Confronting Scott Hakala on Quora

Quora is a social media site where people can pose questions on all sorts of subjects and get answers from others. One of the most frequent posters on it is Scott Hakala, a Baha’i apologist.

Before I tell about my fight with him there, I must supply a bit of background.
For more than a year and a half after I made an account on reddit, Hakala, using the pseudonym “DavidBinOwen”, would often invade the ExBaha’i subreddit and relentlessly attack its members with counter arguments to things they would write. Then after wreaking havoc for a few days or weeks, he would disappear only to return weeks or months later. Things got so frustrating that Wahid Azal decided to do something to force the admin of that subreddit to deal with Hakala once and for all. So he posted these:
https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/cnzclf/why_are_the_moderators_of_this_site_consistently/

https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/co4u0o/beware_non_and_exbahais_of_this_subreddit/

I knew this might lead to Azal being banned from the subreddit, so to prevent that, I sent private messages to all the admin, playing “good cop” to Wahid Azal’s “bad cop”. My efforts paid off; nothing was done to Azal, but Hakala was FINALLY banned permanently from the subreddit.

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The Absurdity of the “Orthodox Baha’i” Claims.

This is a direct sequel to I am NOT an “Orthodox” Baha’i!

I recently found a small group on reddit devoted to the teachings of a faction of Baha’is called “Orthodox”. This was one of the groups arising from the attempt by Hand of the Cause of God Charles Mason Remey to take over the Baha’i Faith in 1960 by claiming to be its second Guardian.

https://www.reddit.com/r/orthodoxbahai/

I looked into it and then made a crosspost between it and the exbahai subreddit with this:

This prompted a member of the first group to come in ours to defend his beliefs.

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A Critical Analysis of the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd (Book of the Covenant)

This is the 13th in a series of blog entries that subject the Baha’i Writings to a skeptical, non-Baha’i analysis. A list of the previous blog entries is here.

The Book of the Covenant is the will and testament of Baha’u’llah, which he had made public after his death. Baha’u’llah himself had commanded his followers to make their own wills in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas:

Unto everyone hath been enjoined the writing of a will. The testator should head this document with the adornment of the Most Great Name, bear witness therein unto the oneness of God in the Dayspring of His Revelation, and make mention, as he may wish, of that which is praiseworthy, so that it may be a testimony for him in the kingdoms of Revelation and Creation and a treasure with his Lord, the Supreme Protector, the Faithful.

Baha’u’llah is said to have written this will with his own hand, thus allowing anyone familiar with his writing style to authenticate it. I will include quotes from the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd in orange and bold. My source for this document is:

https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/tablets-bahaullah/6#301774724

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My Spiritual Odyssey

On October 20, 2018, I gave a talk about 50 minutes long at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Worth detailing my life and religious and political views and how they evolved over the course of my life. I spent the first half of the discussion merely speaking for myself in general, and the last half answering questions from the audience to focus more on specific topics.
For a short version of that story see:

My Spiritual Journeys

I made reference to other issues that I have also dealt with on this blog, including:

An Honorable Skeptic

 

Why more people should join the Unitarian Universalists

 

Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith

 

Spiritual Orientation

 

Radical Reincarnation

 

Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda

 

A bitter rant about Ayn Rand

 

The Baha’i Leadership is Obsessed with Martyrdom!

As if there were not enough disturbing things about the Baha’i Faith I once followed, now it seems its leadership, the Universal House of Justice (UHJ), has been willing to sacrifice people who believe in it for the sake of publicity!

https://bahai-library.com/uhj_dissimulation_iran_emmigrants

(Below are the excerpts from that web page that specify the problem)

Those who have recanted their faith in order to come out of Iran should not receive the impression that after the passage of a year, by simply writing a letter of regret, they would be automatically admitted into the Bahá’í community. Each case has to be studied separately. The result of this study must be conveyed to the House of Justice, which will reach a decision on the case in question only after consultation with the friends in Iran. One of the reasons why the House of Justice is so particular about these cases is that it does not wish any person to be under the false impression that anyone can use the Faith for his own personal convenience whenever it suits his self-interest. The believers who have denied their faith in order to leave Iran should realize that they have betrayed the many steadfast Bahá’ís who, at the cost of their lives, have steadfastly refused to recant their faith.

It’s almost as if the UHJ wants to have fewer followers, not more.

The Universal House of Justice recently received a letter from the non- Bahá’í husband of a Bahá’í questioning the justice of the removal of administrative rights from Bahá’ís who deny their faith in order to leave Iran by official routes. Since this question has arisen from time to time in discussions with representatives of other organizations who are interested in the plight of Bahá’í refugees, the House of Justice felt that it might be helpful to you to have the following extracts from the reply to this enquirer.

“It was the approved practice for many years for Bahá’ís to leave blank the space for religion on official forms in Iran. This was not a denial of their religion, it was merely a tacit refusal to state it. In recent times, however, the authorities refused to accept forms made out in blank, and would deny passports and exit visas to anyone who entered `Bahá’í’ in the appropriate spaces. In order to get such documents a Bahá’í would either have to enter `Muslim’ (or one of the other recognized religions) on the forms or would have to employ an agent to do it for him. This thus became a conscious act by the Bahá’í to deny his faith, and the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran at that point warned all the believers that such an action was unacceptable.

“.it was permissible in Shi’ih Islam for believers to deny their faith in order to escape persecution. since the time of Bahá’u’lláh such an action has been forbidden for Bahá’ís. We do not defend our Faith by the sword, as was permissible in Islam, but Bahá’ís have always held to the principle that when challenged they should `stand up and be counted’, as the modern expression is, and not purchase their safety by denying that which is most important to them in this world and the next. The principle is well known to the Iranian Bahá’ís and is upheld by the overwhelming majority of them when the penalty is martyrdom.

“Those Bahá’ís who have left Iran by official routes since the governmental regulations changed have made a conscious choice. While the majority of their fellow-believers have preferred to face all manner of difficulties, rather than deny their faith, these people have chosen to make this denial rather than face whatever problems were before them. They have left Iran freely, with the permission of the authorities as Muslims. They have chosen freedom and comparative ease at the cost of giving away their faith, and have got what they wanted. Some, however, once they are free, want to have their membership in the Bahá’í community back again. The attitude of the Bahá’í institutions in refusing to immediately readmit them should not be regarded as a vindictive punishment. These institutions are simply saying: `You have shown the insincerity of your belief by denying it for your personal advantage, we are not going to readmit you to the Bahá’í community until we have some confidence that you are sincerely repentant of such an act. In the meantime you can abide by the choice you yourself have made.’

Sincerity is no virtue if it results in DEATH, after which you can do no more good in the world. Or……is the assumption that Baha’is are imprisoned or killed in Iran for their faith not really true?

Among the hardships the Bahá’ís in Iran have been experiencing during the last few years has been the restriction placed on their travel. Since April 1982 any Iranian who applies for an official exit permit is required to complete a form where one of the questions is about religious affiliation. When Bahá’ís respond to the question truthfully they are not allowed to leave the country. As explained by the Universal House of Justice, “If they write `Bahá’í’, they cannot leave the country and if they write anything other than `Bahá’í’, it is tantamount to recanting their faith.” Some of the Iranian friends have obtained their passports and exit permits through broker, and although they themselves have not filled out the forms necessary for procuring such documents, the broker has completed the form on their behalf, most certainly indicating their religion as Moslem, Christian, etc., and not Bahá’í. Consequently, the Universal House of Justice, at the request made by the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran before it was disbanded, announced to all National Spiritual Assemblies that any Iranian Bahá’ís who left Iran via Tehran airport after 22 June 1983 is assumed to have denied his faith personally or by the intermediary of another in order to obtain the permit and is considered to be without administrative rights.

The Universal House of Justice ruled that the restoration of such rights is not to be considered by the National Spiritual Assemblies until the lapse of one year, and then only contingent on the attitude and degree of repentance of the individuals concerned. In addition, the National Spiritual Assemblies have been delegated the responsibility of ascertaining the procedures adopted by these individuals when leaving Iran and their reasons for doing so.

Therefore, when a person who has been deprived of his administrative rights applies for reinstatement, the Local Spiritual Assemblies have to insure that certain criteria are met before submitting the application to the National Spiritual Assembly for its deliberation and decision.

To facilitate your understanding of these criteria we offer the following guidelines:

1) Attempt to determine the degree of the individual’s contrition and report the process used to reach this judgement, i.e. did your Assembly meet with the individual, did he/she meet with your representative, did you engage the assistance of a translator?

2) Has the individual participated in Bahá’í community life to whatever degree was possible? What is your evaluation of his actions during the period he has been under sanctions? To what extent have they exemplified Bahá’í standards of conduct?

3) What is the individual’s motive in wanting to have their administrative rights restored? (Please bear in mind that a number of individuals were never active in the Faith in Iran but now wish to be considered Bahá’ís for their own personal convenience and self-interest.) Their visa status in the United States must be verified.

4) Ascertain and report the procedures adopted by the individual for obtaining a valid passport and exit visa in order to leave Iran.

5) Determine the reasons why the individual departed from Iran.

6) Explain to the individual that their administrative rights will not be automatically restored after the passage of a year, simply by writing a letter of regret.

7) Each case must be considered separately; the result of this study along with your recommendation must be conveyed to the National Spiritual Assembly.

Wow, seems the UHJ is asking for Baha’is’ freedom to be denied no matter what they do! With leaders like these, who needs enemies?

Why not come right out and ask Baha’is to COMMIT SUICIDE, you ARROGANT BASTARDS?!

And that is why NO ONE should be loyal to the Universal Hore of (In)Justice!