Bahai News - Baha'is Prayerfully To Choose National Convention Delegate
Baha'is Prayerfully To Choose National Convention Delegate
Source: The Salt Lake Tribune
Publication date: 2000-10-14
Arrival time: 2000-10-15
Imagine an election where there is neither nomination of
candidates nor campaigning. Where qualifications for office include
nothing more than selfless devotion, a well-trained mind and mature
experience. Where the process is conducted in silence and the outcome
is a result of prayer.
To Baha'is, this is no fantasy, but the most spiritual way to
select delegates and leaders.
More than 150 members of Salt Lake City's Baha'i community, along
with some from southern Wyoming, western Colorado and parts of Idaho,
are meeting today at the University of Utah to select a delegate to
the national Baha'i convention that will, in turn, elect members of
the faith's governing council in the United States.
Delegates do not "aspire to the role and are usually humbled by
the experience," said Shahab Saeed, last year's delegate from Utah.
"They are responsible to God and not the body which elected them."
Baha'is trace their beginnings to Mirza Ali Muhammad, a Persian
Sufi who in 1844 proclaimed himself to be the "Bab," meaning "gate,"
through whom a new manifestation of God was to come.
Because Muslims believe their founding prophet, Mohammed, was "the
seal of the prophets," or last prophet, the Bab and his followers met
strong resistance from Muslim leaders in what is now Iran.
In 1848 the Babis declared their secession from Islam, and in 1850
the Bab was executed by firing squad. Some years later, Mirza Husayn
Ali, a follower of Bab, proclaimed himself to be the great prophet
foretold by the Bab. In 1863, he took the title "Baha'u'llah," or
Baha'is believe that God is continually speaking to humanity.
"Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Krishna, Christ and Mohammed
were all messengers from God," Saeed said.
Baha'is teach traditional morality, paralleling the Ten
Commandments. They restrict sexual relations to marriage and strongly
advocate the equality of the sexes.
The Baha'i religion, with more than 5 million believers worldwide,
has a membership of 133,000 in the United States and about 300 in
Utah. The state has seven Baha'i administrative structures known as
spiritual assemblies. Each unit is made of at least nine believers --
but most include many more.
These conventions provide a chance to meet with Baha'is from a
larger region, Saeed said. "It provides us the opportunity to share
ideas and create a better sense of community with fellow believers."
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