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Introduction to Reform Bahai Faith, A Talk Presented to the Troy Interfaith Group
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The Reform Bahai Faith has once again been born anew from tyranny and oppression, from essentially the same spiritual upheavals as that of Ruth White, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Julie Chanler, and the thousands of Bahais who left in protest under the imposition of an oppressive organization based on the fraudulent will and testament of Abdul-Baha throughout the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s. God has, throughout the decades, preserved the historical record of events for perceptive minds and souls.

Despite all fanatical, fundamentalist attempts to suppress all memory of Abdul-Baha’s vision and interpretation of Baha’u’llah’s Faith, to root it out, to coerce and slander, malign and expell, shun and besmirch the testimony of the Writings and the early believers, the Bahai Movement has continued to endure, quietly persist, giving testimony to the vision of God’s oneness, the oneness of humanity and religion, and the human potential for peace and brotherly love.

The books and publications of White, Sohrab, and Chanler have kept this vision alive, while the Baha’i upheavals and conflicts of the last three decades have led many thousands of Baha’is to experience for themselves the depth and degree to which the Faith of Baha’u’llah has been traduced and desecrated by people who seek to use and exploit it for their own worldly benefit, power, glory, and material gain.

The Divine Being has created a world of impermanence, evanescence, where nothing lasts forever, and all humanity is subjected to the vicissitudes of life, the fragility of health and constitution, the limits of human existence that He alone knows and sets. With an increasing sense of mortality, I feel it is incumbent upon me to set down, in writing, my own testimony of what I believe to be the truth about the Bahai Faith, having now been a member for over thirty years and having watched or participated in many struggles and debates and studied or watched those of many other souls in their search for truth and understanding.

Thinking of Martin Luther and John Wesley, I feel it especially as a duty and obligation to leave a record of my views for the Reform Bahai Convocation, which, God willing, one day, shall convene to restore and revive the moderate, spiritual religion of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha and clearly set a new course away from the fanatical and fundamentalist Islamist sect of the Haifans, based on their fraudulent will and testament, propagating a manipulative creed intended only to coerce the individual believer and subject him or her to the tyranny of an illegitimate and mutilated organization.

 

Article I

“The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures.” – Baha’u’llah.

 

Article II

Baha’u’llah’s appointed heir and Interpreter, the Center of the Covenant, is Abdul-Baha.

 

Article III

As scientifically judged by Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell, the purported will and testament of Abdul-Baha is a fraudulent document: “That is to say, the writing does not agree with the hypothesis that it was all written by one person.” “A minute comparison of the authenticated writing with the writing on every page of the alleged will . . . has failed to detect in any part of the will the characteristics of the writing of Abdul-Baha, as shown in the authenticated specimens.” – Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell, Report on the Writing Shown on the Photographs of the Alleged Will of Abdul-Baha, Library of Congress, 1930.

 

Article IV

The Baha’i organizations, based upon the fraudulent document, including the writings of Shoghi Effendi*, are inescapably defective and deficient: “There is apparent contradiction between this section of the Will and his lifelong teachings” (56). “Abdul Baha had never in speech or writing given the slightest indication that there would be a successor to himself. On the contrary, a number of addresses delivered by him on various occasions had made the opposite impression” (61). – Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. The Will and Testament of Abdul Baha, An Analysis. New York: Universal Publishing, 1944.

 

Article V

The results of the spurious document has reverberated down the generations and decades, as Ruth White rightly perceived: “Whether the alleged will of Abdul Baha is authentic or spurious, the results of the administration of Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is stand as an historical indictment against them. [Boldface in original] They no more represent the Bahai Religion than the bigots of the dark ages of Christianity” (100). – Ruth White. Abdul Baha's Questioned Will and Testament. Beverly Hills: White, 1946.

 

Article VI

“The Bahai Movement is not an organization. You cannot organize the Bahai Movement.” – Abdul-Baha. The mystery of that paradox calls all Bahais to seek its meaning and return to the universal, liberal Teachings of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha and their Writings.

 

Article VII

Far from creating a theocratic tyranny, the Founders of the Bahai Faith taught a moderate, universal, global religion, grounded in a spiritual democracy, teaching the separation of church and state, with science in its own respected domain, each a profound differentiation of social duty and responsibility, as in Abdul-Baha’s “Sermon on the Art of Governance”:

“The religious law is like the spirit of life,
    the government is the locus of the force of deliverance.
The religious law is the shining sun,
    and government is the clouds of April.
These two bright stars are like twin lights in the heavens of the contingent world,
    they have cast their rays upon the people of the world.
One has illuminated the world of the soul,
    the other has caused the earth to flower.
One sowed pearls in the oceans of conscience,
    while the other has made the surface of the earth a garden of paradise.” (Tr. Sen McGlinn)

 

Article VIII

With every passing year, the Writings of Baha’u’llah are being restored to humanity, from those who debased and lowered them to the level of a trademark and copyright.

 

Article IX

Reform Bahais choose to leave those who choose hatred, shunning, and interminable recrimination over the fraudulent will and testament and over stultifying legalisms, and look to the Spirit of brotherhood and love, knowledge and understanding, prayer and meditation, worship and community, service to one’s country and the world of humanity.


With the assurance of Abdul-Baha that humanity has entered the stage of maturity, wherein the individual can independently search for truth, Reform Bahais testify, in this universal, global age, that He reserves for Himself the “hearts of men,” rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s, as Baha'u'llah taught in the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, accepting and embracing His multifaceted vision, the mystery that surpasses understanding.

Reform Bahais invite all Bahais, all humanity, to a Convocation of celebration, peace, love, and brotherhood, to seek humbly together His Will and service, for the good of all people and nations of this spinning globe.


The Reform Bahai Faith
95 Theses - On Bahai Liberty
www.ReformBahai.org

0ctober 4, 2007

 

* Please note that the Reform Bahai Articles do not accept the authenticity of the purported will and testament of Abdul-Baha and, hence, the legitimacy of any guardianship. See Abdul-Baha's Covenant.