A Fellowship within the Unitarian-Universalist Association
NOTICE: There is no "official" Unitarian-Baha'i statement of belief or website. All Unitarian-Baha'is are free agents, and may build their own websites and offer their own personal statements of belief.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
The Unitarian Baha'i Fellowship (UBF) is now being formed. Unitarian Baha'is are those followers of Baha'u'llah who feel disaffected by the Haifa Organization (H.O.), and wish to continue to be Baha'is without being members of the A.O. (Administrative Order). There were Baha'is before the Administrative Order. According to 'Abdu'l-Baha, one does not need to belong to any "organization" in order to be a Baha'i.
"The Baha'i Movement is not an organization. You can never organize the Baha'i Cause. The Baha'i movement is the spirit of the age. It is the essence of all the highest ideals of this century. The Baha'i Cause is an INCLUSIVE MOVEMENT: The teachings of all the religions and societies are found here; the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mohammedans, Zoroastrians, Theosophists, Freemasons, Spiritualists, et. al. find their highest aims in this Cause. Even the Socialists and philosophers find their theories fully developed in this Movement." (Abdu'l-Baha, quoted in "The Baha'i Temple at Wilmette To Be Built with Money from Every Race, Clime and Religion under the Sun," By Isabel Fraser, The North Shore Review, May 16, 1914, in Star of the West, Vol. 25, p. 67)
The Unitarian Baha'is belong to the Unitarian-Universalist Assocation, and we plan to meet in UU Churches. The Unitarian Baha'i Fellowship (UBF) will be a part of the Unitarian-Universalist Association, and will not be a totalitarian organization like the Haifa Organization.
Unitarian Baha'is believe in the 12 Principles, the Daily Obligatory Prayers, and in fellowshipping with people of all faiths in love and kindness.
Baha'is who wish to associate with the Unitarian Baha'i Fellowship are asked to join your local Unitarian-Universalist Church, and identify yourself to the minister of that UU Church as a "Unitarian-Baha'i".
Once the number of the Friends in any area reaches "5" then they should plan 19-Day Feasts to be held at a home or at the UU Church (if that is acceptable with the UU minister). Since no Baha'i Fellowship can accept donations, the Friends do not need to form any legal entity. Any donations go to the local UU Church.
Unitarian-Baha'is should be known as:
The Unitarian Baha'i Fellowship will NOT ask for donations! Any donations should go to the local Unitarian Church. It is recommended that Unitarian-Baha'is spend 2% of their monthly income on their favorite charity, and also donate to their local UU church any amount they feel comfortable with.
The Unitarian Baha'i Fellowship will perform the following fuctions:
1) To produce an E-letter, then a publication, called "Unitarian Baha'i" which will keep members of the Fellowship informed and so we can network.
2) To publish books about the Faith to be sold or offered in Unitarian bookstores and libraries.
3) To eventually build our own Unitarian-Baha'i Temple in large metropolitan area when the number of Believers justifies this action. These Temples will be associated with the UU Association.
4) To arrange and coordinate pilgrimages to the Holy Shrines (Unitarian-Baha'is can visit these sites like other tourists can).
5) To establish a Unitarian-Baha'i Fellowship (UBF) within every Unitarian Church in North America.
The Unitarian Baha'is include the living descendants of Baha'u'llah (the Aghsan); the descendants of those whom were excommunicated by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and later Shoghi Effendi. Not one blood relative of Baha'u'llah still belongs to the World Baha'i Faith, headquartered in Haifa, Israel. The family of Baha'u'llah (the Aghsan) live in and around Akka, Israel. They consider themselves to be the true Baha'is. They hold no ill-will toward the Baha'is who belong to the Baha'i World Faith (Haifa Organization), but the current leaders of the Baha'i World Faith will declare any Baha'i a "Covenant-Breaker" if they so much as speak to one of the Aghsan. The Aghsan hope that this attitude will change in the future.
What crime did the great-grandsons and great-granddaughters of the original Unitarian-Baha'is commit? Should the great-grand-children of the brothers of 'Abdu'l-Baha be punished for what their great-grand-parents did? The currently rulers of the Haifa Organization (the President of the Baha'i International Community and the Office of the Secretariat--the Universal House of Justice is just a figurehead and not the de factor rules of the Administrative Order) FEAR the Aghsan, and this is why the great-grand-children of the brothers of 'Abdu'l-Bhaa are still being shunned!
The current living Aghsan (blood descendants of Baha'u'llah) have committed no crimes! We accept them as fully "Baha'i". The UBs shun nobody! All Baha'is (Haifan, Gay and Lesbian, Orthodox, Loyal, Tarbiyat, Free, Reformed) are our Brothers and Sisters. WE ACCEPT __EVERYBODY__!
Unitarian-Baha'is are not Covenant-Breakers! We accept the teachings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha. We are not anti-Administrative Order. We feel that the Haifa Organization has an mission to fulfill on Earth, but we do not believe that to be a Baha'i one must belong to the Administrative Order.
Baha'is existed for many decades before the Administrative Order. Even Shoghi Effendi never said that one "had" to be a member of the A.O. in order to be a Baha'i. There is no such statement; not in his letters or even pilgrim's notes. Therefore, we must conclude: one does NOT need to be a member of the Administrative Order in order to be a Baha'i.
Unitarian-Baha'is need NOT belong to any Unitarian church! But we encourage this, so that UBs have a place to fellowship with each other, and so that we can tell Unitarians about Baha'u'llah.
The UB Fellowships accept Gay and Lesbian Baha'is as equals with no condemnation. Each Unitarian-Baha'i is "free" to interpret the Holy Writings for himself or herself according to the "Light of God" within them. Other Unitarian-Baha'is can learn to "agree to disagree agreeably" on all matters. Acceptance of Gay and Lesbians in the UB Fellowships does not mean that all UBs believe homosexuality is consistent with the Will of God. Rather, it means that in all areas, UBs believe that one must interpret the Holy Writings for themselves; including in regards ones personal sex life.
Unitarian-Baha'is accept as Holy Text the following writings:
*The Holy Tablets of Baha'u'llah.
*The Holy Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha
*The Holy Tablets of Muhammad Ali Behai ("The Mightiest Branch"--the second surviving son of Baha'u'llah and Founder of the Unitarian Baha'is). These Tablets are not yet available but hopefully will be in the near future.
Unitarian-Baha'is do not accept the letters or directives of Shoghi Effendi (nor his various secretaries); because we are not members of the Administrative Order.
Unitarian-Baha'is may publish and display the photographs and images of any of the Prophets, including The Baub and Baha'u'llah, because this was not forbidden until the time of Shoghi Effendi.
There is no "head" of the Unitarian Baha'i Fellowships! All members of the UBF has an equal voice and equal vote in all UBF decisions without exception! The Unitarian-Baha'is will "vote" on Resolutions once per year around Ayam-i-Ha. Anyone can floor a Resolution. No Resolution is "binding" upon any Unitarian-Baha'i, but are only admonitions and suggestions.
Shunning is not accepted by the UBs, as Baha'u'llah wrote:
"Whatsoever hath led the children of men to shun one another, and hath caused dissensions and divisions amongst them, hath, through the revelation of these words, been nullified and abolished." (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 95)
To attend/affiliate with a Unitarian-Universalist church is not mandatory in order to belong to the Unitarian-Baha'i Fellowship (UBF). But, here are some advantages:
1. UU churches have good facilities, including (almost always) plenty of parking! Also, they usually have small kitchens, good for Feasts. Most public libraries will not allow "Feasts" (punch and cookies they'll allow, but dinners--no way!).
2. UU churches have supervised nursuries with trained female caregivers for small children from 10:15 to 12 noon, and classes for younger children and teens. This is free to UU members.
3. UU churches will almost always allow members of the congregation to speak about their own particular religion. Unitarian-Buddhists can discuss Buddhism in front of the entire congregation. So can Unitarian-Wiccans, Unitarian-Christians, Unitarian-Pagans, and, why not also Unitarian-Baha'is? Some in the congregation will have more questions! What an excellent way to promote the UBF and Baha'u'llah! But, make sure that you join a UU church before asking to speak, and it would be a good idea to make financial contributions to the local UU church for a period of time before asking the minister if you can speak on Bahaism. At least 3 or 4 months.
4. Most UU churches have a coffee and social half-hour, between 11:45 to 12:15pm every Sunday. Excellent way to meet new people and socialize, and tell them "I'm a Unitarian-Baha'i". They will ask, "What's that?" Great excuse to promote the Faith. You should have "business cards" made (about 500) which say:
followers of Baha'u'llah (1817-1892 A.D.)
The Spirit of Truth Incarnate
Local Group: (your e-mail)
Remember, the UB Fellowship has no officers. All are equal, with one vote each.
Go to the social with 5 or 6 "cards" in your pocket at least, and meet UUs (Unitarian-Universalists). When they ask "Why are you here?" say "I'm a Unitarian-Baha'i". They'll ask, "What is that?" Give them a card and say, "We have a website in case you're interested. We're followers of Baha'u'llah, the Spirit of Truth incarnate. Here (hand them the card)". That's all you need to do.
Some UUs are agnostics, and will not be interested. Others are spiritual, and some of these spiritual ones will be interested. Perhaps 1 in 10 or maybe 1 in 20.
5. If you become a contributing Member of a UU Church, and make friends with the librarian, he/she will probably let you place used Baha'i books in the UU church lending library! Thus, your local UBF Group will grow! Most of the members of your Group will have never belonged to the A.O.
Once you have at least five (5) UBs (Unitarian-Baha'is) in any metropolitan area, you can start having 19-Day Feasts. Again, going to a UU church is not mandatory, but it will be very, very helpful to all UBF Groups.
*Look in the Yellow Pages, or online, for "Unitarian Churches". Find one near you.
*Attend services on Sunday. Try to meet the minister. Attend for at least 3 Sundays. Go to the Coffee Social afterwards.
*Request formal membership in that UU church.
*Place FREE advertisements on www.craigslist.org under "Groups" and "Community" for your metropolitan area.
**If you can afford it, place ads in your local newspaper too.
***Once you are attending a UU Church as a financially contributing member of that Church, then REGISTER as a UBG Group. To do that, send an email to:
Your Group will be listed on the www.unitarianbahai.org website.
Others UBs who contact any of the UB website will be forwarded to your email.
If you would like to receive our free E-Letter, please send your e-mail (you do not need to use your name) to:
That is UNITARIAN[underscore]BAHAI[at]YAHOO[dot]COM
Please join us at the Unitarian-Baha'i Discussion Group at:
Unitarian-Baha'i Discussion Group
Find a Unitarian-Universalist Congregation near you
We hope you will try to form a UB Fellowship at your local UU church. They will allow a UB Fellowship, and will allow UBs to meet and hold Feasts, and some UU ministers will even allow UBs to discuss the Faith on Sunday. They have Sunday Schools for adults and children. But, if you don't, welcome! We will accept you in any situation. Get on our E-Letter list!
Go in Peace!