Read this about a certain Baha’i leader:
Mr. Stephen Birkland is currently serving as a member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá’í Faith. Before his election to the House of Justice, he was a member of the International Teaching Center. Prior to his service at the World Center, Mr. Birkland served as an Auxiliary Board member beginning in 1976 and a Counsellor from 1993. He also served on the board of Trustees for Huqúqu’lláh in the United States for 10 years.
And what did Birkland do as a Counselor that I find so disgusting that it makes me despise the Baha’i leadership that he is now an actual part of? In the Winter 1997 issue of Gnosis magazine, an article was published titled, “Baha’i Leaders Vexed by On-Line Critics”, detailing the tyrannical acts of the Baha’i leaders of the time and their attack dog, Stephen Birkland.
None of the Talisman scholars challenged the legitimacy of the governing body, nor did they show sympathy for past “Covenant-breakers,” a few thousand of whom continue in various small sects. Nevertheless the Talisman discussions were viewed with alarm by authorities at national Baha’i headquarters in Wilmette, Illinois, and in Haifa. This generated an investigation by Stephen Birkland, a member of the Continental Board of Counselors for North America, acting under direction of the Haifa authorities.
Birkland personally interrogated Langness, Lee, Cole, and John Walbridge. Scholl agreed to meet with Birkland only on condition that the meeting be recorded for accuracy, a condition that was deemed unacceptable. Cole and Walbridge refused a second meeting requested by Birkland. David Langness had his rights to voting and attendance at major functions removed by the American National Spiritual Assembly, which never specified the charges against him but implied that it was punishing him for a posting he made on Talisman.
Cole, upon being told he was being investigated for “statements contrary to the Covenant,” resigned his membership, as did Linda Walbridge after similar remarks. Birkland had chosen to confront Cole and the Walbridges in late-night telephone calls. The ultimate fate of Langness, who appealed his punishment to the Universal House of Justice, and John Walbridge, who has not resigned, remains to be determined. When contacted by e-mail, Birkland declined to comment on the controversy.
I’m just glad Birkland did not have the power to put those dissenters in jail for their thought crimes. Nevertheless, he was a damned bastard for acting as a secret police for the Baha’i leaders and then being rewarded for his zealotry by being appointed to the International Teaching Center by the Universal House of Justice, and then being elected to the latter body. That is a bit like a loyalist to Hitler or Stalin, licking his boots constantly by helping arrest and execute dissenters, later being appointed the dictator’s eventual successor, continuing the corruption and abuse through another generation.