One of the features of the Internet is that it points out and exposes to view those that organised religions might want to suppress, and this includes the Covenant Breakers of the institutionalised Baha'i Faith who remain Bahai but are cast out, often without knowledge of why. Baha'is can get pretty fed up with demands upon them ahead of an almost magical belief that one day armies of people are going to join and the world will be governed by a nine member male only parliament that combines the religious and the secular. The official faith stresses unity, but achieves it by removing dissenters called Covenant Breakers, and it has done it down the line. At every change of leadership, the dissenters were removed.
In 1957 a period understood as 'bada' took place, in that the failure of Shoghi Effendi to leave a Last Will and Testament led to a crisis of leadership where none of the options were entirely laid out. The French Baha'is backed Mason Remey, of the Orthodox Baha'is (for a time) as a new Guardian, but the official faith moved to a complete Administrative Order that puts Lenin's democratic centralism to shame. Plans are dished out from on high by people elected from the level below with no one able to have an election campaign: in a 'who you know' system conservatism rules.
Couple of interesting aspects, going back in time from that division. Germany was the centre of the Free Baha'is who believed that the Last Will and Testament of Abdul Baha was a forgery. The Free Baha'is followed on with Abdul Baha's freer, more charismatic, sometimes rule-breaking Western orientated ministry (for example, he attended congregational worship, which Baha'is were not supposed to do, and his spreading across different religions was closed down by the bureaucratic Shoghi Effendi). But before that, when Abdul Baha' became the spiritual leader, Muhammad Ali formed the then called Unitarian Baha'is. They were called that not because they were liberal, but because they were known as "People of the Book". Muhammad Ali's complaint was that Abdul Baha' was not following his father's scriptures, and was doing too much off his own bat.
Well today's Unitarian Bahais don't start from the Baha'i movement but from removed or dissenting Bahais and people attracted to Baha'u'llah without having to sign on the dotted line that his writings (and Abdul Baha's) are infallible, Qur'an style. It must also mean, of course, a revision from him being a Manifestation of God in any absolutist sense. I suppose this is an independent movement (from the Administrative Order) from the off, using Bahai without the apostrophe, and is not a branch off the institutional tree that the institution then prunes.
I hope it receives many enquiries and those people who have been ejected can find a gathering here that does them proud: and what an excellent mission for the Unitarian Universalist umbrella. This is indeed a pluralist world and the Universal House of Justice will just have to be a kind of Baha'i Roman Catholicism for those who like being told what to believe and wish to accept authoritarianism and literalism until either they leave or get kicked out.
A view from the gallery - http://changingattitude.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/GS-A-View-From-the-Gallery-75x42.jpg 75w" sizes="(max-width: 299px) 100vw, 299px" /> When I was a ...