Expulsion

Alison's final letter to the House of Justice

The following is Alison's letter to the Universal House of Justice explaining that she is a Baha'i and suggesting it consider reviewing the decision to disenrol her.


From: Alison Marshall, 90 Blacks Road, Dunedin, New Zealand

To: Bahá’í World Centre • P.O. Box 155 • 31 001 Haifa, Israel

25 October 2004

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He is God, the All-Glorious, the All-Powerful, the Unconstrained

To the members of the Universal House of Justice.

I write in response to your decision to summarily disenrol me from the New Zealand Baha’i Community.

In your message to the New Zealand National Spiritual Assembly instructing them to disenrol me, you concluded with the statement: “Thank you for your assistance in bringing this unhappy situation to a firm conclusion.”

I wonder what scenario you had in mind when you looked forward to a “firm conclusion”. Did you imagine that I would lose my belief in Baha’u’llah? That I would lose interest in the Faith altogether and disappear? That my credibility and reputation would be ruined? What was it you hoped for and what would you gain if these things came to pass?

The reason I wonder is this: I am a devoted believer in Baha’u’llah. He is my Lord. My life is given over to his service and my heart beats for him. I know he came to this world to usher in the Day of God and bring us eternal life. I have dedicated my life to teaching others about his joyous message.

Baha’u’llah teaches us that the true lover yearns for tribulation even as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy. Perhaps you can see then, that the one who stood to gain from your decision was me? You have given me a chance to show my unconditional love for Baha’u’llah before the whole world! Even in the face of unsubstantiated and baseless accusations of heresy from the Baha’i world’s highest institution, I nevertheless stand steadfast in my faith. Surely, you can see that I wear Baha’s robe of glory: abasement. My blessing is incalculable. Just as the martyrs went to their deaths in joy and in gratitude to their executioners, I too express my eternal gratitude to you for placing me in a position to grasp this unprecendented bounty.

But what have you gained by forcing me out of the community? If you represent Baha’u’llah, why would you exile one of his ardent lovers? The only thing of any value is his love, and yet in my case, you claim it is insufficient. How do you reconcile this with what Baha’u’llah says in his Will and Testament: “Every receptive soul who hath in this Day inhaled the fragrance of His garment and hath, with a pure heart, set his face towards the all-glorious Horizon is reckoned among the people of Baha in the Crimson Book”? I do not fall short of this standard. If you reject these spiritual credentials, what is it that you uphold and how does it benefit you?

The penultimate paragraph of your disenrolment message says: “In the event that Mrs. Marshall should decide at any point in the future to enquire about enrolment, the matter should be referred, in the first instance, to your National Assembly and no action be taken at the local level. You are asked, in that case, to forward the full details to the World Centre for guidance from the House of Justice.”

Again, you have misjudged the situation. When Baha’u’llah was unjustly exiled to ‘Akka, he never appealed to the authorities. Even when he was free to leave, he didn’t do so until he was begged! Similarly, although you have unjustly exiled me, I seek nothing from you for myself. What can you give me? With the love of Baha’u’llah in my heart, I am wealthy beyond measure.

However, for the sake of justice and the Cause, and for the sake of God and yourselves, you might like to consider reviewing your decision. The eye of God is on you. You will be asked of your doings. And the Baha’i community bears the spiritual consequences of your actions. As Trustees of the Merciful, much rests on your shoulders.

In contentment
Alison Marshall