I was very happy to see such a sympathetic and thoughtful response from someone who has concerns about what I'm doing. Thank you very much for posting!
I've moved the rest of my response to the thread "Freedom from sectarian hatreds and other shackles
." I want to limit my responses in this thread to the movement itself. It's a movement to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things, besides what's already popular, that I associate with dialogue Magazine and the Talisman lists. I'm dissociating it from the feud over Baha'i administration, which has obscured and defamed the movement. Some of the people in the movement got into feuds with some other Baha'is, including some members of Baha'i institutions. I won't be discussing that in this thread. Anything I say about that will be in some other thread.
The movement includes:
1. Exploring the mystical and devotional dimensions of the Faith.
2. Developing the institution of the Dawning Place and its dependencies.
3. Use of the arts.
4. New ways of thinking about the history, the future, the institutions, the central figures and the writings of the Faith.
Although I haven't been a part of any movements, other than the Baha'i movement, I have already been "exploring the mystical and devotional dimensions of the Faith" and studying, rethinking the history, the future, the implication of the institutions, central figures and writings of the faith (sounds like item 4 above) for nearly 25 years now, or ever since becoming a Baha'i. That being said, how is it that a movement is now needed to free me from the shackles of the Baha'i movement which, of itself has given me the wings to do all this in the first place?
As for developing the mashriqu'l adhkar and its dependencies, how is this to be better accomplished by a movement outside the faith than by the faith itself? The mashriqu'l adhkar is and must be permanently shackled to to the UHJ, since it is only they who have the authority to:
1. authorize the budgeting and contracting of mashriqu'l adhkars and any of its dependencies
2. Are the only authority empowered with the right make rulings and decisions about what's not already ruled upon in the texts
While I can certainly hope and dream (as we all may) about the future when mashriqu'l adhkars reach full fruition and become the mature, socially and spiritually significant institutions which they are ordained to be, I think that only the UHJ has the unique perspective and authority necessary to say when and how such changes will take place, and not some movement that, even though lacking the perspective and authority needed to make such judgments, imagines that the rest of us should heed their counsel and not the counsel of the supreme body, and the duly elected and duly appointed men and women whose authority comes from the authority of the central figures of our Faith and the covenant of Baha'u'llah. The idea that, just because the writings describe a mashriqu'l adhkar of the future which is at present clearly not manifested, and the UHJ has the authority to implement it and doesn't, and that there are members of a movement who think we ought to have it now, only creates an unfortunate illusion that the movement has more insight or perception as to what the proper Baha'i spirit is and should be. Clearly it is easier to be a visionary and make such pronouncements when unburdened by heavy responsibilities such as managing the affairs and budgets and resources of a world faith.
Finally, the comment about the arts is also puzzling to me. How are the Baha'is lacking in art? Have you ever stopped to consider the tremendous talent of Baha'is as faith per capita? Its astonishing how talented the Baha'i community is! Just consider the number of successful and talented artists in the States alone, out of what, some 400,000 Baha'is? Additionally, the Baha'i Core Curriculum, Ruhi, Baha'i Schools, Youth workshops, etc., etc., and probably every plan of the last 20+ years have mentioned repeatedly the importance of the arts....so why is it that we need a movement to unshackle us?
I would counter your suggestion that their needs to be a movement to unshackle and free the Baha'i spirit, with the suggestion that, there needs to be a movement to unshackle and free the "movement" from its own self. There are some very intelligent, talented, and in my opinion, bitter people in the movement, many of whom I respect and care about greatly. I often wish and pray that they will be able to let go of pride and bitterness and rejoin the fold and work for the Baha'i movement; within the Baha'i movement, not from without. Many, many, many Baha'is have their own opinions about what the faith should or shouldn't do. Occasionally they get to experience the excitement of when those in authority agree with and enact such ideas, other times they must endure with patience and tolerance the frustration of wondering if and when anyone will ever "see things their way."
There are countless warnings in the writings about how it is possible to be "right" and at the same time oh so "wrong" in the Faith. There are countless warnings about learning that leads to pride, and the dangers of this to the individual and the community. It is sad, that some truly scholarly and educated individuals, who, while dedicating much of their lives to Baha'i scholarship and study, have, as if unaware of these warnings, seem to have fallen victim to it.
I want to share a story with you that I haven't told many before now. For a brief time, perhaps seven or eight plus years ago, I belonged to a post talisman list because I wanted some of the "benefits" which you have attributed to the movement in other posts, particularly access to certain provisional translations, and scholarly work, that certain members had created or had access to. Many of these members are among the members you have attributed as being members to what you are calling the movement, and there were many other members who you haven't mentioned, and whom I have never heard of. Anyway, after belonging to the list for almost a month, I had to abandon it.
I won't name names (not that I can likely even remember specifically now) but I will tell you, that during those days, the spirit that I experienced and with that group was something that I can only describe as frightening. Now bear in mind that I am a Baha'i, so I don't harbor any fantasies about manifestations of evil spirits, or devil persona, etc, but during those days, when I would get messages and read them, it was as though an almost palpable dark cloud filled the room where I sat. As I'm typing these words, I'm aware how absurd it must appear for a Baha'i to say such things, but that's what it was like for me. While there were sometimes comments on a translation or the like, much of the time there was mostly mocking and ridiculing of particular Baha'is, such as certain NSA members, as well as ridicule of certain community practices at Feast, Sunday Schools, etc. Anyway, most of it was so bitter and mean spirited that after weeks of feeling guilty for even being witness to it, and even having nightmares on occasion, because of how dark and ugly it all felt, I removed myself from the list.
I don't think the time I spent among the members of the movement did much to unshackle my faith any, but I can tell you that it did serve as a case study of the teachings and admonitions by Baha'u'llah relating to back biting, pride, excess of speech, and the power and influence of words.