The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


See also his "A Modest Proposal" 1987 David Langness

Paul Dodenhoff on Mahmoudi

See Mahmoudi's coercive email to FG

Further details on Hoda Mahmoudi's coercive email

>From Mon Mar 31 08:02:54 1997
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Date: 31 Mar 97 11:01:49 EST
From: David Langness <72110.2126@CompuServe.COM>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Open Letter: UHJ (Universal House of Justice): talk.religion.bahai
Message-ID: <970331160148_72110.2126_JHR55-1@CompuServe.COM>
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Dear Frederick,

Your letter to the House made me want to write to you and tell you that I
admire your commitment to expressing the truth as you see it. I, too, have
had a very difficult time remaining a Baha'i in the face of administrative
campaigns to silence and slander me when I attempted to facilitate open
dialogue within a Baha'i context.

I did not hear, perhaps because I've been on vacation, what the final
outcome of the vote for talk.religion.bahai turned out to be. I'm assuming
from your letter to the House that it was not favorable. And since I just
returned from a visit with my family to Harper's Ferry, where John Brown's
revolt on behalf of the slaves was met with scant slave support, that
decision resounds with a deep irony for me. The Baha'is at large have no
idea about the extent to which speech and writing are coerced and censored
within the Faith, so they themselves are able to vote for the status quo
without a clue as to how such tactics have hampered the growth of the Faith.
Sad indeed.

But Brown's revolt, while tactically unsuccessful, helped start a process
of conflict and awareness that culminated in the Civil War and in the
eventual abolishment of slavery. Hopefully those of us who recognize the
need for change within the culture of the Faith can accomplish something
similiar if we only persevere. Accordingly, I hope that your letter to 
the House, along with the 200 or so I know they have received recently on
similiar subjects, will help move people in the direction of freedom and
open expression.

I would advise you to be careful about any meetings, calls or correspondence
with Hoda Mahmoudi, who used to be an ABM here in Southern California. She
is quite conservative, and sees herself -- as do many of the appointed
branch, sadly -- as a staunch defender of the Faith and the faithful, able
and more than willing to marginalize people like you and I to discredit our
ideas. This cultlike practice of shunning and casting out any dissidents
has unfortunately become the chief tactic of those fundamentalist Baha'is
bent on maintaining the current leadership. My worry is that the more
progressive Baha'is like Juan Cole and Steve Scholl and yourself will all
leave the Faith and thereby increase the power of the conservatives.

So I hope that your letter to the House doesn't indicate that you are
withdrawing from the Faith, although it seems to hint in that direction.
I hope that you can find a way to stay in and help us progressive types in
our struggle -- but I will certainly understand if the fascists force 
yet another one out. My best to you in this difficult and troubled time.


David Langness

Compare Maneck - DRIVING people out of the Bahai Faith