Hello there! I thought that as my very first blog anywhere ever, I would begin by discussing my own spiritual path leading up to becoming a Baha’i, and some of the principals of the Faith.
I was raised in a Christian household, and attended a Lutheran church; faith has always been a part of my upbringing. Let me be clear about something, though: I have nothing but good things to say about the pastors of my church during my years of attendance. In fact, through the wonders of social networking, I’m in contact with them some 30-odd years later.
For those whose spiritual needs are genuinely met through the revelations of the Bible (or the Quran, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, or whatever), I say “Great!” But for whatever reason, I felt over time that my spirit was no longer fully nourished by the Bible, as if something was missing or incomplete, for lack of better terminology.
I began to learn about other belief systems and religions, dabbling in such areas as New Age philosophy, Eastern mysticism, and Jungian psychology. Finally, in my early thirties, I met a lovely woman of keen intellect, who eventually became my wife. Among our many conversations, she told me that she was a Baha’i, a follower of Baha’u’llah (Arabic for “the Glory of God”).
She spoke to me about how Baha’u’llah was the Promised One spoken of in many religions. She introduced me to the concept of progressive revelation, meaning that as humanity becomes more mentally and spiritually capable, God sends a new Promised One (Baha’is refer to such Beings as Manifestations) with more info about our world and to either affirm or abrogate aspects of Scripture; lying is still a no-no, but eating pork is OK, for example. She spoke of how the Writings explicitly discuss the equality of humanity, the validity of science and many other heady concepts.
However, I was too captivated by her beauty for the words to sink in at the time. As an aside, I wasn’t yet a Baha’i when we married; conversion is not required to wed.
Over the years I began to study the principles of the Faith in earnest, learning more about the life and deeds of Baha’u’llah. It was then that I came to the conclusion that there was something more than human about Him. It was also then that red flags popped up from my Christian upbringing, warning me to be wary of false prophets.
Uh-oh. This could either be very good, or very bad.
I began re-reading the Bible in earnest, cross-referencing things from the Baha’i Writings. One passage that smacked me right in the face was from 1 Corinthians 2:5, which says that “your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
That’s when it hit me: For all those years, I’d been studying the Writings, analyzing the principles of the Faith, but it had all been a rational/cognitive process; I had been relying solely on “the wisdom of men” without ever having prayed on the subject. Silly me!
I resolved to rectify my oversight. I traveled to one of my favorite outdoor spots in Columbia, and as soon as I entered a prayerful state, I felt God posing a question of me: “In your studies of Baha’u’llah and the Baha’i Faith, do you feel as though you have become closer to Me, or farther away?” The answer could not have been more obvious.
That, as they say, was that.
I registered myself as a Baha’i as soon as I returned home.