The Baha'i Faith & Religious Freedom of Conscience


From: "Steve Scholl" <>
Subject: Re: Article in American Family Foundation's Cultic Studies Journal by Karen Bacquet
Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 12:55 PM

Several people on this forum have fwd to me Susan Maneck's comments on
the inner workings of my mind. Susan has a history of telling the
world what I really mean and what my true motives were in relation to
events surrounding my exodus from the Baha'i community. At one point
she informed the world that it was my belief that the Baha'i covenant
went null and void in 1921 with the passing of Abdul-Baha, which was
a rather outrageous lie on her part. She also claimed that she was
serving as my confidant and guide in the rocky days leading up to my
resignation of membership and that she was counseling me in some way.
In short, she has lied and made misleading statements about me in the
past and this recent statement of hers is just another example of her
lack of honesty.

She writes:

> > The real reason that Steve Scholl was so concerned is that at the
> time he  received this letter from a Counselor he had already planned to do
> this big expose in the press (the Rankin article.) Steve  was well aware that
> such an attack on the Faith after having received such a warning from the
> Counsellor  would assuredly result in his being declared a Covenant breaker.
> If he had not been so determined to go forward with this, there
> would not have been a problem.

Let me emphasize that Susan Maneck has never been privy to the real
reasons for my concerns and actions. That said, I am not even clear
what she is trying to say here. The statement of mine that Karen B.
quotes in her excellent article was a simple look back at one aspect
of my thinking about the internal Baha'i culture wars a few years
after the fact. I think the statement indicates clearly that there was
no big concern on my part about possibly being declared a Baha'i
covenant breaker, that the problems associated with such a move
against me would land more on my family and friends than on me. At
that point I could have cared less what the UHJ or NSA did re: my
Baha'i rights since they had already trampled on them for years and
had acted duplicitously and in violation of their own stated
administrative principles in handling my "case".

Furthermore, I had gone on record in my correspondence with the UHJ
and Counsl Birkland that I would not hesitate to discuss their actions
with "people of capacity" outside of the Baha'i community and with the
media, and I had already passed on information to several religion
writers for major newspapers about what was going on inside the Baha'i
community. This was not something I was trying to hide from them.

I don't know what Maneck's last sentence is referring to. Couns.
Birkland's threatening letter to me made it clear that if I said or
did *anything* he or his handlers disapproved of then I would be
declared a CBer.
The list of my Baha'i crimes included theological
deviations and not accepting EVERY WORD from the pen of Baha'u'llah
and Abdul-Baha as true. Birkland made it clear in his letter to me
that he did not think I was a Baha'i and that he would not hesitate to
recommend my removal from the community.

What I understand Maneck to be saying here is that my big sin was to
talk with the media about internal Baha'i crackdowns on intellectuals
and scholars,
and that if I had not planned to spill the beans to the
media "there would not have been a problem." If this is what she is
implying, then she is dead wrong. First, if I had not resigned, I
believe I would have been declared a CB because I had no intentions of
changing my beliefs based on the fundamentalist rants of the members
of the UHJ.

But what is telling in this line of Maneckian cult thinking is what
she is really saying:  The problem in her cult view of the world is
the "dissident act" of  shining a light on internal Baha'i affairs so
that outsiders (and insiders) can learn about what really takes place
in the Baha'i world. The great sin is ignoring the Baha'i taboo
against speaking out against internal injustices because to do so is
to tarnish the reputation of the Baha'i institutions. Good Baha'is are
expected to take their abuse in silence. If they speak out against
abuse, they are regarded as internal opposition and come under
investigation from the Baha'i Inquisition. They are villified and
threatened, even told that their status in the afterlife is threatened
if they don't change their ways.
And, yes, this was a key element the
little drama that played out between the Baha'i leadership and myself.
What I told the UHJ and Birkland was something like this:

I know you are all excited about emerging from obscurity and taking a
larger role on the world stage. Well, that means you are also going to
be examined more closely. Your financial misdeeds, your cover ups of
sexual exploitation by Baha'i leaders, your fundamentalist leanings,
your sexist views, your 1950s view on homosexualty, are all going to
be opened up for public scrutiny. Your days of a free ride in the
media are over.

Susan can try to nip at Karen's heels and claim that Karen's article
is flawed this way and that. But such partisan harping is only
preaching to the fundamentalist Baha'i choir. Outsiders and many
insiders will read Karen's article as a clear and honest attempt to
discuss recent Baha'i events. Susan can try to attack Karen's lack of
"methodology" or that Karen's work is not serious scholarship. But
this is laughable when one looks at Dr. Maneck's publishing career.
She has penned a few Baha'i articles of marginal value published by
internal Baha'i agencies. In short, she has one of the weakest
publishing histories I have ever seen in academics and her academic
profile is nearly nonexistent. Maneck has attempted (unsuccessfuly) to
discredit the work of Juan Cole and now Karen with her Baha'i blather.
Yet it is Juan and Karen who are publishing in refereed academic
journals, and Karen has done this as a freelance writer rather than as
a trained academic.

Susan, if you think you really have something to say, write it up and
submit it to a non-Baha'i publisher and see if they will accept YOUR
methodology and YOUR use of sources.

Steve Scholl

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