Many of the concepts and approaches of the Bahá’ís are admirable human qualities. But there are also some major problems and inconsistencies in the Bahá’í Faith.
World control and domination
A wide variety of approaches and activities are used by Bahá’ís to promote their Cause (religion) and make it more acceptable to the general community – including active involvement in, and initiation of, community programs on issues such as: peace, unity, the environment.
The Bahá’í Community has a deliberate agenda of using education/educational situations/educational programs to promote their activities and their faith (see books such as: Each One Teach One – A Call to the Individual Believer[e.g. pp.10-11], Bahá’í Education, Education – A Bahá’í Perspective, The Individual and Teaching – Raising the Divine Call, Teaching the Bahá’í Faith).
The Bahá’ís also have a deliberate policy of targeting prominent people, including teachers and other educationalists – as well as indigenous people (e.g. see chapters 5 & 6 teaching the Bahá’í Faith). They often join with, or collaborate with, other groups when community issues or concerns can be mutually raised or addressed. But Bahá’ís are reminded of the real purpose of all such ventures: ‘In their collaborations with such associations they would extend any moral and material assistance they can afford, after having fulfilled their share of support to those institutions that affect directly the interests of the Cause. They should always bear in mind, however, the dominating purpose of such a collaboration which is to secure in time the recognition by those with whom they are associated of the paramount necessity and the true significance of the Bahá’í Revelation in this day’ (p.125-126 Bahá’í Administration, see also pp. 348-369 [chapter 15] in the 3rd edition, 1996, Local Spiritual Assembly Handbook).
The ultimate goal and hope for all Baha’is is the ushering in of a Golden Age where the world will be unified under the Bahá’í Faith and the complete rule of its ultimate authoritative body, the Universal House of Justice. This New World Order, which ALL Baha’is are hoping and praying for, and working towards, ‘must in no wise be regarded as purely democratic in character’ (The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, p. 61).
This coming centralized, autocratic and anti-democratic Bahá’í World Government will enact legislation in order to introduce and enforce the obligatory laws of Baha’u’llah (which will include total submission to the ‘Will of God’ –as interpreted by Baha’u’llah, the ‘Guardians’ who followed him, and the Universal House of justice; obligatory daily prayers; keeping special Holy Days; fasting; and more). (ibid. p.61-62)
These Bahá’í laws will be introduced world-wide by ‘a world executive, backed by an international Force.’ A uniform and universal language, monetary system, literature, communication system, religion, science, and more, will be introduced throughout the world. It will be ‘a system in which Force is made the servant of Justice’ – that is the justice of the Bahá’í Universal House of Justice! (E.g. see The World Order of Baha’u’llah, pp.201-205).
Local Bahá’í Assemblies will become the local representatives for the rule and world government of the Universal House of Justice.
The Bahá’ís often refer enthusiastically to their stated belief and practice of the equality of men and women. There is no clergy class, and women, as well as men, are involved in local leadership. However, the absolute and supreme ruling authority in the Bahá’í Faith is the Universal House of Justice, ‘membership is confined to men’ (9 men and NO women) – there are clear indications that it is not envisaged for any women to be part of that authoritative body in this era. The statement: ‘As women are the educators of the next generation, the education of girls takes precedence over that of boys’ must also raise some questions about the much promoted total equality (e.g. see pp.76 & 231 A Basic Bahá’í Dictionary).
Lack of Acceptance
Bahá’ís pride themselves, publicly, for their loving openness and acceptance of everyone, including those of other religious faiths. In theory they can make it sound very good, and very convincing. In reality, they are no different to many other religious groups who are intolerant of those whose religious viewpoints disagree with theirs, and especially of those who dare to leave the Bahá’í Faith.
The Bahá’ís promote and practice ‘SHUNNING’ – as much as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Exclusive Brethren, or similar groups.
The message is that Bahá’ís are ‘to shun entirely all Covenant breakers as they are afflicted with what we might try and define as a contagious spiritual disease…most of them don’t want to repent’ (Directives from the Guardian, p.17). Those who leave the Bahá’í Faith and are considered Covenant Breakers and regarded as a cancer to be cut out of the body.
The much promoted Bahá’í concept of Unity is a ‘Unity amongst friends ‘that includes ‘the absolute shunning of whomsoever we feel to be an “enemy of the Cause’” (Bahá’í Administration, p. 16).Covenant Breakers are those who have been Bahá’ís but who then dare to contradict or ‘attack’, especially publicly, any aspects of the Bahá’í Faith or any of its leaders, including the Universal House of Justice.
The message is currently reinforced with statements such as: ‘‘Bahá’ís must shun Covenant-breakers entirely in order to preserve the unity of the Faith.’’ Such an attitude, behavior and action is regarded as ‘One of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause’ (see p.346 in the 3rd edition, 1996, Local Spiritual Assembly Handbook. See also Directives from the Guardian, Will and Testament).
The reading of material by Covenant Breakers (often referred to as Apostates in other cultic groups) is discouraged with warnings such as: ‘The friends are warned in the strongest terms against reading such literature because Covenant-breaking is a Spiritual poison and the Calumnities and distortions of the truth which the Covenant-breakers give out are such that they can undermine the faith of the believer and plant the seeds of doubt unless he is fore-armed with an unshakeable belief in Baha’u’llah and His Covenant and a knowledge of the true facts’ (p.347 in the 3rd edition, 1996, Local Spiritual Assembly Handbook ).
Forgotten facts and disunity
Like most cultic groups there are some true facts of which the Bahá’í leaders would prefer the followers NOT to have any knowledge or awareness. These include some aspects of Bahá’í history and the continuing disunity amongst the Baha’is themselves.
Baha’u’llah (Mirza Husain Ali – who gave himself the title, ‘Baha’u’llah’ – ‘Splendor/Glory of God’) was supposedly a close follower of the Bab (the followers were known as the Babis), who later discovered that he was the special manifestation of God referred to by the Bab as ‘He-Whom-God-Will-Manifest.’ What is rarely acknowledged is that the Bab declared that he was a special manifestation of God and that the next manifestation would not come before 1511 years, but not later than 2001 years, after the Bab, which would disqualify Hussain Ali – Baha’u’llah!
Also omitted from official Bahá’í writings are references to the fact that the Bab actually appointed Hussain Ali’s younger step-brother, Mirza Yahya Subh-i-Azal, as his official successor. After some years Husain Ali rejected his younger step-brother’s authority and position, claimed a greater one for himself, and gathered followers. Followers of Hussain Ali/Baha’u’llah (Bahá’ís) killed many of the followers of the official successor to the Bab, the step-brother, Subh-i-Azal (Azalis). And at least one of the brothers tried to poison and kill the other. The Turkish government separated the two warring factions in 1868, with Subh-i- Azal and the Azalis being sent to Cyprus, and Hussain Ali/Baha’u’llah and the Bahá’ís sent to Akka (Acre) in Turkish ruled Palestine. In Akka Baha’u’llah and his followers did not use his full title, kept much of their Bahá’í activity secret and pretended to be Sunni Muslim. They were so successful in this deception that, after their deaths, Sunni Muslim clergy conducted the funerals of both Baha’u’llah and his son and successor, Abbas Effendi.
The Bahá’ís under the authority of the Universal House of Justice, and the general public, are not informed of another schism that occurred after the First Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi, died in 1957. For several years affairs were led by a small group known as the Hands of the Cause, and then in April 1963 the Universal House of Justice was established. It has been claimed, by the mainstream Bahá’í movement, that there was no appointed successor to the First Guardian of the Faith. However, this is disputed by a group of Bahá’ís lead by The Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States, in Roswell, New Mexico. This group of Baha’is claims that Shoghi Effendi DID appoint a successor, the president of the original Universal House of Justice – which they say Shoghi Effendi proclaimed in embryonic form in 1951. This president, Charles Mason Remey, proclaimed his accession to the Guardianship in 1960. In 1961 he appointed Joel Bray Marangella as his future successor, and in 1966 publicly handed the authority of the Guardianship over to Joel Marangella. The Third Guardian, Joel Bray Marangella, has been living in Western Australia and first notified the Australian public about the existence of the (‘True’) Orthodox Baha’i Faith in AN OPEN LETTER TO THE HETERODOX BAHA’IS published in the West Australian newspaper in April 1982. Members of the ‘Orthodox’ Bahá’í Faith seem fearfully reluctant to confirm the current (December 1996) whereabouts of the Third Guardian of the Faith, Joel Bray Marangella. Many of the mainstream (‘Heterodox’) Bahá’ís seemingly have either not heard of the Third Guardian, or don’t want to hear of him.
So much for all the talk of peace and unity.
The more one examines Bahá’í primary sources, and other historical information, the more disturbing the picture becomes. Exaggerated stories of mass persecutions are used to emotionally cloud issues (we acknowledge that there have been persecutions of Bahá’ís –which are wrong and unacceptable– but evidence also suggests that some claims have been exaggerated). Documentary evidence shows that the image of peace loving, open and tolerant people, firmly united throughout the past as well as in the present, is a false image. The Bahá’ís were described, not many decades ago, as a ‘small obscure Islamic sect’ –they have worked hard to change their image and to become acceptable in a naïve and ill- informed Western Society. They have misused the Bible and distorted both theology and history to conceal their true nature and promote an image of being a respectable major world religion with a message of love, peace and unity. Be aware of the Bahá’ís – their true cultic nature and ultimate agenda.
Conversations with an ‘Orthodox’ Bahá’í member on 2-12-96
Promotional pamphlets, brochures, and personal letters.
Bahá’í International Community Office of Public Information (ND) Education – A Baha’i Perspective Leicestershire: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Bahá’í Publications Australia (1995) Teaching the Bahá’í Faith Mona Vale: Bahá’í Publications Australia.
Bahá’í Publishing Trust (1992) Becoming a Bahá’í –An Introduction to the Bahá’í Faith and its Teachings London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Bahá’í Publishing Trust (ND) Directives from the Guardian New Delhi: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Shoghi Effendi (1974) Bahá’í Administration (rev. Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1977) The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah New Delhi: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Esslemont, J.E. (1970) Baha’u’llah and the New Era – An Introduction to the Bahá’í Faith (3rd rev. Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Marangella, Joel Bray (Third Bahá’í Guardian) (1986) An Appeal to the Heterodox Bahá’ís advertisement in The Weekend Australian Sydney, April 26, 1986.
_ (1986) personal letter to W.A. van Leen dated December 9, 1986.
Miller, William McElvee (1974) The Bahá’í Faith: Its History and Teachings California: William Carey Library –see also his (1977) what is the Bahá’í Faith?– An abridgement of Miller’s 1974 text by William N. Wysham, published by William B. Eerdmans in Michigan.
Momen, Wendi (general edit.) (1989) a Basic Bahá’í Dictionary Oxford: George Ronald.
Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States (1981) The Orthodox Bahá’í Faith –An Introduction New Mexico: Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States of America.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Australia (1989) The Covenant Mona Vale: Bahá’í Publications Australia.
_ (1984) now you’re a Baha’i (rev. Ed.) Mona Vale: Bahá’í Publications Australia.
National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States (1969) the Advent of Divine Justice (4th Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1956) Bahá’í World Faith (2nd Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1975) Each One Teach One – A Call to the Individual Believer Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1977) The Individual and Teaching – Raising the Divine Call Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1982) The Light of Baha’u’llah Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1964) Some Answered Questions (collected and translated from the Persian of Abdul-Baha by Laura Clifford Barney) (3rd Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
_ (1974) The World Order of Baha’u’llah – Selected Letters (Shoghi Effendi) (2nd rev. Ed.) Illinois: Bahá’í Publishing Trust.
Orthodox Bahá’í Faith (Winter 1974/75) Herald of the Covenant –Special edition– Violation of the Covenant New Mexico: Orthodox Bahá’í Faith.
Orthodox Bahá’ís of Australia, (1982) An Open Letter to the Heterodox Bahá’ís in the West Australian April 17, 1982, Perth, Western Australia.