Being unaffiliated

Was my disenrollment an injustice?

I'm disinclined to discuss my disenrollment these days. There are many reasons for this. It's counter productive to go on about something - especially something that happened over seven years ago. I am not comfortable about defending myself; I am conscious about making myself the centre of attention. I don't want to become associated with bitterness and anger or with being a perpetual critic of the Baha'i administration. Although insightful criticism is important, it isn't as important as positive expressions of study, teaching and worship.

{josquote}If being an inactive Baha'i alone justifies your disenrollment, then there's plenty of Baha'is out there who ought to be deeply concerned.{/josquote}

But I'm going to break with tradition and talk now about my disenrollment. This is because someone was asking me recently for my views on it. I said I didn't want to get drawn into a discussion on it but that I'd put some thoughts up on my blog. In particular, I realised that there was one argument that my detractors like to put about that I've never responded to. It goes like this: when Alison was disenrolled, she said that she was happy and that she didn't mind. Therefore, Alison was not treated unjustly. She didn't lose anything, for she is happy to have lost her community membership. A variation on this is that because I wasn't an active member of my local community when I was disenrolled, no injustice was done to me when my membership was taken away.

Read more: Was my disenrollment an injustice?

Interview with me

A couple of months ago, a guy called Gerald Fernandez-Mayfield contacted me and asked if he could interview me for his blog. He is a Baha'i youth (17 years) and declared in the past year.

We didn't get to finish the interview, but we covered quite a lot of ground. He asked me a lot about my early days: my childhood, the first Baha'is I met, how I became a Baha'i and so on. It wasn't easy for me; Gerald didn't realise that. I was a very troubled individual in those days. It wasn't until I reached my early 40s that I overcame my depression. In any case, you can read the interview on his blog "Here and now, boys!".

Unfortunately, Gerald, who is emphatic about his loyalty to the House of Justice, had introduced me as being "not able to accept the leadership of the Universal House of Justice". I was shocked and upset when I read this and left a comment saying it wasn't true. After reading my comment, Gerald kindly changed his introduction and removed that line. I was very grateful to him for fixing the mistake up so quickly.

Go to the original blog entry...

Expulsion dream

When I was disenrolled from the Baha'i community in March 2000, I mentioned a few times that I had had a dream warning me that someone was watching me and that, one day, that person or thing would 'kill' me. There was so much heat over my expulsion that I didn't make much of the dream at the time. The day after I had the dream, however, I reported about it on Talisman because I knew it was significant. That was 13 September 1998, about 18 months before my expulsion.

This morning, I thought I'd dig into my archives and find that Talisman message and post it here. It was kind of Baha'u'llah to let me know in advance that there were eyes watching me and that, one day, once-invisible beings would suddenly materialise to strangle the breath out of me.

Read more: Expulsion dream

Being an unenrolled Baha'i

Recently, I've had a little to do with people who regularly attend 19-day feasts with the local Baha'i community here. I was disenrolled in March 2000, and so I have been out of the attending-feast routine for nearly seven years. It's quite a while; long enough for me to change significantly and not appreciate fully how that is playing out. But by watching those who still attend feast, the changes in me become clear.

I look at those believers and am reminded of how I used to be. I used to attend feasts regularly and get involved in community affairs. I used to think that doing these things constituted being a Baha'i. But, as my Baha'i career shows, I wasn't fulfilled by this routine. I always thought there had to be more to it than that. I felt that much of what I did lacked real meaning, and it was only on odd occasions during personal prayer and the devotional part of feast that I got a hint of what it was all for.

Read more: Being an unenrolled Baha'i

Baha'i Faith Expels New Zealand Poet (2000)

Read her poems and it's clear that Alison Marshall has not been cut off from the faith that is the source of her inspiration. However, this New Zealander's personal devotion was not enough to prevent her from being separated from her religious community, the Baha'i Faith. In March 2000, Alison received the unexpected news that the leaders of her religion feel that she does not "meet the requirements for membership in the Baha'i community."

Read more: Baha'i Faith Expels New Zealand Poet (2000)