Notable Individuals

Mark Tobey (1890-1976),

famous artist, dedicated and devout Baha'i, was gay. His life and work were commemorated.. More

Powered by Squarespace

Discussion > Yet another gay Baha'i who left , Cancelling of Pilgrimage , Letter to the World Centre

I was given permission from my friend Dan to post his letter of cancelling his Pilgrimage. Dan formally left the Faith in 2010, but saw it his duty to formally cancel his Pilgrimage, this was his way of letting the World Centre know why he left the Faith. Dan also forwarded this letter to local area Baha'is who were aware of the injustice that we face in our local area regarding the Auxiliary Board Member for Protection and one his Assistants (a former NSA Member of a South American country). This situation I personally was involved with and took my grievances to the Universal House of Justice. This situation involved multiple conversations at Ruhi classes and a Cluster Meeting that I was not privy to, but witnessed by many individuals who decided to remain silent. It's time to break the silence of homophobia in the Baha'i Faith and those who support it.

I think I have finally been able to put into writing what I have been angry about and stewing over for a long time. Perhaps I can finally let it go and maybe God can help it find it's rightful place and help me to keep moving forward...toward Him...
I hope you know that I love you all-you are still parts of me that are my Baha'i past, my Baha'i family-I may be able to leave some things behind but they will always be part of what makes me me-allah'u'abha-hugs-Dan

Subject: Cancelation of my pilgrimage spot
Date: Mon, 2 May 2011 03:12:09 +0000

To whom it may concern-

After being told by our local Auxiliary Board Member for Protection that the Baha'i Faith would grow best in those places that hated gay people and not grow very well in those communities where gay people were shown love and support, and after more than 2 years of digesting what I was told by him, and after over 35 years as a member of the Baha'i Faith-since I was a teenager, knowing that in the writings it says that when religion becomes the source of disunity it is better abandoned-apparently so people will not have God to blame for their bad behavior towards each other and if they do not have God and religion to blame might treat others better, and knowing that anything related to God has nothing to do with hate because God is only love, and being a gay man who was a member of the Baha'i Faith, and coming to the conclusion that the Baha'i Faith, the Faith of God, which I believe to be the only hope for mankind's future, has become just another religion of man-being unable to withstand the damage being done by it's members who are following a pattern mistakenly set by past religion's followers, historically, which needed to assign disdain from God to a group of people viewed different from the followers of religions to make their own relationship with God more important-especially those hiding behind their position as clergy, Baha'i administrators or the new religious clergy, which was abolished by Baha'u'llah but is nevertheless being established due to old religious habits being difficult to erase from our culture, thus behaving just like the clergy of the past dispensations have done; I decided last June, 2010, to preserve my relationship with God by withdrawing, both officially and administratively, from being a member of the Baha'i religion, which I cannot even refer to as the "Faith" anymore. I still feel that I made the correct decision.

I notified the NSA of the USA at that time but neglected to notify the Pilgrimage Office of the Baha'i World Center, where my name is on hold on the waiting list. I was placed on hold a couple of years ago when I mentioned my physical disability, for which I have had a hip(my 5th since high school) and both knees replaced since March 2010 to repair damage done by a genetic joint disease which I have been afflicted with since I was very young. These surgeries, erasing my pain and giving my legs the ability to strengthen again, would have helped me to be able to do the amount of walking necessary to participate in pilgrimage to my fullest ability. I was especially looking forward to climbing the terrace steps, a goal I have had since I was very young.

My name is Dan XXXXXXX, my Baha'i ID# was XXXXXX. My address is XXXXXXXXXXXXX, and was the same at the time of my application for pilgrimage.

Please remove my name from the pilgrimage list to make room for someone who is a Baha'i. Perhaps you were notified by the national Baha'i office at the time I withdrew, if so, please excuse my redundancy. I know I can be wordy but I try not to be too repetitious.

If you feel that my reasons for withdrawing are sufficiently important to pass this letter on to the Universal House of Justice, which after reading their Ridvan letters of the past few years I feel may still has some of the guidance of God, please feel free to do so.

Someone needs to go on record that Baha'is are creating a justification of hatred of gay people by replacing the Baha'i teachings of the oneness of mankind, elimination of all prejudice, the treatment of every human being with utmost loving kindness, and the harmony of science with religion.

At this point, unless changes are made, I recommend that no gay person who has any belief in, or respect for, their true self should be asked to join the religion and that all gay Baha'is should be asked to withdraw if they have any hope of preserving their self image, or respect, or their relationship with God. If the only alternative, in a religion which promotes becoming your true self as a social foundation and is the primary reason I was able to accept myself as a gay man understanding that the Guardian, not Baha'u'llah or Abu'l-Baha made the only statements about homosexuality in the writings which Baha'is are misquoting and attributing to both constantly, for gay people is to become someone who they are not if they become Baha'i, then it is correct that the main tenets of the religion have been, and should be, abandoned if the religion is to be maintained to include only those gay people who want to pretend to be someone else and rightfully should exclude those gay people who understand they were created to be who they are still becoming.

I appreciate your patience in reading this letter , the main purpose was to ask that my name be removed from the pilgrimage list, and perhaps showning it to somone who may be able to at least stop the abuse, by Baha'is, of gay human beings. This is a problem which is worsening in spite of suggestions by the House of Justice.

Sincerely, Dan
May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Here in the Boston area there has been a "Catholics Come Home" campaign. Perhaps the day will come for a "Gay Bahai's Come Home" campaign. Meanwhile, maybe Dan has the right idea.
May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen
I did something like that when I was 17 mate. I phoned the NSA the man on the other side told me to phone back later.
(When I was 13 I ran away from home for about 3 hours. I cycled away got tired then cycled back.)

grow up. get married. and live a good life.

Its very easy being a homosexual and a Bahai. Just DONT TELL THE OTHER BAHAIS. THEY DONT UNDERSTAND.
In the same way you dont tell heterosexual men about what you like and you dont like.

A little bit of common sense goes a long way.
(I wish someone had told me things like this when I was 17. There is a need for a website like this)

May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Boy
"Don't tell other Baha'is. They don't understand" Well, "sweetboy", or whoever you are, there is clearly something that you are not getting. Good luck with your ongoing deceptions. I suspect that you're only fooling yourself.
May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen
Wow, powerful letter. But my personal decision is that, nope I'm not leaving. I'm also not active in the community. I want them to try to kick me out and I will go kicking and screaming. I don't care who they are, including the 9 men on top, NO ONE has the right to tell you what you believe and do not believe. NO ONE! They may be able to take your card away that says you are a part of a dysfunctional community that calls itself Bahai, but they can not take away what you believe in your heart. Period!
May 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeyam

My sentiments exactly! They have to throw me out. I only want the best for the Faith, to embrace All of Humanity. I do respect Dan's decision however, sadly Dan is another unique individual who left, thus leaving the American Baha'i Community more conservative, close-minded, arrogant, and self-absorbed in all things "Baha'i" and nothing else. I remember the days when people like Dan made up the majority of the American Baha'i Community, forward thinking, esoteric in nature, well-read in all Faith traditions, Humanists, Activists, Ecologists, and Feminists. God forbid we use the word "liberal" and Baha'i in the same breath!, but these former / inactive Baha'is were never liberal in the idiotic radical way , they used their brain, balanced it with the Writings, and really created a warm thought-provoking faith community.
May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
Just to clarify about my initial post , when mentioning the ABM Assistant being a former NSA member of a South American country , I do not mean to suggest his ethnic background has anything to do with his personal character, he was infact an American Pioneer to that country and found his way on their NSA.
May 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean
It is none of my business, nor anyone else's, if you are gay or bi or transgender or lesbian. It is between YOU and God only. It is not anyone's business to post whether a famous (or private person) is LGBT either. It is between that person and God. I do not care about your sexual orientation. I care about who you are, not what you are. We all have tests.

We all do our best to lead a chaste and holy life. Isn't that one of the goals of spiritual transformation for all of us? I have known and presently know many LGBT Baha'is but they do their best to live the life--one of charity, spiritual growth and transformation, devotion to the betterment of humanity, and if they want people to know their sexual orientation, they will share it with those they trust. Do you know what my sexual orientation is? It is none of your business.
December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarlie
Ummm... Carlie... that is nice... for you.. .what about those of us who were living quiet, productive lives and the AO came after us without cause or warning... removing rights, demanding that I leave my husband to remain in the faith? What refuge does this so called "Faith"l eave for those who are victims of the Inquisition? Where is the compassion? Where is the love?

What we are saying here is that the law is meted out unevenly - if you are Persian, or a Bahaí from a prominent family they look the other way... if you have no connections, and ask questions, or are visible in your job or greater community... they will come after you.

This is the problem, this is source of our discussion here. The Bahaí Faith is a sad, sad state of affairs... especially when so many other religious communities welcome LGBT with open arms.

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDCO
Good for you. Go thank being gay for opening your eyes to this religion of hypocrisy
April 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy
Hello Dan and all,

I am truly sorry for your experiences with the Faith, and that you no longer are able to call it the "Faith". I remember reading somewhere that the hardest part of any religion is not the writings, but the people of that religion. We are human, we are not perfect. While I do not know all the details, and cannot imagine the hardships of being gay in any religion, I do know what it is like to feel like you are on the outside of the Faith. As a former alcoholic and drug addict, there was always a part of my life that I couldn't be open to share with my other Baha'is. However, much of that was my own fear; part of that was the judgement that is innate in humanity. Something that religion is supposed to help us overcome. Fortunately, I am now comfortable and able to talk about this with my community. This openness and willingness to hear one another's point of view is vital for the conciliation of the world's peoples. For that reason, it saddens me to know that you have left the Faith; as we truly need more people with your experiences to come forward and to discuss these issues within our communities. I for one would be more than willing to listen. Alláh-u-Abhá
February 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCima
If I am not wrong I think Bahai don't practise Confession. If it is true, then why should anybody confess to what he is if it would bring unnecessary comments or prejudices unless you are willing to face them. I think the Bahais don't have clergy or priests so nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do except the institutions like the Universal House Of Justice. So why bother with the comments from any body or fellow Bahais. I know of a very popular and active Bahais who had been pioneering and travel teaching in Africa, Japan , Asia and USA, he confessed to be that He was a gay. He passed away as an active Bahai .
November 29, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfcleong
In my mind the author of the letter at the start of this discussion was not "confessing" but rather stating his truth and claiming his reality. There is no sweeter feeling on this earth than to know and love yourself exactly as you are, and to be unashamed of every part of your being - including your sexuality. Living in fear of discovery and hiding this essential aspect of life is such a burden. Trust me -- I know from experience! Being gay is not a sin, nor is it a result (or cause) of spiritual illness. To step into the light of truth is an act of reunion with God and self.
November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDLW
It's true that Baha'is don't believe in confession of sins in order to achieve salvation which is only something God can provide. The reason for this is because we do not believe that God wishes his creation to abase themselves before each other thinking that they can provide spiritual cleansing. No individual can do justice.

However, we do believe that institutions can provide justice. And the institutions of the Faith are crated by the writing of Baha'u'llah to do just that. To provide order and guidance in this world. However, the Administrative Order as a rule does not get involved in the private lives of Baha'is unless there is a blatant or flagrant breach of Baha'i law that could threaten the reputation of the Faith. This policy was established by the Guardian himself. The spirit and purpose of the Administrative Order is for the unity of the faith not for the persecution of its followers,
November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSC
You ask: why should anybody confess to what he is ? Gay people do not confess to being gay. They ARE gay. Does a black person confess to being black? Do you confess to being a Baha'i? Or should you hide that, because 'it is nobody's business. Or is it that you simply ARE a Baha'i. The Iranian government detests Baha'is. So in Iran would you confess that you are a Baha'i? Or would you hide that because it's nobody's business. And just go about your business and let them keep arresting and killing Baha'is. Or maybe arrest you if they figure out you ARE a Baha'i because of your daily activity. You cannot HIDE what you are. Nor should you have to. And when you are persecuted for who you are, that is an injustice. Injustice is intolerable always. It is easy for people who are not the target of injustice to say -- 'just hide what you are, or face the consequences.' But when YOU become the target of injustice, I think you will see things differently.
November 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergg
The condition of being sexually attracted to some object other than a mature member of the opposite sex, a condition of which homosexuality is but one manifestation, is regarded by the Faith as a distortion of true human nature, as a problem to be overcome, no matter what specific physical or psychological condition may be the immediate cause. Any Bahá'í who suffers from such a disability should be treated with understanding, and should be helped to control and overcome it. All of us suffer from imperfections which we must struggle to overcome, and we all need one another's understanding and patience. (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, Sept. 11, 1995; published in "The American Bahá'í", Qawl 152 BE/Nov. 23, 1995, p 11.)
January 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfrom the UHJ
Dear Dan,

I am sorry you have had a bad experience with some Baha'is. Just remember that no individual in the faith had the authority to tell you what to do or judge your actions. ONLY LSA, UHJ while they are in a session and guided by the Holy spirit, can make any administrative decisions, not the individual members!
Baha'u'llah gave us guidance to only have sex with people who our soul is united with through marriage, to protect us. This union makes it easier for both parties to grow spiritually with each other's support. There are no mention of excluding gays while we love and unite all of humanity. We are supposed to love all unconditionally.
We should not allow the opinions of misguided individuals to take away our beliefs and faith. The Baha'i faith belongs to all of us! Sending you love and light. Firoozeh
July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFiroozeh
INCLUSIVENESS takes on many forms within the culture of communities. Unfortunately, many letters from the Universal House of Justice, are read at Feast and then filed away. Building an Inclusive Community is not an easy task; not everyone is on the same page at the same time. It is up to the brave to continue to address inclusiveness at each Feast. All people are given the message of Baha'u'llah. The meaning of inclusiveness needs to be consulted on from a Baha'i perspective, as well as, recognizing science and growing acceptance within the world society.
To focus on one aspect of a person-hood [sexuality] is to negate the entire transformation of a person's soul by Revelation. Please let us work at including everyone at the table of consultation and build Communities where all can experience the healing message of this World Embracing Faith.
July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSueB
Thanks for the kind words for Dan, I will make sure to make him aware of them. Dan still believes in Baha'u'llah , but is disgusted by religion. I believe Dan wanted an apology from the individuals involved in the situation that caused him to leave the Faith, I know I sure did seeing that I was at the center of it all. I was always taught that wrongs would be made right in this Faith , I don't believe that anymore. People with positions of power and influence can make bad decisions , slander individuals , and rally a Cluster around them, without obvious consequences (the spiritual ones are up to God).
July 27, 2014 | Registered Commentermoderator
I have been a Bahai since 1962. I have never seen anything but love for all of humanity in the workings of the Bahai Faith. I once called and asked if Gay people would be welcomed at functions in a city 50 miles from me. The answer was of course! I said will the Bahai's be reactive in anyway and the answer was no.
We have many people that are gay in the faith that are active and thriving! I wish Dan the best in life no matter what path he chooses.
August 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJudy
Judy, I trust that you are reporting your perceptions honestly. My question is, have you read the stories of gay Baha'is and their supporters that are on this website? Obviously they have had different experiences. So perhaps there are a few flies in the rose-scented ointment of the Baha'i Faith, eh? As Baha'is, we know that the more we understand the points of view of those other than ourselves, the closer we come to the truth of any question. This is the basis of consultation. Glossing over difficulties in the Faith does no one any good. Please listen to what others have to say, and trust that they are being just as honest as yourself. Then think about what you have learned might mean, for yourself, for gay Baha'is, for the Faith.
August 27, 2014 | Registered Commentermoderator
Sean here,

Often times what Baha'is say, and what they do are two different things. I have heard PC comments made about gay people by Baha'is , yet their actions are totally different. Judy I hope that Baha'i community was honest about welcoming gay people at functions , but would they welcome a gay couple to enroll, or will they welcome an openly gay Baha'i who is in a relationship?
September 4, 2014 | Registered Commentermoderator
What did you say" homophobia"...really? There are no gay people or concept I am afraid of, but I simply do not wish to associate with them. And no government or group is going to force me.
February 9, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpaul
Shame on you Paul... why then are you reading this blog. I pray that at sometime the grace and love for all the that the Blessed Beauty bestowed on ALL OF US... reaches your frozen heart and bestows compassion.
February 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDCO
As a Baha'i of 23 years, inactive for roughly half of that time, I'll say that my greatest spiritual growth came after I disconnected from the Baha'i community. I deeply struggled with the gay debate for a long time, and while I understand the UHJ's position, the implementation and enforcement of it has proven to create so much disunity that I felt it best to simply step away. After stepping away, it became extremely easy, because my own honest position is that I really don't care what gender anyone else is sexually attracted to, regardless of whatever "nature" they are "distorting". Hell, we're all distorting nature with every barrel of oil we consume. Stepping away from the community allowed me to hone in my spiritual practice and focus on my own development, rather than being caught up in what the next person was doing. And I remembered once again that the thing that drew me to this initially very progressive religion in the first place was its emphasis on the individual's search for truth.

I don't recommend this move to anyone. I'm simply sharing in order to emphasize that perhaps if we all pay a little bit closer attention to our own personal growth and development, we may all be a bit more graceful with other people....straight, homosexual, homophobic, or it or not, this soup is made for all of us!
March 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBM