Two thumbs up for Bahais in My Backyard, an Israeli's view of the Bahai Faith that is presently headquartered in Haifa, Israel ("BWF"). This hour long film captures the essence of what is wrong with the BWF and how they have hijacked the true teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, distorted them and are attempting to use them to carry out their plan for world domination.
Of course, when I say "two thumbs up", I am borrowing from the Siskel and Ebert movie reviewers, with no pun intended about the hilarious television commercial for "erection problems" that provided much needed comic relief in a piece that mostly ran chills down my spine at the palpable evil being displayed by the leaders of the BWF.
Throughout the film, the BWF leaders appear as humorless, evasive, cold, calculating, arrogant, dark and paranoid. They are so scary they almost seem alien as if they were about to blink with more than one set of eyelids. Everyone else comes across as human, warm and trusting souls, although Frederick Glaysher, a Reform Bahá'í and outspoken critic of the BWF, came across as somewhat paranoid, not that I blame him. The rank and file members of BWF seemed like nice people but they did not seem to get it, as one woman calls the U.S. National Center in Wilmette and seems mystified that they are so paranoid about releasing information about the members.
The film crew is escorted through the underground pathways, facilities and auditoriums of the Haifa World Center by the BWF's Secretary General, Albert Lincoln (who inexplicably could not open all of the doors with his "master key"). In an attempt to make the BWF appear in a positive light he introduces the BWF by saying: "The Bahai Faith is the first religion in the history of the world as far as I am aware to function without a clergy and on a democratic basis."
Anyone who knows about how the BWF handles dissent and critcisim knows that the BWF does not function on a democratic basis. Not only that, but I find it hard to believe that Mr. Lincoln became the Secretary General of the World Centre without being familiar with Shoghi Effendi's teachings on the subject. This makes Mr. Lincoln a bald-faced liar.
Shoghi Effendi: "Neither in theory nor in practice can the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh be said to conform to any type of democratic government, to any system of autocracy, to any purely aristocratic order, or to any of the various theocracies, whether Jewish, Christian or Islamic which mankind has witnessed in the past. It incorporates within its structure certain elements which are to be found in each of the three recognized forms of secular government, is devoid of the defects which each of them inherently possesses, and blends the salutary truths which each undoubtedly contains without vitiating in any way the integrity of the Divine verities on which it is essentially founded." God Passes By, p. 326.
Later, in a candid moment, Mr. Lincoln discusses how the BWF treats dissidents. His statements are so precious, I will quote him in full here. He would make Mussolini proud:
"In every organization, particularly in religious organizations, there is always some form of dealing with harmful dissidents. It certainly exists in the Catholic Church and other religious organizations. Within the context of the Bahai Faith, those who attack the authority of the Institutions, which are there to maintain the unity of the community, are expelled from the community and the community is asked not to speak with them. This is because disputes are forbidden in the community and on such a fundamental issue the best way to avoid a dispute is simply not to have a conversation."
I must say hearing Mr. Lincoln speak so coldly about "dealing with" dissidents and saying that disputes are "forbidden" sent chills down my spine and I had to run to my front door to make sure it was securely locked! To hear him say these things, as if they were so reasonable, is punctuated by the fact that he is speaking in a palace situated on Mount Carmel that is purported to be the seat of a future world government. What he is really saying here is that the theocratic global State to be created by the BWF is a fascist organization. They will "deal with" the dissidents and they won't let them "have a conversation." Never mind that consultation, that is the clash of opposing viewpoints, is one of the central teachings of the Faith, and the question of the authority of their "Institutions" was never even consulted about. You don't achieve unity by avoiding the dispute altogether and just impose one view on everyone else, like it or not.
If you don't believe that the BWF intends to set up a world government, just listen to Douglas Moore, Public Information Director, spew his propaganda. He says that "nations will eventually give up some of their sovereignty and turn it over to a world government." This sounds all progressive and wonderful until one realizes that this world government he is talking about is THEIR world government, one where dissidents are dealt with. He is standing, after all, in a shrine to this world government, with the spooky buildings of world government all about him.
The disturbing lack of candor and outright lies of the BWF leaders is highlighted by the visit made by Murray Smith, Deputy Secretary General, who is secretly taped discussing why they BWF won't admit an Israeli to membership. The guy sits there and tells him that Bahá'u'lláh Himself forbid Israeli citizens from joining their community. Never mind that the Israeli State did not exist in the time of Bahá'u'lláh. In fact, this rule comes from their bogus UHJ, which attributes it to a policy that supposedly existed from the time of Bahá'u'lláh. Mr. Smith's lie becomes apparent when he admits this rule will be eliminated in the future, as if the pronouncements of Bahá'u'lláh can simply be cast aside in the future. This man is a buffoon.
The underground facilities of the BWF's world centre is examined by an architect who concludes that it is an elaborate bomb shelter or bunker to help a council of wise men survive through an anticipated holocaust. Of course, that is exactly what it is. The BWF leaders deny an apocalyptic vision in the film (and they elsewhere publicly denounce such a teaching) ignoring the fact that the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi are replete with references to a world embracing calamity. The deception just never ends.
Probably the most priceless portion of the film is the interview with Nigar Bahai Amsalem, the great grand-daughter of Bahá'u'lláh, a neighbor to the BWF world center and a very nice lady who insists that she exists despite the fact that her existence is officially denied by the BWF leaders. She says: "We are the family and they cannot say that we are not the family as they tell their people that come from abroad: 'do not talk to them,' but personally I think its very childish because what are they so afraid of us for? What can we do? Against all.... we are not interested. We are the family that are living here. The blood of Bahá'u'lláh runs in all the veins of the family. We are not doing anything against them. We are just living peacefully and doing exactly what Bahá'u'lláh told us to do. So we are Bahá'ís. We are true Bahá'ís."
She needs to be careful with that "true Bahá'í talk". It will get her sued. I know why they are so afraid of her and the rest of the family. Her existence threatens their authority and power. She does not fear them at all. She fears only God. I liked her.
It made me laugh out loud to hear Douglas Moore respond by saying that it did not matter that they are part of the Holy family. He said it was not "something of value in itself of being related to Baha'u'llah." I fell off my chair and laughed out loud because it was precisely because there was no member of the Holy family for Shoghi Effendi to appoint as his successor that the Institutions of the Guardianship and Hands of the Cause supposedly had to come to an end, and the UHJ had to be permanently disfigured as a headless body. To say that there is no significance is pretty far out there. The deception never ends.
In conclusion, the film was highly entertaining, revealing, and had a certain gloomy sense of humor about it even as it exposed the shapeshifting BWF leadership as the agents of deception and evil that they are. I highly recommend it.