From: Juan Cole <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Dagur Nordberg <email@example.com>
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: discussions of problems
Date: Thursday, June 11, 1998 7:46 PM
I did want to add a couple other things.
The first is that I am sorry Dagur and I could not have gotten to know one
another in the old days before cyberspace emerged, when I was an enrolled
Baha'i. You know, I was not always as critical as I am now, and I never
was publicly critical. And all the time till late April 1996 I never
disobeyed any of the Baha'i institutions or broke a Baha'i law, not even once.
When I was a Baha'i, I would never have dreamed of independently starting a
formal list like H-Bahai; I would not have dreamed of publishing the Babi
and Baha'i texts suppressed by the House; I would not have dreamed of
publicly criticizing the house or its members or hands of the cause, etc.
I was quite a sincere Baha'i. And I never broke the covenant by word or
deed all the time I was a Baha'i and the Baha'i authorities knew it.
When they falsely and outrageously threatened me and my friends with being
declared covenant breakers in order to close down Talisman I, in my view
they relieved me of all further responsibility to them. They are not my
leaders, and they do not stand for my values, nor do they stand for the
values of Baha'u'llah or `Abdul-Baha or Shoghi Effendi. There is no
further reason for me not to discuss the things wrong with the way the
Baha'i faith is being run, just as I would discuss the things wrong with
the way any institution is run with which I have had a long association.
If the Baha'i authorities wanted my continued cooperation, they could have
politely asked for it and sought the path of mutual consultation. They
chose not to do that. They chose to try to bully me and other Baha'i
academics. And there is a price to pay when you are so maladroit as to
expose the inner workings of your organization as cult-like to a major
historian in that field. If they did not want to pay the price of
exposure, they should have been more careful. Now they are going to be
exposed. I do this because I am extremely distressed to see what the
proud and beautiful Faith of Baha'u'llah, which was in my heart for a
quarter of a century, has become. And I believe that only by speaking out
can I discharge my final responsibility to Baha'u'llah, who bestowed so
much on me, which is to provide some encouragement to the Baha'i
institutions to cease their rapid ratcheting toward the techniques and
mindset of the Moonies, the Scientologists, and other mind control cults.
When you get to the point where you are threatening your most prominent
academic historians with being shunned over their email discussions, that
is the road you are going down.
That said, I recognize that I can seem irascible on these unmoderated
lists, and all it would take would be a few friends suggesting I get back
off for me to do so, if they really think the things I'm saying are doing
more harm than good.