The Lost Prophet of the Millennium

Remember the old Y2K scare? We generally look back at that anxious time as an anticlimax, understanding that nothing much happened at the turn of the millennium. I remember how the Bahá’ís expected world peace to flower by the end of the 20th Century. Since then, many Bahá’ís have sought out alternative interpretations of their failed peace prophecy.


Mustaghath, shortly before his occultation

I say “failed,” but I know something that most Bahá’ís don’t. Truth be told, at the close of the year 2001, on the very last day that fell within the Y2K window, a young prophet discovered his calling. Evidence of this portentous moment can be found with the help of the tool known to nostalgic Web surfers as the WayBack Machine:

Dec 02, 2001

This page doesn’t provide any actual information on the youthful prophet, but information would soon be forthcoming:

The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared. I swear by Him Who is the Truth! It shall cause separation to afflict everyone, even those who circle around Me….

—Baha’ullah (Mar 29, 2002)

The great unveiling was finally accomplished, as far as I can determine, in early April 2002, when the Prophet proclaimed to the Bahá’ís:

We observe that your Faith is shiny on the outside but rotten at the core: that when a person doth look, he beholdeth a beautiful thing; but when he doth taste of it, he spitteth out the foul flesh of a fruit gone bad …

Mustaghath’ul-Baha, The Book of Restoration

If there had previously been any doubts of God’s disapproval of the course of the Bahá’í Faith at the turn of the millennium, those doubts were vanquished. The LORD GOD was obviously unhappy. In that same sacred declaration, He continued:

O people of Baha! Institutions are not to be worshipped! Bow not the knee before the false god of bureaucracy!…

What Bahá’í of sound mind could possibly disagree? The world was on the threshold of rebirth. Reform was in the air.

This “new messenger of God” did not satisfy himself with a mere web site, but also founded an organization which he christened the Alliance for the Reform of the Baha’i Faith. Because he soon realized that this title was ungainly, he went on to rename the alliance “Baha’i Alliance for the Reform of the Faith,” commonly known as BARF.

The young messenger was met with strident opposition. Conservative Bahá’ís stood against him, arguing that their founder Bahá’u’lláh had forbidden any claims to prophecy ere the passing of a thousand years. But alas, the young messenger had all the answers:

Did ye think there would come unto you no messenger for a thousand years? Alas! ye have misinterpreted the scriptures and have forgotten many teachings.

The meaning of this passage was veiled in many hidden meanings, such as this: it was the dawn of a new millennium, and a millennium is the passing of a thousand years!

This was a profound insight, but because none could apprehend the meaning of His words, he was laughed to scorn.

Given more time, the young Prophet might have had a profound influence on the new millennium, but His ministry came to a premature and tragic end. No one knows for certain what happened to Him, and rumors still swirl around the memory of that blessed Youth. Some say that AO (Authoritative Odor) operatives spirited him away, and that he remains in occultation, deep beneath the great marble Arc in Haifa Israel. Other point their fingers at Eric Stetson (not to be confused with noted evangelical Christian Eric Stetson, or the noted Christian Universalist Eric Stetson) as a suspect in the abduction or murder of the Youth. Stetson appeared to be the Prophet’s web master, and had unsurpassed access to the prophet. Stetson, a strident Unitarian, has since made strong statements that some see as clues to his guilt:

Although various people may have spiritually inspired ideas, there is no human being, institution or organization that can claim to speak for God, because Baha’u’llah explicitly prohibited anyone from claiming a station of “command” for at least 1000 years after his own prophethood.

Eric Stetson (the Unitarian Bahá’í)

Though such statements may seem damning, the reader should note that any Unitarian Bahá’í could have made such a statement, and Stetson is but one of many Unitarian Bahá’ís.

In any case, the loss of Mustaghath was a lethal blow to the spirit of the Bahá’í community, which has remained mired in paralysis since the Prophet’s disappearance. From the four compass points, Bahá’í voices can be heard calling, “Mustaghath, Mustaghath! Where are you?”

8 comments on “The Lost Prophet of the Millennium

  1. Brendan Cook says:

    I understand why you’d find this interesting, but I also suspect that it might be better to let sleeping prophets lie. If we always allowed the self-appointed purveyors of divine revelation to back away from their claims gracefully, perhaps there would be less of them. I for one would have been glad never to mock, or even mention, the Book of Mormon if Joseph Smith could have been prevailed upon to renounce the silly thing. So if Mustaghath doesn’t want to publicize his writings, we should help him to forget about them. Reminding a man about his claims to prophetic status after he’s renounced it seems unfair: it feels like reminding someone of the string of burglaries he’d committed when he’s long ago repaid his debt to the community.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am pretty sure that was Eric Stetson who claimed to be the “new messenger” of the Baha’i Faith. He seems to be obsessed with “reforming” the Baha’i Faith using different tactics and means.

  3. Ben says:

    You should set out to interview this guy, or something. I wonder what he would say about that stuff, now. He seems to radically change his spiritual beliefs every three to four years. He was a devout Baha’i for three years, then came to the “realization” that he was a prophet of the Baha’i Faith, then an independent prophet outside of the Bahai Faith, then had an encounter with the Devil, then became an evangelical Christian for about three years, then became a Universalist Christian for two and a half years and subsequently wrote an apology letter to the Baha’is for saying bad things about Baha’u’llah (while at the same time making a slide show mocking the Baha’i concept of ‘unity of religion’), then started this Unitarian Baha’i thing in 2009.

  4. Dale Husband says:

    Interesting discoveries. Here is the current version of Eric Stetson’s site on the Bahai Faith:

    I wonder what he will be saying he beleives a decade from now. As for me, I remain a Unitarian Universalist, an agnostic, and a non-Baha’i seeking to discredit and bring down the version of the Faith led by the Universal House of Justice. Like Eric, my religious views have changed greatly over the decades (I’ve been a Southern Baptist, a Unitarian/agnostic, a Baha’i, and a Unitarian/agnostic again), but my desire for honest truth has remained constant.

  5. Dale Husband says:

    Here are screenshots stored at the Wayback Machine of my WordPress blog:*/

  6. igneous1 says:

    Sorry to have taken so long to approve your comments. I have had my head elsewhere.

    I guess I’m not going to get away with just calling this humor.

    @Brendan: I think you’re missing the point. It is one thing to change one’s mind, but it is another to create an imaginary movement every time one gets a notion. Eric wants to lead, and I think people who persist in seeking to lead ought to be open to criticism, and yes, mockery. Eric has recently been pushing a fractionalist agenda that has somehow taken on the misnomer “Unitarian Baha’is.” He wants to push the idea that Baha’i unitarianism consists of refusing to worship `Abdul’Baha’ while continuing to worship his father. This amounts to an authority claim, though it be on behalf of others. So Eric has returned to the Baha’i Faith as an opponent of `Abdul’Baha’, or *has* he? Who knows what Eric is really thinking. Why shouldn’t I have a little chuckle about his past claims? He may no longer think he’s God’s messenger for the millennium, but he has hardly ceased to seek the spotlight.

  7. Eric Stetson says:

    How is sharing one’s beliefs in public fora such as websites, message boards, etc. necessarily the same as “seeking the spotlight”?

    I have a right to change my mind about things, and frankly, I think that people who are on an authentic quest for spiritual growth and the search for truth inevitably go through an evolutionary process regarding their beliefs.

    As for the fact that I have been public about my beliefs at every stage of the process, you can chalk that up either to a narcissistic desire for attention or simply a quite normal desire to engage with people about religious issues in dialogue and debate and hopefully persuade others to my point of view. If people are drawn to the ideas I share, doesn’t that say more about the quality of my ideas than about my intentions? Only God is the judge of my intentions, but anyone can see that I have been, in a variety of contexts, a persuasive advocate of my religious beliefs. And I have not refrained from admitting that I have been wrong about some things I have believed and advocated in the past.

    Finally, even if I do desire to be a leader (or just AM a leader whether I want to be or not, because it’s in my nature), what is wrong with that? No progress in any field ever occurs without leadership — and that’s true of religion just as much as anything else.

  8. Joseph says:

    Eric Stetson has become the visionary of the new age

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