The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: Juan R. I. Cole <>
To: JoySafari <>; <>
Subject: Re: democratic (ha!)
Date: Monday, December 15, 1997 8:36 PM
The Baha'i faith as an organization has become extremely over-centralized
under the Guardian-less uhj, since 1963, which has the effect of snuffing
out individual initiative and scotching most worthwhile programs.  You are
right that if something is not perceived as the idea of the higher-up
"suits" then it goes nowhere (i.e. it is squelched).
So I think for the foreseeable future the hope for the Baha'i community is
in the local communities.  There are lots of sweet, wonderful courageous
Baha'is in the hustings, and they are doing marvellous things.  Most often
they have no idea what's really wrong with the religion in Wilmette and
Haifa, and just assume that the administrators are humble and good Baha'is.
Although it is true that the uhj has been trying to use its assistants and
abm's (the number of which it has vastly multiplied) to control local
communities' deepening programs & so forth, it is nevertheless still true
that things can be gotten away with at the local level.
I personally think that prayer meetings with chanting and music, deepenings
on scholarship and the Writings, and small community service projects are
the places to start.  I was appalled all the time I was a Baha'i at how
little interest there seemed to be in these three areas.  Instead you had
these gonzo assistants (aiming to become abm's, counselors and then uhj
members) talking about a goal of converting 3,000 people next week through
pamphleteering (for which you were to do the work and they were to get the
credit).  It was like a surreal Amway convention.
Moreover, I think local communities should try to keep more of their
resources in the local community, and should send very little to Wilmette
and Haifa to be wasted on boondoggles, monumental architecture, and flying
counselors around to conduct Inquisitions.  More resources locally would
mean more growth and more activity locally.  Basically, just take back your
cheers   Juan

At 06:03 PM 12/15/97 EST, JoySafari wrote:
>What issues do you think would be worthwhile?  I am interested in knowing what
>you believe is a topic that might make a change... since I am at a loss for
>any topics  and quite frankly, I am close to thinking that my chances of
>igniting change(s) are hopeless.  On the other hand, I am studying the
>writings on courage and on fearlessly defending the Faith since I think they
>will only change when and if they want to - period - and this sort of thing is
>similar to a lot of male egos I have come across:  if you don't let _them_
>think that it's their own idea that they come up with, then it's hopeless.
>In a message dated 97-12-13 07:43:47 EST, writes:
><< There are some issues on which it is worthwhile writing to them.  This is
> not one of them.  My advice:  Do your own thing as long as you can.
>  >>