The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience

From: JerIversen <>
Subject: Help
Date: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 1:44 PM
Hi, everybody. I am having a big problem, and I wondered if you guys would be
able to help me out.
I found out about the Baha’i Faith some time ago, and recently undertook some
serious research to determine whether it was the right religion for me. At
last, I have decided that I believe in Baha’u’llah as God’s Prophet for this
Age, and in his Son, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as the Center of his Covenant.
The next step would be to declare. I would love to declare. However, I am very
scared of declaring. I feel scared because I have heard and read things that I
find terrifying about what occurs within the Faith. 
I have heard about seemingly innocent and pure-hearted Baha’is being publicly
damned and excommunicated, or forced to resign from the Faith. They have done
deeds that I cannot, no matter how hard I try, find in conflict with the
Writings. They have written down some suggestions they had, maybe, or asked
questions about some things. I really have looked, but I just can’t find
anything that says that Baha’u’llah doesn’t want them to do that.
Apparently some people have been saying that writing suggestions and asking
questions are in conflict with the Covenant. I just can’t see where, no matter
how hard I try. The only actual Covenant-Breakers I can find are the “Orthodox
Baha’is,” and the “Baha’is Under the Provisions of the Covenant,” and little
groups like those.
I heard most of these things on the Internet. I do not, however, believe they
are false, or that they are lies. I am very sad and scared, because I think
that many Baha’is would want these materials to disappear from the Internet. I
feel with all my heart that it is very important that people be able to see
them, and judge matters for themselves.
Because of this testimony, I cannot embrace the Baha’i Faith with all my being,
which Baha’u’llah tells us is necessary for our salvation. The obstacle to my
full immersion is that part of me experiences doubt and a desire for
self-preservation in the face of this evidence. I feel that if I were
completely honest and open within the Baha’i Faith, bad things might happen to
me, just like what happens to other people. In short, I don’t want to give
myself completely over only to get “burned” beyond the possibility of healing.
One of the reasons I have not declared is that I wanted to write this message.
I thought that if I wrote it as a registered Baha’i, people would get angry and
try to punish me, or call me a Covenant-Breaker. I thought you would be less
harsh, hearing this message written by someone who is not technically a Baha’i.
I would be very grateful if you would please help me. Thank you all very much.
cc: alt.religion.bahai, soc.religion.bahai