Breaking Away: My Journey from Mainstream to Free Baha’i Faith

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My name is John and I am currently 47 years old. I was raised in the United States as a Baha’i and accepted the Baha’i faith when I was only 23, through a close friend of mine whose entire family was actively involved in the community. My friend and her family taught me the importance of Baha’i teachings while I was young, and I grew up with a strong connection to my faith. However, as I got older, I became more curious about the different sects within the Baha’i faith and started to do my own research.

At first, I was drawn to the Free Baha’i sect. I found their beliefs and practices to be more in line with my own personal values, and I appreciated the emphasis they placed on social justice and community involvement. However, I was hesitant to fully embrace the Free Baha’i faith, as I knew it would be a major departure from the mainstream institution in which I was raised.


Despite my reservations, I continued to learn more about the Free Baha’i teachings. I was struck by the depth and complexity of their beliefs and began to see how many of the things I had taken for granted in my upbringing were not necessarily universal to all Baha’is.

One day, after a particularly enlightening conversation with a friend from a Free Baha’i background, I made the decision to accept the Free Baha’i teachings. It was a difficult choice, as I knew it would mean breaking with many of my friends, but I felt it was the right thing to do. Sadly, many of my close friends turned away from me and declared me a covenant breaker after I informed them about my conversion.

Over time, I became more and more involved in the Free Baha’i teachings. I started holding meetings at my house and worked towards taking care of the less privileged and the needy. I was inspired by the concept of working for humanity and worked hard to help those in need in my locality and nearby places.

Despite the challenges I faced in the face of social boycott from my friends, I never regretted my decision to accept the core teachings of the Cause. I felt that it had given me a deeper understanding of my faith and a stronger connection to Baha’u’llah.

However, as I became more involved in the teachings, I began to encounter some eye-opening facts about the history of the Baha’i faith and the differences between Haifans and Free Baha’i beliefs. I learned about the early conflicts between the two sects and how those conflicts had shaped the Baha’i faith today.

I was also shocked to discover some of the prejudices and misconceptions that existed within the Haifan community about the Free Baha’is. I realized that many Haifans had a distorted view of Free Baha’i beliefs and practices.

Eventually, I came to the difficult decision to leave the mainstream Baha’i faith altogether. It was not a decision I made lightly, as I had many friends within the Haifan community. But I felt that I could no longer ignore the differences between the Haifan and Free Baha’i beliefs and that I needed to be true to my own convictions.

Leaving the Haifans was a difficult process for me, but I felt a sense of liberation as well. I was now free to fully embrace the Baha’i teachings and read and implement the core teachings of Baha’u’llah and the Master and to work towards building a more inclusive and unified world. I was free to question anything and everything wrong in the faith and at the same time not get excommunicated by anyone. I know that my journey is far from over, but I am excited to see where it will take me next.

Source: The Caravan Magazine, Vol. 7, Edition 2

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