Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

In previous blog entries, I have stated in many ways what has gone wrong with the religion known as the Baha’i Faith. After carefully considering the movement called the Unitarian Bahai Association, I have reached the conclusion that the only way to save the Baha’i Faith from ultimate destruction is to completely reject the concept of the Guardianship. And here is why:

Baha’u’llah left a Will and Testament known as the Book of the Covenant. Its sole purpose was to define who would be the leaders of the Faith after his passing.

{{{The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan and My kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root’. The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [`Abdu’l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful. Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muhammad ‘Ali] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [`Abdu’l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All Informed.}}}

This is entirely reasonable, that Abdu’l-Baha as the eldest son of Baha’ullah would be the leader and that Muhammad Ali as the second eldest living son would be his lieutenant (above all other Baha’is in rank) and eventual successor. But then Abdu’l-Baha totally rejected any authority whatsoever for his brother and claimed ALL authority for himself alone, thus violating Baha’u’llah’s will. If Abdu’l-Baha was at all justifed in that, then why did Baha’u’llah mention his second surviving son by name at all in the Will?

Most of Baha’u’llah’s family came to realize this problem and rejected Abdu’l-Baha’s absolutism, thus being labled Covenant-breakers by him. But that wouldn’t have happened if Abdu’l-Baha had not violated the Covenant first. He should have shared power with his brother and did not!

Decades later, Abdu’l-Baha, having successfully forced most Baha’is to follow him alone, would write his own Will and Testament to contradict and invalidate the one of his father. And in doing so, he would set the Baha’i Faith on a path to ultimate ruin!

{{{O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Agh s an (Branches), the Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abha Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi — the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, — as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Agh s an, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.}}}

Note that! Muhammad Ali was not yet dead, so Abdu’l-Baha had NO right to appoint someone else to succeed him as leader! Especially someone as young as Shoghi Effendi!

{{{The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Agh s an, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Baha. My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protect against the guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!}}}

Just as Abdu’l-Baha was profoundly wrong to assume absolute authority for himself and to share none with his brother, he was even more wrong to pass on that same authority to his eldest grandson, who, by the standards of Baha’u’llah himself, didn’t deserve it! Abdu’l-Baha equated any questioning of his absolute power with being in league with the “Center of Sedition”, which is what he falsely labled Muhammad Ali. Thus, far from being the “Center of the Covenant” as Baha’is call him, Abdu’l-Baha was actually the ultimate covenant breaker!  Most of Shoghi Effendi’s own relatives (including other grandchildren of Abdu’l-Baha) slowly came to realize this and rejected his bogus authority, and were labled covenant breakers by him as a result.

{{{O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all wordly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: — “The child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.

The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be distinguished. (i.e., secret ballot)

O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the guardian of the Cause of God. All must be under his shadow and obey his command. Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of God.}}}

I have already written how Shoghi Effendi, by his own actions and inactions, made it impossible for another Guardian to take his place after his passing.

Since the only purpose of Abdu’l-Baha’s establishing the Guardianship was to prevent Muhammad Ali from ever taking his rightful place as Abdu’l-Baha’s successor, the Guardianship itself is not a valid concept for Baha’is to follow. Not the Baha’is of the Haifa based Administrative Order, nor any of the splinter groups that arose after Shoghi Effendi’s passing to follow false Guardians who were not even descended from Baha’ullah at all. NONE of them are legitimate, because they falsely claim that the Baha’is ever needed or need now to be led by a Guardian! And that is a basic teaching of the newly formed Unitarian Bahai Association.

Shoghi Effendi took the absolute authority his grandfather gave him and ran with it, with disasterous results:

{{{Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. “In all the Divine Dispensations,” He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, “the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright.” Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn. (The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 148) }}}

Ever since Shoghi Effendi’s death and his failure to appoint a successor, Baha’is who follow the Guardianship-less Universal House of Justice in Haifa have claimed that the institution of the Guardianship remains even though the Guardian does not live, since we have his writings to guide us. BULL$#IT!  If the President of the United States dies and no one succeeds him to the office of President, does the institution of the Presidency still exist? OF COURSE NOT!

I will say this as loudly as I possibly can: Baha’is do not need a Guardianship! In fact, we need to undo EVERYTHING Shoghi Effendi did and start over! We also need to REJECT the assumption of infalliblity and absolute authority of Abdu’l-Baha and just study the writings of Baha’u’llah himself to understand what he originally intended for Baha’is before it was corrupted. The Covenant of Baha’ullah was already broken by both Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, so why bother with the concept of a Covenant at all?

62 thoughts on “Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

  1. But if you do study the writings of Baha’u’llah you will find he writes:

    “The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan and My Kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [Abdu’l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you Our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful.  222  Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muhammad Ali] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [Abdu’l-Bahá].”
    (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 221)

    And if you then “turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed” you find the HE wrote that Shoghi Effendi is:

    “… after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.”
    (Abdu’l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 25)

    So “back to Baha’u’llah” doesn’t get you out of accepting the appointment of the Guardian.

    • Are you saying that Abdu’l-Baha was somehow superior in rank to Baha’u’llah? No, he was NOT!

      Since Abdu’l-Baha himself did not obey Baha’u’llah consistently, implying that his judgement was flawed in designating Muhammad Ali as Abdu’l-Baha’s successor, (without ANY provision for that designation to be invalidated) why should anyone obey Abdu’l-Baha consistently and accept the Guardianship he created to disinherit Muhammad Ali? A servant cannot be greater than his master, so you fail, Sen!

      I swear, the more you and Susan Maneck talk, the more absurd you look!

    • Sen, your own blog indicated that Abdu’l-Baha made embarrassing mistakes, which you try to rationalize away:

      One of the friends asked about the two, or three, women called Mary in this letter from Abdu’l-Baha:

      There is no harm in any affliction which befalleth thee in the love of El-Baha, … Remember the hardships of the disciples, and what Mary, the Virgin; Mary, the Magdalene; and Mary, the mother of Jesus, bore in the path of God … (Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha 261)

      The question is: does this mean that Abdu’l-Baha thought that Mary the Virgin and Mary the Mother of Jesus are two different people?

      It seems most likely that there is a translation error or copyist’s error here. The name of the third Mary should be “Mary, the Mother of Jacob.” I cannot prove that is what Abdu’l-Baha wrote, because the Persian text of this letter does not appear to have been published, but he mentions the three women called Mary in another letter:

      O ye maid-servants of God and leaves of the Tree of Eternal Life!
      Blessed are ye for attaining to that which was the greatest hope of Mary the Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jacob! This gift was shining on the face of the Virgin Mary like unto a brilliant gem glistening on the great crown of glory.
      (Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha, 662)

      As in the Catholic tradition, Abdu’l-Baha regards Mary, the mother of Jacob and Joses, as a different person to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus (meaning that Jacob and Joses are not full brothers of Jesus).

      An error is an error, and being honest about the errors that people can see with their own eyes would be far better than continuously making all sorts of lame excuses for them. I saw that done to Christianity and the Bible for many years and didn’t accept it for that religion; I won’t accept it for the Baha’i Faith either!

      • The Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha are early translations which contain a lot of errors, but it would not bother me to find out that ‘Abdu’l-Baha occasionally made historical errors. I don’t think that is what infallibility is about. Infallibility is a moral quality not an issue of propositional inerrancy. If you believed it was the latter then it is easy to see why you would have so quickly lost your faith.

        (Dale Husband: Nice rationalization. Keep it up; you are quite amusing and I will enjoy showing off your comments to other skeptics. The laughter will bring down the house!)

    • Sen,

      Going back to the Will and Testament of Bahaullah gets us to the following logical conclusions:

      1. Bahaullah intended for his eldest son to be his first successor and for his second son to be his second successor.

      2. Bahaullah intended for his second son to be subordinate to his eldest son while he was still alive.

      3. Bahaullah did not give his eldest son authority to appoint an alternative successor if, for whatever reason, he believed that the second son had become a heretic. Instead, Bahaullah himself, in his divine wisdom (or his claim of such) made the appointment of the second successor himself.

      If Abdul-Baha wished to be fully loyal to the Will and Testament of Bahaullah, and he believed his younger brother was a heretic, he had the option of telling the Bahais NOT to regard either of the men Bahaullah designated to be his successors as infallible. In other words, he had the option of just encouraging the Bahais to begin holding House of Justice meetings rather than trying to establish a Shiite-style chain of successors. There is no evidence that Bahaullah intended for a “Guardianship” to be created.

      Just because Bahaullah appointed Abdul-Baha to be his first successor does not mean that Abdul-Baha had the right to claim infallibility and absolute power for himself, nor the right to have his own writings regarded by the Bahais as scriptural texts. If he had simply avoiding making these grandiose claims, Ghusn-i-Akbar wouldn’t have had a need to rebel against him. The reason he rebelled is because he believed Abdul-Baha was a heretic who was making claims far beyond what Bahaullah intended. And an objective look at the evidence does seem to support Ghusn-i-Akbar’s point of view.

      I certainly don’t think Ghusn-i-Akbar was a saint — probably far from it. But I don’t think Abdul-Baha was a saint either. These two brothers mutually regarded each other as terrible heretics from their father’s religion, and they both seem to have acted toward each other in exactly the way one would expect for ultra-religious men of their time and culture. They did everything they could to oppose each other and make each other look bad in the eyes of their respective followers.

      The conflict between these brothers doesn’t change the fact that Bahaullah never gave Abdul-Baha the right to appoint a different successor instead of Ghusn-i-Akbar. Looking back on it, perhaps Bahais are fortunate that one of the men Bahaullah intended to be one of his successors argued for a version of the Bahai faith in which the authority of Bahai leaders was not to be regarded as absolute. This is an alternative interpretation of Bahaism that remains today, and will only grow and grow over time, in our increasingly liberal civilization that is moving away from authoritarian religions. And it was all started by somebody that Bahaullah himself appointed to a position of authority in his will, so it’s entirely legitimate — unless, that is, one believes that Abdul-Baha’s word trumps that of Bahaullah, the prophet-founder of the faith, which is an untenable idea from the standpoint of basic logic.

      • If Baha’u’llah had not intended something similar to the Imamate he would not have appointed anyone as His successor. ‘Abdu’l-Baha did not have the option, as you suggest, “of just encouraging the Bahais to begin holding House of Justice.” You are simply wrong about Abdu’l-Baha trying to make Muhammad Ali look bad. The truth is that He suffered in silence for four years. I suggest you read Badi’u’llah’s epistle where he describes his brother’s activities during this period.

        (Dale Husband: For those who may not know, Badi’u’llah was a full brother of Muhammad Ali who, according to official Baha’i “history”, rebelled against Muhammad Ali for a time and defected to Abdu’l-Baha, then went back to Muhammad Ali later. I wonder how seriously we can take Susan Maneck’s statement to “read Badi’u’llah’s epistle”. Has she ever even SEEN such a document? Considering how treacherous he was supposed to be to both sides, why would you grant any credibility to such a document, just because it says the “right” things?)

        “For a long time … he used to say that he possessed a Tablet from the Supreme Pen concerning the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and that if he were to publish it, the credibility of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be finished and His name effaced forever. He spoke of this on numerous occasions to members of the family. Some time elapsed, during which a few individuals questioned me concerning the Tablet in question. I, therefore, asked Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali to show it to us, but every time I mentioned it to him, he offered me an excuse and sought a pretext to avoid it. Until, one day, he took out of the case a blessed Tablet which was revealed before Bahá’u’lláh’s imprisonment in the Most Great Prison and gave it to me to read. In it Bahá’u’lláh condemns the iniquities and wicked deeds perpetrated by His brother Mirza Yahya, whom He addresses as ‘My brother’. I said to Mirza Muhammad-‘Ali that this Tablet had no relevance to the present situation. He said: ‘I have permission from Bahá’u’lláh to use my pen and interpolate His Writings for the protection of the Cause. Now since some individuals have exaggerated the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and the Master claims to be the embodiment of Divinity, I will erase the words “My brother” and insert in its place “My Greatest Branch”. This I will show to some people in order to check His influence.’

        …After a few minutes, he carried out this interpolation in front of my eyes. Successfully, he changed the words ‘My brother’ to ‘My Greatest Branch’. I pointed out to him that this action amounted to the betrayal of God’s trust and constituted a sin. I warned him that if he showed the Tablet in this form to anyone, I would divulge the whole event and report the act of interpolation…. On hearing these words he became disturbed and promised that he would not show the Tablet to anyone. He also requested me not to reveal the matter.”

        (Dale Husband: I find that story as laughably unlikely as the one of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. Erasable ink wasn’t even invented until a few decades ago and certainly didn’t exist in the 19th Century, when Baha’u’llah was writing his Tablets.)

        I’m sorry that you can’t see that these kinds of actions along with trying to get ‘Abdu’l-Baha killed would cancel out any appointment Baha’u’llah may have made but I don’t think reasonable people would have any difficulty seeing why this is the case. No matter what your parents’ will may say, if you murder them you don’t get to inherit.

        (Dale Husband: Reporting possible unlawful behavior by someone to the authorities is not the same as trying to get that someone killed. That you don’t know the difference because of what you have read from official Baha’i publications is quite telling. Was Muhammad Ali convicted of any crime, let alone attempted murder of anyone? No, he wasn’t.)

        • Susan writes “If Baha’u’llah had not intended something similar to the Imamate he would not have appointed anyone as His successor.”

          I have to disagree with Susan’s logic here. Naming a successor is a far cry from creating an unending chain of successors. Baha’u’llah did not create the Imamate–er, the Guardianship; his son did. We all know this, however, we don’t need to presume that the Guardianship contradicted his general intent. I happen to think the Guardianship was compatible with Baha’u’llah’s intentions for his religion.

        • Susan,

          I have read both of Badiullah’s epistles on the subject of the dispute between Abdul-Baha and Ghusn-i-Akbar. The first one is critical of Ghusn-i-Akbar. The second one is critical of Abdul-Baha. I found both of them to be polemical documents designed to make one side or the other look as bad as possible. I got the impression that Badiullah had mixed feelings about which side to support, and that while he supported each side, respectively, he wrote a narrative favorable to it.

          In the end, he supported Ghusn-i-Akbar’s side — just like most of Bahaullah’s descendants. I think we have to ask ourselves, why would most of the family of Bahaullah decide that Ghusn-i-Akbar had a point and choose not to support Abdul-Baha, unless Abdul-Baha really was doing some very sketchy things in his role as Bahai leader? The Haifan narrative that all these family members were just jerks and that only a tiny percentage of Bahaullah’s decendants were decent people strikes me as utterly absurd.

        • I see you can’t let my comments stand by themselves without interjecting your own first.
          Making up false charges against someone that one knows will get him executed is most definitely trying to get them killed!

  2. Muhammad Ali had no authority while ‘Abdu’l-Baha was alive. Had he remained faithful to the Covenant he would have been ‘Abdu’l-Baha successor but at the time the Will and Testament was written Muhammad Ali was trying to get ‘Abdu’l-Baha killed. You left out that little detail. Trying to get the present holder of an office killed is a sure-fire way of getting yourself excluded from succession to that office. Is that too difficult a concept to understand?

    • Or you BELIEVE that Muhammad Ali tried to get Abdu’l-Baha killed, which could have been made up to justify what Abdu’l-Baha did to exclude Muhammad Ali later. You know what they say about the winners getting to rewrite history, right? Considering the thought control and censorship of the Haifa based Baha’i Administrative Order, that’s certainly possible!

      So you admit that Baha’u’llah was mistaken to allow Muhammad Ali to be designated Abdu’l-Baha’s successor? And since Baha’u’llah indicated that God himself had a part of that decision, that God made a mistake? Are you saying that Abdu’l-Baha’s judgement was superior to that of Baha’u’llah or even God? Sorry, I’m not buying THAT! We might as well reject the Baha’i Faith completely, then.

      If your stupidity wasn’t so blatantly obvious before, it is now! Only a fool rejects the actual facts and justifies it with dogmatic belief. Religion should never be like that anymore!

      • Why wouldn’t I believe that? Why do you think that the Will and Testament was written when it was? Shoghi Effendi was just a little boy at the time. Why would he have appointed a boy as successor unless he thought his death was eminent? ‘Abdu’l-Baha was being investigated by the Ottoman authorities because Muhammad Ali had reported that the Shrine of the Bab which ‘Abdu’l-Baha was constructing was designed to be a fort from which ‘Abdu’l-Baha was planning to launch a rebellion against the Ottoman authorities. The Ottomans were just about to pronounce a death sentence against ‘Abdu’l-Baha when the Young Turks’ Revolution took place. That is why ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote the Will and Testament and why the bulk of that document is spent enumerating what Muhammad Ali had done. ‘Abdu’l-Baha was expecting to be executed at any minute. The proceedings of the commission which tried ‘Abdu’l-Baha are a matter of public record. It is not something the Baha’i Administration could have made up.

        (Dale Husband: Again, you are only repeating what you have been told by your superiors among the Haifa Baha’is and blindly following their “logic” to save your case. I read those very same things when I was a Baha’i and only later learned to be skeptical of them. A responsible leader would have appointed a MAN to be his successor, not a boy. And I’d think if Abdu’l-Baha’s faith in God was stronger, then he would never have thought his life was in any real danger. He survived, didn’t he?)

        As for Baha’u’llah’s choice, there is a thing known a free will. Muhammad Ali exercised his free will to go in a direction other than what Baha’u’llah intended. But Baha’u’llah isn’t the one who made a mistake.

        (Dale Husband: And you don’t think Abdu’l-Baha did anything wrong? Are you saying he somehow did not have free will? Lack of free will is a flaw, not a virtue. And the all-knowing, all-seeing God could have warned Baha’u’llah about Mirza Muhammad Ali’s future treachery and thus there would have been no provision in the Book of the Covenant for Muhammad Ali to succeed Abdu’l-Baha [which Abdu’l-Baha would later have broken, thus damaging both Baha’u’llah’s credibility and his own]. In any case, you fail.)

        And do you really think calling people names strengthened your case?

        (Dale Husband: No, but when my intelligence is insulted by nonsense, I tend to insult back. Since when is calling a spade a spade such a bad thing?)

        • Doesn’t it strike you as more than a bit unfair that you interject your own comments before you put up my posts instead of posting them as is, and then responding as I have to?

          (Dale Husband: If you don’t like what I do on my own blog, the obvious solution is to go to your own blog and attack me from there. Stop being such a pathetic whiner! After all, you have invaded MY space!)

          I am not repeating what anyone tells me. I am a historian by profession and unlike you I have looked at the evidence rather than merely projecting whatever negativity I want to see. Yes, Abdu’l-Baha appointed a boy as Guardian because he was the only one with the requisite spiritual qualities, but He never intended that he would govern the Faith unaided. At the same time ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote the Will and Testament He sent a Tablet out to Haji Muhammad Taqi Vakil ud-Dawlih that in the event of His execution he should arrange for the immediate election of the Universal House of Justice.

          As for whether or not Baha’u’llah could have foreseen Muhammad Ali treachery, I’m sure He knew it was a possibility. It was also a possibility that Muhammad Ali would remain faithful to the Covenant. Baha’is don’t believe in predestination. I’m sorry if that insults your intelligence, but I don’t see much intelligence to insult, just a very, deep, deep antagonism that wants to destroy.

          (Dale Husband: It is your right to assert whatever religious dogmas, even those based on interpretation of historical events, you wish, just as it is MY right to question that interpretation, show that there were serious errors and contradictions of the dogmas that resulted from that interpretation, and suggest alternative depictions that seem more credible. And that seems to frighten the hell out of you, because if your case was as airtight as it should have been, I wouldn’t have been able to irritate you so much. Thanks for the insults, hypocrite!)

      • You seem to be ignoring the fact that the Will and Testament was written when ‘Abdu’l-Baha believed He was the ‘loser’, in other words He was about to be executed due to Muhammad Ali’s false charges. That’s *why* the Will was written when it was.

        • And you ignored my questions above, which I shall repeat:

          “So you admit that Baha’u’llah was mistaken to allow Muhammad Ali to be designated Abdu’l-Baha’s successor? And since Baha’u’llah indicated that God himself had a part of that decision, that God made a mistake? Are you saying that Abdu’l-Baha’s judgement was superior to that of Baha’u’llah or even God?”

          You (and the Baha’i Faith based in Haifa) are so hypocritical to insist on absolute rules when it suits you and then say that rules may be bent or broken when it suits you. Why should we take you or the Covenant of the Baha’i Faith seriously, then?

    • Susan,

      The idea that “Muhammad Ali tried to get Abdul-Baha killed” is a shaky assertion at best. It may be true that Ghusn-i-Akbar was trying to make his elder brother look bad in the eyes of the Ottoman government. But it’s a pretty big leap from that, to saying that he was an attempted murderer. The Ottoman government had the responsibility to decide how to react to any claims that Ghusn-i-Akbar may have made about Abdul-Baha’s activities or intentions. And the Ottoman government surely knew that there was an angry dispute about religious authority between these two brothers, i.e. it was a family feud — and any competent Ottoman official would have treated it as such, and probably not taken very seriously anything either of them said about the other.

      Realistically, had the Ottoman government survived, they likely would have separated the two branches of Bahaullah’s family by sending one or the other of them into exile in a different part of the Ottoman Empire — just as they did before with Bahaullah’s partisans and the partisans of Subh-i-Azal. They already had experience dealing with the whole brother-against-brother, duelling religious leaders family feud thing. It had already happened before in the Babi-Bahai movement. I think it strains credibility to argue that anything Ghusn-i-Akbar said in complaint about his brother to Ottoman authorities was the equivalent of an attempted murder.

      • You are speculating with no evidence whatsoever. He was accusing his brother of treason and he knew what the penalty for that was. The historical record shows the Ottoman officials did take the charges seriously. Check their records if you don’t believe it. The Commission of Inquiry had *issued* the order to execute ‘Abdu’l-Baha.

        (Dale Husband: And what if Abdu’l-Baha really had been guilty of conspiracy to commit treason? Since Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha had spent many years as prisoners of the Ottoman Empire, the latter could have been preparing to fight for his freedom and to overthrow the local Ottoman authorities to establish a theocratic state in Palestine. But we may never know for sure since the thought control and censorship of the Haifa based Baha’i Adminsitrative Order has totally written Baha’i history for us, smearing Muhammad Ali and depicting Abdu’l-Baha as blameless. Shouldn’t non-Baha’is be skeptical of that?)

        • Susan,

          If the records exist and are publicly available, please post a link to where they can be found. And I don’t mean a link to a Haifan Bahai website in which such records are mentioned. I mean the actual records themselves, so that it will be clear that this is not just a Haifan story.

          Secondly, if the Ottoman government really had already issued an order to execute Abdul-Baha, then they must have believed he was doing something against the government. We have absolutely no way of knowing whether the allegations were true or false. Assuming that Abdul-Baha was always obedient to the government and would never contemplate active resistance is an assumption that may or may not be true. Furthermore, even if they did issue an order to execute him and he was totally innocent of the charges, we don’t know whether Ghusn-i-Akbar was lying or was telling the truth about what he believed Abdul-Baha was doing against the government. From what I’ve read, these two brothers were not on speaking terms, neither were their families. They probably moved in different social circles. Ghusn-i-Akbar may have reported rumors he heard from people he knew about Abdul-Baha planning to actively resist the Ottoman government. We don’t know who started the rumors originally, and we don’t know if Ghusn-i-Akbar believed the allegations or not.

          In summary, the Haifan narrative about all of this makes a lot of assumptions, all of which are maximally favorable to Abdul-Baha and maximally unfavorable to Ghusn-i-Akbar. This is the characteristic of a polemical religious narrative rather than objective history. The objective history in this case may never be known.

          Regardless, none of it changes the fact that Bahaullah did write that God had chosen Ghusn-i-Akbar after Ghusn-i-Azam (Abdul-Baha). If that’s what God wanted, there must’ve been a reason for it. Bahais should try to think about what that reason might be. Here’s a possibility to chew on: Maybe Bahaullah knew that Abdul-Baha had a big ego and would probably try to go too far in his leadership of the cause, so he appointed his younger brother as the next leader, whom he knew would serve as a check and balance on the elder brother’s charismatic grandiosity.

          The question on Abdul-Baha’s problems with the Ottoman government and any role Ghusn-i-Akbar may have played in that doesn’t change the theological issues here. Even if the Haifan narrative is correct and Ghusn-i-Akbar was a wicked man — which is totally unproven — Abdul-Baha didn’t have the right to appoint his own chosen successor to religious authority in the Bahai faith. If Bahaullah had intended for him to have that authority, he could would have said in his will that Abdul-Baha could choose his own successor. Abdul-Baha did have the option of writing in his own will that Bahais should run their own affairs through the Houses of Justice, rather than needing to obey Ghusn-i-Akbar as an absolute leader, based on the fact that (in his view) Ghusn-i-Akbar had done something dishonorable. Instead, he chose to appoint a new absolute ruler and declare Ghusn-i-Akbar a “Covenant-breaker,” which was not provided for in Bahaullah’s will.

          • Not everything which is a matter of public record is on the internet, Eric. But here is a link to what is probably the best source on this subject:,1837_1

            As for Baha’u’llah’s reason for appointing Muhammad Ali, I’ve already stated that it *was* His will that Muhammad Ali would be ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s successor. It was not His will that Muhammad Ali would rebel against Abdu’l-Baha. Unfortunately Muhammad Ali’s own will went in another direction. You can’t try and get somebody killed and expect to succeed them. End of story.

          • Susan,

            Thanks for the link, but I don’t have an extra $30 to buy this article. Is the author is a Bahai or non-Bahai?

            I’m willing to concede that IF Ghusn-i-Akbar deliberately accused Abdul-Baha of treason to the Ottoman government and IF he didn’t actually have reason to believe this allegation (i.e. if it was just a dishonest plot by him to get Abdul-Baha killed), THEN Bahais should not have followed him as the Bahai leader after Abdul-Baha’s death. However, it’s pretty much a moot point anyway, since the vast majority of Bahais did not follow him anyway.

            What I think you need to be willing to concede is something more central to the point of Dale’s blog post that we’re commenting on: the fact that Bahaullah never gave Abdul-Baha the authority to appoint an alternative successor of his own choice, if for whatever reason Ghusn-i-Akbar became unsuitable for leadership or unable to assume this role (for example if he became insane, senile, died before Abdul-Baha, committed a criminal or extremely immoral act, etc.). The “Guardianship” does not derive from Bahaullah’s will and testament, but only from the unilateral innovation of Abdul-Baha without authority given to him to innovate in this way (in the matter of succession), and its legitimacy is therefore questionable.

        • The “treason” that Abdu’l-Baha was accused of was building a fortress on Mt. Carmel from which to launch a rebellion against the Ottomans. That so-called fortress was the Shrine of the Bab!

        • As this documentation now proves by direct inference, Abbas Effendi aka ‘Abdu’l-Baha was indeed engaging in acts of treason against the Turkish authorities in Acre-Haifa during WWI which was the reason they nearly lynched him Mohammad Ali Effendi had nothing to do with anything. This was a ex post facto narrative the Abbas Effendists manufactured to discredit Muhammad Ali Effendi.

          We also have the testimony of the mother of Siamak Zand (former journalist and Iran correspondent for CBS) who got it from her own parents (who were at the death bed of Haba’ullah in Bahji in 1892 and lived right through the period of WWI) that Abbas Effendi was overtly engaging in acts of destabilization and espionage against the Ottoman Young Turk authorities of Haifa-Acre on behalf of the British. Zand’s granmother and grandfather witnessed first hand how night after night when Abbas Effendi and individuals in his employ were signalling British boats outside of the harbor of Haifa during the British naval blockade of Acre-Haifa weeks before their official invasion. This was the reason why the Turks blew their top and nearly killed him.

  3. Note that I have said, “Baha’is must reject the Guardianship”, not that “People must reject the Baha’i Faith.” Of course, if someone does that, that is fine with me. This whole situation could have been avoided if:
    1. Baha’u’llah had NOT designated Muhammad Ali as Abdu’l-Baha’s sucessor at all.
    2. Abdu’l-Baha had not claimed absolute authority and infalliblity for himself.
    3. Abdu’l-Baha had allowed Muhammad Ali to be his secessor.
    4. Shoghi Effendi had never become Guardian.
    5. Shoghi Effendi had not expelled all his close relatives from the Faith for disobedience.
    5. Shoghi Effendi had obeyed the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha and appointed a successor to the Guardianship in his lifetime.
    6. The Universal House of Justice had been established with a Guardian, descended by blood from Baha’u’llah, as its designated member for life.

    ANY of those things could have saved the credibility of the Haifa based Baha’i Faith, at least in my eyes. As it stands, it has NONE!

    • Your being disingenuous, Dale. You didn’t lose your faith because you questioned the line of the authority in the Covenant. You began questioning the covenantal line of authority because you had lost your faith in the Baha’i Administration. You would have been just as unhappy if you lived during the time of Shoghi Effendi when the Administrative Order was just being set up. If Shoghi Effendi had named a successor you would be rebelling against him right now.

      Face it, you just don’t like authority.

      (Dale Husband: Authority that is not subject to questioning is DANGEROUS, period, because anyone can claim it and use to abuse others, whether in religion or politics. And yes, I did realize there was something wrong with the Administrative Order and with the teachings of the Faith, so I began investigating to find out what could have gone wrong with it, once I had shaken off my dogmatic programming that I had been brainwashed with for nearly seven or eight years. And my blog entries on the Baha’i Faith were the result of my research. At every point where something could have gone wrong with the developement of the Faith, it did, but one or two right turns could have made the mistakes and failings not so obvious to people like me!

      What I don’t like is authority that is not based on consistent logic, justice and truth.

      Don’t ever expect “entry by troops” with your attitude, Susan. People of other faiths use your kind of bogus “reasoning” to defend their flawed beliefs too.)

      • Srry, dn’t s mch dvtn t jstc r trth hr. s nthng mtvtng y pt dp-std htrd.

        (Dale Husband: And with that final insult, Susan, you lose any further right to post comments on my blog. Goodbye and don’t EVER come back!)

  4. Let’s not forget that the very notion of a guardianship is outdated and childish; a mere recasting of the Shi’a Imamate. But archaic as it was, it was a very Baha’i idea, because it was based on the outmoded notion that men need to be constantly under the guidance of God. The guardianship was emblematic of the low regard that the Baha’i Faith has for humanity. Men are sheep–that’s the most fundamental Baha’i principle.

    (Dale Husband: Indeed, because monarchy [hereditary rule by a single person] is itself an outdated form of government. The form of government Americans have is a constitutional democratic republic. What Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi gave Baha’is instead was a constitutional oligarchy that only looks democratic, but the elections are only for show, like those of former Soviet Union, where NO ONE could challenge openly the prevailing leadership!)

    • Let’s also remember, however, that Bahaullah himself called for a democratic assembly with a quorum of at least nine souls (i.e. men and women) in every city of the world. A democratic vote of whoever showed up at these assemblies was to decide important issues. He called this institution the Bayt al-Adl (House of Justice). Basically, he was advocating for something similar to the concept of New England town meetings, a radical institution of direct popular democracy.

      This is what Bahaullah taught in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. Then Abdul-Baha and Shoghi Effendi changed the concept of the House of Justice to be a system of religious administrative oligarchy at the local, national, and international level. At the highest level in the Haifan system, an oligarchy of nine MEN (no women allowed) makes the decisions. Not only is the Haifan “Universal House of Justice” not a direct democratic institution — i.e. it has a fixed number of members who are elected, rather than being a standing meeting with unlimited participation — but it also restricts its members to one gender only.

      The Haifan UHJ is therefore nothing like what Bahaullah intended the institution of the Bayt al-Adl to be. Bahaullah promoted a much more progressive concept than what his successors did in this regard.

      • That’s right! Baha’u’llah called for Houses of Justice, not just one. Not Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. Not Continental Counselors and Auxiliary Board members. Those are practically the same as a CLERGY, which the Baha’i Faith is not supposed to have! Baha’i apologists rationalize this by saying that the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies are destined to evolve into Houses of Justice, without explaining why they are not simply called Houses of Justice in the first place. The excessively bureaucratic nature of the Baha’i Administrative Order based in Haifa chokes off spirituality even during the Baha’i Feasts, when administrative duties dominate a portion of it, distracting from the idea of worship. They should be completely separated, in my opinion.

      • Baha’u’llah never talked about nine ‘souls’ being selected to serve on these Houses of Justice, He specifically referred to *men* serving on the Houses of Justice. It was ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi’s authoritative interpretation which allowed women to serve on local and national bodies. In fact, Baha’u’llah never even used the word ‘elect’ in connection with those bodies. The Arabic word could just as well have been translated as ‘select’ and in fact during Baha’u’llah’s lifetime the House of Justice of Tehran consisted of the Hands of the Cause and a few other persons who those Hands themselves selected. It was ‘Abdu’l-Baha who introduced elections into this system, so accusing them of being undemocratic is really rather ludicrous.
        Assemblies are Houses of Justice, we simply call them Assemblies at this point so no one will think we are trying to take over the government. ‘Baha’i apologists’ don’t have to give you an explanation for this as ‘Abdu’l-Baha already gave the explanation.
        It is amazing to me that you guys call for democracy then rail against the very bureaucracies that democracies entail. When you grow up you may find out you can’t have one without the other.

        • Susan makes several valid points here. I’m inclined to believe that Baha’u’llah intended for men to be the only officers of the Houses of Justice, which is why ‘Abdu’l-Baha’ initially thought local bodies should only consist of men. Judging from the distinctions between men and women in Baha’u’llah’s writings, and in the Aqdas in particular, he was far from one to depict men and women as identical in their roles. And Baha’u’llah did not specify a democratic process. He certainly never suggested a democratic system or oversaw elections. I think the administrative order was primarily a creation of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, whose father showed little interest in such matters.

        • Susan, perhaps you refer to this passage in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:

          We have decreed that a third part of all fines shall go to the Seat of Justice, and We admonish its men to observe pure justice, that they may expend what is thus accumulated for such purposes as have been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. O ye Men of Justice! Be ye, in the realm of God, shepherds unto His sheep and guard them from the ravening wolves that have appeared in disguise, even as ye would guard your own sons. Thus exhorteth you the Counsellor, the Faithful.

          Which is where Baha’is got the idea that only men (not women) may serve on the Universal House of Justice.

          What Eric was probably referring to was this other passage in the same book:

          The Lord hath ordained that in every city a House of Justice be established wherein shall gather counsellors to the number of Bahá, and should it exceed this number it doth not matter. They should consider themselves as entering the Court of the presence of God, the Exalted, the Most High, and as beholding Him Who is the Unseen. It behoveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful among men and to regard themselves as the guardians appointed of God for all that dwell on earth. It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to have regard for the interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as they regard their own interests, and to choose that which is meet and seemly. Thus hath the Lord your God commanded you. Beware lest ye put away that which is clearly revealed in His Tablet. Fear God, O ye that perceive.

          Note that the gender of the local Houses of Justice memberships in the second passage is not specified. So your statement that “It was ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi’s authoritative interpretation which allowed women to serve on local and national bodies,” is thus falsified. Baha’u’llah said it first. BTW, did you notice that the membership of these Houses of Justice are also called “guardians appointed of God for all that dwell on earth”? That’s a far cry from the Guardianship established by Abdu’l-Baha.

          It was ‘Abdu’l-Baha who introduced elections into this system, so accusing them of being undemocratic is really rather ludicrous.

          They ARE undemocratic because there is no way to challenge the leadership during the elections, thus the incumbents almost always win. THAT is what’s ludicrous!

          Assemblies are Houses of Justice, we simply call them Assemblies at this point so no one will think we are trying to take over the government. ‘Baha’i apologists’ don’t have to give you an explanation for this as ‘Abdu’l-Baha already gave the explanation.

          Make up your mind! You insist that Baha’u’llah’s decrees be absolutely binding, except where Abdu’l-Baha says otherwise! I already said that Abdu’l-Baha does NOT outrank Baha’ullah. Why do you imply otherwise?

          It is amazing to me that you guys call for democracy then rail against the very bureaucracies that democracies entail. When you grow up you may find out you can’t have one without the other.

          I am a grown up, and if you seriously think what you just said, that is a failure of YOUR imagination. You simply cannot think outside the “box” of Baha’i dogmas. Sad, really!

        • Susan wrote: “Baha’u’llah never talked about nine ’souls’ being selected to serve on these Houses of Justice, He specifically referred to *men* serving on the Houses of Justice.”

          Susan, I’ve looked at the Arabic text of the Aqdas, as well as a very literal translation by Earl E. Elder (1961), and this is what it says: “God has ordained that in every city they make a House of Justice, and the souls according to the number of al-Baha’ will assemble in it. There is no harm if the number increases.”

          I have a friend who is a native Arabic speaker who checked and told me this translation is more accurate than the official Haifan translation. The word in question, which the Haifan version translates as “counsellors,” actually means nothing of the sort. The word literally means “souls” in Arabic. Anyone with an Arabic dictionary can check and find this out, as I have done. The implication is that Bahaullah was referring to people in general — not just men, and not just some kind of elected religious officials such as “LSA members” or “NSA members” or “UHJ members.” Just souls. And it need not be only nine, he says, but it can be more than nine if more assemble for the meetings.

          So what if Bahaullah referred to the “men of the House of Justice” in another passage. He probably said that because in the time and culture in which he was writing, it would have been extremely unlikely for any women to be involved in House of Justice meetings. But the passage where he actually defines the composition of the Houses of Justice does not specify any gender; therefore the gender should not be restricted to men only.

          Haifan Bahais go through all kinds of contortions, including deliberately mistranslating Bahaullah’s writings on some significant points, to try to justify their doctrinal positions and policies. What is particularly sad to see is when female Bahais who believe in equal rights for women find it somehow more important to try to defend gender-discriminatory Haifan Baha’i Faith organizational policies that can be easily shown from Bahaullah’s own writings as unnecessary to uphold. I guess that’s what belonging to a fundamentalist religious organization can do to a person.

          • If He referred to ‘men of the House of Justice” you can’t argue that He intended for both men and women to serve and that somebody later changed it. You have no basis for arguing that one passage defines the composition and the other does not. It is wishful thinking on your part.

            (Dale Husband: So when the American Declaration of Independence said that “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal”, that must have also excluded women, by your argument. Yet today women in the United States have the right to vote, hold public office and all other rights that men have. Whatever Baha’u’llah intended, that does not change the fact that most of us do not live in the Middle East of the late 19th Century and therefore any standard applicable to that time and place is inappropriate here and now. Abdu’l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi must have realized this, hench the making of those “authoritative interpretations” you referred to earlier. That’s code for “replacing Baha’u’llah’s outdated standards with new ones to keep the Western membership of the Faith from rejecting it eventually.”)

          • Dear Eric,

            I went back and checked the Arabic Aqdas and the word nafsoona can certainly be translated as ‘souls.’ The problem is that the noun is in the masculine plural, so you can’t say it is gender neutral.

            warmest, Susan

        • Susan writes “It is amazing to me that you guys call for democracy then rail against the very bureaucracies that democracies entail. When you grow up you may find out you can’t have one without the other.”

          Susan, let’s not forget that nobody needs either. Such a ponderous religious bureaucracy, whether democratic or otherwise, is not necessary at all. A religion can manage its own affairs without aspiring to manage the affairs of its members, to say nothing of the affairs of the world. The fact is that the Baha’i Faith has become a cult of bureaucracy, that the very Baha’i creed is an oath to bureaucracy, and none, save a handful of outcasts, view that bureaucracy as the framework of a great future world government.

  5. Actually it is specified as male in the second passage of the Aqdas as well. Virtually all nouns in Arabic have gender, though this does not always come out in the translation. This is not to say that women couldn’t serve on local and national bodies, but it took an authoritative interpretation to determine that. Certainly women were not allowed to serve on Houses of Justice in Baha’u’llah’s time. So the idea that Abdu’l-Baha or Shoghi Effendi changed this for the worse is clearly false.

    (Dale Husband: Of course it is false, because I didn’t say otherwise. Assuming your statement is accurate, maybe what is stated as a male noun in Arabic does not always mean male persons ONLY. Sexist assumptions without justification can damage your credibility, especially when the assumptions are not made clear in translations, as you have admitted.)

    Without such authoritative interpretations women would not be able to sit in any administrative office and men could take a second wife. Maybe you would like that, but I wouldn’t. As to whether Baha’u’llah’s decrees are absolutely binding, He Himself stated that the application of any of His laws was conditioned on wisdom.

    (Dale Husband: Such “authoritative interpretations” are proof enough that even the laws made by Baha’u’llah need not be seen as infallible, though I know you won’t publicly admit to that obvious conclusion here.)

    As for whether or not our institutions are democratic, it is rather unfortunate that you equate partisanship with democracy. Incumbency has nothing to do with the question of whether an election is democratic. People can be elected for life and you still have a democratic government.

    (Dale Husband: You just made an embarrassing strawman here. I said nothing about political parties within the Baha’i Faith, just about the issue of voters not being able to challenge the policies of the current leadership by campaigning against them with alternative candidates. And democracy involves having the ability of replacing incumbents whenever the people want to, even if they actually do not. That ability does not exist in Baha’i elections, so they are indeed NOT democratic!

    You are being truly dishonest, Susan!)

    • It’s time for Bahais to be willing to say “I think Abdul-Baha’s interpretation of such-and-such in Bahaullah’s writings was a bad interpretation, or maybe was only relevant for that particular time, and today it should be *ignored*.” Just like how liberal Christians say “I don’t agree with how Paul interpreted Christianity on such-and-such point,” or whatever, and just ignore it and do something differently because it makes more sense to them nowadays.

      This is how liberal, open-minded, progressive thinking people deal with religious issues. This is how most people today in advanced civilizations think about religion — except for the kind of folks who attend churches that are swimming against the tide of history, desperately trying to preserve outdated doctrines and attitudes that are more suitable to medieval times than the 21st century.

      Which category do Bahais want to belong to? Religious liberals, or religious fundamentalists? That’s the choice. And until Bahais are willing to dare to just say “Abdul-Baha was wrong about X, Y, or Z,” such as his prohibition of women serving on their highest religious leadership institution, they are firmly in the category of the fundamentalists — the side that is on the losing end of the progression of history.

      Choose wisely, Bahais.

      • If we want to become as divided as Christianity is today I suppose we could do that. The difference between ‘Abdu’l-Baha and Paul is that Jesus never gave any explicit authority to Paul whereas Baha’u’llah clearly appointed ‘Abdu’l-Baha to lead the Baha’i Community and told the believers to turn to him if they weren’t clear about the Writings.
        When religion becomes as fluid as you want it to be, Eric, it no longer can provide any guidance to anyone. Revelation becomes meaningless.

        (Dale Husband: Actually the Book of Acts, written by Paul’s follower Luke, depicts Paul as having a vision of Jesus and as the chosen instrument of Jesus to bring the Gospel to Gentiles, so either you never read it or you don’t beleive what it says. And the early church accepted Paul’s writings as authoritative Scripture, as any reading of the New Testament would show.

        Also, the Unitarian Universalist Association membership is far more diverse in their theologies [or lack thereof, since some are atheists or agnostics] than any other religious group, yet they are not devided outright into sects that compete with each other. They all attend churches together in harmony. What devided Christianity was excessive dogmatism and refusal to accept diversity and freedom of thought among themselves, the same as what is crippling the Baha’i Faith now.

        And your last statement implies that tyranny and absolutism is the only way to guide people, which is abusive nonsense. As a longtime Unitarian Universalist, I know that is false. Again, you fail.)

        • Susan,

          Do you honestly believe the world would have been better off, and Christianity itself would have been better off, without the Protestant Reformation? I’m inclined to believe that if multiple Christian denominations had never arisen, we would still be living in the Dark Ages.

          The main thing that causes religions to evolve and remain relevant to changing times — and in fact be part of what causes progressive societal evolution — is the rise of reform movements, people challenging the absolute authority of the leaders, and creating new interpretations of the scriptures.

          And it’s a safe bet that the same thing will happen with Bahaism, just as has happened with all mature religions. The only other alternative is to be a small cultlike group that becomes less and less relevant to the world as time goes on and its doctrines are seen as increasingly outdated.

    • Launching campaigns against members *is* partisanship. One can easily vote against someone you don’t like without launching a campaign against them.

      (Dale Husband: Redefining words more broadly than most people would recognize them is unethical. And how can people vote responsibly for or against others without being informed about what the alternatives are to the current leadership? Baha’i elections are bogus shams, period!)

      • Sorry, Dale but you are the one redefining terms and being unethical. Democracy simply means that leaders are elected into office. It doesn’t mean campaigns, electioneering etc. Most religious organizations (such as the Presbyterian Church) which have elected offices avoid those practices.

        (Dale Husband: You are a liar, Susan! In the Unitarian Universalist Association, we do have elections with campaigns and electioneering, and I actually like that better since it allows for the free exchange of ideas among the candidates and members. What YOU have is censorship coupled with the incumbents being virtually guaranteed to win, which is as far from democracy as it gets. That’s what elections in the Soviet Union were for decades and no one except a Communist idiot would call that democracy.)

  6. Susan Maneck, by coming here and stating endlessly the standard Baha’i dogmatic talking points as absolute fact instead of showing any hint of thinking for herself and asking logical questions of me, has demonstrated the excessively authoritarian and contradictory nature of her religion better than anything I could have said. The Baha’i Faith is indeed no better than Christianity, Islam or any other faith known and it deserves the same fate as all the others: to be forever deprived of ANY political power whatsoever and to just be a tentative guide for people to live and to associate with each other. Anything beyond that is simply unacceptable from a libertarian standpoint and the history of the world has shown that such a standpoint is the only way to go to have peace and prosperity for the peoples of the world. Let it be so!

    • And while I’m at it, I must establish once and for all that Abdu’l-Baha did NOT uphold the commands of Baha’u’llah and that therefore anything he did that contradicts what Baha’u’llah wrote, including appointing Shoghi Effendi as his successor instead of Muhammad Ali, is invalid. That’s not the only thing in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha that implied that Baha’u’llah was wrong……

      “Associate with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. Whatsoever has led the children of mankind to shun one another, and has caused dissensions and divisions among them, has, through the revelation these words, been nullified and abolished.” — Baha’u’llah

      “And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.” – Abdu’l-Baha (Emphasis mine – D. H.)

      Who should Baha’is beleive? I’d beleive Baha’u’llah and kick what Abdu’l-Baha said to the curb! The Son is NOT greater than his Father! The original Covenant of Baha’u’llah was terminated and Baha’is ever since have followed the Covenant of Abdu’l-Baha, which, thanks to Shoghi Effendi’s failure to appoint a sucessor in his lifetime, was also terminated. Haifa based Baha’is need to get over it and admit that their religion is doomed to fail!

      • Sorry, to disappoint you but shunning was practiced as much by Baha’u’llah as it was by Abdu’l-Baha. Would you like the documentation? Or is this another case of abandoning the search for truth in favor of a good fantasy?

        • Susan, you’re right, Bahaullah did practice shunning (against his half-brother, the successor of the Bab, Mirza Yahya Subh-i-Azal). But the interesting thing is, when Bahaullah wrote the beautiful words “Whatsoever has led the children of mankind to shun one another, and has caused dissensions and divisions among them, has, through the revelation these words, been nullified and abolished,” he was an elderly man and perhaps had come to the realization that it was better to try to promote reconciliation among religious enemies rather than endless shunning, divisiveness and hatred.

          It can also be viewed as the Divine Voice breaking in and, despite Bahaullah’s own human actions to the contraty, making a clear statement against shunning. Sometimes words of great inspiration come forth from the mouths of people who do not always practice what they preach.

          (Dale Husband: Well said, Eric! Indeed, if people would just stop assuming that anyone, even a Messenger of God, is somehow perfect in all his actions and words, we would all be better off. Baha’u’llah was not a puppet pulled by God’s strings, but as human as the rest of us. If Baha’u’llah or Abdu’l-Baha had murdered someone, I suspect that many Baha’is would STILL say it was justified somehow. And that makes the whole concept of moral absolutes in religion pointless.)

          • Actually, Dale, there is some evidence that Abdul-Baha may indeed have had someone murdered who opposed him. I don’t know how reliable the allegation is, but since Susan has presented the allegation that Ghusn-i-Akbar tried to have the Ottoman government execute Abdul-Baha, I might as well mention that there are allegations of similar moral gravity that have been made against Abdul-Baha. I read this one in William Miller’s book, “The Baha’i Faith: Its History and Teachings.” It comes from primary source documents which he references.

  7. Dear Dale,

    You are a champ, my brother!

    Seriously, though, don’t waste your time with Dr Maniac. This apparat-chick is so far out in the left-field of cult-doom that she ought to rename herself Kristy Alley or some other celebrity Scientologist whack-job rather than her own name anymore.

    Anyway, my point of view is that Bahaism of all hues has pretty much relegated itself to cultdom in perpetu and this thing will eventually become extinct over the next 100 years or maybe less. Eric Stetson’s Unitarian Universalist Bahai venture might have the best of intentions at heart but to me it is also silliness squared coupled with a badly tempered Nietzchean “will to power.” I hope he succeeds, but doubt he will beyond small circles, since I believe that demons and bad karma cannot by definition be reformed but transmuted beyond their originary forms — which in the case of Bahaism means throwing the baby out with the bath water and getting a new bay together with a completely new bathroom and bath. Unitarian Universalist Bahaism is just another attempt to repackage the demon and its negative karma in a kindler gentler suit. It is still the same old, same old. Just like a kindler gentler Soviet Communism didn’t work, and a kindler gentler Islamism doesn’t work, a kindler gentler Bahaism won’t work either! Folks need to start moving on and fight the good fight where they are needed the most.

    That said, the real #1 enemy right now, for me at least, is the regime in Iran (and Islamist fundalooniests generally) followed closely by the multinational corporate Beast of Mammon ravaging our beloved Mother Gaia-Spendarmata (aka *Eywa*) all over this beleagured holy rock we all are inhabiting. The warriors needed, really, are in this domain and not amongst these silly cultist losers and NWOer Haifan Bahai loons who do not know their proverbial heads from their bloated backsides.

    Much love to you and yours during this resplendent Spring, my main man! Keep up the good work.

    Ya NUR
    The AVATAR (aka Wahid) 😉

    • Wahid wrote: “Eric Stetson’s Unitarian Universalist Bahai venture might have the best of intentions at heart but to me it is also silliness… I hope he succeeds, but doubt he will beyond small circles, since I believe that demons and bad karma cannot by definition be reformed but transmuted beyond their originary forms — which in the case of Bahaism means throwing the baby out with the bath water…”

      It’s hard to know how much the UU Bahai movement will ultimately grow. I’m interested to find out. There are already several others heavily involved in it, who are highly talented people. More people are coming in on a regular basis. But I have no idea what the outcome will be after a period of years or decades.

      I think one thing is already clear: If a more liberal Bahaism is ever going to emerge into anything significant, the UU Bahai movement is likely to be the best shot for that to happen. There are a number of reasons for this assertion which I won’t go into here, but let’s just say that the Unitarian Bahai Association is maximally likely to succeed according to sociological factors and that it has skilled leadership and volunteers of capacity from the very beginning. If it doesn’t work out as something that gains a major market share among Bahais, then Bahaism will probably just end up as a small, withering fundamentalist religion that never got large enough or important enough to be worthy of a major reform movement to allow it to remain relevant to changing times.

      Finally, we’ll be able to find out which way Bahaism will go: liberal reform or a slow death.

      (Dale Husband: At least you are realistic and humble about your chances, which debunks the whole notion that “Covenant-breaking” is done by egomaniacs who only think about themselves.

      For the record, the Baha’i Faith claims about 5 or 6 million people worldwide, and nowhere dominates any area. By contrast, the Mormon Church, which also started in the 19th Century, claims about 10 million members and dominates the state of Utah. Thus, the Mormons are far more successful than the Baha’i Faith and will probably continue long after the Baha’is fade away for good. Even though they are far more irrational than Baha’is, in my opinion.)

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  9. Dale, interesting you should bring up the Presidency. The People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) has an Eternal Presudent of the Republic in Kim Il Sung. He died July 8 1994. That’s when he stopped being Supreme Leader and President to being Eternal President. The Supreme Leader position was given to his son while he kept the Presidency. Eternal Guardianship is a simmilar concept.

    • Yes, and both eternal Guardianship and eternal Presidency are irrational concepts. I have heard there has been mass starvation in North Korea. When you cannot even keep your own people well fed….

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