Must I Belong to the AO in order to be a Baha'i?

All research or scholarship questions
Darrick Evenson

Must I Belong to the AO in order to be a Baha'i?

Postby Darrick Evenson » Thu Mar 16, 2006 7:15 pm

Must I be "enrolled" in order to be a Baha'i?
Must I belong to a local Baha'i Community in order to be a Baha'i?

Can I be a Baha'i without being a member of the AO?


Postby Guest » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:00 pm

To convert to the Bahá'í Faith is a very special experience. If you firmly believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the Prophet of God to this Era, convert yourself to the Bahá'í Faith. You need to enroll in order to get your membership, which is the natural consequence of the enrolment, this allows you to get all your administrative rights and privileges in the Bahá’í Community.

Other bahá’ís correct me if I am wrong.

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Postby shm » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:04 pm

What is AO??
I believe u are a Bahai once u believe in Bahaullah as the messenger of God for this age and believe that His law and ordinances is what we are suppose to be following for this day?

To sign a Bahai card and to fill out the form, these are just so that the National Centres offices can keep track of how many Bahais there are, and so that they can send u any messages from the UHJ or stuff like that. Filling out the form is not what makes u a Bahai, believing in Bahaullah is what makes u a Bahai.


Postby Guest » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:23 pm

"AO" means "Administrative Order"--i.e. the hierarchy of LSA's, NSA's, and UHJ, together with people like Continental Counselors etc.

There exists a difference of opinion on the question you raise. All of the institutions above would insist that a Baha'i must, by definition, recognize and be subject to the AO. They argue that one cannot consistently recognize Baha'u'llah, but not his authorized successors. (The manner in which these were "authorized" is a point of some dispute.) They routinely expel, or otherwise punish, Baha'is who disagree with the necessity of accepting or obeying the AO.

A small (several hundred?) number of people consider themselves to be Baha'is, but either refuse to recognize the AO, or continue to believe in Baha'u'llah after having been expelled. These are called "unenrolled Baha'is". The yahoogroups discussion list by that name is a good place to contact them.

This phenomenon is distinct from "Covenant Breaker" groups, which is a pejorative term for Baha'i groups which recognize a different AO than the one headquartered in Haifa. These number several thousand altogether.

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To the questioner

Postby majnun » Sat Mar 18, 2006 6:13 am

I suggest the questioner to read the
Baha'u'llah writings first, then he will
know if he is, or not. May all his questionings
be answered.


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Re: Must I Belong to the AO in order to be a Baha'i?

Postby Keyvan » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:20 am

Darrick Evenson wrote:Must I be "enrolled" in order to be a Baha'i?
Must I belong to a local Baha'i Community in order to be a Baha'i?

Can I be a Baha'i without being a member of the AO?

of course. its a New World Order. the NWO what will emerge through the AO. you have to be accounted for at least at SOME LEVEL within the faith.

and yeah yeah it goes against traditional attitudes about how religion is a state of mind and not a subscription thing, but the Bahai faith is different from Dispensations of the past in that it is the effect of creating this order. so yeah it has to be done in a beaurocratic fashion, and yeah yeah tiny cards are part of that. so you sign a card, adhere to the administration established by the Infallible Prophet, and in exchange you get a global utopia of peace and justice oh boo hoo.

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Postby Keyvan » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:33 am

Ere long will God sail His Ark upon thee, and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names.'

(Baha'u'llah, The Tablet of Carmel)

The construction of the mausoleum of the Báb, synchronizing with the birth of that state, and the progress of which has been accompanied by these successive manifestations of the good will and support of the civil authorities will, if steadily maintained, greatly reinforce, and lend a tremendous impetus to this process of recognition which constitutes an historic landmark in the evolution of the World Center of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh -- a process which the newly formed Council, now established at its very heart, is designed to foster, which will gather momentum, with the emergence in the course of time of a properly recognized and independently functioning Bahá'í court, which will attain its consummation in the institution of the Universal House of Justice and the emergence of the auxiliary administrative agencies, revolving around this highest legislative body, and which will reveal the plenitude of its potentialities with the sailing of the Divine Ark as promised in the Tablet of Carmel.

(Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 94)

Theres your answer! :lol:

the Administration and those Baha'u'llah identifies as Baha'i's are intertied.


Re: To the questioner

Postby Guest » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:14 am

Most ask questions because they don't know much about the faith. People come into the Baha'i room on paltalk all the time just to see what its all about. Not sure they have to read all the writings to be able to ask questions.
This forum would not be needed if that were the case.


my magnetic head

Postby Guest » Tue Mar 28, 2006 7:46 am

Dear guest,
to be curious is not a crime, and you have
the right to be curious about everything.

Most person who take a peak onto other domains,
especially religion, wish to know what is either similar,
or different from their own religion, or if they have none, from their
personal point of view.

I was thinking just about that today, because i frequently have
discussion with christians and muslims. The feeling that re-occurs
with both groups is that I, as a person, receive the same message,
or it is similar to this:

if you do not beleive what I beleive in, then, hmm, you
are not in the good track.
Note that they do not do this to be
cruel or rude to incoming searchers, it seems that it is the way they
conceive their path in this life. My impression is that the same
disk plays and replays inside their consciences, almost in an automatic
fashion. In other word if I dont agree with them, then some tactics
of making me feel wrong and guilty may be used to influence my decision. Bahais do not use these ways.

Another thing is that they often cite verses from their scriptures, to make others catch a point. This is one difference, rarely did I heard a bahai cite a verse to be inserted it in an argument.

One thing about the bahai new way of thinking is that these written lessons (by the Messenger) show us how to pull away our magnetic head from the tapes rolling inside, away from the programs that used to control our lives. Like taking the needle off the record.

So when you asked a bahai to cite a verse that would make you some
good, most of the time, he will not remember, because his mind thinks
differently, I mean, the bahai try to catch and understand what the messenger wishes him to go trough, and ounce it is in action, we forget all the lines of text, not every line, but most of them. This is not because of Alzeimer, its because it is a part of this philosophy not to attach our minds lines text to be repeated in a parrot manner, but to understand what is mean to be grasped, and let the principle live in us, rather that be a simple intellectualisation exercise.

I dont say it is the ultimate goal, but it is an one effect i like.
In a way, it is a new way of thinking. The search for any
personal growth, or a better well-being, is always done individually,
by the person who decides to try this new method. You may discover
things than i did not understand still, after almost 3 years, who knows.

I could go on and make a rose garden view with the many niceties Iappreciate from this inner voyage, but the findings that hit us, as a person directly, have alway more weight than what anyone can tell us about it.

The only counsel I would dare to give is, dont start by the end, the end of what he wrote (the wolf), but rather take a look at the beginning, the valleys and follow the chronological order, step by step. Any questions we have about the differences, or comparisons with other religions, wll be answerd, but not by words of others. Our inside eyes will catch the answers.

What pushed me, a catholic unbeileiver toward the Quran, and then toward the Bayan, then onto the bahai scriptures ?
Curiosity. I was searching for answers, but I did not know
what and why I was searching for. Before i started I had in mind:
well if you dont like it, you can always go back to the Quran you liked
so much. So at first it was difficult to understand, but day after day the principles began to make some inner sparks. A few months later, I found bahai center in my town, so I went on a sunday to buy the books i needed, on top of what is availuable now on the Internet.

I hope this post is not too much out-focused.
If you have questions, go ahead, we listen sometimes.



Postby Guest » Tue Mar 28, 2006 10:02 pm

Well, Kevan, some people doubt the Shoghster's interpretation. And other people doubt that the group of people who declared themselves to be the UHJ in 1963, is the same body that Shoghi meant.

Look, the guy either didn't leave a will, or left one and had it stolen. Obviously none of these people knew the future. Oh sure, you can assume that God planned all these slapdash succession crises, but then you could just as easily conclude that some CB group is right, or that all of them are deluding themselves into thinking that God supports them.

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Postby Keyvan » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:35 pm

hmm you sound like a glaysherite. hows mister cole's attempts to discredit the Covenant coming along? still getting foiled by more accurate translations? akh too bad. just keep hoping you guys will find justification someday ;)

anyway. to dignify your child like attempt at a post by responding to it, i will explain to you that Shoghi Effendi in His Divine Guidence left in his LAST MESSAGE THE BAHAI WORLD, instructions for the Custodians (the 9 member inward-elected Hands of the Cause body that was ordained by Abdu'l Baha in His Will and Testament) to carry out their work for the years to come and the "CHIEF STEWARDS of Baha'u'llah's embryonic commonwealth" did just that.

I call upon each and every Hand of the Cause of God, previously or now appointed, upon the entire body of the believers participating in this Crusade, and, in particular, upon their elected representatives, the members of the various Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies in both the East and the West, and, even more emphatically, upon those privileged to convene and organize these history-making Conferences, to bestir themselves, and, according to their rank, capacity, function and resources, befittingly prepare themselves, during the short interval separating them from the opening of the first of these five Conferences, to meet the challenge, and seize the opportunities, of this auspicious hour, and insure, through a dazzling display of the qualities which must distinguish a worthy stewardship of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh, the total and resounding success of these Conferences, dedicated to the glorification of His Name, and expressly convened for the purpose of accelerating the march of the institutions of His world-redeeming Order, and of hastening the establishment of His Kingdom in the hearts of men.

-- Shoghi

[October, 1957]
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha'i World - 1950-1957, p. 130)

in that same message he called all of these groups stewards and the Hands of the Cause of God the CHIEF STEWARDS

the CHIEF is important

furthermore, do you know what a "CHIEF STEWARD" actually is?

its a naval term. the chief steward is the one who if something should suddenly happen to the CAPTAIN, then the chief steward is in the authority to bring the ship safely to harbor

For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.
The Glory of Glories rest upon you!

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 25)


Postby Guest » Thu Mar 30, 2006 6:44 am

And Remey had a similar, about equally plausible interpretation based on his own parsing of the language. (No, I'm not any kind of Baha'i, whether CB or not. ) If heresy / orthodoxy depends on sorting out minutae of this nature, then God really is perverse, isn't he?

I have no idea what you are referring to when you say that Prof. Cole's view on something or other has been disproven by some new translation. I suspect it won't turn out to be so simple as that.

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Postby Keyvan » Thu Mar 30, 2006 3:24 pm

marangella (who was the person who decided all this and coaxed remey into action, the Seyyid Muhammad to his Mirza Yahya) and his "interperetation" was full of loop holes that didnt pan out, and flat out contradictions of the sacred text, has been disproven time and time again in an abundand array of comprehensive SOUND scholarly publications . Abdu'l Baha specifically warned of that in His Will and Testament, and history played out quite exactly. its passe

and i am referring to the bogus info you are receiving is from these sources

oh and also...

A winter of unprecedented severity will soon be upon you. Its storm-clouds are fast gathering on the horizon. Tempestuous winds will assail you from every side. The Light of the Covenant will be obscured through my departure. These mighty blasts, this wintry desolation, shall however pass away. The dormant seed will burst into fresh activity. It shall put forth its buds, shall reveal, in mighty institutions, its leaves and blossoms. The vernal showers which the tender mercies of my heavenly Father will cause to descend upon you will enable this tender plant to spread out its branches to regions far beyond the confines of your native land. And finally the steadily mounting sun of His Revelation, shining in its meridian splendor, will enable this mighty Tree of His Faith to yield, in the fullness of time and on your soil, its golden fruit.

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 86)

Peter Terry

can I be a Baha'i without...

Postby Peter Terry » Fri Mar 31, 2006 2:03 pm

Dear Darrick,

You are asking for a definition. You can call yourself a Baha'i in whatever country permits you to exercise freedom of speech. You can write about the Baha'i Faith in whatever country permits you to exercise freedom of the press. You can practice Baha'i laws and Baha'i teachings wherever they are legal, or even where they are illegal but then you may have to pay the consequences for breaking the law.

If you want to be part of the Baha'i community you must adhere to certain prerequisites, to the best of your ability, and those were set forth by the Guardian and have been further refined by the Universal House of Justice and administered by the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies. In the future there may well be many more people who regard themselves as Baha'is than there are enrolled members of the Baha'i community. That is the case with every other religion, so why wouldn't it be the same for the Baha'i Faith?



Postby Guest » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:58 pm

Simple answer: no.

The Baha'i Faith and Baha'is existed long before the AO. MishkinQalam never had a Baha'i ID card afaik.

Do yourself and everyone a service and just be a Baha'i. Or a Christian. Or Jew, or Muslim. Or whatever.

The world needs more enlightened, spiritual beings. Not bureacratic, card carriers and paper shufflers.

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Postby Keyvan » Sun Apr 09, 2006 1:07 am

Anonymous wrote:Simple answer: no.

The Baha'i Faith and Baha'is existed long before the AO. MishkinQalam never had a Baha'i ID card afaik.

Do yourself and everyone a service and just be a Baha'i. Or a Christian. Or Jew, or Muslim. Or whatever.

The world needs more enlightened, spiritual beings. Not bureacratic, card carriers and paper shufflers.

wrong. there has always been an Administrative Order. from Baha'u'llah to Abdu'l Baha to Shoghi Effendi and His Custodians, to the Universal House of Justice

thats the whole point of His Covenant

no the Apostles did not have ID cards, but things change over time GIVEN THE ORDAINANCE OF THE DIVINELY INSPIRED INSTITUTION

it was not a neccessity then. but guess what? Divine Authority says it IS a neccessity now.

the only people who would say otherwise are the simple minds who know the Baha'i Faith as a philosophy or in name sake, and have not looked at this issue below surface level.

still think otherwise?

To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

The Glory of Glories rest upon you!

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 25)


Postby Guest » Sun Apr 09, 2006 10:47 pm

Keyvan, you are conflating the AO with the Center of the Covenant. The other things you have said are also laughably wrong.

"His Custodians"? You mean the self appointed group of Baha'is who, without any scriptural authority, took over the Baha'i administration?

Or do you mean the UHJ which operates, mutilated, without a living Guardian as its permanent member and Head?

You might want to actually crack open the W+T of Abdu'l-Baha.

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Postby Keyvan » Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:26 pm

correction, YOU might want to investigate the Will and Testament.
no guy, im refering to Body which was ORDAINED by ABDU'l BAHA HIMSELF in the Will and Testament

The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the Guardian of the Cause of God.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 12)

and how can you possibly accept Abdu'l Baha without accepting Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.

The Will of the divine Testator is this: It is incumbent upon the Aghsan, the Afnan and My Kindred to turn, one and all, their faces towards the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: 'When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.' The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch [Abdu'l-Bahá]. Thus have We graciously revealed unto you Our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful. Verily God hath ordained the station of the Greater Branch [Muhammad Ali] to be beneath that of the Most Great Branch [Abdu'l-Bahá]. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Wise. We have chosen 'the Greater' after 'the Most Great', as decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 221)

Say: O people, praise ye God, for its Manifestation, for verily it is the most great favor upon you and the most perfect blessing upon you; and through Him every moldering bone is quickened. Whosoever turns to Him hath surely turned unto God, and whosoever turneth away from Him hath turned away from My beauty, denied My proof and is of those who transgress. Verily, He is the remembrance of God amongst you and His trust within you, and His manifestation unto you and His appearance among the servants who are nigh. Thus have I been commanded to convey to you the message of God, your Creator; and I have delivered to you that of which I was commanded. Whereupon, thereunto testifieth God, then His angels, then His messengers, and then His holy servants.

(Baha'u'llah, The Tablet of the Branch - from BWF)

O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsan (Branches), the Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abha Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi -- the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, -- as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 11)

The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days after the ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh) be repeated when the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, will he seize upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the gathering of the people of Baha. My object is to show that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha and in no wise accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of men!

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 11)

Read the SECOND part of the Will and Testament, written years later when Abdu'l Baha was jailed in an Ottoman Prison and was nearly killed.

O dearly beloved friends! I am now in very great danger and the hope of even an hour's life is lost to me. I am thus constrained to write these lines for the protection of the Cause of God, the preservation of His Law, the safeguarding of His Word and the safety of His Teachings.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 18)

this part was ALLL about how the process of Universal House of Justice is to be elected and established.
not a single WORD was written about a Guardian.

oh and guess what! this was sent to Haji Mirza Taqi Afnan in Ishqabad, along with a Tablet addressed to him, instructing him that should He, Abdu'l Baha, be killed in prison, that he go to Haifa and fulfill the Cause of God.
If Shoghi Effendi was to be Guardian then, it would have been sent to him. but nope, no responsibility, no mention in this Will, and no instruction to His transition. this was left to Divine Guidence of the UHJ.

and WITHIN this part, referring to the 9 member elected Universal House of Justice

Abdu'l Baha remains consistant that

That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice, and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. By this House is meant that Universal House of Justice which is to be elected from all countries, that is from those parts in the East and West where the loved ones are to be found, after the manner of the customary elections in Western countries such as those of England.

(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 19)

Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Will and Testament, p. 19)

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Postby Jonah » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:56 am

Time to continue this in a new thread. Thanks, -Jonah

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