So last blog entry I dealt with the Beavis of reddit. Now it’s time to go after its Butt-Head!
Take a look at this:
I’ve been an inactive Baha’i since about college… 15 years or so? I married a non-Baha’i who is a lovely person and does his best to do right by his actions but is generally an atheist with some agnostic considerations. We have two young kids now (5 and 2) and this is about the time when I would have considered starting them in Baha’i classes if it weren’t for COVID… except…
There’s a reason I’ve been inactive. Ever since I was engaged to my husband of now 12 years, the Baha’i’s in the community I grew up in would immediately ask if he was a Baha’i – not how we met, or what our plans were, and when I said, no he’s not, their immediate answer was “Well, he will be one day.” And I was NEVER, ever out to convert my husband. I hate the Ruhi books – and I’ve done like four of them. I did the first book twice. And it all reeks of brainwashing as opposed to independent investigation of the truth. It felt more like a test than open and honest study of the texts.
My mom is Iranian and I’m like a seventh generation Baha’i on her side, and my dad converted from Catholicism to the Faith. My dad hates the Ruhi books and has pretty much become inactive too other than the occasional Feast. I’ve moved far away due to jobs and graduate school and ended up putting roots in a new, large city. And the community just puts me off. I never realized how unnerving being introduced as a new Baha’i to the community is. Immediately I was jumped upon to introduce myself, and my family, and to drag my non-Baha’i husband along and volunteer my home for events and join a Ruhi circle…
There was so much expectation that I shut down and never went back – and I’m an extrovert so this wasn’t me being overwhelmed by people in general.
What happened to practicing the Faith as opposed to just talking about it to other people? What happened to asking ppl in the community if they need help, and providing it, instead of asking for every ounce of free time a person has left? We’ve moved again within the same city and I’m afraid to reach out to the local chapter here incase I’m overrun. Or get voted onto the LSA, because I have no time or sanity for that – thank COVID for depression and anxiety and other issues.
I believe in most of the tenants of the Faith, but I find it harder and harder to be a “Baha’i” in things other than my own personal ethical and moral codes and behaviors. And if I try to bring it up with Baha’i friends from my childhood… they sort of just don’t know what to do with me and tell me to pray.
I miss having a community. I want my kids to know about the Faith and all the good things Baha’i’s do or at least did when I was a child. Maybe my eyes are just opening to it now, or maybe something shifted around the time I was in college… but I’m so disappointed in our communities and their overwhelming desire to convert rather than serve.
This was later cross posted to r/exbahai:
At the original post. a member named Any-Part4466 picked a fight with the one who made the OP.
NO one should say you have to do anything in order to be a Baha’i. You are free to not give to the Funds and free to not attend Feasts or meetings as you wish. NO one says you should devote excessive time to the Faith in service if you do not want to. That being said, I have learned from personal experience that there is a spiritual price one pays for being inactive and for having negative attitudes towards others and engaging in excessive criticism.
In my experience, most of the problems people have like yours relate to attitudes and expecting things from the community without offering anything in return. In my community, we focus on service to others, including local food banks and shelters for children for abusive homes and other groups as well.
A number of persons in my community do participate actively in the Institute process, of which Ruhi courses are only a part of not the whole, but many (most) do not have much time and some may, at most, attend a devotional or take a Ruhi course maybe once every couple of years. The Institute focus has been on devotional meetings, study circles (which do not have to be Ruhi and have included Kitab-i-Iqan and Will & Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha study), children’s classes, and home visits. There is less, not more, focus on conversion than in the past when I first became a Baha’i in the late 1980s and early 1990s, contrary to what you are suggesting.
First, I never have been in a Baha’i community where a Baha’i was expected to convert his/her spouse. There are often some few pushy or nosy individuals in any community (certainly were in the church I grew up in) but you have to just learn to look past them or forgive them or simply tell them appropriately it is not their business.
Second, I find your statements about the Ruhi books completely offensive and contrary to the experience of most Baha’is. There are some elements and statements at times in sections that I disagree with and express that appropriately. They mostly ask open-minded questions, allow for dialogue, emphasize service, and provide a perspective. I have no clue why anyone would feel that they are brainwashing. All materials in school and in a religious community come from a belief and perspective in my experience. In the Baha’i Faith and in the way Ruhi courses are supposed to be tutored, free and open discussion is allowed as long as it does not veer into criticism of others. My sense is that is just a pejorative term people use when they do not like or disagree with something and used far too often and inappropriately.
Third, most Baha’i communities are welcoming in my experience having moved around quite a bit in my Baha’i life of 30+ years. Most Baha’is once they get to know each other are helpful and friendly. Perhaps the real issue is how you present yourself, verbally or non-verbally to other Baha’is and your attitude.
Fourth, there is no “local chapter” in the Baha’i Faith. There are Local Spiritual Assemblies and local communities or groups where no Assembly exists. All LSAs are organized on a citywide basis, not within a city. In larger cities, they sometimes divide the city into clusters for certain Feasts and meeting in order to make for smaller and more friendly, personal feasts and less travel but those are not LSAs. So, therefore, some of what you are saying does not make any sense in the context of the Baha’i community. If you are in a larger city, then worrying about being elected to the LSA with the attitudes you expressed seems strange and odd.
She replied as follows:
My words have certainly struck a cord with you, and I apologize if they have conveyed any sense of an attack on the Faith. It is both possible for me to love the Faith and struggle at the same time. I am hurt and lost and have been brushed off by those in my local and extended communities when I’ve talked about these struggles with the Faith, so I brought them online where I thought maybe I could get more perspectives than quotes from the texts or pressure to do Ruhi. I don’t mean to criticize so harshly, but I do see how my words read as such.
I am regretful my experience with Ruhi has not been yours – I truly wish it had been. But the way the classes I specifically took were run did not lend me the feeling of study but rather of reciting and writing an answer that we were guided to, rather than formed ourselves.
I would like to defend myself that I never said the community demanded these things of me. Expectation and disappointment can be unspoken and no less heavy a burden. A community can be warm and friendly and engaging – and most Baha’i communities are – but even then to be so eager to welcome you that they overdo it. I have also been a part of online Baha’i communities – a Baha’i mother group on FB – and some of them said such nasty things about politics and the LGBTQ community that I had to leave. I’ve known Baha’i’s who beat their spouses and children (I myself was a child at the time).
No community is perfect, and I strive to recognize this in my own community as well as myself – I have not been an exemplary example of a Baha’i since becoming inactive. I give back to my communities in my own way – I serve by teaching when people ask me about my Faith of their own free will, I serve my local community through volunteering and helping my neighbors when they need help with kids or food or rides to healthcare. I don’t often remember my daily prayers and I definitely need to get back into giving to the Fund.
My apologies for not using the word cluster – I couldn’t remember it as I have been inactive for some time so used the next best word choice to describe the smaller communities in a large city. Our local clusters have LSA’s. Maybe not in the cities you have lived in or visited, my birth city only has one LSA, but where I currently live, yes, that’s how it is.
I’m not trying to attack the Faith. I am trying to find someone, anyone to talk to that isn’t going to tell me to pray my struggles away. Your response makes me feel more isolated, more alone, as though as a Baha’i I am not allowed to show any weakness in my Faith. If you are so offended by my struggles, please just don’t respond.
He ignored her pleas and kept attacking her, prompting me and others to confront him.
Of course, this prompted another battle. And then…..
Free speech that promotes disinformation and is just hatred and insults is not worthwhile. It is just sick and degrading.
So you believe in worthwhile (as judged by you) speech and reserve the right to deem others as sick much like DBO. You don’t believe in or support free speech.
I don’t know exactly what DBO believes. I’m not DBO as you have imagined and demonized him.
You can’t complain about free speech and then participate in a subreddit that purports to have no rules, does not apply the rules of reddit consistently, and regularly blocks and bans free speech when the mods don’t like what is being said. Two of the three mods on the exbahai subreddit do not tolerate free speech because they have banned numerous persons there over time, most on false pretenses because they committed far fewer offenses than the exbahais regularly commit. So, the whole subreddit is basically a sh$$ show, hypocrisy, and a lie and has gotten worse over time in that regard.
As a Baha’i, Baha’u’llah warned against an excess of speech and clearly indicated some speech is not worthy. That does not mean that I believe in strict censorship, just that a lot of what is said is really offensive and disrespectful and disinformation. We should regulate what we say. Sometimes, I push the limits myself admittedly.
Whoops, he made a boo boo!!!! LOL! DavidBinOwen (aka Any-Part4466) was sockpuppeting, no doubt to get around that so many of us had blocked him!
Which led to this post:
And of course, even after being exposed, the idiot kept on lying.
I hope you realize that your post about DBO’s post was bait by him. It just drew attention to my posts and his. It does not really serve you very well in the end. It only exposes further the hypocrisy and inconsistencies on the exbahai forum which bans such content. Also, to the extent a number of the individuals on the exbahai subreddit use multiple accounts at times (and they do), they are being silly.
All the chest beating and bragging is also a riot. Now I’m laughing.
The battle continues:
DBO’s sock puppet invaded r/exbahai to fight with me in the second thread. Before that, I had made some copies of comments he and I had made in r/freespeechbahai.
More lies from the lunatic:
Do you know the history of what u/Seeker_Alpha1701 and u/MirzaJan did to u/DavidbinOwen in terms of disclosing personal information about him and mocking him just because of something he said and some content being deleted from a social media site for violation of rules? You guys really are shameless, clueless, and dishonest.
Do you know they have done this to others?]]
What the hell are you talking about? I don’t recall doing anything like that to DavidBinOwen, especially in cooperation with MirzaJan. You really need to dial back on the baseless accusations.]]
Well, you are lying about that. You know full when what you said and did over the years about me personally. You seem to keep logs, grudges, and records enough of your Internet activities to suggest you can find all the times you singled me out unfairly for personal attack without allowing any fair response.
You know full well what u/MirzaJan did on his blog and another person as well. You mocked me and laughed about it on his blog. I confronted you and pointed out I had met you, confronted you directly that what was said about me was provably not true, and offered to meet you in person to have a civil discussion. My naive hope then was that you would see that what you and your two associates were doing was wrong, despicable, and dishonest and go on to something else. Instead, you have doubled down and denied you did anything wrong. You also posted rants about me on your blog at times. So, DON’T LIE.
This is just further proof this is some kind of ego trip for you, a way to lache onto something and feel important, like so many Internet trolls. You must spend hours retaining various exchanges and material from your and other’s posts to quote in your long rants. Who does that but a troll like you and u/MirzaJan? . You go out and pick fights with Baha’is and other people on the Internet, write rants that are mostly self-absorbed and incoherent, and are oblivious of the fact that most people find your content ridiculous.
I have news for you the Baha’is where you lived don’t remember you much or at all. You left no lasting impression, good or bad. They are some of the best people I know, great Baha’is and they caused you no harm, so your activities don’t make any sense to them. The assumption is that you must have been radicalized after you left the Faith. They are sincere and devout and serve others. They do not care to follow you. I don’t follow you either. It is just that your content and activities show up in searches and feeds at times and occasionally when you target me and also when someone alerts me to it to check out what you said.
You have followed what I have said on reddit and elsewhere for more than four years. When I post comments and replies on r/bahai you sometimes post about on the exbahai subreddit and elsewhere criticizing whatever I said and mocking me unfairly. Who does that? On another social media forum you made comments for a time on some answers I gave but quickly shut it down because that forum is more heavily moderated and your comments can be deleted or ignored or reported for violations. On a more heavily moderated forum you either can’t survive or would have to severely limit your activity to avoid racking up violations sufficient to getting you kicked off.
Just so you understand. I do not follow you, stalk you, or otherwise. I have no such interest. Reading your material is not uplifting, fulfilling, or spiritual. Occasionally, in searches on reddit for Baha’i and DBO and in the daily feed from reddit to my e-mail I might see a bit of what you have posted. One time, you posted on some other subreddits false, misleading, and inflammatory statements which I then responded to. That is not cyberstalking. That is responding selectively to defend my Faith or myself. I would have responded regardless who wrote those posts. You exaggerate and embellish to paint an inflated picture of your own self-importance. If you left me alone and stopped posting about me and stopped lying about Baha’is and the Baha’i Faith, I would have no interest in anything you said.
You along with others associated with you have repeatedly invaded my personal space as trolls do. You thought it was funny and appropriate to do so. You did not object to things said by your associates and done that most people would find despicable. You and your former buddies even know where I work and live, so every time someone asserted that I worked fulltime for some Baha’i group or was compensated for posting about the Faith, you knew those were lies. I had even given you a chance to see that those were lies.]]
I’m going to check into your claims with u/MirzaJan and try to find out if anything you said above is even remotely factual. Right now, your descriptions seem entirely baseless. I first met MirzaJan about four years ago when I first joined reddit and r/exbahai was one of the first subreddits I joined. MirzaJan was a member, but not yet a moderator. He was later made one and soon after that you were banned from the subreddit. You blame him for that? Beyond our reddit activities I know nothing about him.]]
Then he attacked me.
You are being dishonest clearly and know full well what happened and what was meant. Now you are playing cute and that will not fly.
I have seen the blogs and materials online enough to know you are not telling the truth and know full well what is being referred to. We cannot dox, you did identify yourself directly in the past and recently but I will not here. DBOs identity was clearly and openly revealed multiple times on reddit and off reddit.}}}
Message to DavidBinOwen:
Once again, you show yourself to be an idiot in public.
When you make accusations against reddit users like me and MirzaJan, readers will naturally assume you are referring to an incident that occured in REDDIT, NOT anywhere off reddit! That’s why I said your accusations are baseless, and indeed they are.
You said the incident happened on a blog in 2017. I wasn’t even on reddit yet, only joining in 2018. But I do remember what really happened now…….the blog in question was bahaism.blogspot .com and the one who runs it is Naser Entesali.
Seriously, HOW THE FUK CAN YOU BE SO BUTTHURT OVER BEING MADE FUN OF ON SOMEONE’S BLOG AND SO LONG AGO???!!! Are you really that goddamn pathetic?! Get over yourself already!
And don’t EVER try to confuse me by pulling such stunts again! You can’t accuse anyone of dishonesty while doing that!}}}
Then he starts writing like Baha’u’llah would, much to my amusement.
Are you obtuse or something? You clearly misread what I wrote and meant and don’t remember everything. Because of background checks for my work, I do see that stuff and it gets found and reported to me. Also, it was not just about me. I simply use my experience because I know it best and had to explain to the senior partner of my firm why this stuff was showing up and deal with his concerns it might hurt my business reputation.
It does not matter where you did it and some of it did occur on reddit in case you did not know. It was not just 2017. There is no confusion. You posted stuff about me on your blog and on reddit as well for years after 2017 through this year. Do you think people were not telling me about it or I was not finding out about it?
A lot of times u/MirzaJan would copy and use content off of reddit and post it on his blog, as did you. Some of that included me as a target. The third user in question was as bad or worse. Some of that material was then recycled to harass and intimidate me on reddit as well including in response to my comments or replies. I continued to be accused falsely of working for a Baha’i institution for years, not just 2017. That is false and misleading and a deliberate from of harassment. There are still a number of exbahais who believe that BS you were part of. That is how hate-speech and demonization works.
Posting stuff on your blog that is linked to you on reddit may be a way to circumvent reddit rules in your mind but it is still wrong and still got you and someone else in trouble in the past on reddit.
It was pretty damn clear that it was a continuing series of actions and false accusations and some did, in fact, appear on reddit. The reason why it was clear was because persons running searches found that material and reported it to me for work related purposes. The whole reason this was done was to “punish” and “harass” and try to intimidate me.
That was made very clear to me in some exchanges, not necessarily by you but you were part of them. In my line of work, they run background checks, so anything like that out there came back to me.
You have continued to monitor and post hostile and vicious comments about me right through this year, including on reddit. Whether you use DBO or something else most of the persons I dealt with connected it with me personally, including harassing me on other social media cites and then posting that content on reddit again. You guys were trying to “out” me here as well this week so that you could resort to the usual set of personal attacks and demonization. That DOES violate the rules of reddit.
Whether it was 4 years ago or yesterday, you were involved, thought it was funny, and denied that anything was wrong. Moreover, you posted material on your blog and elsewhere and linked it. That stuff stays on the Internet you know.
Some of what happened came onto reddit and continued. It is and remains despicable. It does not excuse you or them. The doxing in private and on blogs continued for years because it was leaked to me or found online and reported to me. For all I know continues. Most people would have taken it down.
Doxing is one reason why your old user name got banned on exbahai subreddit, so don’t play dumb or innocent. You got into trouble on the exbahai subreddit more than once, as you know.
u/MirzaJan and another person continued to make false and malicious statements online including on reddit if you go back and look. Also, some posts were done using different user names but using the same or similar pictures and claims.
You are a troll, by definition. You associate with and communicate with trolls (as shown on your blog at times). You misrepresent what Baha’is believe and misrepresent our motives and actions both as individuals and collectively. You seek out places to attack and argue with Baha’is. Then you celebrate your supposed “victories” on your blog and sometimes on reddit. You did that not just to me but others and posted some of that on reddit.
I will be the first to admit you were less worse than two others specifically. u/MirzaJan is far worse. You are just a “useful fool” for him to use, if you have not figured it out. But you were there, thought it was funny, and repeated the hatred and bile as much or more than the other two and continue it to this day.
You are just another loud-mouth troll who tries to think he is important by attacking others. This is not recent, that includes things you posted and said this year about me. By your own admission, your trolling of Baha’is goes back to at least 2009.}}}
You are the one who keeps making false accusations against MirzaJan even after I corrected you about the matter.
If your work is being affected by your being an asshole on reddit, on bahaism.blogspot. com, or anywhere else on the internet, that’s on YOU. Quit blaming everyone else for your repeated shitty behavior online. If I were an employer and knew what you do to other people like me, I wouldn’t hire you. I don’t want toxic creeps in my workplace!
You lie outright every single time you call me a troll. I have NEVER invaded r/bahai to attack you or anyone else in it, and I only started making comments in r/freespeechbahai after trident gave me his explicit permission to do so…..and I did so knowing you would attack me there. I wanted that so my fellow exBahais could see even more evidence of what a bastard you are!
If I make a statement against the Baha’i Faith in a subreddit made for such things (but not debates over religion), then you going in there to pick a fight with me is VERBAL ASSAULT, and you doing it several times over a long period of time is CYBERSTALKING. HOW DARE YOU deny the seriousness of what you did to me!
It is clear that you will not be satisfied until I and other critics of the Faith are silenced and you and those other frauds that reside in r/bahai no longer can be held accountable for promoting a false, failing, and totally hypocritical cult. YOU WILL NOT SILENCE ME! Your attacks only make me more determined to discredit you and the Faith! Your stunts have always made you and the Faith look bigoted and people find that disgusting.
Now I am done with you!}}}