I thought that Baha'i were not expected to be able to accept everything
immediately, and that many if not most were allowed as much time to
digest the teachings. I was incorrect. I was a card carrying member for
only about 3 years. I felt I could not change in myself what was
required in order for me to move forward in my personal life.
Perhaps I was allowed into the faith too early by those in the local
area. Was I wrong about it being OK not to be able to comprehend
everything immediately. I was tormented and in much personal turmoil
with my wife having just died and then a few months later a quad heart
In my attempt to restart a personal life with another I could not handle
some of the teachings and perhaps in primitive reaction acted as I only
knew how at age 54. If I had not turned in my card my local friends
would have been deeply hurt and any Administrative privileges would have
I feel that the heart is not relevant in the faith and that mortal (sin)
rules are more important now, I don't feel the love any more. I have
remarried and would give up Administrative privilege than give up my
wife. As it stands now it turned out to be, turn in card or turn away
from a loving woman. A horrible position to be put in.
I would have thought that a personal contact be made and a review of
what really was going on in my heart and mind would have occurred but
only a succinct letter with quotes. Don't you think one soul is worth
more effort by the NSA?
> I'm sorry to say that the reply from NSA was that at this time I could
> not be given my card back. Unless I accept and live everything taught in
> the faith I could never come into the faith is what the reply seemed to
I'm sorry to hear that you didn't get your card back. I can imagine
that this must have been really painful for you. Isn't it possible
for you to live according to the Baha'i law? I think you should call
and speak with an Auxiliary Board Member and explain the situation you
explained to us about not having any relations with father, etc. I
quoted for you the situations in which the law of consent wasn't
needed, and I said I thought it applied to your situation. Why not
follow that through and at least try.
As painful as it is, I imagine that there is a wisdom in having
declared Baha'is follow the laws which are the obvious ones. For one
thing, it is good for one's spiritual growth to try. I wouldn't want
to try to second guess the institutions. I'm sure that there is a
reason for their decision, and if properly understood, would be a
All best wishes,
With all due respect my friend I think you must be misreading
something for I know of no quotes in our Writings that would justify
anyone or any institution from saying this.
However there is another answer to all this and that is for you to
write the House of Justice and give them a copy of that letter and
also CC the NSA the letter you send to the House of Justice.
> I thought that Baha'i were not expected to be able to accept
> everything immediately, and that many if not most were allowed as
> much time to digest the teachings. I was incorrect. I was a card
> carrying member for only about 3 years. I felt I could not change in
> myself what was required in order for me to move forward in my
> personal life.
I am imaginging that what you were referring to in the above is this
passage in a letter written on behalf of the Guardian:
237. The Process of Becoming a Bahá'í Is an Evolutionary One
"the Guardian fully shares your view that it would be most unwise, and
unfair to those who apply for membership in the Community to require
that they should at first accept all the laws of the Faith. Such a
requirement would be impossible to carry out as there are many laws in
the 'Aqdas' with which even the well-confirmed and long-standing
believers are not yet familiar. As you rightly point out the process
of becoming a Bahá'í is an evolutionary one, and requires considerable
time, and sustained effort on the part of the new believer. Such
questions as the withdrawal from Church membership and that of
abstention from alcoholic liquors should not be thrust upon the
newcomer, but explained to him gradually, so that he himself may be
convinced of the truth underlying these ordinances of the Cause."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual
believer, February 17, 1938)
At the same time, there are many passages about how we can't pick and
choose the laws which we will and won't obey. The law about getting
parental consent is binding on all believers, and the purpose is the
unity of the family. Baha'u'llah came to bring about unity and love.
But in your case, from what you've said, I don't think the law would
apply. I really think you should study the exemptions to that law and
see if you may not have presented the case well enough. Saying you
don't agree with the law is not the best way to go about it. I will
say, though, that the law about the consent for marriage, when it
doesn't work out, is one of the hardest laws to follow. It's a real
test of faith.
My prayers are with you.
For as I lay in bed last night with my precious wife's head on my chest
as she slept. I knew God had guided us to each other and the moment my
head fails to rise from my pillow I know Gods arms will be open to me.
After my late wife passed, I prayed that God help me find a woman who
had been so terribly unhappy and unappreciated, yet still had a heart
filled with love. Someone that I could help to heal. My wife has
allergies, sinusitis, and fibromyalgia. And since coming into her life,
my life has become fulfilled and she has begun heal.
When she trembles at night from the fibromyalgia, which is much less
frequent, all I have to do is stroke her hair and head and she quiets.
The jerking motions dissipate. I thank God that I can be such a tool.
No, I have no regrets and accept whatever the mortal church body edicts
as Gods will, so be it.
My only regret is the friends that I thought I had who no longer can
find time to call, email or see me. That hurts, but than they must not
have truly loved me.
> Then I must relinquish any future thoughts of 'joining' the Baha'i
> community. For in my heart there is something wrong about parental
> consent, to me in all circumstances. I cannot understand it nor could I
> abide by it and I have no regrets.
I'm very sorry to hear that. But being a Baha'is is actually
something that is in a heart. It's the deep belief that Baha'u'llah
has come and has given us the teachings which will ultimately create
peace, unity, and spirituality. It isn't just about community
I'm happy for you, though, that you have such a loving relationship
with your wife. May God surround you both with blessings and peace
for now and all eternity.
Warmest Baha'i love,
If I get all the other teachings and this one trip up is to condemn me,
well, I can't see God being that cold. People yes, God, no. To expect
perfection and complete understanding is I fear a dangerous path for any
faith to tread.
I'm not in any LSA area, I have always live in an area where there were
no LSA's. I have visited three regional LSA's but I taught myself by
reading, God Speaks Again (3 times), On the Shoulders of Giants, Ocean,
Lights of Guidance (read three times), The Kitab-i-Aqdas, The
Kitab-i-Iqan Book of Certitude, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, A
Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith and many more in my library.
I've traveled to the Baha'i temple in Wilmet 5 times.
All to try to gather strength, and understanding. A journey of words and
miles that I'll never regret and am still filled with wonder at all I
have learned. It is all good, it is what got me through the death of the
greatest love I could have ever imagined, realizing that her death was
not good nor bad, it was what was to happen and that I was allowed the
time with her that I had was amazing and I still thank God for bringing
her into my life if only for 6 years. I would do it all over again, is
the joy and appreciation I have.
So I'm not worthy, probably not. I could have said OK, I will comply but
God would have known that I did not accept, so should I have lied to
stay in the membership knowing that God knew I was not capable of
understanding or accepting that single rule or law? That I was being
dishonest. Then what the fate of my soul? These were all the thoughts
which I struggled with and anguished over. Who would have cared, sorry,
regardless, you must perform these specific actions regardless. Even if
you don't understand and don't agree, isn't that lying to God. You
cannot lie to God, God knows what is in your heart.
Yes, I'm not worthy.
I'll not ask another time, a decision has been made and I have to abide
and so I will. I'm right with God because I was honest and sincere with
God. I honestly believe God has no issue with me, how do I know this,
Because God brought me another wife and great love to ease my travels
through this temporary world with. What greater gift than the gift of
love, God truly loves me greatly.
> I'm not in any LSA area, I have always live in an area where there were
> no LSA's. I have visited three regional LSA's but I taught myself by
> reading, God Speaks Again (3 times), On the Shoulders of Giants, Ocean,
> Lights of Guidance (read three times), The Kitab-i-Aqdas, The
> Kitab-i-Iqan Book of Certitude, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, A
> Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha'i Faith and many more in my library.
> I've traveled to the Baha'i temple in Wilmet 5 times.
> All to try to gather strength, and understanding.
That shows real dedication and love.
>A journey of words and
> miles that I'll never regret and am still filled with wonder at all I
> have learned.
The Faith of Baha'u'llah *is* amazing, isn't it?
> It is all good, it is what got me through the death of the
> greatest love I could have ever imagined, realizing that her death was
> not good nor bad, it was what was to happen and that I was allowed the
> time with her that I had was amazing and I still thank God for bringing
> her into my life if only for 6 years. I would do it all over again, is
> the joy and appreciation I have.
It sounds like the Faith has been quite an inspiration and solace to
you. It has given you a vision of how to make peace with something
which was very difficult and find a joyful way forward.
> So I'm not worthy, probably not.
What's happened with your losing your Baha'i membership isn't
anything at all to do about being unworthy or condemned. I think it's
about your not understanding some basic things before becoming a
Baha'i, as you said in a previous posting. One of them is the
importance of following the laws. In the current society, most
people feel that religious laws are pretty much voluntary and they
don't matter much. You can follow what you want, and don't have to if
you don't want. However, Baha'u'llah came to bring about a unified
society, and one of the things about that is that He created laws
which all people who want to be part of the Baha'i community need to
agree to obey. We may slip up sometimes on some of them, but that is
what we have signed on to when we declared. And He also gave us an
Administrative System which was designed by Himself. Obeying it isn't
something we can just decide not to do. In the Baha'i community, we
need to do it. If we don't agree with something that's said, there are
avenues for airing our discontent and perhaps righting wrongs, but
when our own position isn't supported, we are supposed to obey. This
is very different from the current society, especially in the West.
It isn't for everyone. Not everyone at present can happily agree to
such things. But the people who do agree, and who strive to translate
the laws into action in their lives, and who work cooperatively within
the Administrative System, are eventually the ones who will be setting
the pattern for a future, spiritual society which will be very
different from the current society.
And, although you seem to have gotten a lot from reading the Writings,
I'm not sure that you have completely understood who Baha'u'llah is.
or the implications of that. If you fully understand that He is the
Manifestation of God for this Day, then whatever He says is of God.
There's no question of whether it's right or wrong. It's right.
"Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every
one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them,
and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by
God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose."
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 59)
Baha'u'llah has given us certain laws to order our personal lives, but
also society. They are firm and binding, and the reason has to do
with unity. You might not see the need for parental consent as having
to do with unity. However, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'u'llah says
that it does:
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.
And in this We have yet other purposes. Thus hath
Our commandment been ordained.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 42)
I don't think you are having these problems because you were unable to
get consent for marriage, but because you felt that you shouldn't have
to even try. I'm assuming that you were right in your original
posting where you said that it was impossible, and so I have been
advising you to let them know this wasn't ever a possibility. There
is something about exemptions which have to do with this possibility.
But an attitude that the law is wrong and you have every right to
ignore it if you want, and, in fact, God would want you to, shows that
you don't actually believe that Baha'u'llah knows more than you do in
such things or that He was speaking as the Mouthpiece of God when He
gave us the law.
AGain, if He is the Manifestation of God, then whatever He asks us to
do has a reason for it which is for our spiritual wellbeing, and the
wellbeing of society. Humility is needed to believe that He may know
something you don't know. When people, with love and humility,
approach their parents and ask permission for marriage it means that
the parents and their opinions are respected. When the marriage does
take place, it ends up being much more of a union of families than it
could ever have been otherwise. It helps deepen love and unity in
families which are already united, and it can help to create it in
families where it's tentative. I imagine that you are seeing this
whole issue through the lens of your own difficult experience with
parents, but not all families are like that. And the more we grow
towards the Golden Age, pretty much no families will be like that.
'Abdu'l-Baha said that the unity of humanity starts with family
unity. It's important to at least do our bit to try to promote it.
I could have said OK, I will comply but
> God would have known that I did not accept, so should I have lied to
> stay in the membership knowing that God knew I was not capable of
> understanding or accepting that single rule or law? That I was being
> dishonest. Then what the fate of my soul? These were all the thoughts
> which I struggled with and anguished over. Who would have cared, sorry,
> regardless, you must perform these specific actions regardless. Even if
> you don't understand and don't agree, isn't that lying to God. You
> cannot lie to God, God knows what is in your heart.
Sometimes we can't understand something. It's true. But it isn't
lying to God to say you don't understand, but you do believe in
BAha'u'llah being His Manifestation, and He has asked you to do this,
so out of respect and love for Him, you will obey. Baha'u'llah said:
"Observe My commandments, for the love of My beauty."
(Baha'u'llah: The Kitab-i-Aqdas, Page: 20)
Mr. Taherzadeh, former member of the Universal House of Justice,
explains this very well. He said:
For no matter how strongly an individual may believe in Bahá'u'lláh,
and however intense may be his love for Him, his faith will depend
upon the extent to which he is willing and eager to obey His laws,
teachings and commandments. Indeed, man's part in the Covenant is to
first recognize and then wholeheartedly obey the Manifestation of God
in every respect.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 264)
> I'll not ask another time, a decision has been made and I have to abide
> and so I will. I'm right with God because I was honest and sincere with
> God. I honestly believe God has no issue with me, how do I know this,
> Because God brought me another wife and great love to ease my travels
> through this temporary world with. What greater gift than the gift of
> love, God truly loves me greatly.
And I'm sure that God doesn't have an issue with you. I'm sure that
He loves you dearly, and is a witness to your sincere struggles on His
behalf. However, I think you were probably right in another posting
that you became a Baha'i prematurely before you understood all the
implications, like this law of consent. And it would seem that you
have been deepening yourself, but there were important things that you
quite naturally missed. I really do think that Baha'is need to make
sure that people understand about the importance of obeying laws and
following the Administrative System, because otherwise they may be in
for disappointment and grief. I'm very sorry this happened to you.
Peace and blessings,
I'm not sure how my last posting came across to you. I was thinking
analytically about what I thought probably went wrong, and what would
need to change before you requested membership back (if you did), but
I may not have come across as compassionate and understanding as I
intended. If that's so, I am very sorry. That truly wasn't my
Believe me, I think it was a terrible test that so soon after becoming
a Baha'i, and so soon after losing your last wife and finding someone
else, and with your painful history with your father, that you were
confronted with that law. I don't know how much anyone helped you to
understand the law or how to approach it and what would be the
consequences of not following it.
But I do believe that all that's happened to you *is* a test, and
tests are something one should try to pass. There may be new new ways
of looking at things that need to be developed. And arising to try to
pass a test in the right way will help develop spiritual qualities
which is what 'Abdu'l-Baha said was the purpose of our life in this
world. These qualities will be the limbs and members we need for
speedy progress in the next world -- the spiritual world. So, all in
all, trying to meet a test following the guidance in the Writings,
will lead to a great deal of spiritual growth. Whereas, just leading
a peaceful life without a lot of tests doesn't lead to much growth at
all. It can actually lead to spiritual stagnation which 'Abdu'l-Baha
says is the same as going backwards spiritually. And everyday, the
choice is ours which path we will take. The path to spiritual growth,
which is the tough path, the one which requires determination,
humility, love, surrendering one's ego to the Will of God, overlooking
the shortcomings of others, resolve to root out differences and
estrangements with others and to be the one to create unity, etc. It
is the path of God. Or we can follow the path to our own selves. The
path of self-protection and victimhood.
It's a strange thing, that whenever I try to write to you and reassure
you, I keep on ending up challenging you. I see such good things in
you, Michael. I see love of God, and a powerful attraction to the
Writings. I guess I would like to see you rise to fulfill your
potential, and take your place as a valued member of the Baha'i
community. I really don't think you should surrender in the face of
Love and friendship,
> t's a strange thing, that whenever I try to write to you and reassure
> you, I keep on ending up challenging you. I see such good things in
> you, Michael. I see love of God, and a powerful attraction to the
> Writings. I guess I would like to see you rise to fulfill your
> potential, and take your place as a valued member of the Baha'i
> community. I really don't think you should surrender in the face of
> Love and friendship,
On the whole I agree with everything Suzanne has said and I did not
see any lack of compassion in her postings. But I also would say that
until you take the appropriate action that Baha'u'llah has provided us
with by giving us the Admin. Order you won't really know for sure how
it will all turn out. It is one thing to "believe" certain things by
deducing this or that because of this or that but until we actually
take the prescribed action we really wont know.
As for tests and difficulties, well, we have offered quotes and some
opinions but actually the tests are unique to individuals and so until
we experience a similar thing ourselves we really don't know about how
another soul is being tested for we are all unique with different
capacities, education and experience. What might be a terrible test
for me is not for you and vice versa. I have been a Baha'i now for 41
years (or should I say a Bahai In Process) and in looking back now I
feel my current tests are far worse that those of years ago.
Everything is relative.
So I echo Suzanne's sentiments and advice and see too that you appear
to be very sincere with lots of good points but you really need to
take the next step as advised and let an Institution assist you.
I apologize for the silence. Just hunkered down a short time to reflect.
You haven't offended me in anyway.
I reread the letter from the NSA and it makes clear that as long as I
cannot align myself with all the teachings and live my life by all the
teachings, no exception, I cannot be considered Baha'i.
I hope I didn't take liberties but I emailed you copy of the letter to
your personal email which I saw on your newsgroup postings.
I never imagined the faith being so rigid and inflexible. I always
thought that deepening was allowed to take it's own course per person. I
find it odd that if I hadn't turned in my card, which I took as a self
imposed loss of Administrative privilege, (as I'm not in the confines of
a LSA as mentioned earlier) not as a rejection of the faith. I would
still be considered a Baha'i, a bad Baha'i with loss of Administrative
privileges. But still in the earthly faith.
You ask that I write the UHJ but then they don't know me and my
character and I believe would only see me as another one that with
premeditated conniving, planned to get around the marriage teachings by
purposefully leave the faith with the forethought of returning after the
marriage took place. I don't blame them but but if anyone knew me,
really knew me, they would know it was not in my nature. I don't believe
that even those I was closest too in the faith know me. Truly know me
and would doubt that my actions were selfish and plotted.
Yes, that's right. You may not understand everything that Baha'u'llah
taught or all the laws, but as a Baha'i you need at least believe that
Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation of God for this Day, which means that
there was a good reason for all the laws, and that they all actually
come from God, so we need to at least try to obey. I've read the
letter which was sent to you, and I think it was actually quite a good
one. I didn't see it as lacking in love, but as being warm, caring
> I never imagined the faith being so rigid and inflexible.
I don't see it that way. I see the Baha'i community as being the the
pattern for a new world order. If we were al tol pick and choose
which laws we wish to obey and discard the rest, how are we any
different from the old world order? How can we develop a distinctive
community based on the laws and teachings of Baha'u'llah? How can we
develop unity in diversity? Honestly, Michael, striving to follow the
laws of Baha'u'llah is a path towards peace and unity and the
development of spiritual qualities.
> thought that deepening was allowed to take it's own course per person.
Deepening can take it's own course. No problem. Nobody says you need
to understand everything. It's just that you need to believe that
Baha'u'llah is who He says He is and it's important for you to follow
His laws if you are Baha'i. If you don't want to be a Baha'i, that's
fine. But that is the prerequesite for membership.
They quoted this first paragraph from the Kibab-i-Aqdas of Baha'u'llah
which says that the first duty is to recognize the Mouthpiece of God
and the second is to obey Him. Neither duty is acceptable without the
"The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is
the recognition of Him Who is the Dayspring of
His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws, Who
representeth the Godhead in both the Kingdom of His
Cause and the world of creation. Whoso achieveth this
duty hath attained unto all good; and whoso is deprived
thereof hath gone astray, though he be the author of
every righteous deed. It behoveth every one who
reacheth this most sublime station, this summit of
transcendent glory, to observe every ordinance of Him
Who is the Desire of the world. These twin duties are
inseparable. Neither is acceptable without the other.
Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Source of
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 19)
> find it odd that if I hadn't turned in my card, which I took as a self
> imposed loss of Administrative privilege, (as I'm not in the confines of
> a LSA as mentioned earlier) not as a rejection of the faith. I would
> still be considered a Baha'i, a bad Baha'i with loss of Administrative
> privileges. But still in the earthly faith.
I didn't see the letter you sent them, but it doesn't sound from their
response like you didn't just sent the card back but you told them
that you didn't believe in the law and weren't going to follow it.
When a person declares as a Baha'i they need to commit to abide by the
laws of Baha'u'llah. You were basically declaring to them that you
didn't feel you needed to abide by the laws. So, based on that, they
said you were not a Baha'i. You were a friend of the Faith, and they
would pray for you, but you have to agree to abide by the laws to re-
enroll. This isn't unreasonable, since it is what is expected from a
declarant in the first place. That's what every new Baha'i needs to
commit to. They said that whenever you are ready to commit to that,
then you are welcome to get back in touch with a local LSA or the NSa
and they will welcome you back with open arms. So I don't see the
letter as being a rejection of you, personally, but of stating what
the requirement is for being a member of the Baha'i community.
All best wishes,
The quotes are saying we must accept all the Laws Michael but
obedience to them all is a lifelong process. My goodness if
qualifications for membership was strict obedience to the Laws I doubt
any of us would qualify. The membership enrollment card makes this
Also I think you make a common mistake that most people do in praying
to God for assistance and then answering your own prayers by saying -
> I believe would only see me as another one that with premeditated
> conniving, planned to get around the marriage teachings by
> purposefully leave the faith with the forethought of returning after
> the marriage took place.
We cannot second guess God and so you won't find out the answer to
your prayers until you take the proper action and write the House of
Only you knew what was in your heart by leaving the Faith etc. and
> We cannot second guess God and so you won't find out the answer to
> your prayers until you take the proper action and write the House of
Personally, II think it would be a mistake to write to the Universal
House of Justice and just re-state what he said to the NSA unless
something of substance changed. The only way to get a different
response is if he agrees to strive to obey the laws, something he has
been saying he doesn't need to do.
Earlier in this thread (on Jan. 25) Michael wrote:
"Then I must relinquish any future thoughts of 'joining' the Baha'i
community. For in my heart there is something wrong about parental
consent, to me in all circumstances. I cannot understand it nor could
abide by it and I have no regrets. "
This is different from not being able to follow the law. It's saying
that he shouldn't have to follow the law and thinks the law is wrong.
I think this is what the NSA was talking about in the first paragraph
of the letter to Michael when they said that he has some
misunderstanding about what it is to be a Baha'i. A Baha'i doesn't
just believe in Bah'au'llah. They also need to agree to abide by the
laws. In the last paragraph they said that if in the future his
belief about this changes, that he's able to assume all the
responsibilities of being a Baha'i (i.e. obeying the laws), they would
be happy to hear from him again.
So, personally, I would say that the next step is to try to understand
that if Baha'u'llah is the Manifestation for this Day, then He knows
what He's talking about, and if He says that obeying His laws are
essential, then that is the case. A good approach would be to start
out with a humble belief that the law is correct, even if he can't
understand it, because it is given to us by Baha'u'llah. Then the
mind and heart need to turn towards God in praying, asking to be
guided to understand this law, and his mind needs to turn towards
trying to understand the hidden wisdom behind the law. Consultation
can help with this too.
All best wishes,
There are two ways to present yourself here.
1. The marriage law is a mistake because it is causing me injustice.
I want to be a Baha'i but not follow that one law.
2. The Marriage law was established by Baha'u'llah as part of the
for a new society. It is not feasible for me to follow it as I
I accept that it is binding on everyone (including me) since I believe
Baha'u'llah is who He says He is. Can we work together to make my
marriage compliant with Baha'i standards?
The first approach opens a huge can of worms. Joe will say that his
approach to partisan politics is OK so he wants to run for Congress
as a Baha'l. Bob has a compelling need to go to bars and get drunk
(he doesn't get into fights so it should be alright for a Baha'i to do
Pete likes his wife but he likes his neighbor's wife too - and the
likes Pete's wife so no harm done if they all swap sleeping
weekly - that won't hurt anyone even if they are Baha'is and LSA
So I am confident that your National Spiritual Assembly and the
Universal House of Justice will not go for approach 1. If you
requested your membership back under approach 1 then you will
need to rethink this. I think they would be willing to work with
you under approach 2 if they thought you really meant it.
Since you have been consistently saying that the marriage law was
a mistake, you will need to convince yourself about approach 2
before you consider following it.
Dear Suzanne and Doug,
I can't say absolutely one thing which offends me so much about the
marriage laws. It does bother me in several regards,
1. I have yet to see that the marriage law changes anything as far as
success of marriages. I have met many, many divorced Baha'i. The
marriage laws do not reduce divorce and does not increase harmony
2. In the Concise Encyclopedia it says that the marriage law was
developed for the local Iranians, that the parents picked and told the
children who they could or could not marry. So, and it makes no sense to
me as I doesn't change one thing, the child can now choose whom they
want to marry but the parents can still say no, so it never did resolve
the issue. What can a rule made for stone age Iranians living in the
cruelest of times have to do do with the free will of love and learning
that goes along with it. To make a rule that glaringly does not change
anything is confusing and makes me think it was not interpreted
correctly. And usually the picking was done to further the financial
gain or status of the parents, so much love there, gosh.
3. The stories that I was told of the girl who was told she could not
marry the man she wished because the mother in law to be said she did
not like the girls mother. The girl cried and cried but did find another
man to marry. Yet the child is given the right to choose! Not so. By
anyone's standards it doesn't make any sense and appears cruel in the
4. I knew a Baha'i woman that begged and pleaded to marry the man of her
wishes and the parents succumbed, then after 7 years they divorced.
None of the above makes any sense to me. It is all confusing and appears
contrary to unity unless your willing to ignore common sense.
As far as myself, and my new wife, both our fathers exited early on and
never showed any love, thereby clearly giving up parental privilege.
On all fronts the marriage laws assault my sensibilities. Some how it
must be misinterpreted.
Love between two people should not be dictated by any others, especially
In conclusion, marriage customs of stone age people where women had no
rights and a marriage was arranged for the convenience of the parents,
well,,, my common sense says it is not of God. To say it is what God
wants, well,, I cannot beleive it so. To say it was changed is false! It
was not changed, regardless of the fancy wording a child cannot marry
whomever they wish under Baha'i laws, the parent still has the final
say. And as frail as all humans are, what makes a 'parent' so wise just
by the nature of conceiving, that is nuts. If this is the one thing that
keeps me from being accepted by the earthly Baha'i member than I feel I
can live with it.
> "If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division it were be
tter to be without it..." Abdu'l-Bahá.
I cannot see anyone of the so called Western world, where free will
between those choosing to marry will ever want to give that up so that
their parents are given total control over whom they shall be the most
Much Love and Warm Regards,
I am not going to go point by point through your list. They are just
your own thoughts and ideas, based, no doubt, on your own life in your
little corner of the world, and with your limited experience of the
Baha'is of the world. Also, to the extent you may be right that
Baha'is do divorce proably as much as anyone, you cannot say with any
degree of knowledge that that is the fault of the law of parental
consent. We all live within a world that is not Baha'i in nature, and
we are all affected by its influence. Shoghi Effendi calls us
"children of the half light." We have a foot in both the old world
order and the new. But we are only going to become "a new race of
men" by following the laws of Baha'u'llah. We can't do it by
following our own egos.
The real question is was the law directly from Baha'u'llah, or was it
just local Baha'is misunderstanding Baha'u'llah? Was it for the
"stone age" or was it for the "golden age"?
The answer is the law is directly from Baha'u'llah. I've cited this
before, but you have not commented on it. Here it is again from His
own Book of Laws, the Kitab-i-Aqdas:
"Desiring to establish love, unity and harmony amidst Our servants, We
have conditioned it [marriage], once the couple's wish is known, upon
the permission of their parents, lest enmity and rancour should arise
amongst them. And in this We have yet other purposes. Thus hath Our
commandment been ordained.
(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 42)
'Abdu'Baha, the Centre of the Covenant and the Interpreter of the Word
of God, also said that the law of parental consent comes from God:
"As for the question regarding marriage under the Law of God: first
thou must choose one who is pleasing to thee, and then the matter is
subject to the consent of father and mother. Before thou makest thy
choice, they have no right to interfere.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 118)
Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, and the Interpreter of the
Word of God, said that this is one of the laws which is binding right
now on all believers, so he too, it would seem, doesn't think this law
is a relic of a bygone age which is no longer applicable:
"...Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory prayers, the consent of
the parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks, monogamy,
should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally
applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in
anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic
conditions that prevail today."
(Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 3)
And this is from a message of the Universal House of Justice which
talks about the purpose of the laws in general, and the effect of this
law, in particular:
126.4 In considering the effect of obedience to the laws on individual
lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare
the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct one's
animal impulses, not to be a slave to them. Life in this world is a
succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making
new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but
one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys
the law of Bahá'u'lláh, however hard it may seem, grows spiritually,
while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own
apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does
not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance
and often brings new problems upon himself.
126.5 To give one very obvious example: the Bahá'í law requiring
consent of parents to marriage. All too often nowadays such consent is
withheld by non-Bahá'í parents for reasons of bigotry or racial
prejudice; yet we have seen again and again the profound effect on
those very parents of the firmness of the children in the Bahá'í law,
to the extent that not only is the consent ultimately given in many
cases, but the character of the parents can be affected and their
relationship with their child greatly strengthened.
126.6 Thus, by upholding Bahá'í law in the face of all difficulties we
not only strengthen our own characters but influence those around us.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 232)
Every Central Figure of the Faith has affirmed this law, and argued
for it's importance, including Baha'u'llah Himself. I really can't see
that you can argue that this isn't true.
Some of the teachings of the Faith seem like they are way ahead of
their time. Equality of men and women in 19th century Iran was way,
way, way advanced. The teaching of the oneness of humanity in an age
in which nobody thought that at all, was extremely advanced too. One
world language, a need for a world parliament, etc. All very
advanced. And some of the laws seem to be the opposite. But
actually, they just don't fit at all with the current western
society. We are like adolescents who want to do everything our own
way without having to take anyone else into consideration; especially
parents who may have let us down. But Baha'u'llah wants us to be
deeply respectful to our parents, and to forge ties of unity with
them. Old fashioned or far, far advanced of our civilization?
Personally, I think the latter.
then once we find certain things in disagreement we then risk losing
I recall believing in God and then having doubts because of not having
my prayers answered or seeing wars, famine, terrible trauma happening
to innocents etc. but then after understanding more about what
Baha'u'llah was revealing to us I no longer had these doubts.
In addition to the quotes you supplied are one in which it clearly
states that when Baha'u'llah speaks it is as if God is speaking to us.
Here are a few to consider.
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 51:
Say, none can ever fathom the manifold exigencies of God's consummate
wisdom. In truth, were He to pronounce the earth to be heaven, no one
hath the right to question His authority. This is that whereunto the
Point of the Bayán hath testified in all that was sent down unto Him
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 108:
Were He to pronounce water to be wine or heaven to
be earth or light to be fire, He speaketh the truth and no doubt would
there be about it; and unto no one is given the right to question His
authority or to say why or wherefore.
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 109:
kindreds of the earth. It is incumbent upon everyone to obey Him in
whatsoever God hath ordained; and whosoever denieth Him hath
disbelieved in God, in His verses, in His Messengers and in His Books.
Were He to pronounce right to be wrong or denial to be belief, He
speaketh the truth as bidden by God. This is a station wherein sins or
trespasses neither exist nor are mentioned.
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 109:
the Will of God is not limited by the standards of the people,
and God doth not tread in their ways. Rather is it incumbent upon
everyone to firmly adhere to God's straight Path. Were He to pronounce
the right to be the left or the south to be the north, He speaketh the
truth and there is no doubt of it. Verily He is to be praised in His
acts and to be obeyed in His behests.
Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 185:
Know thou moreover that in the Day of Revelation were He to pronounce
one of the leaves to be the manifestation of all His excellent titles,
unto no one is given the right to utter why or wherefore, and should
one do so he would be regarded as a disbeliever in God ...
There are things I do not understand but all that means to me is that
I am not yet developed enough to fathom all things.
I think we need to take the marriage laws in context with other
quotes. Obedience to marriage laws does not guarantee the marriage
will work or that we will never have divorces. There are also
Teachings concerning how we are to communicate and act with one
another in a marriage.
God bless us all,
Maybe. Personally, I became a Baha'i because I came to believe in
Baha'u'llah. I was looking for the "fatal flaw" when I was
investigating the Faith but I never found it. I did bump into things
I didn't understand, but there were so few of them, and so incredibly
much that made complete sense to me, I could accept that. I had been
raised a Christian and there were all sorts of things I was supposed
to accept on faith which didn't make sense to me, so it was refreshing
to me that practically everything made sense! And more than that, I
could see how it all fit together, and how it was the solution to the
world's problems, and the keys to unlock the mysteries of the
universe. I was absolutely bowled over by the Revelation of
Baha'u'llah. It sent me into a spiritual Renaissance. I didn't mind
at all about any of the laws. I just accepted that that's how it was,
and strove to follow them.
The thing that tested me most was disunity in a community. The
solution to my test was to realize that the teachings are perfect but
we human beings are not. We can be quite a test for one another. So
I stay focused on the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, and on my own
spiritual progress, and forget the shortcomings of others.
Thanks for your quotes and thoughts.
All best wishes,