Re: Freemasonry cannot be compatible with Baha'i

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Posted by David Bowie ( on October 19, 2003 at 14:37:51:

In Reply to: Re: Freemasonry cannot be compatible with Baha'i posted by Joe Ohlandt on October 19, 2003 at 13:49:15:

Dear Mr. Ohlandt,

When 'Abdu'l-Baha in London was reprinted in 1982 the publishers included this note.

"It is believed that this is the first reprinting since 1921 when the Baha'i Publishing Society of Chicago published the Ameerican edition. Because the original material is no longer available the Universal House of Justice has approved that we state that it is no longer possible to verify the translations of 'Abdu'l-Baha's words."

Since they don't state if the 1921 edition changed any of the text it is possible that what we have is the translations made in 1912 in the first edition.

The quality of some of the early translations has presented the Baha'i community with a number of tests throughout its history in the west.

Shoghi Effendi includes this analysis about another incident in his 1929 letter "The World Order of Baha'u'llah (page 5 of the book by the same name).

"I truly deplore the unfortunate distortions that have resulted in days past from the incapacity of the interpreter to grasp the meaning of ‘Abduíl-Bahá, and from his incompetence to render adequately such truths as have been revealed to him by the Master's statements. Much of the confusion that has obscured the understanding of the believers should be attributed to this double error involved in the inexact rendering of an only partially understood statement."

I believe it is a credit to the concept of openness and transparency that the House of Justice still approves the reprinting of books containing inadequate translations of which the "Star of the West" volumes are another example.

Jonah has already posted a couple of excerpts that answer your query about the present position regarding Baha'i membership in Freemasonry, so I won't repeat them here.

Since Shogh Effendi clearly stated the principle, i can only beleive that the reprot in 'Abdu'l-Baha in London is due to the inadequacies of the translator at that time.

I appreciate both the tone and motivation of your original post and your responses to other replies.

Warm greetings,


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