Written by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Religious News Service
Tuesday, 19 August 2014
He will occasionally edit pages on other religions, such as Islam or Baha’i, or general articles on Christianity.
When he was a student at Brigham Young University three years ago, Anthony Willey came across a Wikipedia page on Mormons. What he read filled him with frustration.
The article focused on polygamy, which seemed odd since Mormons officially outlawed the practice in 1890. “It didn’t say what Mormons believe or what made them unique,” Willey said. “I had the thought, ‘Who’s editing this stuff?’ and that got me hooked.”
Since editing that page and adding 50 percent to the content, Willey has made more than 8,000 edits to the editable online encyclopedia, mostly on articles related to Mormonism. His top edited pages include entries on Joseph Smith, Mormons, Mormonism, and Black people and Mormonism.
Written by Mataura Ensign , Issue 1569, 23 November 1905, Page 4. Papers Past
Monday, 11 August 2014
Having brought the Bible up-to-date, America has "unearth a Messiah," or "Prophet," and his cult, under the name of Bahai Revelation," is spreading from New York and Boston to Chicago, and thence to the Pacific slope.
The whole of this strange new religion is wrapped in mystery, writes a New York correspondent.
The temple in 58th street, to which I gained admittance, was like a little concert hall, with daylight blocked out and electric lights most cunningly arranged. The mystic password was Allah-U-Abha!" Crowds entered, chiefiv ladies. Everybody was introduced to everybody else—"Sister True, of Chicago," to "Miss Blossom, of Boston" and then "Brother" Hoare caused a lectern to revolve and rise, and gave out what sounded like a Surah of the Koran. We responded devoutly, "Allah-U-Abha!" whereupon it was announced that Brother McNutt would address the meeting. This gentleman, an American—keen, welldressed, and alert—discoursed on his travels in Syria to find the "Prophet," who has his headquarters there, and told us of his arguments by starlight with Hindu Swamis and Moslem pillars of Islam from Morocco to Baghdad.
There was no collection, and no one was amazed to find that the basic religion simply rested on the formula of Mahommedanism: "There is no god but God, and Bahai'Ullah is his prophet."
Briefly, the idea is that all the religions on earth are, as it were, so many trees of divergent kind and many species while the "Bahai Revelation" is the parent soil from which they all spring. The cult aims at uniting Jews and Moslems, Christians and Buddhists, Taoists and Hindus and Confucians, all in one fold, wherein all faiths will "consort in love and fragrance."
A tiny, misunderstood, and often-persecuted community is facing a serious crisis in Iraq. The Yezidi, who practice an ancient monotheistic religion, face genocide as militants of the “Islamic State” (IS) have overrun Sinjar, the main hub for this minority, and proceeded to slaughter and torment them, sending tens of thousands of them up into the mountains with no food or water.
When Mohamed Morsi was ousted last year, many celebrated it and often cited the Muslim Brotherhood’s conservative religious doctrine and its effects on the state as to why the group had to go. We were lectured about the dangers of radical Islam and how its presence threatens the existence of the country’s non-Sunni minorities. The Brotherhood did not help itself, often resorting to sectarian rhetoric and incitement.
So how are we doing now more than one year after Morsi?
In a recent poll of religious association by state, the news was that an obscure religion was number 2 in South Carolina. Having lived in North Carolina for many years, I was surprised to find a name that I didn't recognize. The second largest religious affiliation in South Carolina is Baha'i. For most of us, this is not at all familiar and for a valid reason; it's 'messenger of god' didn't declare himself as such until 1866. The leader, Bahá'u'lláh, followed the unconventional teaching of a Shi'a man, Báb. These teachings led him to 3 keys beliefs, which are the basis of the religious faith of his followers today. (1) The unity of god- god is omni this and that, the creator, the force of universal consciousness, which isn't anything terribly different from most major religions. (2) The Unity of religion- all religions are from the same god and are essentially all the same once you remove cultural and time-specific regulations. (3) The unity of humanity- all are created equally and diversity is valuable.
This tablet by Abdu’l-Baha, dated around 1899, responds to detailed questions, “concerning the wisdom of referring some important laws to the House of Justice.” Abdu’l-Baha replies that, in principle, the Baha’i Faith is similar to Christianity, whose scriptures also specify only a few laws.
The Bahai Faith, he says, has little connection to worldly concerns. Religion’s primary function is to refine characters and bring light in darkness. However the Bahai scriptures do specify some foundations of our religious law, leaving subsidiary matters to the divinely-inspired House of Justice, which can make ‘cultural laws,’ (ahkaam madaniyyih) in accordance with time and circumstance. In Islam, this power was in the hands of diverse divines, resulting in conflicting rules. In the Bahai Faith, only the rulings of the Houses of Justice are binding, and the Houses of Justice change their rulings from time to time. This principle applies to a local, national or international House of Justice.
As for the matter of marriage, this falls entirely within the ‘cultural laws.’
Abdu’l-Baha gives two examples of the advantage of flexibility in religious law: the forbidden degrees of marriage and the punishments for breaches of the religious law. The first should be decided by the House of Justice according to social customs and medical requirements, wisdom, and suitability for human nature (the first three of which are specific to a time and place). Punishments likewise cannot remain the same forever, as can be seen in Judaism and Islam, where the punishments specified in scripture are no longer socially acceptable.
I was born and raised in a Baha’i family in Malaysia. I am a 3rd generation Baha’i. I realized that I was different when I was about 13 years old. When I found out that I was attracted to someone of the same sex, my whole world came crashing down. I was devastated and heartbroken because I couldn’t accept the fact. I was scared. I grew up believing that homosexuality was a disease and can be cured.
I prayed to God to send me someone to talk to and He did.
Every day I prayed and asked God to make me normal. He seemed to answer all my other prayers except this one. I became confused. I cried a lot, sometimes crying myself to sleep. I asked God “why me?” but He never told me the reason. I had nowhere to turn or talk to.
A lawyer for the Baha’i has gone to court demanding that the new marriage law should provide for the faith’s followers.
Ms Mary Wanjuhi Muigai on Wednesday argued that the new Marriage Act signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April did not cater for Baha’i marriages, separation, divorce, custody and maintenance of children.
Question: The Baha’i religion believes that everyone is equal, no matter what ethnicity or gender, but what about sexual orientation?
According to the teachings of Baha’u’llah, we have one duty toward each other — that is to love. This love, the Baha’i scriptures repeatedly remind us, must be universal because God’s love is universal:
Think big and be inclusive. Remove any cultural barriers between seekers and Baha’u’llah’s message. If always reading prayers out of a book makes seekers in an evangelical Christian area uncomfortable, offer to sometimes say spontaneous prayers they way that they’re accustomed to. If playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” during devotions (this has really happened) makes outsiders shift in their seat, choose music that speaks more to their experience.
In addition, let seekers contribute to the life of the Baha’i community as much as they are comfortable. Short of encouraging them to crash Feast or an LSA meeting, let them know that they’re welcome at every event going on in the Baha’i community. Invite them to serve.
But mostly, just invite people in your community, both Baha’is and seekers, to live life with you. Make friends with them. Invite them out for dinner. Drop by to watch the big game.
“They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations.” // Baha’u’llah
We can talk about principles all day, but if we don’t make a real effort to include others in our lives we will never be able to change society. Our local Baha’i communities will lose their effectiveness and stagnate. We can’t afford to let that happen.
The Bahá’í Calendar, arguably the least lunar calendar there is, has recently been given a lunar calculation of its own. Because the founders of the Bábí and Bahá’í religions were reported to have been born a day apart on the Islamic calendar (though two years apart), the Bahá’í leaders in Israel figured it would be nice to make this happen on their calendar. To do this, they marked the 8th new moon after No-Rúz in Tehran as the one most likely to be close to the time of year when the two prophets were born, and then had one prophet’s birth commemorated on the first day after that new moon and the other prophet’s birth commemorated on the day after that.
The commemorations will no longer occur on the actual dates of birth on the solar cycle (October 20 and November 12) or even the Islamic calendar, but rather, they will take place on different dates from year to year, as is done with Easter and Good Friday.
Calendars are an important tool for scheduling our activities. A farmer might use a solar calendar to plan a harvest. A Bedouin might use a lunar calendar to plan a journey across the desert. Many calendars are a hybrid between solar and lunar so that they can be used in accord with seasonal and lunar cycles. The Gregorian calendar, for instance, is precisely calculated to remain synchronized with the seasons. It is not so precise with respect to lunar cycles, each of its months being about a day too long to keep pace with the phases of the moon. Still, a Gregorian month can be used to loosely approximate a lunar month.