An Examination of Suppression and Distortion in 20th Century Baha’i Literature

By Vance Salisbury

Conclusion

Professor Browne’s observation that “the more the Baha’i doctrine spreads…the more …the original Babi movement is obscured and distorted,” cannot be taken too literally, but it is quite certain from the foregoing examination that Baha’i institutions and Baha’i authors have continued to rewrite history up to the present time.

Popular writers, such as Hatcher and Martin, have distorted the history of the movement by producing pious, inaccurate records which rely heavily upon orthodox works, while virtually ignoring important research by both Baha’i and non-Baha’i scholars.

Through the questionable practice of revising previously published books, the views of deceased authors have been corrected and brought into conformity with modern perceptions and dogma. And, through the process of literature review, future publications will be regulated and kept within the boundaries of orthodoxy.

There is not sufficient reason to conclude that there is a well orchestrated conspiracy on the part of the Baha’i Administration, in which these three practices are coordinated to completely overhaul the history of the movement. But, it is safe to conclude that, since the Baha’i Faith began spreading westward at the turn of the century, there has been a tendency on the part of Baha’i individuals and institutions to distort or suppress historical data. And, unless Baha’is are granted more freedom in expressing their views and more pressure is placed upon the Baha’i Administration through the research, concern and efforts of those outside the Faith, there is no reason to believe that this ongoing revision and rewriting will cease in the near future.



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