"There is no excommunication from Baha'i" !!?

Letter to the editor

Since I was a member of the Baha'i Faith from 1972 until 1978. I read with interest the article on Baha'is in the Saturday issue of the newspaper. I was not surprised by what I read, as Kathy Giles presented much the same picture I was given of the faith when I decided to join. In all fairness, though, I think that a former member of the faith might be able to add some more objective information to that presented in the article.

Let me make it clear that the Baha’i Faith sounded like everything I was searching for, when I first heard of it as a student in Nebraska in 1972 And let me say that I have known many sincere and dear people who have been or are Baha’is. In fact, my oldest sister was introduced into the faith in Utah, after I was, and she is still a practicing Baha’i, now living in Nebraska. I have lived in several cities as part of a Baha’i community, and think I can speak fairly accurately about the faith as it is, not as it is presented to outsiders to be.

A small point is the fact that Baha'is always claim to be such a fast growing religion When I moved to Springfield five years ago the number of members of the local community was almost exactly the same as it is now. The faces may change, but the numbers stay basically the same Baha’is tend to move around a lot, to spread the faith, so groups continually get new faces. Baha’is are constantly trying to sign up new members, so many new faces appear. But many familiar faces have been known to withdraw from the faith as well.

Kathy Giles

Ms. Giles states that "there is no excommunication from Baha'i." I know for a fact that some dissenters have been excommunicated. And not only are those dissenters not allowed to participate in Baha’i activities, but members are not allowed to have ANY communication with the ousted members. Members can't speak to an excommunicated person or even read mail from such a person. I was very surprised when I first heard of those rules, as I couldn't understand the reason for them. Are the Baha'is so shaky in their faith that they are afraid to confront any who disagree''

It is stated in the article that Baha'is cannot hold elected political office. I don't believe it was mentioned that Baha'is cannot even be members of a political party And does Ms. Giles give the reason why? No, because it might cause some good citizens a great deal of concern Baha'is do not get involved in existing political orders because they are establishing their own system, from local through international, that they firmly believe and intend to have replace all existing governments!

Equality, tolerance and unity are frequently touted by Baha'is as basic tenets. But if the Baha'i Faith preaches the equality of men and women, why is it a fact that no woman can serve on the international Baha'i governing body?

During the time I was a Baha'i, I nearly lost something else that has always been Important to me. My relationship with my parents. If the non-Baha'i parents of a Baha'i are not receptive to the Baha'i Faith, the Baha'i is encouraged to sever relations with his family and stay with his new, Baha'i family, who understand him better and love him more. Does this sound familiar?

Lastly, I was most disgusted with the comment that if one sees an especially tolerant person or one who refuses an alcoholic drink, it in likely to be a Baha'i. Many religious groups practice abstinence from alcohol. Your unknown non-drinker is also likely to be a member of AA.

Yes, there are some sincere and loving Baha'is But virtually every group in existence has some sincere and loving members. Does that make the group light or true or beneficial? Everyone must decide for themselves, but let them make the decision based on facts, not fancy rhetoric.

PAMELA SEID
Springfleld

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