Story of an exBaha'i from

I recently left this religion. As far as it being a cult, I think it's a mixed bag. Unlike most cults there aren't really any obstacles to leaving nor is there any separation from society. However, there are some deceptive practices that you don't see before joining.

When I joined, it was because I liked the ideals that were presented on the surface and it seemed like a good way to get involved in something bigger than myself. It also seemed like a way to deeply explore spirituality. Once you're in, you get something different. Community life is focused entirely on spreading the religion and spiritual activities feel lacking. You are supposed to invite people to devotional gatherings and use those to find people who are interested in joining Baha'i study groups. The reason for doing this is that Baha'is see the world as irreparably broken and believe that Baha'i ideals need to replace what we have today.

There is also censorship and shunning. Baha'i authors have to submit their work for "review" which is presented as a way to make sure the religion is presented "accurately." In practice, this allows for Baha'i administration to control what information the public sees. Members aren't supposed to look at materials written by Baha'is that weren't subject to review. This leads into the shunning. If you run afoul of the administration, you are at risk of being declared a "covenant-breaker," which means that Baha'is are supposed to cut off all contact with you. Covenant-breakers are seen as spiritually sick and dangerous to the believers.

There are several other issues I didn't list here. r/exbahai has a lot of threads about problems with the Baha'i faith, but I'd also look at r/bahai so you can see what people who are part of the religion say.

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