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

 

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

Over two years ago, a massive controversy over racially biased hiring practices in the Unitarian Universalist Association caused its leadership to experience a turnover to try to solve the problem of white supremacy among them.

With the election of a new President of the UUA at the 2017 General Assembly (GA), it seemed like we could start to move forward to heal the racial divisions. But then came the GA of June 2019, which was held at Spokane, Washington. Imagine the shock among the attendees when the minister of the UU church at that city, Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof,  backstabbed the rest of them with a book he had written and was trying to distribute at the GA without prior notice. This book, titled The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister, attacked all the efforts to solve the racial problems, angering many non-white UUs. When the UUA leadership tried to talk to Eklof about what he was doing, he refused to meet with them, putting them in the awkward position of expelling him from the GA itself! After that happened, UUs in both Facebook and Reddit had an uproar about it.

Continue reading

A Critical Mistake in the UU World

The UU World is the official magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the religious organization I belong to. About two years ago, a controversy erupted over the embarrassing fact that despite its stated commitment to racial diversity, the UUA was far too white dominated and people of color were being passed over for positions in it that they were indeed qualified for. When this became too obvious to ignore, it forced President Peter Morales to resign.

Now, two years after that blew over, another problem has emerged: the disrespecting of transgender people by the magazine itself!

Continue reading

A Positive Interaction with a Baha’i on Facebook

Ever since I defected from the Baha’i Faith, my only dealings with members of my former religion have been through the internet and most of them have been battles that tended to leave me angered and even a little sick of their arrogance and nonsense.

Some of those battles are seen or described on these blog entries:

Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

My Battle on Amazon with a Haifan Baha’i

Another Battle with a Haifan Baha’i, this time on Blogspot

Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit

Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit

A series of ludicrous comments on YouTube and Facebook

But last month a totally different encounter occurred on Facebook, one that gives me hope for the future.

In the following conversation, the Baha’i who contacted me will be referred to as L B (for Local Baha’i) and his words will be in red italics. My words in the actual conversation will be in blue italics, while additional notes I add here for commentary will be in green. To protect his privacy, all specific identifying information will be withheld.

First, L B sent me a friend request, which I rejected, not even recognizing his name at first. I then asked who he was.

Have we met before? I see you sent me a friend request.

Yes, you used to come to feast at my house in (city). I’m (mother) and (father)’s son

That was enough to jog my memory. This young man had been only a child when I knew him.

I remember them. But I haven’t been a Baha’i since 2005 and am now a Unitarian Universalist.

I know, I saw your blog
I just thought of you randomly and wanted to say Facebook Hi
Are you still in Haltom city? I work at (medical job).
Ok, no harm, no foul. I looked at your profile and worried you were trying to harass me.
Like a scammer or like a malignant Baha’i?
your profile is open, so I saw your screenshots of responses to scammers
His using the words “malignant” and “Baha’i” in the same breath was the first indication to me that he wasn’t as loyal to the Faith as I thought he’d be.
Yes, I live here with my elderly parents. You say you saw my blog? You must know then that I’m one of the most hard-core critics of the Faith now. But that doesn’t mean I hate Baha’is. I cannot hate what I used to be.
At this point, I thought he would end the conversation. But he continued.
Oh no, I saw the basis of your criticisms and your recommended conversation or cooperation tactics with Baha’is for other Universalists
As for scammers, I enjoy busting them and then warning others about their tricks.
I admire a person who investigates the truth and is dedicated to the truth, so I admire your spirit
Thank you.
I guess he really takes seriously the supposed Baha’i idea of “Independent Investigation of Truth”.
Do you or your parents ever come to (my workplace)?
I don’t think so.
Honestly, I never thought I would see or hear from any of you again.
I’ve thought of you a few times throughout the years
I searched for you once maybe a year back, but I didn’t find anything
then last night my sister was telling me about a meme her friend had referred to that was anti-Baha’i
and in the course of finding this unrelated meme, I saw a blog that had posts critical of the Faith by someone named Dale Husband
and I was like “No way!” and I looked at your blog and found you on Facebook
His sister was only a baby when I knew her. She would be a teenager now.
I’m all over the internet. Also, my essays have been copied and cited by many others.
well, I found the ones in your reasoning thinker blog
Anywhere you see a red, white and blue Circle H logo, that’s me. It’s my trademark.
You are welcome to ask me questions.
where is there a unitarian universalist church near here?
is the following large?
WOW!!! So he is not even trying to defend the Baha’i Faith, but goes straight to the other big issue of mine in religion. I was elated!
There are several UU churches in the Fort Worth area. The oldest one is First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church. Google that name. The total number of UUs in the Fort Worth area is about 400.
There are an estimated 250,000 UUs nationwide.
The address for First Jefferson is 1959 Sandy Ln. in east Fort Worth.
Since you seem to respect me despite my defection, I invite you to come visit me at the aforementioned church in the interest of having a dialogue between us. It would be very helpful for you to see what UUs are like and what they might offer you.
What service do you attend?
Sunday service is at 11:00 AM, but you can arrive as early as 9:00 AM if you want to be given a tour of the place and then attend one of the gatherings that start at 9:30 AM such as Adult Forum or Adventures in Religion.
I can’t make it this Sunday, but it would be nice to check out the church on a Sunday soon
my work has me working weekends many weeks, so it might be a struggle for a bit
thank you for the invitiation
OK. Just let me know if and when you plan to visit so I could meet you there.
For the record, it never occurred to me, because of his Persian background, that L B would likewise defect from the Baha’i Faith. All my blog entries I wrote against the Faith were not about making people leave it, but about showing non-Baha’is what it is really like so they would not be so easily deceived by Baha’i propaganda as I was. But if my blog has made him quit believing, then I have scored a stunning victory far beyond my wildest dreams!

If your Spiritual Orientation is PAGAN…

wiccan symbol - pentacle

Paganism used to be a catch-all term for any religion in the world, past or present, that was not one of the “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam or the Baha’i Faith). Today it is used among various people to mean any religion that is “earth-centered” in its worship rather than worshiping a deity that is not associated with nature. This would include Wicca, Druidism and other varieties that are polytheistic, though some forms are monotheistic.

Because the gods of modern Paganism are directly associated with nature, Pagans are likely to be dedicated environmentalists. I myself wrote about a form of Pagan worship I am sympathetic to:

Sun Worship

Those who see Paganism as the right path for them can find fellowship here:
http://www.cuups.org/  as well as any Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship with a Pagan group. These Pagans, in turn, might lead you to explore and contact other pagan groups that may not be affiliated with UUs.