Bahais spend Memorial Day weekend in mountains
A religious group gathered together to learn and study in the mountains of Utah Memorial Day weekend.
The Utah Bahai School, which involves 11 of the western states, used this holiday season just as they have for the past eight years - to travel to Clear Creek Family Ranch, just outside of Zion's National Park.
"This is my second year here," said Elham Roohami, a 20-year-old from Las Vegas. "I had a great time last year so I told everyone they had to come this year."
The group arrived Friday, May 23, and stayed until Monday. Their days were filled with participating in classes, pond swimming, hiking and more.
"We were invited to come and teach the adult classes and speak about building Bahai communities at a local level," said Derek Cockshut, a Bahai who lectures on a variety of subjects including all world religions.
Bahai members distribute a summary reprinted from the Encyclopedia Britannica to help explain where their religion came from and what they believe.
Their religion was founded by a man known as Baha Allah. From there, it pinpoints the beginning of their religion: it began two hours and 11 minutes after sunset May 22, 1844.
"This religion doesn't belong to any single person, but humanity as a whole," Cockshut said.
He said they believe in the goodness of man, and that many of their beliefs are similar to those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"We believe that God speaks to his prophets," Cockshut said. "People are told they should be truthful and honest they should live a good life. They should keep their body in as pure a state as they can. And all of those things we keep in common with the Latter-day Saints."
Cockshut said he has pioneered the program for nearly 40 years, which he compared to going on a mission for members of The Church of Jesus Christ.
Members of the Utah Bahai School looked to their religions Persian roots at a barn dance.
"We usually do line dances up in the barn, but when the Bahais come it's always a treat to do Persian dancing," said Julia Hicks, a BYU student working at Clear Creek Family Ranch for the past seven summers. "It's honestly one of the best parts of my year."
All who participated agreed they will continue to return year after year.
"Zion National Park was amazing, and I look forward to returning to it," Cockshut said.
And it wasn't just the fun they will return for.
Jonah Hill, 20-year-old from Las Vegas, said his faith had grown from this experience.
"It was nice because I got to pray outdoors and the environment was perfect," he said.
©Copyright 2003, Brigham Young University NewsNet (UT, USA)
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