Bahá'ís stimulate the mind and the soul at 'firesides'
September 03, 2001
By MICHAEL PROTOS
For The Times Herald
Arriving at a Bahá'í fireside an hour
early throws one into a hectic whirlwind of preparation for a lively
evening of discourse and friendship.
gathering food and organizing his home to receive almost a dozen area
Bahá'ís, David Fiorito of King of Prussia welcomed questions about
his religion. Beads of sweat glistened on his forehead as he moved
throughout the kitchen, cutting fruit, making coffee or fielding an
intrigued visitor's questions.
As the scheduled time for the
fireside ap-proaches, David's mother and sister arrive. They are not
Bahá'ís, but they come to nearly each fireside to join the
conversations that touch upon subjects that are rarely found in any
"It gives me a chance to exercise a muscle that I
don't get a chance to exercise anywhere else," said Eileen Fiorito-Noll
of Conshohocken, Da-vid's sister, who is a Presbyterian.
one, the Bahá'ís arrived, filling David's living room with nine
open and warm individuals, hailing from a wide variety of personal
backgrounds. Not everyone present has officially signed their name as a
Bahá'í, but they all share the love of religious discussion that
makes the evening flow with a sense of candid expression and free
inclusion. Anyone is welcome to attend a fireside, even if they are not
"The embracing of all religions lines up with my
philosophy," said Frank Curnow.
As a member of the Catholic
church, Curnow offered his views and experiences throughout the
evening's discussion on angels, which extended into a broader talk on
the relationship of people to God. All opinions are free in this
setting, and Bahá'ís welcome the opportunity to learn from
individuals with different religious backgrounds.
being is seen as a child of God and we are all, in essence, equal," said
David steered the discussion with his prior
research on the subject to have sources from Bahá'u'lláh's
writings to share. He offered interpretations of the writings, which can
be rather cryptic, to those present who do not readily pick up the
From this basic foundation, the members of the
discussion built an intellectual and spiritual conversation, engaging
everyone, whether one chose to remain silent and contemplate the
comments or to throw one's ideas into the mix. Everything is welcome and
no one leaves with the sense of being wrong.
The sense of free
thought without exclusion attracts many Bahá'ís who struggle with
the concept of many other religions that there is only one path to
"I couldn't understand why if you only were in their
religion you would be saved," said Julianna Gross of King of
The Bahá'ís do not include a tenet of exclusion in
their faith, opting instead to include everyone in their attempt to show
the world that we are all brothers and sisters under one majestic
Creator who shares his wisdom in religion to us in many different
"One basic difference is nobody is superior because it
is a message from God," said Reena Bookwala of King of
Anyone interested in learning more about the
Bahá'í Faith can contact any Bahá'í to receive literature or
discuss the religion. The national web site for the Bahá'ís is
©Copyright 2001, Times Herald