Baha’i Scandals

1. The Violation of Abdu’l-Baha – Baha’u’llah in the The Kitáb-i-Ahd, or Book of the Covenant (his Will and Testament) appointed Abdu’l-Baha as his successor, but also started that Abdu’l-Baha’s younger brother Mirza Muhammad Ali should be below him in rank and also be his immediate successor. Abdu’l-Baha disobeyed this commandment by depriving Muhammad Ali of any rank and replacing him as successor with his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, in his own Will and Testament.
2. The Madness of Shoghi Effendi – Abdu’l-Baha, in the same Will and Testament that appointed Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, stated that the Guardian must appoint either his firstborn or another branch (male descendant of Baha’u’llah) as his successor in his own lifetime. Shoghi Effendi not only had no children, but he expelled from the Baha’i community every single one of Abdu’l-Baha’s own descendants, making it impossible for him to keep his grandfather’s commandments. He also died in 1957 without leaving a Will and Testament of his own as required by Baha’i law, throwing the Faith into a crisis.
3. Failed prophecy cover up –  An early edition of Baha’u’llah and the New Era by J. E. Esselmont stated a prophecy by Abdu’l-Baha that by 1957 “Universal Peace will be firmly established, a Universal language promoted. Misunderstandings will pass away. The Bahá’í Cause will be promulgated in all parts and the oneness of mankind established.”  But what really happened that year was Shoghi Effendi’s death. The prophecy was deleted from later editions of the book.
4. Attack on Kalimat Press – In 2005 and 2006,The National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha’is of the United States and the United Kingdon issued orders to Baha’i communities under their command to stop selling books published by Kalimat Press, a small Baha’i owned book publishing company,  for publishing a few books that they happened to disapprove of. As a result, the company was crippled in its operations.
5. Dr. Hossein Danesh, sex offender – A member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, Danesh was stripped of his psychiatric license in the 1990s after being accused by several of his patients of sexual abuse. Instead of being expelled from the Baha’i community, he was sent to the Baha’i Landegg “university” in Switzerland, a private school which failed in 2005. Returning to Canada, he was hired by the NSA of Canada as a marriage and family therapist for fellow Baha’is.
6. Italian Baha’i financial scandal – Franco Ceccherini, a longtime member of the Italian National Spiritual Assembly, was found in 2007 to have stolen over 360,000  euros over 14 years while serving as the Assembly’s treasurer. This was discovered only when the Italian government audited the Baha’i community and then charged it 275,000 euros in back taxes, crippling financially the entire Italian Baha’i community.
7. Stephen Birkland, Baha’i secret police detective – In the 1990s, as a member of the Continental Board of Counselors for North America, Birkland led an investigation of Baha’is running an internet forum known as “Talisman” where members could openly question and debate issues regarding the management of the Baha’i communities. Birkland’s abusive tactics drove several Baha’is, including Juan Cole and John & Linda Walbridge, to resign rather than be condemned as covenant-breakers for taking part in Talisman, which was then shut down. Birkand was later rewarded for his zeal by being appointed to the International Teaching Center in 2008 and eventually he was elected to the Universal House of Justice in 2010.

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7 thoughts on “Baha’i Scandals

  1. Good list of scandals. I can think of others… such as the murder of National Spiritual Assembly member Daniel Jordan and the dismissal of Judge James Nelson from the National Spiritual Assembly for “gross negligence.”

    I’m also thinking of murders in ‘Akka during the early days. The seven Azalis that went to ‘Akka with the Baha’is were murdered, and Baha’is were imprisoned for this crime. I found out about that (and other scandals) from Rev. Samuel Graham Wilson’s book, Bahaism and Its Claims (see chapter ten). The book is available at Project Gutenberg online.

    Will Baha’i scandals ever end? Probably, only when the Baha’i Faith is nothing more than a memory. Thanks for the intriguing article.

  2. Pingback: Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith | Dale Husband's Intellectual Rants

  3. Pingback: Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith? Extract from Dale Husband’s blog. | The Bahai Insider

  4. I read with interest your many criticisms of the Baha’I Faith, and I agree with your four main criticisms. That said, I want to remind you of the main argument pro- and con- all religions:
    Pro: “Our religion is one of love and peace. Just read our holy book and you will see what lofty ideals we hold. You can’t disagree with those.”
    Con: “Look at all the horrible things your religion has done: corruption, Inquisitions, witch-burning, etc.”
    The argument is always between what a religion SAYS it is, versus what it DOES.
    So when you list 8 corruptions within the Baha’I faith, you are just stating what every religion does, and you do not affect the thinking of the many Baha’is who are focusing on ideals, not practice.
    In my view, therefore, the Baha’I faith is just like every other religion. A group of males (IHJ)who think that God has told them how all believers must think and act. That’s why I don’t single out Baha’Is for any special criticisms. It also explains why I feel no anger towards Baha’is in particular, as you clearly do.

  5. Pingback: Dale Husband: Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith – Bahá’í Censorship

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