Brendan Cook; From a Baha’i family to humorously critic writing about Baha’ism


Brendan Cook’s Baha’i family

I, Brendan Cook, was born into a Canadian Baha’i family. I got my PhD in English History and Literature from Canada’s Toronto University. As I was in a Baha’i family, I became an active member in Baha’i activities and circles since I was a teenager. But gradually some questions arose in my mind regarding the teachings and slogans of the Baha’i community and House of Justice or Bait al-Adl (Baha’i World Center) and I even disagreed with some of the beliefs.


Brendan Cook’s unanswered questions from Baha’i

When I was 15 years old, the community asked me to sign the membership card of the Baha’i community of Canada. But I refused and told them that believing in a religion does not require administrative formalities.

Another example was that I always questioned my parents about the decree of rejection. Why should we abandon any contact those accused of being so-called violators and covenant-breakers and not even have greetings or words with them? And it is obvious that they didn’t give me a right answer!

These questions and some other ones which I will discuss as below, made me reject Baha’ism after 30 years of membership and activity in the Baha’i community and finally got free from Baha’ism.

Among other issues, I may mention the absence of women at House of Justice, even though it’s against the claim of “equal rights of men and women” in Baha’ism.


Writing humorous stories, launch of criticism of Baha’ism

I used to spread my critical writings in the virtual environment with a language of humor and metaphor. I wrote the stories “Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Infallible Donkey” and “Strange Story of Max” in criticism of the Baha”i administrative order and the dictatorial behavior of the House of Justice. This was enough for the community to become sensitive to me and its representatives so that they contacted me on these subjects. They wanted me to obey the orders of Mahfil) Baha’i National Assembly) and Baha’i opinions, which of course I did not obey.


Brandon Cook’s criticisms of the Baha’i organization through a phone call

In a relatively long call, I talked to them a lot. Here are what I told them in brief:

1-Baha’is should not be prohibited from participating in politics. For example, when the United States attacked Iraq, the National Baha’i Assembly of England said that no one should protest the war because it is a political war!

However, I am living in a free society and I am allowed to comment.

2- I don’t accept to obey the governments unconditionally, because it means that, for example, if I am in a country where racism is practiced, I have to be in line with the ideas of the Apartheid.

3-The idea of Ex-communication in Baha’ism is unacceptable and very inhumane. If I abandon Baha’i beliefs, why my parents, sisters, and anyone around me is prohibited from calling me or even having ordinary greetings.

4-It is not true that all Baha’is must think the same way and accept everything that the community states. This is against the principle of freedom of thought.

5-On one hand, we say that you can find the truth freely, and at the same time we dictate to people what they should believe in. This means that after becoming a Baha’i, you must have un conditional obedience to the community.


Brendan Cook’s criticism of members of the House of Justice

I used to react continuously to what some Baha’i leaders said. For example, in response to the speech of Peter Khan, a member of the House of Justice, who had said: “The condition for the success of the Baha’i community is that we unconditionally accept the orders of the House of Justice” I wrote: “This statement is deeply incorrect and immoral. This is a false promise that Peter Khan gives us! He tempts and motivates us to achieve the impossible even much more confidently that how the supplication writers, soothsayers and foretellers”.

In short, because of the sharp difference between my views and the community, I was expelled and ex- communicated from Baha’i Faith!

Well, I should add that this was the start of my actions! If it’s not selfish, I can say that I’m a fairly skilled storyteller. After that phone call, which led to my dismissal and rejection, I published my criticisms of the community and Beit al-Adl (UHJ) in the form of humorous stories. My friends, in the Baha’i Shenasi (Reaserch) Quarterly No. 22, have included some of the stories and it is good to read them and enjoy. I will only tell you the summary of one of those stories.


Max’s story; Infallible donkey

     It is the story of a donkey whose owner claims that it is not an ordinary donkey, but is immune to any mistakes! The villagers are surprised and ask him how it is like this. He says: I say Max is infallible and it himself also says so! Then the villagers ask some questions from Max and it says yes or no by shaking its tail and stabbing its horns on the ground! Of course, after a while, the people of that village realized that they had questions that even an “infallible donkey” could not answer correctly!

Thank you for taking time to my narration and I hope you will read my entire article in the 22nd chapter of Baha’i Shenasi Quarterly.

Good luck.


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