THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH
An Introduction for Mormons
and Other Seekers of Truth

by A.E. Moss
2016. No copyright


"I prophesy in the name of the Lord God--& let it be written, that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890.**" (Diary of Joseph Smith, April 6, 1843, quoted in The Revelations of Joseph Smith, p.345)

“The Holy Ghost is now [1843] in a state of probation* which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245; Sabbath address, Nauvoo, 27 August 1843. Reported by Franklin D. Richards)


9 Questions for Seekers of Truth

1*Did Joseph Smith prophesy (praw-fess-sai) of Bahá'u'lláh (baw-haw-Oh-LAHHH), the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, in his "1891" prophecies?

2*What did Joseph Smith mean when he said in 1843 "the Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation"?

3*What was the secret Holy Order that Joseph Smith established in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1843?

4*Was Joseph Smith planning to move to Palestine, just before he was killed in June, 1844?

5*When will the Holy Ghost come to Earth to get a body and has that "Day" already come?

6*Did Joseph Smith really call reincarnation "a doctrine of the Devil"?

7*Is your Church the only religion that teaches or offers Eternal Marriage?

8*Did the Son of God visit Salt Lake City for 3 days in late September, 1912?

9*Who _is_ "The Lord Behind the Veil"?



Dear Seeker of Truth,

IN THE YEAR 1817 A.D., in Tehran, Iran, a Man-Child was born by the name of Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri (Arabic: "Prince Beauty Exalted of Light"). He had "Nur" (Arabic: "Light") as a surname or "covering". He was born the son of the governor (vazir) of the Persian province of Marzandaran: Mirza Abbas Burzurg Nuri (right). He was a direct descendant of King David of Israel, via the 7th century Jewish Exilarch in Iraq, Bostanai the Jew, and his Persian concubine Da'rah. When Mirza Husayn-Ali was a small child, His father had a dream, and in the dream he saw Mirza Husayn-Ali, floating in a vast ocean, shining like the Sun, with His hair flowing in all directions, and the fish of the sea circling Him in vast multitudes. So, Mirza Abbas summoned a wise man (magian) and asked him the meaning of the dream, and the wise man said:

"The limitless ocean that you have seen in your dream, O Vazir, is none other than the world of being. Single-handed and alone, your son will achieve supreme ascendancy over it." (The Dawnbreakers, p.3)

By 1843 Mirza Husayn-Ali was married, and living the life of a Persian nobleman: writing poetry, overseeing his father's properties and servants, hunting, horse-back riding, entertaining guests, studying Islamic philosophy and, or course, as a good Shi'ite Muslim, memorizing the Holy Quran.

In 1845, Mirza Husayn-Ali becomes the follower of a Persian Prophet named Siyyid Ali Muhammad Sirazi: known today simply as THE BÁB ("The Gate"). The Báb (bawb) was considered a "heretic" by the Shi'ite Muslim cergy (the Ulema), and He and His followers were persecuted. Muslims consider Muhammad (peace be unto Him) to be the Last and Final Prophet of God for all time. But The Báb (the bawb) proclaimed that God had "opened a new Dispensation" with new Messengers and Prophets and Seers, and new books of Divine Revelation. According to The Báb, this "New Dispensation" opened in 1260 A.H. (1844 A.D.).

The Báb was arrested, tried, convicted of blasphemy again Islam, and was martyred, by firing-squad (750 rifles), in Tabriz (taw-breez), Iran, in the year 1850 (right). Many of His followers were killed, but Mirza Husayn-Ali (mir-zaw hoo-sein aw-lee), the son of a former governor of the Persian province of Mazdaran, was not killed; but put into the "Black Pit" prison of Tehran, for four agonizing months. There, in 1853, the "Maid of Heaven" appeared to Him in a vision. He was soon released, and, with hundreds of others, exiled to Baghdad, Iraq.

For ten years Mirza Husayn-Ali lived in Iraq. He studied Sufism with the Naqshbandi Sufis (nawksh-bawn-dee soo-fees) of Kurdistan. The Naqshbandi Sufis awarded Him the crown of a Sufi Master, and bestowed upon Him the name Baha'u'Deen ("The Glory of Religion"). He studied Arabic. He raised His children with His three wives. He performed miracles (according to some). Many thought Him a Sufi Wali (holy man). He kept His true identity a secret. He waited.

Then, in the year 1863, Mirza Husayn-Ali changed His name to BAHA'U'LLAH (baw-haw-Oh-LAHHH), which means "THE GLORY OF GOD" in Arabic. Also in that year, 1863, He would claim to be the Promised Comforter and the Spirit of Truth: the Holy Ghost in the flesh. In that year, --1863--, in Baghdad, He founded the BAHÁ'Í FAITH.

He was exiled then to Turkey, and, a few years later, in 1868, He was exiled to the Turkish prison city of Akka, Palestine. He was freed in the year 1874. A mansion was built for Him in Bahji (baw-zhee), near Akka, where He dwelt in a room whose windows and entrance were covered in white veils. Nobody could enter His presence, without washing, anointing, donning white clothing, and knowing certain passwords and secret handshakes. Then the white veil was parted, and the Baha'i Pilgrim could enter His Presence.

Call Out To Zion!

In the year 1891, Baha'u'llah climbed Mount Carmel, in Palestine, and from a Sacred Spot on a northern slope of that mountain, He recited, in a thunderous Voice, in Arabic, His Tablet of Carmel, which says, in part:

"Call out to Zion, O Carmel, and announce the joyful tidings. He Who was hidden from mortal eyes is now come. This is the Day to hear the Voice, and see the Face, of the Son of Man. Verily, He Who is the Spirit of Truth is come to guide you unto all truth. Say, O followers of the Son, the Father is come, and that which ye were promised in the Kingdom is fulfilled! The Comforter Whose advent all the Scriptures have promised is now come that He may reveal unto you all knowledge and wisdom Seek Him over the face of the entire earth, haply ye may find Him." (Tablet of Carmel, 1891)

Baha'u'llah (baw-haw-Oh-LAHHH) died in 1892, and was buried in Bahji (baw-zhee), Palestine (now Israel). His Eldest Son, Abbas Effendi, succeeded Him, and traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, in the year 1912: staying for three days.

THE BAHÁ'Í (baw-HIGH) FAITH is now an independent World Religion with over 6 million adherents worldwide in 120 countries; with about 150,000 in the United States, and about 700 to 800 in Utah. The Faith is headquartered at the Baha'i World Centre, in Haifa, Israel.

1817-Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri is born in Tehran, Iran.
1843-He lives the life of a Persian nobleman.
1844-The Báb proclaims that God has opened a New Dispensation of Revelation.
1845-Mirza Husayn-Ali becomes a follower of The Báb.
1850-The Báb is martyred in Tabriz, Iran, and thousands of His disciples are killed.
1853-Mirza Husayn-Ali is put into the "Black Pit" prison of Tehran, and there has a vision of "The Maid of Heaven" Who tells Him He is the Spirit of Truth.
1863-He changes His name to BAHA'U'LLAH and reveals He is the Promised One, and starts the Baha'i Faith.
1868-He arrives in Akka, Palestine, as a political prisoner.
1874-He is freed and settles in a mansion in Bahji, in a room whose windows and entrance are covered in white veils.
1891-He climbs Mount Carmel, in Palestine, and shouts in Arabic, to those below in Haifa, that He is the Spirit of Truth and Son of Man.
1892-He dies and is buried at Bahji (baw-zhee), Palestine (now Israel)
1912-His Eldest Son, Abbas Effendi, travels from Palestine to Salt Lake City, Utah, and stays for three days.

*The term "Son of Man" means the human being in Whom the Holy Ghost "dwells" like water in a glass.

The Maid of Heaven

The Báb (Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi) wrote that God would send one greater than Himself called "He Whom God Shall Make Manifest" which His disciples started to call "The Promised One".

After The Báb was martyred in 1850, two youthful followers of The Báb tried to assassinate the Shah (king) of Iran, but, not understanding firearms, they put only bird-shot in their pistols. The Shah was only slightly injured, and survived. All followers of The Báb (called "Baw-beez") were blamed for this. About 20,000 were martyred; most by having their thoats cut, or their hearts ripped out, or their bowels town out. Others not killed had the souls of their feet cut off, then forced to walk through villages, being spit upon and slapped as they went. Fanatical Shi'ite Muslims would sometimes cut the throats of entire Baha'i families in their homes: men, women, children, even infants, and then shout ALLAH'U'AKBAR ("God is Greatest!")

Mirza Hasayn-Ali Nuri was arrested and placed in the Siyah Chal (Farsi: "Black Pit") prison of Tehran for four months. During this time He had a vision of the "Maid of Heaven"*Who appeared to Him, and told Him that He was the Promised One.

*The identity of the Maid of Heaven is not known. Some speculate She was Mary mother of Jesus. Others speculate she was Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad. Some say She was just a fictional "poetic device" that Baha'u'llah used in His Writings. Baha'is from a Mormon background say She is Heavenly Mother.

The Lord Shall Be Red In His Apparel

Mirza Hasayn-Ali was released from the Black Pit (Farsi: "Siyah Chal") prison of Tehran, and was exiled, with several hundred other followers of The Báb, to Baghdad, Iraq, then part of the Turkish empire. In 1863 Mirza Husayn-Ali announced to the other exiles that He was the Promised One, the Holy Spirit of Promise. He took the name-title of BAHA'U'LLAH (Arabic: "The Glory of God"). Most of the exiles accepted His claim, and they began to call themselves BAHA'IS; which in Arabic means "Belonging to Glory".

The Baha'is in Baghdad began to tell the Muslims there that Baha'u'llah was a new Messenger of God. They converted a few Muslims in Baghdad, but the other Muslims believed the Baha'is were heretics; because in Islam, Muhammad is the Final Prophet of all time. An Anti-Baha'i mob formed, and they burned the house of Baha'u'llah in Baghdad; including all of His clothing. So Baha'i women made Him a new wardrobe from red Persian drapes. From then on, Baha'u'llah wore blood red robes.

The Lord Behind the Veil

Because of the Anti-Baha'i mobs, Baha'u'llah and His followers were exiled to Adrianople, Turkey, and then to the Turkish Prison city of Akka, Palestine, in 1868. Because of persecution from Muslims, the Baha'is kept their religion secret. Baha'u'llah kept His true identity secret, only known to other Baha'is. He lived in room whose windows and entrance were covered by white veils. Nobody could enter His Presence without knowing certain secret handshakes and passwords.

In 1891, Bahá'u'lláh (baw-haw-ooL-LAHHH) came from Akka, to Haifa, Palestine, and He climbed Mount Carmel, in the Holy Land, and recited the Tablet of Carmel: which announced that He was the Son of Man; the promised incarnation of the Holy Ghost (Spirit of Truth).

At that time, Haifa, Palestine, consisted of a village of a few dozen Arab families, a few hundred German Christians called "Templars", and twenty Mormon families who had come to Palestine from America. They were former members of Joseph Smith's "Holy Order" in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the 1840s; and their children. By 1891 they understood enough Arabic to understand what Baha'u'llah was singing on the slopes of Mount Carmel, which overlooks Haifa. Also in Haifa were a few Armenian families who belonged to the Palestine Branch of the Turkish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka "Mormon Church"), headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Mormon families had been brought to Palestine by George J. Adams, the Stake Bishop (Stake Presidents were called "Bishops" then) of Nauvoo, Illinois, and the "Apostle of the Holy Order": a secret "order" of "Anointed" Mormons in Nauvoo. According to Adams, Joseph Smith had planned to leave the Church in the hands of his brother, Hyrum Smith, and then to take the Holy Order with him to Palestine, there to await the coming of the "Son of Man" when Joseph Smith turned 85 years of age. For all but six days, Joseph Smith would have been 85 years old in the year 1891.


The Shrine of The Báb, a Baha'i Holy Site, was built on the Sacred Spot on the slopes of Mount Carmel, in Haifa, Israel, where Baha'u'llah announced in the year __1891__ that the promised Son of Man had come.

Joseph the Seer said in August of 1843:

“The Holy Ghost is now [1843] in a state of probation* which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245; Sabbath address, Nauvoo, 27 August 1843. Reported by Franklin D. Richards)

*"State of Probation" is a term from The Book of Mormon which means any mortal life (being alive and subject to death) on Earth or any other material planet.

"I prophesy in the name of the Lord God--& let it be written, that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890.**" (Diary of Joseph Smith, April 6, 1843, quoted in The Revelations of Joseph Smith, p.345)

**The year 1843 + 48 years = 1891

The LORD told Joseph the Seer:

"Ye were in the beginning with the Father, that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of Truth." (D&C 93:23)

"The Comforter is the promise which I give you unto eternal life, even the glory which I spake concerning the ten virgins." (D&C 45:50)

"Seek me diligently, and ye shall find me." (D&C 88:63)

"...the Church of the Firstborn are those who have received the fullness of the Father." (D&C 76:70)

"These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the Sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical." (D&C 76:71)

"And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth,..." (D&C 88:12)

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!” (D&C 128:19)

"And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, like him who treadeth the wine vat;..." (D&C 133:48)

"My son, if thou livest until thou art 85 years old [1891] thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man." (D&C 130:15)

NOTE: Baha'is cannot accept Joseph Smith as a "Prophet" (Manifestation of God). They may accept him as a Seer, reject him as a fraud, or hold "no opinion" concerning him.

The title BAHA'I means "Belonging to Glory" in Arabic.

Bahá'u'lláh (baw-haw-Oh-LAHHH) means "The Glory of God" in Arabic. He was the promised Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit of Promise, the Holy Ghost incarnate (in the flesh). The Baha'is also refer to Him as:

*The Manifestation of God for our Age.
*The Supreme Manifestation of God
*The Messenger of God for our Age.
*The Bless-ed Beauty.
*The Bless-ed Perfection.
*The Ancient Beauty.
*The World Teacher.

Baha'is refer to Him mostly as "Baha'u'llah" or "The Bless-séd Perfection".

The Holy Ghost Incarnate

Baha'u'llah is the Holy Ghost incarnate. The word "incarnate" means "in the flesh". He is the One Who inspired the Prophets and Seers of old. He is the Spirit of Truth that Jesus promised would be sent to teach us "all truth". It was He Who begot the Son:

"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 1:18)

Mormons are taught from birth that the Father and the Holy Ghost are two different and separate Gods, but the LORD said to Joseph the Seer:

"Ye were in the beginning with the Father, that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of Truth." (D&C 93:23)

The Father (Holy Ghost) "dwelt in" Jesus from His baptism in the Jordan River until His death on the Cross. When the Holy Ghost "lighted upon" Jesus, John the Baptist heard a Voice from heaven: "This is my Beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased." When the Father/Holy Ghost "lighted upon" Jesus, Jesus become JESUS CHRIST: the Father and the Son in one body, as is taught in The Book of Mormon (Mosiah chapter 15) and in The Book of Ether:

14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters." (Ether 3:14)

Jesus said:

"The Father is in me, and I am in the Father." (John 4:24)

Jesus meant that literally. The Holy Ghost dwelt "in" Him, from His baptism in the Jordan River, to the Cross. When the Father/Holy Ghost left Jesus, Jesus cried: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).

Jesus Christ was not one Soul in one body, but Two Divine Souls in one body: Christ (the Father) and Jesus (the Son). This is what The Book of Mormon teaches in Mosiah chapter 15: that the flesh (Son) became subject to the Spirit (Father), and "they" became "the Father and the Son". Christ is the Father!

The Father/Holy Ghost dwelt "in" Jesus like water in a glass, or like wine in a bottle. The Man Jesus, the Son of God, became the Father and the Son when the Holy Ghost "rested" in Him. "They" become "One" as Jesus Christ.

Christ=the Father/Holy Ghost
+
Jesus=the Son/Word of God
______________________________
= JESUS CHRIST

Mormons believe that "One Day" the Holy Ghost will come to Earth to "get a body" and perform some Divine Mission. Baha'is believe that "Day" was fulfilled in Baha'u'llah: the Glory of God.


1: The Spirit of Truth

We believe that Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892) was the Incarnation of the Holy Ghost or Spirit of Truth.

Jesus said:

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will guide you unto all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me.... (John 16:13-14)

Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

"Verily, He Who is the Spirit of Truth is now come to guide you unto all truth. He speaketh not as prompted by His own self, but as bidden by Him Who is the All-Wise. Say, this is the One Who hath glorified the Son and hath exalted His Cause. (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p.12)

Bahá'u'lláh a leader of what was considered a "heretical" and "anti-Islamic" sect (cult). Therefore, He was exiled to Baghdad, and later to Akka Palestine (Israel). He made Himself known to the world-at-large in February of 1891; when He climbed Mount Carmel and recited His "Tablet of Carmel"; His announcement to all mankind that He was the promised "Son of Man" and "Spirit of Truth" now come to teach Mankind "all things" they needed to know about establishing the Kingdom of God on Earth.


The Room of Baha'u'llah in Bahji, near Akka, Palestine (April, 1890). The door and windows are covered in white veils

Those Baha'is who wanted to enter the Presence of Baha'u'llah were required to wash with water, anoint themselves with olive oil, wear a white garment, and remove their shoes. They had to know passwords and secret handshakes (to discourage assassins), and if these were given properly the Baha'i pilgrim was allowed to "pass through the white veil" and enter the Presence of Baha'u'llah. Muslims on Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca are instructed to wear all white, with their white shawl draped across their left shoulder (see drawing). However, Baha'i pilgrims who wanted to enter the Presence of Baha'u'llah (baw-haw-ooL-LAHHH), were instructed to drape their shawl over their right shoulder. This signified they were no longer Muslims, but now Baha'is (followers of BAHA).

Baha'u'llah was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1817 as Mirza Husayn-Ali Nuri (Arabic: "Prince Beauty Exalted of Light"). He had "Nuri" (of Light) as a covering (title of nobility). He was a descendant of King David and of King Cyrus of Persia. Because of His claims, and because He was the leader of a "heretical sect", He was exiled form Iran: first to Baghdad, then to Adrianople, Turkey, and finally to the Turkish prison city of Akka, Palestine. White in Iraq, He spent two years among the Sufis (Muslim mystics), and earned the right to wear the Crown of a Sufi Master. He wore that crown the rest of His life. While in Baghdad, in 1863, an anti-Baha'i mob burned His house, and all His clothing. Baha'i women made Him a new wardrobe, from red Persian drapes. He wore blood red robes In Akka, Palestine (now Israel), He lived in a small room, covered by white veils. Those who wished to see His Face had to wash, anoint themselves, wear white clothing, and know certain secret "signs". Then the white veil was parted, and they could enter His presence.

His followers are called Bahá'ís (baw-highzz); meaning "belonging to Glory".

There are Baha'i Communities (congregations of 9 or more adults) and Baha'i Groups (2 to 8 adults) in most cities in Utah, and most cities in North America.

A Baha'i "Community" (congregation) must have at least "9" active Baha'i adults. Most Baha'i Communities and Groups meet for Feast in each other's homes. A few larger Baha'i Communities in Utah have their own meetinghouses called "Baha'i Centers"; such as Salt Lake City, East Mill Creek, and Logan. Baha'i Centers have bookstores and lending libraries.

Baha'is meet every 19 days for "Feast": almost always in the evening. There are no required Sunday meetings, although some Baha'i Communities have Sunday Schools for children. A few Baha'is meet on Sunday for "Devotional" (similar to a Mormon "Fireside") but this is not required. Baha'is may shop, work, play, attend sporting events, or play sports on Sunday. In Muslim countries (such as Iran), the "Sabbath" for Baha'is is Friday noon to Saturday noon; the same as for Muslims.

Baha'is "Fast" during the daylight hours of the Baha'i month of 'Ala ("Loftiness") which lasts for 19 days. The Baha'is have a calendar of 19 months of 19 days each. The numbers "9" and "19" are sacred in the Baha'i Faith. They meet every 19 days, in the evening, for "Feast" (like a Mormon "Break the Fast"). There are no required meetings other than Feast, and Pilgrimage to the Holy Shrines in Israel (once in a lifetime for those Baha'is who can afford to do so).

Bahá'ís believe in God, and in the "Manifestations of God"; major Prophets which include Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, and Bahá'u'lláh (to name a few). Each Manifestation of God brings a unique Message to Humanity from our Creator, and has a distinct Divine Mission to fulfill.

Baha'u'llah referred to the Baha'i Faith as "The Cause of God" and "The Celestial Kingdom".

If you ask a Baha'i "Why did you join the Baha'i Faith?" they will most likely say: "Because of the Baha'i Principals". Some of the "Baha'i Principles" include:

*There is One God
*Most (not all) religions have a foundation in truth.
*Men and women are equal and should have equal rights.
*Prejudices of all kinds must be eliminated
*Universal education must be mandated.
*A universal auxiliary language must be established.
*A world state must be established to protect the human rights of all.
*Evolution is true, but has been Divinely-guided.
*One's religion should be determined by the individual, not by their parents nor by their government.
*The World Order of Baha'u'llah will become the Kingdom of God on Earth.
*Religion is progressive.

The Manifestations of God on Earth have included:

Abraham
Krishna
Buddha
Zoroaster
Jesus
Muhammad
The Báb (forerunner of Baha'u'llah)
Baha'u'llah

Baha'is (bah-highzz) refer to Baha'u'llah as:

*The Messenger of God for our Age.

*The Supreme Manifestation of God

*The Blesséd Beauty

*The Blesséd Perfection

*The Ancient Beauty

*The World Teacher

Baha'u'llah (bah-HAH-ooL-LAHHH) is the latest, but not the last, Manifestation of God on this planet. The next Manifestation of God is due on or about the year 2863 A.D. They will continue to be sent as long as Mankind exists.

Baha'u'llah established the Law of God for our "Age" with His book "The Most Holy Book" (Kitab-i-Aqdas). He came as the Spirit of Truth: to teach Humanity "all things" pertaining to the Law of God for our time.

Baha'u'llah died in 1892, but there are accounts of Him "appearing" to others after that time, in His ethereal body. The Faith teaches that the physical body is never raised, but always returns to dust. Baha'u'llah taught that humans consists of a spirit, a soul, a physical body, and an ethereal body. Only the ethereal body is resurrected.

The Baha'i Faith is headquartered at the Baha'i World Centre, in Haifa, Israel; on the slopes of Mount Carmel. The Most Holy Shrine of Baha'u'llah is located twenty miles north, near Acca, Israel, in a place called "Bahji" (baw-zhee). Baha'is face toward the Most Sacred Spot (Bahji) in prayer, and travel to Bahji on Pilgrimage. Bahji (baw-zhee) is for Baha'is what Mecca is for Muslims and what the Temple Mound in Jerusalem is for Jews.


Baha'i World Centre (Haifa, Israel)


The Baha'is

There are about 5 to 6 million Baha'is (bah-highzz) in 120 countries. About 150,000 in the U.S., and about 700 or so in Utah.

The Feast and Pilgrimage

Baha'is meet together every 19 days for "Feast"; which is like a Pot-Luck and takes about one hour to 90 minutes. There is no Sabbath day. There is no tithing. Baha'is donate what they wish to various "Funds". There are no secret temple rites, but Baha'is do go on "Pilgrimage" to the Holy Shrines in Haifa and Bahji (baw-zhee) Israel, at least one time in their lifetime, if they are healthy and can afford it.

Year of Service

There are no "missionaries" or "missions". However, Baha'i youth between high school and college are expected to go on a "Year of Service" which is like a "welfare mission". Many Baha'is on their Year of Service spent it serving at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel.


A Baha'i on his Year of Service in Bahji, Israel

Baha'is on their Year of Service do not have "companions". They can watch TV or listen to the radio and any music they wish. They may use the Internet as they choose. They may also "date" if they wish during this time. They cannot use alcohol, and they are expected to remain chaste before marriage.

Prohibitions

The use of alcohol is forbidden in the Faith. Smoking is allowed, but discouraged. Baha'is "fast" for 19 days a year, during the daylight hours. Adultery, fornication (all sex outside of heterosexual marriage) is forbidden. There are no bishops. There are no confessions to a bishop. No "worthiness" interviews. Sins are confessed to God in private and never to any other human being.

Gossiping and backbiting is "forbidden" (but it still happens). Protesting the government, even peaceful protests, is forbidden.

Smoking is discouraged, but allowed. In the LDS (Mormon) Church smokers are usually shunned, and they usually go inactive. However, Baha'is are more accepting of smokers. They are not considered "sinful" or "disgusting" as many Mormons would consider them to be. Of course, all smoking must take place outside.

Sunday Meetings

There are no mandatory Sunday meetings. Some Baha'is Communities (congregations) have Sunday Schools for children, but these are not mandatory. Baha'is "may" meet on Sunday for a "Devotional" (like a Mormon Fireside) but, again, these meetings are completely optional. Baha'is may shop on Sunday, or work, or play sports on Sunday.

Some larger Baha'i Communities have "Devotionals" on Sunday, but these are not mandatory, and consist of reading Scriptures and discussions about what has been read. There are no sermons.

There are no Bishops. There are no Pastors. There is no tithing, and no "tithing settlement". Confessions are to God alone in private. Nobody confesses their sins to another man. Private sexual practices are expected to be "kept private" and not discussed or questioned about at any Baha'i meeting. Asking a person "What is your sexual preference?" is considered rude and a violation of that person's privacy. It isn't done.

Gospel Ordinances

The Baha'i Faith has no "Gospel Ordinances". No baptism. No sacrament. No ordinations. No rites from the dead other than Prayers for the Dead. No "sealings". No temple rites. Baha'is pray in cicles, with one reading a prayer and the rest bowing their heads. There is a Baha'i Prayer that resembles Muslim prayers, with "prostrations" toward a Qiblih (Point of Adoration) like Muslims do, but Baha'is in the West usually don't use those "prostrating" prayers: preferring to pray while sitting on chairs in a circle.


Baha'i House of Worship (New Delhi, India)

There are Baha'i "temples" (called "Houses of Worship") but these are not for secret rites, but are open to anyone. The Holy Writings are recited, and basically they are places to hear the Holy Words being recited and to meditate while one is listening to the recitals: which are often in Arabic or Persian, and often "sung" in those languages. There is no special "clothing"; no "robes" when going to a Baha'i House of Worship. But people are expected to wear clean modest clothing.

Baha'i women do not wear "hijabs" like Muslim women do, but are still expected to wear "modest" clothing when in public.

Baha'i Prayers

There is a Daily Obligatory Prayer that takes a few seconds to recite. There are many other Baha'i Prayers. They are considered "effectual" for forgiveness, for healing, etc., because they were revealed by Baha'u'llah, the Spirit of Truth. There are Baha'i Prayers for the Dead which are considered "effectual" for the dead; actually "helps" the dead in the "Unseen Realm" (the Baha'i term for the Spirit-World).

All Baha'i Prayers are published in a book Baha'i Prayers, and the Believers simply recite (read out-loud) from the book. There are Baha'i prayers for forgiveness, healing, travel, memorial (funeral), marriage, and help in adversity.

Polygamy

Baha'u'llah was born a Shi'ite Muslim, and Islam allows up to four wives. Baha'u'llah (d. 1892) had three wives, and told His followers not to go "beyond two" wives but it was preferred that they be content with one. Polygamy was outlawed in the Faith by the Eldest Son of Baha'u'llah, Abbas Effendi (d. 1921), Who changed His name to 'Abdu'l-Baha (ab-dell baw-HAW), which means "Servant of Glory" in Arabic. He wrote that having more than one wife was predicated upon absolutely justice, and since that was impossible for a men to treat two or more wives equally, polygamy was impossible for Baha'is to practice.

The "John the Baptist" (forerunner) of Baha'u'llah was Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-1850): Who is called "The Báb" (the bawb) by Baha'is. He is considered to be a Manifestation of God by Baha'is: the equal to Muhammad, and the near-equal of Baha'u'llah. In His book of law, the Persian Bayan, The Báb wrote:

“If a man or woman proves incapable of having a child, it is legitimate for the spouse who is not infertile (whichever it may be) to marry again after having obtained the permission of the other party, but not without her permission” (Persian Bayan, Wahid 8, section 14)

In other words, The Báb allowed for a man to have two wives only upon condition (or indeed for a wife to have two husbands if her first husband was infertile), if the first wife was infertile, and the second wife gave permission to the husband to marry again. This Holy Law in the Persian Bayan was never abrogated by Baha'u'llah. Perhaps this is what Baha'u'llah meant when He wrote "do not go beyond two" in His Book of Laws (Kitab-i-Aqdas).

In the 19th century, and still today in Third World countries, if a couple did not have children, especially sons, then they had nobody to care for them when they became too old to work. The State (government) did not "care" for old people like many First World countries do today. Still today, in most Third World countries, if a man or woman does not have a son to care for them in old age, they must become beggars on the street if they wish to survive. If a man gets sick, and has no son, his wife must care for him, or beg. If a woman has no son to care for her in old age, and her husband is dead, and he left her without savings, she must try to find another husband. If she is unattractive or too old, and has no sons, then she become a beggar, because the State (in Third World countries) will not give her any food nor shelter nor medical care.

The Báb (Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi) was a Messenger of God (major Prophet) and a "John the Baptist" to Baha'u'llah. He was martyred in Tabriz, Iran, in 1850. He was once a disciple of the Seer Siyyid Kazim Rashti; the successor of the Seer Shaykh Ahmad-i-Asa'i.

Under the Holy Law revealed by The Báb (d. 1850) in His Persian Bayan, there would be no old women (or men) begging on the street because they had no children to care for them. If a woman's husband was infertile, she could marry a second husband, or if a man's wife was infertile, he could marry a second wife; but only with their spouse's permission. If a couple had only daughters, they could demand high dowries (groom's parents or groom pays the bride's parents), so they would have security in their old age and not have to become beggars. The Holy Law revealed by The Báb in His Persian Bayan treated men and women equally. If a husband was infertile, the wife could get a second husband. If the wife was infertile, the husband could get a second wife. No man or woman would be left without means of support (either through a son or via dowry payments) in their old age.

Today, Baha'is cannot be polygamists. However, men and women who are already polygamists "before" they become Baha'is are not asked to divorce, nor to abandon any of their wives and children, but to retain their commitments. In countries where polygamy is common, divorced women are pariahs, and they must become prostitutes to survive. Other men don't want to marry them. They often get AIDS and die slow, horrible, deaths. They often bare children with AIDS; who usually die slow, horrible, deaths. They often give AIDS to their male customers, who takes the AIDS back to their own wives. Men who are polygamists before becoming Baha'is are told NOT to divorce or abandon any of their current wives, but these men cannot take additional wives after they become Baha'is, and they must teach their children that polygamy is absolutely forbidden (haram) in the Faith.

The Right of God

There is no "tithing" in the Baha'i Faith per se. No tithing. No tithing settlement. Baha'is donate to "Funds" as they see fit. However, Baha'is who own a business or property are asked (never forced) to pay Haquq'u'llah (haw-gook-oo-law) which means "The Right of God" in Arabic. This is a one-time only payment of 19% of everything a Baha'i owns except their house and household furnishings. This is not a monthly or yearly payment, but a once-in-a-lifetime payment. Otherwise, Baha'is simply donate to various "Baha'i Funds" as they see fit.

Baha'is do not pay to the Baha'i Funds, or pay Haquq'u'llah (haw-gook-oo-law), the Right of God, in order to get earthly "blessings". They do so to bless the entire Human Race with the truths of the Baha'i Faith, and to bring to them the knowledge of Baha'u'llah, the Glory of God, a "knowledge" they believe will literally Save the Planet from a nuclear holocaust. Paying of Haquq'u'llah (haw-gook-oo-law) is voluntary for Baha'is. There are no sanctions or threats of "burning at His coming" if a Baha'i refuses to pay "the Right of God". There is no tithing, nor "tithing settlement" in the Baha'i Faith.

Paying into the Baha'i Funds is optional. Paying Haququllah (haw-khoog-khoo-law) is also optional. There is no tithing, and no "tithing settlement".

Baha'i Youth

Baha'i Youth may fellowship with each other at Sunday Schools (many Baha'i Communities have them) which lasts one hour or so, and there are games as well as a lesson. Also, they may meet each other at "Summer Institutes" at various "Baha'i Schools" throughout the North America, or in other countries, that are similar to Summer Camps. Quite a few single Baha'is meet each other at these Summer Institutes (which last perhaps a month or so) or in Israel while serving on their Year of Service at the Baha'i World Centre in Haifa, Israel, and decide to marry. Dating is allowed on the Year of Service. Baha'is are allowed to dance, and Baha'i Youth often take part in Baha'i Youth Dance Festivals where the dances are choreographed.

Sunday Meetings

There are no "required" Sunday meetings in the Baha'i Faith. There are "Feasts" every 19 days, which are like pot-lucks with prayers. Baha'is may do anything they wish on Sunday: shop, play sports, watch sports, go out. The Baha'i Faith has no specific "Day of Rest". Many Baha'i Communities offer a one hour "Devoltional" on Sunday morning, which is like a Church service, but attendance at these is not obligatory. Baha'is may attend, or not attend, as they see fit. Many Baha'i Communities offer one hour Sunday Schools for children and young teens, but these too are optional. The Faith also has Summer Institutes (Youth Camps) which are also optional. "Meetings" are all optional in the Baha'i Faith. The only things "required" in the Baha'i Faith is that Baha'is utter the Daily Obligatory Prayer, and keep Baha'i Holy Laws. All else is optional.

CONTINUED