1. Asking your bishop if "these things are true" (if Baha'u'llah is Heavenly Father--the Spirit of Truth incarnate) is like a Jew asking a Jewish high priest 2,000 years ago "Could this Jesus of Nazareth be the Messiah?" Don't ask your bishop. He doesn't know, nor does he care. He will probably think you are "not living the Gospel" or you would be "worthy" (i.e. unquestioning) like him. Most likely he is not a Seeker of Truth, but rather a blind follower. Rather, ask God in prayer if Baha'u'llah is the Spirit of Truth, in sincerity and with real intent, after you have heard the Prayers of Baha'u'llah being recited at a Sunday Devotional. You can attend a Sunday Devotional by dialing 1-800-228-6483 anytime day or night and say: "I'd like to attend a Sunday Devotional, my number is __________ please call back after _____." If you need a ride to the Devotional, please say so. During the reciting of Baha'i prayers you need not bow your head or fold your arms (you may if you wish) but please remain silent during the prayers. There is a question and answer period at the end of the Devotional. Smokers are welcome, but smoking must be done outside. The Faith does not forbid smoking nor are smokers shunned or looked down upon as is often the case in the Church. Please come hear His Prayers being recited!
2. The Friends (Baha'is) meet every 19 days for a 19-Day Feast. These Feasts are for Believers only; not for Seekers. Seekers may attend Devotionals which are on Sundays and sometimes weekday evenings. If you need a ride to a Devotional, please ask for one!
3. The Friends (Baha'is) greet each other by saying "Allah'u''Abhá" (aw-LAW-o-awb-HAW!), which means "God is Most Glorious". This greeting is between Believers only. Please do not use it. Please greet Baha'is by saying "How are you? My name is _________. I'm a Seeker" and gently shake their hand. Those who are investigating the Faith are called "Seekers".
4. 'Abdu'l-Baha called Jesus Christ "the very Savior of man" (Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.62). He is recognized as the Savior whose teachings and sacrifice on the Cross caused the leper to be healed, the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and "the soul of the sinner sanctified." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p.85). His Spirit (Ruh) and Soul (Nafs) have returned to this planet in our age as two different Holy Men: a Major Prophet and a Chosen One.
5. The Baha'is have no missionaries, so if you wish to study the Faith you must do so on your own. You can attend Devotionals and ask questions. You can go to a Baha'i Center and look through books (some are for sale and others can be loaned to you), or you can search the Internet. You can also order free Baha'i literature mailed to you if you go to www.bahai.us/contact and fill out a request. Nobody will knock on your door.
6. Many of the Friends (the Baha'is call each other "The Friends") do not know what Shoghi Effendi had to say about Joseph Smith (that he was a Seer). They simply have not yet been informed. Many of the Friends are unfamilar with the concept of Seer, or that Seers may prophesy (praw-fess-sai). You yourself may have to inform them. Say: "A Seer is like Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i, a non-prophet who speaks with angels and can make prophecies." Baha'is are not required to accept Joseph Smith as a Seer! They can accept him or reject him as a Seer. Only the written (not verbal) statements of Shoghi Effendi are "binding" upon Believers. The statement by Shoghi Effendi that Joseph Smith was a "Seer" was a verbal statement, and thus Baha'is are not "bound" (mandated) to believe it. They may believe it, or may not believe it. The choice is theirs.
7. Many of your questions can be answered in The Book for Mormon Seekers at:
The Friends (Baha'is) may not have answers to all, or even most, of the questions that Mormon Seekers are likely to ask. The Book for Mormon Seekers was written by a former Mormon who is now a Believer (Baha'i). The book is in "Question and Answer" format. It lists and tries to answer just about ALL questions a Mormon Seeker is likely to have. Like this publication (1891), The Book for Mormon Seekers is NOT an official Baha'i publication, NOR a publication of the Baha'is of Utah, but contains personal views and interpretations. It is almost 100 printed pages, but you can read each chapter (question and answer) individually online.
Aenon E. Moss