Watch out, the "legendary" Baha'i Internet Agency (the "BIA")is on the warpath against social web sites such as "Facebook" because you never know what friends you might pick up. Here is an actual BIA email on the subject.
28 February 2008
To All National Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Bahá'í Friends,
We have been requested by the World Centre to alert you to the current activities of the Covenant-breaker Martin Lavallee on Facebook.com. This individual administers the "Orthodox Bahá'is" page on Facebook and also has a personal page on the site. There have been recent instances where Bahá'í youth with accounts on Facebook have unwittingly accepted invitations from Lavallee to be a "friend" or to become "members" of the Covenant-breaker page. Further, as a consequence of the Facebook networking scheme, if an individual accepts a direct invitation from Lavallee or any other member of his group, the "Friends" list (with e-mail addresses) of that individual becomes exposed. In this way, those with insincere intentions have the potential to directly contact an increasing number of Bahá'is, interactions that could pose a threat to the spiritual well-being of youth and other believers who are not deepened in the Covenant.
Each National Assembly will need to determine the necessity and most appropriate manner of discreetly informing believers of this situation in consultation and with the assistance of the Counsellors. In doing so it will of course be important to avoid creating undue anxiety or curiosity about the nature of Covenant-breaker material on the Internet..
It is our intention to provide more general guidance in the near future about how online social networks can be constructively and safely used by Bahá'ís.
With loving greetings,
Bahá'í Internet Agency
cc: Members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors
You better not go online until the BIA lets us all know how we should behave on online social networks. What paranoid silliness. Do you mean to tell me that things have become so bad that the Baha'is need to view "Guidelines" before they go internet surfing?
If the Baha'is in your organization are so weak in the Covenant that they cannot withstand receiving an email from Martin (a staunch Canadian believer whose social Facebook pages are strictly his own), then I think you guys better start "deepening" your believers.
I love the tone of this letter, though. To achieve this tone, you need to mix in to your mind a whole bunch of fear and faithlessness, heavy doses of paranoia, and the ridiculous belief that you are serving God by writing silly guidelines of what others should read, do, speak, and hear, for their "own protection." Does it ever occur to the Baha'is who think in this narrow-minded and fearful way, that the Baha'is ought to be able to associate with anyone they want, hear whatever ideas they want, and speak whatever opinions they hold, without a Baha'i administrative agency telling them what is right or wrong? Are they such fragile souls that they are the only adults in the world who need internet supervision? Can anybody explain to me why anyone would put up with this kind of mind control silliness?
This strange idea needs to examined also: How can a person be said to have "unwittingly accepted invitations from Lavallee to be a "friend" or to become "members" of the" Facebook page? They make it sound like some kind of deception is taking place. In reality, Martin is just sending people invitations. This is what people do on the social web sites. There is no horrendous conspiracy here.
It would seem to be that if the sans-Guardian Baha'is are the true Faith of Baha'u'llah, as they claim, and that the Orthodox Baha'i Faith is false and cannot be recognized as "Baha'i", then they would not fear the OBF so much. If the OBF is false, then it cannot and will not prevail. So why worry? Are you really trying to protect your members so much as control them? It sounds more like a control question, since if you were worried about protecting them, you would not be so DISCREET about it, but instead you would be out there educating your members about what is true and what is false, so they can make up their own mind. Instead, you try to keep the truth away from them and convince them to avoid certain ideas because you know better.
The BIA is a very sick agency. The sans-Guardian Baha'i Faith, currently occupying Haifa and Wilmette, are bastardized versions of the Baha'i Administration as it was originally intended to be, and they are paranoid about the OBF because they know something is wrong and they have something to hide, and to hide from. This is a sign of spiritual sickness.
If you want to read their paranoid materials, you can find the Bahai Internet Agency Position papers online here: