From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:17:27 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:26:02 From: "Stockman, Robert"
To: email@example.com Subject: Re: How Many Baha'i Principles Are There? (1) In this post, I wish to draw a distinction between Baha'i principles and Baha'i teachings. The two are usually classed together, and thought of as synonymous. Chris, I wonder whether the distinction between a teaching and a principle really is necessary. Shouldn't one argue, for example, that even if obligatory prayer isn't listed as a "Baha'i principle" in `Abdu'l-Baha's talks, that it is indeed a principle? On the other hand, maybe there is a distinction to be maintained between a principle and a law. But I'm not even sure of that. -- Rob Stockman From c@ Wed Sep 13 22:18:21 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 09:08:35 TZ From: "CER" To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: RE: The gender of hermaphrodites I am not altogether clear on certain points being raised in the current discussions as they relate to gender. Are the often quoted passages on Universal House of Justice membership translated as referring to biological sex which I define at the cellular level or to gender which I define as a social construct? I have been assuming that they apply to biological sex (specifically to the sex of a child at birth) and that an individual who has undergone sexual reassignment surgery would be a special case and thus require the highest level of legislation and consultation. The likelihood of such an occurrence is probably extremely small in the foreseeable future. Also, transvestites, as I understand the syndrome, are part of a much broader grouping of persons who are known as gender-dysphoric. That grouping includes: transsexuals who are profoundly convinced that their gender identity does not match their biological characteristics and their syndrome is independent of their sexual preferences--they are persons who typically seek surgical remedies; transvestites, cross-dressers, fetishists, etc. who seek physical satisfaction from their practices (note: this sub-grouping is totally irrelevant to our discussion); and transgendered persons who are unable to take surgical steps to alter their appearance and characteristics but choose to live the appearance and perceived lifestyle of their opposite biological sex. I'm mentioning this topic because it's of immediate personal importance to me. My closest friend who is also a professional colleague at work, has begun a long and difficult path of gender reassignment. It's a serious topic and a particularly difficult one for him as he is the single, custodial parent of two young children. I've shared with him a number of excerpts from this discussion as well as discussions of gender from the Intuition Network Baha'i subgroup. This has been because I'm teaching him about the Baha'i Faith, of course. It's a way to relate his deepest personal and spiritual concerns to the Baha'i Faith. However, it also seems to me that our Faith is the only one that discusses gender and possible future directions of the (Western) gender constructs with intelligence and depth. My friend (whose identity and confidentiality I need to respect) has in turn shared the excerpts with his therapist. She, in turn, has shared them with other psychotherapists. I've intentionally not included discussions of the membership of the Universal House of Justice in what I've shared because my friend doesn't have enough knowledge of the Faith or the Administrative Order to be aware of it. I'm more interested in a spiritual and intellectual approach in this case. Finally, my point isn't to speculate on what person requires which parts or chromosome pairs to qualify for membership on the House but merely to reinforce that gender is an extraordinarily complicated and profound topic. I honestly don't think that discussion of gender-dysphoric persons in regard to the topic of House membership is relevant, useful or solvable in our time. However, in my opinion, the spiritually-based discussion of gender constructs, gender futures, and gender definitions is very enlightening and fascinating. Just a few thoughts, C ---------- | From: "Frank Lewis" | To: | Subject: The gender of hermaphrodites | Date: Wednesday, 13 September, 1995 00:24PM | | For those who may doubt that gender is a construct, I would recommend | the book *Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach* by Suzanne J. Kessler and | Wendy McKenna (Univ of Chicago Press, 1978). The book made me quite angry | while I read it, but I left it with the understanding that there is not | necessarily a direct correspondence between one's biological sex and one's | *gender,* the latter being in large part a cultural construct. There are | cases (transvestites) in which one's gender is not acculturated or | socialized in accordance with one's biology and, indeed, there are cases in | which people are born with both female and male sex organs, or have | abnormal concentrations of the opposite sex hormone. In such cases, a | determination is often made early on to medically and surgically | differentiate the sex of the child as either male or female and to construct | a gender identity that corresponds with that sex. | So, let me pose a hypothetical question. Should a hermaphrodite, a | person who possessed both male and female genitalia, be eligible to serve on | the UHJ? Are the categories of [men] and [women], for the purpose of | determining eligibility for the UHJ, defined on the basis of biology or on | the basis of gender (meaning something that has a biological basis but is | also a social construct)? If the latter, will human beings evolve to the | point where the social construct [woman] no longer corresponds to the | concept of [woman] as reflected in the writings of AB and Baha? In other | words, are gender categories essential and permanent or primarily cultural | and in flux? | yours, Frank Lewis | From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:18:58 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:54:10 From: "Stockman, Robert" To: email@example.com Subject: Quddus What fascinates me about Ahang's postings about Quddus is that I had heard about the "station-inflation" that characterized Babism; that is, more and more Letters of the Living were claiming higher and high status, right up to the status of mazhariyyat (Manifestationhood). Now, much to my surprise, I find some of the "station-inflation" apparently endorsed by the Baha'i writings, and therefore made a part of Baha'i belief. This comes as a bit of a shock. So we now have Manifestations that start religions and Manifestations who are in the shadows of others and do not start their own religions. Extending this trend backward in time a bit, we are told that Muhammad is the seal of the prophets (nabi) and somewhere apparently He is even called the "seal of the messengers" (rasul). Thus Baha'is find that neither the Bab nor Baha'u'llah can be adequately described by the terms nabi and rasul anymore; we have to use mazhar (Manifestation) or zohur (theophany) instead. Of course, the Muslims were not altogether satisfied with calling Muhammad a nabi and stressed the term rasul instead, perhaps partly because it wasn't biblical (correct me, someone, if I am wrong). The Bible used nabi for Old Testament figures, Moses and Abraham included, because there was no distinction yet made in the language then as to the station of lesser and greater Prophets. So the question I have is: what will we call the next One? Will even mazhar and zuhur become obsolete because they become applied to too many people? Will we have to start calling the next One "God" and replace the word "God" with "Essence" when we want to refer to the sender of the One? I don't know. Maybe this sounds silly. But I wonder. This also reminds me of the titles of Iranian clerics. In the 19th century "mujtahid" was a big title, but so many people used it it lost its meaning and was replaced by 'ayatullah." Now a lot of people call themselves "ayatollah." This is what I understand happened. What next? -- Rob Stockman From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:19:51 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:40:30 From: "Stockman, Robert" To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Can Our Faith Change? <> I think there is a distinction to be maintained between changes in policy and changes in principle. Shoghi Effendi has said we must be careful to maintain our principles absolutely but must be flexible on other details. Thus, for example, the teporary policy of discouraging social and economic deveopment projects ended in the early 1980s. But when in the 1930s the Muslim authorities order the Tarbiyat School to remain open on Baha'i holy days Shoghi Effendi said that was unacceptable; and the Tarbiyat school has been closed ever since. With one stroke of a pen the Iranian government wiped out an entire private educational system, one that by the late 1970s might have rivaled the U.S. Catholic system in size and sophistication, all because of nine holy days per year. That is adherence to principle. It's a bit shocking in that particular case, but it shows you what we must do. The Baha'i writings themselves say women are equal to men "except in one or two negligible cases." The House of Justice's all-male constitution is a "negligible" example? Sounds strange, but apparently that is the Baha'i position. How can anyone change the Baha'i writings? And based on whose logic? The Baha'i revelation, I would maintain, can not be construed as some simplistically logical and consistent framework. It is complicated, it has exceptions, and it is occasionally untidy, as any framework that deals with human beings has to be. (Yet it is still more logical than the systems of the other traditions; that is why I feel comfortable, in a different language game, referring tothr Faith as "logical.") And if one starts to change the Baha'i teachings based on outside criteria, how are we different from wishy-washy liberal Protestant denominations who want to offend no one and in consequence tend to stand for as few offensive moral positions as possible? -- Rob Stockman From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:20:05 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 13:17:02 EDT From: email@example.com To: TALISMAN@indiana.edu Subject: Re: The gender of hermaphrodites Ohio University Electronic Communication Date: 13-Sep-1995 01:16pm EST To: Remote Addressee ( _MX%"firstname.lastname@example.org" ) From: Sholeh Quinn Dept: History QUINN Tel No: Subject: Re: The gender of hermaphrodites For those interested in this topic in the Islamic context, there is a relevant article: Paula Sanders, "Gendering the Ungendered Body: Hermaphrodites in Medieval Islamic Law," in *Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender,* ed. Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron. Best wishes, Sholeh Received: 13-Sep-1995 01:16pm From email@example.comWed Sep 13 22:22:01 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:55:25 PDT From: Rick Schaut To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: RE: Burl's menstrual cycle, etc. Dear Lind and Friends, ---------- >While there are those who are annoyed or even angry with those of us who seem >to be belaboring the issue of women on the UHJ and women's issues in general, I >would like to point out that perhaps the reason for this "harping" is that, for >some of us this is a deeply felt issue. I am sure if I were a man, I would >grow very tired of hearing about discrimination against women. Indeed, at times >I do too because I do have other interests. As a man, le me say that I'm not annoyed at this discussion. I am deeply saddened by it. I'll attempt to explain why forthwith. >No matter how much one struggles >to accept the exclusion of women from the UHJ, there is always the nagging >question, why? And when there are no good answers, and when good >arguments are made suggesting that this ruling can be changed, then the >movitation to cease the discussion is lacking. Linda First of all, the "good" argument is specious. With all due respect to Sen and Juan, the argument fails in one _absolutely_ critical area: covenantal authority. I've raised the question, and, yet, it has yet to be adequately addressed. The fact remains that `Abdu'l-Baha, in his second tablet to Corrine True, was, if anything more than simply stating what the Law says, stating an authoritative interpretation of that Law. Shoghi Effendi thought so when he said that the friends must just accept this with a deep sense of faith, and the Universal House of Justice seems to think so when it says that the issue is not open to speculation. Even if we could conclude that `Abdu'l-Baha intended to remove this restriction in the future, we cannot make that an _authoritative_ conclusion without stating an _authoritative_ interpretation of `Abdu'l-Baha's Tablet. Seeing well-educated and thoughtful people buying a specious argument weighs so heavily on my heart that words cannot adequately express what I feel. There are _many_ things to be learned from asking that nagging question to which you refer, and above all is the examination of one's own role in achieving the equality of men and women. I see this specious argument as a means by which people might feel less pressed to engage in the self-examination that is necessary if we are to realize the equality of men and women in anything more than the most superficial ways. In the light of careful analysis of the principles of Baha'i Administration, the membership of the Universal House of Justice is one of the most superficial arenas for such a princple to be manifest. 1) No individual in the Baha'i Faith has any power. Power is possed solely by the institution. The institution is also thought to be more than just the sum of its constitutent members. 2) The proper functioning of any consulatative institution is dependant upon the extent to which the body's constituent members set asside their own selves and egos (as has been pointed out in other discussions on Talisman). To borrow a term from Bahiyyih Nakhjavani, membership on the Universal House of Justice constitutes the ultimate form of personal "erasure". 3) Women can, and do participate in the consultative portion of the decision-making process of the Universal House of Justice. Indeed, their ideas can have as much impact on a decision as the ideas of the members themselves. 4) Ideas don't have gender, and neither do decisions. The Baha'i consultative process is the very embodiment of the principle that the validity of an idea is independant of the status of the person who expresses it. If we claim that women must serve in the Unversal House of Justice in order for women to be adequately represented, then we are denying the very fact that equality can even exist. These four points combined serve to reduce, significantly, the impact of this restriction on the realization of the equality of men and women. When you combine them with an examination of the necessary change in attitudes, of both men and women, which must devolve if we are to achieve true equality, this restriction falls into the "neglible" category stated by `Abdu'l-Baha. At this point, I am far more interested in coping with the fact that my neighbor's four year old son doesn't think girls should be interested in motorcycles. I have a four year old daughter to raise. I know that the vestiges of a sexist society colour my perceptions of women. How do those vestiges affect the way I am raising my daughter? There is a book called, _How to Father a Successful Daughter_, by Nicky Marone. That book should have been written by a Baha'i. It wasn't. When will we get past this question? When will we begin to exercise that deep sense of Faith that Shoghi Effendi raised? When will we stop banging on this superficial, though highly visible, issue and start dealing with the _real_ problems? When will _Baha'I_ women start helping me raise my daughter in light of the principle of the equality of men and women? Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:22:38 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 14:37:05 EDT From: "K. Paul Johnson" To: email@example.com Subject: "Theosophy and the Baha'is" Last night I got a call from a member of the Washington, D.C. lodge of the Theosophical Society, telling me that the date I thought I'd be speaking there this fall had already been booked by someone else. So I took the following Sunday, which is-- November 12, Baha'u'llah's birthday. At 3 PM I'll speak on "Theosophy and the Baha'is" at the TS center on 14th St. My talk will present my research on Theosophy/Baha'i connections as reported in Initiates of Theosophical Masters. When, some time ago, I mentioned the possibility of such a program, some Baha'is here seemed interested. Ideally, I'd like to invite a Baha'i representative and hope for some Baha'is in the audience. I could give up say 15 minutes of my usual 45, and share the q&a period. If the Baha'i in question were the right sort, it'd go wonderfully; I do fine at sharing the podium with people of diverse views. Problem is, the two Baha'is from DC I've encountered online have been of the ultraorthodox variety, and someone like that could easily ruin what I have in mind. So I'm asking Talisman for advice. How could I make an invitation for a co-speaker that would insure we get a friendly one, not someone out to refute me as an enemy? (I'd give a copy of my book to the person so he/she would know the gist of my views). Would anyone even be available on a Holy Day? It might be a good time for such a proclamation opportunity. If anyone on Talisman can suggest a person I might contact without going through administrative channels (yuck)-- all the better. What an LSA might consider an appropriate person and approach to share a program with an ex-Baha'i of heretical views, would probably be far more combative than I want to deal with. All suggestions welcome. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:23:49 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 14:36:23 -0500 (CDT) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: the gender of hermaphrodites (a monkey wrench....) Greetings to all, I just wanted to toss in another potentially relevant tidbit in the discussion of gender. The brain is sexually dimorphic; which is a fancy term for the fact that there are certain regions of the brain which different in XX chromosome (female) vs XY (male) chromosome-based genders. These differences may (probably) have an effect on mental function which is perhaps where attention should be focused in terms of any relevant differences between males and females. This having been said, it should be fully acknowledged that gender is a social construct as well as a biological one. Warmest Regards, Ken From PIERCEED@sswdserver.sswd.csus.eduWed Sep 13 22:25:41 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 13:46:46 PST8PDT From: Male Chauvinist Pig To: email@example.com Subject: Spin Doctoring (again), was RE: Burl's menstrual cycle, etc. Greetings, re: > From: Rick Schaut > To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com > Date sent: Wed, 13 Sep 95 10:55:25 PDT > Subject: RE: Burl's menstrual cycle, etc. > Dear Lind and Friends, ... > As a man, le me say that I'm not annoyed at this discussion. I am > deeply saddened by it. That reminded me of my own sadness (and irritation) caused by all the absurd, grotesque, and misinformed rationalizations of the exclusionary rule that I have had to listen to over the years, including some really creative ones on talisman lately (I am not criticising brother Shaut's message here, although I am intrigued by his peculiar linking of this discussion to the hinderance of the development of equality in the community). There seem to be two extreme opposed viewpoints that ~may~ be "vain imaginings" or "idle fancies": #1 absurd (usually traditional, male and probably cowardly) rationalizations of the exclusionary rule. #2 speculation about possible ways of overturning the rule. I propose that anyone is sad/upset/etc about #2 think about #1 to keep things in balance. Why has it been "ok" to spread speculative rationalizations (#1) for years, but not #2? I agree with brother Shaut that if there isn't a clearly thought out way of dealing with the issues of authoritative interpretation, (Covenant etc.), given the murky chronology involved in the analysis of what is said in the writings about the "noon day sun" issue, then we are hard pressed by the "speculation" statement in the 1989(?) UHJ letter that is a response to the "Service of Women" paper. There seems to be little or no wiggle room at this time, but at least we can say that our scholars have tried to explore and "push the envelope" as far as possible on this issue and we needn't rely on the usual bizzare rationalizations anymore. I was amazed to find one of the esteemed members mentioning something I also recently thought about: what would the situation be if there was/were Guardian(s) after Shoghi? Would there be a point where advocates of a female Guardian would be teetering on the horns of the same dilema? As someone probably mentioned already, is the enterprise of doing further collaborative ~research~ on this stuff really "speculation", or does the UHJ simply advise us to avoid coming to premature conclusions (and arguing about them) given the state of knowledge as of 1989(?). Hooray to all the uppity folks (delightful women or otherwise) out there that are trying to struggle to get healed on this. To the others: why not try some patience, compassion and understanding? Thanks, EP (PierceED@csus.edu) From M.C.Day@massey.ac.nzWed Sep 13 22:26:02 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 09:18:47 GMT=1200 From: Mary Day To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Assembly membership Dear Talismans, I was very interested in Rick's point here. "4) Ideas don't have gender, and neither do decisions. The Baha'i consultative process is the very embodiment of the principle that the validity of an idea is independant of the status of the person who expresses it. If we claim that women must serve in the Unversal House of Justice in order for women to be adequately represented, then we are denying the very fact that equality can even exist." I could spend hours discussing this very point but unfortunately I have calculus assignments to mark, I hope to get back to it. But it does raise a question for me that will be easily answered by someone. In the case of tied votes for local and national elections, the member of an ethnic minority is elected. Does the same apply to elections of the House of Justice? Thanks Mary From email@example.comWed Sep 13 22:30:46 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 16:01:54 PDT From: Rick Schaut To: M.C.Day@massey.ac.nz, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Assembly membership >From: Mary Day [Rick wrote:] >"4) Ideas don't have gender, and neither do decisions. The Baha'i >consultative process is the very embodiment of the principle that the >validity of an idea is independant of the status of the person who >expresses it. If we claim that women must serve in the Unversal >House of Justice in order for women to be adequately represented, >then we are denying the very fact that equality can even exist." [Mary Day wrote:] >In the case of tied votes for local and national elections, the >member of an ethnic minority is elected. Does the same apply to >elections of the House of Justice? I don't know the answer, but I do believe that the purpose is not an issue of equality. Rather it is both an expression of and a way to develop unity in diversity. The point is harmony. I can dig up some quotes if the friends would like, but the US NSA's _Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies_ covers the topic extensively. Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From S.N.Lambden@newcastle.ac.ukWed Sep 13 22:31:21 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 00:41:27 +0100 From: Stephen Lambden To: email@example.com Subject: Re:Is Quddus a Manifestation? Dear Ahang and Talismanians, I too have thoroughly enjoyed reading Ahang's postings regarding Quddus. Like Tahira and other Babis Quddus claimed (secondary) Divinity. In Babi-Baha'i theology the advent of the new eschatological age was the commencement of the Day of God. For the Bab this meant that he could utter the cry -- and he did this innumerable times -- "I verily am God'. In making this claim he never meant to identify himself with the transcendent unknowable Essence. He likewise predicted that the Babi messiah * Man yuzhiruhu'llah* would utter the same cry of Divinity. It was in this light Baha'u'llah also frequently claimed (secondary) Divinity. The Bab in fact conferred a host of elevated titles and (secondary) Divinity on a veritable *pleroma* of Babis. This does not mean, however, that they were Manifestations of God in the sense of founding new religious cycles and revealing a new law, etc. Baha'u'llah discussus aspects of these issues in various of his Tablets including the *Lawh-i Sarraj* (c. 1867 CE). At one point in this Tablet he cites the following passage from a prayer of the Bab, "Say:` O my God thou verily art doubly Divine of the doubly Divine (ilahAn al-ilahayn) in order that Thou might confer Divinity on whomsoever Thou willeth." The same is stated in this prayer of the Bab in terms of "Lordship" (rububiyya). (see Ma'ida 7:64). This prayer may indicate that God is "doubly Divine" in the sense that He conferred His Divinity on the Bab. The Bab is also "doubly Divine" in the sense that He conferred it on others. Hence God is "the doubly Divine of the doubly Divine (ilahAn al-ilahayn)". God is Divine and Lord in a twofold sense for His Single Divinity is made Twofold in the sense of being conferred on the Bab and others. Baha'u'llah specifically comments that "Divinity" (uluhiyya) and "Lordship" (rububiyya) are "the greatest of stations" (a`zam-i maqamat). They were, he says, bestowed by the Bab "upon any soul that he desired" (se MA 7:64). Baha'u'llah also notes that the Bab gave his disciple Sayyid Jawad various exalted titles including *`ilat-i awwaliyya* ("Primal Cause"). Baha'u'llah staes that this title is beyond "all the names" -- not even accorded the Prophet Muhammad! He also cites the Bab as stating "We, verily, made him [Sayyid Jawad] a *nabi* ("prophet") unto all the worlds" (Ma'ida 7:86). Without going into details it seems to me that the Bab claimed Divinity many times and conferred this (secondary) Divinity on various leading Babis who in turn stated this in their writings. This was a sign of the onset of the Day of God. This, is seems to me, is the kind of light in which Quddus' claim to Divinity is to be understood. Well it is late and I hope I have'nt confused matters further. Forgive the typos. Salutations, Steve Stephen N. Lambden 44 Queens Road, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 2PQ England. U.K. Voice/Fax. +44  91. 2818597 Email S.N.Lambden@ncl.ac.uk From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:31:41 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 18:10:01 -0400 From: Ahang Rabbani To: email@example.com Subject: RE: Assembly membership [This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII] Dear Mary, You wrote: > In the case of tied votes for local and national elections, the > member of an ethnic minority is elected. Does the same apply to > elections of the House of Justice? I don't have an answer -- only speculation. Since defining ethnic minority on the world scale is difficult, if not indeed impossible, then it seems to require a decision by the sitting House of Justice on how to break the tie. An important point that often is overlooked is that after the election, the report of the tellers is *ratified* by the sitting House of Justice and then announced. In other words, in every election a final decision is required by the House anyway -- part of that could be how to break the tie. Of course, the statistical probability of tie votes at the International Convention is *extremely* small. regards, ahang. From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:33:23 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 17:53:20 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: email@example.com.The.postings.continue.on.the.subject.of.Women.on.the.House.of.Justice Subject: Women and the Universal House of Justice. I do notice that no- body wants to take up the thorny challenge of improving the station of women in the present day Baha'i Community. I do believe as I stated in a previous posting it is much easier to pos- ture ones commitment to equality than to live it. 1.Juan has made several postings on the subject ,one aspect of his augment being to attempt to show a progressive change in the application and understanding of the principle of the equality of men and women especially in the case of the Master.2.Tony has felt it relates directly to discrimination and has pointed to the example of how the reasons given or put forward are in the same vein as the excuses given to preclude minorities from having the same rights as whites in the USA.3. Linda and others have pointed out that from a feminine perspective there has to be the nagging question of'why 'at the back of ones mind.4. One posting asserted that certain female members of the NSA have avowed they only vote for men who are commited to the principle that women should be on the Universal House of Justice if it can be proved they should or can be.5.Others have wondered and stated if exclusion from the highest level of the Baha'i Administration actually keeps women in an inferior role. !: Part of Juan's augment relates to the meaning of the original language of Scripture as this falls directly into the precise role of the Master. I find it difficult to accept the idea that we can conveniently ignore the ruling because it does not fit in, with how one might currently feel the Baha'i Community should be. Another side of the same point is that as the Master became more influenced by Western thought and ideas it reshaped His philosophical concept of the Faith in terms of its applications especially in the West. This I have heard advanced as a theory in several areas not only for women's equality. It can only hold true as a valid conjecture if there was no< or virtually no > real contact or dialogue with the West prior to the Western visits of Abdul-Baha. However there is historical evidence of meaningful contact as early as 1888 onwards. It could well be once we start really looking , of finding dialogue even prior to then. I do not believe that the Master developed the theology that relates to how we should base our belief in Baha'u'llah in a vacuum. Surely though the greatest Teacher and influence on him was the Blessed Beauty Himself. Many Baha'is point to the Master ruling that the law of Marriage in the Faith is one wife for each man, whilst Baha'u'llah had stated two but to be treated with equality.The Master said that means one, do we argue about that, I do not hear nowadays much discussion to change that ruling . I do remember, 25years ago ,people saying of course in times of problems < for example disappearance of most the men on Earth due to war or disease> that ruling of the Master would be changed to allow for men to have more than one wife thus enabling the Human Race to survive and other such ideas. There are more things to consider about that ruling , all of the children of Baha'u'llah practiced monogamy in an envi ronment of legal polygamy , Under Baha'i Law women would have been entitled to have two husbands just as a man could have two wives , mutatis mutandis applying in such cases but for the Master's ruling or interpretation. The tangled web of Baha'i Family life to have emerged would have made interesting case studies for many Academics. I personally look to the example of the children of Baha'u'llah and see the ruling already in active form during the lifetime of the Blessed Beauty without any supposed imput from Western thought. In other words Baha'u'llah said two wives but as it is obvious you can not treat two people the same, so His children whom He educated showed that by their example. That fact applies to all the children male and female , faithful and covenant- breakers alike. The Master ruling I would therefore suggest came from the education He received from Baha'u'llah Himself. On that ba sis one could argue the no women on the House of Justice falls in the same classification. how ever I find that to simplistic for consideration although it could be correct, solutions are fre- quently the obvious and simple. In the Faith women have guaranteed equality but not in the present politically correct format.As we all know there is no gender of the Soul, yet Ba- ha'u'llah has given women privileges in recognition of their biological responsibilities. To name a few, exemptions from obligatory prayer, from fasting and pilgrimage all of which relate to or stem from biological responsibilities. From the Writings I would propose these ex emptions place women in a superior position to men in terms of spirituality not in an inferior position. This is in direct contrast to the normal outside world view that a woman's biology is a burden on her and society in general and accordingly must therefore make her inferior to Man.I am not suggesting that men are inferior to women just that men do not have the same exemptions from the obligations placed upon us by Baha'u'llah as women do. I have always viewed the situation over the House of Justice in the same light, that it is an exemption for women not an exclusion . 2. As far as discrimination is concerned I believe Tony hypothesis is flawed in that not only were minorities precluded from being elected in the USA they were not allowed to vote and were disenfranchised in a whole multitude of ways that make the mind boggle.Other countries have shaped their society to not allow different groups into the central control of things , in England the working class was not allowed to be part of running the Country on the grounds that their capacity to use their brains was strictly limited In England the Glorious Revolution of 1689 produced a Bill of Rights with 13 Articles but not votes for all the people , the Re form Act of 1832 doubled the Electorate to 400,00 out of a population of 24 million, the sec ond Reform Act of 1867 only created 2 million voters in a country of 30 million., secret ballot coming in 1872.It took until 1914 for all male suffrage to occur and the UK I believe was the first country with that. 1918 saw women over 30 or married over 21 or with a degree having the vote. 1928 saw all women over 21 having the vote , the USA because of a whole variety of discriminative laws and practices has only since the sixties had full voting potential for people, the Faith had full voting potential from the start. The Will and Testament of the Master was written in the time period 1901 to 1908 as 3 separate wills in that document is the voting pro cedure for the House of Justice If a woman is elected to a NSA by the terms of the Masters Will she is part of a Body who have to cast their individual votes to elect the new Universal House of Justice. She is not able to vote for her self or another woman but she is able to vote and therefore is not excluded because of her gender from that role which is the primary role. In Baha'i Elections it is not the result that counts but the spiritual commitment of the person who voted , your vote is a connection between yourself Baha'u'llah and God, I am always saddened when I see my fellow believers trying to equate modern day Politics to the Faith , we really miss the whole point when we do that. I am not saying that in some ways the Baha'i Community does not reflect the problems that face the World out there, because it does and the sooner it doesn't the better for the Baha'is and more importantly the Human Race and the Planet 3.I think 'Why' is a legitimate question, we are supposed to have informed submission to the Will of God not blind Faith. But I believe the real why should be more directed at the wider issue of why are we not showing the equality in our communities, why do we not run programs more geared towards women , why are women's issues regarded as not a real concern of men. I attended the Women's conference at Louhelen Baha'i School last year accidentally. I was out there to help them set up their own Bookshop/Cafe. Due the illness of one of the presenters I was asked to run a session,two things I noted ,apart from excellent and thoughtful questions, less than 40 women were there and apart from myself only one man.< Now you might think lucky him and you would not be far wrong he did seem to be getting rather spoilt.> But the sad fact is that Louhelen Baha'i School wants men to attend this Conference and they appear not to want to come. The Conference has been running for a few years with relatively few women coming and virtually no men that I see as food for thought. I ask why are we not arranging scholarships for women to go and study , why do we not provide scholarships for' third world' young Baha'i women so they can be educated. Linda mentioned that women do most of the work yet receive little of the financial rewards. The figures from the UN are 80% of the work for 1% of the assets world-wide. Small wonder women as a gender regard words as pleasantries but they want I think you will discover a little more action. There is no point to going on about changing the format of the Universal House of Justice when we have not even started to change the manner in which the Baha'i community sees women, having the symbolic 4.5 women on the House of Justice is totally irrelevant if the rights and respect due to women is not put into place in our everyday lives. There is not, to repeat myself from a previous posting,going to be a neat papering job,such as not only do we believe in the equality of the sexes we even have one on the Universal House Of Justice . Baha'i Men are going to have to work very hard to show the teaching and principle of sexual equality in action in the Baha'i Community. Strangely enough I think that it is this paradox that will force us as a community to become the trailblazers in women's rights we should be. 4.I find that assertion hard to believe , that female members of the NSA have a litmus test for who they vote for based on possible future membership by women on the Universal House of Justice. The NSA of the USA does not control the voting patterns of the International Con- vention and it is odd to some how imply it or that there is a possible conspiracy to keep women off the Body. 5. I believe that only by including women at the highest levels can the development of Hu manity move forward in an balanced way. An interesting example of how the needs of women are not considered is in the way that Public Restrooms are built. In general more restrooms are available for men than women even in new construction normally they are built equally. Yet there are more women than men,and women for a wide range of reasons that do not apply to men need to use such facilities more frequently. At conferences , concerts ,sports games etc long lines of women queue for the use of this facilities , does anyone care obvious not. In the future structure of the Faith there is one Body as yet unformed which could have as I see it the responsibility for the detailed allocation of resources and implantation of policy. Such a body would be at international level from the Will and Testament of the Master and I see no con- tradiction for similar bodies at national /secondary and local. Women would be able to serve on those bodies also on the Baha'i Courts. The Religious Judiciary Officer or office of a Local house of Justice is open to women. So the way the World will be put together women will have full imput at International, national and local levels being a complete part of the decision making roles. Of course I do not think that having more restrooms mean that the equality of the sexes has arrived I point out that if such a simple and basic human need can not be addressed in countries that are 'advanced thinkers' small wonder the World is out of balance. One final point Linda made the correct observation that women are required to provide sex on demand in just about every society either secular or religious for their husbands. In the Faith that is not so,again in the Letter I refereed to regarding Abortion the House of Justice makes the point that a woman can be raped by her husband and that sex is a mutually agreed to activity. Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:33:53 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 18:00:00 -0700 (PDT) From: Gabriel Salman Lenz To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Assembly membership On Thu, 14 Sep 1995, Mary Day wrote: > Dear Talismans, > > I was very interested in Rick's point here. > > "4) Ideas don't have gender, and neither do decisions. The Baha'i > consultative process is the very embodiment of the principle that the > validity of an idea is independant of the status of the person who > expresses it. I think that there is a little confusion here. The Baha'i consultative process, as one person described it, is a dialectic of perspectives not personalities. This is an ideal that we are supposed to achieve in Baha'i consulation, to remove our personalities. However it may never be entirely possible. It also seems clear in the writings that some ideas to have gender or our more associated with one gender than another. A great example of this is 'Abdu'l-Baha's statment that if women had a greater role in politics war would not be so prevalent. There is no question that we are supposed to remove our personalities from consultation, but that does not mean it is entirely possible or that Baha'u'llah counted on the fact that we would be able to remove them. Another conclusion of the proposition that ideas do not have gender is that there would be no reason for their to be women on the house (or men in that case). So it is kind of self-refuting. gabriel From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:34:33 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:55:17 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu, email@example.com Subject: slick & those women Dear Linda, I came in this morning with the thought in mind that I wanted to added a footnote to the "slick" letter I sent yesterday to Dave (& etc). Dave thought that it was possible that good art could be produced by scoundrels. Well, maybe this is right. But I think it is only so if we include the "rude-and-lonely-artist-who-has-several-women-and-doesn't-pay-his-taxes-and- maybe-dies-of-the-pox" in the category of "scoundrels". The real scoundrels, though, are the MEN (yes, I said it) who lead nations to war and who construct oppressive political systems. They don't produce much art. And when one thinks of the civilising projects (art included) as a whole, I am inclined to think -- with the Greeks -- that the best works are produced by the most virtuous. Then I read your letter. And I laughed/giggled/chortled. Isn't Linda funny, I thought. And I was charmed: I have long thought that the capacity to make someone laugh is a great and precious gift. (Now let the fatman off my chest!) Generally speaking I think my reading of history is more optimistic than yours. Real gains have been made on gender issues, but -- given that sexual equality is a new impulse in the world, and the unwilling nature of homo sapiens -- I think that it is rather (sadly) unrealistic to assume that humanity could have reached the goal by now. So far as babies and the rearing of children are concerned, I feel certain that the real shift (towards recognition of the paramount importance of these persons and activities) will only occur when both women and men address the issues involved together. ....but I cannot help it if I have neither a womb, nor milk-producing breasts...(and nor will men in the time of the Most Great Peace)... Re: Actually, what >some of us had in mind was serving on some sort of committee or being a part of >some institution where we could sort of arrange things the way we'd like them. >I'm talking world scale here. I envision sitting on some august body making >decisions that are going to affect the way people organize themselves in >groups, maybe make some decisions on issues of morality. You get the idea. I >have a dream. But, don't worry. It's just a dream. It can't be reality. We >women aren't able to fulfill this dream. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a noble dream and -- having studied dreams -- I feel equally certain that it will be fulfilled, though perhaps not quite in the way that you envision. Robert. From Don_R._Calkins@commonlink.comWed Sep 13 22:34:43 1995 Date: 13 Sep 1995 20:44:42 GMT From: "Don R. Calkins" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Re: How Many Baha'i Principles Are There? > maybe there is a distinction to be maintained between a > principle and a law. I think so. I see a law as setting the limit of acceptable behavior and a principle as a statement of the ideal behavior. We tend to think that obedience to the law is sufficient, but in the message initiating the Three Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice calls us to obey the principles of the Faith. I think that this was the first time in a general messge that this has been done. Don C - sent via an evaluation copy of BulkRate (unregistered). From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 22:35:06 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 22:00:46 EDT From: Christopher Buck To: email@example.com Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: "Theosophy and the Baha'is" Dear Paul: 13 September 1995 For a co-speaker or respondent, I'd commend a couple of Baha'is from nearby Alexandria, Virginia, a commuter suburb of Washington, D.C. These individuals are: (1) William Collins; and (2) Chris Filstrup. Both have an extensive background in Baha'i scholarship, if I may say so. They are both librarians by profession. Bill works for the Library of Congress and Chris for George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Bill Collins has done extensive research on Latter Day Saints and other NRMs. (BTW, the Year of Service for Baha'i youth was a concept that was perhaps modelled on Mormon missionary service required of all male youth past the age of eighteen. I won't comment any further as to HOW the House might have been inspired to inaugurate this wonderful opportunity for our Baha'i youth!) Chris Filstrup was a Ph.D. student some years ago at Harvard's Center for the Study of World Religions. Chris reads Arabic and Persian, which he picked up at Harvard and became fluent while in the Middle East. My family and I were guests of the Filstrups in June when I gave a paper at Syriac Symposium II and another paper at the First International Symposium on Syriac Computing in Washington, D.C. I can personally vouch for the personal as well as academic merits of these two individuals. Chris is a fellow Talismanian. If you wish Paul, please privately email me and I'll send you Chris's email address so that you can contact him and/or Bill Collins. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank you for sending me a copy of your new book, *Initiates of the Theosophical Masters*, and for mentioning my small contribution in the Acknowledgements. Of interest to Talismanians might be Paul's Dedication: *Dedicated to the cyberspace communities of theos-l, Talisman, alt.religion.eckankar, and misc.writing.* Christopher Buck From Alethinos@aol.comWed Sep 13 23:23:21 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 11:26:44 -0400 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: When the Question has been answered Due to a number of personal responses referring to my short query to Sen there is, it would seem, some need to explain further why I had asked, "whence the confusion?" I find it an interesting example of political correctness having wormed its way into the Faith that one is insensitive, uncaring, confused, etc., because one has accepted the ruling of the supreme governing body of this Faith. How odd that one can be castigated for questioning the questioning of those brothers and sisters who, in the guise of being scholarly continue to ask, aggressively, (and in this suggest) that the supreme governing body to which they have sworn loyalty is _in some manner_ mistaken? We have heard cries when this is suggested that there is no lack of loyalty here, "We are simply exploring the issue, asking questions . . ." This response would be perfectly fine had the Universal House of Justice not already stated, clearly, that there will be no women serving on the House and that the subject is _not open to speculation_. So again it needs to be asked - what part of that answer was not understood?? Do not try and suggest that in asking this question insensitivity is being displayed. I do know how difficult a question this is - I have been a Baha'i for well over twenty years and I have seen the paradox this creates in the hearts of my sisters in this Faith. And frankly I don't understand _why_ this is either, nor do I particularly like it. But then I did not join the Faith because I thought it was malleable to _my_ wants. Haifa is not Rome. While I firmly believe in asking questions, tough questions (and I have certainly gotten into enough hot water doing so) when the _answer_ is given, then I will adhere to the answer and there is only danger in continuing to insist that the answer *I* have received does not satisfy *me*. I am sorry that this stand on women has caused so much pain and confusion. But we are not here to be apologists for the Faith. There is a significant difference between questioning the course of our community, wondering out loud if we are fulfilling our potential as best we can - if we are living up to the vision given us - even to the point of appealing a ruling by a local or even national body to the House - there is a very great difference between this and what has occurred here for this past month. I am a huge advocate of asking questions, esp. of those in authority. Our history, esp. in the West teaches us to do this - and it is this history and the assumptions that go with it that the Universal House of Justice has itself called into question. In the _Individual Rights and Freedoms_ letter written by the House in 1988 they stated clearly the boundaries that exist within the Faith in the matter of questioning, i.e. the responsibility both the individual and the Adminstrative Order. I think this continual series of complaint we have seen here in Talisman is far from mature speculation. I say this not with an eye toward the content of many of the posts which have been very well done - but rather in light of, again, the _answer_ we have rec. from the House. The answer was definitive, clear-cut, unambigious. To continue to *question* the answer then is not a pursuit of some scholarly goal. It is at best a waste of time and energy and at worst dangerous. It _is_ dangerous to continue, in the face of an answer from the supreme respresentation of Baha'u'llah on this plane of existence to insist that the answer is *unsatisfactory* or *still open to specualtion*. It is dangerous to try and twist and warp the meaning of the answer itself in order to fulfill one's own ego-drive. It is dangerous when such actions are called into question to turn on those questioners and hurl accusations that are too familiar to the secular west - accusations of supression, prejudice, sexism etc. It is dangerous because there is no proof - but it does indeed fan the flames of emotion. And what does it serve?? Do we expect the Universal House of Justice to glance over at us, listen to this incessant bickering and walk back upstairs and say "Gee, perhaps they're all right and we're the one's - in our divinely guided consultations, that are wrong."? This is unlikely. So it would seem that each of us are faced with a question. Do we accept the answer given by the Universal House of Justice on this matter, unequivocally and go on, hoping that in time we will see the wisdom in it, or do we begin the long slow desent into doubt, confusion, bitterness, feelings of betrayal because the Faith has not lived up to _our_ standards, passed _our_ litmus tests, cannot be made to bend to _our_ vision of a perfect world? There are some black and white matters in this world. Obedience to the answer from the Universal House of Justice would seem to be one of these. We do not have to like it, be happy with it, or understand it. But, if we claim undying loyalty to Baha'u'llah we have to accept it and go on. Unless anyone has an alternative? jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From email@example.comWed Sep 13 23:27:10 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 14:28:06 PDT From: Brian and Ann Miller To: Rick Schaut Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE Women and the House; Rick: Thank you Dear friends, Well I finally make my first entry to the talisman discussions. I wish to express my deep appreciation to Rick S. for his well argued, sensitive response to the discussion of the subject of women on our beloved Universal House of Justice. It reminds me of how I felt on the campus of U.C. Berkeley during the anti-apartheid demonstrations. I sympathized greatly with the views of my fellow students, but I couldn't help wondering why nobody was protesting the racism in this country, the racist oppression on our own campus. South Africa made uch an easy target. No one had to take any responsibility for the issue in their own hearts, in their own lives. Our discussions are quite different and the fundamental issues differ, but might we not concern ourselves with the wrenching issues that Rick raises. Or perhaps for me, how do I work for equality in my own household, in my marriage. How do I support, encourage, and respect my dear wife Ann and all she aspires to achieve? Juan, I was appalled by your declaration that the ruling on the membership of the House of Justice represents a fundamental hypocrisy or contradiction that will never permit the full equality of men and women in the Baha'i community until this decision is reversed. If I have overstated your views, please correct me. Notes to others: Rob: How delightful to hear your travelogue. I was wondering, since you have identified your trip as a rite of passage [congratulations on your appointment, by the way] could the flying squirrel be your totemic animal? Have you consulted a shaman to interpret this obviously spiritual event? Ann suggest that it simply means that you spend to much time with you head in the clouds. Rich: Write me! Sadra: I love you mind! I will add entries on Rumi, Hafiz, and others--one asheq to others entranced by the splendors of their talents and insights. Allah'u'abha,friends. Brian [email@example.com] -- From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 23:27:31 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 15:05 NZST From: S&W Michael To: Alethinos@aol.com Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: When the Question has been answered Dear Jim and Dear Friends I think I've said this about four times in the last week or so ... The issue, as I see it, is NOT that people are questioning the House's judgement or refusing to accept the House's decision as the right one. The issue is to consider whether the possibility exists that in the future the House can legislate to change this decision. In saying "no speculation", I believe the House is stating that it does not see what there is to speculate about - there is a difference between this statement and an instruction not to speculate. I don't believe the House would tell the Baha'is not to speculate as this undermines the principle of independent investigation of the truth. If we cannot all understand these subtleties then we will continue to discuss this issue at cross-purposes. Cheers, Suzanne Michael From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed Sep 13 23:28:29 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 21:36:01 -0400 From: Ahang Rabbani To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Martyrs of Manshad -- part 2 [This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII] Martyrs of Manshad (By: Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi) The upheaval of Manshad which resulted in the persecution of the Baha'i community there and in the surrounding areas started on Saturday, June 26, 1903, or 61 BE. During that year, the renowned and much-esteemed Baha'i teacher, Jinab-i Ibn-i Abhar, traveled from Tihran to Yazd for the purpose of visiting and encouraging the believers. The Baha'is of Manshad, learning of his sojourn to Yazd, invited this beloved soul to their town so that he may teach the Faith and meet the friends. Ibn-Abhar readily accepted this invitation and during the Ridvan festivities journeyed to Manshad. The news of his arrival brought much joy to the believers and cheered their spirit, all the while flaming the jealousy and hatred of the fanatical populous of town. Ibn-Abhar remained in Manshad for four days and on the fifth day, via the village of Taft, he returned back to Yazd, where he stayed for a few more days before going back to Tihran. During this time, Mirza Ibrahim, the Imam-Jum`ih, returned to Yazd from a brief trip to Isfahan on Saturday, 16 Rabi'u'l-Avval, 1321 H, (June 12, 1903). The people of Yazd wasted no time informing him of the activities of Baha'is, their new vigor and enthusiasm and gatherings for the dawn- prayers. His overgrown ego and lust for leadership inflamed, he issued an order for unprecedented pogrom against the Baha'is. The town's people, having now received the Imam Jum`ih's blessings to eliminate the Baha'is, set out to implement their accursed and evil plot. The next morning, some of these mischievous people, gathered around the shop of Aqa Muhammad Attar (son of Hajji `Aziz Khan) and stoned the front entrance. Then they captured this shopkeeper and took him to the Imam, requesting permission to kill him. A few individuals who were acquainted with Aqa Muhammad's goodly character, however, intervened and assisted with his release. On the third day, June 14, three hours after sunrise, in the middle of Yazd's bazaar, one of the Baha'is, Hajji Mirza-yi Halabisaz, was stabbed and killed by the axe of Hasan Ibn-i Rasul, a great enemy of the Faith. Prince Husayn Mirza, the Jallalu-d-Dawlih, (son of Prince Mas'ud, the Zillu's-Sultan) who was the governor of Yazd, quickly dispatched his aides on the receipt of this news to calm the people and stop further rioting and killings. When the tragic news of Hajji Mirza's martyrdom reached the Baha'is of Manshad, they mourn his death and held a memorial service for that much-loved believer. The entire Baha'i community was present in that assemblage, engaged in prayer and supplications. The news of this gathering and the apparent sorrow of the friends further flamed the hatred and jealousy of the people, who took every opportunity to threaten the friends and pour salt in the wounds of a broken-hearted community. The believers of Manshad, apprehensive of their lives, informed the governor of their dire condition. In response, he dispatched ten soldiers headed by a man named `Isa Khan to Manshad with orders to protect the believers and prevent further upheavel. When `Isa Khan and his men arrived in Manshad, they stayed in the house of Muhammad-i Kalantar, where ther remained for four days. On Friday June 25, the last day of his stay, a Governor's messenger arrived late in the afternoon and presented a sealed package to `Isa Khan. This servant was present in that gathering when the official papers were handed to him. On reading the letter, he was much perturbed. I asked him about the contents of the papers, which had visibly disturbed him, but he did not reply, so deep was he in contemplation. Later that same night `Isa Khan asked my opinion: "Without a guide, would I be able to go to Yazd, via the village of Mihrijard, this very night?" I advised him, since it was quite dark and having never traveled through those country hills before, it would be an arduous journey. I also suggested he should take a guide with him. Accepting this, `Isa Khan, accompanied by a Manshadi guide and two of his soldiers, headed for Yazd. The following morning, three hours after sunrise, I was home when Shattir Hasan, the baker, and Aqa `Ali-Akbar (sons of the late Aqa Mirza Ibrahim), came to me in state of bewilderment. I asked them what was troubling them. They replied: "News is circulating in Manshad that people of Yazd have caused much disturbance and have put to death several of the believers." I inquired if they know who had brought this news and if there was any validity to it. They responded that this news was brought by one Muhammad-Sadiq Na'im-Abady and assured me that they would ascertain its truth. When they left my house Aqa Ali-Akbar returned to his shop and Shattir Hasan set out to investigate the matter. On his way, at the Manshad cemetery, he came upon the source of the news, Muhammad-Sadiq Na'im-Abady, who he asked about the events in Yazd and reported killings of Baha'is. The wicked Muhammad-Sadiq, overcome with anger, severely struck Shattir-Hasan in head, opening a wound from which a fountain of blood poured forth. Muhammad-Sadiq, not satisfied with this treaturous act, then cried out for the people to gather about the baker. When a large group was formed, he told them of the events in Yazd and incited his listeners to perpetuate the same in Manshad. Shattir-Hasan, with his bloody head and face, left the crowd and returned to the company of his brother Aqa Ali-Akbar, to whom he recounted the events which has passed -- including the report of the inflammatory cries of Muhammad-Sadiq to the populous. No sooner had the news reached the Baha'is of the town that, in fear for their lives, a number retreated into hiding in neighboring villages and mountains. (to be continued) From email@example.comWed Sep 13 23:31:40 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 23:22:17 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: consultation and maturity Allah'u'Abha, dear friends. One thing that struck me as a I read the thoughtful messages on Talisman today is how much we have grown as a community together, Baha'is and non-Baha'is and how a very positive new discourse has developed in this cybervillage. Baha'is are very largely first-generation converts, except in the Middle East. I think there were only 5,000 Baha'is in the U.S. as late as the 1950s (am I right, Rob?); if we indeed number anything like 120,000 now in this country, it is obvious that a lot of us embraced the Faith on our own. We are also extremely diverse in our social origins, education and ideas. Perhaps for this reason, we are often loathe to discuss with other Baha'is what we really think and believe. We prefer to hide behind a facade of assumed agreement, under the broad umbrella of our basic principles (not spelled out too carefully). Also, many of us are shy and would not dream of standing up at Feast and complaining about this or that aspect of the Faith. This facade of agreement and reluctance to speak of what is really in our breasts is not healthy and is not good for the Faith. And we often have been reluctant to have interested friends who are not declared Baha'is see us as we are or to engage them at the deepest level. And this is why I welcome the openness of the discussion on Talisman. Many of the women, for instance, who have spoken out recently, have been suffering in silence for years. Intellectuals generally have had little voice in the Faith, and have on occasion been silenced in other media. A number of minority viewpoints have been expressed here that we are unlikely to see in other media, including, in some cases, conservative voices. How privileged we have been to have an extended and serious engagement with a Theosophist viewpoint from Paul Johnson, a major author and historian of that tradition, and with a Buddhist viewpoint from Bruce Burrill, who knows Pali and teaches the subject. And the Baha'i expertise here has been astounding. Think of Susan Brill, an important feminist/Wittgensteinian literary critic, or Connie Chen, whose writing on Asian-American women touched us all; or young persons such as Arash and Nima, whose acuity gives such hope for the future of Baha'i thought; or Stephen Lambden, among the foremost academic scholars of the Faith (and here the list is very large and distinguished and I dare not try to list lest I leave a dear friend out inadvertently); or the deeply learned heirs to the profound scholarly tradition of Iran-- Ahang Rabbani, Habib Riazati, Bijan Masumian, and many others. It has sometimes struck me that if we were wise about the use of our time and resources we might just sit back and ask questions of Lambden, Rabbani, and others amongst our Learned (Sen, who has a mind like a steel trap, does more of this than I, and it is to his credit). I celebrate these discussions, I welcome them. I know much better who my coreligionists are (despite the small "n") than I did three years ago. And I know a great deal more about the Baha'i Faith. And we have accomplished many things. We have deepened together, inshallah, and shall more. We have explored issues to their end instead of being content with one-word answers. A conference on mysticism has been planned as a result of our discussions; these discussions are affecting Baha'i scholarship; the Omaha, Nebraska community, indeed, appears to have undertaken a number of important initiatives in tandem with us (how are the Sunday meetings going, Terry?) On any particular issue, some have been happy with the status quo while others have wanted change. As a community of faith and hope, dedicated to justice (the best-beloved of our Best-Beloved), what is important is that those who want change are willing to be patient (if not silent) while those who are satisfied are willing to be tolerant of others' tests. Baha'u'llah had great confidence in "baya:n" or discourse as a means of changing the world, and substituted it for the sword of Islam and the Babi Faith. Our baya:n is therefore not for naught, even if not all changes or reforms any of us wants is accomplished soon or ever. So I say to our dear friend Jim Harrison, who has posted such valuable messages on the Faith and the American Destiny (and to which I hope the discussion can soon return), that a question like "what part of X do you not understand?" is perhaps a wrong turning, implying as it does that the truth is crystal clear, that some of us see it unerringly, and that those who do not are blind, perverse or unintelligent. A great man once said that the truth emerges from the spark of conflicting opinions. Jim's voice and that of all on Talisman are essential as flint; but unless flint strikes flint the truth will remain imprisoned in mineral. Thanks to Jim and to everyone else for so enriching us all with their postings. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From email@example.comThu Sep 14 10:30:16 1995 Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 21:18:16 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: consultation and maturity My dear Juan What a truly wonderful deep and inspired posting. May the Twin Blessed Ones shower your days with Love. Kindest Regards Derek From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 10:30:41 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 15:36:31 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: S&W Michael , email@example.com Subject: The Quest... Responding to Suzanne: When the House said the matter was not subject to speculation it would seem that -- to the House -- the intent of the matter was as unequivocally clear as -- say -- the correctness of Shoghi Effendi's appointment as Guardian of the Faith, or the legitimacy of the House itself. Of course Suzanne -- or anyone else -- is free speculate to her heart's content or until the cows come home or until hell freezes over or whenever. Whether anyone continues to listen or care is another matter. I am certain that there are things that I mull over in the wee still hours of the night that are genuinely totally boring to other people. But this present matter would still seem to fall outside this category of speculations. Yet. At least. Further thoughts: 1) My own speculations carve the following line of thought: if the object of speculation is certitude of being, and if certitude of being is dependent upon steadfastness of Faith, then the decision of the the House (etc) can only to confirmed in the mind of the speculative and sincere Baha'i....anyway. 2) Again, my speculations concerning this matter centre on "why" rather than "why not". I'd much rather try to understand the ruling better than to seek ways to overcome it or to criticise it as sexist, or whatever... 3) Eric-the-ever-so-witty wrote: "Hooray to all the uppity folks (delightful women or otherwise) out there that are trying to struggle to get healed on this. To the others: why not try some patience, compassion and understanding?" Point taken Eric. Robert. From GreyOlorin@aol.comThu Sep 14 10:31:35 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 02:05:30 -0400 From: GreyOlorin@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Women & UHJ My thanks to Sonja for (it seems) responding to something I wrote earlier. Sonja wrote the following: ++ Like, Linda, I am quite amazed at the various arguments that have been put forth, with some thought, arguing for a justification for the exclusion of women. Such as claiming super-human status for the members of The House (that is, The Members are not influenced by their backgrounds or gender). ++ Obviously, I need to clarify what I was trying to say. First, when I mentioned something along these lines, I did not in any way conceive of it as a "justification" for the exclusion of women. I don't pretend knowledge of any fact or theory that explains *why* women cannot serve on the Universal House of Justice. Coming up with such theories (such as those claiming women are "unfit" to serve because they menstruate, and other such nonsense) seems to me a clear example of "vain imaginings" which are not only a waste of time, but are positively harmful to the process of achieving true equality of the sexes within the Baha'i community. The concept Sonja refers to above is instead an attempt to explain why the ineligibility of women from service on the Universal House of Justice should perhaps be considered a "negligible instance" of inequality, to borrow the words attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha. Now to clarify the concept itself. There is no claim of "super-human" status for the *members* of the House, at least not in my understanding. It is only the Institution itself, and only when meeting as the Supreme Body, that functions in a way one might call "super-human" because it is the recipient of divine guidance. It is only under this divine guidance that the Institution as a whole overcomes the limitations of its members resulting from gender and culture. Under this guidance, the House of Justice arrives at decisions that are infallible, and therefore cannot discriminate against any of the genders and cultures within or outside the Baha'i community. This is no mere theoretical claim, as I stated before. I am firmly convinced that the most thorough study of the decisions of the Universal House of Justice would reveal no bias against women, and would in fact reveal a more steadfast defense of the rights and status of women than could be found in any other institution on this planet. In my opinion, this would be a step toward refuting all the accusations of hypocrisy that have been hurled at the Baha'i community because of the ineligibility of women to serve on the Universal House of Justice. Hoping this has clarified my ideas, Kevin Haines From GreyOlorin@aol.comThu Sep 14 10:32:24 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 02:05:38 -0400 From: GreyOlorin@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Baha'i rights In a message dated 95-09-1, firstname.lastname@example.org (Juan Ricardo Cole) wrote: >Incidentally, could someone please post the full text of the message from >the House that makes men the head of Baha'i households? What exactly >does it mean for a man to be the head of the household, if it does not >imply certain patriarchal decision-making or property privileges inhering >in maleness? Most of this message seems to be included in the compilation entitled "Family Life," which I found in _The Compilation of Compilations, Vol I._ (1991, Baha'i Publications Australia). This message begins on page 413 of that volume, and the selection is numbered 916. It is several pages long, so I don't have time at the moment to type in all of it, but here is the pertinent sentence: ++ The Research Department has not come across any statements which specifically name the father as responsible for the "security, progress and unity of the family" as is stated in Bahiyyih Nakhjavani's book, but it can be inferred from a number of the responsibilities placed upon him, that the father can be regarded as the "head" of the family. ++ In the rest of the message the House of Justice makes it clear that this does not grant the father greater power in family decision making, but rather refers to the economic responsibilities placed on the father by such provisions as the laws of inheritance in the Aqdas. On the subject of decision making, later in this same message the House explicitly states that there are "times when a wife should defer to her husband, and times when a husband should defer to his wife, but neither should ever unjustly dominate the other." Should anyone be unable to obtain a copy of this message by other means, please let me know and I will post its full text to Talisman when I have enough time. Regards, Kevin Haines From email@example.comThu Sep 14 10:32:52 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 0:06:34 MDT From: Stephen R Bedingfield To: M.C.Day@massey.ac.nz Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Assembly membership Greetings Friends, Mary Day wrote: > In the case of tied votes for local and national elections, the > member of an ethnic minority is elected. Does the same apply to > elections of the House of Justice? In the case of tied votes at the local or national level the ethnic minority is elected, and in case it is unclear if the minority is in fact a minority (or perhaps if two minorities are tied such as an Inuk and a French-Canadian in Canadian Baha'i elections) then additonal balloting on the tied individuals should occur. This is current practice in order to enhance the disadvantaged minorities within the pale of our Faith. I suspect that in the future (far future) that this practice will cease and all tied votes will be resolved by additional balloting. MOO (My Opinion Only). In the case of tied votes for membership of the Universal House of Justice the Constitution of the UHJ states: By-Laws V.1.(i).: In case by reason of a tie vote or votes the full membership of the Universal House of Justice is not determined on the first ballot, then one or more additional ballots shall be held on the persons tied until all members are elected. The electors in the case of additional ballots shall be the members of National Spiritual Assemblies in office at the time each subsequent vote is taken. Loving regards, stephen -- Stephen R Bedingfield /\ "We desire but Box 115, Cambridge Bay NT X0E 0C0 \/ the good of the world and Canada (403) 983-2123 /\ the happiness of the nations" email: email@example.com \/ - Baha'u'llah From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 10:33:05 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 18:11:37 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: email@example.com Subject: negligible instances Kevin Haines wrote: >The concept Sonja refers to above is instead an attempt to explain why the >ineligibility of women from service on the Universal House of Justice should >perhaps be considered a "negligible instance" of inequality, to borrow the >words attributed to 'Abdu'l-Baha. > Is anyone able to confirm the view presented in the above statement that the Master's negligible instances pertain to (1) membership of the house, (11) men. That is: is it possible that the stated negligible inequality tilts in favour of ...women? [I am inclined to think that this is the case, but am content to be corrected]. Robert From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 10:34:12 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 3:29:16 EDT From: Christopher Buck To: email@example.com Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Abstract of ABS Paper I invite responses from my fellow and sister Talismanians on the abstract below.--CB ____________________________________ A SYMBOL PROFILE OF THE BAHA'I FAITH by Christopher Buck ABSTRACT The Persian roots of the Baha'i Faith are well-known. In my Master's thesis, Symbol and Secret: Qur'an Commentary in Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Iqan. Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions, vol. 7 (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1995), I have explored some of the Islamic sources of Baha'i thought. For my doctoral work, I decided to dig even deeper into the Persian symbolic landscape, this time going back to Persian Christianity. This paper is a chapter from my dissertation in progress: Symbol Transformation in "Persian" Religions: Early Syriac Christianity and the Baha'i Faith as Responses to Late Antiquity and Modernity. Source analysis is not necessarily productive of historical conclusions. The paradigmatic value of what I term a "symbol profile" of the Baha'i Faith resides in the structural features which a study of Baha'i imagery discloses. When paired with Baha'i principles (theme and motif), Baha'u'llah's kerygma (proclamation) is partly analyzable, not as a product of history, but as a reponse to it (modernity). In terms of possible Christian "roots" of the Baha'i Faith, certain "root metaphors" (thought-orientations) and "key scenarios" (strategies for action) are common to both the Baha'i Faith and early Syriac Christianity. Taking Ninian Smart's dimensional model of religion, and pairing it with Sherry Ortner's "Key Symbols" paradigm, the following "symbol profile" of the writings of Baha'u'llah may be proposed. For comparative purposes, it will be placed alongside key symbols found in the writings of Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373) and Aphrahat the Persian Sage (fl. 337-345), the pre-schismatic founders of Persian Christianity: A SYMBOL PROFILE OF EARLY SYRIAC CHRISTIANITY AND THE BAHA'I FAITH Religious Key Scenario Key Scenario Root Metaphor Root Metaphor Dimension Syriac Baha'i Syriac Baha'i __________ __________ __________ __________ __________ Doctrinal The Way Sun Physician Physician Ritual Robe of Glory Light Medicine*Life Wine/Water*Life Ethical Sons*Covenant Covenant Mirror/Pearl Mirror/Gems Experiential Wedding Feast Lover/Beloved The Pearl The Journey Mythical Harrowing*Hell Maid of Heaven Tree/Vine*Life LoteTree/Sinai Social Noah's Ark/ Crimson Ark/ Paradise Paradise Mariner Mariner ________________Note: Where asterisk [*] occurs above, read "of".__________ Verificatory of the above symbol identifications, entire works of Baha'u'llah correspond to these six dimensions, in which the above symbols, as well as others, are salient: DIMENSION TEXT KEY SCENARIO ROOT METAPHOR Doctrinal The Book of Certitude Sun Physician Ritual The Most Holy Book Light Wine/Water of Life Ethical The Hidden Words Covenant Mirror/Gems Experiential The Seven Valleys Lover/Beloved The Journey Mythical Tablet of the Maiden Maid of Heaven Lote Tree/Sinai Social The Holy Mariner Crimson Ark/ Paradise Mariner In this formal comparison, we move from historical data to interpretive structure. Salvation history is, in a sense, mythic. Myth is the "message" of history. Although both Syriac Christianity and the Baha'i Faith instantiate the historicization of eschatological imagery, the Baha'i Faith presents a horizontal soteriology in inverse relation to the vertical salvific vision of Syriac Christianity. As represented in the exemplars above, the Baha'i symbol constellation is structured on a paradigm of world unity, whereas the Syriac paradigm is modelled on a mystical union with Christ (theosis) in the context of a retroflexive nostalgia for prelapsarian Eden. These symbolic structures are fairly explicit. Overlapping themes exhibit a possible symbolic transfer, arguable on the basis of coherence rather than strict correspondence, in which we may presume continuity. In conclusion, this symbol profile of the Baha'i Faith is a form of worldview analysis that takes one beyond the discursive into a virtual world of images that inspire and structure the symbolic universe of Baha'i spirituality. Christopher Buck From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlThu Sep 14 10:35:33 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 10:08:29 EZT From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: lists of principles Here is a starter's list, by no means complete no doubt. I will leave the collation and analysis to Chris A Persian Tablet of Baha'u'llah, Khadimu'llah lists 4: 1. abolition of holy war 2. no further manifestation for 1,000 years 3. recreation of all things at time of Manifestation - ie abolition of ritual impurity 4. whatever people are mentioned before the Face, whether living or dead have attained by virtue of being mentioned by the King of Preexistence Glad-tidings Tablets of Baha'u''lah p 21f: 1. abolition of holy war 2. permits association (ie abolition of impurity), tolerance 3. universal language 4. aid for any ruler who protects Baha'is 5. obedience to government 6. lesser peace 7. abolition of rules of dress 8. abolition of monasticism 9. abolition of confession of sins 10. abolition of laws prescribing destruction of books 11. abolition of laws proscribing study of science 12. outlawing mendicacy (everyone to have trade, work = worship) 13. House of Justice to legislate according to needs of day 14. abolition of pilgrimmages to shrines of saints 15. advocating constitutional monarchy Tarazat (TB p33f) 1. self-knowledge 2. association, tolerance, (abolition impurity?) 3. good character 4. trustworthiness 5. justice (respect for workers?) 6. duty to acquire useful knowledge Tajalliyat 1. knowledge (?'irfan?) of God via Manifestation 2. firmness in Covenant 3. duty to acquire useful sciences 4. capacity to recognize manifestation Kalimat-i-firdawsiyyih (Words of Paradise) TB p57f 1. fear of God 2. need for religion to maintain good governance 3. do unto others 4. high station of kingship (civil government?) 5. wisdom (+ reward and punishment) 6. justice to lead to unity 7. unity of nations 8.a universal education 8.b House of justice to legislate according to the needs of the day 8.c universal language 9. world unity to prevent calamity 10. abolition of monasticism 11. avoiding strife Lawh-i-Dunya (TB 89f) 1. lesser peace 2. universal language 3. unity among peoples 4. universal education 5. special regard for agriculture (really first principle) Ishraq (125f) 1. religion as source of order 2. Most great peace 3. obedience to law (reward & punishment), government by consultation 4. against corruption of government and civil servants 5. unity of peoples, universal language, 6. universal education 7. House of Justice to legislate according to the needs of the day 8. religion should be cause of order, governments to promote religion ------------------------------------------------ >From `Abdu'l-Baha: `Abdu'l-Baha in London p27 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion to be the cause of unity 4. religion and science are intertwined 5. oneness of reality of religions 6. brotherhood on basis of rights and justice 7. abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty 8. most great peace (world court) 9. need for Holy Spirit Paris talks 129f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion should be cause of unity 4. unity of science and religion (religion not contrary to science) 5. end of prejudices 6. equal economic opportunity 7. equality before the law 8. supreme tribunal (international peace) 9. separation of religion and politics 10. equal rights and education for women 11. need for Holy Spirit Paris talks p135f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. unity of mankind 3. [shows that the numbering system here, and concept of a set of 'principles' in a certain order, may derive from the translator/editor] 4. religion and science 5. abolition of prejudice 6. right to economic justice 7. equality before the law 8. universal peace (supreme tribunal) 9. separation of religion and politics 10. equality of sexes 11. need for the holy spirit Promulgation of Universal Peace 62f: 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion and science in agreement PUP 105f 1. independent investigation of truth 1b. oneness of religions 2. oneness of humanity 3. oneness of religion and science 4. economic equity 5. abandonment of prejudice 6. equality of sexes PUP 127f 1. oneness of humanity 2. independent investigation of truth 3. religion and science 4. religion should be cause of unity PUP 169f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion must be cause of unity 3b. science and religion 4. equality of sexes 5. need for the Holy Spirit PUP 180f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion must be cause of unity 4. science and religion 5. abolition of prejudice 6. economic equity 7. human rights (equality before law) 8. universal education 9. universal language 10. equality of sexes (11) need for holy spirit PUP 314f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion must be cause of unity 4. science and religion 5. abolition of prejudice 6. need for holy spirit 7. universal education 8. supreme tribunal (world peace) 9. equality of sexes 10. equality before law (human rights) 11. universal language PUP 341f 1. oneness of humanity 2. independent investigation of truth 3. oneness of religions PUP 372f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity 3. world peace (4) religion should be cause of unity (5) religion and science (6) equality of sexes (7) need for religion PUP 433f 1. independent investigation of truth 2. oneness of humanity (3) religion and science (4) religion should be cause of unity (5) abolition of prejudices (6) equality of sexes (7) universal language (8) universal education (9) everyone to work (work = worship) Selections from the Writings of `Abdu'l-Baha, p. 32f (7 candles) 1. political unity 2. unity in world undertakings 3. unity in freedom (human rights, end to colonialism?) 4. unity in religion 5. unity of nations 6. unity of races 7. universal language SWAB p 107f 1. independent investigation of truth, 2. oneness of humanity 3. universal peace 4. conformity between science and divine revelation 5. abandonment of racial, religious, worldly and political prejudices 6. righteousness and justice, 7. the betterment of morals and heavenly education, 8. equality of the sexes 9. the diffusion of knowledge and education 10. economic questions SWAB p 248f 1. independent investigation of truth, 2. oneness of humanity 3. religion should be the cause of unity (4) abolition of prejudice (5) world peace, supreme tribunal 6. equality of sexes ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sen McGlinn -------------------_ From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlThu Sep 14 10:36:23 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 10:10:44 EZT From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: email@example.com Subject: woman & UHJ Dear Kevin, I think your idea has some merit: the lack of rationality in the exclusion of women from the UHJ, and the apparently accidental way it got enshrined as principle, means that the equality of men and women will be an itch we can never stop scratching. And who knows, perhaps that will prove to be a good thing in the long run. Yes, the present situation in better than one in which we could proudly say 'women can be elected to the highest body in the Baha'i world' but the actual proportion elected to Baha'i National Assemblies was at the pathetic level of women's representation in most parliaments of the West (let alone the East). On the other hand, the fact of the exclusion does serve as a support for the most peculiar justifications of oppressive gender relations and prejudices concerning women. If the last straw was taken away, would the community perhaps commit itself more wholeheartedly to the process of transformation? Who can tell? Perhaps that will be our reward when we have earned it? Along the 'my calamity is my wisdom' line, I wonder if the announcement of the French Tests might in the long run actually accelerate the end to all testing (since Chiraq has promised to sign the test ban treaty, which will leave China alone) and also the end of colonial relationships, which the Universal House of Justice said was one of the conditions for the lesser peace [mind you, that's their interpretation :-)]. Another example of our general inability to see the end in the beginning. Thank-you, Kevin. You have my permission to stay up late again tonight. Sen ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sen McGlinn ------------------------------------_ From Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nlThu Sep 14 10:40:07 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 15:32:32 EZT From: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: confusion & traps Dear Jim I did not respond to your short post concerning confusion because: 1. it was not polite, and I ignore such things as a matter of policy (flame wars occur not because someone shoots from the lip, which is forgivable on occasion, but because other people respond ad infinitum) 2. it was addressed to me but referred to a posting from Sonja. Re your longer explanation today (thanks), I think the crunch is that you think the House said the matter "is _not open to speculation_." But, if you check the text, they didn't. In both cases, reading exactly rather than skimming for content was required. Thanks to Juan for the nicest compliment since my first employer wrote "any employer who can get Sen to work for him will be very fortunate indeed." I assume the trap in question is 1) all jaw, and 2) only effective when open. I shall bear your admonitions in mind. Sen. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sen McGlinn -----------------------------------_ From email@example.comThu Sep 14 10:47:14 1995 Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 20:34:01 -0400 From: Ahang Rabbani To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: email@example.com Subject: Martyrs of Manshad -- part 1 [This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII] Dear Friends: Recently, I've been making a study of the pogrom of 1903 in Yazd and its environs and have decided to translate an eyewitness report of the persecution of the Baha'i community of Manshad (pronounced Man-shAd). The report in question is "Sharh Shahadat-i Shuhaday-i Manshad" (Account of Martyrdom of Manshad's Martyrs), by Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi. My interest is translating this primary historical document is chiefly to introduce, in a language admittedly inadequate, a brief account of the heroic deeds of our brothers and sisters in the Cradle of the Faith to the Baha'i communities of the West so that they may draw fresh inspirations from these deeds of sacrifice. It is particularly surprising that the story of the massive 1903 holocaust of the Baha'i community of Yazd and its neighboring region has not been narrated in the English literature of the Cause. After the translation of this document, I intend to share an abridge translation of Haj Muhammad-Tahir Malmiri's "Tarikh-i Shuhaday-i Yazd" (History of Yazd's Martyrs). The events surrounding the martyrdom of so many of the friends in the small town of Manshad is told both by Tabib-i Manshadi and Malmiri. It is particularly noteworthy that both books use almost the same language, and in many places verbatim, to narrate the events. I suspect that since Tabib-i Manshadi was an eyewitness and participant in the Manshad's events, Malmiri used his account in his own book, starting page 432. As such, in absence of other evidence, I consider Manshadi's account to be the primary source with Malmiri utilizing it in his own book. However, it should be pointed out that in a few places, Malmiri does add a few additional pieces of information which helps with placing the events in perspective. I intend to use these additional pieces of information as footnotes. I'll be most grateful for any and all comments which the translators on Tarjuman wish to share. Such assistance will be properly recognized at the time of publishing. Since participants on Talisman discussion group have in the past expressed an interest to receive copies of provisional translations, I intend to "cc" Talisman with these postings with a request *not* to forward to anyone. Everyday, I'll post a few pages of this translation and expect to complete the whole thing in about a week. What follows in this posting is a brief "Forward" and author's biography. Starting with the next posting, the actual translation will commence. With appreciations, ahang. The Martyrs of Manshad By: Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi Translator's Forward: The Tree of Faith is nourished by the blood of the martyrs. What follows is the story of a band of selfless, dedicated, love-intoxicated followers of Baha'u'llah who sacrificed the most precious of all things in His service -- life itself. The momentous events associated with the birth and development of the Dispensation of Baha'u'llah find their origin in the Cradle of His Faith, Iran. Such glorious events have been contrasted by the bitter persecution of a defenseless community which knows no other purpose than to unite the world under the banner of brotherhood and peace. In a number of Tablets, Abdu'l-Baha quotes a well-known poem: "nuk-i khari nist, kaz khun-i shahidan surkh nist" (there is not a spike whose tip is not tinged with the blood of the martyrs). The implications of this line, although far-reaching, find no greater significance than in the city of Yazd and its environs. This area has seen what none other has since the inception of the Faith, when such heroes as the immortal Vahid, Mulla `Aly-i Sabzivari and thousands of others, time and again, stood firm in the face of the onslaught of a vicious enemy and offered life and limb as the greatest testimony of the truth and validity of Baha'u'llah's Cause. In words of the beloved Master, "the martyrs of the land of Ya [Yazd] drank their fill with relish from the draught of glorious martyrdom." The Baha'i community of Manshad, a small town in the neighborhood of Yazd, stood as a shining example, a community which would ultimately win the immortal crown of fidelity by withstanding the onslaught of a fierce enemies. The heinous events that culminated in the martyrdom of so many of the friends in that blackest of all days started on June 26, 1903. The story of that pogrom and the events leading up to it is immortalized by the pen of Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi, an eyewitness to many of the episodes. For some of the details, he later closely interviewed all the remaining survivors and thereby completed his brief narration which was made available some 25 years ago, (127 BE), under the title of "Sharh Shahadat-i Shuhady-i Manshad" (Account of Martyrdom of Manshad's Martyrs). The same details and based on the information of the same narrator is also captured by Haj Muhammad-Tahir Malmiri in his immortal "Tarikh Shuhaday-i Yazd", starting on page 432. The events of Manshad, which will be recounted in this narrative are part and parcel of a much larger and truly massive Baha'i holocaust of 1903 in Yazd and its surrounding towns. It is hoped that in a near future, the full story of Yazd's martyrs and events be also made available in English so that the Baha'i communities everywhere are inspired by the brilliant example of their brothers and sisters at the Cradle of the Faith. the translator Author's autobiography: Aqa Siyyid Muhammad Tabib-i Manshadi, (1863-1918), was a son of Aqa Siyyid Abdu'l-Ghani and Sakinih Khanum. Born in Yazd, he spent his early childhood in that city, completing his early education. Pursuant to a career in medicine, he moved eventually to Tihran where after his concluding his studies, he emerged as a well-trained and knowledgeable medical Doctor (hence the name, Tabib). Returning back to his native land of Yazd, he commenced his medical practice, and it was then that he learned about the Faith of Baha'u'llah and embraced it as a believer. Around 1886, some five years before the upheaval of Yazd which resulted in bloodshed of the Seven Martyrs of Yazd, Aqa `Ali-Akbar, the martyr, requested Aqa Siyyid Muhammad to settle in Manshad and continue his medical practice in that town. Having accepted this invitation, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad pioneered to Manshad and made that town his home. For a while he resided with his host, Aqa `Ali-Akbar, (whose house presently serves as the Baha'i Center of Manshad's community) and then moved to a house near the Husayniyyih of Manshad, next door to a mosque. Shortly thereafter, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad married Bibi-Rubabih, a daughter of late Haj Siyyid Husayn-i Banadaki; a union which resulted in two children. During his life time, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad witnessed several episodes of persecution of the community, the most gruesome of which was the great upheaval of Manshad and Yazd in the year 1321 H, (1903). Many Baha'is during this period drank from the chalice of martyrdom. Miraculously, Aqa Siyyid Muhammad, though well-known as a Baha'i and residing in Manshad, escaped the hands of his persecutors, later, committing to paper his recollections and remembrances of other survivors of that dark period. In addition to his narratives, others by Aqa Siyyid Abu'l-Qasim-i Bayda and Haj Muhammad Tahir-i Malmiri ("Tarikh-i Shuhaday-i Yazd" -- History of Yazd's Martyrs) attest to the selfsame horrors characteristic of the period. Aqa Siyyid Muhammad died at the age of 56 in the year 1336 H having remained faithful his entire life. Serving the community of Manshad -- where he had pioneered so many years earlier -- was his greatest desire. He is now buried in a cemetery of that city. The beloved Master has revealed a magnificent Tablet in his honor which will stand for all time as the testimony to his faith and zeal. May the Grace of Baha'u'llah continue to surround him in all the worlds of God. (to be continued) From Alethinos@aol.comThu Sep 14 12:14:59 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 11:38:47 -0400 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: A kind slap with a gloved anvil . . . Sen and Juan: Thank you both for your responses. I would ask, if it is not too much trouble, to have posted the actual response from the House on this subject that I had refered to - I had it but can't find it right now. And after it is posted I suggest we call in the finest legal scholars from across this great land of ours. Let's put this out there for real specualtion. There is a thriving industry after all of constitutional analysts, pundits of the U.S. Supreme Court and we could use them to really get to the *real* meaning of what the House had said. Then we can branch off into two good-natured but bitter parties. Those who wish to follow the spirit of the House utterences and those who follow the letter of the *law*. We can have our strict constructionalists, our legal positivists our advocates of natural law, etc, etc, etc, ad nauseam. After all this is where this discussion is heading is it not? Come on you two! I have great respect for one of you and (smiling here) grudging respect for the other. But what _is_ going on?? This is not a matter of pretense on my part at *knowing* the truth - or that everything is *crystal clear*. The issue here actually is NOT about women and the House at all. It IS about acceptence of the decision of the House - period. I do not see this claim of "We _accept_ the decision of the House, of course . . . but really, why can't there be women on the House?!" followed by any number of baseless suggestions about the *motivations* of the House members, cultural biases etc., as some form of *legimate* scholarly pursuit. This is more the behavior of a number of professors who just can't stomach the decision of the university adminstration and so keep the rumbling going, under the holy flag of *scholarly speculation*.] Except this is _not_ a university. No one here on this list is in a position to constantly cast *doubt* on the decisions of the Universal House of Justice. If we begin the precedent here, on this issue, where does it stop?? For you Juan, and you Sen, the next instance where someone wishes to keep *questioning* an issue that has been decided may be *crystal clear*. You will both stand up here in the list and insist that the decision that our House has made is *final*. And then you both will be accused of supression, prejudice, etc, etc. As the power of the healing message of the Faith grows in the conciousness of the world; as the prestige of the Universal House of Justice grows and consequently attacks on it for various positions held (including this one) occur the last thing the world needs to see within this community is simply a glossy new version of the same old tired Western liberal democratic practices and principles. We all have every right to question and probe and wonder and discourse and debate and consult. But our unity and strength comes from being obedient to the Covenant. If this means that any of us, in order to preserve the unity and strength of the Cause have to, (due to our acceptence of Baha'u'llah) accept a decision from the House we are not personally pleased with - then this is what we must do. Continuing to mew about it does _not_ serve the best interests of the Faith. If non-Baha'is question our stand on various issues and point an accusing finger (as some feminists have) that the Baha'i women should not accept such supposed unequality so be it - we are not here to apologize to the world for the Faith. We are here to teach the healing message to them, to help open their spiritual eyes and ears, not explain away our Faith. AS usual I offer this in good faith - there is no bitterness or anger on my part - and if some of my "shooting from the lip" is upsetting, I am sorry - a little wit and humor I would hope would ease the tension . . . but then again maybne not. jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduThu Sep 14 12:16:02 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 10:53:18 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: email@example.com Subject: what if women...? Like Juan, I too found messages this morning to be very thoughtful. I would just like to briefly make a couple of comments. First, to say that women have a privileged position because of exemptions from religious duties has no basis in reality. Muslim women don't "have" to go to mosque for Friday prayers. The result has been that most Muslim women in the world aren't allowed to go to mosque on Friday and rarely go any other time. Exeptions too easily lead to exclusions. If women take these exemptions, they will find locked doors should they change their minds. While applaud the men on Talisman concerned with the education of their daugthers - and I believe that they are truly sincere - and argue that it is in the everyday spheres of life that girls learn to deal with the world, I still believe that the message of excluding women from the Faith is a larger one that you are willing to admit. A girl can grow up believing she can do nearly everything. She can be prepared to take on the world. But, when she grows up and find that important positions of - yes, guys - POWER are denied her, she has to start doubting herself and her the capacities of her gender. The truth is most girls don't grow up feeling that secure anyway. Their sense of inferiority is then reinforced by this exclusion. I am wonder if, in the future, exclusion from the UHJ won't be taken as justification for exclusion from other forms of leadership, especially political leadership. I can hear the "No's" ringing out now, but I would like some serious consideration of that matter. Now, what if only women could be on the UHJ. My educated guess is that we would have but a handful of men in the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith would be a "women's religion" - icky! Just as men shun meetings on women, they would shun this religion too. Sorry. Linda From Member1700@aol.comThu Sep 14 12:55:41 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:36:57 -0400 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Clocks and Dates Thanks to John for his excellent research. Yes, such things have come up before--especially with regard to the correct date for the martyrdom of the Bab, which all non-Baha'i sources insist took place on the 8th of July and not the 9th of July. But, I am afraid that a lot more research needs to be done in this area before we can come to any firm conclusions. And, dates being fairly arbitrary anyway--I am not sure what difference it makes. Suppose the Bab was born on October 21? Which is certainly a possibility, given the information that John had presented. I do not think that automatically means that we should change the observance of the Holy Day. It is only a remembrance, after all. It reminds me of one of Shoghi Effendi's instructions to the Baha'is of Iran. They had tried for many years to purchase the business offices of the Bab in Shiraz as a place of pilgrimage, but failed. Finally, the Guardian told them to purchase another building in the same neighborhood and remodel and furnish it exactly as the Bab's offices. They could use this as a place of pilgrimage, since the place is only a remembrance of the Bab. I like that. Tony From Member1700@aol.comThu Sep 14 18:38:24 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:46:31 -0400 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: IUS Question Re: Ghaznavi's book, Sexuality, Relationships, and Spiritual Growth--I personally found its depictions and assumptions concerning heterosexual relationships to be misleading, repugnant, and destructive. Its approach to homosexual issues is hardly worth discussing. I just wrote it off as another poorly written, ill-conceived Baha'i book--and I haven't thought about it since. I would urge Dan to respond to the dear friend in Florida by telling her that there are good Baha'i books and bad ones--and that is one of the bad ones. He should also be open about the fact that there is a wide variety of opinion within the Baha'i community on gay and lesbian issues, not a united front. Perhaps the dear lady will join us in our efforts to move the community in the direction of greater tolerance and acceptance of all people. In the meantime, she should know that not every Baha'i books was written in heaven. Warmest, Tony From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 18:43:09 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:54:38 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: Alethinos@aol.com Cc: email@example.com Subject: Principle and the Law Jim: I really cannot understand why you make your stand on the 1987 letter of the Universal House of Justice that came in some ways as a response to the "Service of Women" paper and the New Zealand events. A number of commentators have made the point that the groundwork was not complete on this issue at that time and that it was unfortunate that the issue went to the House prematurely. The House, as far as I can understand, reviewed the main texts, decided that this was not an issue on which they were at liberty to legislate, and urged the friends to accept the texts. But there are several reasons for which that letter does not preclude further discussion. 1) The Universal House of Justice bases its decision on available evidence (including, I would argue, available lines of reasoning). Neither the evidence nor the reasoning was at anything more than a preliminary stage in 1987. 2) the House is empowered to review and repeal its own findings, decisions, and legislation. What can be wrong with a Baha'i hoping that such a repeal will occur in the future on any particular issue? The beloved Guardian was careful to say that elected representatives in the Faith are beholden to their consciences rather than their constituents. But he also said that the Faith has an "inclination to democratic methods in the administration of its affairs." (WOB 154). Now, communicative rationality is according to Habermas the essence of such democratic methods. And I would argue that democracies derive their stability in some part from the very fact that they allow individuals who feel defeated or unrepresented to hope that in the future this will change. I think those Baha'is who wish to forestall such hopes and discussion of such hopes are departing from a democratic inclination, and from a model of ongoing community consultation, and adopting a model of Absolutism. 3) No one is challenging that fact that the Universal House of Justice made the best decision it could on this issue in 1987. (Although a number of us found it unfortunate that the 1902 letter from the Master continued to be quoted without any context as though it were probative in an unproblematic way). Nor is anyone challenging the fact that the House's ruling is the law of the community. 4) What people are doing is exploring further information and lines of reasoning that might be a basis someday for a reconsideration of the issue by a future House. The model I have in mind is that of Law journals in the U.S. A supreme court ruling in the U.S. is the law of the land as long as the justices continue to uphold it. Lots of legal scholars publish journal articles in law reviews examining decisions and putting forward alternative evidence and lines of reasoning. Sometimes such journal articles become influential and even form the basis for Court decisions that overturn previous ones. The Supreme Court justices do not regard these journal articles as seditious; and a large percentage of the articles never end up being more than hot air. But some have an impact and go on to underpin legal rulings or even executive policies. 5. At the moment there are very few Baha'is with a serious understanding of jurisprudence and of the Middle Eastern languages and historical contexts of Baha'i texts. We do not have so much as a single journal article attempting to define Baha'i jurisprudence. It simply is not the case that the relevant legal texts in the Baha'i corpus are uncomplicated, straightforward, and internally consistent. One needs a set of jurisprudential principles to reconcile them, and we do not have any such thing (though I have suggested a few). For instance, Rob declared that the Faith does not have to be consistent. This position would suggest that specific irregularities always outweigh competing general principles. But what does this idea mean for the unity of science and religion? And is this really the way the Holy Figures have proceeded? The inheritance schema in the Aqdas excludes non-Baha'i spouses from inheritance. When the beloved Guardian was asked about this by a Baha'i, he said that it would be unfair for an individual to disinherit his or her non-Baha'i spouse. So the general principle of fairness here outweighs the specific law of the Aqdas. General principles where attested in the Scriptures are therefore apposite. The general principle that women and men have absolutely equal rights under the law cannot therefore be dismissed as irrelevant to the women-on-the-House discussion. The thing that disturbs me about your position is not that you think you are right and others wrong--that is true of any of us who is not wishy-washy. It is that you seem to wish to define for others what they may or may not say publicly, to brand an entire thread on Talisman as illegitimate. We already have rules on this list, and the only illegitimate discourses are rude and abusive ones (which, thankfully, have been largely absent in recent weeks). It is, incidentally, the papacy that ultramontane Catholics have put forward as infallible and unchanging. Baha'u'llah designed the Universal House of Justice precisely for the purpose of having a flexible and responsive leadership and legislature. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 18:49:56 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 13:18:52 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: email@example.com Subject: Returned mail: Host unknown (fwd) On Wed, 13 Sep 1995, DEREK COCKSHUT wrote: > But I believe the real why should be more > directed at the wider > issue of why are we not showing the equality in our communities, why do > we not run programs > more geared towards women , why are women's issues regarded as not a > real concern of men. In my experience, Derek, Baha'i men do take the issue of gender equality seriously, they simply may view the issues differently than women. IMHO, the problem is not that there are not enough Baha'i activities geared towards women (there are, after all, women's conferences, Baha'i school sessions for women and about women's issues, and a Baha'i electronic discussion group from which men are excluded [undoubtedly the the wisdom of the exclusion will be seen in the future ]). Rather, the activities relating to gender equality have been not been sufficiently geared for participation by men. To begin with the titles of such events usually make them sound like a women's event, at which men's full participation is not really welcomed. For example, I remember receiving a flyer about a women's conference in this area that invited men to come to do child care and other chores, so that women could participate--I had the impression that men were not allowed (or at least, were not welcome) at the sessions. If there were a men's conference held in this manner, how many women do you suppose would attend? [BTW, the only Baha'i men's events that I know of have not been held under the auspices of any Baha'i institutions. This is not true of women's events, which often have been intiated and/or supported by Baha'i institutions.] The point I am trying to make is that in our community events and discussions the principle of gender equality has been so shaped by the experiences, views, and discourse of women that men don't feel like they "own" the issue. The crux of the problem is that women have been discussing issues among themselves for a long time--both inside and outside of the Baha'i community--and men have not been included in these discussions in any meaningful way. Now one often encounters the (usually unstated) attitude that men really have nothing to say about gender equality; their role is simply to listen and change in accordance with the enlightened views of women. But men have different experiences from women and therefore have their own insights into the the meaning of gender equality. The role of men is not simply to listen to what women have to say, but also to find their own voice and speak. It is time that we began to have true inter-gender dialogue on this subject within the Baha'i community. There was a weekend session at Green Acre some months back that was geared to do just that [I have forgotten the title of the event, but it was about "gender" not "women's" issues.] It was well attended by men (though women, I think were in the majority), and there were meaningful discussions that drew on both men's and women's experiences. The program, incidentally, was planned by a Baha'i women's group. So...Derek, why don't you try something like that at Bosch? Richard From Member1700@aol.comThu Sep 14 18:53:55 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 13:59:03 -0400 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Women on the House I was deeply touched by Juan's reflections on the maturity, and the value, and the uniqueness of our recent discussions on Talisman. I could not agree more heartily with his assessments and with his sentiments. We have succeeded in creating something truly precious and exciting. It is good to step back and appreciate that from time to time. As to the question of the possibility of the future election of women to the Universal House of Justice, I have a very hard time understanding the Talismanians who repeatedly express exhasperation and alarm that we are talking about this at all. Is the point that we should just turn off our minds and repeat the party line over and over? It seems to me that this is a misunderstanding of both the role of the House of Justice and the role of thought and scholarship in the revelation. A letter from the House of Justice is NOT an occasion to stop research, to end questioning, or to refrain from proposing alternate ideas or avenues of action. Indeed, it seems to me that it should be an occasion for just the opposite! When I have acted on my assumption--at least with regard to publishing, there have been concrete and positive results. The rest of this post will be a bit specific and detailed with regard to historical questions, so if you are sick of the whole debate, please stop reading now: There appears to be some lack of clarity among those who support the present exclusion of women from election to the House of Justice (as I most certainly do not) over whether we are maintaining this exclusion in obedience to Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha (1902 and 1909), in obedience to Shoghi Effendi's letters making reference to these Tablets, or in obedience to a recent decision of the Universal House of Justice itself. In any case, I have no problem with our current obedience--especially to the House's ruling. I just think that the ruling can be changed. With regard to the Master's Tablets, even the House of Justice itself has (implicitly) conceded that the 1902 Tablet (the one that says that women cannot serve on the House of Justice and that the wisdom of all this will become as clear as the noonday sun in the future) refers to the Chicago House of Spirituality. There really can be very little question about that. It was written in response to Corinne True's question about the Chicago House. When the Tablet was received it was universally understood to refer to that body--and to all local Houses of Justice. That was the understanding of all the Persian teachers in America, and all of the American Baha'is, including True herself. The 1902 Tablet excludes women from all Houses of Justice. They remained excluded for another ten years in America, and for another fifty years in Iran. I have argued that the 1909 Tablet, which refers to the "Universal" or general House of Justice (baytu'l-adl ummumi) also refers to the Chicago Assembly. I think that it would be very difficult to believe otherwise on rational grounds. The letter was written in response to the same controversy over election of women to local Houses of Justice. When it was received, it was universally understood by the Persian translators, by the Chicago House of Spirituality, and by everyone else that this was 'Abdu'l-Baha's intention. When Corinne True questioned this interpretation, the Chicago House wrote immediately to 'Abdu'l-Baha for a clarification. He did not indicate that their understanding was incorrect. Furthermore, internal evidence from the Tablet itself indicates that the reference is to the local Assembly. 'Abdu'l-Baha says quite clearly--in response to a direct question by Corinne True about women's service on the local body--that women may serve on the committees of the House of Justice, but not on the general (ummumi) body. He even lists the committees! It is really not possible--again on rational grounds--to believe that he is suddenly talking about a future International House of Justice, failing to mention the local House, and listing the local committees in Chicago, and thereby ignoring the question altogether. Beyond this, we have the evidence from Kenosha in 1911, in which in response to a similar controversy in that city, 'Abdu'l-Baha refused to allow the election of women to the Kenosha House of Justice, even though the men were willing to dissolve their local House and elect a gender-integrated one. This Tablet indicates quite irrefutably that 'Abdu'l-Baha's policy had not changed by 1911. And, if the policy been changed in 1909, and it had been 'Abdu'l-Baha's intention to have women elected to the Chicago House at that time--he must have known that this was not done, and that his Tablet was understood to say precisely the opposite by the Chicago House itself (and everyone else). Why didn't he clarify the matter? Especially in response to Chicago's specific request for a clarification? Really, this argument makes no sense at all. As to Shoghi Effendi's letters, they all refer to the 1902 letter. None of them make reference to the 1909 letter, and it is not clear to me that the beloved Guardian had ever even seen that Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha, which only came to light when it was uncovered by the House of Justice a few years ago in the midst of the current controversy. I do not believe that the Guardian intended to "interpret" the 1902 Tablet, and I think that he would have been shocked at the suggestion that he had done so. (I would like to say more about interpretation, but this post is now way too long.) With regard to the recent ruling of the House of Justice, no one has suggested that this decision be disobeyed. How would we do that anyway? We are simply discussing the possibility that, at some appropriate time in the future, the House of Justice might reverse its decision. This is done all the time, and is really not a big deal. I have had the House reverse a number of decisions just with regard to Kalimat Press. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha explicitly gives them that power. It seems to me quite possible, and even likely, that with regard to this issue they will do the same somewhere down the line. (Just my opinion. But, I think that we can all agree that, if they do reverse themselves, they have the right to do so.) As someone said earlier, we would just like to provide some of the intellectual foundations for such a reversal. With apologies for going on and on . . . and on . . . Tony From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 18:54:53 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 10:48:47 PDT From: Rick Schaut To: email@example.com Subject: RE: what if women...? Dear Talizens, On raising daughters: I was rather hoping that we could explore this in a more scholarly manner. We have dug deeply, with the best scholarly tools available to us, into the status of the Tablets of `Abdu'l-Baha and women on the Universal House of Justice. Can we apply the same effort to women's every day lives? And there is, actually, very fertile ground for such scholarly inquiry. The book I mentioned, _How to Father a Successful Daughter_, presents a very good argument to support the conclusion that the behavior of fathers in raising their daughters--habits most men don't even think about regardless their beliefs about the equality of men and women--outweighs any other factor in the development of a girl's self-esteem. On the impact of the exclusionary rule on girls' self-esteem given notions of power: The question, for me, isn't whether there is some negative effect which can arise from the exclusionary rule. The question is in terms of the _relative_ effects, and I expect that its effect would be greatly lessened by imparting a deeper understanding of the principles of Baha'i Administration. This whole discussion has had a very mixed-up sense of proportion. In the, nearly, 24 hours since I asked when Baha'i women would help me raise my daughter in light of the principle of equality of men and women, only one person has sent me any message on the topic. And that person was a man. We have reams of messages on the topic of women on the Universal House of Justice. Why can't the effects of parental attitudes be subject to the same scholarly analysis? How about relationships within the family? Why so many messages about something we cannot change, at least not in the near future, and so few messages about the things we can change here and now? On what would have happened to the Faith if only women were allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice: Is there _any_ reason to believe that most men's faith in Baha'u'llah would be conditioned any differently than the faith of women under the present circumstances? Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 18:57:30 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 15:12:13 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Alethinos@aol.com Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: A kind slap with a gloved anvil . . . On Thu, 14 Sep 1995 Alethinos@aol.com wrote: > It IS about acceptence of the decision of the House - period. I do not see > this claim of "We _accept_ the decision of the House, of course . . . but > really, why can't there be women on the House?!" If I am not mistaken, the House of Justice chose not to rule or legislate on this subject. They stated that the text was clear and that therefore it was outside the parameters of their authority to do so. This, in itself, is an act of interpretation, which in my understanding, is outside the House's sphere of infallibility. Jim, is there a legislative or juridical decision of the UHJ that you feel is not being accepted? If so, what, in your view, would acceptance entail? Those who have followed this thread will recall that it has raised a number of issues relating to Baha'i jurisprudence and epistemology. For example: Is there a heirarchy of sources for Baha'i theology and/or jurisprudence? What are the status of letters written on behalf of the Guardian in Baha'i jurisprudence? What are the status of tablets or letters written to individuals in Baha'i jurisprudence? What limitations are there on the knowledge and/or authority of `Abdu'l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice? How can the interpretive function that is essential to legislation be carried on in the absence of a living Guardian? What is to happen in Baha'i jurisprudence if scholarly research shows that there are Baha'i Writings that `Abdu'l-Baha and/or Shoghi Effendi were unaware of that conflict with their interpretations--or, conversely, what if Writings that they interpreted are proven to be inauthentic [ok, ok, that last one did not come up on this thread]. Do general principles over-ride specific injunctions, when there is a conflict between them? These are all important issues in their own right, whether or not they are linked to hot-button issues such as the exclusion of women from the UHJ. The thread on this subject, then, has raised numerous issues that are critical to the development of Baha'i scholarship; therefore, it has been a constructive discussion regardless of whether or not a consensus has been reached among the talisman participants. In my view, this is exactly why `Abdu'l-Baha so strongly valued freedom of expression and linked it to social progress. This discussion may not ever result in convincing textual evidence that the women should not be excluded from the UHJ or convincing explanations for that exclusion--IMHO, neither of these will be possible until some consensus has been acheived on some of the basic issues mentioned above. But if discussions such as this were proscribed, as some here would seem to prefer, it would definitely set back intellectual develoment and scholarship in the Baha'i community. Such development can only occur in a community of dialogue in which tentative hypotheses can be put forward, critiqued and refined--without the motivations, sincerity, or loyalty of the writers being called into question. Richard Hollinger From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 18:57:51 1995 Date: 14 Sep 95 15:40:07 EDT From: H-C deFlerier deCourcelles <email@example.com> To: "INTERNET:Member1700@aol.com" Cc: Talisman Subject: Re: IUS Question Dear Sir, >Re: Ghaznavi's book, Sexuality, Relationships, and Spiritual Growth--I >personally found its depictions and assumptions concerning heterosexual >relationships to be misleading, repugnant, and destructive. Its approach to >homosexual issues is hardly worth discussing. I just wrote it off as another >poorly written, ill-conceived Baha'i book--and I haven't thought about it >since. But if you approach it from a young teenagers point of view, it seems to be an extremely interesting book - and therefore, in the least, somewhat useful to the education of children. I believe that the author has drawn a substantial amount of inspiration from The Advent of Divine Justice. Annecy (France) Yours sincerely, 14e sep.'95 de Flerier From Chris@baha.demon.co.ukThu Sep 14 18:58:38 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 18:37:37 GMT From: Chris Manvell To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re partisan politics Dear Friends, I was reading a post the other day about not taking part in partisan politics and wonder if any of you could help me here. THE BACKGROUND Within the next month, the island of Skye will joined to the mainland by a much despised bridge. The bridge is privately owned and is to be paid for by charging one of the highest, if not the highest toll in Europe for a 500m crossing, i.e some amount between UKL4.20 ($6.50) to UKL6.00 ($9.00) to take over a car each way. The bridge is a political statement by the UK government, being a precedent for private ownership of a route for which there is no viable alternative. THE PROBLEM While I object most vehemently to this bridge on many grounds, I have no intention of becomming involved in any unseemly condust at the time when it is officially opened. However, my eldest daughter is very keen to take part in the almost inevitable anti-government/bridge demonstration which will accompany the opening. While I am sure that she would not do anything rash, I am worried about the Baha'i attitude to participation in such a demonstration. Can she take part as a private individual, not in any way representing the Faith? While this is a personal problem, and I sure she will take part whatever the answer, I feel that there are many times when Baha'is would wish to take place in marches etc. but feel inhibited by the ban on partisan politics. Hoping someone can give me some guidance, Best Wishes, Chris. -- =============================================================== Chris Manvell, Breacais Iosal, Isle of Skye 184.108.40.206 Ya Baha'u'l-Abha! From TLCULHANE@aol.comThu Sep 14 19:02:02 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 16:30:19 -0400 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Men and the House Dear Friends, The weeks long dialogue regarding women and the House has dovetailed with my own agony and ecstasy about the world , male identity, and the role and responsibility of men in that world . After a descent into the Siyah Chal of my own soul ( which frequently felt like Lessings "briefing for a descent into hell " ) I offer my personal thoughts and feelings on this issue . Nothing herein should be assumed as a grand philosphical statement or an elaborate theology , neither of which I am competent to indulge . I would rather you think of this as one mans description , as honestly stated as he knows how , of his thoughts on men and the House . I write this imagining myself with all of you in the Walbridges living room or one of your choice because so doing will keep me focused on how I want to express myself . I intend this to be a personal exploration with my friends rather than a detached cerebral exercise in cyberspace . With that intro allow me to first state the conclusions of my personal struggle . I have been persuaded by the cogent arguments in favor of women on the House. The "rijal" applies to women argument is persuasive . Most of the dialogue has seemed to focus on what Mary Ann Glendon , the law professor has called "Rights Talk " . It has also been understood in terms of power and representation all of which I agree with . In the midst of my struggle something kept creeping in my soul that , for me at least, something was missing . What seemed to be missing was the role and responsibility of men . In what probably amounts to "coming out of the closet " I must suggest the following : The exemption rather than exclusion of women has nothing to do in my mind with the capacity or lack thereof with respect to women . I have argued against such interpretations for years. I believe it has a lot to do with the responsibility of men . I would , hestitatingly , suggest that the limitation on gender service on the House exists because most men , not all , most men need what David Taylor a few days ago referred to as " symbolic patriarchy." Allow me to be more personal .I consider myself one of those men . I need men on the House of Justice ! It is an issue of symbolic patriarchy for me . More importantly it is a reminder to me of the role and responsibility of men in the world . Please dont consider this a wish for domination or control . It has nothing to do with all that . I want to go a different direction for a while that than the language of "rights talk". I want to go in the direction of the language of responsilbiity. All rights exist in a corresponding context of responsibility. Somehow the exclusion of the language of responsibility from the dialogue , especially mens responsibility, impoverishes my sense of what it is to be human and what it means to be a man . Somehow life as it is lived is not only a question of rights ; it is also about the responsibilities we have to one another as human beings and as men and women . I find that I rebel against psychological androgeny . We are different in some way and it is those differences which need celebrating. It is because of this i do not find the exemption of women irrational . Human beings live in more places than the rational cognitive mode . We have mytho-poetic domains and transrational ones as well . And I think this issue lies in those domains as well . In the same sense that Baha'u'llah could advocate constitutional democracy he also did not want kingship to disappear from the earth. He said it was a sign of God . I believe the Arabic word is "ayat". It seems this "sign" manifested itself for thousands of years as part of a social form we have come to understand as patriarchy. This is asssumed to be a bad thing . It seems to me , not being a proponent of the idea of progress , that this "sign" may exist for our continued benefit . It may exist for the benefit of men as a symbol of transformed patriarchy. I live in a Bahai community that is predominately women. Their children are predominately boys. By predominant I mean better that two-thirds in both instances .( six members of our LSA are women) I have been known to suggest to these boys , whose fathers take a limited if at all interest in their lives, that the men of the House of Justice are counting on them to become a new race of men. Men who understand that their role, as men, is to "protect and safeguard men , women and children as Baha'u'llah describes in the Kalimat with reference to the Houses . A gender that has brought us rape pillage, and plunder for thousands of years now needs to learn that being a man is not about power or wealth or domination or self-engrandizing behavior . It is not about big houses in exclusive suburbs or individualistic achievment as an end in itself . It is , it seems to me about consultation and collective action. It is about the Responsibility to protect and safeguard not only women and children but also other men . It is about all the things that the House of Justice represents to me, all the Responsibilities Baha'ullah has placed on the House in the Aqdas, the Bisherat , Kalimat and Ishraqat. In my heart of hearts I believe men need to hear this from the men of the House of Justice and precisely because this is has not been the course of human history nor is it the current understanding today . Men , I believe , need to learn that "pride" is in empowering others , men as well as women. It is is refusing to perpetuate gender violence. I cant tell you how much pride I felt as a man in the statement from the House on Violence to women . Men need to learn that "accomplishment' is in assuming responsibility for the spiritual and moral education of their children and that this is as important as providing for their financial support. That being a man is about more than the size of the check you can write. These are some of the reasons I need men on the House, to learn a new way of being and it has , for better or worse , a dimension that must be taught by other men , particularly to young boys . I like to think that men on the House is a gift from my favorite Feminine Being BAHAULLAH . I am just silly enough to think that the "Queen of Heaven "(the Sign) from my childhood is the Glory of God . I also dont think we appreciate as a community the significance of BAHAULLAH as Divine Feminine . there is a tendenct to symbolize or allegorize it away and miss the profound spiritual reality into which the symbol/allegory leads. This exists at the level of God-Talk. At this level we get to the heart of our relationship with and access to God . I truly believe that in this dispensation Manifestation is feminine and as that reality forms and re-shapes human consciousness and embodies itself in social institutions we will begin to have a much greater understanding of what this men and women thing, "how to be and how to live", is all about . I believe this implies that the historical claims of women and children have first claim to a societies resources. I believe this expresses itself in the Baha'i Community through a recognition and observance of the Mashriqu'l- -Adhkar as The seat ( Throne)around which its spiritual , humanitarian and administrative activities will cluster " as the Guardian has described or in the words of the House " . . the Mashriqu'l - Adhkar, the spiritual center of every Bahai community . ." I truly believe once we as a community begin to devote our time , energy, and resources to this it will become apparent that "administration" circles around the Mashriq and serves it . I also believe this will change our consciousness of what it means to speak of the House of Justice as head of the Faith . When I consider the opening paragraph of the Aqdas and recognition and observance I have often wondered what this first "duty prescribed by God" was all about . I believe , very fundamentally it is about the recognition and observance of the Divine Feminine and the awesome holiness that all this entails. I believe this recognition will advance the cause of women in ways we can only dimly imagine or Abdu'lbaha's phrase about extraordinary privileges will be hers . I believe this recognition will offer men an alternative to rape ,pillage and plunder and make it unthinkable. And I believe this is why I still need the men of the House. I need them to remind me what it is "to observe My commandments for the love of My beauty." I find in the life of Mirza Husayn Ali just this recognition and observance of the Divine Feminine, Baha'u'llah, the ineffable Beauty of the Glory of God . The more I learn of the Bahau llah of history from Juan and others the more I see this pattern of Husayn Ali's "heart surrender" to BAHA"U"LLAH as Divine Feminine. A lover and a Beloved ! This is I believe the foremost reality the House exists to "protectand safeguard" . The journey of the soul , every soul , as lover to the House of the Beloved the "House of God". When the time comes that the House of Justice alters the exemption of women from service on that body, and I expect that to be someplace the near side of the Most Great Peace, it will have less to do with the advancement of women into all spheres of human life than it will with men having assumed and excercised the responsibility to " protect and safeguard" with all the understandings of the exercise of power as service that it entails . with sincere love to my friends , Terry From TLCULHANE@aol.comThu Sep 14 19:02:59 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 16:30:19 -0400 From: TLCULHANE@aol.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Men and the House Dear Friends, The weeks long dialogue regarding women and the House has dovetailed with my own agony and ecstasy about the world , male identity, and the role and responsibility of men in that world . After a descent into the Siyah Chal of my own soul ( which frequently felt like Lessings "briefing for a descent into hell " ) I offer my personal thoughts and feelings on this issue . Nothing herein should be assumed as a grand philosphical statement or an elaborate theology , neither of which I am competent to indulge . I would rather you think of this as one mans description , as honestly stated as he knows how , of his thoughts on men and the House . I write this imagining myself with all of you in the Walbridges living room or one of your choice because so doing will keep me focused on how I want to express myself . I intend this to be a personal exploration with my friends rather than a detached cerebral exercise in cyberspace . With that intro allow me to first state the conclusions of my personal struggle . I have been persuaded by the cogent arguments in favor of women on the House. The "rijal" applies to women argument is persuasive . Most of the dialogue has seemed to focus on what Mary Ann Glendon , the law professor has called "Rights Talk " . It has also been understood in terms of power and representation all of which I agree with . In the midst of my struggle something kept creeping in my soul that , for me at least, something was missing . What seemed to be missing was the role and responsibility of men . In what probably amounts to "coming out of the closet " I must suggest the following : The exemption rather than exclusion of women has nothing to do in my mind with the capacity or lack thereof with respect to women . I have argued against such interpretations for years. I believe it has a lot to do with the responsibility of men . I would , hestitatingly , suggest that the limitation on gender service on the House exists because most men , not all , most men need what David Taylor a few days ago referred to as " symbolic patriarchy." Allow me to be more personal .I consider myself one of those men . I need men on the House of Justice ! It is an issue of symbolic patriarchy for me . More importantly it is a reminder to me of the role and responsibility of men in the world . Please dont consider this a wish for domination or control . It has nothing to do with all that . I want to go a different direction for a while that than the language of "rights talk". I want to go in the direction of the language of responsilbiity. All rights exist in a corresponding context of responsibility. Somehow the exclusion of the language of responsibility from the dialogue , especially mens responsibility, impoverishes my sense of what it is to be human and what it means to be a man . Somehow life as it is lived is not only a question of rights ; it is also about the responsibilities we have to one another as human beings and as men and women . I find that I rebel against psychological androgeny . We are different in some way and it is those differences which need celebrating. It is because of this i do not find the exemption of women irrational . Human beings live in more places than the rational cognitive mode . We have mytho-poetic domains and transrational ones as well . And I think this issue lies in those domains as well . In the same sense that Baha'u'llah could advocate constitutional democracy he also did not want kingship to disappear from the earth. He said it was a sign of God . I believe the Arabic word is "ayat". It seems this "sign" manifested itself for thousands of years as part of a social form we have come to understand as patriarchy. This is asssumed to be a bad thing . It seems to me , not being a proponent of the idea of progress , that this "sign" may exist for our continued benefit . It may exist for the benefit of men as a symbol of transformed patriarchy. I live in a Bahai community that is predominately women. Their children are predominately boys. By predominant I mean better that two-thirds in both instances .( six members of our LSA are women) I have been known to suggest to these boys , whose fathers take a limited if at all interest in their lives, that the men of the House of Justice are counting on them to become a new race of men. Men who understand that their role, as men, is to "protect and safeguard men , women and children as Baha'u'llah describes in the Kalimat with reference to the Houses . A gender that has brought us rape pillage, and plunder for thousands of years now needs to learn that being a man is not about power or wealth or domination or self-engrandizing behavior . It is not about big houses in exclusive suburbs or individualistic achievment as an end in itself . It is , it seems to me about consultation and collective action. It is about the Responsibility to protect and safeguard not only women and children but also other men . It is about all the things that the House of Justice represents to me, all the Responsibilities Baha'ullah has placed on the House in the Aqdas, the Bisherat , Kalimat and Ishraqat. In my heart of hearts I believe men need to hear this from the men of the House of Justice and precisely because this is has not been the course of human history nor is it the current understanding today . Men , I believe , need to learn that "pride" is in empowering others , men as well as women. It is is refusing to perpetuate gender violence. I cant tell you how much pride I felt as a man in the statement from the House on Violence to women . Men need to learn that "accomplishment' is in assuming responsibility for the spiritual and moral education of their children and that this is as important as providing for their financial support. That being a man is about more than the size of the check you can write. These are some of the reasons I need men on the House, to learn a new way of being and it has , for better or worse , a dimension that must be taught by other men , particularly to young boys . I like to think that men on the House is a gift from my favorite Feminine Being BAHAULLAH . I am just silly enough to think that the "Queen of Heaven "(the Sign) from my childhood is the Glory of God . I also dont think we appreciate as a community the significance of BAHAULLAH as Divine Feminine . there is a tendenct to symbolize or allegorize it away and miss the profound spiritual reality into which the symbol/allegory leads. This exists at the level of God-Talk. At this level we get to the heart of our relationship with and access to God . I truly believe that in this dispensation Manifestation is feminine and as that reality forms and re-shapes human consciousness and embodies itself in social institutions we will begin to have a much greater understanding of what this men and women thing, "how to be and how to live", is all about . I believe this implies that the historical claims of women and children have first claim to a societies resources. I believe this expresses itself in the Baha'i Community through a recognition and observance of the Mashriqu'l- -Adhkar as The seat ( Throne)around which its spiritual , humanitarian and administrative activities will cluster " as the Guardian has described or in the words of the House " . . the Mashriqu'l - Adhkar, the spiritual center of every Bahai community . ." I truly believe once we as a community begin to devote our time , energy, and resources to this it will become apparent that "administration" circles around the Mashriq and serves it . I also believe this will change our consciousness of what it means to speak of the House of Justice as head of the Faith . When I consider the opening paragraph of the Aqdas and recognition and observance I have often wondered what this first "duty prescribed by God" was all about . I believe , very fundamentally it is about the recognition and observance of the Divine Feminine and the awesome holiness that all this entails. I believe this recognition will advance the cause of women in ways we can only dimly imagine or Abdu'lbaha's phrase about extraordinary privileges will be hers . I believe this recognition will offer men an alternative to rape ,pillage and plunder and make it unthinkable. And I believe this is why I still need the men of the House. I need them to remind me what it is "to observe My commandments for the love of My beauty." I find in the life of Mirza Husayn Ali just this recognition and observance of the Divine Feminine, Baha'u'llah, the ineffable Beauty of the Glory of God . The more I learn of the Bahau llah of history from Juan and others the more I see this pattern of Husayn Ali's "heart surrender" to BAHA"U"LLAH as Divine Feminine. A lover and a Beloved ! This is I believe the foremost reality the House exists to "protectand safeguard" . The journey of the soul , every soul , as lover to the House of the Beloved the "House of God". When the time comes that the House of Justice alters the exemption of women from service on that body, and I expect that to be someplace the near side of the Most Great Peace, it will have less to do with the advancement of women into all spheres of human life than it will with men having assumed and excercised the responsibility to " protect and safeguard" with all the understandings of the exercise of power as service that it entails . with sincere love to my friends , Terry From email@example.comThu Sep 14 19:11:09 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 09:56:44 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: somewhat excessive Ffolks, Juan has given an overview of his perception of what Talisman has been and is like. In it he, yet again, praised the contribution of Susan Brill, and, yet again, failed to mention how extremely disconcerted Susan was at the discursive practices of Talisman, and that the consternation she felt was a major factor precipitating her departure. However, I agree with Juan concerning the value of her contribution. If anyone has a collection of her letters, I'd like copies -- and I think that Talisman would be the richer for their re-publication here. I have a real debt to Susan as it was she ALONE who gave me a sympathetic reading during my early Talisman days. Which may seem strange to some! I'd like to mention some aspects of my Talisman experience. Really, I'd like to express my values through reference to people... First let me mention some other friends who have exited. Well, there was this guy called Tom who works for the Faith at Washington DC. Such a richly witty and devout gent was he. Then there was the mystical Farzin who just could not be pinned down. And God's intoxicate, JKA, badly misunderstood by several Talismanians, and whose departure is certain index of our failings. Oh, there are others; Roxanne from Alberta springs to mind... And now Quanta, who validated Foucault's wish to promote marginalised voices... Also Janine who had a knack of finding just the right balance when others went too far down perilous ways. Did I forget Sheila? Wow: always a hyacinth. Brent -- the supremo ---- who, in my mind, looks like Richard Gere -- has been foremost among my favourites here. I have found his story inevitably sane and sincere and intellectually insightful. One of his traits which I have admired immensely but have been unable to immitate has been ability to skirt controversy -- or to at least deal with it with diplomacy. I see Rick Schaut and Tim Nolan as scholars in the same mold. People with whom I have felt considerable personal affinity (whether they like me or not) are Ahang, Terry, Eric, David (the poet) Stephen Friberg and the most fantastic Burl Barer. And -- always/always/always -- Saman: sooo cool. Terry's advocacy of the feminine has been as poignant as a Celtic song. Ted Cope's (where are yah Ted? [I think he has found love in Ohio!]) tireless pursuit of the imaginary and his amazing capacity for personal honesty have been wonderous to behold. The "critical" citizenry of Talisman has constantly had me dumbfounded but, in my better moments, I feel that they provide a kind of axis about which this whole thing turns. There's Juan, of course, whose opinions I sometimes -- as I am sure he knows -- absolutely detest, but whose adamant positionings have always been pivotal to and points of departure for discussions. Sen, Richard Hollinger, John, Sonja, Chris... and so on. The voice I have feared most has been Linda's. SUCH a combination of sweetness and terror! I have been pleased to hear Mary's astute and helpful voice. And another of my compatriots, Suzanne, is always readable and heartfelt... (I wish William would add his 2 cents worth. Now THERE is a challenging scholar). Ahmad and Jim are not afraid to stick their necks out: more power to them! There are so many. So many -- and I apologise to those I have unjustly neglected to mention. (Nima for instance!) Others say that they have learned a lot from Talisman. I can't say that my knowledge of the Faith has increased that much.(Simple guy that I am). Translations leave me cold. To me this is simply a site where the friends speak to one another -- and for that alone I stay. The intellectual gymnastics are sometimes fun, sometimes intriguing... But it is -- finally -- a matter of the heart for me... It would be plain ingratitude to not thank John for providing this opportunity to meet with kin from all corners of the globe. I feel his presence -- IMV detached, watchful and warm -- whenever I care to look. He has tolerated my tantrums too... I'd like to hear MORE women's voices, and MORE voices from outside of America, and MORE voices from other ethnic groups. I figure that as a discussion becomes more genuinely universal it becomes more genuinely valuable. (And I wish the mysterious de Flerier would introduce himself!). Robert. From email@example.comThu Sep 14 19:12:17 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 16:57:54 -0500 (CDT) From: John Bromberek To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Clocks and Dates Tony, > Yes, such things have come up before--especially with regard to the > correct date for the martyrdom of the Bab, which all non-Baha'i > sources insist took place on the 8th of July and not the 9th of July. Interesting. > ...dates being fairly arbitrary anyway--I am not sure what > difference it makes. Suppose the Bab was born on October 21? > ...It is only a remembrance, after all. True, but some of us are more retentive than others. [Hello, my name is John, and I am compulsively meticulous (in non-houskeeping matters). Help me...] If I can't know precisely when something happened it sort-of makes it less real. Give me the Julian Date down to the third decimal place and I feel much better about it. Last April I had a bit of a shock. About a week after sending out the annual election call, I was paging through _God Passes By_ and happened across the words: "...Wednesday afternoon (April 22, 1863) ...forever after designated as the first day of the Ridvan Festival..." What? How could I have made such a huge mistake? For some reason I had thought that we always had our elections on the night of the 20th. And now I find out that it is actually April 22 that was "forever after designated...the first day of...Ridvan". I checked in _Words and Numbers_, and, sure enough, it was April 22, 1863. What to do? Then I checked in the _Guidelines for LSA's_ and it says April 21. Oh, so I'm not crazy? Well, I then went and looked at the calendar for 1863 and discovered that the last day of Ramadan, that year, fell on the Vernal Equinox. I surmise that it was deemed inappropriate to celebrate Naw-Ruz during the Muslim Fast, and, so it was postponed for another day. Thus, Ridvan, fell 31 days after Naw-Ruz that year, and it still does fall 31 days after Naw-Ruz, but that now corresponds to April 21. Also, it is a little disconcerting to know that the Declaration of the Bab occurred at 2hr-11min after sunset, if you can't state for sure what day of the year it was. But, that's just me. Knowing the day of the week can be helpful for pinning these things down. In any case, I agree that there is no use overly-concerning ourselves about any of this just now, since the House of Justice has not yet even established a standard for the determination of the "day" of the Vernal Equinox. [And, even the Holy Day observances at the World Centre which are set according to the Islamic Calendar use a calculated calendar, rather than the sighting of the moon...] John B. email@example.com From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 19:13:23 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 18:16:25 EDT From: "K. Paul Johnson" To: email@example.com Subject: Martin/Miller Today I read Douglas Martin's "The Missionary as Historian" which attacks Wm. M. Miller's The Baha'i Faith, portraying it as a sectarian Christian attack on the Baha'is. Although Martin succeeds in undermining Miller's credibility in certain areas, he makes so many Baha'i assumptions that his review must remain largely unpersuasive to non-Baha'is. The impression I get about those assumptions is that Martin can appeal to an overwhelmingly Baha'i readership which takes them for granted: 1. Any criticism of Baha'i beliefs or history is motivated by evil, sectarian, destructive factors, which fulfill prophecies about persecution. PJ--Excuse me, but how in the world can we have any dialogue whatsoever if y'all persist in such a paranoid outlook? Give it a rest. Miller's book is of marginal academic value, published obscurely, not at all professionally. To treat it as Another Example of the Divinely Foreseen Conspiracy Against Us is to elevate the book's dignity and lower your own. 2. All central figures of the Faith were paragons of spotless virtue, and any claim to the contrary is easily refuted by an examination of the Baha'i literature. PJ--Same old same old that any religious apologists throw at any inquiry that pulls their chains. This also serves to make scholarly dialogue impossible. 3. Standards of evidence that have never been applied to works espousing a pro-Baha'i viewpoint are suddenly introduced when useful for rejecting an anti-Baha'i viewpoint. That Miller deserves some of the complaints of Martin is indubitable. But I get the distinct impression that Martin is doing exactly what he condemns Miller for: disguising an overwhelmingly sectarian motivation with the appearance of scholarly objectivity. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 19:13:56 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 14:07:51 PDT From: Rick Schaut To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Women on the House Dear Friends, >From: > There appears to be some lack of clarity among those who support the >present exclusion of women from election to the House of Justice (as I most >certainly do not) over whether we are maintaining this exclusion in obedience >to Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha (1902 and 1909), in obedience to Shoghi Effendi's >letters making reference to these Tablets, or in obedience to a recent >decision of the Universal House of Justice itself. In any case, I have no >problem with our current obedience--especially to the House's ruling. I just >think that the ruling can be changed. Firstly, the phrase "those who support the present exclusion" doesn't accurately capture what people have said. The issue isn't one of support or lack thereof. The issue is whether or not it can be changed under the powers currently available to the Universal House of Justice. Secondly, central to that issue is the status of the statements that `Abdu'l-Baha made in this regard. As far as I'm concerned, the source of all clarity in this issue lies in the phrase "According to the explicit text of the Law of God." When `Abdu'l-Baha uses that phrase, He's interpreting the the text, and I see no way around this. I've seen a lot of this discussion focus on what `Abdu'l-Baha said in the various tablets in question. I've seen next to no discussion centering on what `Abdu'l-Baha was _doing_, expressed in terms of the spheres of authority, when He wrote those words. I'd really like to see this discussion take a turn in two directions simultaneously. I'd like to see people address their remarks to what it means when `Abdu'l-Baha says, "According to the explicit text of the law of God." And, I'd like to see _some_ scholarly discussion of the ways in which our attitudes play part in the extent to which we can realize the principle of the equality of men and women. Warmest Regards, Rick Schaut From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:13:18 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 16:05:40 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re Women and the House of Justice/ Inter-Gender Dialogue! My dear Richard Thank-you for your thoughtful response to my posting on the subject of the development of Gender Understanding which is what I believe you took the discussion into. I think you hit the 'nail on the head' when you commented that men do not feel they'own' the issue.Women in my experience are tired of men telling them how they should feel or sitting politely when women are speaking and not responding unless it is in protest. We do not address the problem in our Communities and I am not saying that individual Baha'i men have not change but really we have only started to nibble at the surface.We need more dis- cussion on bringing up daughters by their Fathers what role should men play,how can we ensure the outside World does not take away their self-esteem and confidence. Are we really helping with career choices, do we assist them in finding a partner who they can have a loving and stable life with.. If they want to be single are we backing their choice, I have the honour of having young people as my students for up to 12 months.The young women do not find the Baha'i Community as supporting as you believe it is. I accept programs have been run and offered at a whole variety of venues to try and motivate the Community into creating a new model of action on this issue. I believe the Inter-Gender Dialogue is a great title what we need to do is put some bones to it and flesh it out.Men should relaise we no more should want to own the issue, than we should want to own a woman.I know I am unfair picking on that point, however it is about ownership.Women need to believe they are equal partners with men , if that means really listening then men will have to do it.By the way listening needs to be learnt , hearing is not good enough. We have turned over at Bosch the Women's Conference to a group of local Ladies, they had the first one last year.They didn't want men to attend primarily because they wanted to cre- ate an atmosphere of free expression, on things they had not felt were worthy of general discussion. I was awed by the sense of Love and Fellowship at that Gath- ering.The future is good if we can find the way to interlink so that the sharing becomes sec- ond nature or as I am fond of telling students on matters of the Faith first nature. To take Linda's comments regarding past religions that I believe is a lesson to us all from the past. We need to ensure that the shape of the Community, that is happen now we are part of that process, is in accordance with the Writings, and I am not referring to calls to loyalty which I have always found to be repugnant, but a thoughtful examination of all the things we do to ensure is based on Scripture. Not personal ideas especially if they are not in accord with the Writings.If the exemption of women from the House of Justice is used to preclude them from other areas of activity then we have a major situation on our hands the future that is. Yet what caused women to be excluded in other religions it was not the privileges or exemptions but the clergy who created theology that corrupted the meaning and intent of Scripture .The Blessed Beauty in one place says if I recall 'The people living in the days of the Manifestations of old uttered such unseemly sayings and these were recorded circum- spectly in the Holy Books'. Who were the clergy, self-appointed men who decided the spiritual fate of millions. Witch burning was carried out by the clergy etc etc.Who developed the concept women do not have souls, clerics who were men. So do we have clergy no we do not.are we allowed to have clergy no we are not.So one of the first steps is to make sure a defacto clergy does not emerge , the Mullahs in Islam are an example of an Institution that was created without the permission of the Prophet upon Him be blessings and peace. I think Linda's concern is historically valid but if we hold firm to the text it will be an unfulfilled worry. She express exactly the concerns I hear women of all ages stating ,'that most girls don't grow up feeling that secure anyway'. Unfortunately that insecurity washes over all women in one way or another. So Baha'i men need to create an environment in which women can feel secure not imprisoned, wanted not owned, in other words a society in stark contrast to the world we live in.If only women served on the House of Justice Linda's surmise could be correct that reflects on the spiritual immaturity of men. I have just finished reading Terry's beautiful posting he and I agree on the Spirit, that Maid of Heaven so much that I am moved deeply that another could express my own thoughts in such a way. It is if my mind has been read and expressed far better than I could in written form. I note Richard's comments that this discussion has raised the hope that Baha'i Scholarship can start with the free exchange of ideas. I do not agree with Juan's theory on how we can see the Writings on this matter as I have already stated.But I rejoice that openness in fellowship leads to greater exploration of the Words of God as Baha'u'llah states in the Kitab-i-Iqan 'there are two and seventy meanings to every verse'.It could be these feeble attempts of ours lead us down that path as Richard posted'the discussion may not ever result in convincing textual evidence'. It might just start a program of reform that brings Gender issues to the front of Baha'i Community Life in a manner that will make us all happy especially the gentler and kinder Gender..Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:15:46 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 11:29 GMT+1200 From: Alison & Steve Marshall To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Baha'i jurisprudence Although I studied jurisprudence, I still find it difficult to get a handle on what it is - and worse still, is getting a handle on a Baha'i jurisprudence. Anyway, following the kinds of questions that Juan has put forward as possible steps towards developing a Baha'i jurisprudence - the application of principles in relation to exceptions - I wonder about the principle of unity in diversity. I've been thinking about unity in diversity for a long time now and its one of my favourite principles. And to think that it was only a week ago that I read shoghi Effendi say: "For the bedrock of the Baha'i administrative order is the principle of unity in diversity". (Dawn of a new day, p47-8) I know that there are many who would argue that having no women on the House is an acceptable exception to the principle of the equality of men and women, but it also an exception to the principle of unity in diversity. I had a sort of had a disagreement with my NSA about whether diversity was an essential condition to unity. You now, if everyone is the same - say, all men - is unity possible. I guess the answer is that it is, but not it is not as superior a unity if you include women as well. So, based on this principle, a House that incorporates women is superior to one that is exclusively made up of men. Alison From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:17:43 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 10:13:04 +1000 From: Ahmad Aniss To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Is the argument right? We see Dear Friends, A couple of friends have presented to us the misunderstanding that there are historical and factual problems associated with the writings of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, Guardian, and UHJ in regard to state of affairs for women in relationship to membership on UHJ. They mostly base their arguments on the statement of Baha'u'llah that "women are considered as men in this Dispensation", and the historical tablets of Abdu'l-Baha regarding to UHJ matter to Ms Corrine True. In addition they state that The Guardian and UHJ have merely referred the friends to those tablets and hence the argument goes on. As I have not been able to convince them of their misunderstandings in this regard, (not because my arguments are week, but because their conviction on this matter is so strong that they can no longer accept justified arguments), I have decided to tackle the problem by another avenue. I am going to use their arguments on the Law of Kitab Aqhdas regrading "men can have two wife if they can treat them equally", and try to see how it upholds itself. Perhaps this way of argument can clear the muddy situation. Now as they say Baha'u'llah has said in this Dispensation women are considered as men. He also states in the Holy Book that men can have two wives if they treat them equally. Putting these two laws together then we come up with the notion that women also can have two husbands if they treat them equally. So we come up with a situation that is like this, a man can have two wives and his wife can have two husbands (him and a second husband) and vice versa. Then a family unit in Baha'i Faith can be of maximum of four individuals, two wives and two husbands. Now but Abdu'l-Baha has stated that this law is conditional on each being able to treat the other equally. But, perhaps (God forbidding) He got it wrong (in a similar manner that the other argument states in regard to UHJ), As a main principle of Baha'u'llah is equality of men and women and He states that this will be achieved in this Dispensation erelong. If men and women are equal in the site of God and eventually mankind can achieve this, then they must be able to put this law in their daily lives and hence be able to treat every wife or husband equally. Then based on the equality principle, a wife or a husband can have two husbands or wives conditional to achievement of this principle, as they will be able to treat their partners equally. So where does this take us. We might not be able to do it for the time being as that principle is not established yet and when it is, then the UHJ must (based on this argument) implement a change of the interpretation of Abdu'l-Baha statement regarding marriage law. Like the matter of UHJ, the arguments of Abdu'l-Baha must be over ruled, because there will be a time that men and women would have obtained that equality which we so much need and would be able to treat each other equally. So we must wait until such time that the situation is ripe enough so that a future UHJ would implement the marriage law of Baha'u'llah has stated it in the Holy Book. Now an important thing here, is that given the current situation in world (i.e. promiscuity among different sexes) and ever increasing desire of opposite sexes to have multiple relationships then we Baha'is must in order to accept those individuals into our Faith be so flexible and introduce this law of Baha'u'llah for generality of mankind. So that outsiders can see our Faith flexible enough and see the Cause acceptable to their needs and desires. So creasy or not, like Juan I would like to send a fotwa to you all, in this regard. I am not joking and it is not funny at all. After all I am using the same factors used in the other argument. Why should it be valid for one and not the other. If the above argument is not satisfactory then the other argument (matter of UHJ) must likewise be not satisfactory. As they apply the same laws and principles and they imply the same manner of acceptance of our Holy Writings. So to say that Abdu'l-Baha is conditioned with the view of western believers and as a result He implemented some changes in application of Baha'i laws is outer nonsense. He was invested with authority, and so The Guardian and so The current UHJ. Each of these had and have guidance of God and His Manifestation from an Spiritual World. The fact that they were guided, means that they are free of error. So based on the above argument, I consider the arguments of those whom want to see a change of the law regarding the membership of UHJ, to be utter nonsense and misleading. The UHJ has clearly stated that there is no room for speculation and the law is clearly embedded in our Teachings. Now where does this take us. Yes! back to the Wisdom that Abdu'l-Baha has mentioned. In my many conversations that I have had with local friends and groups of Baha'is like Talisman, I have seen friends put forward such strange and kooky suggestions which the like of them are currently can be seen on Talismans discussions (i.e. women's compassionate character, women's child bearing roles, women's menopause and so on). All these suggestions are kooky to me and can not stand the true argument at any time. However, a wisdom that is based on a universal law of God (i.e. male and female principle) and metaphorically its extension to all world's of God does stand up towards any just argument. It is the law of Creation. It originates from the Love of God for Creation. It's continuity is so awesome. Love is the bases of Creation. As such God has created these levels of existences. He wishes to be worshiped and be known, Hence He has created the Physical World. To guide this physical world (Mankind) He sends Manifestations. This can only be through that principle of active force and recipient. As such He uses men to deliver this metaphoric child of His creation to Mankind. I can go on and on in this regard, but I think I should now leave it to the judgement of my fellow Talismanians, as whether this argument is appropriate or not. With baha'i Love and Fellowship, Ahmad. _______________________________________________________________________ ^ ^ ^ Dr. A.M. Aniss, From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:18:13 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 21:57:27 From: Wendi and Moojan Momen To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: women & UHJ In article: <01HV7DDYX0DU001K3R@RLMAT1.RULIMBURG.NL> Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl writes: > On the other hand, some men, I am told, retain both viable > sperm and physical virility into their 80's, so there is an appreciable > chance that a man with young children will eventually be elected. > Assuming that childrearing is truly seen as equally important as > other community-shaping activities, the House will just have to adjust. > And I'm sure it can (in both cases). A man with young children already has been elected to the UHJ. Ian Semple's children were born after he was elected a member of the UHJ. Houshmand Fatheazam had a young son at the time of his election. Several other members of the first UHJ had slightly older children at the time they were elected. -- Wendi and Moojan Momen email@example.com Tel./Fax: (44) 1767 627626 From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 22:18:41 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 11:58:33 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Alison & Steve Marshall , email@example.com Subject: Re: Baha'i jurisprudence Alison wrote: >I know >that there are many who would argue that having no women on the House is an >acceptable exception to the principle of the equality of men and women, but >it also an exception to the principle of unity in diversity. I am not convinced. Diversity is really intractable difference. Derrida called it "differance" and made it the hallmark of his postmodern position, saying that all meanings were deferred and differential. Kristeva and others followed suit. Now, on this basis, it would seem that the gender constitution of the House does conform to the rule of diversity: it is an apparently irresolvably mysterious reality sanctioned by/within the Unity of the Covenant. The faith does not conform to the mathematical rules of a bourgeois shopkeeper. Hence I find the following conclusion unproven: > So, based on this >principle, a House that incorporates women is superior to one that is >exclusively made up of men. Re: >Although I studied jurisprudence, I still find it difficult to get a handle >on what it is Is is not the scientific-rational understanding of law? I could be wrong.. Robert. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 22:19:22 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 19:18:08 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Quddus The provisional bottom line for me is that Quddus may be a Lesser Prophet. Gads, I sound like a lawyer. I do not understand how "rank" fits into this. Is the Master of greater "rank?" Since the Master is, in the words of the Guardian, "essentially human" and thus distinguished from a Prophet, Greater or Lesser, is it possible for His rank to be greater than that of Quddus or any Lesser Prophet? Dunno. On the one hand they are Prophets so there is an inherent greatness to them. On the other hand the Master is quoted in the "Dispensation" as saying that a true Baha'i can attain the station of a Lesser Prophet in this Day. As far as the identification of Baha'u'llah or the Bab with Quddus and this being support for Quddus being a Manifestation (apparently Greater is what Ahang is saying), there is the example of the prayer in "Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah" where Baha'u'llah identifies Himself not only with Jesus and Muhammad and the Bab, but also with John the Baptist and Joseph and the Imam Husayn. There is a letter from the Guardian on this which says that this does not mean that all of them are equal in station or that they are all Manifestations (Greater Prophets). That quote might be illuminating in this discussion. Brent From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 22:20:04 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 20:05:01 -0400 From: Ahang Rabbani To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Martyrs of Manshad -- part 3 [This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII] Meanwhile the people who had gathered around Muhammad-Sadiq, numbering about three hundred, embraced the idea of vandalizing and confiscating all Baha'i belongings, along with putting to death a number of the members of the community. One influential believer, Haj Ali-Muhammad, was soon informed of this gathering and arrived to suppress the flame of hatred glowing in the hearts of the fanatical populace. After much talking and persuasion, he was able to calm the crowd and disperse the gathering. Afterwards, he came directly to my house, happy that the group had a change of heart. The crowd, however, remained quiet for only a short time before becoming agitated again, an agitation much louder than before. Once again, Haj Ali-Muhammad went out to calm the crowd, but his efforts were in vain this time and the mob's abusive cries grew worse. In the midst of all these commotion, Aqa Ghulam-Rida, the son of Hajji Ali-Naqi and a staunch believer, crossed paths with Siyyid Ibrahim. In a rage of anger, Siyyid Ibrahim decides that right there and then to take Aqa Ghulam-Rida's life by beating him with his sheperd's rod. Luckily, Aqa Ghulam-Rida escaped from the hands of this barbarous man. The Siyyid, seeing a distant group of rioters approaching, deceitfully lay motionless on the ground as if he had fatally fallen victim to the hands of a Baha'i. The angry crowd gathered around him, shouting "O people, shame has befallen Islam. Baha'is have murdered the Siyyid!" The people, who by now numbered in excess of three hundred, lifted the Siyyid's supposedly lifeless body and carried him to the house of Muhammad-i Kalantar, the town's chief. There they continued with their accusations and agitation that the Baha'is have killed this Siyyid! The Kalantar sent a messenger to my house bearing the news that a Baha'i has beaten up a man, who remains unconscious in the chief's house, and asking me to examine him to determine if he was still alive. Confident of God's confirmations and putting my trust in His Hand, I headed to the Kalanter's home. On the way, I was constantly threatened by an angry mob who followed me the entire way. Several individuals attempted to take my life, but one of them barred the rest from injuring me. I finally passed through the crowd safely and reached the Kalanter's home. After examining the Siyyid and checking his pulse, I knew for certain that no one had harmed this person, yet this news fell on deaf ears of an enraged crowd needing an excuse to continue their assault. So, they left the Kalantar's house shouting obscenities. Of this group, twenty-seven men, agitated further by a certain Javad (son of Haj Muhammad-Husayn-i Shirazi) and with the approval of Muhammad-i Kalantar, left the gathering. Heavily armed and crying out loud, they walked to the farm of Khajih-i Hasan. When they reached their destination, about an hour before noon, Mulla Ali-Akbar, the brother of the renowned Rady-Ruh, was working in the field. As the wild mob approached, someone throw a stone at Mulla Ali-Akbar, striking his head and covering his face and long, white beard with much blood. Unappeased by this act, another man struck him in the head with a heavy rod, knocking his feeble frame to the ground. Despite the protests of his ten-year-old grandson who went so far as to throw himself on Mulla Ali-Akbar to protect him, the mob proceeded, using knives, sticks and stones, to assault the body of Mulla Ali-Akbar until his spirit yielded. Perhaps only the hand of fate saved the young boy, who was rescued by an intervening citizen from the hands on the vicious men. Two individuals buried him in the exact spot which his body lay. Several days later, however, his sacred body was removed from that temporary grave and properly buried in his own home in Manshad. Mulla Ali-Akbar was seventy years old at the time of his martyrdom. Having taken the life of Mulla Ali-Akbar, the bloodthirsty mob quickly headed towards the house of Muhammad-Ismail, a Baha'i baker who lived on the same farm. Ransacking his house and finding him on the second floor they stabbed him repeatedly before throwing him down from the balcony, after which his body was subjected to the blows by various means by those eagerly waiting outside. The body of that lover of Truth was buried in the vicinity of his house. At time of his martyrdom, Aqa Muhammad-Ismail was sixty-seven years old. Subsequent to committing these two shameful acts of murder, the mob left the farm, returning to Manshad. As they entered, the remaining inhabitants of town numbering three hundred, joined them. By now, it was noon. They marched towards the home of Ustad Husayn, the shoemaker, who was a Baha'i from Yazd and happen to be in Manshad during these events. When the mob entered his house, Ustad Husayn retreated to his roof. Muhammad-Sadiq, who had incited the mob earlier in the day, followed him and took aim at killing him. Ustad Husayn, trying to protect himself with the shoemaking tool that he had in his hand, injured and successfully warded off Muhammad-Sadiq. No sooner had he fought off Muhammad-Sadiq that he was overtaken by several individuals who climbed a tree to gain access to the roof. Ustad Husayn, defenseless and overpowered, was thrown from his roof to the ground where a ruthless mob set on him and with knives, woods and stones martyred this noble soul. In midst of this, his aged mother ran out from the house and threw herself on her son's lifeless body, weeping bitterly. The heartless mob, still stoning the dead body, brought much injury to this devoted woman who was seventy years old. So much so that only twenty days from the martyrdom of her son, from her injuries, she passed on to the Abha Kingdom as a result of her injuries, both of body and heart. The mob took the dead body of Ustad Husayn to a river on the outskirts of the town and buried him in a spot there, where his resting place has remained to this day. Ustad Husayn was fifty years old at the time of his martyrdom. (to be continued) From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:20:15 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 20:29:32 -0500 (CDT) From: LABANOWSKI To: TLCULHANE@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Men and the House Dear Terry, As a woman and your friend, I want to thank you for sharing what you feel. It was beautiful. It was you. Love, Suzanne From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:42:00 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 19:37:57 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: humor In one of his poems Roger White quotes the first line from a Tablet of Baha'u'llah as "In My Name, the Humorist." Hooper Dunbar said that Tablet is not yet translated other than that line. Does anybody have that Tablet or any more information about it? From email@example.comThu Sep 14 22:44:31 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 19:43:25 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Juan R Cole Subject: Re: consultation and maturity You were in a good space when you wrote this one. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 22:45:04 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 19:52:20 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Juan R Cole Cc: Alethinos@aol.com, email@example.com Subject: Re: Principle and the Law On Thu, 14 Sep 1995, Juan R Cole wrote: > 5. At the moment there are very few Baha'is with a serious understanding > of jurisprudence and of the Middle Eastern languages and historical > contexts of Baha'i texts. We do not have so much as a single journal > article attempting to define Baha'i jurisprudence. You folks will be interested to know that the Baha'i Justice Society, which I feel has been struggling for an identity since its birth nearly a decade ago, has decided to focus on a handful of areas including career guidance, establishment of two alternate dispute resolution centers, and publication of a journal. No fleshing out has been done yet, no board established, etc., but it's a healthy step and will hopefully help in this area. From firstname.lastname@example.orgThu Sep 14 22:45:53 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 21:53:09 EDT From: Christopher Buck To: email@example.com Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Was `Abdu'l-Baha an *Initiate*? In his new book, *Initiates of Theosophical Masters* by Paul Johnson, `Abdu'l-Baha is listed as among the *The Initiates* of Theosophical masters (p. xii). E.G. Browne is also listed as an Initiate (ibid.). On page 99, Paul makes a very interesting comment: *Although these associations are an interesting footnote to Theosophical history, in themselves they do not substantiate any important relationship between Theosophy and the Baha'i Faith. If the hospitality extended to `Abdu'l-Baha by Theosophists were the only evidence of a connection, the strongest case one could make would be that Theosophy helped create the atmosphere of _ex oriente lux_, which enabled him to be so successful in his travels in the West. However, further evidence of a connection between Theosophy and Baha'i history is to be found in `Abdu'l-Baha's expression of Baha'i doctrines. Balyuzi refers to `Abdu'l-Baha's last public address in London, made to the TS [Theosophical Society], as "the first time `Abdu'l-Baha made a systematic presentation of the basic principles of the Faith of His Father."* Question for Paul: How is it that `Abdu'l-Baha is an Initiate? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ If so, under which *Hierophant of the Mysteries*? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Question for Robert Stockman: What do you think first prompted the Master to enumerate *Baha'i principles* (or whatever is the proper technical term for them)? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Curiously, Christopher Buck From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Sep 15 15:25:05 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 22:22:55 -0500 (EDT) From: "Mark A. Foster" To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Quddus To: firstname.lastname@example.org Brent Poirier wrote to email@example.com: G >I do not understand how "rank" fits into this. Is the Master of greater G >"rank?" Since the Master is, in the words of the Guardian, "essentially G >human" and thus distinguished from a Prophet, Greater or Lesser, is it G >possible for His rank to be greater than that of Quddus or any Lesser G >Prophet? Dunno. On the one hand they are Prophets so there is an G >inherent greatness to them. On the other hand the Master is quoted in G >the "Dispensation" as saying that a true Baha'i can attain the station of G >a Lesser Prophet in this Day. Brent - As I see it, to rephrase something that I posted here the other day, the Guardian seems to draw a distinction between "station" and "nature." While a true believer (perhaps with Quddus as the archetype) can attain the station of a lesser/dependent Prophet, I do not think that s/he can actually become one in nature. The Prophets, both greater and lesser, the Guardian said through his secretary, have a different nature from that of ours. To my way of seeing it, attaining to the station of a lesser Prophet is another way of saying that one can become a _true_ follower and promoter of the Cause of God, with all the bounties which result from firmness in the Covenant. IOW, according to the Master's statement in _Some Answered Questions_, the dependent Prophets were followers and promoters. Certainly, we can be, too, while at the same time remaining entirely human (soul, mind, and spirit). My suspicion is that Quddus was, perhaps, the first among the dawnbreakers to be exalted to this station. Then, apparently, Tahirih also achieved this station. Fortunately, the pathway to such spiritual distinction is now open to all of humanity. With loving regards, Mark * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Mark A. Foster, Ph.D., Sociologist of Religion * ___ * UniQWK #2141* Structuralists Know the Lingo ;-) From firstname.lastname@example.orgFri Sep 15 15:25:42 1995 Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 22:41:24 -0500 (CDT) From: Frank Lewis To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: humor Brent: I think God must really have a sense of humor, though I have not seen textual evidence that "the Humorist" is one of the Divine names or qualities. The Qur'an does include being tricky as one of God's attributes (3:54 and 8:30, wa allAh khayr al-mAkirIn-- "and God is the best at deception [plotting, making mischief]), and it would appear that the issue of women on the House is a confirmation of this . What I have noticed, and it startled me to see it, is that Baha'u'llah's *Lawh-i SalmAn* begins with the invocation: BismI al-mah.zUn "In My Name, the Saddened." I dither back and forth about whether the "My Name" is meant to refer to Mirza Husayn-Ali of Nur, to Baha'u'llah, or to God. Perhaps there is enough sorrow in the world for a triune sadness? yours, Frank Lewis startling From email@example.comFri Sep 15 15:26:03 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 10:54:59 +0700 (GMT) From: Serene Piboonniyom - SCBC To: firstname.lastname@example.org Dear Talismanians, I gather that some friends have been trying to contact me but without success. Why apologies. Our borrowed modem is broken and I am temporarily (?) in occultation. Good wishes, Peter. From email@example.comFri Sep 15 15:26:47 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 15:35:49 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Richard Vernon Hollinger , firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Indeed Dick. Richard Hollinger wrote: >On Thu, 14 Sep 1995 Alethinos@aol.com wrote: Richard: I think that you'll find that his name is Jim. I do not think that an excess of abstract formality is -- as Juan might say -- Talismanically desirable. I must say that I was not particular enamoured with the contents of your letter generally. Most of the questions you asked I resolved before I became a Baha'i: and it seems that you place far too great a value on dubious problematisation. And there's there's the dubious statements, like But if discussions such as this were proscribed, >as some here would seem to prefer, Please provide evidence of this. Your own standards demand that you back up such statments with some evidence... Generally though my major problem is with your rhetorically held validation (on the grounds of service to scholarship, no less) of doubt and corresponding (also rhetorically held) de-validation of certitude. If denitists, mechanics and nurses operated on these premises we would all have bad teeth, broken down cars and dying patients. I would like to see the alienating force of the abstract intellectuality of some of our correspondents moderated with large doses of down-to-earth reality, and simple human kindness. And I am rather tired of seeing Jim and Ahmad being scapegoated. The same thing happened to Susan Brill. Robert. it would definitely set back intellectual >develoment and scholarship in the Baha'i community. Such development can >only occur in a community of dialogue in which tentative hypotheses can >be put forward, critiqued and refined--without the motivations, >sincerity, or loyalty of the writers being called into question. > >Richard Hollinger From Dave10018@aol.comFri Sep 15 15:27:25 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 01:05:20 -0400 From: Dave10018@aol.com To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: airing plain slick grace: raindrops keep falling on my head In a message dated 95-09-13 04:21:51 EDT, email@example.com (Robert Johnston) writes: >Subj: Re: airing plain slick grace: a Jeffersonian riff >Date: 95-09-13 04:21:51 EDT >From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Johnston) >To: Dave10018@aol.com, email@example.com > >The only point of disagreement I have with your generally very agreeable >(like lemon merangue pie) comments on modernity/postmodernity is a rather >silly one when I think about it. You seem to think that modernism is where >we are at OK. Obviously I am forced to agree with you on purely semantic >grounds. "We" are modern: "they" were ancient. (Of course, "they" were >once modern too!) Dear Robert, thankyou for the gastronomic praise! I agree the matter of labeling the epoch isn't that big a deal, though I would suggest that a sense of what "modernism" means helps one to understand "postmodernism." The ancients were never modern, because while one can find suggestive prefigurings of modernity among the ancients, these are exceptions to the rule. They saw themselves as living in the shadow of a glorious and mythic past. Self-conscious "modernity" is at the earliest a late 18th Century invention. Modernity in art, to make things more complicated, has since the mid-nineteenth century tended to involve a protest against the shallow optimism of the bourgeouisie. The poet Baudelaire introduced the term "modernity" into art criticism. Modernism in art really carries within it the seeds of postmodernist skepticism. Take a look at Marcel Duchamp! My larger point is that we should look at people's attempts to solve the riddles of the time sympathetically. The world is full of signs and portents of the new Revelation. How do we understand where people are at? "In this journey the seeker reacheth a stage wherein he seeth all created things wandering distracted in search of the Friend. How many a Jacob will he see, hunting after his Joseph; he will behold many a lover, hasting to seek the Beloved, he will witness a world of desiring ones searching aftrer the One Desired. At every moment he findeth a weighty matter, in every hour he becometh aware of a mystery..." (Baha'u'llah,Valley of Search) That sounds like the 20th Century to me! Abdu'l Baha called it the "Radient Century." Selfishness is not new, but with loss of faith, with loss of the symbolism that gave even the horribly oppressed(the majority of humanity) a sense of having a meaningful place in the sacred order of life, what had been patiently endured for centuries became unendurable, and, of course, technology made possible a new scale of murder. With the loss of transcendence, the sacred became merely obscene. But all the terror is also an important part of the spiritual experience of humanity. Someday war, drunkenness, et cetera will be important memories, shadows preserved in poetry and art. love, david taylor From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:32:42 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 17:19 NZST From: S&W Michael To: email@example.com Subject: Ode of the Dove Dear Juan Thank you for sending me part 1 of your translation. I have enjoyed this immensely - may I ask you some questions: 1. What 'status' does the Ode have, ie. is it 'revelation'? I have read that everything that Baha'u'llah wrote should be considered 'revelation', although I am reminded of recent discussions on talisman about varying degrees of revelation. (As I read Ode of the Dove I couldn't help but feel I was hearing from "Baha'u'llah the Man", rather than "Baha'u'llah the Manifestation" - it just somehow invoked a very personal image of Baha'u'llah.) 2. I am interested in the process of translation as it occurs within the Faith. I believe it was mentioned (I may be wrong) that there is an earlier translation of the Ode of the Dove, but that it was not so good. Who is it (or which Body is it) that decides/approves a particular translation? And what is involved in this process? What is the 'status' of your translation prior to such approval, assuming that some approval is necessary somewhere along the way? I have several questions about different lines, but I'll await the end or your translations of the Notes, as my questions may be answered therein. Thanks ... Suzanne Michael From Sen.Mcglinn@RL.RULIMBURG.NLSat Sep 16 12:34:45 1995 From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:35:20 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 19:15:51 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl, email@example.com Subject: Re: confusion & traps Sen, valiantly pressing forward, wrote to Jim: >Re your longer explanation today (thanks), I think the >crunch is that you think the House said the matter "is _not >open to speculation_." But, if you check the text, they >didn't. > >In both cases, reading exactly rather than skimming for >content was required. For those who have not read the extract (from the House to NZ), here it is: >As mentioned earlier, the law regarding the membership of the >Universal House of Justice is embedded in the Text and has >been merely restated by the divinely appointed interpreters. It >is therefore neither amenable to change nor subject to >speculation about some possible future condition. What part of the second sentence do we not understand? For myself, I'd prefer not to gainsay the House with hair-splitting. Especially when the letter clearly establishes the right of the House to have its decisions accepted, particularly in view of the need to safeguard and protect the Faith against schism and to preserve its essential unity. Which is not to deny anyone's right to speculate on whether the moon is made of green cheese or whatever... Robert. From JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduSat Sep 16 12:35:36 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 08:03:58 EWT From: JWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Miller In fairness to Doug Martin (and I have not read that review for many yeaars), Miller *was* motivated primarily, if not exclusively, by partisan religious considerations. He donated his correspondence to Princeton, and I have read it. With his friends and colleagues he was quite open about why he wrote his books. john walbridge From email@example.comSat Sep 16 12:43:14 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 00:16:46 +1000 From: Ahmad Aniss To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Station of The Letters of Living Dear Friends, A number of friends have suggested that Quddus and Taheirh were Manifestations of God and some other friends have stated that they can not see these Holy Beings as any kind of Manifestations of God. I like to say that perhaps we must accept both arguments and differentiate their station as equal to the previous manifestations but yet not the same to those manifestations with independent Dispensations. I base this on two quotes, one from The Bab in the Persian Bayan, and the other on a Tablet from Abdu'l-Baha (see below). From these writings it is clear that the early believers in this Dispensation have similar station to previous manifestations but yet they do not have exactly the same station when they appeared originally. The Bab refers to His Letters of Living as resurrection of previous Holy Beings, see below and also Abdu'l-Baha states that they are attainment of the stations of previous Manifestations but yet they are different as they are all under the Shadow of The Bab. Similarly the station of Abdu'l-Baha is unique in a sense that His station is like a Manifestation of God but yet He was under the shadow of Baha'u'llah and not independent. And so His station is an attainment of the station of a Manifestation of God. I hope this may make the situation a bit more clearer. With Baha'i Love and Fellowship, Ahmad. [My translation] In the Persian Bayan by The Bab it is stated (page 2): ".....And returned under His shadow (zell), every person whom was a believer in Muhammad, and to this testifies every created thing from God...... In the third Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Ali returned to the world with all whom believed in Him and so forth. And he is second of whom that believed in the point after the letter "s". In the fourth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Fathemeh returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Her and so forth. In the fifth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Hasan (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the sixth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Husayn (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the seventh Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Ali the Son of Husayn (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the eighth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Muhammad the Son of Ali (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the ninth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Jafar the Son of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the tenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Musa the Son of Jafar (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in Him and so forth. In the eleventh Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Ali the Son of Musa (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in it and so forth. In the twelfth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Muhammad the Son of Ali (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in it and so forth. In the thirteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Ali the Son of Muhammad (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in it and so forth. In the fourteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Hasan the Son of Ali (peace be upon Him) returned to the world of living with all whom believed in it and so forth. In the fifteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, Hazrat Hujjat appeared with Words and Wisdoms to the advent of the Point of Bayan, whom is like the advent of the Point of Quran. Although, the Point of Bayan was mentioned first and the Point of Quran second, and the advent of "Hazrat" in the fifteenth chapter (Bab), the secret of it is in this; the Point in the station (Magham) of abstraction (Tajaroud) is purely the Advent of God. It is apparent in the Name of Divinity. It was mentioned in the first station. And in the station of appointment (Taeen) which is the Divine Will. It was mentioned in the second station. And in station of superiority ("Ghaemi-yat") to all people which is specific to the fourteenth "Advent". It was mentioned in the fifteenth chapter. The point in the first station was and is unshakeable ...... In the sixteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, The first Bab returned to the world with all whom believed in Him from God and so forth. In the seventeenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, The second Bab returned to the world with all whom believed in Him from God and so forth. In the eighteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, The third Bab returned to the world with all whom believed in Him from God and so forth. In the nineteenth Chapter (Bab) from the first unit (Vahid): In which that, The four Bab returned to the world with all whom believed in Him from God and so forth." In "Maidiy-Asmani" a compilation of the writings of Abdu'l-Baha by Abdu'l-Hamid-i-Ishraq Khavari it is stated (page 15) that: "......va ama emkan housol-i-magham-i-anbiah az barayeh jamieh khalgh, in momken na. Zira khalgh be marateb ast. Madon-i-edrak mafough ra nanamayad, va khalghekoum atvaran sangeh khara yaghout-i- hamra nagradad, va khazaf va sadaf-i-lou lou la la nashavad. Hazrat-i-Quddus dar zel- i-Hazrat-i-ala bodand na mustaghel laken Hazrat-i-Eisa va Hzarat-i-Rasoul zat-i-mustaghel. Moumenin in zuhour be magham-i-anbia-i-bani Esraiel resand, Amma na anbia-i- aval'u'lazm, zira anan zuhour-i-kouli bodand. Bari mazaher-i-koul-i-elahieh keh be esteghl eshragh farmodand maghami digar darand va shani digar hich nafs be magham va rutbe-i-anan naresad. translation of this is: .......And, however, it is impossible for any one from the whole of creation to attain the station of Manifestations. Because beings are created in levels, and an inferior can not understand that which is superior. Their creation is in this mannerism. An unworthy stone can not become a red ruby. And pottery and shell can not become a glittering pearl. The Quddus (Hazrat-i-Quddus) was in the shadow of The Bab (Hazrat-i-Ala) and not independent. However, Christ (Hazrat-i-Esa) and Muhmmad (Hazrat-i-Rasoul) were independent personages. The Believers of this Dispensation reach the station of the manifestations of the Children of Israel. But not like the first purposed Manifestaions (anbia-i-aval'u'l-Azm), because they were Advents of Generality(zuhour-i-kouli). Anyhow, The Holy Manifestaions of Generality (Mazaher-i-koul-i-elahieh; The Great Manifestaions) whom appeared independently, have another station and dignity. No one can reach to their station and rank. _______________________________________________________________________ ^ ^ ^ Dr. A.M. Aniss, From email@example.comSat Sep 16 12:44:39 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 10:23:20 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Robert Johnston Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Indeed Dick. On Fri, 15 Sep 1995, Robert Johnston wrote: > Richard Hollinger wrote: > > >On Thu, 14 Sep 1995 Alethinos@aol.com wrote: > > > Richard: I think that you'll find that his name is Jim. I do not think > that an excess of abstract formality is -- as Juan might say -- > Talismanically desirable. Sorry if this is a breach of Talisman protocol. My e-mail system automatically places that header there. I must say that I was not particular enamoured > with the contents of your letter generally. Most of the questions you > asked I resolved before I became a Baha'i: and it seems that you place far > too great a value on dubious problematisation. And there's there's the > dubious statements, like > > > > But if discussions such as this were proscribed, > >as some here would seem to prefer, > > > Please provide evidence of this. Your own standards demand that you back > up such statments with some evidence... > No one here has said that they would like to proscribe these discussions, but they have posted messages that, if delivered orally in other Baha'i contexts, would function to bring the discussion to a halt. I do not archive these postings, so I cannot quote them verbatim. But someone raised "Covenental issues;" there have been repeated suggestions that discussing this question is a rejection of the authority of the UHJ, and Jim recently stated that continuing this discussion was not in the best interests of the Faith. Robert, as I am sure you know, discourse is shaped not just by formal laws (eg. review) but by unofficial unwritten rules. In Baha'i discourse, references to the Covenant and the best interests of the Faith are used as a signal that a discussion is going beyond acceptable boundaries. In short, they are used to establish and maintain constraints on the discourse [BTW, I do not believe this is at all the true purpose of the Covenant, but that is another discussion]. On Talisman, when such references have not ended the discussion, the postings have gotten more heated and more unequivocal. I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with such postings, BTW, I am just observing the implicit dynamics in these exchanges. From this pattern of exchanges, it is clear that some Talismanians are very uncomfortable with this discussion, and I have inferred from this that they would like to proscribe discussions on the subject of women's exclusion from the House of Justice. > Generally though my major problem is with your rhetorically held validation > (on the grounds of service to scholarship, no less) of doubt and > corresponding (also rhetorically held) de-validation of certitude. You are right that I value doubt--I would prefer the word skepticism--as I think this essential in scholarly endeavors. But I also value certitude. I have certitude in the truth of Baha'u'llah's mission, but I do not have certainty about the meaning of the Baha'i revelation. The latter is subect to scholarly inquiry; the former is not. With certitude, however, the relativity of our understanding of the Baha'i revelation (and the changes that must necessarily occur in that understanding) are not threatening. Hence, IMHO, certitude and skeptism go hand in hand. Richard From LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.eduSat Sep 16 12:45:27 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 10:11:45 EWT From: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu To: email@example.com Subject: Terry's posting Dear Terry, I was very moved by your words today. Yesterday I posted something on Talisman that seems not to have made it into the system. I asked, if only women were on the UHJ would there be men in the Baha'i Faith? I believe there would not be more than 3 or 4. Then, I read your message. Let me tell you, you are probably the only man - well, there might be one or two others - certainly not my husband among them - who could have spoken about patriarchy the way you did and gotten away with it. Seriously, I do believe that you have said something very important here. Looking at the world historically and cross-culturally, there certainly does seem to be a deep seated need for male leadership in the world. Part of me can accept this. The other part resents it terrribly because ultimately women are always dominated and controlled and marginalized. On a very personal note, I couldn't help being reminded of my own brothers when I read your message, Terry. In my family we were four girls and two boys. To put it in Garrison Kheiler's words, in my family "all the women are strong" and my brothers truly idolized us. I know this because both of them married women just like their sisters and did it quite consciously. I never grew up with a sense of inferiority because I equated femininity with strength of character. My brothers, who sought our opinions and showed us great respect, have always been extremely protective of us as well. Alas, when I got out into the real world, I saw how unusual this situation was. While I can understand the possibility of a situation in which men truly respected women as individuals and did not feel superior to women but still had a specifically "male role" of leadership, I feel so very uncomfortable in acquiescing to the idea because the situation can so easily be abused. This, of course, leads us no where in the discussion. I am simply responding to Terry's sensitivity and honesty. May it permeate all Talisman's discussions on this and every other topic. Lovingly, Linda e From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:48:35 1995 Date: 15 Sep 95 04:06:21 EDT From: Habib Riazati <email@example.com> To: Ahang Rabbani Cc: Talisman Subject: RE: STATION OF QUDDUS Dearest Ahang; Allah'u'abha I hope everything is going well with you. I have been enjoying your recent postings on the beloved Quddus. By putting all the passages from the Bab, Baha'u'llah , Master and Quddus side by side , I am in complete agreement with our dear friend Steve Lambden and feel that all of these passages only manifest one thing and that is the exalted station of Quddus in his servitude to the threshold of the Bab and Baha'u'llah. That means Quddus *** is a creation of the Bab **** and does not in anyway joints partnership with the Manifestations of God such as Muhammad, Bab and Baha'u'llah . His holiness the Bab in the Persian Bayan considers Mulla Husayn to be the RETURN of Muhammad, but as you know that does not mean that Mula Husayn can be considered to be the Manifestation of God ( as Muhammad is ). Rather as the Bab Himself has indicates, he (* Mulla Husayn *) is the noblest fruits of the Tree of Muhammad. This very well agrees with What His holiness Baha'u'llah indicates in Aqdas paragraph #47.(* He ... hath no partner ... *) . in that paragraph " He " is defined as the Manifestation of God. This means that the ESSENCE of Quddus ** IS NOT ** EXACTLY the same as the Bab 's essence. As for the passage that you have quoted from the long Fasting prayer - using your translation: ( ... who is the Last One ... whose essence is the same as His -the Bab .....) (* Tasbyh-u-Tahlyl page75 *) My understanding and TRANSLATION of this passage is that Quddus is the one who gets His radiance from the Bab and also the use of ** A'lla** (ONLY THAT) emphasizes this dependency when used in Arabic. Please note that The word "ka-wufud" which is used in this passage does not mean ESSENCE in it's exclusive form . The root of this word is WAFADA , WUFUD which means " to come", it could mean " to come or arrive together" but since later on in the passage which you translated we see " A'lla" (only that) then the word should be taken as WAFDI meaning "of or RELATIVE to the WAFD". Also If we read the paragraph before the one you have quoted , we see that Mulla Husayn has been exalted in a like manner as well ( by Baha'u'llah). All of these statements show sanctified station of these souls since by being detached from the Big Three (* kingdom of names, This world and the Next world ) They could see with the EYE of God and Live in God (* Die in Me that I may live in thee *). As to the statements of Quddus on Divinity - Again that is an indication of his absolute servitude to the Lord of his Age who was the Bab . Imam Sadiq has said " SERVITUDE IS A SUBSTANCE, THE ESSENCE OF WHICH IS DIVINITY". (* Epistle page 111 *). This Servitude causes them to enter the realm of Unity with God and go above the " Kingdom of Names". Imam Ali has said " I am He Who can neither be named , nor described" and again He has said " OUTWARDLY I AM an IMAM , INWARDLY I AM THE ** UNSEEN** , the ** UNKNOWABLE". We know that many people in Islam used and are still using these statements in order to exalt the station of Ali to that of God, and yet some considered Him to be like Muhammad. That was wrong because as Baha'u'llah indicates in Ishraqat, Ali and all the other Holy Imams were created by the Most Exalted Pen (* Muhammad *). Statements such as " But for him (* Mulla Husayn*), God would not have been established upon the seat of His mercy, nor ascended the throne of eternal glory " (Iqan p. 223 *) show us the degree of the nothingness of these holy souls when faced with their Lord(s). By being free from the prison of Self they became tne manifestations of the Names of God. They indeed became lords who were created by their SANCTIFIED LORD of the LORDS. As to your statement " Another difficult question: Who ranked higher, Quddus or Abdul-Baha ?" These two (* Quddus and the beloved Master *)are ONE but yet different. They are one since both were the servant of their Lord(s). Their difference has to do with the stations and the DUTIES that they have been bestowed upon by their Lord of the Age. The beloved Guardian has clearly indicated the fact that the Master's station is Matchless (* Dispensation *). I beg you to forgive my long posting on this matter. With my warmest regards; Habib From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:49:14 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 11:40:50 EDT From: "K. Paul Johnson" To: email@example.com Subject: Miller and bias Back to the question of Miller. John points out that he really was writing with a sectarian bias, and this is undoubtedly true. But it hardly suffices as a refutation; if it did it would refute every Baha'i book I ever saw. Having just received something like Martin's review, I perceive it in terms of form rather than content. That is, the form followed by Dr. Algeo of the TS: attempt to destroy the credibility of the author without seriously engaging any of his arguments, by appealing to a readership that shares all your assumptions. Except, in Algeo's case, he seems to have been wrong about the readership, and to have offended a fairly large number with his attacks. The Martin piece is like every other religious attempt to refute a challenging book, and he does a good job in terms of that particular genre of review. But when the conclusion is foreordained, as it is in this case, one cannot feel that the review contributes much to genuine understanding. Playing the persecution card is the thing that really bugs me about the review, however. Especially by opening with that theme and returning to it so often, Martin makes it clear that he perceives Miller in mythical rather than historical terms. From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:49:56 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 09:26:45 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: email@example.com Subject: Miller's Book. I thought we had finished with this old chestnut sveral months ago.Millers rewrite of his orginal book is a geniune attempt as was the orginal to discredit the Faith of Baha'u'llah.Any normal academic forum would dimiss it as a piece of Christian Missionary misinformation.If you don't like Douglas Martin's Review, I would be happy to review it myself for you Paul.But you might dislike my review more than the Martin one.Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut From Member1700@aol.comSat Sep 16 12:50:36 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 13:03:10 -0400 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Martin/Miller Whatever the shortcomings of Martin's review of the Miller book (and they are many; it was a particularly snide and nasty review), its criticisms of Miller are generally well taken and on the mark. The Miller book, The Baha'i Faith: Its history and teachings, was little more than a missionary attack on the Baha'i religion, very thinly disguised in academic trappings. It relies very heavily on previous missionary attacks and on the polemics of Jalal Azal, and Azali partisan. It is not at all critical of its sources, which are used selectively and with obvious sectarian intent. So, while Miller's book is useful in understand how a certain segment of the Christian clergy feels about the Baha'i Faith--and not even very useful there. It really does not advance our knowledge or undertanding of that Faith at all. As far as I can see, none of Miller's arguments or information was original. This was made even more clear in the condensation of the book, titled What Is the Baha'i Faith?, which dropped all the scholarly niceities and was just a full-on theological attack. Regards, Tony From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:50:57 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 14:12:56 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: "K. Paul Johnson" Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Miller and bias On Fri, 15 Sep 1995, K. Paul Johnson wrote: > > The Martin piece is like every other religious attempt to > refute a challenging book, and he does a good job in terms of > that particular genre of review. But when the conclusion is > foreordained, as it is in this case, one cannot feel that the > review contributes much to genuine understanding. > Your point is well taken. We can all agree that Miller's book is extremely biased (so biased, in fact, that Azali Babis in Kirman once had plans to republish it Persian translation), but that does not really address the issues he raises. Paul, at this point it might be useful to get down to the specifics in Miller's book, rather than dealing with generalities. Why don't you list the points/issues that you feel should have been addressed by the review, and give talismanians a chance to respond to them? Richard From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:51:46 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 12:50:42 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: email@example.com Subject: Re Miller Book My dear Paul As I have copies of Miller's Books have read them compared the evidence with other sources Baha'i and others.My opinion is that Millers book both versions are badly written attempts under the guise of puesdo-Academic information to vilify my relig ion.If you weant to read them so be it I really don't care. But to pretend there is some attempt to suppress this book be cause it has merit is really to funny for words. In the first place we did not as a community publish the book , Miller was an or dained Minister, he made it part of his life work to attack the Faith. Even he would have been amazed if we went around say ing you know that Miller book is actually better than any of the Baha'i books because he does not believe in anything except Protestant Christianity, so why don't you read that first and not bother looking at whether Baha'u'llah and the Bab are true. Why should Baha'is do that, we happen to believe that the Blessed Beauty is the Promised One of All Ages , that the Primal Point is the one around whom circle all Past Prophets. That this Faith of God belongs to all of God's children .As Baha'u'llah states' Know ye from what heights your Lord,the All-Glorious, is calling? Think ye that ye have recognised the Pen wherewith your Lord, the Lord of all names, commandeth you ?Nay, by My life! Did ye but know it , ye would renounce the world , and would hasten with your whole hearts to the pres ence of the Well-Beloved. Your spirits would be so transported by his Word as to throw into commotion the Greater World-- how much more this small and petty one! thus have the showers of My loving-kindness, as a token of My grace, that ye may be of the thankful Of course a normal Academic forum would dismiss basic pro- Baha'i literature as missionary type information , I would expect nothing less. That is why we have the Assocation of Baha'i Studies to engage in discourse at an acceptable academic level. Several members of Talisman are presenting papers this year in San Fransico at the ABS Conference as well as Academics who are not Baha'is. Many of those who are on Talisman regard that challenge to enter into dialogue at that level stimulating and in spiring. Part of dialogue is that people accept others can have a different opinion , it does appear to me Paul you want us all to play your tune, I don't happen to like the tune sorry about that. I read every book on religion and related subjects I can find, I find some are marvellous and mind expnding, others leave me wondering why they were written in the first place. I do not sub scribe to the view if its in print it must have merit,books have to stand on their true value I happen to feel Millers book is a failed attempt to discredit My Religion. I am more entitled to that view than you are to yours because it relates to my spiritual con nection with God. Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:53:59 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 18:27:05 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Quddus On Thu, 14 Sep 1995, Mark A. Foster wrote: > As I see it, to rephrase something that I posted here the other day, > the Guardian seems to draw a distinction between "station" and "nature." > While a true believer (perhaps with Quddus as the archetype) can attain > the station of a lesser/dependent Prophet, I do not think that s/he can > actually become one in nature. The Prophets, both greater and lesser, > the Guardian said through his secretary, have a different nature from > that of ours. These are some of the quotes I was looking for, to analogize to the station of Quddus: "As to the list of the prophets with whom Baha'u'llah identifies Himself in the passage found on pages 26 and 27 of 'The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah,' their names are as follows: Abraham, Moses, Joseph, John the Baptist, Jesus, Imam Husayn, on whom Baha'u'llah has conferred an exceptionally exalted station (and) the Bab." From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, August 7, 1936; Lights of Guidance, 2nd Edition, #1567, p. 475. "... The guidance vouchsafed to the Imams regarding the laws and institutions of Islam was absolute and unqualified. Their infallibility was derived directly from the Manifestation.... Joseph was one of the 'Sent Ones' of the Qur'an, meaning a Manifestation of God." From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 30, 1941; Lights of Guidance, 2nd Edition, #1665, p. 496. "The names of those cited in Baha'u'llah's prayer in the Dispensation are quite correct as you have them. "The Prophets 'regarded as One and the same person' include the Lesser Prophets as well, and not merely Those Who bring a 'Book.' The station is different, but they are Prophets and Their nature thus different from that of ours. "In the prayer mentioned above Baha'u'llah identifies Himself with Imam Husayn. This does not make him a Prophet, but his position was very unique, and we know Baha'u'llah claims to be the 'return' of the Imam Husayn. He, in other words, identifies His Spirit with these Holy Souls gone before, that does not of course, make Him in any way their reincarnation. Nor does it mean all of them were Prophets...." >From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 8, 1949; Lights of Guidance, 2nd Ed., #1673, p. 498 Though in the first quote the Guardian seems to imply that all of those named were Prophets, he states in the third letter that not all of them are. Brent From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:54:39 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 20:26:51 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Member1700@aol.com Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Women on the House On Thu, 14 Sep 1995 Member1700@aol.com wrote: > I have argued that the 1909 Tablet, which refers to the "Universal" or > general House of Justice (baytu'l-adl ummumi) also refers to the Chicago > Assembly. I think that it would be very difficult to believe otherwise on > rational grounds. The letter was written in response to the same controversy > over election of women to local Houses of Justice. When it was received, it > was universally understood by the Persian translators, by the Chicago House > of Spirituality, and by everyone else that this was 'Abdu'l-Baha's intention. > When Corinne True questioned this interpretation, the Chicago House wrote > immediately to 'Abdu'l-Baha for a clarification. He did not indicate that > their understanding was incorrect. > Furthermore, internal evidence from the Tablet itself indicates that the > reference is to the local Assembly. 'Abdu'l-Baha says quite clearly--in > response to a direct question by Corinne True about women's service on the > local body--that women may serve on the committees of the House of Justice, > but not on the general (ummumi) body. He even lists the committees! It is > really not possible--again on rational grounds--to believe that he is > suddenly talking about a future International House of Justice, failing to > mention the local House, and listing the local committees in Chicago, and > thereby ignoring the question altogether. Tony Jan, the 1909 tablet states: "In the Law of God, men and women are equal in all rights save in the Universal House of Justice (*baytu'l-adl-i umumi*), for THE CHAIRMAN and members of the House of Justice are men according to the text..." (emphasis added). How do you interpret this reference to the chairman, if it is not a reference to the Guardian? As you point out, `Abdu'l-Baha goes on to list a number of other associations in which women have equal rights, including "the Assembly of Teaching, the Spiritual Assembly [mahfil-i rawhani], Philanthropic Association..." These were existing associations/institutions in the Chicago community, so the absence of any reference to the House of Spirituality in this list would seem odd, given that the tablet was in direct response to a query about this. I think, however, that this institution is indeed on this list, under the title Spiritual Assembly. This is a term he had used to refer to the Chicago House of Spirituality in the past. `Abdu'l-Baha used the same and similar terms (eg. mahfil-i shur, mahfil-i shur rawhani) to refer to the Board of Council in New York City, a parallel Baha'i institution. On the other hand, I know of no instance in the writings of `Abdu'l-Baha where he used the term baytu'l-adl-i umumi (general house of justice) to refer to anything but the Universal House of Justice. [Although there is said to be a tablet referring to the Tehran LSA with this term, I have not seen it, and no one has yet cited a reference to it on Talisman--at least while I was keeping up.] Hence, there is, in fact, a very rational way to understand this tablet as referring to the Universal House of Justice. It takes into account the historical context, the other writings of `Abdu'l-Baha, and the internal evidence within the tablet itself. Personally, I wish that this were not the case, but I think we have to be faithful to the evidence no matter where it leads. Richard Hollinger From email@example.comSat Sep 16 12:55:06 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 19:56:45 -0500 (CDT) From: LABANOWSKI To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: Terry's posting Dear Linda, I wanted to add my support to some of your, and therefore Terry's, thoughts. I, too, grew up in a family where the male members were strong and protective, yet respectful, supportive and encouraging to everyone, especially the women. I grew up believing that the world was that way. I wasn't even 20 when I found that the world did not always operate on those terms. I understand your fear of the abuses - I experienced some of them. But what I experienced growing up - what, for me, are the positive applications and results of patriarchy in its best sense - is nonetheless very compelling. We must find a way to eradicate the abuses - that way is Baha'u'llah. Personally, I want a world such as Terry describes, a world of "symbolic patriarchy;" I want my son to grow up and become a man who protects and safeguards women, children and other men, who knows that "pride is empowering others, men as well as women," that "accomplishment is in assuming responsibility for the spiritual and moral education of their children." I, too, admire Terry's honesty ... and yours. Thank you. Love, Suzanne From email@example.comSat Sep 16 12:55:52 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 19:15:51 -0600 (MDT) From: "[G. Brent Poirier]" To: Talisman Subject: Revelation and Science Previously we had posted to the list, the letter from the Guardian in which he said that a community's history should be recorded as facts showed, not according to a Tablet of the Master which was, by its terms, based on information provided to the Master, and which, as I recall, mentioned martyrdoms which did not occur. >From this, I feel some extravagant extrapolations have been made regarding the subordination of the Master's Interpretations and even of the Revelation itself, to all scientific findings. So, I'd like to add this to the mix: "As regards what Mirza Abu'l-Fazl has said concerning the Seven Religions of the past, Shoghi Effendi wishes to emphasize that what is truly authoritative are the words of the Master. In all such cases we should try and find out what He has said and abide by His words, even though they seem in conflict with the findings of modern scholars. If He does not say anything on the subject, then the individual is free to accept, or refute what scholars, such as Abu'l Fazl say. Through the discussion of these (statements by scholars), the truth will ultimately be found, but at no time should their decision be considered as final." >From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, Feb. 23, 1933: Quoted in the Compilation "On Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Related Subjects," a compilation from the Universal House of Justice, p. 1; "Lights of Guidance," 2nd. Ed., pp. 485-486, #1620. Now, since "Lights of Guidance" has sometimes been slammed as a reliable source, and to avoid *ad bookinem* arguments, I'll gladly write to Haifa to confirm the validity of this letter and its accuracy as posted. Brent From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:58:15 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 22:30:58 -0500 (EDT) From: "Mark A. Foster" To: email@example.com Subject: Re: Quddus To: firstname.lastname@example.org Brent Poirier wrote to the multiple recipients of email@example.com: G >Though in the first quote the Guardian seems to imply that all of G >those named were Prophets, he states in the third letter that not all G >of them are. Hi, Brent, Personally, I would not want to take the first quote too literally. The Guardian, through his secretary, says he is listing Prophets, but, when he comes to the Imam Husayn, he says that Baha'u'llah conferred upon Husayn a very high station. To me, even if I were reading only the that one passage, and not the other one which implies that Husayn might not have had a Prophetic nature, I would wonder about the phrasing. Since great souls, such as the imams, are guided by God, they do have a sort of Prophetic authority and, in a sense, can perhaps be seen as an extention of the Prophet, His authority, and His Revelation. Blessings, Mark * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Mark A. Foster, Ph.D., Sociologist of Religion * From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:59:05 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 95 22:44:01 -0400 From: Ahang Rabbani To: email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Martyrs of Manshad -- part 4 [This message is converted from WPS-PLUS to ASCII] After this incident, the mob continued with their vicious attacks on the lives and property of Baha'is. Arriving at a neighborhood known as Karchinar, they encountered three believers -- Aqa Husayn, Aqa Ghulam-Ali and Aqa Ramadan -- who were attempting to flee in refuge to the mountains on the south side of Manshad. The mob followed them. Without any forewarning or provocation, the brother of the Kalantar, who was carrying a gun, fired and shot Aqa Husayn. As he fell, the mob opened fire on him, riddling his body with bullets. Not satisfied with this act, they stoned what remained of his mortal frame. Sixty-five years old at the time of his martyrdom, he was brought back to his own home and buried there. After the unjust and cold-blooded murder of Aqa Husayn, the murderous mob targeted Aqa Ghulam-Ali, firing on him first and then clubbing and stoning his young body until it lay motionless. Regrettably, Aqa Ramadan suffered the same fate as did his companions. He was found taking refuge behind a large rock on the hill and, after being stoned to death, both he and Aqa Ghulam-Ali were buried on the same hill, a location which would remain as their permanent grave sites. Aqa Ramadan was twenty-two and Aqa Ghulam-Ali eighteen years old at the time their martyrdom. The mob, like a pack of wolves, remained in the hill area until sunset, searching for any other Baha'is who might have taken refuge there. They then headed back to Manshad, where on the way they came upon Jinab-i Siyyid Mirza, the son of Siyyid Ahamd. Having forsaken his home out of fear of the enemies, he had fallen asleep on the ground while resting. Seeing him, two of the crazed citizens picked up a large, massive rock and delivered a fatal blow to the head of a dormant and defenseless Siyyid Mirza. Carrying him to his own orchard, the men buried him in a hurriedly dug grave -- a resting place which remained such until present day. He was seventy-five years old on the day of his martyrdom. In sum, on that first day of upheavals, from one hour before noon until sunset, seven believers, in the most inhumane and reprehensible ways, were put to death. No sound could be heard that day except the shouts of a maddened populace, the roar of gun fire, and the cry of the friends' anguish. Only God knows what befell us all during those tragic events. At times I was given the news of yet another dear friend being put to death or hearing the mucking in the streets. At other times the foes would congratulate each other as if they won a great victory by killing innocent people and destroying the properties of Baha'is. All through this, I was constantly been threaten with death, yet I had no choice but to witness and remain patient in light of the horrendous events encircling the community. The next day, Sunday, June 27, this servant was briefly visiting one of the friends, Haj Ali-Muhammad, at the hour of dawn. As I left his house, I saw ten gunmen entering the town. I asked someone on the street who these men were, and he responded that the men, all from the nearby villages, had heard about the killing and plundering of the possessions of the Baha'is of Yazd and Manshad and have come to have their share in it too. When the news of their arrival reached the mob, they joined forces and headed towards the homes of the believers. The first home and shop they came upon belonged to the two afromentioned brothers: Jinab-i Shattir-Hasan and Aqa Ali- Akbar. All their belongings were either destroyed or plundered -- even the grapevines in their garden, which were uprooted and smashed. The house and the shop was then set afire. Afterwards, about two hours before noon, the mob moved on to the House of Jinab-i Muhammad-Baqir who was one of the believers of Yazd visiting Manshad at that time. Another believer, Mulla Muhammad-i Manshadi, had taken refuge on the second floor of the house as well. Three persons from the rioting gang entered the house and located Mulla Muhammad. One of the three men told the others that Mulla Muhammad had been a teacher of his and suggested to leave him alone and spare his life. The other two did not agree and brought him downstairs, informing the others of his presence. The mob and the ten gunmen circled around him. One of the gunmen fired a shot at his chest which was then followed by another shot by another gunman. Then the rest either opened fire on Mulla Muhammad or stoned and clubbed him. After killing him so viciously, they tied a rope to his feet and dragged his body to the back of Aqa Ali-Akbar's house. Two of them brought gasoline and another poured it over the body and set it to fire. While burning, the rest of the crazed mob continued to stone the body -- so much so, that the charred remains was completely buried under the rocks and sticks. When the last signs of his body were covered, some poured water over the pile of rocks and left the scene. That evening, his son, Ustad Naqi, with the help of another believer, took the body and buried it in a property belonging to Mulla Muhammad. His resting place at the same spot. He was fifty-eight years old at the time of his martyrdom. (to be continued) From email@example.comSat Sep 16 12:59:25 1995 Date: Fri, 15 Sep 1995 22:59:12 -0600 (MDT) From: Sadra To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Proposal: Slow Read Of The Hidden Words Dearest Talizens-- Ahang suugested this to me and I think he's got a really peachy idea: what do ya'll think about doing a slow read of the Hidden Words? We could do a hidden word a day, or every other day, followed by glosses and commentaries by our resident Islamicists, philologists, historians and those of us who are mystically inclined. Perhaps we could get someone to Gerdsooz & transliterate as well, like we did for the first few weeks of our slow reading of the Aqdas (btw what ever happened to that?). So, what ya say? Regards, Nima --- O God, cause us to see things as they really are - Hadith Strive to lead back the divine within you to the Divine in the All - Plotinus (d. 270 AD) From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 12:59:37 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 17:06:32 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Sadra , email@example.com Subject: Re: Proposal: Slow Read Of The Hidden Words Good idea. After the letters of Rick Schaut and Richard Hollinger (etc) I do not think that argument for women on the House on the basis of readings of the Text can have much Talismanic credibility, surely? Robert. From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 13:00:12 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 17:20:48 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Sen.Mcglinn@rl.rulimburg.nl, email@example.com Subject: Re: women & UHJ Ffolks, Both Sen and Sonja make a good point when they say that it is unlikely that a mature woman would have a child at her breast, but what redress do I -- or any man -- have for never being able to have a child suckle at my breast? Will it help if I mount a challenge to the Sacred Text? And please, let's try to view this debate teleologically. I think we all know what a tough life women have... Though I am unimpressed,I am pleased that Juan and Sen were able to snort and chortle together: Sen wrote: >Juan, >thanks for the suggestion that milk glands might interfere >with the reception of divine radio-waves. The wisdom is >now clear ... Huuurumph! Robert. From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 13:05:10 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 10:16:19 -0500 (CDT) From: John Haukness To: LWALBRID@cluster.ucs.indiana.edu Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: Burl's menstrual cycle, etc. Allah-u-abha Friends: Linda points out that 'there are no good answers' as to why women should not be now on the House, and then something about motivation lacking when the arguements become good towards getting it changed. As I just posted that I thought I should quit posting to this I am sensitive that perhaps this is myself with a negative motivation. So I want to clarify my predicament, I have been maintaining that role and function imv may be why the House is described as Bahaullah described it's composition, and I have been writing that in any regards I have changed my liberal position from the decision being sexist (which was a pre-Baha'i conception basically) to being the decision rests with Bahaullah, I fully believe in it. And I don't recall at anytime telling others to come to my conclusions or else they are illogical or ignorant or sexist, or the like, so, being I have been reading many times that there mine is one of many no good arguements, (I can live with that, I don't consider that to be a put down, I can put it into the consultation catagory), then I have a problem with lacking motivation unless I take the next step and agree that I am wrong and need to endorse, (which I don't think I should or ever shall because the writings are too clear and because while I can respect that clearly women not on the House means an error has happened, I wonder where is the respect for my view that it is a matter, perhaps, of role and function, not when I ask others to agree with me ,but have asked that I be allowed to come to my own conclusions and not be negatively labeled for such), I think my motivation for entering or not entering any discussion has nothing to do with being defensive, wavering in inner conviction, or being possessed of sexist attitude. Sincerely and truely yours, firstname.lastname@example.org 2015 Bay St. N. Texas City, TX 77590 voice/fax 409-948-6074 One planet one people please! From email@example.comSat Sep 16 13:05:30 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 95 12:09:06 EDT From: Christopher Buck To: firstname.lastname@example.org Cc: Christopher Buck Subject: Hierophants of the Mysteries Paul Johnson writes: ___________________ > If so, under which *Hierophant of the Mysteries*? > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That's not a term used in my work. ___________________ RESPONSE Paul, I picked up this term from page 1 of your book! To wit: *Helena Petrovna Blavatsky is proclaimed by her disciples as the greatest occult initiate in the history of Western civilization. What do Theosophists mean by this claim? Her posthumously published _Theosophical Glossary_ provides this definition of "initiate": The designation of anyone who was received into and had revealed to him the mysteries and secrets of either Masonry or Occultism. In times of antiquity, those who had been initiated into the arcane knowledge taught by the Hierophants of the Mysteries; and in our modern days those who have been initiated by the adepts of mystic lore into the mysterious knowledge, which, notwithstanding the lapse of ages, has yet a few real votaries on earth. ________________ Question: Paul, although you might have touched on this before, but are you being a renegade Theosophist by historicizing the role of the *Hierophants of the Mysteries* and the *adepts of mystic lore*? Do you reject, as did Krishnamurti, the concept of Hidden Masters and world teachers? Who, then, are the Theosphical Masters in the title of your book, *Initiates of the Theosophical Masters*, of whom `Abdu'l-Baha is one of the *Initiates*? You have addressed the question of historical influences, but I am still unclear as to your conception (accepted or not by Theosophists) of supramundane influences? Christopher Buck From email@example.comSat Sep 16 22:16:38 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 13:24:41 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: logic, history and women In brief response to Ahmad Aniss's posting on polygamy. In fact, `Abdu'l-Baha's reasoning in insisting on monogamy goes like this (in Ganjinih-'i Hudud va Ahkam): 1. Baha'u'llah's wording in the Aqdas allows a man to have two wives. 2. However, he prefers that men have one. 3. The Qur'an had allowed polygamy only on condition that each was treated exactly equally [and this principle of fairness is also implied in the Baha'i Writings]. 4. A man cannot in fact treat each of two wives completely equally. 5. Therefore, only monogamy is allowed in Baha'i administrative practice, even though the text of the Aqdas cannot be abrogated (naskh); and the reason is that polygamy is contrary to the overriding *principle* of fairness and equal treatment. Now, the logical form of this argument is precisely the same that I and others have proposed with regard to women's service on the House: 1. Baha'u'llah refers to members of all sorts of House of Justice as "men/rijal." 2. But he also refers to women as "rijal." 3. Baha'u'llah, `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi all insist that women have absolutely equal rights with men under the law. 4. Therefore in Baha'i administrative practice women should have the right to serve on houses of justice at all levels, on the grounds of the orver-riding principle of fairness and equality of rights. The juridical reasoning here is exactly imitative of that of `Abdu'l-Baha with regard to monogamy. Any argument that principle is outweighed in all cases by the precise wording of statutes would require Baha'i polygamy to be allowed. Were bigamy allowed, it certainly should be allowed to women as well as men, and the House has already indicated that unless otherwise noted, the presumption is that all laws in the Aqdas also apply to women. However, bigamy is administratively prohibited on grounds of the principle of fairness and equality of rights. With regard to the 1909 letter, I would like to point out that it is highly unlikely that "bayt al-`adl-i `umumi" refers to the universal house of justice. I agree with Tony that it probably refers to any *major* house of justice such as that in Chicago. But I am seriously beginning to think that `Abdu'l-Baha may have thought women should be excluded from *all* houses of justice. Note that in the 1913 letter when he excludes women, he does not mention anything about a "universal" house of justice. He simply says "the house of justice." My guess is that he demoted the Chicago body from a House of Justice to a Spiritual Assembly after his 1902 missive. He then decided in 1909-1912 that women could serve on local assemblies, but not on houses of justice (`umumi/general or not). There is a Tablet in Ma'idih-yi Asmani in which he distinguishes between spiritual assemblies as teaching units and houses of justice as executive and legislative ones. And he does not explicitly allow women in the 1909 letter on to local houses of justice, only onto spiritual assemblies. All this is consistent with my demonstration that Baha'u'llah referred to the memberships of both local houses of justice and of the Universal House of Justice as "men/rijal", which `Abdu'l-Baha appears to have understood as a prohibition on women's membership. I am not advocating this stance, only saying that as a historian it seems to me a scenario consistent with the available evidence. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From email@example.comSat Sep 16 22:17:07 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 13:27:23 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: manifestations of God I would just like to point out that the Baha'i use of "Manifestation of God" to refer to major messengers of God with a Book is not consistent with the original Arabic and Persian usage in Shi`ism. All Imams, whom Shi`ites did not consider to have the station of "nabi" or prophet, were nevertheless routinely referred to in Shi`ite theology as "manifestations of the names and attributes of God" (e.g. Majlisi I). There is nothing odd therefore in this terminology being used about the Letters of the Living. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From email@example.comSat Sep 16 22:19:51 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 14:40:12 -0500 (CDT) From: Saman Ahmadi To: talisman Subject: Re: logic, history and women Dear Friends, Juan made the observation that Abdul Baha may have meant that women could not serve on any house of justice. Is there anything in the writings of the Guardian that points to a change in membership of National Spiritual Assemblies when these institutions become Secondary Houses of Justice? I agree with Juan that the line of reasoning is the same with regards to polygymy and women on the House - however Abdul Baha made the interpretation with regards to the number of wives. Is that type authority (which I am not sure we can define) something which the House of Justice can exercise (this is along the lines of Rick's points about the Covenant)? The UHJ's most current letter indicates that they do not see a way. I think Richard's question is a very important one. Does Abdul Baha refer to the institution of the Guardianship in any other place beside His Will and Testament (and probably in a response to Corine True)? Things would be alot simpler for the rest of us if all the brilliant people on Talisman would say the same exact thing ;-) take care, sAmAn From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 22:24:55 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 17:13:09 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Juan R Cole Cc: email@example.com Subject: Re: logic, history and women On Sat, 16 Sep 1995, Juan R Cole wrote: Juan, I am not sure the reasoning is *exactly* the same in your arguments for the making women elegible for the UHJ and `Abdu'l-Baha's arguments for disallowing polygamy. In the first instance, `Abdu'l-Baha further narrows a restriction that was given the Aqdas. That is, Baha'u'llah prohibited Baha'i men from having more than two wives; `Abdu'l-Baha in his interpretation of this law, restricted men to having a single wife. The equivalent in the case of membership of the UHJ would have been if `Abdu'l-Baha further restricted membership to men over certain age, rather than extending it to women. The analogy to your proposal in the first case would be to allow men to have more than two wives. In any event, `Abdu'l-Baha has interpreted the text of the Aqdas as limiting membership on the UHJ to men. I don't see any way around this, unless we find a later tablet in which he says something different. I would propose that in Baha'i jusriprudence specifics must take precdence over general principles. This is because Baha'i principles must be abstracted from the entire body of the revelation. No stated principle--such as "gender equality"--can reflect all of the nuances of the Baha'i teachings. In the process of stating a principle one necessarily simplifies, and therefore inaccurately portrays, the teachings. I think this is true even when the principles are listed by the Central Figures of the Faith--not because of any limitations on their part but because this process is ineviteably reductionist. Thus, when a specific injunction conflicts with a stated Baha'i principle, I would propose that the definition of that principle needs to be further refined, for it does not accurately reflect all elements of the revelation. Certainly there are instances when an injunction represents a temporary or geocentric policy rather than something that is intended for permanent and universal application (eg. review), but even these elements of the text ought to be considered and explained in the *fatwa*s coming from our learned brethren. Richard From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 22:36:29 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 16:20:25 -0600 (MDT) From: Sadra To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Hidden Words, #1 (Persian) Dearest Talizens-- I guess the Hidden Words proposal is a go, so here's the very first selection from the Persian. Ahang will post the Farsi transliteration. Nima --------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the Name of the Lord of Utterance, the Mighty. O YE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MINDS TO KNOW AND EARS TO HEAR! The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not but in the rose-garden of the spirit. O messenger of the Solomon of love! Seek thou no shelter except in the Sheba of the well-beloved, and O immortal phoenix! dwell not save on the mount of faithfulness. Therein is thy habitation, if on the wings of thy soul thou soarest to the realm of the inifinte and seekest to attain thy goal. From email@example.comSat Sep 16 22:44:08 1995 Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 10:45:44 +1200 From: Robert Johnston To: Juan R Cole , firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: logic, history and women: of spiders.. Breaking my silence re. responses to Juan on this topic, I note that Juan wrote: > >But I am seriously beginning to think that `Abdu'l-Baha may have thought >women should be excluded from *all* houses of justice. It is a good thing that Juan's positions have not been utterly persuasive, otherwise we might all have been in for some kind gut-wrenching spiritual u-turn. I wonder how the likes of Terry and Sen and Tony, who follow (or share) Juan's lead, manage to keep up... Ahang suggested that Juan's ideas met the House too soon. I wish that Juan would cook each of his ideas a little longer before he presented them here also. Especially when their inflamation quotient is so high. Here is -- maybe -- the first comment on the Hidden Word posted by Nima: The spider has no logic comparable with that of the phoenix and should not attempt to trap the immortal bird in its web. Again Juan re-tells his version of the old lie that science is value-free: >I am not advocating this stance, only saying that as a historian it seems >to me a scenario consistent with the available evidence. Sir, any intellectual project has rhetorical assumptions. Robert. From Member1700@aol.comSat Sep 16 22:46:57 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 20:11:49 -0400 From: Member1700@aol.com To: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Women and the House In deference to the French translation, let's change the title of this thread, OK? My dear friend and brother Richard knows that I respect his interpretation of the 1909 Tablet from the Master to Corinne True, in which he mentions the "universal" House of Justice (baytu'l-'adl-ummumi)--but I also think he is dead wrong. The reference to the chairman of the House is curious, but I do not think that this refers to the Guardianship. First of all, if 'Abdu'l-Baha is making reference to the laws of Baha'u'llah (as he appears to be doing), what would he be referring to? As far as I know, Baha'u'llah never mentioned a chairman of the House of Justice, nor did he ever mention the Guardianship or its functions. Certainly, the American Baha'is had never heard of such a thing. So, such a reference would be illogical. This is not to say that the matter does not require more study. It most certainly does! One should legitimately ask why 'Abdu'l-Baha would refer to the chairman of the House. But, I see no evidence whatsoever that would indicate that this is a reference to the International House of Justice--especially in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. After all, the controversy (at that time) was whether women could serve on the Chicago House. The answer was no. Richard has not addressed the question of why it would be that this Tablet was universally understood to say precisely that by everyone around. Or why 'Abdu'l-Baha did not clarify his meaning, if he had been misunderstood. In fact, 'Abdu'l-Baha nowhere ever indicated that he had been misunderstood--even though he was certainly asked. Richard has also failed to address the evidence of the Kenosha House of Justice in 1911. Clearly, if 'Abdu'l-Baha had admitted women to the Chicago House in 1909 (but had been misunderstood), then he would have corrected the error with the Kenosha House in 1911. But again, and here the record is crystal clear, 'Abdu'l-Baha refused to allow the election of women to the Kenosha House, even though the men of the community declared themselves ready to do so. In the face of such evidence, it is very hard to maintain that he had changed his position in 1909. By the way, my reference to "rational grounds" in the last message was intended as a way of differentiating an historical argument from a theological one. I did not intend to say that contrary views were "irrational." Only that, on the basis of historical evidence, those views cannot be maintained with any convincing evidence. As to the reference to the "Spiritual Assembly" in the 1909 Tablet, 'Abdu'l-Baha had previously given explicit instructions that the Women's committee in Chicago was to be called the "Spiritual Assembly" (mafil-i ruhani) and he continued to refer to it as such. Unfortunately, his orders were not carried out and the Chicago committee was known as the Women's Assembly of Teaching. But, it seems quite clear that the listing of the "Spiritual Assembly" along with the other committees and Baha'i agencies in Chicago is a reference to the Women's Committee--which was indeed quite important, and would hardly have been left off such a list. Anyway, the meaning was quite clear to the Baha'is in Chicago at the time--women can be on lesser bodies, but not on the House of Spirituality. And so, to maintain that the 1909 Tablet refers to the International House of Justice, one must simultaneously maintain that: 1) although 'Abdu'l-Baha was asked about women's service on the Chicago House, he failed to discuss that matter altogether in his 1909 Tablet, but instead discussed the future International House of Justice; 2) the Tablet was misunderstood by everyone (Persian and American) with the possible exception of Corinne True; 3) that 'Abdu'l-Baha did not clarify his meaning, even though it was clear that he had been misunderstood; 4) that 'Abdu'l-Baha never indicated that he had been misunderstood, even when he eventually changed the policy in 1912; 5) that two years after the Tablet, in 1911, when faced with a similar question from the Baha'is in Kenosha, 'Abdu'l-Baha failed to uphold his own policy; 6) and probably a lot more. Sorry, guys, the list is just too long. On historical grounds the overwhelming weight of the evidence is obvious. To maintain that this Tablet is actually refers to our current Universal House of Justice sends reason begging, and can only be maintained on a theological basis--not on an historical one. By the way, Richard, I don't see any reason why 'Abdu'l-Baha would not be empowered to broaden Baha'i law as well as to restrict it further. It seems to me that the teachings on polygamy and the teachings concerning women's service on the institutions of the Faith have simply developed in Baha'i history following two different trajectories. With regard to polygamy, it appears to me that the trajectory has reached its end. While, with regard to women, it seems to me that there is still one step left to take before it reaches it logical conclusion. Warmest, Tony From email@example.comSat Sep 16 22:47:58 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 21:03:50 -0400 (EDT) From: Richard Vernon Hollinger To: Member1700@aol.com Cc: Talisman@indiana.edu Subject: Re: Women and the House On Sat, 16 Sep 1995 Member1700@aol.com wrote: > Richard has not addressed the question of why it would be that this > Tablet was universally understood to say precisely that by everyone around. > Or why 'Abdu'l-Baha did not clarify his meaning, if he had been > misunderstood. In fact, 'Abdu'l-Baha nowhere ever indicated that he had been > misunderstood--even though he was certainly asked. > Richard has also failed to address the evidence of the Kenosha House of > Justice in 1911. Clearly, if 'Abdu'l-Baha had admitted women to the Chicago > House in 1909 (but had been misunderstood), then he would have corrected the > error with the Kenosha House in 1911. But again, and here the record is > crystal clear, 'Abdu'l-Baha refused to allow the election of women to the > Kenosha House, even though the men of the community declared themselves ready > to do so. In the face of such evidence, it is very hard to maintain that he > had changed his position in 1909. I don't think that `Abdu'l-Baha had strong feelings about whether consultative institutions were gender-segregated or gender-integrated. Hence, in 1910 he said in a tablet to Shahnaz Waite that both were permissible. He did not, I think, refuse to allow women on the Kenosha House, but rather declined to have the House dissolved and re-elected in mid-term. When he dissolved the Chicago House of Spirituality in 1912 it was not because women had previously been excluded but because a Covenant-breaker had been elected to it the year before and was still serving on it. In his oral instructions to Howard MacNutt, `Abdu'l-Baha stated that the Chicago Baha'is could continue to have separate assemblies for men and women or they could have a joint assembly--whichever they preferred. In short, `Abdu'l-Baha seems to have consistently held to the position--at least from 1909, and it may be time to re-examine the 1902 tablet--that women could serve on consultative bodies, but at the same time he left it up to the local Baha'is to decide how they would proceed and did not intervene in specific situations. Richard Hollinger From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 23:48:47 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 13:24:41 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: email@example.com Subject: logic, history and women In brief response to Ahmad Aniss's posting on polygamy. In fact, `Abdu'l-Baha's reasoning in insisting on monogamy goes like this (in Ganjinih-'i Hudud va Ahkam): 1. Baha'u'llah's wording in the Aqdas allows a man to have two wives. 2. However, he prefers that men have one. 3. The Qur'an had allowed polygamy only on condition that each was treated exactly equally [and this principle of fairness is also implied in the Baha'i Writings]. 4. A man cannot in fact treat each of two wives completely equally. 5. Therefore, only monogamy is allowed in Baha'i administrative practice, even though the text of the Aqdas cannot be abrogated (naskh); and the reason is that polygamy is contrary to the overriding *principle* of fairness and equal treatment. Now, the logical form of this argument is precisely the same that I and others have proposed with regard to women's service on the House: 1. Baha'u'llah refers to members of all sorts of House of Justice as "men/rijal." 2. But he also refers to women as "rijal." 3. Baha'u'llah, `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi all insist that women have absolutely equal rights with men under the law. 4. Therefore in Baha'i administrative practice women should have the right to serve on houses of justice at all levels, on the grounds of the orver-riding principle of fairness and equality of rights. The juridical reasoning here is exactly imitative of that of `Abdu'l-Baha with regard to monogamy. Any argument that principle is outweighed in all cases by the precise wording of statutes would require Baha'i polygamy to be allowed. Were bigamy allowed, it certainly should be allowed to women as well as men, and the House has already indicated that unless otherwise noted, the presumption is that all laws in the Aqdas also apply to women. However, bigamy is administratively prohibited on grounds of the principle of fairness and equality of rights. With regard to the 1909 letter, I would like to point out that it is highly unlikely that "bayt al-`adl-i `umumi" refers to the universal house of justice. I agree with Tony that it probably refers to any *major* house of justice such as that in Chicago. But I am seriously beginning to think that `Abdu'l-Baha may have thought women should be excluded from *all* houses of justice. Note that in the 1913 letter when he excludes women, he does not mention anything about a "universal" house of justice. He simply says "the house of justice." My guess is that he demoted the Chicago body from a House of Justice to a Spiritual Assembly after his 1902 missive. He then decided in 1909-1912 that women could serve on local assemblies, but not on houses of justice (`umumi/general or not). There is a Tablet in Ma'idih-yi Asmani in which he distinguishes between spiritual assemblies as teaching units and houses of justice as executive and legislative ones. And he does not explicitly allow women in the 1909 letter on to local houses of justice, only onto spiritual assemblies. All this is consistent with my demonstration that Baha'u'llah referred to the memberships of both local houses of justice and of the Universal House of Justice as "men/rijal", which `Abdu'l-Baha appears to have understood as a prohibition on women's membership. I am not advocating this stance, only saying that as a historian it seems to me a scenario consistent with the available evidence. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From firstname.lastname@example.orgSat Sep 16 23:50:52 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 23:05:57 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: "[G. Brent Poirier]" Cc: Talisman Subject: Re: The Arabic tongue Brent: I have high regard for Professor Bushrui, but I think his quotation of Baha'u'llah on the language issue in his book on the style of the Aqdas is misleading. Baha'u'llah was asked whether, if the choice of a world language were between Persian and Arabic, it should be Persian. Baha'u'llah replies that no, Arabic has greater breadth and can express subtle concepts well that cannot be so easily put into Persian. (Arabic had been the universal language of Islamic civilization and the favored language for technical subjects like philosophy and science). Professor Bushrui's quotation is accurate, but does not reflect that Baha'u'llah is not expressing an absolute preference for Arabic, only a comparative one. Baha'u'llah also steadfastly says that the decision is for the consultative assemblies of the people of the world to make (by which he means both Baha'i elective institutions and civil parliaments, apparently working together). The Tablet is given in full in Ganj-i Shayigan under "Qad nuzzila fi al-Kitab al-Aqdas." A talk is given in *`Abdu'l-Baha in London* in which the Master was more noncommital and seemed to favor an artificial language drawing on elements of several existing ones. The Universal House of Justice has drawn attention to the unsettled nature of the issue, citing the London talk, in a letter published in *Baha'i Studies Bulletin.* In my own view, Arabic as a language is wholly unsuited to being the vehicle for contemporary civilization. The writing system it uses does not show vowels. And the form of its words (its morphology) assumes a triliteral root put in certain molds. A foreign loan-word like deoxyribonucleic acid virtually cannot be deciphered in Arabic. And this is why most Arabic-speaking countries arrange for undergraduates and graduate students to study the sciences in English or French. Syria is an exception, but is also not known for breakthroughs in chemistry. I think a Baha'i civilization would inevitably bring a lot of Arabic words into whatever language was chosen, but that Arabic itself can be the world language strikes me as highly unlikely. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From GreyOlorin@aol.comSun Sep 17 00:13:39 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 23:36:52 -0400 From: GreyOlorin@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: what if women...? In a message dated 95-09-14 11:57:38 EDT, Linda writes: +++ A girl can grow up believing she can do nearly everything. She can be prepared to take on the world. But, when she grows up and find that important positions of - yes, guys - POWER are denied her, she has to start doubting herself and her the capacities of her gender. The truth is most girls don't grow up feeling that secure anyway. Their sense of inferiority is then reinforced by this exclusion. +++ Why should a woman's recognition of her own value and the capacities of her gender depend so greatly on anything outside her control? Certainly such self-doubt *can* begin in the face of the many obstacles facing women in the modern world's spiritually unhealthy societies, but I would challenge the assertion that women (or men) *have to* begin doubting their capacities under any conditions. In the recorded history available to us, there are far fewer examples of whole societies that recognized women's equality with men, than there are of women who unshakably believed themselves at least as capable as any man in the important endeavors of life. The Baha'i Writings contain numerous explicit and unequivocal declarations of the equality of women and men. If Baha'i girls are growing up with feelings of insecurity and inferiority, (and, sadly, the evidence indicates many probably are) then it is our task at every level of our communities to provide the opposite reinforcement -- to find concrete and convincing ways to demonstrate to girls and women their equal capacity and value. While serving at the Baha'i World Centre, I saw several occasions on which members of the Universal House of Justice answered questions from pilgrims and others concerning the ineligibility of women to serve as members of the House. Among the first things each one emphasized is that the Baha'i Writings are unmistakably clear about the equality of men and women, and that therefore the exclusion of women from House membership is in no way to be read as implying any lack of capacity on the part of women. We do not know what the reason *is*, but we know beyond all doubt that the reason is *not* related to any "inferiority" of women. Educating the Baha'is about this fact is clearly a high priority among the current members of the House. Perhaps, then, the most fruitful goal for us is that of educating all Baha'is, in the manner Terry so movingly described, to recognize, defend, and practice the principle of gender equality in all aspects of community life. Our ultimate goal: to raise future generations of girls who will have no "sense of inferiority" to reinforce -- and of boys who will have no corresponding sense of superiority. +++ I am wonder if, in the future, exclusion from the UHJ won't be taken as justification for exclusion from other forms of leadership, especially political leadership. I can hear the "No's" ringing out now, but I would like some serious consideration of that matter. +++ Such a danger may be another thing that can spur the Baha'is to actively pursue this aspect of community and individual development. Future developments such as you describe above would be a reversal of the progressive trend, identified by Juan and others, by which Baha'i teachings and practices have increasingly encouraged the full and equal participation of women. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it does not seem to me that continued progress can be guaranteed simply by placing women in the "highest positions of power," since women's lot remains mostly brutal in most of the countries that have or had women in their highest political offices (India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nicaragua). Perhaps, then, a better protection and progress at all levels on this issue can be made to result from the dynamic tension between the declared equality of women on the one hand, and the continued ineligiblity of women to serve on the Universal House of Justice on the other. We cannot falsely "prove" we are following our principles by electing a few women to the House of Justice and claiming the job is finished; that path is not open to us. The only way we can prove the vitality of the Baha'i principle of equality is by striving to truly practice it at every other level of Baha'i community life. When seen in that light, it becomes crystal clear that we must do a much better job of it than we are doing now. Complacency is impossible to defend, for in this as in many other endeavors, the Baha'i community is nowhere near a full expression of its potential to be "in the forefront of all progressive movements." +++ Now, what if only women could be on the UHJ. My educated guess is that we would have but a handful of men in the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith would be a "women's religion" - icky! Just as men shun meetings on women, they would shun this religion too. Sorry. Linda +++ While I can't speak to whether there would be more than "a handful" of men in the Baha'i Faith under such circumstances, I can tell you without doubt that one of those men would be me. (Perhaps you missed my earlier post in which I already said this.) Also, having met several current members of the Universal House of Justice, I think that they would be the first to accept a UHJ composed only of women, should authoritative scripture of some kind make it clear that such was the law of the Baha'i Dispensation. Accepting such a provision might be more difficult for some men than for others, but I think most of the Baha'i men I have met would accept it, because I think they recognize that the most important thing about the Universal House of Justice is the fact that God has established it as the Institution to which we all must turn. The gender of its members cannot in any way dilute that fact, just as it cannot dilute the fact that gender equality is clearly upheld in this Revelation. With regards, and more deeply concerned about women's rights than you might think, Kevin Haines From firstname.lastname@example.orgSun Sep 17 00:13:50 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 23:48:30 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: email@example.com Subject: women's service on the House A quick reply to some comments on my most recent posting: 1) When I said the form of argument `Abdu'l-Baha employed to implement monogamy was the same as the one I am advocating to allow women to serve on the House, I meant that both were syllogisms and both employ over-arching principle to achieve an integrity of Baha'i law and practice that appears contradictory to the literal wording of a scriptural statute. >From this point of view it is irrelevant whether the statute is narrowed or widened. As for whether the Universal House of Justice has the authority to narrow or widen on this basis, I would argue that it does in matters of policy (siyasat, translated in Ishraqat 8 as "affairs of state") but not in matters of ritual worship. I would also insist that the over-arching principle be explicitly stated in Baha'i scripture and stated in some obviously relevant context. You can't invent an over-arching principle based on vague language and then use it to overturn statutory verses. I think I have provided quite a lot of evidence from scripture for the principle that women and men have the same rights under Baha'i law, and that eligibility for elective Baha'i office is a right. These statements are very strong and certainly stronger than the mere use of "rijal/men" to refer to members of houses of justice, which does not explicitly exclude women for all the reasons I have given. For those further interested in the idea of "integrity" in jurisprudence, I recommend Ronald Dworkin's *Law's Empire.* 2) My recent suggestion that `Abdu'l-Baha may not have envisaged women serving on any kind of properly constituted house of justice, local or universal, does not contradict my argument that women should in fact serve at every level on grounds of principle. I have always held that the Master excluded women from all houses of justice in the 1902 letter to Corinne True; and have simply pointed out that his subsequent permitting of them to serve on the Chicago LSA in 1912 (when he certainly did so) is inconsistent in some way with the 1902 letter. There are two possible ways to understand this reversal of policy. One is that he rethought the issue and decided that women could serve on LSAs and NSAs, but not on the Universal House of Justice. This is possible, though the textual evidence for it is mainly the 1909 letter, which is ambiguous in important ways. If this is what happened, it is mysterious, since the earlier exclusion of women from houses of justice was made because members of both local and universal houses of justice had been called "rijal/men" by Baha'u'llah. Nothing explains why suddenly the Master thought this terminology unimportant with regard to local and national houses of justice. Another possibility is that `Abdu'l-Baha allowed women on the Chicago LSA in 1912 because he no longer considered it a house of justice at all. He certainly ceased calling it a house of justice after 1902, and he in more than one Tablet makes a distinction between LSAs as organizations for teaching the Faith and houses of justice as executives/legislatures. The second possibility raises the question of whether he thought women should serve on houses of justice at any level. It would also explain why all of a sudden he was entirely indifferent to whether American communities chose to have mixed-gender or gender-segregated LSAs, whereas this issue had so exercised him in the 1902 letter with regard to what he then recognized as the Chicago House of Justice. In admitting that there are two possible explanations for the reversal, I do not retract anything I have said before about the possibility that the exclusionary stance was in `Abdu'l-Baha's mind temporary and based on the entire lack of preparedness of 98% of Middle Eastern Baha'i women for such service in his lifetime. Nor do I retract my position that since `Abdu'l-Baha's interpretations on this issue are so murky and apparently inconsistent, whichever way they are read, the matter is thrown to the House for a ruling on the basis of the Baha'i principle of equality of rights for women and men. Historical research is all about evidence, hypothesis, debate, and the digging up of more evidence and production of new analyses. For those who are uncomfortable with the unsettled nature of historiography, tant pis; welcome to the real world. This is part of the Talisman universe. And I note that when I am perfectly consistent and repeat myself over and over again I am criticized in certain quarters as closed-minded and not open to evidence. But when I see evidence in a new way and make a novel argument I am criticized for being on a roller-coaster and being inconsistent. The only constant seems in those quarters to be a dislike of my views, whatever they might be and however they evolve. So be it. `Abdu'l-Baha, on the other hand, urged us not to think of ourselves as having any personal enemies. This is not a state of mind I can always attain, but it seems to me a good one to strive for. cheers Juan Cole, History, University of Michigan From firstname.lastname@example.orgSun Sep 17 00:14:43 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 22:55:40 -0500 (EDT) From: "Mark A. Foster" To: email@example.com Subject: Hidden Words, #1 (Persia To: firstname.lastname@example.org N >In the Name of the Lord of Utterance, the Mighty. N > N > N >O YE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MINDS TO KNOW N >AND EARS TO HEAR! N > N >The first call of the Beloved is this: O mystic nightingale! Abide not N >but in the rose-garden of the spirit. O messenger of the Solomon of love! N >Seek thou no shelter except in the Sheba of the well-beloved, and O N >immortal phoenix! dwell not save on the mount of faithfulness. Therein is N >thy habitation, if on the wings of thy soul thou soarest to the realm of N >the inifinte and seekest to attain thy goal. Talismanians, Thanks to Ahang and Nima for performing this service . A few thoughts: 1. The connection of "Lord of Utterance," "ears of hear," and "first call of the Beloved" stands out to me. The reference here, IMO, is to the language of the Kingdom (speaking in tongues) spoken by the Prophets and by those who have drawn close to Them. It is the inner reality of existence expressed, on the plane of rational accomplishment, as the revealed words of God (the spiritual teachings or science of reality). As we learn that science of reality (systematic and formulated knowledge about the worlds of God and our place in them), and as we begin to apply it to our own lives, we are gradually transformed and begin to speak with other tongues - as it has been given to us in parables in the Book of Acts. 2. The term "minds to know," as I see it, refers to the human spirit (the intellect or power of the mind) assisted by the the spirit of faith (consisting, IMV, of the magnet of faith and service and the faculty of inner vision). The Master told Laura Clifford Barney that unless the human spirit is assisted by the spirit of faith, it will never become acquainted with "the divine secrets and heavenly realities." The means to this assistance, IMHO, is to the life-long process of remaking one's mind using the verities contained in the teachings/science of reality. 3. Abiding in the "rose-garden of the spirit," I think, is the condition of developing divine virtues (the reality of the spiritual, or divine, civilization which is brought by the Prophets) through fulfilling one's primary purpose of loving and knowing God. When one focuses one's reflection/meditation on these virtues of the spiritual Kingdom revealed (one of the conditions of "Heaven"), one will be see the beauty inherent in all things. 4. Seeking shelter in "the Sheba of the well-beloved" is a reference, as I see it, to the bibical/qur'anic kingdom of Sheba/Saba - the place where Bilqis (the Queen of Sheba) was reportedly visited by Solomon. It was a land of great material riches, and the Sabaeans, who traveled throughout the region as traders in gold and spices, were a wealthly people. Likewise, we will be given wondrous spiritual riches when we are firm in the divine Covenant. With loving greetings, Mark * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Mark A. Foster, Ph.D., Sociologist of Religion * From email@example.comSun Sep 17 00:20:16 1995 Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 00:13:20 -0400 (EDT) From: Juan R Cole To: GreyOlorin@aol.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: what if women...? Kevin: I don't think anyone can doubt that you are deeply concerned with women's rights. But I offer the following for your consideration: 1) While it is true that having a women as head of state or prime minister in countries such as Turkey, Pakistan and Bangladesh does not automatically improve the welfare of the masses of women, it is also true that it is not without influence. For instance, I know that Benazir Bhutto is an inspiration to millions of Pakistani women (and she certainly would not be prime minister if rural women had not bucked their fathers and husbands in the voting booths to put the Pakistan People's Party and Benazir in office). Benazir has never had a two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore cannot overturn martial-law amendments to the constitution of a fundamentalist Muslim nature put in place by General Zia; nor can she always resist effectively Islamization drives like that to make the testimony of a woman worth half that of a man. On the other hand, Benazir has reserved 5% of police positions for women, who had been virtually excluded from such employment, and taken other similar steps amenable to executive orders. She has also made her office a bully pulpit for denouncing the physical abuse of women, and succeeded in seeing that a Mulla (Muslim clergyman) who physically tortured his wife over years was finally prosecuted. Under the dictatorship of General Zia and under other governments than Benazir's, women's rights were being rapidly undermined and reversed, partially because these parties depend heavily on the Islamist vote. Benazir has certainly greatly slowed this rush to renewed patriarchy (conducted under the banner of retrieving faithfulness to the command of the Manifestation from the inroads of colonial secular humanism), and in some instances has helped to reverse it. So to say that it makes *no* difference whether you have a woman PM or not is simply not true. 2) Every evidence is that American boys and young men absolutely refuse to so much as watch a television show or movie wherein the primary protagonist is a girl. In fact, such shows have largely been shunted to cable, as with Disney's Avonlea or the Lifetime Channel. The film *Pocahantas* was carefully crafted so the boys could identify with John Smith, and it anyway was not nearly as big as *Lion King*, with its singleminded Patriarchy. The trick is that girls *will* watch shows with male protagonists. The Logic of Capital becomes obvious under these circumstances. (Incidentally, there is also evidence that American schoolchildren dismiss bright kids in the class as possible leaders, preferring the athletically gifted, in contrast to English schoolchildren. Apparently we are male chauvinist anti-intellectuals from an early age in this country). So, the idea that American males would prayerfully accept an all-woman Universal House of Justice from which they thought men eternally excluded strikes me as very low. cheers, Juan From email@example.comSun Sep 17 00:21:30 1995 Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 21:16:17 -0700 From: DEREK COCKSHUT To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re. Arabic Language! The artifical Language that the Master outlined is most certainly to do with the first stage of the evolution of Humanity towards maturity, this would be the auxillary language. The Blessed Beauty of course states a Universal Language which would be the second stage and part of the Maturing of the Human Race.As a side note on that issue back in 1965 at the York Winter School in the UK we had among the Teachers that week Hands of the Cause Faizi and Ferraby, one night there was question time, as you might guess one of the Questions was what language.Ferraby was adamant it was English and Faizi was adamant it was Arabic , this debate ran on for more than 2 hours. so much so that as Chairman of the School I was supposed to turn off the lights, at 12.45 with everybody gone to bed I excused myself and asked them to turn off the lights. They had not resolved it at that time and I never heard the end but I suspect they never came to a conclusion. Kindest Regards Derek Cockshut. From Alethinos@aol.comSun Sep 17 12:38:53 1995 Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 00:39:40 -0400 From: Alethinos@aol.com To: email@example.com Subject: Re: logic, history and women Dear Juan: With regard to your earlier posting to me concerning jurisprudential possibilities in the Faith perhaps mimicking those of constitutional scholars, etc., and now this particular posting there seems a need to ask some more questions. Below you have stated: >>Now, the logical form of this argument is precisely the same that I and others have proposed with regard to women's service on the House: 1. Baha'u'llah refers to members of all sorts of House of Justice as "men/rijal." 2. But he also refers to women as "rijal." 3. Baha'u'llah, `Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi all insist that women have absolutely equal rights with men under the law. 4. Therefore in Baha'i administrative practice women should have the right to serve on houses of justice at all levels, on the grounds of the orver-riding principle of fairness and equality of rights. The juridical reasoning here is exactly imitative of that of `Abdu'l-Baha with regard to monogamy. Any argument that principle is outweighed in all cases by the precise wording of statutes would require Baha'i polygamy to be allowed.<< Specifically with regard to your fourth point. Contrary to the desire by many American Baha'is to feel that there is some type of power flow from the masses to the top, i.e. that those in the administrative positions receive their *mandate* from the People - this is simply not the case in the Faith. It is exactly this type of "I gotta right!" attitude that has brought on such disunifying weakness in America today and is increasingly recognized as a major liability. It will not serve the interests of the Faith, most certainly. One cannot press a *right* to the point of disavowing the very essence of the Reality to which one has previously sworn absolute loyalty. Not without doing severe damage - primarily to one's spirit and that spirit's ability to to percieve, acurrately, this Reality. You suggested in you post of 9/14 *Principles of Law* that what is being done here on Talisman is similar to an excercise one might find in say the University of Michigan Law Journal. Again the problem is that the Faith is not some theological version of the US judiciary. The responsibility of scholars in the Faith should be, it seems to me, to assist the Universal House of Justice and the Administrative Order. I believe the House is mature enough to know when and if the time has come _to_ reexamine the issue of, let's say women serving as members of the Universal House of Justice. I don't see the function of the scholars to mill around at the bottom of the hill grumbling, ranting, and stirring up passions that have, effectively no where to go. It seems, if we trust the process that the House goes through, that the House will let _us_ know when it would like this issue more fully researched. At _this_ time it has made Its decision - and has stated: > As mentioned earlier, the law regarding the membership of the >Universal House of Justice is embedded in the Text and has >been merely restated by the divinely appointed interpreters. It >is therefore neither amenable to change nor subject to >speculation about some possible future condition. It has made, to my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong here) _no_ other statements so far, has it?? Before you reintroduce your accusation that I wish to somehow dictate the subjects discussed here as you did in the 9/14 posting let me say this in my own behalf. My primary concern here has never been to jump up and say, in effect: "Neener, neener, ne-neeer! You girls can't be on the House!!!" Nor have I been impressed by wild sexist speculation by the supposed *victims* of this decision that if the situation were reversed, i.e. the House were composed of all women there would be few men in the Faith (what a wonderful statement on the faith of the male half or our Cause!) Nor have I ever denied the difficulty that this issue presents to _everyone_ male or female. But _my_ concern is this: continually revisting an issue that has, 1. _as far as we can see been decided_, 2. is a cause of such emotional turmoil for so many people, 3. cannot now, nor in the forseeable future be *changed* by continued specualtion - will only lead to the development of an air of discontent. The issue cannot be *solved* here, or now; the only place it ever could be dealt with will be in Haifa, in a room to which none of us, at this time have a place in. So to continue to speculate on this issue is pointless. It causes anger, frustration, resentment, and confusion. It is, at this point, a closed subject, and there is apparently, given the statment above, no time in the future, that we know of, when it will be revisited. And if this _is_ to change the House will be the initiators of that change. I do agree with you Mr. Cole that we very much NEED to explore and tackle many issues in a scholarly way. And that out of that process the House will be assisted as new avenues are explored, concepts expanded etc. But we are never to be some alternate body that can somehow *shadow* the House and its decisions, speculating on *future* Houses, all the time with an underlying air of assumption that what *we* say will somehow *sway* the House. If we are able to *sway* the House then I would respectfully suggest, the House is a fraud. Members of the House may be educated, their vision enhanced. But it is _not_ nine men who make the decision. The Universal House of Justice makes it. The fact that at some future date they may change a previous ruling is _not_ an indication that they erred in the past - any more than the canceling of some past social law by a Moses or Jesus by a present Manifestation is a suggestion of an error by Former. It simply means times have changed. So my question is this: what good will come of continued specualtion over an issue that has been decided? jim harrison Alethinos@aol.com