is guided by God. Yet we know that Baha’u’llah, his son Abdu’l-Baha, Abdu’l-Baha’s grandson Shoghi Effendi (the Guardian of the Faith), and the members of the Universal House of Justice were/are all HUMAN BEINGS. What evidence do we have that ANY of them are infallible? NONE! And if you cannot question the will of a leadership, what do you in fact have? Tyranny! And what does tyranny always lead to, according to history? Corruption and injustice! And that, in turn results in the system breaking down over time. Indeed, the very idea that any human being, human run institution, or human product is infallible is sheer nonsense. It is the most dangerous idea in the world!
I finally began to see that the Baha’i Faith also has errors, contradictions, and failures of its own, despite being less than 200 years old. It was my coming to understand this that finally led me to leave the Faith with a heavy heart. The hypocrisies of the Baha’i Faith’s own dogmas can be summed up as follows:
  1. State that religion no longer needs clergy……and replace them with leaders that are as authoritarian as the clergy ever was.
  2. Claim that men and women should be equal……but then deny women membership in the all-powerful leadership council of the religion.
  3. Condemn as heretics those who believe in your religion but dare to challenge the claims of your religion’s current leadership, while at the same time claiming to welcome as friends the followers of other religions.
  4. Claim there is harmony between science and religion, but also claim that anything your leaders say is absolutely true, even if on topics science is expected to address.
  5. Claim to shun partisan politics, but favor a government of their own**,** which is as partisan as it gets.
Then there are the scandals I discovered which really disturbed me.
  1. The Violation of Abdu’l-Baha – Baha’u’llah in the The Kitáb-i-Ahd, or Book of the Covenant (his Will and Testament) appointed Abdu’l-Baha as his successor, but also started that Abdu’l-Baha’s younger brother Mirza Muhammad Ali should be below him in rank and also be his immediate successor. Abdu’l-Baha disobeyed this commandment by depriving Muhammad Ali of any rank and replacing him as successor with his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, in his own Will and Testament.
  2. The Madness of Shoghi Effendi – Abdu’l-Baha, in the same Will and Testament that appointed Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, stated that the Guardian must appoint either his firstborn or another branch (male descendant of Baha’u’llah) as his successor in his own lifetime. Shoghi Effendi not only had no children, but he expelled from the Baha’i community every single one of Abdu’l-Baha’s own descendants, making it impossible for him to keep his grandfather’s commandments. He also died in 1957 without leaving a Will and Testament of his own as required by Baha’i law, throwing the Faith into a crisis.
  3. Failed prophecy cover up –  An early edition of Baha’u’llah and the New Era by J. E. Esselmont stated a prophecy by Abdu’l-Baha that by 1957 “Universal Peace will be firmly established, a Universal language promoted. Misunderstandings will pass away. The Bahá’í Cause will be promulgated in all parts and the oneness of mankind established.”  But what really happened that year was Shoghi Effendi’s death. The prophecy was deleted from later editions of the book.
  4. Attack on Kalimat Press – In 2005 and 2006,The National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’is of the United States and the United Kingdom issued orders to Baha’i communities under their command to stop selling books published by Kalimat Press, a small Baha’i owned book publishing company,  for publishing a few books that they happened to disapprove of. As a result, the company was crippled in its operations.
  5. Dr. Hossein Danesh, sex offender – A member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, Danesh was stripped of his psychiatric license in the 1990s after being accused by several of his patients of sexual abuse. Instead of being expelled from the Baha’i community, he was sent to the Baha’i Landegg “university” in Switzerland, a private school which failed in 2005. Returning to Canada, he was hired by the NSA of Canada as a marriage and family therapist for fellow Baha’is.
  6. Italian Baha’i financial scandal – Franco Ceccherini, a longtime member of the Italian National Spiritual Assembly, was found in 2007 to have stolen over 360,000  euros over 14 years while serving as the Assembly’s treasurer. This was discovered only when the Italian government audited the Baha’i community and then charged it 275,000 euros in back taxes, crippling financially the entire Italian Baha’i community.
  7. Stephen Birkland, Baha’i secret police detective – In the 1990s, as a member of the Continental Board of Counselors for North America, Birkland led an investigation of Baha’is running an internet forum known as “Talisman” where members could openly question and debate issues regarding the management of the Baha’i communities. Birkland’s abusive tactics drove several Baha’is, including Juan Cole and John & Linda Walbridge, to resign rather than be condemned as covenant-breakers for taking part in Talisman, which was then shut down. Birkand was later rewarded for his zeal by being appointed to the International Teaching Center in 2008 and then he was elected to the Universal House of Justice in 2010.
So I cut completely all personal ties to the Baha’is in the Fort Worth area. Despite this, I stayed silent about my defection from the Baha’i Faith until October 19, 2007, when I posted my first blog entry attacking it. Encouraged by the feedback I got as a result, I stepped up my efforts until I found myself in battle over the years with various members of my former religion, all of whom only showed me why I had no business being among them anymore!
I have joined the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and found its principles to be far more enlightened than those of the Baha’is. And better still, they truly LIVE those principles too!
  • 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I am a non-theist now, worshipping no God and refusing to adhere to any other religion than that of the UUA. And I do not foresee myself being anything else. The Baha’i Faith was the last chance I was willing to give for a God centered religion to rule my life….and now I know that none ever will.

Baha'i troll gets a lesson on Shia Islam at /r/Shia

Former-Baha'i, historian and scholar Prof. Juan Cole writes a book on the life of Prophet Muhammad


About Juan Cole from his own website:
He was interested in modern literature, and took several years of German so as to be able to read authors such as Goethe and Hermann Hesse. Juan was very interested in Sufism, having become fascinated with the Islamic tradition in Asmara, and was intrigued by the allegations of Idries Shah that Arabic as a language had special advantages for the mystical path. Being in Evanston, Juan in 1972 encountered the Baha’i religion, which has a temple in nearby Wilmette, and embraced it. The Baha’is said they believed in the unity of the world religions, the elimination of racism, the equality of women and men, and world peace — values that resonated with Juan’s own interests and convictions. 
He continued, however, with his studies of Buddhism and Sufi Islam, and was always a fish out of water in the often cult-like and anti-intellectual Baha’i community. Individual Baha’is and families were often very kind to him, and he is grateful to them and respects their beliefs. But it ultimately wasn’t for him. It gradually became apparent that most Baha’is do not actually believe in the equality of women and men, excluding women from their elective highest body, the Universal House of Justice, and holding that women have a different function in society than men. Then it gradually became apparent that whatever they privately believed about racism, they were unwilling to take a political stand, as quietists, against Apartheid. Then it became clear that they are no more religious pluralists than Roman Catholics or Muslims, admitting partial truth in other traditions, but insisting that only in their own tradition is the fullness of the contemporary truth manifest. Then it became clear that the Baha’i authorities were not exactly pacifists. The top leadership has a secret cult-like belief in a Baha’i theocracy that will rule the world, rather on the same model as the theory of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that Muslim clergy should replace civil governments globally. Cole gradually lost his enthusiasm for the community and the administration. When he married outside it in 1982, he stopped going to services because his non-Baha’i wife was excluded. He was also increasingly disturbed by the censorship practices imposed on Baha’i writers by the religion’s administration, and refused to submit to them. 
(When email lists came along in the 1990s and he was active in Baha’i discussions of the religion’s history and policies, in which he retained an academic interest, and some hopes of reform, and he came to be hated by the fundamentalist leadership. In 1996 they had a high official call him at home and threaten him with being declared a “covenant-breaker,” i.e. a heretic, because of his critical email postings. Baha’is shun “covenant-breakers” and shun people who are in contact with them. Cole was astonished at the narrow-minded and coercive tactics of the administration, and declined to remain in the community. He angrily resigned. He is now not interested in organized religion as a personal matter. Cole was all along an American liberal, and had thought the Baha’is were on his side, which he discovered to be an error, at least with regard to the secretive and duplicitous leadership.
This book is widely welcomed by the intellectuals and academics. Following are some reviews from Amazon.

"Cutting-edge....Muhammad is not just eruditely informative, but also ambitiously revisionist....a more uplifting image of the Prophet Muhammad, waiting to be discovered not just by non-Muslims, but also many Muslims themselves."―New York Times Book Review

"A captivating biography of Muhammad that captures the centrality of peace in his prophetic revelation and in the faith community he established. A brilliant and original book destined to challenge many Western preconceptions about Islam."
Eugene Rogan, author of The Arabs: A History

"Juan Cole's Muhammad comes at precisely the right time. During a moment where Islam has been positioned as an enhanced threat to America and the West, Cole provides a historical account that trenchantly takes down the mis-narrative that the Prophet Muhammad was, above all, war-mongering and wed to violence. This is more than historical work, but writing that equips readers with the knowledge to navigate our turbulent present."―Khaled A. Beydoun, professor of law and author American Islamophobia: Understanding the Roots and Rise of Fear

"Juan Cole's Muhammad draws deeply on the text of the Qur'an and on a vast selection of the best modern scholarship to make a convincing case for Muhammad as apostle of tolerance and peace. Cole shows how this original message of peace, consistently articulated in the Qur'an, was distorted by later Islamic tradition and denied by more than a thousand years of European polemic against Islam. Filled with astute observations at every turn."
Fred M. Donner, professor of near eastern history, University of Chicago

"A groundbreaking book, written in an accessible and engaging style, that should be read by scholars, students, policymakers, religious leaders, and media commentators alike. Cole's thoroughly original and firmly-rooted scholarship challenges long established Western narratives of Islam as a religion of violence, war and intolerance. A brilliant reconstruction of early Islamic history."― John L. Esposito, university professor and professor of religion & international affairs, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

"Illuminates the conditions Islam arose in and gives us food-for-thought."―Usman Butt, The New Arab
"An essential read in a turbulent, dangerous time."―The Historical Novels Review 

Bayani response to Sen McGlinn's contorted logic on Baha'u llah's wives

Pseudo-scholar Sen McGlinn
Sen McGlinn:
The Bayan allows an additional wife or additional husband, where a couple find they are infertile.
Yet neither of Baha'u'llah's wives were infertile, so this here is irrelevant where he is concerned.
Sen McGlinn:
so far as I know the Bab did not make this explicit and did not give the Babis the institutions of interpretation and enforcement that would make their religious law anything more than aspirational.
Your statement is false. To wit,
In every theophany (ẓuhūr) God has chosen what He wills for the locus of the manifestation of His logos-self (maẓhar nafsihi), among them being secure proofs (adillāʾ mustadillūn) and sanctified witnesses (shuhadāʾ muqaddasūn) and protective preservers (ḥuffāẓ ḥāfiẓūn) and purified pioneers (ruwād ṣāffūn) and lucent verifiers (qunnād madqūn) in order to safeguard the commands of God from theophanic cycle to theophanic cycle and thereby call all to God from cycle of concealment to cycle of concealment (buṭūn ila buṭūn); and God, glorified be He, chose in this cycle of theophany a mirror victorious (mirʾātan mumtaniʿan) and a crystal elevated (bulūrīya murtafiʿa) reflecting in it the sun of reality (shams al-ḥaqīqa) and disclosing upon it the point of divinity (nuqṭa ilāhīya) and divulging within it the pre-eternal being (kaynūnīya azalīya)… ibid, 199-200 http://bayanic.com/showPict.php?id=panj&ref=0&err=0&curr=0 and https://www.h-net.org/~bahai/areprint/bab/M-R/panj/panjshan.htm
Sen McGlinn:
My impression of Baha'u'llah is that he would not let a religious rule stand in the way of doing the ethical thing by another person. Not even his own rule, or the rule of the Bab. There is a principle in Islamic law and in most civil law codes : "Need makes licit what is illicit."
This argument begs the question since the shar'ia (sacred law) of Islam was abrogated by the Bab and did not apply to the Babis. By saying "...Baha'u'llah...would not let a religious rule stand in [his] way..." is an admission that he was consciously violating the very Babi shar'ia he was claiming to uphold.

On 20th August 1915, Edward Getsinger filed for divorce from his wife Lua Getsinger, "on the ground of adultery with the co-respondents, Clifford H. Stearns and Ameen U Fareed."

August 20. On this date in 1915, the Evening Star newspaper reported that Edward Getsinger filed for divorce from his wife Lua Getsinger, "on the ground of adultery with the co-respondents, Clifford H. Stearns and Ameen U Fareed."
Lua Getsinger was born on November 1, 1871 to a farm family near the village of Hume in upstate New York.
She became a Bahá'í in Chicago in 1897 after attending lessons taught by Ibrahim George Kheiralla about the Bahá’í Faith.
In 1898, Lua Getsinger undertook a Bahá'í pilgrimage to Palestine to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá with other American pilgrims, including Ibrahim George KheirallaPhoebe Hearst, and May Boles.
It was during this trip, in Akka, that Kheiralla witnessed firsthand the conflict between 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his brothers, leading him, upon his return to America in 1899, to form the "Society of Behaists" which would later be led by Shua Ullah Behai and to author a book, Beha'u'llah, wherein he states his belief that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was equal in rank to his brothers Mírzá Muhammad 'AlíDíyá'u'lláh, and Badi'u'lláh.
Ultimately, in the conflict between 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí, Kheiralla sided with the latter for which he was declared a Covenant-breaker.
Phoebe Hearst was an early Bahá'í, a wealthy philanthropist, the wife of Senator George Hearst, and the mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst. She later became estranged from the Bahá'í Faith due to being extorted for money by other Bahá'ís.
May Boles would wed William Sutherland Maxwell on May 8, 1902, in London. They met while William was studying architecture in Paris and May was the sister of one of his classmates. The couple were the parents of Mary Sutherland Maxwell, the future Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, wife of Shoghi Effendi, who was born to them on August 8, 1910. They also hosted 'Abdu'l-Bahá in their Montreal on September 2, 1912.
On June 19, 1912, 'Abdu'l-Bahá gave a talk in New York about Bahá'u'lláh's Tablet of the Branch, declaring himself the "Centre of the Covenant," New York the "City of the Covenant," and Lua Getsinger the "Herald of the Covenant."
Dr. Amínu'lláh Faríd (Ameen U. Fareed) was the son of Mirza Assad Ullah Fareed (who authored The School of the Prophets) and the nephew of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's wife, Munírih Khánum. He had served as 'Abdu'l-Bahá's interpreter and had been active in promoting the Bahá'í Faith. He had also received a number of Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
On December 16, 1953, Shoghi Effendi sent a cablegram stating "Following the successive blows which fell with dramatic swiftness two years ago upon the ring-leaders of the fast dwindling band of old Covenant-breakers at the World Center of the FaithGod's avenging hand struck down in the last two months, Avarih, Fareed and Falah."

Video : Baha'i calls The atheist experience

Baha'i Faith has not achieved unity, or peace, on any level

Mrs. & Mr. Glory
It is fair to judge a religion on its fruits. For all the flowery language of the Faith regarding peace and unity, at no time have its leading figures reconciled opposing parties and built a stable community. In fact, rancor and violence have marked the Faith's history, and no transition of leadership has been accomplished through amity and agreement.

The Bab was executed in 1850, and he named Mirza Yahya as his successor. But in 1863 Baha'u'llah named himself as the Bab's successor, leading to a continued violent struggle between his followers and those of his half-brother. That this was a dispute involving both a religious group and a family emphasizes the conflicts. Thereupon, at the passing of each leading figure, the Faith fell into discord and division. One may reasonably ask, how does the Faith improve the nature of individuals, if there as continual discord? So, the group is not unified, and the individual members fail to unify? How is this a benefit to mankind?

On the community level, my own experience has been that some individuals became more dominant, and over time, influenced the groups to determine their character. Persians, in my personal view, acted as the adults of the group, and treated American Baha'is as their children. I never found my communities to be sanctuaries; instead, I saw them as unhealthy family structures.

Finally, it's fair to assess the positive influence of the Faith on the world at large. For the claimed infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, it has had no impact on world events. No world figure seems to ever made an attempt to seek advice. Their powers, as described by Shoghi Effendi, are "universal". But they make no effort to involve themselves, their deliberations, or the Faith in the crises around the world. One may ask, what exactly do they do in Haifa?

In summary, the Faith has failed to deliver on its own grandiose promises. Baha’u’llah’s own family typifies the competition and divisions that mankind seeks to leave behind. Successions have been causes of dispute and rancor. The American Baha’i community is no more unified or thriving than the general society around it. And the global influence of the Faith has been absent, either by outsiders seeking advice or the UHJ asserting its wisdom.

By the fruits, ye shall know the tree. The Baha’i Faith is a pleasant set of ethical teachings, which may have been adopted from previous religious leaders, which has two profoundly different experiences: the first, the Babi/Azali/Baha’i history in Persia, which may not be fully recognized or acknowledged by the second phase, the American community, which may have appreciated the liberal, feminist, globalist character of the teachings.

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