Baha’i Temples: Living proof that Baha’i activities are based on promoting Baha’ism and not humanitarian issues.Posted: February 28, 2018
The Baha’i temples, in theory, were supposed to be centers with these humanitarian facilities:
‘Abdu’l-Bahá also referred to the dependencies to be established as part of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár complex, including a hospital, a drug dispensary for the poor, a travelers’ hospice, a school for orphans, a home for the infirm and disabled, a university for advanced studies, and “other philanthropic buildings” open to people of all races, ethnic backgrounds, and religions. These dependencies were later described by Shoghi Effendi, in general terms, as “institutions of social service” that relieve suffering, sustain the poor, and provide shelter, solace, and education (http://www.bahai-encyclopedia-project.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=70:mashriqul-adhkar&catid=36:administrationinstitutions)
None of these facilities exist in any Baha’i temple, instead millions of dollars are wasted on some superstructure designed to gain interest in Baha’ism and subsequent proselytization.
The fact that Baha’i temples are built to generate interest in the religion among the public at large is made abundantly clear in numerous writings.
For example, on June 13, 1956, a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and New Zealand stated “Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá’u’lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices – seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit.”
The Bahá’í Administrative Order uses news stories of Mashriqu’l-Adhkár very astutely to generate media attention. A Google News search for the term “Bahá’í” shows a predominance of news stories regarding Bahá’í temples and discrimination. Otherwise, the Bahá’í Faith generates little to no interest
13 June 1956 [National Spiritual Assembly] Dear Bahá’í Brother: Your letters of November 17, and December 12 and 31, 1955, and January 6, February 22, April 24, and May 27, (two), with enclosures have been received by the beloved Guardian, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. He was happy to receive the pamphlets which you have had translated and forwarded to him, and which is certainly a welcome addition to the teaching work in the Pacific area. He was also pleased to see that you have found a friendly architect [John Brogan] , who will cooperate in submitting plans for the future Temple in Sydney. He is eagerly looking forward to receiving them. Since writing this, they have been received. He was also glad to hear that another site had been procured. Repercussions of the Chicago Temple are felt everywhere, and the same is becoming increasingly true of the Shrine. One single edifice, raised to the glory of Bahá’u’lláh, shines like a beacon and attracts the hearts of the people; no doubt many seeds are sown just through the act of people visiting these edifices – seeds which in the future will germinate. It is because of this that he is very eager to have the Australian one commenced as soon as circumstances permit. As regards the question the Auckland Assembly has asked about vivisection, there is nothing on this subject in the Bahá’í teachings. At a future date such matters will no doubt be taken up by the International House of Justice. He is very anxious to have as many Local Assemblies incorporated as possible; and was hence very pleased to hear that your Assembly is energetically prosecuting this part of the Ten Year Plan in both Australia and New Zealand. The visits of the Australian friends to different centers in Australia and New Zealand, as well as Mr. Featherstone‘s trip to some of the Pacific Islands, have been much appreciated, and he feels sure that marked results will be forthcoming. Although you who labour in that distant continent may often feel that your work is progressing but slowly, the Guardian, from the prospective that he has here at the World Center, is well pleased with the perseverance, the devotion and the achievements of the Australian and New Zealand friends; and he is proud of their spirit, and feels sure that they will accomplish their goals. He was very happy to hear that Mr. Marques has obtained permission to remain in Timor. His background makes him a very important pioneer for that area; and he is happy that your Assembly was able to make it possible for him to remain. The matter of the areas under the jurisdiction of a Local Spiritual Assembly is one which the National Assembly must study, and apply the principles laid down by the Guardian; namely, that within a municipal area, where the people resident in the area pay taxes and vote, the Assembly can be elected, and holds jurisdiction. Anyone living outside of that area is not a member of that Community, and cannot enjoy the administrative privileges of that Community. Although this will effect your Assembly roll, it will place the work of the Faith on a much sounder basis, and increase the number of Centers where Bahá’ís reside throughout Australia, which is an important phase of the work in any case. It will challenge the friends to work harder to create new Assemblies and make up for those dissolved; and he feels sure that in the near future the Bahá’ís will be very proud of the results they have achieved through this change. He is delighted to hear that the New Zealand friends are so eagerly carrying on their work in preparation for their National Assembly next year. Their coming of age, so to speak, will be a source of pride to all their fellow National Assemblies, and they will form a welcome addition to the pillars which must ultimately sustain the International House of Justice. Regarding the question of capital punishment, provision is made for it in the Aqdas, but this is not the time to go into details. When the Aqdas is promulgated and the House of Justice comes into being will be the time to go into these matters in greater detail. For the present they should be given no publicity. Assuring you all of his loving prayers for the success of the work you are doing. With warmest greetings, R. Rabbani.
Dear and valued co-workers: My heart overflows with gratitude, and my admiration is heightened, as I contemplate the range and quality of the achievements of the devoted and valiant adherents of the Faith in the Antipodes, who have in recent years so greatly embellished the record of their services and contributed so remarkably to the progress of the institutions of a divinely appointed Administrative order in that far-away continent. The entire Bahá’í World beholds with pride and admiration the great victories won by the Australian and New Zealand communities, both in their homelands and in so many islands of the Pacific Ocean, and shares my confidence that their historic accomplishments, particularly since the inception of the Ten-Year Plan, are but a prelude to still nobler exploits and still mightier victories. Their exemplary loyalty to the Faith they have so eagerly embraced, their keen enthusiasm, their persistent endeavours, their willingness to sacrifice, their inflexible resolve to surmount every obstacle, their unity and solidarity, their optimism and courage, are assets which I greatly value, and for which I cannot but feel deeply grateful. Much indeed has been achieved by these stalwart defenders and promoters of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh! To an extent which they themselves cannot estimate their individual and collective achievements, in both the teaching and administrative spheres of Bahá’í activity, have compensated for the enforced inactivity and the disabilities suffered by their sorely tried brethren in Persia. The first and second phases of the Ten-Year Plan owe, to a very notable degree, their success to the impetus which the splendid initiative and remarkable resourcefulness displayed by the members of these communities has lent to the onward march of the Faith in that continent.. In more than one way these communities, through their consecrated efforts and the tangible results they have achieved, have set an inspiring example to their sister communities in both the East and the West. The Author of the Divine Plan, Himself, who during the closing years of His ministry, witnessed the awakening of that vast continent, rejoices over and applauds the rapidity with which the light of His Father’s Faith has spread over and enveloped that continent and its neighbouring islands. Much, however still remains to be achieved before the laurels of total and complete victory are claimed. The precarious situation in some of the newly opened territories allotted to your Assembly must be given first consideration and should be speedily remedied. Any, and every nucleus formed in those islands must be vigilantly safeguarded, and, if possible, constantly enlarged and consolidated. Special attention, during the opening year of the third phase of the Plan, must be prayerfully accorded to the extension and consolidation of the homefront, with particular emphasis on the rapid increase in the number of the adherents of the Faith, and the multiplication of isolated centres, groups and Assemblies. The process of incorporation, so long held in abeyance, must be accelerated by every means possible. A supreme effort must be made, in the course of the current year, in conjunction with the Indian National Spiritual Assembly, to bring to an early and successful conclusion the translation of Bahá’í literature into the languages listed in the Plan, thereby assuring the attainment of one of its vital objectives. Particular attention should be devoted to the urgent needs of the New Zealand Bahá’í community, through the formulation of a plan which will enable it to swell the number of its administrative institutions, enlarging and reinforcing thereby the foundations on which its forthcoming National Assembly must ultimately rest. The goals which both communities are called upon, at this crucial hour in the evolution of the Plan, to achieve have been clearly defined and repeatedly emphasised. The task, however, is vast and arduous. The effort that must needs be exerted by the rank and file of the believers is immense. The challenge that must needs be met is severe. The promise of eventual victory, if the army of Bahá’u’lláh’s Crusaders persevere in their mission, is clear and unmistakable. The need of the present hour, as these communities enter upon the third, and, what promises to be, the most brilliant phase of a World Spiritual Crusade, is a still greater consecration to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in all its aspects, and a renewed dedication in all the divers fields of Bahá’í activity. That the members of the Australian and New Zealand communities will unanimously rise to the present occasion, that they will not allow any consideration whatever to deflect them from their high purpose in the days to come, that they will expend every ounce of energy for the attainment of these shining goals, is the deepest longing of my heart and the object of my ardent prayers. Shoghi.
As an aside, the same letter, written by Shoghi Effendi’s wife Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, also states “Regarding the question of capital punishment, provision is made for it in the Aqdas, but this is not the time to go into details. When the Aqdas is promulgated and the House of Justice comes into being will be the time to go into these matters in greater detail. For the present they should be given no publicity.
In 1973 a “Synopsis and Codification” of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the central book of the Bahá’í Faith written by Bahá’u’lláh, was published in English by the Universal House of Justice, with 21 passages of the Aqdas that had already been translated into English by Shoghi Effendi with additional terse lists of laws and ordinances contained in the book outside of any contextual prose.
The Aqdas was only officially translated into English in 1992, by which time other translations, such as one by the Royal Asiatic Society published in 1961, were becoming increasingly available through dissemination via the internet. My personal opinion is that the material in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas is so objectionable that the Bahá’í authorities wished to shield Western believers from its contents, as they do from Bahá’u’lláh’s other works by not providing translations.
I was introduced to the Baha’i faith during my first year in college, by my next-door neighbor in my dorm. I decided to attend a Baha’i meeting because it sounded interesting. I had always been very interested in various religions and philosophies ever since I was old enough to begin exploring these things for myself. The Baha’is I met at the meeting seemed like nice people, and they held an idealistic view of human potential, emphasizing ideas such as world peace, racial reconciliation, and respect for all major religions. I would say that two things attracted me most to the Baha’is and their religion: the people themselves and their optimistic spirit about the future of humanity.
I decided to believe in Baha’ism and join the organized Baha’i Faith after a few months of studying the religion and socializing with Baha’is. Looking back, I would say that there were many details of Baha’i beliefs and practices that I wasn’t aware of when I joined, which if I had known about might have prevented me from joining their religious organization. It was the overall spirit of the Baha’is and their faith – the big picture view – that drew me in, and at that time I probably would not have even wanted to know anything about the Baha’i Faith that would have turned me off from it!
Throughout my college years, I was an active and serious Baha’i. I participated in local Baha’i community meetings and Baha’i college club meetings. I followed the religion’s rituals of daily prayer and the annual period of fasting. I enthusiastically tried to share my Baha’i faith with other people, because Baha’is place a great emphasis on “teaching” the faith (trying to educate people about the existence of the Baha’i faith and encourage them to study it and join). I even went on two Baha’i “teaching trips” to a rural, impoverished area where we attempted to befriend and evangelize Native Americans and other people living in poverty. I also wrote a draft of an introductory book presenting the Baha’i faith for a Christian audience (but I left the faith before seeking a publisher).
Posted from Reddit.com
There was a post made here a while back asking about if this translation of the Bahá’í The Most Holy Book — perhaps the most honest and relibable translation — was available online or if someone could upload it. I looked, and I was unable to find this entire translation online with the introduction and all the notes. I was only able to find assorted quotations and analyses, and I also found this which is a multilinear translation of the Aqdas with the authorized Haifan Bahá’í translation, Haddad’s translation, and the Elder & Miller translation. The E & M translation however wasn’t available as a full document, so I took the liberty tonight of pasting each passage and organizing them all into a PDF for convenience’s sake.
You can view it here:
I hope this is useful for you all.
The differences between it and the authorized translation I read when I was a Bahá’í were quite shocking.
When/If I get my hands on the physical copy of this translation, I’ll post one with the introduction and the notes.
Please point out any mistakes I made in my transcription, and I will fix them as soon as I can.
What I particularly like about the Elder & Miller translation is that it uses contemporary English. The 1992 translation commissioned by Universal House of Justice unnecessarily uses words like “hath,” “heareth,” “thy,” and “ye” in an attempt to mimic the tone of the King James Version of the Bible.
How do the Bahá’ís reckon that two differing translations of the same text can be authoritative lol? Thank you for sharing this.
Selections from the Writings of the Báb was compiled and published in 1976 by the Universal House of Justice, sixteen years before the Universal House of Justice published the full Kitáb-i-Aqdas in 1992.
The use of alternate wording is likely the result of a new committee with new authority.
What is further odd is that for a definitive, religious text, the translation to other languages was conducted through the English version and not the original Arabic. This is a practice justified with some dubious reasoning.
Speaking of SWB I noticed this very interesting passage when I was copying this translation:
These are the stipulations of God. Do not transgress them because of your own passions. Follow what you are commanded to do by the Rising-place of Explanation (al- Bayan)
From this is it is clear that Bahá did not abrogate Bayán and that with whatever he did not specifically override of Bayán it is incumbent for Bahá’ís to follow the Bayán where Bahá is unspecific. This is further demonstrated by the fact that Bahá’s laws are essentially a rehash of the Bayán, and he also states in a 1862 letter:
I swear by God that if any one of the People of the Bayan were to mention that the Book [i.e. Bayan] is abrogated, may God smash the mouth of the speaker and the calumniator, and by him who holds my soul and myself in his hands one letter from the Bayan is the most loved with me than all that are in the heavens and on the earth
In a letter to Sayyid Ibrahim he says:
Consider bygone ages and reflect upon what god had inflicted on their peoples for having contended amongst themselves, for having turned aside from His Countenance, for having strayed away from His path, for having done wrong to His Cause, and for having associated any creature with the Sovereign of His Unity, for which they were of the perished. Have you ever heard religion of god to exist before it is confirmed, or commandment of god to be abrogated before it becomes manifest? ….. Nay, by my lord, the lord of heavens, no one can abrogate one letter from that which has been revealed in the Bayan …..
Bahá’í translations neglect often to shed light on the original Arabic/Persian that is in the texts. In the authorized translation it reads, concealing the meaning:
These, verily, are the Laws of God; transgress them not at the prompting of your base and selfish desires. Observe ye the injunctions laid upon you by Him Who is the Dawning-place of Utterance
How then can Bahá’ís follow what their leader told them to follow, the Bayán, if it is not available for them in other languages such as English, except in “selections” which don’t even encompass all the laws revealed in it?!
Courtesy : Reddit.com
The next individual to be elected to the Universal House of Justice will be Juan Francisco Mora.
In the Bahá’í electoral system, with no overt campaigning and politicking permitted, the exposure of potential candidates to electors is a premium. The nine members of the International Teaching Centre routinely travel throughout the world, giving them vital face-time with members of the National Spiritual Assemblies who serve as electors for the Universal House of Justice. In fact, every single one of the current members of the Universal House of Justice previously served as a Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre.
With the turnover of the Universal House of Justice’s nine members and with the International Teaching Centre‘s being composed of nine members, some of whom are women and therefore ineligible for election to the Universal House of Justice, a man’s appointment to the International Teaching Centre serves as a presumption to eventual election to the Universal House of Justice.
To illustrate further, in a letter dated October 20, 2008, the Universal House of Justice called for a series of 41 Regional Conferences intended to mark the mid-point of the Five Year Plan and motivate participants to re-dedicate themselves to the goals of the Plan upon returning home. The Regional Conferences were held from November 1, 2008 through March 1, 2009.
Each of the 41 Rregional Conferences was attended by two Counsellor members of the International Teaching Centre with the exception of the Conference held at Uvira, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which had only one representative. The Counsellor members of the International Teaching Centre at the time of the Regional Conferences were Juan Francisco Mora, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Hall, Stephen Birkland, Zenaida Ramirez, Joan Lincoln, Rachel Ndegwa, Uransaikhan Baatar, and Penelope Walker.
Of this cohort of Counsellors, the five lady members (Zenaida Ramirez, Joan Lincoln, Rachel Ndegwa, Uransaikhan Baatar, and Penelope Walker) were ineligible for election to the Universal House of Justice.
Of the four male members at the time of the 41 Regional Conferences (Juan Francisco Mora, Ayman Rouhani, Stephen Hall, and Stephen Birkland), all but Juan Francisco Mora have already been elected to the Universal House of Justice. Given that he has had more exposure to the electors of the Universal House of Justice than any other current male Counsellor member of the International Teaching Centre, it stands to reasonably assume with a high degree of confidence that Juan Francisco Mora will become the next individual elected to the Universal House of Justice once a vacancy opens.
In practice, the Bahá’í electoral system most closely resembles council democracy as it still exists in Cuba, wherein individuals elect Local Spiritual Assemblies, who then elect National Spiritual Assemblies, who then elect the Universal House of Justice. With no politicking or partisanship allowed, there is little turnover in leadership and Universal House of Justice members almost invariably serve until retirement or death. In the people’s democracies of the Eastern Bloc, these career bureaucrats were known as the nomenklatura.
Out of curiosity, how do people get appointed to the International Teaching Centre? What’s the most typical background, and how are they recruited?
Normally, only Continental Counselors gets appointed to the ITC. These Counselors were ABMs before being promoted to the CBC. Before being an ABM they were assistants to ABMs. And only a ‘Tested Believer’ is chosen to work for the ABM.
To illustrate your point…
Current Members of the International Teaching Centre
|Name||Date Appointed||Previous Assignment as Continental Counsellor|
|Rachel Ndegwa||2003||Africa, 2000 – 2003|
|Uransaikhan Baatar||2008||Asia, 2000 – 2008|
|Juan Francisco Mora||2008||Americas, 2005 – 2008|
|Praveen Kumar Mallik||2010||Asia, 2006 – 2010|
|Ramchand Coonjul||2013||Africa, 2010 – 2013|
|Antonella Demonte||2013||Europe, 2010 – 2013|
|Andrej Donoval||2013||Europe, 2010 – 2013|
|Alison Milston||2013||Americas, 2008 – 2013|
|Mehranguiz Farid Tehrani||2013||Asia, 2005 – 2013|
The Baha’i election process is worthless!
Fáṭimih Khánum (1822-1916) was an Isfahání girl who was the second wife of the Báb. Fáṭimih was the sister of a prominent Bábí, Mullá Rajab-‘Alí. She was married around 1847 aged twenty-five, to serve the Báb during His sojourn to Isfahán. In Persia, it was regarded as dishonourable for a woman to serve a man unless she was not related to him. The couple had no children, and after the Báb left Isfahán she did not accompany Him. After His martyrdom, despite the fact that the Báb asked His wives not remarry, Fáṭimih Khánum married Azal for one month, until he divorced her and gave her to Siyyid Muhammad Isfahání. Fáṭimih agreed to these marriages, and is therfore a Covenant Breaker.