Ridvan - If this is such an important event; why are different years given on this?

Baha'u'llah

The date of Baha'u'llah's declaration is fixed by Nabil, the follower of Baha in his chronological poem. He says the claim was made when Baha was fifty years old, which would be A. D. 1866-67 (Journal Royal Asiatic Society, 1889, pp. 983-990). Mirza Abu'l-Fazl, the famous Baha'i missionary, confirms this date, in his Istidlaliyya (Journal Royal Asiatic Society, October, 1892, p. 703, note 1).

'Abdu'l-Baha, in his Traveller's Narrative, in his effort to make it appear that Baha had been the leading figure in the Babi Movement from an earlier time, "deliberately and purposely antedated the Manifestation," says Dr. Browne, stating that this important declaration was made by Baha in Baghdad in A. D. 1852, fourteen years earlier than it actually occurred!

The modern Baha'is have fixed the date as April 21, 1863, - which is only three or four years too early (Baha'u'llah and the New Era, Esslemont, p. 36.) See also Journal Royal Asiatic Society, April, 1892, pp. 304-306.

Rigid hierarchy has taken over Baha'i religion, dissidents say

...but conservative leaders maintain that orthodoxy has not been altered.
 
Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan,
is a former Ba­ha'i who thinks the faith has been taken over by its conservative leaders.

By IRA RIFKIN
Religion News Service

The first 19 days of March are a special time for Baha'is, members of a worldwide religion with a liberal reputation based on its vision of the underlying unity of all faiths, the oneness of humanity and the the harmony of science and religion.

The Baha'i faith grew out of Islam, and like the Muslim month of Ramadan, Baha'is set aside the 10 days the month of 'Ala according to the Baha'i calendar - as a period of dawn-to-sunset fasting and spiritual reflection. The month rends with the Feast of Nawruz, the Baha'i new year. It's a festive time of community gatherings featuring prayers, spiritual readings, socializing and lots of food.

For former Baha'i Juan Cole, however, this year's feast will be anything but festive.

Cole, a professor of Middle East History at the University of Michigan is among the nation's leading experts on the faith. Until last May, when he formally resigned from the movement, he had been a Baha'i for 25 years.

Now he counts himself among a small but influential group of past and present liberal Baha'is who are angry over what they say is the hijacking of the faith by a cadre of conservative leaders who are more interested in preserving their authority than the Baha'i principle of "independent investigation of reality."

That principle is among the core tenets of the Baha'i faith first articulated by its founder, the 19th-century Persian prophet known as Baha'u'llah (the Glory of God) and who is revered by the faithful as an incarnation of God akin to Jesus.

According to the critics, the National Spiritual Assembly, which oversees the American Baha'i movement is dominated by a tight-knit group of authoritarian officials who keep the lid on free expression by threatening dissidents with excommunication and by manipulating the process by which NSA members are elected.

In the Baha'i faith, excommunication can include total shunning by family members and friends.

Spreading their message via the internet, the dissidents - many of whom, like Cole once were members of the faith's intellectual elite - say the nine-member National Spiritual Assembly also hides the truth about the faith's shrinking American following.

"Baha'is are not open - repeat, not open - about how controlling this organization is" Cole said. "Virtually no one who comes into this faith realizes that by becoming a Baha'i you are making your individual conscience hostage to the dictates of the leadership.

"The Baha'is started out Unitarian and ended up Calvinist."

Emphasis on order

For their part, American Baha'i leaders with headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, III., dismiss the critics as an inconsequential group of disgruntled elitists who blinded by their attraction to the faith's more liberal aspects overlooked its deeply conservative side.

This includes an emphasis on "administrative order" as a prime religious goal. Baha'u'llah taught that religions fail in large part because of the disunity that tears them apart following their initial burst of spiritual energy.

As a result, tight controls are placed on all public statements made by Baha'is including the work of scholars, who are required to submit their writings for pre-publication review.

"We always seek consensus. But if there is no unanimity, then the majority must prevail," said Firuz Kazemzadeh, a National Spiritual Assembly member and its secretary for external affairs.

Not all Baha'i scholars find fault with this.

"I personally don't buy the totalitarian argument." said Canadian Baha'i B. Todd Lawson, an assistant professor of Islamic studies at McGill University in Montreal.

Michael McMullen, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Houston at Clear Lake, said prior review "makes sense" because much of the writings of Baha'u'llah and his successors remain untranslated from their original Persian and Arabic, and therefore are inaccessible to the majority of American Baha'is.

"My experience has been that what is corrected are factual errors, not interpretation," said McMullen, who is a local Baha'i leader in League City, Texas.

The dissidents also claim the Baha'i prohibition against public campaigning or nominating candidates for spots on the National Spiritual Assembly serves to keep it a closed body controlled by the American Baha'i establishment.

Baha'i leaders say they are only following an orthodoxy established by Baha'u'llah and his successors — his son, Abdu'l-Baha, and his great-grandson, Shoghi Effendi, who died in 1957.

Assembly members are elected annually by a fixed number of 171 delegates who represent local Baha'i assemblies across the continental United States.

Robert C. Henderson, a former Atlanta businessman who is the assembly's secretary-general, making him the highest ranking American Baha'i (the faith has no ordained clergy), said there had been 12 changes in the assembly's membership the last 15 years.

"That's not indicative of a closed group," he said.

Robert C. Henderson is secre­tary-general of the National Spiritual Assembly
and the high­est-ranking American Baha’i.

Free local debate

However, Cole said each change resulted from retirement, death or a member moving out of the country. No incumbent who has sought re-election has been defeated since 1961, he said.

Cole also noted that family and other close associations are common among American Baha'i leaders. Six of the nine current assembly members have family or professional connections.

McMullen, the University of Houston sociologist, acknowledged that the prohibition against nominations and campaigning made it hard for those outside the Baha'i establishment to win election to the National Spiritual Assembly.

But on the local level, he added, there is a much higher leadership turnover. Moreover, on this level of authority, he said, even controversial issues are freely debated without fear of official disapproval.

Henderson also said that "Baha'is are specifically asked to air their grievances" at local and national conventions "There are specific channels for such expression, but it must remain within these established channels.

"The Baha'i faith is outwardly liberal but inwardly conservative," he continued. "It's a matter of scripture."

Baha'is claim a worldwide membership of more than 5 million people living in more than 200 nations and territories about half in India.

In Iran - where the faith first emerged in the 1840s when Baha'u'llah proclaimed himself to be the divine manifestation for the modem era — there are 300,000 Baha'is Considered heretics by the Muslim authorities they live as a persecuted minority.

The heresy charge stems from Baha'u'llah's claim to prophet status some 1,200 years after Muhammad, the founder of Islam, proclaimed himself God's final prophet.

How many in America?

In the United States Baha'is claim about 130,000 members a third of whom are African-Americans About 21,000 live in California, and the largest concentration more than 6,000 is in greater Los Angeles

Baha'is also are relatively strong in South Carolina, Texas Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Arizona and Washington state.

However, Baha'i critics say the religion's membership numbers are wildly inflated. Citing friendly but unnamed sources at Baha'i headquarters in Wilmette, the dissidents say no more than 30,000 names represent active Baha'is with verifiable addresses.

A 1993 book on Americans' religious affiliations One Nation Under God by demographers Barry Kosmin and Seymour Lachman, estimated the number of adult Baha'is in the United States at 28,000.

"Every new religious movement that is in a missionary phase tends to overestimate its members," Kosmin, currently at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, said in an interview. "They count people coming in, but never count those who leave"

Kazemzadeh, the Baha'i official, insisted that the 130,000 figure was "essentially accurate." But he also said that "if active means contributing funds and serving locally, it's probably about half the names on the list.

Sizable Baha'i communities in the South are traceable to the influx of mostly rural African-Americans who joined the faith in the 1960s and '70s, drawn by its strong rejection of racial prejudice.

During those same years, relatively large numbers of white liberals, attracted by the faith's emphasis on a society free of social injustice, also joined. It is mostly members of this group — many of them scholars of Baha'i texts, the Middle East and its languages — that today lead the dissident movement.

Linda Walbridge, an anthropologist at the University of Indiana — specializing in the growth of Islam in America, became a Baha'i in 1966 when she was a 19-year-old VISTA volunteer on the Navajo Reservation. Despite her anger at the hierarchy, she remains a Baha'i.

Raised Roman Catholic, Walbridge said she was attracted to the Baha'i faith by its "promise of a universalist vision... It was far more open that anything I had experienced."

Walbridge's public dissent has prompted Baha'i officials to threaten to label her a "covenant breaker" - a form of Excommunication that would require her Baha'i husband to divorce her or risk his own excommunication.

"It was supposed to be the most liberal, broad-based religion on the face of the earth," Said Walbridge "Instead, it turned out to be a straitjacket."
 
Click to enlarge

Source : The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Missouri) • 01 Mar 1997, Sat • Page 62

Elder & Miller Kitab-i-Aqdas reveals the truth about the Baha'i Faith (Free PDF download)

Click to download

This is the suppressed Elder & Miller translation of the Baha'i "Book of Laws."

It is a more honest and accurate translation than the one belatedly offered by the Baha'i administration 120 years late. The latter ("The Kitab-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book") contains obfuscations and distortions designed to protect the fortunes of the Baha'i Faith and preventing the book to cause a drastic falloff in membership, as the text reveals a great disparity between the original message of the founder and what later came to be sold as "The Baha'i Faith." The Elder translation is an important document in the continuing saga of Baha'i efforts to both obscure and alter their own original foundations and texts.

The Elder-Miller translation is an honest translation by two English orientalists and Arabic scholars, one of them an author of an Arabic grammar who had spent many years in Persia and interviewed early Baha'is and Babis. It is the first English translation.

Their agenda was to make available an important religious work of the east for the Royal Asiatic Society that was, unaccountably, still unavailable in the west. Thus their translation became the first translation available in the west. Earl elder remarks on this oddity in his preface:

"Anyone who studies Baha'ism learns very soon of the volume sacred to those who profess this religion and known as "The Most Holy Book." Of this book Baha in his Will said, "...reflect upon that which is revealed in my book the Aqdas." And his son and successor 'Abdu'l Baha said in his Will, "unto the Aqdas everyone must turn." Yet, strange to say, although the teachings of the Baha'is have been widely proclaimed in Great Britain and America, only fragments of al-Kitab al Aqdas have been translated previously into English."

This even though the original text is actually a rather short work. Thus Miller and Earl Elder, a scholar of Arabic and produce of an Arabic grammar, published the fist English translation instead of the Baha'is.

Though Elder-Miller's translation was published in 1961, western Baha'is were kept in the dark about its existence. I was an active Baha'i for 15 years and never heard of it. This was deliberate. The Baha'i leadership did not want rank-and-file members to read the Kitab-i-Aqdas. They considered it a problematic. Not because there were major faults in the translation, but because the content itself was something they did not want westerners to be able to read.

Elder and Miller were surprised that the ready market of Baha'is was not interested in their book and Baha'i publishing bodies would not carry it, even though they lacked their own version of their "Most Holy Book." Book suppression is common to Baha'i history. It has long been a habit of Baha'is to find, confiscate, and destroy books they deem to be adverse to their growth. (I recall going through the estate of a famous early Baha'i Ruth Moffet and finding many Baha'i suppressed books that she had removed from libraries over the years.) The early Baha'is also extirpated the writing of their ostensible lineage founder, the Bab. Baha'i book purging is one reason that hardcover copies of Elder & Miller's Aqdas are so rare today.

Kitab-i-Aqdas was long considered a problematic book by the Baha'i promoters in the west. The Baha'i administration, seeking to grow a Faith that was now a sales package for socialist-leaning intellectuals, continued to buy time.They hoped to create their own translations that would soften or obscure the content, while letting the Baha'i Faith develop and grow free of the damaging effect they knew the text would have. So they avoided publishing the a text of their own for a full 120 years after the book's creation by their founder. All other Baha'i works of significance were long available and this was ostensibly their central scripture. It's importance is obvious in its very title: "Book of Laws -- Most Holy Book." So this Elder-Miller translation was unwelcome to the Baha'i Administration who refrained from making their congregation aware of it.

The first approach the Baha'is took to suppressing the Kitab-i-Aqdas was, indeed, to ignore all translations available. Even after this Elder-Miller translation was out in 1961, they continued to tell their membership "It has not been translated yet." Any versions that were published by others, they ignored and would classify them as negative to their membership. They did not have the proper filters or spin-doctoring. Their second approach, when obligated to translate the text, was to distort and obfuscate its content in the translation. (Examples given here.) Thus the priceless value of the Elder-Miller version.

The Growing Gap Between the Baha'i Promotional Package

And the Baha'i Scriptures

Early in the religion's development certain ideas, only minimally present in the original teachings of Baha'u'llah, began to be enlarged a great deal. These could be called socialist, Marxist, or progressive ideas found in the statements of most mystics. From a text that contained great mysticism, emphasis on obedience to God and devotion to Baha'u'llah arose a religion that instead promoted feminism, world government, and deracination. The feminism is particularly remarkable since the Kitab-i-Aqdas appears to be directed to men, makes certain prohibitions for women, and quite clearly assumes polygamy as normative. Baha'u'llah himself had, according to accounts, four wives.

But a few minor reforms or relaxing of Islamic regulations on women were spinned by the Baha'is into a program in which the Baha'i Faith became "feminist" in a Marxist sense. The longer the Baha'is suppressed and ignored the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the larger grew the gap between the Kitab-i-Aqdas text and what Baha'is were teaching. Continually attempting to appeal to progressives, they ended up with a "Ten Basic Principles" list that was quite different than their actual founding texts. Nothing make the gap between teaching and text more obvious than the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Another statement Baha'is would make to their newcomers was: "Mankind is not ready for it." But as the modern age developed, each passing year made mankind more and more "unready" for the very dated, even culturally primitive content of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The Elder-Miller translation makes it abundantly clear why the Baha'is hid their most important scripture.

Baha'is state that this Kitab-i-Aqdas is mankind's complete guidance from God the next thousand years. That is rather sad considering they didn't allow us (in the west) to even read the text for the first 120 years. Upon reading its contents the reader will notice a few things.

First, one notices a very Islamic tone and attitude of the harsher variety. One law in the case of arson is put bluntly: "Whoever burns a house intentionally, burn him." This is the straightforward Elder-Miller phrasing. The official Baha'i text that finally came out had it this way: "Should anyone intentionally destroy a house by fire, him also shall ye burn."

The Strange Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas / The Textual Manipulations by Baha'i Officials Perceivable Thanks to the Elder-Miller Translation

Baha'u'llah was a prince. He wanted his followers to be an attractive group. The Kitab-i-Aqdas tells them to get new furniture every 9 years. It outlaws the shaving of the head or men having hair longer than their earlobes. The scripture instructs them to use perfume, to wear silk and furs. This is succinctly and cleanly stated in the form of one of many commands in the Elder-Miller translation:

"Wear sable (sammur) just as you wear silk and squirrel-skin and other things."

In the Elder-Miller version one can usually distinguish easily the difference between a mere "allowing" of an activity (not forbidden) and a command to do it. The Elder-Miller translation has this as a command, like the command to wear perfume. Seeing how absurd this perfume command looks to our present culture the Baha'i administration altered the lines in significant ways:

"Ye are free to wear the fur of the sable as ye would that of the beaver, the squirrel, and other animals."

This puts it as a mere option; as something not prohibited. By comparing the official version to the Miller-Elder version you can see Baha'i officialdom's manipulation of translation outcome from cover-to-cover. The perfume command rendered by Elder-Miller is:

"Use rose water, then pure perfume."

It is clear that the rose water is intended to be worn on the skin, just as with perfume. But the 120-year-late official version translates it cleverly:

"Make use of rose-water, and of pure perfume;"

This rendering obfuscates the original intention and creates loopholes. It opens the possibility that the rose-water does not need to be something worn on the skin, just "made use of." Western women are fussy about things like that, you know. Some of them don't like being told they have to wear perfume. Likely, modern Baha'is won't want to uses rose water for their guru and this doesn't sell the faith. Perhaps the rose-water and perfume could be "made use of" a disinfectant? Or for scientific experiments? Or some other use. (The just-mentioned mental scenario would be typical of the Baha'i administrative mind which likes to focus on science and technology rather than it's own religious content notwithstanding their founders' anti-science attitudes.) The perfume, in this official rendering, becomes something that is to be 'made use of,' not necessarily worn by the devotees. Perhaps as a substance for insect control, etc.

This is loophole-building. This spin-doctoring and effective alteration of inconvenient passages is frequent throughout the belatedly published official translation of the Baha'is and only the Elder-Miller version (and others) make this clear. Their belated 1993 version also contains a great deal of explanations, apologies, and padding to help to shift the meaning or outright annul Baha'u'llah's statement and help current Baha'is live with the the strange text. This occurred early on with Baha'u'llah's apparent assumption of polygamy as a norm. The Baha'i administration wrote a treatment that says, essential, 'This can't be so.'

Indeed, one pleasure of the Elder-Miller version is reading it straight without the filler, distractions, and excusing explanations of Baha'i officials. One finds out that the original Kitab-i-Aqdas was a terse, thin volume. The original book is only 74 pages with 10-pt. type. The Baha'i administration and spin doctors added so much to their version that their Aqdas ballooned to 315 pages! Most of it written by the administration, not Baha'u'llah. The scholarly Elder-Miller version, intending to present the Arabic as it really was written, makes these manipulations by modern Baha'is clear to see. That is its value.

Baha'is promote their religion as one that is superior due to access to the original founder texts. Further, they state that the problem with religions is that change creeps in, with the original texts and their meanings lost. The Baha'i Faith, is, they say, different. One of the interesting things about the Baha'i Book of Laws, given it is presented by them as full guidance for mankind for a thousand years, is the content it lacks. It requires that marriage be effected with a dowry:

"Relationship by marriage is not realized except by (payment of) dowries." And adulterers have to give the Baha'i "House of Justice" "nine mithquals of gold." (Elder/Miller explain that this amounts to 1-7th of an ounce of gold.) But the Most Holy Book contains no advice or laws about the following urgent problems of mankind:

• Technological manipulation, genetic and bio-engineering, or food monopoly

• Pornography, incest, and nothing apparent regarding pedophilia (he only mentions boys), homosexuality, etc.

• Bio-medical ethics, such as euthanasia

• Punishments or laws for rape (or even mention of rape as a human crime)

• Industrialization, pollution, the environment

• Forms of government

• Mass media and monopolies

.. and many other dire problems.

The scripture does, however, contain laws about falcon-hunting and a great deal of funeral and burial laws. Their royal founder Baha'u'llah enjoined Baha'is be buried in some fancy coffins. Two sentences from the Elder-Miller translation:

Elder-Miller Version: "When in hunting you use birds of prey, make mention of God. Then whatever they catch for you is lawful."

Elder-Miller Version: "God has commanded that the dead be buried in (coffins of) crystal or rare stones or beautiful hard woods, and that engraved rings be placed on their fingers."

Official Version: "The Lord hath decreed that the dead should be interred in coffins made of crystal, of hard, resistant stone, or of wood that is both fine and durable, and that graven rings should be placed upon their fingers."

Notice that hardwoods are no longer needed (rare now!), just "fine and durable" wood. Also note that the administration altered the command for "rare stones" into mere "hard, resistant stone." Only the Elder-Miller translation lets you see all the invention and alteration-of-texts that Baha'i officialdom is engaged with. And it becomes clear why they hid the text from the west for 120 years.

Here is how the Baha'i Administration rendered the line allowing more than one wife to make it come out differently:

Elder-Miller:

"God has ordained marriage for you. Beware lest you go beyond two, and whoever is satisfied with one of the handmaidens, his soul is at rest and so is hers."

While he makes prohibitions in a clear manner elsewhere in the text, there is no prohibition here, merely a "beware" beyond 2, while advising that one has advantages.

Official Baha'i Version:

"God hath prescribed matrimony unto you. Beware that ye take not unto yourselves more wives than two. Whoso contenteth himself with a single partner from among the maidservants of God, both he and she shall live in tranquility."

Notice the big difference in the impressions the versions create. The Elder version assumes two wives as normative and quite acceptable in these two simple lines: "God has ordained marriage for you. Beware lest you go beyond two." Baha'u'llah reportedly had at least four wives. What kindly uncle wouldn't say "beware!" and "careful!" to a young man considering three or more wives? The tone of the official version ends with the impression that both 3+ AND dual wives are prohibited. There is no sense of prohibition of either state in the Elder version, only a warning about 3+.

In the Elder version the man contenting himself with one is simply shown approbation, with the results promoted as worthy of consideration: "whoever is satisfied with one...his soul is at rest." The official version makes monogamy appear to be specified and required: "Whoso contenteth himself with a single partner...shall live in tranquility." Using 'shall live' -- the predictive, prophetic, or "ordaining" voice so common to Baha'i literature -- ("...he and she shall live...")the mere observation that one-wife men have more peace now feels like a single-wife specification that is, after this stormy reference to polygamy, the one ordained state for the the future.

It took them 120 years to come up with that clever re-working of the original simple sentences, to make it appear that Baha'u'llah did not say what he said. Thus we need the Elder-Miller translation.

The use of the word "partner" in the modern version is particularly jarring in the founding text. A few decades back this would have been "wife." (The sentence is clearly directed to men and refers to how many wives they should have.) The the vague term "partner" has never occurred in any translations of Baha'u'llah heretofore (relative to marriage) or even "spouse." "Partner" is a modern culture-bomb used by those with modern anti-traditional attitudes, particular homosexuals and those who wish to redefine marriage as any amalgam of any sexes. It is there in the official Baha'i version as both anticipation and acceptance of the further degradation of natural sexual roles and traditional marriage, and gives us a hint as to which way the Baha'i Faith is now headed.

Mystical Language in the Kitab-i-Aqdas

One fascinating aspect of Baha'i writings is the Sufic mystical content, and the Kitab-i-Aqdas is loaded with that. After reading official Baha'i translations for a while it becomes very interesting to see how Elder & Miller translate certain mystic phrases compared to official versions. The Elder-Miller translation appears to be more direct with less attempt to fit Baha'u'llah's words into decorous English literary forms. Here is one from the Elder-Miller Aqdas:

"O People, direct your steps with white faces and hearts full of light towards the Blessed Red Spot where the Lote Tree of the Extremity (sidratu l-muntaha) calls, "There is no god besides Me, the Self-Subsistent Overseer."

Here is the official Baha'i version:

"Turn, o people, with bright faces and illuminated hearts towards the blessed red spot in which the Sadrat-El-Muntaha (divine tree) crieth out, "Verily there is no God but Me, the protector, the self-Existent."

"White" has become "bright." "Hearts full of light" (possibly an occult reference referring to inner perceived light, plus the Sufic idea as the "heart" as a meditation point in the body) became "illuminated heart" which suggests a vague intellection or higher thought. The more evocative and instructive "Lote Tree of the Extremity" has been shortened to simply "Lote Tree." (A truncation reflecting the anti-mystical attitudes of the Baha'i administration.) The "overseer" who witnesses (a word more like "foreman" and "boss") has been turned into an active "protector." "Subsistent," a term with a philosophical and mystical heritage, got dumbed-down to "existent."

Another fine example of the mystical language in the Aqdas, from Elder-Miller:

"Leave what you have! Then fly with the minions of Separation beyond Innovation."

Official Baha'i Version:

"Cast away that which ye possess, and, on the wings of detachment, soar beyond all created things."

It is a noteworthy characteristic of the Baha'i Faith -- and I was an active member of 15 years -- that none of these curious mystical terms and statements, so abundant in Baha'i writings, are ever explained or even discussed.

Note that the original used the stronger "separation," and Baha'u'llah did, indeed, want his community to stand apart from the rest and his mystical focus for the Baha'is was making them utterly "detached from all save God," especially detached from "the world." This term referred to the ideal of a profound, emotionally ascetic separation from the world which he often advocated. Changing "beyond innovation" into "beyond creation" is a particularly egregious distortion and change to the text and a complete reverse of its meaning. (Just as Baha'is converted the technology-negative views of the founders into a technology-positive message.) "Innovation" in the original refers to the activities of man and mind. "Creation" refers to the creation of God. The original "innovation" referred to the tendency of men to invent ideas, especially conflict-inducing ideas, and change what God created. He also sometimes used the term "invention."

Side Note: The general attitude of Baha'u'llah toward man's invention and innovation was negative. (Both the Bab and Baha'u'llah were anti-technology. The Bab outlawed the study of sciences and foreign travel. Baha'u'llah, when hearing of the invention described it as a "hellish engine" (altered by the admin. into "infernal engine" that would destroy the cities. (Altered by the admin into "consume the cities.")

It is perhaps completely understandable that official Baha'i translators wanted to cover up Baha'u'llah's disparagement of human "innovation" in religious texts. The Elder-Miller translation of the Aqdas shows that the official Baha'i version is loaded with invention and innovation.

-- Julian Curtis Lee

A Confused Baha'i writes to Sen McGlinn


Hi Sen,

I’m greatly confused with what Abdu’l-Baha is saying:

“In the Cause of God there is not and never shall be excommunication or condemnation, nor is it permissible to silence or humiliate others.”

(Abdul-Baha's First Thousand-Verse Tablet: History and Provisional Translation, Rabbani, Ahang, Fananapazir, Khazeh)

But in the Last Tablet to America he quotes the same versus of Baha’u’llah that you show:

“Shun any man in whom you perceive enmity for this Servant, though he may appear in the garb of piety of the former and later people, or may arise to the worship of the two worlds.” (cited by Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, 431)

“Say, O my friend and my pure ones! Listen to the Voice of this Beloved Prisoner in this Great Prison. If you detect in any man the least perceptible breath of violation, shun him and keep away from him.” (Baha’i World Faith, p. 431)

Its like he’s saying that there is no excommunication but later on says there -is- excommunication?

And if shunning and being excommunicated are different, then how does this explain Baha’is who have been simply removed from the membership rolls given that Abdu’l-Baha just said that there is “no and -never shall be- excommunication”.

ex·com·mu·ni·cate
–verb (used with object)
1.
to cut off from communion with a church or exclude from the sacraments of a church by ecclesiastical sentence.
2.
to exclude or expel from membership or participation in any group, association, etc.: an advertiser excommunicated from a newspaper.

I’m utterly confused.

SHOGHI EFFENDI'S SUSPICIOUS DEATH OR MURDER?

Shoghí Effendí Rabbání (March 1, 1897 – November 4, 1957), better known as Shoghi Effendi, was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá’í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957.

After the death of Abdu’l Baha in 1921, Shoghi Effendi was referred to as the Guardian of the faith by the Haifan Bahais. After his death, the Universal House of Justice took over both as the executive and legislative authority of the faith.

Subsequently, attempts were made to answer the question of, change of a century old tradition of, guardianship multiple times with varied explanations by the Universal House of Justice.



His Death


Shoghi Effendi in his last and crucial moments was left alone by his wife Ruhiyya Maxwell Khanum who was attending to some business in the United Kingdom.

Although, it is widely believed within popular circles that he had a bout of the Avian flu which ultimately resulted into his passing away from this world, a look at the death certificate says otherwise. The death certificate explicitly illustrates the cause of death as coronary thrombosis. It may be observed that the cause of death on the certificate is endorsed by a County Coroner (of City of Marylebone – An area at the west end of London) after a thorough post mortem.

Significance of the death certificate and the record of death as observed in the records of 1957


In order to understand the significance of the death certificate, it would be apt to take a look at the procedures of death registration in the United Kingdom as illustrated in the following paragraphs.

Extracts from https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/when-a-death-is-reported-to-a-coroner :

3. When a death is reported to a coroner

A doctor may report the death to a coroner if the:
cause of death is unknown
death was violent or unnatural
death was sudden and unexplained
person who died was not visited by a medical practitioner during their final illness
medical certificate isn’t available
person who died wasn’t seen by the doctor who signed the medical certificate within 14 days before death or after they died
death occurred during an operation or before the person came out of anaesthetic
medical certificate suggests the death may have been caused by an industrial disease or industrial poisoning

The coroner may decide that the cause of death is clear. In this case:
The doctor signs a medical certificate.
You take the medical certificate to the registrar.
The coroner issues a certificate to the registrar stating a post-mortem isn’t needed.

Post-mortems

The coroner may decide a post-mortem is needed to find out how the person died. This can be done either in a hospital or mortuary.

You can’t object to a coroner’s post-mortem – but if you’ve asked the coroner must tell you (and the person’s GP) when and where the examination will take place.

Uncovering the circumstances of Shoghi Effendis Death


Post his death, a General Practitioner or GP (Doctor) was called in to certify his death as is the practice in most parts of the world. Upon initial examination and visual inspection, the GP decided to report the death to a coroner for further investigation and did not issue a death certificate since prima facie from the look of it; it seemed that his death was under very suspicious circumstances (refer extract from https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/when-a-death-is-reported-to-a-coroner . So violent / unnatural state was the corpse in that medical personnel could not identify its gender, see para ahead). This is inferred from the extracts above as well as diary entries extracted from “findmypast” and that reporting of the death to the coroner itself casts a question as to the circumstances that preceded his death. Not only this, we can find references all over historical articles available on this subject that leads us to infer that the corpse was somehow heavily mutilated and Shoghi Effendi died a suspicious and mysterious death that was concealed at all points by all those most near to him.

The said diary entries of this death made by the authorities from GP reports as accessed in “find my past records service – UK” show the gender of Shoghi as “Unknown”. It is surprising that a doctor could not ascertain the gender of Shoghi Effendi upon initial examination and visual inspection. This clearly indicates that either his body was heavily mutilated or it indicated characteristics exhibited by eunuchs.

Thereafter, reaffirming these questions raised by the GP as to the nature of circumstances preceding the death, the coroner chose to perform an autopsy (or a post mortem). The report of this post mortem infers that Shoghi died of coronary thrombosis although the popular belief amongst members of Baha’i faith is that he died of Avian flu.
It is worth quoting a testimony of one of many eminent observers present at the time of demise of Shoghi Effendi viz. Mayson Reymey. He was not only present but has also made a mention of accounts of the state of the corpse as well as sheds some light on the circumstances surrounding his death. He says and I quote –

“But they separated the viscera of the body of the Guardian, and put it in the shroud for a few days; so, it was completely rotten and His holy body had become very dangerous and intolerable, so that no one could recognize him. It was then when we arrived in London. The Holy Corpse was then placed in a bronze and lead box to avoid further damage to it! While no one was aware of the events that had taken place, and the only report Ruhiyyih Khanum gave was during putting the Holy Corpse in the lead box, which was filled with flowers, and she stated that everything was fragrant.”

(Notes and Memories by Yadullah Thabit Rasikh – Nasheebo Faraaz, Chapter 5)

A glance at the death certificate issued by the city of Marylebone – London for Shoghi Effendi will be proof enough for anyone that he did indeed die of coronary thrombosis. Post his death, the body got into such a state before anyone attended to it that it required a postmortem before laws of the land permitted disposal of the same. Even so, the Baha’i Administration has gone overdrive in trying to cover this up by spreading rumours of the Avian flu. It seems that there is something associated with the death of Shoghi effendi that they are trying to hide although the pursuit of truth always prevails at the end.

One can observe the discrepancy of gender as mentioned in the diary entry (that says gender unknown) and the death certificate issued subsequently. This is simply because the find my past records rely on entries made by medical personell and authorities whereas the death certificate includes information supplied by the person applying for it (viz. his wife Ruhiyya Maxwell Khanum)

The death of this guardian Shoghi Effendi ended the chain of guardianship against the prophesies of Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l Baha. All the above points intrigues the reader to investigate further into why so much mystery surrounds the death of this one person who is likely the last popular guardian before Baha’i Administration hijacked the faith? Most likely, all this point out to the forging of the will and testament that the master has before-mentioned many a times to the benefit of the current day administration.

"Peter of Baha" duped earlier American Baha'is into the Baha'i Faith

The Baha'i Faith spread to the United States when a Baha'i of Lebanese Christian background, Ibrahim Kheiralla (1849–1929), arrived in New York in December 1892 to pursue economic opportunities. He had converted in Cairo in 1888 and knew little about Baha'u'llah's teachings. Kheiralla was interested in magic and Middle Eastern folk religion; in the United States he read popular books about the Bible and learned about Theosophy and reincarnation. He encountered Browne's Baha'i publications, but used them sparingly.

In 1894 Kheiralla moved to Chicago, where he established a healing practice using the laying on of hands and the smoking of water pipes. His contacts, however, soon were more interested in his religion. They were either middle-class professionals and white-collar workers of Anglo-Saxon background or first-generation German or Scandinavian immigrants, often blue-collar workers. Some heard of Kheiralla through the Oriental Order of the Magi, an esoteric Masonic group. Others were students of alternative religions and philosophies, interests stimulated by the recent Parliament of the World's Religions. Unlike American sympathizers of Buddhism and Hinduism, the Chicago Baha'is did not come primarily from the upper classes.

By mid-1894 at least five people became “Behaists.” Their circle of friends became attracted, and in 1895 the “First Assembly of Beha'ists in America” purchased a seal. In 1896 Kheiralla organized his teachings into two public lectures and 13 private lessons covering the purpose of existence, metaphorical interpretation of the Bible and its prophecies, and the unity of the world's religions. The last three lessons noted that the Millerites, who expected Christ's return in 1844, were correct; that was the year the Bab began his mission. The lessons described Baha'u'llah as the biblical return of the Father and ‘Abdu'l-Baha' as the return of Christ.


In the summer of 1897, Kheiralla gave his lessons to an audience of Swiss-German immigrants interested in vegetarianism, Populism, Socialism, and Christian Science in the small central Kansas village of Enterprise. In the fall blue-collar workers of Scandinavian and German background in Kenosha, Wisconsin, an industrial city 70 miles from Chicago, invited Kheiralla to give the lessons there. Chicago Baha'is who had moved to New York and New Jersey had Kheiralla give the lessons in New York City starting in January 1898. The result was a community of 200 Baha'is, mostly white-collar professionals of Anglo-Saxon background and Episcopal leanings. Other Chicagoans returned home to Philadelphia and Ithaca and taught their relatives. Expansion continued in 1898 to Racine, Wisconsin, the San Francisco area, Boston, Washington, D.C., and in 1899, to Cincinnati. By the fall of 1899 an incomplete list of Baha'is included 1467 names in 60 localities in 25 states, the District of Columbia, Ontario, England, and France.

Kheiralla responded to the growth by converting his lessons into a book, Beha'u'llah. As it neared completion, Phoebe Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst, became a Baha'i and decided to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha', and she was willing to pay Kheiralla's travel expenses. The party left the United States in September. Most visited 'Abdu'l-Baha' for only three days, but Ibrahim Kheiralla and two American Baha'is, Edward and Lua Getsinger, arranged to stay in the household for six months.

The Akka Baha'is were shocked by Kheiralla's mix of Baha'i, Theosophical, and evangelical Protestant ideas, coupled with false Arabic etymologies, bizarre interpretations of history, and two prayers allegedly by Baha'u'llah that Kheiralla had, in fact, written himself.

(Robert Stockman, Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America)

"Peter of Baha" - Ibrahim George Kheiralla

'Abdu'l Baha and Kheiralla

Ibrahim George Kheiralla was born on November 11, 1849, to a Christian family in a village on Mount Lebanon. He later studied medicine at the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut.

Ibrahim George Kheiralla converted to the Bahá'í Faith while living in Egypt in 1889 when he met Hájí `Abdu’l-Karím-i-Tihrání. Kheiralla went through Europe and eventually came to the United States in late 1892 where he joined Anton Haddad, the first Bahá'í to come to America. Initially, Kheiralla settled in New York where he began teaching "Truth Seeker" classes. He visited Charles Augustus Briggs and others, as well as the Syrian community in New York.

In 1894 Kheiralla moved on to Chicago following the interest fostered by the World's Columbian Exposition's World Parliament of Religions. In Chicago he taught "Truth Seeker" classes. One of the early converts while Kheiralla was in Chicago was Thornton Chase, who had read the presentation about the Bahá'ís at the Exposition, and is generally considered the first Bahá'í convert in the West to have remained in the religion. Other individuals had converted, but none remained members of the religion.

Another to join the religion from Kheiralla's early classes was Howard MacNutt, who would later compile The Promulgation of Universal Peace, a prominent collection of the addresses of `Abdu'l-Bahá during his journeys in America. Both men were designated as "Disciples of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" and "Heralds of the Covenant" by Shoghi Effendi.

Another student of the classes and Disciple was Lua Getsinger, designated as the "mother teacher of the West".

Another who "passed" the class and joined the religion was the maverick Honoré Jackson. Kheiralla moved once again, to Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1895, where a large Bahá'í community soon developed.

Because of his success promulgating the Bahá'í Faith in North America, 'Abdu'l-Bahá titled Kheiralla "Bahá's Peter," "the Second Columbus" and "Conqueror of America." 'Abdu'l-Bahá would write a Tablet to Ibráhím George Kheiralla.

In 1898, Kheiralla undertook a Bahá'í pilgrimage to Palestine to meet 'Abdu'l-Bahá with other American pilgrims, including Phoebe Hearst, Lua Getsinger and May Boles. In Akka, Kheiralla witnessed first hand the conflict between 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his brothers. Upon his return to America in 1899, Kheiralla began to announce his avowed leadership of Western Bahá'ís independent of `Abdu'l-Bahá and authored a book, Beha'u'llah, wherein he states his belief that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was equal in rank to his brothers Mírzá Muhammad 'Alí, Díyá'u'lláh, and Badi'u'lláh. Early after the return to America, 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent, first, Anton Haddad with a letter contesting the definition of leadership, then Khieralla's initial teacher of the religion, 'Abdu’l-Karím-i-Tihrání, to confront him.

The conflict made the newspapers. 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.

Kheiralla would go on to form the "Society of Behaists," which would later be led by Shua Ullah Behai and eventually become defunct. Kheiralla had three children, two daughters who were named Nabeeha and Labiba, and a son named George Ibrahim Kheirallah who converted Islam in the 1930s, becoming active in the Islamic Society of New York, and translated and published some poems of Khalil Gibran.

Ibrahim George Kheiralla died on March 6, 1929.

Baha'i scholar Peter Smith about the Dawn-breakers

Click to enlarge

 

Ex-Baha'i story from Reddit

Photo shown here for representation purpose only.

I need some advice. My family has strong roots to the bahai religion . Both my mom and dad left Iran at a young age during the iranian revolution to practice their religion in America . My dad is part of the spiritual assembly. My parents hosts allot of feasts at our house and are well known in the community. As a kid I was made to go to Sunday school allot and made to attend some of those bahai youth camps . At the age of 15 I had to sign a bahai card in front of everyone at the feast because If I didn’t my parents would be embarrassed and be sad so I signed it . After that day I signed my card I told my dad I really don’t believe in this faith. I could never wrap my head around why Baháʼu'lláh had three wives and women not being able to serve in the universal house of justice. One of the main reasons that turned me off about the faith was the constant discussion of how to get more new followers . Every feast I attended we literally talked about how to get new members and discussing different ways to teach the faith to non believers. In Sunday’s school and in youth camps , this was always the topic for the most part . In spite of all of this I made an agreement with my parents not to officially make myself not a bahai but I let them know I don’t believe in any of this this . The reason I did this is because my parents would really be sad and it would be an embarrassing situation for my dad because he is part of the spiritually assembly . If I wanted to withdraw from the Bahai faith it would be brought up in one of his spiritual assembly meetings. Everyone in the spiritual assembly is my dads close friends and they always go over to each others houses . I’ve been trying to talk to my parents about leaving the faith and I always bring up really good points of why to leave it but they always are in denial and never give me answers to my questions . One day I asked my dad what makes you so sure about this faith and he said my great grandmother met Baháʼu'lláh. They get really emotional after I question the faith in front of them,sometimes angry at me or sometimes sad . They’re in there late 50s right now . My question is do you think it’s too late for them to leave the faith . Do you think they’re too far in it ? I really feel like they’re brain washed . They were taught about the faith at a very young age . Everything around them and all there friends were Bahai. Bahai everything . Do I continue question their faith in front of them or just let them be? Sorry for the bad grammar.

Source : https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/miijiq/ex_bahai_need_advice/

Persecution of Persian Baha'is in Baha'i Administration

Received by Email, identity of the author is kept hidden on their request.



Since the advent of different Sects of Baha'is, The Baha'i Administration is trying very hard to purge the Persian Baha'is from Baha'i Administration. The Baha'is especially those from Jewish background are of the opinion that Persian Baha'is are behind the development of sects. Recently with the appointment of Nosratullah Bahramand, a Persian by origin, as the fourth guardian, the Persian Baha'is are having soft corner for him. The Persian Baha'is are felling that their due right is not being given by the Baha'i administration although they have sacrificed and served a lot and faced of persecution in most of the countries.

Very recently A prominent Heterodox Baha'i, Omid Seioshansian, who was born in Qatar, is blacklisted in Qatar. Government authorities in the country have leveled criminal and national security charges against him. Mr. Omid now will have to face severe penalties in Qatar’s judicial system. And will be denied entry.

Although Bani Duggal, the BIC’s Principal Representative to the United Nations. Said that The Baha'i International Community is saddened that the State of Qatar has chosen to expel members of a community that has peacefully coexisted in and contributed to the progress of the country but many prominent Baha'is are of the opinion that Universal House of Justice is behind the expelling of Omid as they are in cleansing process of Persian Baha'is and Omid a high ranking Persian Baha'i in the Baha'i Administration, with an eye on getting selected to the UHJ has a lot of cloud in country like India.

Recently another high ranking Persian Baha'i, a counselor, Dr. Jabbar Eidelkhani who has served for many years in Bangladesh was also removed from his post and a very insignificant Indian Baha'i was asked to wear his shoes.

Another Persian Lady, a former counselor, Mrs. Zena Sorabjee and member of the NSA of India was asked to resign/retire from NSA after being elected on NSA.

In Heterodox organisation a thought is prevailing that Persian Baha'is are working in groups and are having soft corner for the Persian fourth Guardian Nosratullah Bahramand of the Orthodox Baha'i Faith who is calling his shots from Australia.

We have to wait and watch who is next in their list of persecution.

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