Independent Investigation of Truth
Among the teachings advanced by the Bahá’í Faith is independent investigation of truth. 1 Such searches, be they personal or professional, involve giving a fair hearing to compelling arguments about core principles as expressed by voices of authority. Although Thief in the Night by William Sears 2 presented an entertaining tale focused on topics I cared about, the presentation came across like a marketing ploy and lacked sufficient authenticity.
A couple of years later my curiosity led me back to those same principles this time drawn by a nagging question as to whether my “independent search for truth” would be a fair judgement without first immersing myself in their source—the words of Bahá’u’lláh Himself. After diving into several books by Baháʼuʼlláh including Epistle to the Son of the Wolf 3; Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʼuʼlláh; 4; Prayers and Meditations by Baháʼuʼlláh; 5 and The Kitáb-i-Íqán: The Book of Certitude Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh 6, giving deep consideration to the significance of His words, and engaging in numerous discussions for further clarification and perspective I could confidently say I found what I was looking for. On Naw-Rúz 1977, my 4-year, soul-searching odyssey came to a close with my declaration of faith in Baháʼuʼlláh.
Acceptance of Bahá’u’lláh and a commitment to follow His teachings transformed my view of people and the world around me. My embrace of defining principles like the oneness of the world of humanity and the existence of an attractive force called love that links us together gave me a fuller appreciation for our diversity as individuals and the value that each of us possesses as full participants in this global human family. 7
For as long as I can remember I could “mind map” dynamics among people in various social systems such as within the family, at school, in the workplace, etc. and use that insight as a survival mechanism to defend or advance myself depending on circumstances. Adopting a Bahá’í perspective was like being legally blind, donning newly-developed corrective lenses, seeing everything in a totally different way, and opening up possibilities for a future well worth the investment of my time and energy!
But how and into what do I make that investment remained unanswered…
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 440. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/32#246863996. [return]
- Sears, William B. Thief in the Night: Or, The Strange Case of the Missing Millennium. 1961. Reprint, Oxford: G. Ronald, 1981. https://archive.org/details/thiefinnightor00sear. [return]
- Baháʼuʼlláh. Epistle to the Son of the Wolf. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Rev. ed. 1953. Reprint, Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1976. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/epistle-son-wolf/1#804716281. [return]
- Baháʼuʼlláh. Gleanings from the Writings of Baháʹuʹlláh. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Rev Ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1952. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/gleanings-writings-bahaullah/1#529444114. [return]
- Baháʼuʼlláh. Prayers and Meditations by Baháʼuʼlláh. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. 1938. Reprint, Wilmette, IL: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/prayers-meditations/1#187607508. [return]
- Baháʼuʼlláh. The Kitáb-i-Íqán: The Book of Certitude Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh. Translated by Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Ill.: Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1950. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/kitab-i-iqan/1#990539395. [return]
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 301. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/21#736903681. [return]