Friday, July 25, 2014

"I was in the mall . . . "

How did Andy first hear about the Baha'i Faith? 

I was in the mall buying something and someone told me about it.” 

Andy became a member of the Baha'i Faith in his early 50s.

Nancy became curious about a Baha'i post on her friend's Facebook page - now she and her daughter are members

Nancy who is in her mid 30s and lives in Oklahoma, reconnected with a friend from high school on Facebook, having seen a post made by that friend on her wall. Curious, Nancy messaged her friend and asked her if she was Baha'i, and the friend responded yes. Later they connected to discuss Nancy’s questions. 

This is what Nancy shared about wanting to become a Baha'i, when she filled out the declaration registration form at  

I have already been contacted by a member of the Baha'i faith and after discussion my decision is clear that I belong in the Baha'i faith community as well as wish to raise my child under this faiths moral grounding. 

Nancy and her daughter are now members of the Baha'i community.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Angie's journey in becoming a Bahá'í

When Angie was in her late 20's, some 10 years ago when she was working as a receptionist, she met an older gentleman who came into the office.  He saw that she was frustrated and gave her a book of Bahá'í prayers.  Angie put the little book aside and did not read it. 
About 3 years ago, Angie began to search more directly for "something different."  She investigated a number of faiths, including Christianity and Buddhism, and even studied Islam, but none of them felt quite right for her.  Angie's cousin was also searching and knew about the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, IL.  They decided to visit this place of worship together.
Angie explained how she felt when she first entered the gardens of the Bahá’í House of Worship.
"Immediately I knew that I belonged. I felt comfortable!"

Angie regularly attends devotional gatherings at the Bahá’í House of Worship and brings her 13-year-old son.
"We just like it there,” she explained.

One Sunday, by coincidence, she met the older gentleman who had given her the Bahá'í prayer book some ten years ago.  Angie shared that while cleaning one day, she found the little book he had given her.  She was surprised that she still had it and hadn't been tossed it out during the many moves her family made over the years. 

Recently during a return visit to the House of Worship, Angie asked how to learn more about the Bahá'í Faith and she was given information.  She soon after was connected to the local Bahá’í community and invited to an "Hour of Prayer" and from this gathering Angie began to study with others the book “Reflections on the Life of the Spirit” and later also “Arising to Serve.” Her son has been invited to join the junior youth spiritual empowerment group in his neighborhood.  Angie has since registered her declaration to become a Bahá’í and is now an enrolled member.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"He was ready to declare when he attended our devotional"

Conner, who lives in a small town in North Carolina, inquired about the Baha'i Faith simply by calling 800-22UNITE and saying “Hi there, my name is Conner and I was looking for a local Baha’i community near me.” 

Conner decided to register his belief in Baha'u'llah having researched Baha'i Faith online after learning of it while in high school.  He was raised Catholic, and is excited to learn more.  He plans to attend Community College next year, so he will be moving soon. 

Here is one story about what made this declaration special, as told by the host of a recent prayer gathering. 

“He was ready to declare when he attended our devotional gathering and the Fireside that followed.  He simply asked something like, "What is the process for initiation into the Faith?"  After answering his question, a declaration card was given to him and explained.   He signed it right away, and stated a desire to engage in further study of the Faith when it can be arranged.  We had 16 people in our living room with no seat or room to spare.  We were Baha'i, Christian, Muslim; all together sharing in devotional prayer and discussion, and a meal afterwards. These devotional gatherings are truly wonderful and we are blessed to have such a heartwarming experience.”


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"I feel a spiritual pull to being a Bahá'í"--her pastor was supportive!

Sheila, from the Midwest, contacted the Bahá'ís to learn more about the Faith.  Here is her story, as shared by the Bahá'í who spoke with her. 

Sheila and I talked for an hour.  She is almost 17, a high school sophomore, and is very interested in the life of the spirit.  Through incidents in her life, Sheila has realized that she is here for a purpose.  Although her family did not practice any particular religion, they felt connected to their Creator.  Most significantly, her mother passed away last year, and before passing, she told Sheila that she would be praying for her in the next world.  She has always felt that there is one God and that He is just called by different names.   

Sheila shares how she first heard about the Bahá'í Faith, through the words of a local Bahá'í. 

Sheila first heard about the Baha'i Faith from a friend at school who is Baha’i.  The name “Bahá'í” stuck with her and she later went online to find out more.  The more she read, the more she felt the Faith is who she is.  She loves the concept of the unity and also mentioned the unity of science and religion. Sheila then registered her declaration to become a member of the Bahá'í Faith, and I called her to talk with her about her decision.   At first, Sheila was reconsidering joining.   I encouraged her to pray about her decision, and encouraged her to call me if she wanted to talk further or text me with questions.  I sent her the book Hidden Words and I told her that whenever she feels ready, we would welcome her. 

Over the next several weeks, Sheila prayed and read the emails that I sent her; she watched all the video links and even asked her pastor about her decision.  He was supportive!   

In a recent email, Sheila wrote the following. 

"Everything about the Bahá'í faith is so appealing to me and I feel a spiritual pull to being a Bahá'í. I have downloaded books on my phone to read and I’ve watched all the videos. I would like to continue through with my conversion on the faith."  

The Bahá'í called her back and they continued their conversation about the fundamental verities of the Faith.  During the conversation, it was learned that Sheila wants to become involved in the community.  She is now an enrolled member of the Bahá'í Faith.  The community has embraced her and has invited her to participate in some upcoming youth events planned for the community at large.


Friday, July 18, 2014

My faith has come a long journey

My faith has come a long journey. Some doubt and enduring questions. Once I figured out what I felt inside to be true I stumbled on some literature online of the Baha'i faith. I met one person who was actually part of the faith. Now I want to take a closer look and would like to read more. 

Danny, age 30, is now enrolled in the Baha'i Faith and he registered his 2 year old son.

"I don't live on line so I would rather people reach out to me by phone"

“I currently live in Illinois and I am seeking Baha'is with whom I can meet for readings and spiritual gathering. I don't live on line so I would rather people reach out to me by phone  . . . “

"I have recently been feeling like I need something more"

Ashley in Florida has been searching for something more . . .  

I was not raised with religion and I have recently been feeling like I need something more. I've been trying some Christian churches but the hard part for me is that faith in Jesus and the Bible would require me to believe that all other non-Christian religions are wrong, which I'm not sure I could ever believe. I looked at a website called, which gives an unbiased summary of world religions. The Baha'i faith made the most sense to me and I am very interested in learning more.

"I feel in my heart that this could be the answer to what I've been looking for"

Linda approached the Baha'is hoping to resolve many questions . . .  

I've had a strange journey with religion that I'd like to work through. I have many questions and few have been answered. I met a Baha'i who is now a friend and she told me a little bit about it and for the first time, I could feel in my heart that this could be the answer to what I've been looking for.  After some research, I believe that this is the faith for me because it's finally giving me a name for what I've always believed. However, my beliefs about Jesus are holding me back. Is it possible to be Messianic and Baha'i? 

Later that day, a Baha'i responded to Linda’s inquiry.  Here’s what Linda shared back. 

Thank you for responding so quickly! I was not expecting such a quick response, I greatly appreciate it. Unfortunately, I have a lot going on these next three days. I could possibly talk on Saturday?  I'd like to have as much time as needed to talk without restraint, if that's ok with you? I have several questions and I like talking things out and thinking through them. I apologize in advance for possibly being more difficult than others you've spoken to before! Ha-ha    Anyway, with all that being said, are you free to call on Sunday around noon or after?    Thanks and peace to you.”



"I just picked up a copy of [a Baha'i book] from the library . . . "

Raymond from Oklahoma learned about the Baha’i Faith at the library and then called 800-22UNITE, twice.  

I've just this week come across the Baha'i organization, and I am curious to learn more about it.  I just picked up a copy of Baha’u’llah and The New Era from the library, but have not gotten into it yet, so I'm very much a greenhorn.  Is this book a good place to start my exploration?  What else might you be able to send me?  Is there a group of members who meet regularly in my area - if so, where and when? 

[Later, he called back]

I have been reading a variety of Baha’i books and would like to learn more and now connect locally.   

"I love your mission . . . I'd like to learn more . . . "

Evan from Oregon wonders how his ideals fit in with the Baha’i Faith . . .  

“I love your mission statement and in how you seek to unite all religions and peoples in global unity and peace. I'd like to learn more what the Baha'i faith is all about, and see if someone who has been secular (but open to spirituality) like myself could fit in.”

"Acceptance, inclusion, and tolerance is what I am looking for."

Maggie shares how she first heard about the Baha’i Faith and her reaction about what she heard. 
I heard someone on TV talking about being brought up in the Baha’i faith. I was intrigued so I looked it up and thought ‘finally, a religion that believes as I do’, mainly that all religions stem from God. The attitude of acceptance, inclusion, and tolerance is what I am looking for.   I have neglected my spirituality for a while and have been reading and meditating on my own but has yearned for fellowship. Hopefully this is God sending me the way to do this.”

"I would like to attend a gathering . . . "

Toni's inquiry was received over the web, and her comment indicates how she heard about the Faith.
“I would like information on your faith and hopefully attend a gathering. I heard a little bit about The Baha'i faith on Super Soul Sunday.”



"I have outgrown my childhood faith and have too many questions"

Brian from Illinois shared about his spiritual journey and quest for more understanding.

I've been raised a devout non-denominational Christian. My family would be very angry if they knew I was showing an interest in another faith. However, while I love Jesus I find that something is missing in my faith and spirituality and I have a hard time accepting Christianity as the only religion and condemning a majority of the world to the Hell the Bible describes. I think I have outgrown my childhood faith and have too many questions. I want my spirituality to flourish again.”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

He wants his children raised to appreciate the many religions of the world

In early July, Jack inquired about the Baha'i Faith by visiting, because he wants children's classes for his 2 and 6 year old children.  He likes to travel, and has just returned from South Africa.  He knows a little about the Baha'i Faith, because his grandparents are members, although his parents were Muslim and Hindu.  As a youth, he was very involved with the Baha'is, but now that he has settled into his new neighborhood, he is looking for information.  He shared that he wants his children raised to appreciate the many religions of the world and he himself stated he would probably declare, "in his own time." 

Update:  yesterday, Jack returned to and registered his declaration.   Local Baha'is contacted him to assist him.  Jack is in his middle 30s and is now enrolled as a member.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"I'd prefer to discuss these topics in person"

Danny shared this about his journey . . .  

“I was raised Christian but seriously question my faith now. I believe in God and Jesus but struggle with the way that faith evolved and has been interpreted over the centuries. I think Christianity today looks very different from what Jesus and his original followers intended. The concept of unity in the Baha'i Faith is very appealing to me.” 
Nine months later, Danny wrote the Baha'is again, using the ‘contact us’ form . . . 

I have been on quite a journey over the last few years and during my questioning of Christian faith I came to believe or at least suspect many things that ended up being fulfilled by the Baha'i faith. At this point I only have a few questions about how my current life circumstances and the Faith will mix. I'd prefer to discuss these topics in person.   

The Baha'is near him are in contact.

"Do you have a class for those interested?"

Sarah asked . . .  

Where and when do you gather? Do you have a class for those interested in finding out more? 

The Baha'is near him are in contact.

"I just think you are a solid people and I want to get with solid people."

David shared this about himself. . .  

“I would like to meet with somebody on Monday evening or maybe Tuesday evening or it could be the afternoon even about the Baha’i Faith.  I have met with people of the Baha’i Faith and I’m looking for a community of spiritual people and a sanctuary and refuge and you know just I need decent people in my life and like what the Baha’is teach you know as far as the age of disintegration and the decline of religion and on, on and  on. I have read up on it already so if can meet with somebody, have that arranged, I would appreciate it  . . . Also, I just want to explain that I have known Baha’is in this city and in Alaska so I just think you are a solid people and I want to get with solid people.  I just looking for peace, nothing major.” 

The Baha'is near him are in contact.

"I found Baha'i through a rabbit hole and here I am."

At 9AM while on the Web, Jesse filled out the ‘contact us’ form on and shared this about himself. . .  

“I'm searching, have been since I can remember. I was raised Christian and I am a Christian but, I don't know. After the war, after seeing what man does to man in the name of Islam or Christianity or any religion for that matter....I lost a part of myself in that desert, some of my humanity and I've been struggling ever since. Call it PTSD or whatever it is, I lost a large part of me and I'm searching to regain it. I found Baha'i through a rabbit hole and here I am.” 

The Baha'is near him within hours were in contact.

"I have a really strong feeling that it [the Baha'i Faith] is the truth!"

Randy who is in his mid 20s and lives in the “Bible Belt” of the deep south called 800—22UNITE right after he filled out the online registration to register his declaration.  He was eager to learn what it would take to become a Baha'i. 

Here’s his story . . .  

He had been reading about the Faith for several years now, and recently he got a Facebook account and found the Baha'is page.  He joined the page, and he said he started reading about the Faith even more.  He shared that much of what he read, he agreed with. 

“I really can’t put into words or explain why I want to be a Baha'i, but I can only say I have a really strong feeling that it is the truth!  It IS the truth!  It is overwhelming.  I can’t wait!” 

During the call, we shared his understanding about the Baha'i Faith, and raised lots of questions related to Christian teachings and how they are viewed in the Baha'i Faith, such as the belief by the Christians that Jesus will be physically resurrected and born again.  We discussed this and also encouraged him to read Some Answered Questions which address in more detail many of the topics he raised.  He also asked about how Baha'is tithe. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"I'm 15 . . . I've been interested in the Baha'i Faith for a while . . . "

When Rene called 800-22UNITE, she shared the following message. 

I'm 15 years old and I live in  . . .  California. I've been interested in the Baha'i Faith for a while.  I heard about it from my grandma who is a part of the Baha'i Faith.  I would just like to know what is around my area, youth groups, or anything like that, or what the community is like in California, so can you give me a call back?  Thank you.

 The community where Rene lives just so happens to be organizing a large youth event, and can’t wait to connect with her.

At age 15, she is the first in her family to become a Baha'i

The community is overjoyed to share about the declaration of Ginny, a youth who learned about the Faith on her own, and after studying on her own, became the first in her family to become a member of the Baha'i Faith.  Here is her story, as shared by those who connected with her. 

Ginny learned about the Faith while watching a Baha'i presentation on YouTube.  She was attracted by the teachings of oneness and peace.  She investigated on line and learned that she had to be 15 before registering her declaration, so on her 15th birthday she did.  Her parents, both college professors, are not members, but approve of her decision.  She had already learned a great deal about the Faith on line so at the end of our conversation, when we talked about the importance of daily prayer, she volunteered that she was already planning for Fast!   

Ginny has been attending devotional gatherings regularly and other community events, and is in a study circle on Reflections on the Light of the Spirit, with other youths and junior youths in her community. Her parents have also attended some Baha'i activities including a fireside.  

P.S. I forgot to mention to you that as part of her study, Ginny made a presentation at the community Feast!


"I’m grateful to have my brother show me this [Faith]"

This is a story about two brothers, Aaron and Ben, who learned about the Baha'i Faith, and upon becoming new believers, served together as animators of youth groups and assistants to children's class teachers. 

Aaron in his early 20s learned about the Faith after discovering the book "The Reality of Man" on his mother's bookshelf, who happens to not yet be an enrolled member of the Baha'i Faith.   Later, while in college, Aaron enrolled in a course on world religions and though the Baha'i Faith was never mentioned, he researched it anyway. Searching online, Aaron liked what he read and he also bought some Baha'i books from Amazon including Gleaning.  Aaron reached out to the Baha'is through and received contact, including emails and links to online videos and other information.  He later met the Baha'is and mentioned that he really liked the principles and found the information he was sent to be helpful.  A month after contacting the Baha'is, he registered his declaration, and is now an enrolled member of the Baha'i Faith. 

A Baha'i who saw him, shared . . .  

“We saw him at Unit Convention and he was beaming.  He had [already] visited the House of Worship in Wilmette.” 

Ben, his brother, who is 17 years old, learned of the Baha’i Faith from Aaron, while visiting with him for several months, where he began helping Aaron with children’s classes, a junior youth group, and a campaign to start 2 new junior youth groups!   

Ben shared that he enjoys  . . .  

“ . . . the idea of knowing I’m helping others, and leading them in the right place”.

Ben just completed his study of the junior youth empowerment series to become an animator of junior youth groups in his community.  He has been studying Reflections on the Life of the Spirit and will soon participate in a regular one once he moves to his new community out of state where he will return to school.   In the meantime, Ben is reading Baha’u’llah and the New Era and has just received the book the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.

Ben shared this about his experience in becoming a Baha'i . . .  

What made sense to me is that He [Baha’u’llah] is the most recent Messenger from God for this time.  It makes sense that the messages mean the same thing like 2000 years ago.  I’m grateful to have my brother show me this.”



"I would like to learn as much as I can, especially on the subject of worship"

Jake, who is in his mid-30s, has served in the army for more than 10 years including tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan; he recently contacted the Baha'is. 
“I'm extremely eager to learn more from the local Baha'is.  I've just started to become interested in the Baha'i Faith and I would like to learn as much as I can, especially on the subject of worship.  I've been without a church for a long time now and I need support from caring people.  Thank you for your time.”
A Baha'i who met Jake shares this about him.
He has been attending events for the past couple of months.  He is stationed here  . . . and had originally been learning about the Faith with some friends up in New York before he moved here.  He contacted 800-22UNITE when he moved, saying that he was interested in continuing to learn more about the Faith and really wanted to meet the local community.  I got in contact with him and he began to attend our community firesides, devotionals, and other activities.  At the end of our Race Unity Day celebration in June, he mentioned that he was getting really close to declaring.  Then he texted me this past Tuesday and said that he was ready to declare. 
He has read almost all of Thief in the Night and is excited about what he is learning.  He admits that changing one's religion is not an easy decision but now wants to have an opportunity to be with Baha'is like his Baha'i friends in New York.  He especially likes the teaching that science and religion are in agreement.
The Baha'is sent Jake a copy of Thief in the Night so he could finish reading it.  Jake is now an enrolled member of the Baha’i Faith.  His Local Assembly assisted him through the online registration form.

. . . he responded right away to the teachings and the kindness of the Baha'is he met

It was delightful talking with Patrick, a youth who lives in an emerging cluster . . . 

He learned about the Faith when he saw a Baha'i prayer bracelet being worn by a Baha'i.  Patrick shared that he had been searching for the truth about God for a long time, so he responded right away to the teachings and the kindness of the Baha'is he met at the Holy Day Observance in his community. 

He is being invited to a study group, and the Baha'i with the bracelet, will be accompanying him.  Patrick is now enrolled as a member in the Baha'i Faith.

"Do you have any workbooks?" asked the university professor, then brought 9 of her friends to the study group

Tammy contacted the Baha'is because she facilitates a small religious studies class and wanted to host a 6 to 8 week course on the Baha'i Faith.  She asked . . .   
“Do you have any workbooks that you give to new members [that] we could use, or suggestions of how to go about this since this is a religion that is new to me?”  
In following up with Tammy, the local friends learned that she just so happens to teach at the same University as the Baha'i who volunteered to follow up with her.  Tammy was offered Reflections on the Life of the Spirit, and she not only accepted the invitation but she brought 9 other women with her to begin the study group! They are in their second session together.