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To. The Rev.

_________

Pastor of ______ Church

Dear Pastor ____:

God bless you, and I thank you for your call last Saturday in
which you expressed a desire to understand more about the
Baha'i Faith. We fully sympathize with your immediate concern
to "protect your flock," but your repeated use of the word "cult"
during our conversation indicates that you truly are unaware of
the Baha'i message. No legitimate definition of that word found
anywhere that I've looked applies to the Baha'i Faith. (I say
legitimate because I realize that a few people, totally careless of
the slanderous nature of the word and the pain it may cause
innocent people, apply it to anybody who doesn't adhere to
their specific belief.)

We do not proselytize. Our own laws forbid it. But we do believe


that everyone who wants to hear the Word of God should have
the opportunity, and that's all we are offering. Almost two years
ago, the Hobbs Baha'is undertook a project to send an
information package to every known religious leader in the
Hobbs area. The local newspaper published our story about the
effort. Our intent was to make the entire church community
aware that we would be increasing our effort to make the offer
of information to more people. Our records do not indicate that
your name was on our list. Perhaps we missed you. Perhaps
you are new to the community. Either way, I would be happy to
fill the gap and provide you with a complete package if you
request it.

Points of Unity

We seek points of unity, not divisiveness. That's because we


believe that where we agree is so much more important. See if
you have a problem with any of the following beliefs and
assertions of the Baha'i Faith:

• The God of Adam, Abraham and Moses is the Creator.


• God is also Infinite Love, Mercy, and Justice.
• There is only one God.
• Jesus is the Son of God.
• Jesus is Divine.
• The Virgin Mary bore Jesus as a result of immaculate
conception.
• Man cannot know God except through Jesus.
• When they crucified Jesus, He died for me.
• God requires and expects us to pray.
• God requires and expects us to love one another.
• God requires and expects us to develop virtues.
• Among those virtues are honesty, trustworthiness,
chastity, and patience.

These and many more are what I consider very important


points of unity between us. These points, to me, far out-weigh
any points of disagreement. I am a Baha'i because of my love
for Jesus. Anyone who becomes a Baha'i must accept Jesus
regardless of his previous religious background. I do not expect
you to believe what I believe, only to understand that I believe
it and that I try to live it.

Asking Honest Appraisal

If you choose to discuss the Baha'i Faith with the rest of your
congregation, to "warn" them if you will, we will not be
surprised. But I would ask that you investigate a little further.
Then, you will find that using the word "cult" would be both
unnecessary and untrue. I, too, have children whom I have
taught to love God, to pray daily, and to be more than tolerant
of, actually embracing in friendliness, the followers of other
religions. Such language strikes at the heart. They've spent
their lives attending Baha'i meetings, and they know that the
atrocities associated with "cults" do not happen among us.

Elected Spiritual Assemblies

All I know about cults is what I read in the papers or the


dictionary. Nevertheless, I understand some cults follow a living
charismatic leader. We have none, charismatic or otherwise. We
elect local, national and international bodies to serve our
administrative needs, but our only "leader" is God. None of the
elected bodies can pass legislation contrary to what has already
been laid down in our Scripture. Those elected consider
themselves servants, not authorities.

Freedom of Choice

I also understand some cults don't let you out once you're in.
All it takes in the Baha'i Faith is a personally written letter to
our National Spiritual Assembly stating that you no longer
believe, and your name is immediately removed from our rolls.
We're saddened to see someone do this, but it does not lessen
our love for him or her. As long as they wish, they are
welcomed back, as visitors if they so desire.

Clear Minds and Bodies

I also understand some cults require the use of certain drugs or


alcohol in their rituals. The Baha'i teachings strictly forbid any
use of alcohol or drugs unless prescribed by a qualified
physician.

Independent Investigation

I also understand some cults "brainwash" their members and


don't let them study anything but the cult message. The Baha'i
Faith encourages universal education, urging everyone to
become well-rounded in knowledge. This includes any study one
wishes to make of any other religious teachings. As you know,
Jesus told us to "Watch" and Paul said to "Prove all things; hold
fast to that which is true." You cannot prove or know if you
don't investigate. Independent investigation of Truth is a
primary principle of the Baha'i Faith, not just a right, but a
responsibility of every individual.

Nobility and Dignity of All

I also understand some cults demean their members in various


ways. The Baha'i Faith vehemently asserts the nobility of every
one of God's creatures and protects the dignity of all
individuals. Baha'is are in the forefront of human rights and civil
rights efforts around the world. We seek everyone's input in a
consultative and democratic decision-making process

Chastity
I also understand some cults use various illicit sexual practices
in their "worship." The Baha'i Faith teaches cleanliness, purity
and chastity. The only legitimate sexual relationship sanctioned
in the Baha'i teachings is monogamous, heterosexual and
privately engaged in by couples who are married to each other.

Free Will Contributions Only

I also understand some cults require members to give


disproportionate amounts of their money and property to the
cult. The Baha'i Faith never approaches individuals about so
much as a tithe. Our funds are discussed openly, any needs
being explained in general meetings, and individuals are free to
give as they choose. No one but the elected treasurer knows
who gives how much, an obvious necessity for bookkeeping
reasons. Annual audit reports tell everyone where the funds are
spent. Every individual's giving is between him and God, and
Baha'is are forbidden to judge each other's relationship with
God. (We avoid the use of paid clergy.)

Open and Above Board

I also understand some cults are secretive. The Baha'i Faith has
been an open book since its inception in 1844. Major political
and religious leaders around the world began receiving letters
about the Baha'i teachings in the 1870s. Baha'is have tried hard
for more than 150 years to tell the world about it, while trying
not to be perceived as proselytizing.

The Baha'is were the only religious organization invited to speak


at the Earth Summit in Brazil a few years ago. A recent
Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook lists the Baha'i Faith as the
second-most widespread religion in the world. The Baha'i
International Committee, holding non-governmental advisory
status, has offices at the United Nations.

It would be difficult to be "secretive" while at the same time


claiming to be the agent for unsealing the books that the
prophet Daniel was ordered to seal up until the time of the end.

The Changeless Faith of God

Baha'i Scripture includes the following statement:


This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the
past, eternal in the future. Let him that seeketh,
attain it; and as to him that hath refused to seek it --
verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His
creatures.

Once anyone tells us they want to hear no more, we turn away,


continuing our search elsewhere for those souls who are
seeking Divine Truth.

Forgive me if I have overstated my case, but it is for love of


Jesus, and love of truth and justice, that I felt it necessary to
provide a few more facts than you had immediately available.
As you know, your congregation looks to you for spiritual
guidance, expecting you to give them truthful, prayerfully
considered responses to their questions. I hope this information
provides the basis for a serious investigation.

At a minimum, I hope that whatever answer you give your


congregation is based on knowledge and love, not on fear of the
unknown.

You are welcome to join us in worship, to attend a meeting and


ask questions, to investigate privately, or to turn away. It really
is between you and Jesus what you do with His message.

Forever in His service,

Curtis Wynne

for the Baha'is of Hobbs