Behind the Facade: Cult-like Tendencies in the Baha'i Faith

One of the reasons I decided to become a member of the Baha'i Faith organization was that I wanted to participate in Feast, the Baha'i worship service and community business meeting that takes place every nineteen days. At first, this was interesting, but soon the novelty wore off. I slowly began to realize that being a Baha'i is a very different thing for a member than for a "seeker," and that official membership in the Baha'i Faith calls for an enormous dedication of time and energy to administrative matters. This would not be such a big deal if it weren't for the fact that Baha'i administration is treated with an almost idolatrous reverence. Community issues are discussed according to a ritualistic process of "consultation," often preceded by reciting scriptures about the glory of the Baha'i administrative order and the appropriate methods of institutional decision-making. Month after month at Feast, we listened to droning tape-recorded messages from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, telling us about the latest plans of their institution, the "Four Year Plan" of the Universal House of Justice and all its implications for our lives, the constant need for more financial donations (Baha'i institutions are always running huge deficits and begging for money), and fervent exhortations for members to "teach" the faith to more people and bring about "Entry By Troops" (a prophecy of mass conversion of the public to the Baha'i Faith). When I was elected to be an officer of the college Baha'i club, I ended up spending several extra hours per week on long, drawn-out club leadership meetings where few real decisions were made, but many passages of Baha'i scripture were often recited about consultation procedures, institutional order, infallibility of the Baha'i administration, and the sacrosanct Covenant of obedience to the Baha'i system. All this obsession with administrative ritual and a fawning attitude toward Baha'i leaders and institutions smacked of Communism, and it frustrated me that the supposedly open-minded and free-thinking religion I had joined was so dominated by a focus on obedience and procedure rather than real spirituality. Sometimes it seemed almost as if the Baha'i administrative order was viewed as the equivalent of God Himself!

Though my faith in Baha'u'llah's prophethood and his basic principles of religious and racial unity remained strong, over time I began to realize that the overarching message of the Baha'i Faith was not what I had originally thought. Instead of open minds, the Baha'i Faith closed people's minds once they belonged to it. Instead of tolerance and respect for differences of opinion, the Baha'i Faith demanded absolute agreement with its scriptures and leadership on everything. One could not be considered a good Baha'i if one ever said, "I don't agree with [fill in the blank] that was written in such and such text or was stated by the UHJ." To say such a thing would bring accusations of "weakness in the Covenant," which is a veiled threat of losing the love and friendship of the community if one's views do not soon change to conform to the approved position. Since the Baha'i holy writings and institutions took positions on virtually every issue imaginable, one essentially had to turn over ownership of one's own mind to the Baha'i Faith. I was a religious studies and philosophy major, and when I decided I wanted to research the Baha'i connection to Christianity and write a book introducing the Baha'i Faith to Christians, I was informed that anything published by a Baha'i must go through a rigorous process of administrative "review" (i.e. censorship) by a special committee of Baha'i leaders, to make sure every word written conformed to the official viewpoints on all issues. As a university student who was considering pursuing a doctorate and professorship in religious studies, I was shocked to learn that even academic articles written by Baha'is must go through this censorship process. I found out there were Baha'i scholars who actually had to resign their membership in the Baha'i organization just so that they could publish their work, because they had somewhat different interpretations and understandings of the religion of Baha'u'llah, and the things they wanted to write had been censored. So much for scholarly integrity; doctrinal purity trumps all other considerations among the Baha'is.

Nevertheless, I did go ahead and attempt to write an introduction to the Baha'i Faith for Christians. In the process of studying the Baha'i Faith in a rigorous academic way in order to write a comprehensive book that would present the religion accurately, I discovered some problems in the history and development of the religion I had never before encountered. (More about this also in the next section of this page.) I knew that attempting to discuss these problems rationally with Baha'i authorities would lead only to indoctrination attempts or discipline, for I explored some of the official Baha'i arguments and found them very weak, and I knew they were indefensible. My manuscript was already 90% finished and I had put in hundreds of hours of work on it. But I was realizing that I no longer wanted to promote the Baha'i Faith to Christians or anyone else -- I was disturbed and disgusted by the way Baha'is with different views about their faith were silenced, slandered, and even excommunicated. I was beginning to fear this could happen to me, I was angry, and I was starting to lose my faith. I did not even bother to share my feelings openly with other Baha'is, because I knew enough about Baha'i culture to know that this would be pointless. Through my own personal experiences and by reading the websites of several Baha'i reformers, I had discovered that the Haifa-based Baha'i Faith organization is in some ways a cult-like group, denying its members basic rights such as freedom of speech, the press, and association. Contrary to the Baha'i public image of tolerance and open-mindedness, behind the scenes the Baha'i leaders are running their religion in a spirit of institutional authoritarianism. Here are a few good resources to get you started as you investigate the truth beyond Baha'i propaganda:

  • The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience. Baha'i reformer Frederick Glaysher has put together an extensive collection of sources documenting the hijacking of Baha'ism by extremists who are intolerant of alternative viewpoints and free expression by Baha'is.

  • Juan Cole is a professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan who is a Baha'i reformer and has been involved with the Unitarian-Universalist church. He was forced to resign from the Baha'i Faith under threat of shunning due to differences of opinion about certain issues in the religion and its organization. Baha'is are sometimes discouraged by their leaders from reading anything he has written -- even his popular book on the origin of the Baha'i faith, Modernity and the Millennium -- simply because it is by the prominent heretic Juan Cole. (I myself was warned against reading it.) He maintains a page of Documents on Baha'i History and Thought which includes a number of reform-oriented texts. Definitely read his two most controversial articles:

  • Karen Bacquet is an unenrolled Baha'i. She believes in Baha'u'llah but not the organization claiming to represent him. Among her many articles, here are some of the most interesting ones:

  • Alison Marshall is an excommunicated Baha'i. On her website she shares her religious views and describes how she was forcibly expelled from the Baha'i Faith.

  • Baha'i Leaders Vexed by On-Line Critics. An article by ex-Baha'i religious author K. Paul Johnson that appeared in Gnosis magazine in 1997. A summary of the controversy over the Talisman discussion group, a liberal Baha'i email list started by several reform-minded Baha'i scholars. Baha'i administrative officials repressed free speech on the list by interrogating and threatening its members, which culminated in discipline and excommunication or resignation of several prominent Baha'i intellectuals including Juan Cole and Indiana University professor Linda Walbridge. Johnson was an active participant in the original Talisman list, which was shut down only to be reborn later in a new form that is less controversial and grudgingly tolerated by the Baha'i institutions.

  • A Modest Proposal: Recommendations Toward the Revitalization of the American Baha'i Community. This article was to have been published in Dialogue magazine, a liberal Baha'i periodical, but it never appeared in print. The editors submitted it for "review" (in-house official Baha'i prepublication censorship) to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, and actually met with two members of that body. At the Baha'i National Convention in April 1988, the authors and editors were condemned for even thinking about publishing such a document. The editors, heartbroken, ceased publication of Dialogue.

  • Baha'i Angst and Brave New World are humorous sources of Baha'i satire and more.

If you are a Baha'i questioning your religious beliefs, a "seeker" or somebody interested in the Baha'i Faith, it might be a good idea to talk with various people about the religion and their experiences in it. Since there aren't very many Baha'is around in most towns, and those who do openly talk to you about their faith are often the most hard-core followers, it is helpful to go to an online discussion group to get a more balanced perspective from many believers, ex-Baha'is, and others. Also, Baha'is are typically shy about answering questions that might make their religion look bad or cause them to be reported and disciplined by the Baha'i administrative order. Many ordinary Baha'is are not even aware of some of the more difficult issues you might want to ask about. On the internet, you can meet Baha'is willing and able to discuss even the hard questions and provide you with alternative perspectives, either under the cloak of anonymity or publicly with the courage of their convictions. Some online Baha'i message boards are heavily moderated and censored by Baha'is appointed by the administrative order to prevent challenges to their views. Find a forum where real dialogue and different points of view about the Baha'i Faith are permitted, such as the forums listed below.

Source :

"this religion totally lacks credibility"

I could never be a Bahai because this religion totally lacks credibility. I will address just one central teaching of the Bahai religion, which is that of world peace. I am providing AUTHORITATIVE writings and messages from all levels of leadership of this religion. They all forecast the establishment of the Lesser Peace and Unity of Nations will take place before the year 2000. This prophecy was a total failure.

The founder of the Bahai faith offered this rather childish advice:
“The Great Being, wishing to reveal the prerequisites of the peace and tranquility of the world and the advancement of its peoples, hath written: The time must come when the imperative necessity for the holding of a vast, an all-embracing assemblage of men will be universally recognized. The rulers and kings of the earth must needs attend it, and, participating in its deliberations, must consider ways and means as will lay the foundations of the world's Great Peace amongst men. Such a peace demandeth that the Great Powers should resolve, for the sake of the tranquility of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves. Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. (Bahaullah, Gleanings from the Writings)

“The fifth candle is the unity of nations – a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common Fatherland.” (Abdul Baha, Tablet of Seven Candles)

The Montreal Daily Star newspaper reported:

"Are there any signs that the permanent peace of the world will be established in anything like a reasonable period?" `Abdu'l-Bahá was asked. "It will be established in this century," He answered. "It will be universal in the twentieth century. All nations will be forced into it." Abdu'l-Bahá in Canada (Ontario: Bahá'í Canada Publications, 1987, p. 35)

"... It must, however long and tortuous the way, lead, through a series of victories and reverses, to the political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres, to the emergence of a world government and the establishment of the Lesser Peace, as foretold by Bahá’u’lláh and foreshadowed by the Prophet Isaiah." (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, 1947)

Shoghi Effendi is viewed by the Haifa Baha’is as infallible. According to his prophecy we should have witnessed:

1- the political unification of the Eastern and Western Hemispheres

2- emergence of a world government

3- the establishment of the Lesser Peace

Obviously none of these has happened.

“The raising of this Edifice will in turn herald the construction, in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of several other structures, which will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice. These Edifices will, in the shape of a far-flung arc, and following a harmonizing style of architecture, surround the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, ranking as foremost among the members of her sex in the Bahá’í Dispensation, of her Brother, offered up as a ransom by Bahá’u’lláh for the quickening of the world and its unification, and of their Mother, proclaimed by Him to be His chosen “consort in all the worlds of God.” The ultimate completion of this stupendous undertaking will mark the culmination of the development of a world-wide divinely-appointed Administrative Order whose beginnings may be traced as far back as the concluding years of the Heroic Age of the Faith.

This vast and irresistible process, unexampled in the spiritual history of mankind, and which will synchronize with two no less significant developments—the establishment of the Lesser Peace and the evolution of Bahá’í national and local institutions—the one outside and the other within the Bahá’í world—will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power and glory, of the focal Center of the agencies constituting the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. The final establishment of this seat of the future Bahá’í World Commonwealth will signalize at once the proclamation of the sovereignty of the Founder of our Faith and the advent of the Kingdom of the Father repeatedly lauded and promised by Jesus Christ. (Shoghi Effendi Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950–1957 dated November 27, 1954)

This lays out the following sequence:

1- Completion of the construction of the Arc

2- culmination of the development of a world-wide divinely-appointed Administrative Order

3- Lesser Peace

Only the construction work was completed and nothing else came to be.

“It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: “The fifth candle is the unity of nations — a unity which, in this century, will be securely established. (Messages of Universal House of Justice (UHJ) 1963-68, Page 281)

“Abdu’l-Baha anticipated that the Lesser Peace could be established before the end of the twentieth century.” (Messages of UHJ April 15, 1976)

These two messages say:

1- Unity of nations will happen in the twentieth century

2- Lesser Peace established before end of 20th century

These certainly have not happened.

“It is true that `Abdu'l-Bahá made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations--a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland." And, in The Promised Day Is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as Abdu'l-Bahá assures us, will, in this century, be securely established." (Letter of UHJ 29 July 1974)

Abdul-Baha assured his followers that World unity will be securely established in the 20th century. Some 22 years after the 20th century, we are witnessing horrific wars in various corners with much bigger ones likely in the next year or two.

“We know, however, that peace will come in stages. First, there will come the Lesser Peace, when the unity of nations will be achieved, then gradually the Most Great Peace--the spiritual as well as social and political unity of mankind, when the Bahá'í World Commonwealth, operating in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Most Holy Book of the Bahá'í Revelation, will have been established through the efforts of the Bahá'ís.” (Letter of UHJ 31 January 1985)

This lays out the sequence:

1- Lesser Peace

2- Unity of Nations

3- Most Great Peace

None of these have happened.

“They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking—the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world—should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.” (Abdul-Baha, The establishment of a global commonwealth of nations 1875)

Abbass Effendi explained what is the Lesser Peace:

1- Binding treaty for peace

2- Get it approved universally

3- Mobilize all the forces of humanity to ensure the stability and permanence of this peace

4- Clearly fix the limits and frontiers of each and every nation (Good luck with that!)

5- Lay down principles underlying the relations of governments

6- All international agreements and obligations ascertained

7- Strictly limit the size of the armaments of each government (Countries are lining up to agree)

8- If any government violates any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should destroy that Government (NATO alliance is one such effort in this failed recipe for peace)

Obviously none of these happened. Just one single disagreement is the South China Sea (an area of 3 million square kilometres) is claimed by seven sovereign nations. Wikipedia lists 254 territorial disputes. I just learnt that even the US and Canada have seven ongoing disputes about territory!

“The holding of this mighty convocation is long overdue. With all the ardour of our hearts, we appeal to the leaders of all nations to seize this opportune moment and take irreversible steps to convoke this world meeting. All the forces of history impel the human race towards this act which will mark for all time the dawn of its long-awaited maturity. Will not the United Nations, with the full support of its membership, rise to the high purposes of such a crowning event? (UHJ, The Promise of World Peace, October 1985)

Answer: No, the United Nations cannot and will not rise to the high purpose of such a crowning event.

The twentieth century ended 22 years ago and NONE of these prophecies came true, except the construction of some buildings by the Bahais in Haifa, Israel. There is no world Government. No Lesser Peace. No Unity of Nations. No political unification of the East (think Middle East or China) and the West (think USA). Even the holding of that mighty convocation did not take place. These prophecies were nothing but a series of pipedreams for which many people gave their lives in the service of Bahaism. Maybe it is time for the leadership to show some integrity and disband this religion and stop making more false promises.

There are many, many more false promises in the Bahai writings and in relation to peace but time and space is limited.

NOTE: Abbass Effendi gave himself the title of AbdulBaha, so the two names are used interchangeably

The modus operandi of the Baha'i Administration

March 12. On this date in 1983, Yad'u'llah Mahmudnizhad, father of Mona Mahmudnizhad, was executed.

Yad'u'llah and Farkhundeh Mahmudnizhad were Bahá’í pioneers in Sana'a, Yemen, when Mona was born to them on September 10, 1965. They returned to Iran when the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen expelled all foreigners in 1969. Yad'u'llah was a Secretary of the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Shiraz and in 1981 had been appointed an Auxiliary Board Member for the Province of Pars. Mona, being a member of the Bahá’í Education Committee, was arrested along with her father and other leading Bahá’ís of Shiraz on October 23, 1982. Mona's father was executed on March 12, 1983, and Mona was executed on June 18, 1983.

The collective arrest and subsequent execution of the Shiraz Bahá'í leadership became a cause célèbre­. Mona Mahmudnizhad herself has become the subject of several hagiographic works, including a book, The Story of Mona:1965-1983; a music video, Mona With the Children; a play, A Dress for Mona; and a movie, Mona's Dream

Punitive sanction for thoughtcrimes, whether by civil authorities or religious hierarchies, is reprehensible. While I abhor persecution and condemn it, I am skeptical of the hagiographic perspective of the Bahá'í martyrs. There are a number of reasons for my skepticism...

(1) In the community I was a member of, even in the lifetime of Khomeini, there were Iranian Bahá’ís who would regularly travel to Iran during their summer holidays to visit family. When I would ask them how that was possible, their response was always along the lines that the arrested Bahá’ís were those who were administratively and politically active, almost to the point of referring to them as "troublemakers."

I question the degree to which simply "being Bahá’í" was and is criminalized in Iran if individual Bahá’ís could so readily travel for leisure purposes.

(2) The reasons the Bahá’í Administrative Order gives for Bahá’í persecutions lend themselves to doubt. For example, The Story of Mona:1965-1983 recounts an interrogation...

The Assistant to the Public Prosecutor said, 'You are accused of being a member of the Zionist movement, who are spies.' In reply, I told him that Baha'is have nothing to do with politics. On the other hand, the state of Israel was founded only 32 years ago, while the Baha'i Faith was founded 139 years ago. We only have spiritual organizations which have nothing to do with politics. He said, 'There remains only one way for you, you should either recant the Faith or you will be executed.' I said I would rather be executed."

Later, in a court appearance, the book quotes a judge telling Mona, "You are accused of misleading youth with your beautiful voice and chanting."

These reasons appear absurd, but they are not dissimilar to reasons given, for example, for the arrest of Bahá’ís in Yemen in a Bahá’í World News Service article from April 21, 2017...

The baseless and nonsensical accusations levelled against the Baha'is include showing kindness and displaying rectitude of conduct in order to attract people to their Faith.

I question the reasons recounted for Bahá’í arrests in official publications of the Bahá’í Administrative Order.

(3) As dismissive as many Bahá’ís are regarding accusations of their coreligionists' being tied to national intelligence agencies, the examples are plenty. Perhaps the most famous example that comes to mind is that of David Kelly, a Bahá’í employed by the British Ministry of Defence who served as a weapons inspector with the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, providing intelligence of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the Iraq War. David Kelly's suspicious death by suicide subsequent to his appearance before the British House of Commons' Foreign Intelligence Committee in 2003 was famously investigated by the Hutton Inquiry.

Bahá’ís often lament their being associated with Zionism for no other reason than the presence of the Bahá’í World Centre in Israel, which is a coincidence resulting from Bahá'u'lláh's ultimate exile to Acre, then a prison city in Ottoman Palestine, subsequent to internecine fighting between Bahá’ís and Azalis in Adrianople.

However, the Bahá’í connection to Zionism is not merely conspiratorial.

On February 23, 1914, at the eve of World War I, 'Abdu'l-Bahá hosted Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild banking family who was a leading advocate and financier of the Zionist movement, during one of his early trips to Palestine. This event was reported in "Star of the West" magazine.

On September 8, 1919, subsequent to the British occupation of Palestine, at a time when tens of thousands of Jewish settlers were arriving under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, an article in the "Star of the West" quoted 'Abdu'l-Bahá praising the Zionist movement, proclaiming that "There is too much talk today of what the Zionists are going to do here. There is no need of it. Let them come and do more and say less" and that "A Jewish government might come later."

Shoghi Effendi had a close relationship with Herbert Samuel, the British High Commissioner for Palestine. This relationship is alluded to in Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum's The Priceless Pearl, in the chapters titled The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Its Immediate Consequences and The Heart and Nerve Centre As High Commissioner, Herbert Samuel was the first Jew to govern the historic land of Israel in 2,000 years, and his appointment was regarded by the Muslim-Christian Associations as the "first step in formation of Zionist national home in the midst of Arab people." Herbert Samuel welcomed the arrival of Jewish settlers under the auspices of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association and recognised Hebrew as one of the three official languages of the Mandate territory.

After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Bahá’í Administrative Order had close relations with the new government, facilitating the acquisition of numerous properties. For example, on November 12, 1952, a cablegram sent by Shoghi Effendi announced the "acquisition of vitally-needed property" of the Mansion of Bahji and the area around it from "the Development Authority of the State of Israel...The exchange of said property, including land and houses, was made possible by the precipitate flight of the former Arab owners."

The Universal House of Justice has continued to have close connections with some of the most right-wing elements of the Israeli political establishment, such as [Moshe Sharon], who is Professor Emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem where he serves as Chair in Bahá'í Studies. Moshe Sharon holds some very extreme views.

I question the degree to which Bahá’ís are dismissive of their co-religionists' and Administrative Order's association with state actors.

I question the degree to which individual Bahá’ís may, in fact, be in the service of various national intelligence agencies.

(4) Bahá'i writings clearly forbid disobedience to one's government unless it involves the renunciation of faith. For example, Soviet policies targeted Bahá’í institutions and administrative structures. On January 1, 1929, Shoghi Effendi wrote a letter, later included in his seminal book Bahá’í Administration with sections titled "Persecutions in Russia" and "Guiding Principle of Conduct". Shoghi Effendi stated...

the varied and numerous Bahá’í institutions established in the past by heroic pioneers of the Faith have been brought into direct and sudden contact with the internal convulsions necessitated by the establishment and maintenance of an order so fundamentally at variance with Russia’s previous regime. The avowed purpose and action of the responsible heads of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics who, within their recognized and legitimate rights, have emphatically proclaimed and vigorously pursued their policy of uncompromising opposition to all forms of organized religious propaganda, have by their very nature created for those whose primary obligation is to labor unremittingly for the spread of the Bahá’í Faith a state of affairs that is highly unfortunate and perplexing...

our Bahá’í brethren in those provinces have had to endure the rigid application of the principles already enunciated by the state authorities and universally enforced with regard to all other religious communities under their sway. Faithful to their policy of expropriating in the interests of the State all edifices and monuments of a religious character, they have a few months ago approached the Bahá’í representatives in Turkistan, and after protracted negotiations with them, decided to claim and enforce their right of ownership and control of that most cherished and universally prized Bahá’í possession, the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of Ishqábád...

To these measures which the State, in the free exercise of its legitimate rights, has chosen to enforce, and with which the Bahá’ís, as befits their position as loyal and law-abiding citizens, have complied, others have followed which though of a different character are none the less grievously affecting our beloved Cause. In Baku, the seat of the Soviet Republic of Caucasus, as well as in Ganjih and other neighboring towns, state orders, orally and in writing, have been officially communicated to the Bahá’í Assemblies and individual believers, suspending all meetings, commemoration gatherings and festivals, suppressing the committees of all Bahá’í local and national Spiritual Assemblies, prohibiting the raising of funds and the transmission of financial contributions to any center within or without Soviet jurisdiction, requiring the right of full and frequent inspection of the deliberations, decisions, plans and action of the Bahá’í Assemblies, dissolving young men’s clubs and children’s organizations, imposing a strict censorship on all correspondence to and from Bahá’í Assemblies, directing a minute investigation of Assemblies’ papers and documents, suspending all Bahá’í periodicals, bulletins and magazines, and requiring the deportation of leading personalities in the Cause whether as public teachers and speakers or officers of Bahá’í Assemblies...

To all these the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have with feelings of burning agony and heroic fortitude unanimously and unreservedly submitted, ever mindful of the guiding principles of Bahá’í conduct that in connection with their administrative activities, no matter how grievously interference with them might affect the course of the extension of the Movement, and the suspension of which does not constitute in itself a departure from the principle of loyalty to their Faith, the considered judgment and authoritative decrees issued by their responsible rulers must, if they be faithful to Bahá’u’lláh’s and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s express injunctions, be thoroughly respected and loyally obeyed...

Clinging with immovable resolution to the inviolable verities of their cherished Faith, our sorely-tried brethren in Caucasus and Turkistan have none the less, as befits law-abiding Bahá’í citizens resolved, after having exhausted every legitimate means for the alleviation of the restrictions imposed upon them, to definitely uphold and conscientiously carry out the considered judgment of their recognized government.

I question why obedience to one's government, particularly in terms of disestablishing the Bahá’í administrative hierarchy and halting teaching activities, was readily acquiesced to in the past in the Soviet Union but resisted in more modern times in Iran and Yemen.

(5) The Bahá’í Administrative Order uses news stories of persecution very astutely to generate media attention. A Google News search for the term "Bahá’í" shows a predominance of news stories regarding Bahá’í temples and discrimination. Otherwise, the Bahá’í Faith generates little to no interest.

Shoghi Effendi himself realized the degree of media attention generated by the construction of the Chicago Temple. In a letter dated June 13, 1956 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand, he stated...

Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices - seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit.

I question the degree to which stories of Bahá’í persecution are used to generate media attention.

(6) Despite their rightly condemning persecution for belief, what is further interesting to me, given my past, is the degree to which the Bahá’í Administrative Order itself roots out dissent within its own ranks. Without going into further detail, I will refer you to two articles by Juan Cole, one entitled The Baha’i Faith in America as Panopticon, 1963-1997 and the other titled Fundamentalism in the Contemporary U.S. Baha'i Community.

I question what form and magnitude this behavior would take if the Bahá’í Faith ever became, as Shoghi Effendi described...

the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power...will the Universal House of Justice attain the plenitude of its power, and exercise, as the supreme organ of the Bahá’í Commonwealth, all the rights, the duties, and responsibilities incumbent upon the world’s future super-state.

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