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Switch to Forum Live View How did you become a Baha'i?
6 years ago  ::  Oct 16, 2008 - 1:16AM #1
Light_Worker
Posts: 47
I discovered the Baha'i Faith three years ago during my freshman year of college. I went to the annual faith fair to find a place to worship (ie a community outside of the college, I wasn't really anything specific at the time) and I ended up gravitating to the Baha'i table where a lone woman stood with shoulder length white hair, and the most welcoming smile I've ever seen. We talked for a while, and I just felt like I could talk to her for the rest of her life and be completely happy. Well, that's essentially what happened. I learned that she works at my school, and I have been going to her apartment off and on over the past couple years for firesides, most of which focused on discussing religion in general, with some discussion of Baha'i if it came up. The more I came to know her and about her, and how she really lived what she talked about, the more I wanted to know. I've met some of the local Baha'is, and I consider them all good friends. Recently I decided to start seriously looking into the faith and possibly converting, so when the daughter of a local Baha'i who is also a friend of mine asked my girlfriend and I (who is also searching and wanting to learn more about Baha'i) if we wanted to take a Ruhi course, I jumped on the opportunity. We met for the first time last weekend, and I had a blast and learned a lot. We're meeting again tomorrow, and I can't wait! So, how did you come to Baha'i?
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5 years ago  ::  Oct 29, 2008 - 11:05PM #2
Ruhi19
Posts: 529
[QUOTE=Light_Worker;828994]ISo, how did you come to Baha'i?[/QUOTE]


I hope you are enjoying your Ruhi workshop.  They didn't have them when I joined 32 years ago. 

My friend, whom I had known for more than 10 years told me one day that "Christ has returned."  That's what she said and she certainly had my attention.  I was determined that if Christ HAD returned that I wouldn't miss Him.  I said prayers to that effect too.  My openness may have also had something to do with an event which happened to me personnally not that long (maybe a year or so) before my friend told me the news. 

I had been on a date and we went to the Potomac River. It was night and when I looked up I saw the largest, most red moon I had ever seen.  It truly looked like the color of blood.  It was so dark that it didn't seem to give off much light.  These are all traits mentioned in Revelation and I took them as a sign.  So when my friend told me about Baha'u'llah, I didn't say that it was impossible, I set out to see if it was true.   

She gave me some books:  Bahau'llah and the New Era, The Hidden Words, Thief in the Night.  I began reading around September.  She lived in N. VA at that time, while I lived in Norfolk, VA (the southeastern part of VA, about 300 miles away).  I had become a member of the Edgar Cayce Association. Edgar Cayce's library is in Virginia Beach.  I did the rest of my research there since they had a whole shelf of books.  I read the Kitabi-Iqan (The Book of Certitude), the Gleanings of Baha'u'llah and a story book about Tahirih.  I was planning to marry about that time and saw no reason to change my religion before marrying because it would mean changing arrangements which had already been made to something that I didn't know about.  But after I got home from my honeymoon, I tried to contacted the Baha'is in my area. 

I say "tried" because everytime I tried, I got no answer.  Each time I tried, I had to overcome my tendancy to shyness.  Contacting the Baha'is was one of the bravest things I had done up to that time.  I still remember how hard my heart was beating.  It turned out that my timing was very bad.  Everytime I called, they were celebrating a Holy Day or at a Feast.  (It was during the March to May time period when we celebrate:  the New Year, Ridvan (12 days),and  the Declaration of the Bab.

Finally I reached them and began to go to firesides.  I thought that I had "joined" them.  It wasn't until July that I found out that there were other meetings and that I needed to sign a Declaration card to be a part of the community!   So, I did that and attended my first Feast.  It wasn't until around October that my friend who had told me about the Faith found out that I had declared   

The things that attracted me were first, the prophecies of the Bible which were fulfilled by Baha'u'llah and the Bab and then the beauty of Baha'u'lllah's Writings.  After that, I looked for evidence of  the quality of His character and read about His life of oppression.  These (except for the prophecies part) are all covered in the Ruhi workshops now.   

I was ready to believe by then, but couldn't take the step.  The story about how Tahirih recognized the Bab helped me to take that step although I can't see that it would be a deciding point for many people.  I guess that it was because a woman was one of the apostles of the Bab.  That meant a lot to me.   

Anyway, that's my story.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 15, 2008 - 8:50AM #3
Naistradamus
Posts: 18
Excellent.
Well done Ruhi19 for your perserverance and detachment.
You are all surely amonst Gods blessed angels.
(:

I was born into a Bahai family so my experience was quite different, not nearly so interesting. But i have to say all beleivers who are find the faith on there own even the ones who have been Bahais for ages are just SO CUTE!
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 23, 2008 - 5:35PM #4
Erie_Steph
Posts: 2
In 1970, I had a new baby and I was searching for a church that I believed in, so my son would have a spiritual education.  I had been raised as a Christian Scientist and my husband had been raised Catholic, and we didn't want to raise our son in either of those, so we were both looking for someting new.  (I wish Beliefnet was around then!)  This was around the time of the Vietnam war, and every night there were pictures of body bags being sent back home, and horrific scenes of the destruction of villages and people.  I didn't want my new baby boy to be raised to adulthood, only to be sent to war to kill other people.  I wanted a faith that taught world peace -- I figured that a just and loving God would want that.  I met a lady that worked at the truck stop cafe, and she was a Baha'i, the only one around for miles. She loaned me "Baha'u'llah and the New Era" and when I went to return it she asked if I had any questions, and the only one I had was "How do I become a Baha'i?"  Later on, my husband became a Baha'i too.  We raised both our sons to believe in the oneness of God, of religion, and of humanity.  It was the best decision I ever made!
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4 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2009 - 4:30AM #5
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,286

Was born into a Bahá'í family at our pioneering post. Driven away from that land we moved on to pioneer elsewhere.


International pioneering, homefront pioneering or at least to form new Spiritual Assemblies or to support jeopardized ones, was always and still is, part of our family's plans/tradition/general strategies. Extended family is scattered all over different continents; every continent except Antactica. Am not certain of Oceania. Although there are probably some distant cousins, by marriage, etc, there as well. Family reunions perforce occur at intercontinental, international and national Bahá'í conferences.


Grew up being taught about every Faith and progressive revelation, associating with people of an extremely wide variety of Faiths/denominations/doubts/unbeliefs/disbeliefs as well as huge diversities of culture, language, race, ethnicity, subculture, class, education, poverty and profession.


At first started formally learning about the Cause by reading an English Bahá'í children's book. Second book was The Advent of Divine Justice in one hand and unabridged dictionary nearby being leafed by the other hand. (Was a very curious child.) Next, attended Bahá'í children's classes wherever we were (If, Islamic land; on Fridays. In Christian country; Sunday school.) Further learning was at our family's firesides, the Nineteen day Feast's, more reading, Bahá'í Summer Schools and the indispensible practicum of service.


Declared after a few hours of soul-searching the night before turning 15.


Every experience, before and since, has reinforced and extended, heart's ardent attraction, mind's astonished understanding and soul's absolute certitude.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 27, 2011 - 6:19PM #6
Aka_me
Posts: 11,306

I grew up with a Catholic mom and Southern Baptist father, going to Catholic mass once or twice every month. at 13 my father said I'm old enough to decide for myself and I became agnostic because what I observed in all the religions (yes, at my tender age of 13) was simply human made actions and creeds.


spent the next 14 years as one highly pissed off agnostic, looking up and saying "hey, you don't see my mother and father running away and hiding from me do you, so why do you have to abandon humanity and not say diddley for two thousand years".


at age 27, I was thrown into the valley of search (that's a whole nutter long story) and threw out all preconceived notions for all religions in an effort to recreate the "being thrown" into the valley of search feeling.


eventually exhausted visiting each and every church in my area, and again looked up speaking rather loudly "you're going to have to speak up because I'm not hearing you so well".


and the next day I heard someone say "I'm a Baha'i". had to ask what it is, and they said "there's no way to explain in 30 seconds, if you want to know call this phone number".


turns out it was the number to a retired couple running a Baha'i library out of their house. picked up all the free material KNOWING that it would be a matter of minutes before I found the human pollution dilution and canonized commentary just like all the other religions.


well, I'm just going to have to go back and get some more material, because I don't see any human problems like the other religions.


hmmmm, I'll get the deepest most philosophical material of all and then I'll find the human polution dilution and canonized commentary.


after concluding this is EXACTLY what I would expect God to say, if He were speaking to humanity... had no choice but to join.


and upon declaring, that "valley of search" feeling came over me.

buzz buzz... that dizzy fly is wrong to even think he can be an annoying.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 08, 2011 - 10:51AM #7
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,760

Like some others on this thread, I was born and raised in a Bahá'í family. My mother moved from Iran to Finland as a Bahá'í pioneer during the Shah's time (the King of Iran who reigned before the Islamic revolution in 1978) and married a Finnish son of a Lutheran priest who had himself joined our pagan cult (not the priest, only the poor son). ;) I was raised by a very committed mother who wanted to rear us within the cradle of the Bahá'í principles in a house with very open doors. I was exposed to different cultures and forms of worship, taught to recite Bahá'í prayers by heart and inspired by the evening readings of stories of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the early Bábi/Bahá'í heroes.


Since the independent investigation of truth is a central Bahá'í tenet, I started in my early teens a systematic study of every other alternative I could lay my hands on. I don't actually recall ever doubting my beliefs, but I was open to the possibility of other great explanations on the same questions. For a long while I had wondered about the comfortably unproblematic and commonsensical nature of the Bahá'í Faith, and about how natural all the answers felt. As if it was almost too good to be true. Could it be that all the other explanations would feel the same? And if the Faith indeed stood unique in its explanatory power, what did I do to deserve it? It was given to me unsolicited -- never did I perform any great deed to deserve such a gift, neither had I prayed any great prayer for guidance. Even now I find it all too easy to take the Bahá'í Faith for granted. In my teens I began reading extensively on philosophy (in fact I majored in philosophy), history, religion, political movements, social movements, existentialism, atheism, solipsism, communism, liberalism, natural philosophies, the great faith traditions and studied rather scrupulously most of the great holy books from various traditions, which I of course already considered at least partially inspired since I was Bahá'í.


What struck me, and now I’m being just very honest (I hate when people perform a sales pitch in the name of religion and personal testimony), that none of those alternatives compared with the sober-mindedness, the convincing and satisfactory explanations as well as the wholesome balance I found in the Bahá’í Writings. With almost every alternative viewpoint I always found things that spoke to me, but also other things that put me off, even after critical self-reflection in case the put-offs were just my own ego rebelling against the sobering truth. Whereas nothing in the Bahá'í Faith struck disturbingly off the mark, nothing was extreme. Nothing except the extreme heroism and fearlessness of the early Persian believers and the most extreme concept of a transcendental and unknowable God to which even the most profound characterizations from other faith traditions simply paled in comparison. The Bahá’í narrative of man, God and history simply ringed true and indisputable.


The narrative that God is completely unknowable by the finite perception of man. That man, in his own limited way, may discover in the universe and the revelations of the prophets awe-inspiring signs of his Maker. That by knowing His signs he is inevitably moved to love Him. That love is the motive force of all creation. That God in His love singled out man alone to breathe into him all His signs. That by knowing himself man may come to know God. That man's inherent glory is however hidden and only through divine education, and voluntary effort, can man become increasingly aware of the signs of God that lie within. That only God-sent divine teachers can provide the divine education necessary to bring man's great potential to light. That not only is the individual soul a potential image of God, but that the entire mankind, unified, would make a far more glorious image of God. That this is what true civilization is all about.


That the great religions of the past represent just different chapters in this single book of ever-advancing civilization. That the older the chapter, the more diluted from its original divine thrust it is today with all its man-made add-ons and empty rites. That each chapter, however unknown today in its original form, was absolutely necessary in their own time. That upon them the following chapters could be built just like successive school grades and school teachers build on their predecessors work. That their founders were all divine teachers sent by God and did not come to discount the truth of one another. That any doctrine that does so becomes a cause of division in the world. That the unity of mankind is the corner-stone of God’s teachings today. That God does not breed divisions, so such divisive ideas inherent in great religious traditions must be man-made. That Bahá’u’lláh brought the latest chapter to bring mankind to its next stage – to overcome deeply-ingrained prejudices that divide mankind and are the chief source of conflict, oppression, decadence and poverty in the world. That after Bahá'u'lláh there will be many more divine teachers to come.


Whenever I pick up a Bahá’í prayer book or read Bahá’u’lláh’s words, they speak to me with power, majesty, beauty, depth, strength, love and wisdom. The source of such words can be none other than God for me. If something that speaks to me as much as the most inspiring verses of the Bible and the Qur’án be denied as God’s word, then I would have to deny the divine inspiration of the Qur’án, the Psalms and the Sermon of the Mount as well. The truths of Bahá'u'lláh's words ring in my heart even when I don't want them to; when they challenge my selfish habits and rain blows on my over-bloated ego. Only God's word, I feel, can have such a grip on you.


So these, in brief, are some of the reasons why I have remained a Bahá’í, been confirmed as a Bahá’í, and why in fact, even as we speak, I could not even entertain the thought of anything else.


LilWabbit

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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2 years ago  ::  Apr 04, 2012 - 4:20PM #8
Seefan
Posts: 3,632

Thanks for the invite Lilwabbit ...


I’ve been a Baha’i I think for about 32 years now!  I was raised by my mother and grandmother who were devote Catholics.  My father was a convert to the Catholic faith as the result of his marriage to my mother.  He probably would be classified as a nominal Christian by most standards.  So I guess I was spiritually raised by my mother and grandmother, went to mass every Sunday and catechism every week and went through all of the catholic rituals up to and including a Catholic marriage.  I continued to practice the Catholic faith but in a diminishing degree as the years went by.  During this process I lost whatever faith I had as I began to examine, analyze, and question what I was taught.  It didn’t seem right to have the Catholics as the one and only true faith while all of the others falling short of that goal.  In looking around it seemed that the other religious systems felt basically the same  – that they were the true faith.  I even journeyed into the occult for answers and found it very lacking.  And thus, my ardent search for God.  Sometimes on a small scale, I can relate to Baha’u’llah’s story in 7 valleys of Majnun’s search for Layli.  Not finding God, nor even a glimpse, and not feeling any power in my life that I could consider coming from a Divine source, I started to doubt such existed; or if God did, He certainly wasn’t interested in little ole me.  At this point I considered myself an agnostic who wanted to believe but saw no tangible reason.  Confused I continued through my young life .....


To look back a little, when I was 15 I was introduced to alcoholic and gradually found solace in its affects, eventually leaving me with little desire to continue any God search.  I found other things to occupy my waking hours.  Oh but when alone with only my thoughts!  Leaving the God idea far behind I guess I traded what alcohol did for me as a replacement for God.  By the time I was 30 I had enough and had what would be referred to as hitting bottom.  Not being able to handle my difficulties myself, I ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous looking for a solution.  Within a short time that spiritual spark was rekindled and once again I became interested in spiritual matters.  I returned to the religion of my youth where I met some really nice people, dedicated to their beliefs, but there were still something missing as was felt in earlier times.  It was about this time a friend I’d known for a number of years became a Baha’i.  And I wondered, what’s Baha’i?  Never heard of it!  I must get in touch with him and ask.  The name Baha’i intrigued me.  It sounded so strange but kind of mystical.  I got a hold of my friend and asked a few question which interested me even more.


A very short time after that a close friend from AA approached me and said:  "I hear you’re interested in the Baha’i Faith.  I didn’t know you were even interested in religion!"  He knew my other friend who must have mentioned my interest.  That was the beginning of a great love affair with the Baha’i Faith.  I went to firesides and meetings.  Got to know the local Baha’is and had private conversations with them.  Question, questions and more questions!  And always a satisfactory answer.  I can hear them now probably saying: "We’ve got a live one!"  30+ years ago not too many people approached the Baha'is who were so keen to know.  Most only wanted to tell them they were going to hell ....


When I sat down and analyzed everything I had to admit that there was nothing, absolutely nothing I could disagree with.  And to boot, it also answered all of those lingering questions I had since my earlier search.  I was hooked!  After about a year I decided to become a Baha’i, got an enrolment card, signed it, gave it to the Local Spiritual Assembly.  Told my wife, who was rather cold to the Baha’i Faith up to this point, as she was a stanch Catholic.  She really had misgivings and a lot of fear about this Baha’i stuff!  So!  I asked for my enrolment card back, hoping she would change her mind, plus I’d have to admit, I was a little afraid myself, afraid of committment, afraid I'd be unable to live up to the standards of the Baha'i Writings, and afraid of what the change would bring to our lives.  I waited but my wife didn't change her opinion so I gave the LSA my declaration card once again.  Once more got afraid I might be doing the wrong thing, and asked for it back. 


Finally I saw that it was the fear of change for what it was, an excuse.  I talk to others about this and finally realized that I wouldn’t be content at all, that the Baha’i Writings answered all of my concerns in the positive!  Simply – I had to become a Baha’i.  So!   Yet once again, I gave my card to the LSA.  The Local Spiritual Assembly met with me and ask one major question at the very beginning: "Are you now sure???"


And the rest is history ...


As you can tell there’s a lot of holes in the story but .... 


For what it’s worth – my life in a nutshell ...


PS:


As an amendment - someone asked me if I'm still married and if my wife is a Baha'i?  As a happy ending, I'm still married and both my wife and I are living as Baha'is.  Once I became a Baha'i my wife took a closer look at the Baha'i Faith and saw the value and truth in the Baha'i Revelation.  To date, we have been graced with a very happy life together along with children and grandchildren!  Not to get too sentimental but often when I look over my life it's hard to believe how absolutely fortunite I am ...


 


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 2:57PM #9
world citizen
Posts: 5,217

Hello to all ~


I've been trying to be a Baha'i for 39 years.  I say "trying" because I don't think anyone under the sun other than 'Abdu'l-Baha truly exemplified how a Baha'i should live life.  We all seem to be in a learning curve of some sort, with our individual foibles and occasional old-world baggage that we bring to the table.


I, like others here, was also raised Roman Catholic.  Was married in the first Catholic church built in the U.S. (Olde St Joseph's), both children baptized in the church, went to confession and took communion as the spirit moved me, etc.  I was what is probably called a semi-practicing Catholic but, confident in my Catholic beliefs as to it being THE church of Christ, was never a seeker of a different path to God.  Nor was I searching when the Faith found me - I did NOT find the Faith.


There were certain questions always in the back of my mind since childhood that no priest or nun had ever been able to answer for me.  The replies to questions always seemed to be in the vein of "We (you) just have to have faith..."  I had the faith but I never had the answers until I picked out a book at the library in order to do a paper on any "obscure religion" for an English assignment.  I had chosen Baha'u'llah and the New Era because it was a religion I'd never heard mentioned and it was the only book on the shelf (at the time) about Baha'i, so I figured it must surely be obscure and a good choice for my paper.  By the time I finished the book - and the project - I was almost certain I'd been a Baha'i most of my life because of those very questions that had plagued me.  My biggest hurdle as a Catholic had been the question of all these other religions out there.  It never seemed right to me, even as a child, that so many others should be consigned to hell simply because the family they were born into might follow another religious path.  The book had logically and succinctly answered that question for me.  It was then a matter of finding an actual Baha'i to confirm (or curb) my enthusiasm for this new discovery.


Long story short...  After attending two fireside meetings I declared my belief in Baha'u'llah at the Naw Ruz dinner, having not yet read any of His actual Writings.  Needless to say, I've immersed myself in them ever since and have never waivered in my love for Him or this Faith.

Blessed is he who mingleth with all men in a spirit of utmost kindliness and love. ~Baha'u'llah
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2 years ago  ::  May 19, 2012 - 4:59PM #10
in_my_opinion
Posts: 2,286

In the admittedly small, non-random, sample of this soul's experience; good Catholics make great Bahá'ís. So, do good Shi'ites; but they're much rarer around these parts.

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