UHJ re disenrolment, 14 May 2006.
In 2010 I bumped into a Bahai online who said that he had been upset on hearing of my disenrolment, and had written to the UHJ asking about it, in December 2005. I was able to contact him, and asked him for the text of the UHJ’s reply. He replied and quoted the UHJ’s reply to him, dated 14 May 2006 as follows:
As to the questions raised in your email letter of 10 December concerning the removal of Mr. Sen McGlinn from Bahá’í membership, the House of Justice wishes to assure you that such an action is not taken lightly. It has nothing to do with a believer’s expressing a personal understanding, or even holding an erroneous perspective, about some aspect of the Teachings. Nor was the action taken on the basis of a single statement drawn out of context from the preface of his book.
Mr. McGlinn is, of course, entitled to his own views. But one cannot actively propagate ideas over a prolonged period that contradict explicit Bahá’í Teachings and still be considered a Bahá’í. You should not expect that all of the details of the case will be presented on the Internet or that Mr. McGlinn would bring forward any information other than that which makes it appear he has been misunderstood.
On the one hand it is saying that I have actively propagated ideas over a prolonged period that contradict explicit Bahá’í Teachings — in which case the ideas and my actions to spread them would be public knowledge — while also saying that this is something known only to the UHJ and myself, and I am keeping the true story private. But if that was so, the unidentified idea at issue would be “a personal understanding” and no concern of anyone.
In one sense the letter is reassuring. It shows that the UHJ does know that what I said in the Foreword to Church and State was not a claim to a special status in the Bahai community, but was rather saying up front to the reader that I would not bracket out my faith, as is usual in the academic study of religion, but rather would write theologically (theology = faith seeking understanding). So am I now a step nearer to getting re-enrolled? I don’t know. I haven’t followed up on this yet, as I applied for reenrolment in March 2010 and haven’t had a response yet (as at May 2011). If I get re-enrolled it will be a moot point why I was disenrolled if it was not (as appeared from the UHJ’s letter to NSAs of 14 November 2005) for the phrase in the Forward to Church and State, was not for ‘erroneous perspectives’ and apparently not for breaking a Bahai law.
If anyone else has responses from the UHJ on my disenrolment, I would be glad to see them, not because I intend to argue the point with the UHJ, but because such letters may throw light on just what disenrolment is, and what purpose it serves.
Short link: http://wp.me/PcgF5-1Ab