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Bahá`í/a question about Charles Mason Remey

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Question
When I attended a youth conference at Louis Gregory in my late teens, one of the presenters made some very emotionalistic comments about Mirza Yahya (to the best of my recollection, he suggested that people spit at the mention of his name). In my personal opinion, what Mirza Yahya did or did not do to Baha'u'llah in the 19th century has little relevance to current baha'i discussions of spirituality. Also, the majority of the people to whom this gentleman was speaking had not likely even heard of Mirza Yahya. In all fairness, it is highly likely that the Bab did in fact appoint the half-brother of Baha'u'llah to be the administrative head of the Babi community after his death. There is more to the discussion than demonizing a dead person. Similarly, in the previous email I sent you I referred to Charles Mason Remey. I was not personally endorsing Mr. Remey as the second guardian of the faith. I was referring to his family background, personal temperament, and the 65 years he spent as a baha'i in good standing. During that 65 years he contributed massively to the administrative development, international expansion, and introductory literature of the faith. Similarly, most baha'is don't actively think about Mr. Remey. The point is that whenever Mirza Yahya or CM Remey are brought up, it seems to almost necessitate a highly emotionalistic aspect to the conversation. It is as if the sheer mention of such a person's name is tantamount to a violation of the covenant. I've had a number of really awkward conversations with Baha'is who have honors degrees from well-ranked universities along these very lines. It is not even that I try to bring it up to any disproportionate extent. Why is there this circumscribed mode of discussion within the baha'i faith? It feels more appropriate to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

Answer
Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha both repudiated and moved away from Iranian Shiism and its fanaticism. Abdul-Baha increasingly opened up the Bahai teachings of his father to the more universal outlook of the Western world as he experienced it during his journeys throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, and the USA during the nineteen-tens.

What is important to understand is that Shoghi Effendi and his family wrote a fraudulent will and testament in 1921, which subverted the liberal and universal outlook of Abdul-Baha back to fanatical Shiism, greed for wealth, and power politics. Through "taqqiya" (taqiya, taqiyyih), essentially lying to the infidels, and "takfir," identifying and denouncing infidels, key Baha'i concepts," most Bahais have been kept under control and prevented from realizing what the actual teachings of Abdul-Baha actually were and are. Fear, demonization, and slander are powerfully coercive tools when used on people. Brainwashing can work with people of even high intellectual ability, let alone the weak and feeble minded, desperate to believe. That is why tyrannies always end up using it.

For much of the results of that kind of fanaticism on Baha'is during the last 80 years or so, see <code>http://www.fglaysher.com/bahaicensorship/<code>

The irony is that those who shout the loudest about the "covenant" are actually the ones who violated it--Abdul-Baha's 1912 Covenant, delivered publicly in New York:
<code>http://www.reformbahai.org/Covenant.html<code>

I should add, too, that the rewriting and falsification of history are essential to the maintenance of the status quo within the Haifan Baha'i Faith. That's why all books and articles are censored and people with any other view than that imposed by Shoghi Effendi are demonized, "shunned," and attacked as "covenant breakers." Again, the irony is that those making such allegations are in fact the real covenant breakers.

Abdul-Baha's simple, global universality will win out in the end... exemplified by Jenabe Fazel and other early Bahais.

I hope this helps you understand the Bahai denominations a little more.  

Bahá`í

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Frederick Glaysher

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N.B. Please rely on my own books and publications as representative of my views. Since at least 1996, I have been a critic of the fanaticism of the Haifan Baha'i Faith, a Scientology-like criminal cult, based on Iranian Shiite millennialism and a fraudulent will and testament, which is attempting to create a global theocracy by deceiving and brainwashing its unsuspecting members into a false version of its history and then using them to carry out Baha'i jihads against dissenters and critics. I've been stalked, harassed, and misrepresented, on and offline, by fanatical Haifan Baha'is and Iranian Shiites and other Muslims for over a decade and a half, some of the latter frequently anti-semites, as well as possibly other religious fanatics, posting to the Internet false information and mashups intended to libel and discredit me. I no longer address questions directly related to the several other Baha'i denominations. I will not dignify antisemitism with a response.

Experience

I'm especially able to discuss the role of Iranian Shiite "takfir" in Baha'i circles, the identification and denunciation of "infidels" and "apostates," having witnessed its fanaticism against Haifan Baha'i victims on and offline, in the USA and elsewhere. I have been intimately involved in the issues of free speech and conscience within the Bahai Faith since 1996, if not longer. Most American Baha'is are naively uninformed about these issues, if not deceived and brainwashed into a cult-like and mindless acceptance of a distorted version of its history and teachings, into "taqlid," mindless obedience, as a result ultimately of the fraudulent will and testament of 1921. By attempting to destroy all other Baha'i denominations through various methods, since at least 1921, Haifan Baha'is think they can maintain their claim that they alone constitute the Baha'i Faith. As Professor Juan Cole writes in his book Modernity and the Millennium, Columbia University Press (1998), the Baha'i administration has increasingly come under the control of fundamentalists, "stressing scriptural literalism... theocracy, censorship, intellectual intolerance, and denying key democratic values" (196).

Organizations
Reform Bahai Faith https://www.reformbahai.org

Publications
I am also the editor or author of two books on the Bahai teachings. In Letters from the American Desert, Glaysher reflects on the cultural, political, and religious history of Western and non-Western civilizations, in a compelling struggle for spiritual knowledge and truth. Fully cognizant of the relativism and nihilism of modern life, Glaysher finds a deeper meaning and purpose in the universal Vision of Baha’u’llah, as expressed in the Reform Bahai Faith. Confronting the antinomies of the soul, grounded in the dialectic, Glaysher charts a path beyond the postmodern desert. Alluding extensively to Martin Luther and W. B. Yeats at All Souls Chapel, “metaphors for poetry,” from Yeats’s book A Vision, Glaysher invites Reform Bahais and others to consider the example of the global, universal, moderate form of the Bahai Teachings as interpreted by Abdul-Baha, Baha’u’llah’s son, who had spoken throughout the West in Europe, England, and the United States from 1911 to 1913. Abdul-Baha’s message of the oneness of God, all religions, and humankind holds out a new hope and peaceful Vision for a world in spiritual and global crisis. Far from a theocracy, the Reform Bahai Faith envisions a modest separation of church and state, as the will of God, in an unorganized religion, a universal synthesis of all spiritual and wisdom traditions, in harmony and balance with universal peace, in a global age of pluralism, where religious belief is a distinctive mark of the individual, not collective, communal identity.

Books and eBooks available

The Universal Principles of the Reform Bahai Faith. Baha'u'llah & Abdu'l-Baha. With a new Introduction and the original 1912 Foreword. Hardcover: ISBN: 9780967042138 148 pages. Reform Bahai Press, 2008.

Education/Credentials
MA, University of Michigan, English, 1981 BGS, University of Michigan, English, Biblical Studies, Islam, 1980 Illinois State University, All But Dissertation, English, Rhetoric. 1983- 1986. Ten years teaching, at the university and college level, English, Rhetoric, American literature, non-Western literature, World Religions, and other courses.

Awards and Honors
A Fulbright-Hays scholar to China in 1994, I studied at Beijing University, the Buddhist Mogao Caves on the old Silk Road, and elsewhere in China, including Hong Kong and the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. While a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar in 1995 on India, I further explored the conflicts between the traditional regional civilizations of Islamic and Hindu cultures and modernity. I have been an outspoken advocate of the United Nations, an accredited participant at the UN Millennium Forum (2000), and attended the UNA Members Day 2012 on the Millennium Development Goals, held in the General Assembly Hall. In November 1, 2013, I spoke at the Robert Hayden Centennial Conference and Poetry Tribute, The University of Michigan, Rackham Amphitheatre, delivering my address "Robert Hayden Under a High Window of Angell Hall," which includes discussion of Hayden's ambivalent feelings about the Haifan Baha'i Faith (text on my blog at fglaysher.com/TheGlobe or watch the entire recorded presentation on YouTube: http://youtu.be/A3P1kZOrUnQ

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