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Old 10-31-2016, 04:30 AM   #1
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Where do I start?

Hi all,

I have been reading about the Baha'i faith for about two weeks. I'm interested in studying it more now to see if I believe that Baha'u'llah was a Messenger of God. Which of His Writings do you recommend I read first?

Thank you.
 
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Old 10-31-2016, 06:23 AM   #2
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What's your religious background?

The Book of Certitude (The Kitáb-i-Íqán).
 
Old 10-31-2016, 07:13 AM   #3
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First I has read a Hidden Words, this book is not only for Bahais, but also for everybody who interest ethic - The Hidden Words

God bless you and I wish you all the best in new way
 
Old 10-31-2016, 08:36 AM   #4
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Thanks. Coincidentally, those are the two books I'm waiting on to arrive from Amazon.

I was a Catholic for 6 years, and I am not sure what I believe today. I believe in God, though I'm not sure if He has really revealed Himself through prophets. I am open to belief, and have asked Him to help me believe whatever He wants me to believe. So in the meantime I'm studying different religions, praying, and trying to lead a good life.
 
Old 10-31-2016, 09:51 AM   #5
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It sounds like you are off to a very good start! Enjoy your journey of discovery.

Loving regards,
Becky
 
Old 10-31-2016, 06:06 PM   #6
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I agree with two of the other posters, the Kitab-i-Iqan and the Hidden Words are good places to start.

I would also recommend Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, as it has an assortment of quotes from many of Baha'u'llah's most important books and tablets, selected by the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith and translated by him.
 
Old 11-01-2016, 02:17 AM   #7
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neophyte View Post
Hi all,

I have been reading about the Baha'i faith for about two weeks. I'm interested in studying it more now to see if I believe that Baha'u'llah was a Messenger of God. Which of His Writings do you recommend I read first?

Thank you.
Welcome great to see you here.

It is also good to get a selection of Prayers, there are many wonderdul prayers that also contain much to meditate about.

Look forward to a chat or two, Regards Tony
 
Old 11-01-2016, 05:27 AM   #8
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Greetings Neophyte,

'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Son of Bahá'u'lláh, has explained that there are three approaches towards accepting a religion. The first is accepting it due to tradition, the second is accepting it due to intellectual reasoning and the third is accepting it because it becomes part of your entire being. While all believers will strive for the latter, in reality religion today is still mainly practiced through tradition or intellect. This is why religious beliefs can appear to be so false in the eyes of those that seek spiritual sincerity. It is not religion that is the issue here, it is the way it is largely understood and practiced.

In the Bahá'í Faith we have believers that fall into both the tradition and intellect categories. Indeed arguably those with family relatives with a direct link to the development of the Faith have a traditional approach and new believers are often attracted on the basis of its intellectual values. There is a crossover of values, naturally, but essentially those born into the Faith sometimes need to learn how to value what they have and those that choose to accept it sometimes need to learn how to value its traditions. Both are challenging to each party because neither is what true faith is all about. In this respect while anyone can request to be a member of the Bahá'í Faith, being a Bahá'í, in the true sense of the word, is something much greater. Indeed 'Abdu'l-Bahá once explained that a person can be a Bahá'í without ever hearing the name of Bahá'u'lláh. In this respect a person does not even need access to any book in order to be a Bahá'í because in reality it is a way of life.

There is a reason why the introductory book entitled Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era has been one of the most successful introductions to the Bahá'í Faith for close to a century. While it appears to have been written by the author, three and half of the the first five chapters were actually written by 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Before publication He requested that the author send Him the manuscript in parts. After receiving the first part He commissioned it to be translated into Persian. He then rewrote most of the first five chapters and then commissioned them to be translated back into English before returning them to the author. These were published in the first edition with very few corrections. Unfortunately 'Abdu'l-Bahá passed away before being able to assist with the next series of manuscripts, but I happen to think the few chapters He assisted with are among one of His greatest gifts. This is because they were intended to help convey the spiritual essence of the Bahá'í Faith to an uniformed reader. This introductory book therefore set the spiritual standards upon which others would later be judged. You can obtain an official copy here http://www.bahai.org/library/other-l...a.pdf?88a4646f

Some contributors have kindly pointed out the importance of the The Book of Certitude; better known as The Kitáb-i-Íqán. Do appreciate that this is sometimes best studied with a personal tutor. As believers we are prone forget the emotional and intellectual struggles we once faced with some material after later coming to value it. The Kitáb-i-Íqán is without doubt one of the most important pieces of Writings produced by Bahá'u'lláh, but without the building blocks of knowledge to understand the metaphors correctly it can sometimes be viewed unfairly. After a number of years in the Faith it can actually be read like a manual to a capable Bahá'í. So be kind to yourself when your copy arrives and try to appreciate that while some of it may make no sense at this time, with the right keys it will unlock itself to any sincere reader.

'Abdu'l-Bahá once explaining that the road from the head to the heart is twice as long as the road from the heart to the head. In other words the head is inherently sceptical of what the heart chooses to believe in. Once the head can unify with the heart an individual will have achieved intellectual and spiritual unity. This will make much more sense to you when you are reading a wider range of Bahá'í Writings because they can promote the subconscious mind to create a series of intellectual roadblocks for you. Always understand that your subconscious mind does not want you to unify your mind with your heart because it is seeking to protect your lower or animal nature. So in a manner of speaking learning to become a Bahá'í is about learning how to overcome your subconscious mind.

Here is wishing you well on your voyage of spiritual discovery.

Earth

Last edited by Earth; 11-02-2016 at 01:30 AM.
 
Old 11-01-2016, 06:24 AM   #9
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The Baha'i Faith in Words and Images is another great introduction to the Baha'i Faith. See Baha'i Blog. If I were learning about the Baha'i Faith for the first time, I would get this book and read it with The Book of Certitude.

Last edited by ahanu; 11-01-2016 at 06:29 AM.
 
Old 11-01-2016, 05:36 PM   #10
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Thank you for the warm welcome everyone. And thank you, Earth, for your thoughtful response.
 
Old 11-02-2016, 03:01 AM   #11
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Greetings Neophyte,

You're very welcome. Always understand that within the Bahá'í Faith a person really chooses to believe in Bahá'u'lláh for themselves. This is why Bahá'ís do not seek to convert people. Learning how to embrace Bahá'u'lláh at an individual level is a path that can test a range of human emotions. Indeed some will lavish insult upon insult before finally making the connection and sometimes this connection can be years down the road. Once this connection is made however they tend to put their experiences behind them. It is a shame really because some of these stories could make interesting reading to those that are embarking on the same challenge. In a manner of speaking every Bahá'í becomes a priest to themselves.

Earth
 
Old 11-02-2016, 11:19 AM   #12
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I'd recommend Seven Valleys, but I'm a bit weird in my love for that particular book, so take the recommendation with understanding of my bias.
 
Old 11-02-2016, 12:10 PM   #13
Jcc
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If you don't mind reading on your computer or tablet, you can read nearly all of the Baha'i Writings published in English, as well as many of the originals in Arabic or Persian at this site:

Bahá

I don't mean to overwhelm you, there is enough for a lifetime.

In addition to the Scriptures there are many books written by Baha'i authors that different types of people can relate to or find useful. Many of the classics, such as Baha'u'llah and the New Era are also available as free e-books.

Happy Journeys!
 
Old 11-02-2016, 07:57 PM   #14
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I've started reading the Book of Certitude as of today. It's very interesting so far. (I had read bits of His Writings online before now.) Baha'u'llah was clearly a man of extreme intelligence with a gift for poetry. I will keep reading, though I don't know how I will ever judge the authenticity of His claims.
 
Old 11-02-2016, 08:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neophyte View Post
I've started reading the Book of Certitude as of today. It's very interesting so far. (I had read bits of His Writings online before now.) Baha'u'llah was clearly a man of extreme intelligence with a gift for poetry. I will keep reading, though I don't know how I will ever judge the authenticity of His claims.
Your heart just might recognize His authenticity for you, mine did. My soul accepted Baha'u'llah's truth long before I knew very much at all about Him , and it has been a tremendous journey of discovery ever since.

Loving regards,
Becky
 
Old 11-06-2016, 08:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neophyte View Post
I've started reading the Book of Certitude as of today. It's very interesting so far. (I had read bits of His Writings online before now.) Baha'u'llah was clearly a man of extreme intelligence with a gift for poetry. I will keep reading, though I don't know how I will ever judge the authenticity of His claims.
Hello, neophyte! Welcome to the community. You've already received some great answers here, but I just wanted to give you a bit of encouragement. I found the Book of Certitude to be a fantastic place to start my study of the Bahá'í Faith. I am sure you will find it to be a text that is both thought-provoking and, as you have already indicated, extremely beautiful. Please benefit from this forum as you read and ask whatever questions may occur to you.

As for discerning the authenticity of the claims of Bahá'u'lláh, unlike so many on this site, I can't speak as one who has already made the journey into the Bahá'í Faith. I, like you, am very much at the beginning of my studies. I do not know which question or questions animate your spiritual journey, but for me, the essential question is whether or not Bahá'u'lláh fulfills the promises of Jesus Christ. So when I think on this question of authenticity, several pieces of Scripture come to mind, and I'll leave you with those.

Christ Jesus says in Matthew 7:15-20: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, you will know them by their fruit" (emphasis mine).

In his first letter, Saint John writes: "Dear friends, don’t believe every spirit. Test the spirits to see if they are from God because many false prophets have gone into the world. This is how you know if a spirit comes from God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that doesn’t confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and is now already in the world. You are from God, little children, and you have defeated these people because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world. So they speak from the world’s point of view and the world listens to them. We are from God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever is not from God doesn’t listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:1-6, emphasis mine).

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul explains: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware...Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:1-3, emphasis mine).

I currently lack the conviction to say that Bahá'u'lláh is God's prophet, but what I can say of him is this: the moral fruits of his life and ministry are irreproachable, and his love of Jesus Christ seems boundless. According to the standards above, then, he deserves a fair and thorough hearing. I'll be praying for you, neophyte, as you continue that process.
 
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