A fundamental principle of the Baha'i Revelation is the independent investigation of truth. The gist of this principle is for each person to refuse to accept what others say about truth. This is a do-it-yourself project. It is not acceptable for other people to tell us what to believe:
…every individual member of humankind is exhorted and commanded to set aside superstitious beliefs, traditions and blind imitation of ancestral forms in religion and investigate reality for himself. Inasmuch as the fundamental reality is one, all religions and nations of the world will become one through investigation of reality. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 433)
Take note that oneness of all religions and nations is to come from each individual investigating reality for himself/herself. Unity does not come from uniformity of thought or authoritarian rule.
The spiritual basis of this is that truth is one. If everyone investigated properly, they would arrive at the same result.
The foundation of the divine religions is reality; were there no reality, there would be no religions. Abraham heralded reality. Moses promulgated reality. Christ established reality. Muḥammad was the Messenger of reality. The Báb was the door of reality. Bahá’u’lláh was the splendor of reality. Reality is one; it does not admit multiplicity or division. Reality is as the sun, which shines forth from different dawning points; it is as the light, which has illumined many lanterns.
Therefore, if the religions investigate reality and seek the essential truth of their own foundations, they will agree and no difference will be found. But inasmuch as religions are submerged in dogmatic imitations, forsaking the original foundations, and as imitations differ widely, therefore, the religions are divergent and antagonistic. These imitations may be likened to clouds which obscure the sunrise; but reality is the sun. If the clouds disperse, the Sun of Reality shines upon all, and no difference of vision will exist. The religions will then agree, for fundamentally they are the same. The subject is one, but predicates are many. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 126)
The Baha'i world is overshadowed by the false Baha'is. They have rejected the guidance of the Guardians. Because their entire organization is based upon falsehood, and not reality, they have actively suppressed the independent investigation of truth. They falsely say that once you have found the truth of the Baha'i Faith, you must drop the independent investigation and blindly follow everything we say. They ignore the fact that the very idea of blindly following was rejected by Abdu'l-Baha. He urged us all to follow our own power of reason instead of blindly following.
Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason, whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to imitate blindly his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind, or the faculty of reasoning, by the exercise of which he is to investigate and discover the truth, and that which he finds real and true he must accept. `Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 291)
Yes, free and independent thinking, and not blindly following the "UHJ" is the teaching of the true Faith. The authoritarian leaders of the false Baha'is attempt to enforce unity by controlling what the members are allowed to do, to say, and to believe. They use coercion to enforce their authority and they refuse to allow any questioning or discussion of the legitimacy of their authority. They fear any unauthorized discussion.
But those false Baha'is who blindly follow their "UHJ" question the true Baha'is by suggesting we are hypocrites because obedience to the living Guardian cannot be reconciled with independent thinking. What they fail to understand is that obedience in the true Baha'i Faith is not blind. It is based upon reality. The most independently thinking Baha'is anywhere are the true Baha'is. Yet they obey the Guardian because each of them, from moment to moment, independently and freely accept the Guardian, without any coercion whatsoever. The false Baha'is cannot handle the truth.