From a recent inquiry and response:
I believe that Jesus Christ is my Saviour,that He is the Manifestation of God. Does that preclude me from becoming an Orthodox Bahá'í? Perhaps as an Orthodox Bahá'í I will become a better Christian?
I do think that your belief in the Lord Jesus Christ does not preclude you from becoming an Orthodox Bahá'í and I do believe that it would make you a better Christian.
Before I explain, I want to make sure that you know that you have reached the Orthodox Bahá'ís, which is a small group of believers and which is not to be confused with the larger group of Bahá'ís whose headquarters presently is in Haifa Israel. Although we have many beliefs in common, we have fundamental religious disagreement with them and our organizations are not the same.
I also want to preface my response that the Orthodox Bahá'ís are not seeking to convert anyone, although we certainly do wish to share what we consider to be uplifting and deeply spiritual teachings and Writings, and a spiritual power that emanates from them, with anyone who is interested about our Faith. I say this because I want to be clear that we do not feel, as many others do, that the circumstance of whether someone accepts or rejects our Faith will enhance or diminish us. The acceptance of the Manifestation of God in every age is a matter between God and the individual.
From my experience and observations, it seems to me that the Writings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh, the Manifestation of God for this Day and the Founder of the Bahá'í religion, are keys that unlock the truths contained in the Holy Scriptures of all revealed religions. I have found that to become a true Bahá'í, I first had to become a true Jew, a true Christian, and a true Muslim.
Bahá'u'lláh taught that truth is progressively revealed to humanity by a succession of Manifestations of God, who in every age reveal the social teachings and laws for the time and place where They appear and who reveal a measure of universal spiritual truth and power according to the ever-increasing capacity of humanity at that age. These Manifestations of God have released the power that has caused the social and spiritual evolution of mankind over the ages. If you think of a schoolhouse as being the Religion of God and the teachers in the school as the Manifestations, you would conclude that each of them are equal in stature, intelligence, and ability. Yet the first grade teacher is teaching the most basic facts of the various subjects while the eleventh grade teacher is teaching much more advanced material and new subjects that are completely beyond the ken of the first graders. The teacher, of course, is going to present the material in accordance with the needs and capacities of her students. Likewise, God sends Manifestations of God to humanity to from to time to time to reveal more religious truth and to bring a fresh spiritual power to receptive persons who become spiritually transformed or saved by allowing this power to enter into their hearts.
The truths revealed by Bahá'u'lláh take nothing away from the power of the Revelations of Christ or Muhammad or Moses, and the other Manifestations of God.
His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh:
"The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His saying, "His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all," hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence.
"These sanctified Mirrors, these Day Springs of ancient glory, are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are the Treasuries of Divine knowledge, and the Repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the Light that can never fade.... These Tabernacles of Holiness, these Primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles. By the revelation of these Gems of Divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty, and grace, are made manifest.
"These attributes of God are not, and have never been, vouchsafed specially unto certain Prophets, and withheld from others. Nay, all the Prophets of God, His well-favored, His holy and chosen Messengers are, without exception, the bearers of His names, and the embodiments of His attributes. They only differ in the intensity of their revelation, and the comparative potency of their light. Even as He hath revealed: "Some of the Apostles We have caused to excel the others."
from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 47-48.
Bahá'u'lláh further explains the essential spiritual unity of all of the Manifestations of God even while recognizing the obvious truth that they are not the same:
"Thus it is that Jesus, Himself, declared: "I go away and come again unto you." Consider the sun. Were it to say now, "I am the sun of yesterday," it would speak the truth. And should it, bearing the sequence of time in mind, claim to be other than that sun, it still would speak the truth. In like manner, if it be said that all the days are but one and the same, it is correct and true. And if it be said, with respect to their particular names and designations, that they differ, that again is true. For though they are the same, yet one doth recognize in each a separate designation, a specific attribute, a particular character. Conceive accordingly the distinction, variation, and unity characteristic of the various Manifestations of holiness, that thou mayest comprehend the allusions made by the Creator of all names and attributes to the mysteries of distinction and unity, and discover the answer to thy question as to why that everlasting Beauty should have, at sundry times, called Himself by different names and titles...."
from Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 22.
I could go on about progressive revelation but it would be best for you to read for yourself. The book Kitáb-i-Iqán (The Book of Certitude) is Bahá'u'lláh's deep exposition on this subject.
As to the question of being an Orthodox Baha'i making you a better Christian, I believe that the principles of our Faith are completely aligned with the teachings of His Holiness Jesus Christ. I quote from `Abdu'l-Bahá, the Son of Bahá'u'lláh, who is the authorized Interpreter of His Holy Writings:
"[T]he holy Manifestations of God, the divine prophets, are the first teachers of the human race. They are universal educators and the fundamental principles they have laid down are the causes and factors of the advancement of nations. Forms and imitations which creep in afterward are not conducive to that progress. On the contrary these are destroyers of human foundations established by the heavenly educators. These are clouds which obscure the Sun of Reality. If you reflect upon the essential teachings of Jesus you will realize that they are the light of the world. Nobody can question their truth. They are the very source of life and the cause of happiness to the human race. The forms and superstitions which appeared and obscured the light did not affect the reality of Christ. For example, His Holiness Jesus Christ said: "Put up the sword into the sheath." The meaning is that warfare is forbidden and abrogated; but consider the Christian wars which took place afterward. Christian hostility and inquisition spared not even the learned; he who proclaimed the revolution of the earth was imprisoned; he who announced the new astronomical system was persecuted as a heretic; scholars and scientists became objects of fanatical hatred and many were killed and tortured. How do these actions conform with the teachings of Jesus Christ and what relation do they bear to his own example? For Christ declared: "Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you that you may be sons of your Father which is in Heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust." How can hatred, hostility and persecution be reconciled with Christ and His teachings?
"Therefore there is need of turning back to the original foundation. The fundamental principles of the prophets are correct and true. The imitations and superstitions which have crept in are at wide variance with the original precepts and commands. His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh has revoiced and re-established the quintessence of the teachings of all the prophets, setting aside the accessories and purifying religion from human interpretation. He has written a book entitled Hidden Words. The preface announces that it contains the essences of the words of the prophets of the past clothed in the garment of brevity for the teaching and spiritual guidance of the people of the world. Read it that you may understand the true foundations of religion and reflect upon the inspiration of the messengers of God. It is light upon light."
from Baha'i World Faith - `Abdu'l-Bahá Section, pp. 250-251.
I recommend that you read the book mentioned in the above passage, The Hidden Words, if you wish to experience the transformative power of this Revelation. But all of the teachings of the Orthodox Baha'i Faith are to promote the spiritual growth of mankind and to establish a society based upon truth. We believe that the Writings of our Faith include the blueprint for the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, as prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ. I further must include in this response by boldly proclaiming our belief that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Jesus in "the Glory of the Father." The name Bahá'u'lláh translates into English as "Glory of God."
From the writings of Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Baha'i Faith: "For the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh -- if we would faithfully appraise it -- can never, and in no aspect of its teachings, be at variance, much less conflict, with the purpose animating, or the authority invested in, the Faith of Jesus Christ. This glowing tribute which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has been moved to pay to the Author of the Christian Religion stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of this central principle of Bahá'í belief: -- "Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee. The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified...He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him."
from The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 185-186.