Hey, I’ve been giving the Authoritative Odor hell online for twenty years now! … Well, not so much lately.
In the process of moving my web sites to a new hosting provider, I encountered an old guestbook file that was active during my “FBI” years. In looking back, I was inspired to outline my mileposts as an Ex-Bahá’í:
- Doubt (1987). I’d got along well with my parents throughout much of my youth, as I respected them for their example and they had considered it important that family members be able to talk openly and honestly with each other. Unfortunately, there were limits to what could be discussed. They were not able to handle a confession of religious doubt on my part. Mom cried and dad boiled over. From that point on I ceased to raise the subject with them. They did express regret many years later.
- Certitude (1988). Comfortably free of the bonds of religion. Keeping it to myself.
- Disgust (1991): witness to Bahá’í misbehavior in spite of my attempts at disengagement, I submit my resignation to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, but my resignation is rejected in the most paternalistic tone.
- Legalism (1993): the publication of the Bahá’í book of Sharia moves me to compose a detailed report of my objections to the Bahá’í Faith.
- Marriage (1996): my former life as a Bahá’í intrudes upon my wedding ceremony, as my parents desperately strive to get my bride and I to recite the rather fundamentalist Bahá’í wedding vow. I am thus moved to submit a detailed resignation to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.
- In early 1997 I published those detailed reasons for resignation on the Web, under the title Abhageddon. If memory serves, this site was hosted on Geocities, a popular hosting service that was eaten by Yahoo in 1999 and used as the basis of Yahoo’s hosting service. I can personally attest that Geocities code was still in Yahoo code as late as 2021 (I was a developer at Yahoo Small Business).
- Later in 1997, I published The Bahá’í Millenarian Movement. The February 1999 state of this site is still extant thanks to the Wayback Machine (Internet Archive). This site was hosted on Geocities.
- Baptize me when I’m dead (2004): the death of my sister Duska exposes more family fundamentalism that is too personal to ignore. Reeling from the lies of “faith” that my parents impose upon my sister’s memory, and not wanting the same to happen to me, I decide it is time to republish my old Bahá’í site under the new name, Forum for Bahá’í Investigations (FBI). My former sites had been anonymous (not about me), but this time I attached my name to my thoughts as a public statement of resignation. Here’s an August 2004 snapshot from the Wayback Machine: Forum for Bahá’í Investigations
- In 2006, I created the blog Idol Chatter and later linked my FBI content to the blog. Here’s the first Idol Chatter post: November 21, 2006.
Here’s the oldest copy of Idol Chatter that I can find with the Wayback Machine: March 19, 2007.
This was not initially conceived as a blog exclusively about the Bahá’í Faith. I later removed the non-Bahá’í content and placed it in a new general “Kaweah” blog. The Bahá’í-related posts would eventually be moved back to the general Kaweah blog (April 2023).
- Over the years, my parents and I came to terms. By the time my father passed away in 2011, we were at peace with our differences. My mother and my surviving siblings remain faithful to the religion. So long as they seem to recognize that I am not a believer, I do not feel compelled to speak out against their religion. After all, it’s really not all that bad as religions go, and it’s not about to take over the world.
[edited April 2023]
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