Too many conflicts, uncomfortable.

Jul 2011
150
USA
Using the easy target to make a point;

"We shrink, for very shame, from treating of the subject of boys. Fear ye the Merciful, O peoples of the world! Commit not that which is forbidden you in Our Holy Tablet, and be not of those who rove distractedly in the wilderness of their desires. (Aqdas, paragraph 107)

The word translated here as "boys" has, in this context, in the Arabic original, the implication of paederasty. Shoghi Effendi has interpreted this reference as a prohibition on all homosexual relations."

Clearly Baha u llah was strictly speaking of adult males taking juvenile boys, are juvenile girls OK, down to age 15 is OK as long as a marriage takes place?!

Homosexuality, Bahá'í Writings on

"Word Origin and History for pederasty
n.

"sodomy of a man with a boy," c.1600, from French pédérastie or directly from Modern Latin pæderastia, from Greek paiderastia "love of boys," from paiderastes "pederast, lover of boys," from pais (genitive paidos) "child, boy" (see pedo- ) + erastes "lover," from erasthai "to love" (see Eros )."

Shoghi had no right to change Baha u llahs words, which speak directly to 'boys' and all Shoghi's following directives based on his misunderstanding are false on this matter for me.

All other Teachings from Bah u llah counter SE on this matter to me.

"Thus, it should not be so much a matter of whether a practicing homosexual can be a Bahá'í as whether, having become a Bahá'í, the homosexual can overcome his problem through knowledge of the teachings and reliance on Bahá'u'lláh. (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, March 14, 1973; cited in LG, #1225, p. 365)"

Why the focus on males, females are prone to gay life styles too yet the reference is also males. Which is pure common human heterosexual males homophobia.

You can make a bad cake look good with frosting but the cake is still bad underneath.

Why do I post all the above, my intellect tells me something is amiss. Double meanings, apparent incorrect interpretations. All leading me to be concerned that what I've often seen in other faiths that well meaning followers simply screw up the original Teachings and then because they are declared Perfect (which I'll never accept in any mortal, any and all mortals) the incorrect interpretations are held on high and propagated by ignorant 'sheep like' followers. It happens over and over. This issue is spoken of that the further away from the life time of the original Prophet the Teachings are tainted by it's followers.

My goal is to read for myself and only Baha u llah and not anyone else, it seems that is what we are told to do by Baha u llah, to read Gods Teaching as given to Baha u llah to write down. Personally I am so happy that after SE no other single human was elevated above others, the He is Perfection syndrome had to come to an end. The thinking that any mortal is perfection leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

You folks do what you want, but I follow the Teachings of God as given to us through Baha u llah. I don't follow Baha u llah, I follow Gods Teachings as given to us through Baha u llah, I don't follow Abdul Baha nor SE.

and finally,

"If religious beliefs and opinions are found contrary to the standards of science, they are mere superstitions and imaginations; for the antithesis of knowledge is ignorance, and the child of ignorance is superstition. Unquestionably there must be agreement between true religion and science. If a question be found contrary to reason, faith and belief in it are impossible, and there is no outcome but wavering and vacillation."

"Human sexuality researchers, professional mental health associations, social worker professional associations, and liberal religious groups have reached a near consensus that homosexual and bisexual orientations and behavior are normal and natural for a minority of One of the main principles of the Baha'i faith is their respect and adoption of the findings of science."

"Thus Baha'i beliefs concerning sexual orientation are quite similar to those of the conservative wings of Christianity, Islam, Judaism and other religions. They reject the findings of science on this topic, and they have no mechanism to change their position. Unless they can find a way of reinterpreting the words of their holy text so as to accept the findings of science, they will find themselves increasingly considered bigots and out of touch with reality on this topic.adults, that homosexual orientation is discovered, not chosen, and is unchangeable." >The Baha'i faith and homosexuality

Just another Baha'i struggling with conflicting Teachings, conscious and critical thinking.
 
Mar 2013
522
_
Ultimately it seems a lot hangs on a letter written perhaps on behalf of the Guardian.

I would not let that ice cube wreck the ship of your belief system. Sometimes there isn't an iceberg underneath it. Patience is the key to understanding. And I know thats difficult when entire segments of population are treated badly, even violently, and often unfairly.

There are things within our faith that do not always make sense to us. They're easy to get hung up on, fortunately the Faith itself does not try to hide them or pretend they are not there..i.e. Men only in the Universal House of Justice, haircut standards, Baha'is not allowed to live in Israel (or the old Palestine mandate?), etc.

One thing that does seem consistent is that trying to understand something ultimately improves real and perceived problems. The entire homosexual identity as something of another class of human beings may be something of an odd 19th/20th century artifact, or perhaps would have been if it had not been taken up in terms of a civil rights initiative.

For instance, this is just my thinking. Imagine if red-headed people were treated as badly as those who had homosexual preference have often been? It might well develop a d'esprit do corps, a more ironclad identity than might really exist. Patterns of behavior once considered stereotypical would become ironclad identifiers within the "community" itself. To be red-headed would be something of its own political movement. People might get dye jobs to get with the group zeitgeist. Strawberry blonde would feel left out or try to figure out what side of this suddenly existing wall existed. It would no longer be acceptable for either side, to wear a hat.

I've never really understood why God would care what one does with one's sexual organs as long as they're not putting them into someone else against their will or capacity to agree, or if it constituted a violation of a sacred agreement (rape, child abuse, adultery, etc). It's like getting the keys to a Ferrari and then being told "You can drive to the grocery story on Saturdays" for some. I get that. It drove me away from religion, honestly, and I cannot say that it has ever become entirely clear to me, but as they say "them's the rules" and if I accept Baha'u'llah, I have to wait this out and figure it out.



Societies do need rules though, standards. We've seen what happens when they cease to exist. While modern western society has seen women obtain freedom's and rights never heard of before, I've seen feminism threatened by an alarming trend towards hypersexualizing and commoditizing women as nothing more than erotic objects. How is that unlearned? Fetishism becomes the norm and sex itself become a challenging false god. If you don't know what you believe in, you can still find what you want on a google search. Maybe there is a gradual process.

From another viewpoint, Baha'is are to be in unity, and just because some countries allow Gay marriage, does not mean the rest of the world. This does not go over as well everywhere, and perhaps it might take centuries for it to be palpable. Look how long it took God's messengers to eradicate slavery and, for that matter, polygamy.

We have an avenue to talk to God. Pray about it. If you think that there was a mistake made, or something not understood, pray to God to see it resolved. I believe that.
 
Nov 2015
239
United States
What did Shoggi Effendi mean by natural? The first definition of nature is this:

na·ture
noun

1.
the phenomena of the physical world collectively, including plants, animals, the landscape, and other features and products of the earth, as opposed to humans or human creations.
"the breathtaking beauty of nature"
synonyms: the natural world, Mother Nature, Mother Earth, the environment
Surely homosexuality occurs in nature among some animals. But Shoghi Effendi never claimed infallibility when it comes to science or knowledge of the animal kingdoms. He was granted a lesser form of infallibility, in the sense that We are commanded as Baha'is to trust his guidance.

"The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One... Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God."

-Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament
This does not mean that Shoghi Effendi cannot be wrong on any facts, but that we must follow his guidance for our own protection from consequences we cannot understand.

As for 'Abdu'l-Baha's authority to say what He said in his Will and Testament, we must follow what He said because of these injunctions by Baha'u'llah:

"O people of the world! When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him Who hath branched from this mighty Stock."

-Baha’u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 174

"The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan and My Kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: ‘When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.’ The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [Abdu’l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you Our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful. Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muhammad Ali] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [Abdu’l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen ‘the Greater’ after ‘the Most Great’, as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed."

-Bahá’u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Ahd (Book of My Covenant), paragraph 9

"There hath branched from the Sadratu’l-Muntahá this sacred and glorious Being, this Branch of Holiness; well is it with him that hath sought His shelter and abideth beneath His shadow. Verily the Limb of the Law of God hath sprung forth from this Root which God hath firmly implanted in the Ground of His Will, and Whose Branch hath been so uplifted as to encompass the whole of creation. Magnified be He, therefore, for this sublime, this blessed, this mighty, this exalted Handiwork!… A Word hath, as a token of Our grace, gone forth from the Most Great Tablet—a Word which God hath adorned with the ornament of His own Self, and made it sovereign over the earth and all that is therein, and a sign of His greatness and power among its people …Render thanks unto God, O people, for His appearance; for verily He is the most great Favor unto you, the most perfect bounty upon you; and through Him every mouldering bone is quickened. Whoso turneth towards Him hath turned towards God, and whoso turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, hath repudiated My Proof, and transgressed against Me. He is the Trust of God amongst you, His charge within you, His manifestation unto you and His appearance among His favored servants… We have sent Him down in the form of a human temple. Blest and sanctified be God Who createth whatsoever He willeth through His inviolable, His infallible decree. They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error, are consumed by the heat of worldly desires, and are of those who will assuredly perish."

-Baha’u'llah - Tablet of the Branch

"O thou who hast set thy face towards the Realm on High and hast quaffed My sealed wine from the hand of bounteousness! Know thou that the term 'Infallibility' hath numerous meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified from errors and omissions."

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 108)
Based on these Writings, it is clear that Abdul-Baha is not infallible to the same degree as Baha'u'llah. But we must still turn to Him and follow Him, for this is the only way we will not go astray.

Having studied these quotes in my own quest to reconcile the Teachings with my personal understanding of homosexuality, I have come to a few personal conclusions.

When Shoghi Effendi writes that homosexuality is unnatural, we must accept this as true. If it is not true by the first definition of "natural" given above, then we must take it by the second definition we know:

na·ture
noun

2.
the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.
Thus, we take the Guardian's words not to mean that homosexuality does not occur in nature, but that it is not an inherent feature of man, who we believe is part animal and partly divine. And after all, the Guardian guided us not as animals, but as divine beings.

I also believe that something external must be the cause of homosexual attraction. This is not contradicted by the mainstream science, to my understanding, because we still do not know the cause of homosexuality. It is empowering to say people are "born gay," but no "gay gene" has been discovered, and it is just as likely, if not more so, that early environmental factors foster the attractions homosexuals feel.

Sexual attraction is a challenge for everyone who seeks God. It is an obstacle, a distraction, sometimes a danger. It is also very natural according our animalistic side. Baha'is are taught to detach their actions from their desires. We are told to forgo our passions. We believe that the natural state of man is to draw closer to God and away from the self, while the natural state of the animal is to be free and godless.

And of course, nearness to God is relative, with no end goal in sight. Same sex partners can certainly be spiritual and sexually active, as much as anyone heterosexual couple can. But there is a limit to our growth whenever we cling to passion or vice. Even in marriage, Baha'is are called to be chaste. Consider the following guidance:

"The Bahá'í Faith recognizes the value of the sex impulse, but condemns its illegitimate and improper expressions such as free love, companionate marriage and others, all of which it considers positively harmful to man and to the society in which he lives."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 5, 1938: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973, p. 108)
In this light, the ban on homosexual activity in the Baha'i Faith is entirely in line with the rest of the Teachings. As far as I can tell, the only legitimate form of sexual expression is between a married couple wishing to produce children. Anything other than that is indulgence, and will inevitably become an obstacle in attaining nearness to God.

With this in mind, I believe it is wrong for Baha'is to endorse any form of sexual activity besides that between a married man and woman wanting to have children. Obviously, this is not going to be the normal standard of mainstream society for a long, long time. Therefore, Baha'is must not condemn individuals for their particular form of sexual practice, because hypocrisy would inevitably follow.

The only form of repercussion the Faith has for homosexuals is a loss of voting rights if the homosexual Baha'i publicly and vocally announces and endorses their sexual activities. This punishment is the same for a heterosexual Baha'i who publicly and vocally endorses sexually activities outside of marriage, or even within their marriage if the sex is for recreation and not procreation. There is no hypocrisy in this application, so long as it is consistently enforced on all parties.

If we obeyed the Baha'i guidance and respected these repercussions, the result would be that sexual activities would remain discrete and private affairs. No one would judge anybody else for their sexual preferences, because we would neither know nor care. The culture would become less sexualized, and temptations would decrease. Chastity would become a more attainable virtue for all. Sexism would decrease as the concept of sexual attraction became more internal and private, and vocalization of sexual desire more restricted. Everyone would have more self-control and would treat everyone else more equally.

That's the world I want to help build.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2015
239
United States
For instance, this is just my thinking. Imagine if red-headed people were treated as badly as those who had homosexual preference have often been? It might well develop a d'esprit do corps, a more ironclad identity than might really exist. Patterns of behavior once considered stereotypical would become ironclad identifiers within the "community" itself. To be red-headed would be something of its own political movement. People might get dye jobs to get with the group zeitgeist. Strawberry blonde would feel left out or try to figure out what side of this suddenly existing wall existed. It would no longer be acceptable for either side, to wear a hat.
This reminds me of a perspective that a gay Baha'i shared with me, after years of struggling with this exact issue. He said that he realized that his preference for men was just one characteristic of his. It was like preferring bananas. But it had become so important to him not because it was naturally so important, but because the world had hated him so much for it. He imagined if the society had hated banana-lovers, would they have banana pride parades?

For a long time, my friend begrudged Shoghi Effendi's words and feared his discovery by the Baha'i community. But later on, he says he realized that he begrudged Shoghi Effendi not because of Effendi's actual sentiments, but because of how those sentiments reminded him of more hateful individuals in his past. When he was fair, he saw no hate in the Guardian's words. He had merely projected his emotions onto the Guardian. And with the Baha'i community, he was projecting the hate and fear prevalent in his past religious communities. When he finally came out to his Baha'i friends, they all embraced him and told him they did not care. Some struggled for a time to understand it, but none of them found a reason to hate or fear him in the Writings. All they found were reasons to love and respect him, and to affirm that he was no less a Baha'i than before.

Not every Baha'i community is so tolerant towards homosexuals, but I believe that intolerant Baha'is who vocalize negativity act in direct defiance with the Teachings regarding backbiting and truth sharing.

This experience never weakened my friend's (nor my) support of the gay rights movement. Our innate sense of Justice compels us to advocate for equal rights and treatment of everyone in society, regardless of their vice. Having faced that discrimination, he will never stop empathizing with other LGB individuals, nor will I, until society abandons hate and intolerance towards communities for their personal preferences.

Meanwhile, as Baha'is, we follow Baha'u'llah's teachings. We keep our sex lives discrete, and we strive to control our passions. And we pray for a Just, Chaste, and Loving society.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2010
4,590
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
We all have hidden demons. Our journey of over coming self is the issue.

So in grained are the promptings of self in this materialistic age, that we we question our only hope.

Is the journey easy finding God Within with Laws and then subduing Self for the Unconstrained to shine from us? No, but it will always be full of conflict if we do not look for the wisdom, but instead try to appease self.

When we accept the wisdom then the battle with self is where all the energy can be directed. Little by little day by day we can change and understand more.

Regards Tony.
 
Oct 2014
1,811
Stockholm
Dear Michael,

The following quote says it all:

"Shoghi had no right to change Baha u llahs words".

I'm sorry but this is gross disrespect. The Guardian was fully authorized to interpret Bahá'u'lláh's words. You should know that. And that is what he has done. Bahá'ís are left with no other choice but to accept that.

Second, referring to the Guardian as "Shoghi" also is most disrespectful.

I feel sorry for you. You seem doggedly intent on doing immense harm to yourself.

gnat
 
Last edited:
Dec 2015
378
N Ireland
Dear Michael,

The following quote says it all:

"Shoghi had no right to change Baha u llahs words".

I'm sorry but this is gross disrespect. The Guardian was fully authorized to interpret Bahá'u'lláh's words. You should know that. And that is what he has done. Bahá'ís are left with no other choice but to accept that.

Second, referring to the Guardian as "Shoghi" also is most disrespectful.

I feel sorry for you. You seem doggedly intent on doing immense harm to yourself.

gnat
I agree totally. The Guardian is totally able to interpret scripture. I and many others have remonstrated with Michael regarding his disrespect for the Guardian
 
Jul 2011
150
USA
I'm sorry but I see your response as from some one who can't use critical thinking, also, we are advised to read and think for ourselves, not be sheep and follow blindly. The Teachings also say that the further away from the lifetime of the Prophet the more the Teachings are interferred with and the start date of that would be upon Baha u llah's mortal death. Followers of all religions have done this and it will be done, they make an interpretation then try to stand behind God or the Prophet. Not unlike here in USA if you condemn the business of war you are condemned as a hater of the soldiers.
 
Jul 2011
150
USA
Ultimately it seems a lot hangs on a letter written perhaps on behalf of the Guardian.

I would not let that ice cube wreck the ship of your belief system. Sometimes there isn't an iceberg underneath it. Patience is the key to understanding. And I know thats difficult when entire segments of population are treated badly, even violently, and often unfairly.

There are things within our faith that do not always make sense to us. They're easy to get hung up on, fortunately the Faith itself does not try to hide them or pretend they are not there..i.e. Men only in the Universal House of Justice, haircut standards, Baha'is not allowed to live in Israel (or the old Palestine mandate?), etc.

One thing that does seem consistent is that trying to understand something ultimately improves real and perceived problems. The entire homosexual identity as something of another class of human beings may be something of an odd 19th/20th century artifact, or perhaps would have been if it had not been taken up in terms of a civil rights initiative.

For instance, this is just my thinking. Imagine if red-headed people were treated as badly as those who had homosexual preference have often been? It might well develop a d'esprit do corps, a more ironclad identity than might really exist. Patterns of behavior once considered stereotypical would become ironclad identifiers within the "community" itself. To be red-headed would be something of its own political movement. People might get dye jobs to get with the group zeitgeist. Strawberry blonde would feel left out or try to figure out what side of this suddenly existing wall existed. It would no longer be acceptable for either side, to wear a hat.

I've never really understood why God would care what one does with one's sexual organs as long as they're not putting them into someone else against their will or capacity to agree, or if it constituted a violation of a sacred agreement (rape, child abuse, adultery, etc). It's like getting the keys to a Ferrari and then being told "You can drive to the grocery story on Saturdays" for some. I get that. It drove me away from religion, honestly, and I cannot say that it has ever become entirely clear to me, but as they say "them's the rules" and if I accept Baha'u'llah, I have to wait this out and figure it out.



Societies do need rules though, standards. We've seen what happens when they cease to exist. While modern western society has seen women obtain freedom's and rights never heard of before, I've seen feminism threatened by an alarming trend towards hypersexualizing and commoditizing women as nothing more than erotic objects. How is that unlearned? Fetishism becomes the norm and sex itself become a challenging false god. If you don't know what you believe in, you can still find what you want on a google search. Maybe there is a gradual process.

From another viewpoint, Baha'is are to be in unity, and just because some countries allow Gay marriage, does not mean the rest of the world. This does not go over as well everywhere, and perhaps it might take centuries for it to be palpable. Look how long it took God's messengers to eradicate slavery and, for that matter, polygamy.

We have an avenue to talk to God. Pray about it. If you think that there was a mistake made, or something not understood, pray to God to see it resolved. I believe that.
I'm resolved to stay in the BF, but I will make sure that I follow God's Teachings as given to us through Baha u llah only. It's my firm belief that a few errors have been introduced after the mortal passing of Baha u llah. I will say that if ever on a LSA I may differ widely with what is taken by many as interpretations after Baha u llah. The one thing that gets me through is that I feel the Teachings are (forgive me) dumbed down to make them more palatable for the masses. And it is truth that many of the things that make me cringe now may well be, let me say it this way, improved upon in the future. And for prayer, regardless of what is said, I don't believe prayer is any more than a meditative process.