The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


Steven Scholl

When I received a letter from a Baha'i Continental Counsellor indicating that I was under threat of being declared a Covenant-breaker, the impact on me personally was less than on my family. My wife is a Baha'i as are many of her family members, . . . The very real threat of being declared a Covenant breaker meant my wife had to face the decision of joining me as a heretic or divorcing me so that she could maintain her relationships with her family and other lifelong friends. Since [my wife] had no intention of divorcing me, the choices then extended out to her family. Her sister would not refuse to socialize with us so she would automatically be declared a covenant breaker along with her husband and children. Many of my close Baha'i friends would also be faced with the decision of maintaining friendships or joining me as a heretic. The whole thing is absurd and quite medieval. But it does raise the issue which you point out so well; how anyone would want to belong to a group which is willing to act this way and be so cruel is beyond me. That is why I voluntarily left the religion. Not in order to escape punishment but because the Baha'i community had become such an unhealthy place spiritually. I was terribly saddened that my spiritual home of 25 years had turned into a prison and nightmare. 

Quoted by Karen Bacquet in "Enemies Within:  Conflict and Control in the Baha'i Community" [60] Scholl, Steven. (2000). April 26 post to

See Steven Scholl's related comments:
Re: Article in American Family Foundation's Cultic Studies Journal by Karen Bacquet

More by Steven Scholl and his "Crisis of faith":

Many Bahais and non-Bahais through the years have compared it to Scientology.
Use the Google Search engine at the bottom of the Homepage for links.

Other Bahais advised or forced to divorce:

Jeffrey Goldberg, member of the Orthodox Baha'i Faith
"27. My wife did not join the OBF at that time but she was also expelled and
shunned because she refused to take my children and divorce me as they had
insisted she must."

"Critics chafe at Baha'i conservatism" By IRA RIFKIN
February 27, 1997, Religion News Service
"In the Baha' i faith, excommunication includes total shunning by family members and friends."

"Baha'i rift Baha'is upset with Orthodox Baha'i Faith." Manya A. Brachear.
"Goldberg's wife was encouraged to divorce her husband." Also reprinted here.

LaAeterna "in order to belong to the group-at-large, I would have to publicly denounce my family as heretics (or words to that effect), liars and fools. Then, I would have to shun them."

Further examples and details regarding the use of shunning and slander:

The Baha'i Technique - Slander & Shunning

Compare Shunning > Menu