Door-to-Door Campaigning in the 21st Century

You know those people who knock on your door to introduce you to God? That used to be me. I have knocked on doors in the San Joaquin Valley of California, Los Angeles, South Carolina, North Carolina, and even on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I did it to “teach” the Bahá’í Faith, as recently as the mid 1980s. I’d been told a few years ago that Bahá’ís don’t go door-to-door anymore, but apparently that is not entirely true.

I recently heard that Bahá’ís in the Pacific Northwest had been running door-to-door “expansion campaigns” (a rather aggressive form of what Bahá’ís call “direct teaching”) as recently as two years ago, so I went out into Googlespace to see what I could scare up. There is ample evidence that Bahá’ís in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State were knocking on doors in the years 2008–2010. I have also found videos about “direct teaching” from 2011, but I don’t see much in the years since then.

I think this activity was prompted by the Universal House of Justice in the wake of the 2007-8 Global Financial Crisis. Bahá’ís, like some other religious groups, beam with anticipation at the first rumor of crisis. The failures of others are their reassurance that they have the answer and that the world will soon come begging for help.

In the following video, a poster board street map is presented during a 2009 planning session during what was called the “17th Intensive Baha’i Program of Growth.”

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Your Tax Dollars at Work

The latest target of BIGS Legal

The latest target of BIGS Legal

I recently decided that I didn’t really want to say any more about the Rocky Mountain Bahá’ís, that is, the O’Bahá’ís (Orthodox Bahá’ís) of New Mexico and the BUPCees (Bahá’ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant) of Montana. It’s obvious that they’re irrelevant and seeing as I have taken the position that the Guardianship was a bad idea to begin with, I don’t really see the point of promoting their desperate causes.

Guardianship? For those not in the know, a Guardian is a sort of Bahá’í Imam or Ayatollah.

Anyhow, The BUPCees are just too kooky and fragmented, and the O’Bahá’ís—they’re just boring. What have they done for me lately?

But then I was reminded that these two pathetic minorities have recently been getting bullied in court by the dominant Bahá’í organization, henceforth referred to as the BIGS™ Corporation, or BIGS™ Inc.

Word on the street has it that the BIGS™ (Bahá’ís In Good Standing) have been diverting construction funds into litigation against those minuscule mountain communities, so I couldn’t help but take notice. And what are they suing the O’Bahá’ís and BUPCees for? Exclusive rights to Bahá’í terms such as “Bahá’í,” “UHJ,” and “The Greatest Name.”

“The Greatest Name”—now who wouldn’t want to corner that?

“The mainstream Baha’is have responded with a lawsuit that tries to bar the orthodox from calling themselves Baha’i and sharing the “The Greatest Name,” a sacred and trademarked symbol. Baha’is believe they are not only safeguarding their identity. They are defending the truth with a capital T.

“The Orthodox say that is not a matter for the courts to decide.”

—Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2009

At present, BIGS™ Inc is losing. They lost to the BUPCees in 2005 and then lost to the O’Bahá’ís in 2008. The latter case is being appealed. Stay tuned. The Chicago Tribune is on the case.

“… the Court finds that the alleged contemnors are not in contempt …”

Futurebus

How minority Bahá'í attorneys of the future will get to court.

I wonder how well paid the BIGS™ Inc legal team is. I wonder whether the BIGS™ Inc lawyers are themselves BIGS™ members. Then again, who cares?—I just hope they’re well paid. But I digress.

As for the mountaineers, can they even afford attorneys? I’m surprised that they can even afford airline tickets to Chicago. Then again, maybe they left the driving to Greyhound. Speaking of Greyhound, check this ride—but I digress further.

Our Daily Bread: Sperm Donor Consent

One of the strange turns in Bahá’í legal history was the reversal of the Báb’s progressive consent decree. Bahá’u’lláh, having perhaps thought the Báb’s view on marriage too liberal, judged that parents ought to have a say in whom their children marry:

“It hath been laid down in the Bayan that marriage is dependent upon the consent of both parties. Desiring to establish love, unity and harmony amidst Our servants, We have conditioned it, once the couple’s wish is known, upon the permission of their parents, lest enmity and rancour should arise amongst them.”

Kitáb-i-Aqdas

I haven’t been able to find the Báb’s statement on the matter, but no matter since Bahá’u’lláh’s word is reliable enough for his followers.

To take this a step further, authoritative Bahá’í jurisprudence has dictated—and I might note without a hint of disapproval from Bahá’ís—that with regard to consent, the “parent” must be regarded as the natural parent (Directives of the Guardian, #122).

So we have it that the parents who have actually raised a child do not necessarily have any say in the matter, whether the natural parent be an addict, an invalid, or a sperm donor.

Furthermore, this decree tends to have a divisive influence on the family inasmuch as it does not permit parents to abstain from this obligation, compelling many parents to meddle where they might otherwise have sought to respect the choices of their adult children.

Though this would seem to be a regressive, ill-considered move to the modern observer and traditionalist alike, Bahá’ís are duty-bound to see it as “progressive.”

Membership Has Its Privileges!

Yes, you can have your own official FBI* agent card! Print them while they last!

The official FBI agent card.

The official FBI agent card. Don’t leave home without it.

Print this image (200 dpi), sign it with your alias of choice, slip it into your wallet, and be prepared to parade it at all Bahá’í functions. This will enable you to hoard the food and refreshments while all Bahá’ís-in-good-standing dutifully shun you!

Caveat: As FBI agents are becoming more and more common, you may need to divide the spoils with agents at an increasing number of events.
*FBI is an unregistered trademark of the Forum for Bahá’í Investigations. All rights reserved.

Our Daily Bread: Six Steps To World Order

“… to be followed by its establishment and recognition as a State religion, which in turn must give way to its assumption of the rights and prerogatives associated with the Bahá’í state, functioning in the plenitude of its powers, a stage which must ultimately culminate in the emergence of the worldwide Bahá’í Commonwealth, animated wholly by the spirit, and operating solely in direct conformity with the laws and principles of Bahá’u’lláh.”—Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, page 15.

If you’ve read the writings of Shoghi Effendi, you might have gathered that the Baháí Faith will undergo a number of stages before the “World Order of Bahá’u’lláh” is realized. These are those stages as I see them:

  1. Obscurity (where most Baháís are at now)
  2. Repression (The Iranian Baha’is)
  3. Emancipation (not there yet, though it might have seemed like it before the Iranian Revolution)
  4. Recognition
    • a single nation-state “recognizes” the Bahá’í Faith
    • not yet a theocracy
    • “the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power”
    • “the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh will be recognized by the civil authorities as the state religion”
  5. The Bahá’í State
    • “the Bahá’í state itself, functioning, in all religious and civil matters, in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas”
    • Concurrent, to some degree, with a secular “world government which will herald the advent and lead to the final establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh”
  6. The Bahá’í Commonwealth
    • “the world’s future super-state.”
    • “the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh”
    • the “truth” of the Bahá’í Faith “is embraced by the majority of the peoples of a number of the Sovereign States of the world”

More pertinent statements by Shoghi Effendi

This passage clarifies the comprehensive role of the Universal House of Justice in the “future super-state”:

“Not only will the present-day Spiritual Assemblies be styled differently in future, but they will be enabled also to add to their present functions those powers, duties, and prerogatives necessitated by the recognition of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, not merely as one of the recognized religious systems of the world, but as the State Religion of an independent and Sovereign Power. And as the Bahá’í Faith permeates the masses of the peoples of East and West, and its truth is embraced by the majority of the peoples of a number of the Sovereign States of the world, will the Universal House of Justice attain the plenitude of its power, and exercise, as the supreme organ of the Bahá’í Commonwealth, all the rights, the duties, and responsibilities incumbent upon the world’s future super-state.”—Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pages 6-7.

The following passage anticipates the transitional role of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh as a state religion as something similar to the Church established by Constantine:

“This present Crusade, on the threshold of which we now stand, will, moreover, by virtue of the dynamic forces it will release and its wide repercussions over the entire surface of the globe, contribute effectually to the acceleration of yet another process of tremendous significance which will carry the steadily evolving Faith of Bahá’u’lláh through its present stages of obscurity, of repression, of emancipation and of recognition—stages one or another of which Bahá’í national communities in various parts of the world now find themselves in—to the stage of establishment, the stage at which the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh will be recognized by the civil authorities as the state religion, similar to that which Christianity entered in the years following the death of the Emperor Constantine, a stage which must later be followed by the emergence of the Bahá’í state itself, functioning, in all religious and civil matters, in strict accordance with the laws and ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy, the Mother-Book of the Bahá’í Revelation, a stage which, in the fullness of time, will culminate in the establishment of the World Bahá’í Commonwealth, functioning in the plenitude of its powers, and which will signalize the long-awaited advent of the Christ-promised Kingdom of God on earth—the Kingdom of Bahá’u’lláh …”—Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá’í World, page 155.

The following passage enumerates the “successive stages” of the evolution of Bahá’í influence to succeed the initial stage of obscurity:

“Indeed, the sequel to this assault may be said to have opened a new chapter in the evolution of the Faith itself, an evolution which, carrying it through the successive stages of repression, of emancipation, of recognition as an independent Revelation, and as a state religion, must lead to the establishment of the Bahá’í state and culminate in the emergence of the Bahá’í World Commonwealth.”—Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, page 364.

The following passage makes it clear that the Bahá’í Commonwealth is not to be confused with the secular world government that Shoghi Effendi expected to precede the future Bahá’í super-state:

“As regards the International Executive referred to by the Guardian in his “Goal of a New World Order”, it should be noted that this statement refers by no means to the Bahá’í Commonwealth of the future, but simply to that world government which will herald the advent and lead to the final establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. The formation of this International Executive, which corresponds to the executive head or board in present-day national governments, is but a step leading to the Bahá’í world government of the future, and hence should not be identified with either the institution of the Guardianship or that of the International House of Justice.”—Shoghi Effendi, Peace Compilation, entry 60.