Thanks for posting. I would not have seen your story if you had not posted it a second time because I do not have time to search through long threads, given I am on two other forums, and I am constantly busy...
I probably posted my story once here but it was probably almost a year ago, so I am going to post it again, in brief... partly because I think it is very different than most stories.
It seems like most Baha'is embarked upon a search and looked at all the other major religions BEFORE they found Baha'i and became a Baha'i... I did not do that. I was not even interested in religion or God at all and I just found out about Baha'i from my older brother who lived in Port Angeles, WA at that time while I was visiting him on Christmas vacation (I then lived in S. California and was in my first year of college). I do not remember everything that happened, I know I read several books and then decided I believed in Baha'u'llah and signed the card within two weeks. Now about 47 years later I am still a Baha'i; although I have not been an active Baha'i for most of that time, owing to personal problems and personal circumstances I am still inactive, except online.
I post mostly to nonbelievers on forums and they ask me how I could become a Baha'i without first investigating all the other religions but I say that I married my husband three weeks after we met and now 33 years later we are still married... I did not have to go and compare other men... I bought three houses the same way and I still own all of them... Sometimes people just know.
I have since learned more about the other religions and that has confirmed the fact that I did not make a mistake... I just saved myself a lot of work.
I was brought up in the Episcopal Faith. Was a fairly active church member, but always an ardent lover of God. At age 35, I saw the name Baha'u'llah on the wall at someone's house. I had never seen the name before and asked about it and was given Baha'u'llah and the New Era. Got half way thru the book and knew Baha'u'llah was who I was seeking, even tho I was not aware that I was seeking. I enrolled within a week. Have been becoming a Baha'i ever since 1987. I am always impressed with those who have researched the Faith, and other Faiths and have absorbed all this knowlege. Then after investigating and deliberating, declare. My knowledge of other faiths and deepening in the Baha'i Faith has come slowly over the years. I sometimes think if I had learned what I know now about the Baha'i Faith before becoming Baha'i, I might have been too overwhelmed at what an awesome responsibility it is to try to live a Baha'i life. But I do thank God every day for allowing me to recognize His Word for this time, Baha'u'llah. I can't imagine where I would be without this gift.... disenchanted and adrift.
I've been studying the Baha'i Faith on and off for 9 years. a lot of the teachings coincide with what i have always believed in. but i keep pushing it on the back burner and in a couple of years i return to investigate further. maybe i read into the criticisms too much and should try more to find out why people are happy with the Baha'i Faith. I think the faith scares me too much based again on what bad experiences some people have had with it. But i think it's a beautiful Faith so i will continue to read and investigate.
Hello I would say I declared my belief in Bahá'u'lláh when I was around 13yrs old (I'm now 60). But your question asks when did I become a Baha'i and I would answer I have not, I am aspiring to be a Baha'i. That label/title is more than just a "follower" of Baháùllàh.