Posts Tagged laughs

The Lost Prophet of the Millennium

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Remember the old Y2K scare? We generally look back at that anxious time as an anticlimax, understanding that nothing much happened at the turn of the millennium. I remember how the Bahá’ís expected world peace to flower by the end of the 20th Century. Since then, many Bahá’ís have sought out alternative interpretations of their failed peace prophecy.

Mustaghath

Mustaghath, shortly before his occultation

I say “failed,” but I know something that most Bahá’ís don’t. Truth be told, at the close of the year 2001, on the very last day that fell within the Y2K window, a young prophet discovered his calling. Evidence of this portentous moment can be found with the help of the tool known to nostalgic Web surfers as the WayBack Machine:

Dec 02, 2001

This page doesn’t provide any actual information on the youthful prophet, but information would soon be forthcoming:

The hour is approaching when the most great convulsion will have appeared. I swear by Him Who is the Truth! It shall cause separation to afflict everyone, even those who circle around Me….

—Baha’ullah (Mar 29, 2002)

The great unveiling was finally accomplished, as far as I can determine, in early April 2002, when the Prophet proclaimed to the Bahá’ís:

We observe that your Faith is shiny on the outside but rotten at the core: that when a person doth look, he beholdeth a beautiful thing; but when he doth taste of it, he spitteth out the foul flesh of a fruit gone bad …

Mustaghath’ul-Baha, The Book of Restoration

If there had previously been any doubts of God’s disapproval of the course of the Bahá’í Faith at the turn of the millennium, those doubts were vanquished. The LORD GOD was obviously unhappy. In that same sacred declaration, He continued:

O people of Baha! Institutions are not to be worshipped! Bow not the knee before the false god of bureaucracy!…

What Bahá’í of sound mind could possibly disagree? The world was on the threshold of rebirth. Reform was in the air.

This “new messenger of God” did not satisfy himself with a mere web site, but also founded an organization which he christened the Alliance for the Reform of the Baha’i Faith. Because he soon realized that this title was ungainly, he went on to rename the alliance “Baha’i Alliance for the Reform of the Faith,” commonly known as BARF.

The young messenger was met with strident opposition. Conservative Bahá’ís stood against him, arguing that their founder Bahá’u'lláh had forbidden any claims to prophecy ere the passing of a thousand years. But alas, the young messenger had all the answers:

Did ye think there would come unto you no messenger for a thousand years? Alas! ye have misinterpreted the scriptures and have forgotten many teachings.

The meaning of this passage was veiled in many hidden meanings, such as this: it was the dawn of a new millennium, and a millennium is the passing of a thousand years!

This was a profound insight, but because none could apprehend the meaning of His words, he was laughed to scorn.

Given more time, the young Prophet might have had a profound influence on the new millennium, but His ministry came to a premature and tragic end. No one knows for certain what happened to Him, and rumors still swirl around the memory of that blessed Youth. Some say that AO (Authoritative Odor) operatives spirited him away, and that he remains in occultation, deep beneath the great marble Arc in Haifa Israel. Other point their fingers at Eric Stetson (not to be confused with noted evangelical Christian Eric Stetson, or the noted Christian Universalist Eric Stetson) as a suspect in the abduction or murder of the Youth. Stetson appeared to be the Prophet’s web master, and had unsurpassed access to the prophet. Stetson, a strident Unitarian, has since made strong statements that some see as clues to his guilt:

Although various people may have spiritually inspired ideas, there is no human being, institution or organization that can claim to speak for God, because Baha’u'llah explicitly prohibited anyone from claiming a station of “command” for at least 1000 years after his own prophethood.

Eric Stetson (the Unitarian Bahá’í)

Though such statements may seem damning, the reader should note that any Unitarian Bahá’í could have made such a statement, and Stetson is but one of many Unitarian Bahá’ís.

In any case, the loss of Mustaghath was a lethal blow to the spirit of the Bahá’í community, which has remained mired in paralysis since the Prophet’s disappearance. From the four compass points, Bahá’í voices can be heard calling, “Mustaghath, Mustaghath! Where are you?”

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Posted on Tuesday, February 9th, 2010 at 4:58 am
The latest target of BIGS Legal

The latest target of BIGS Legal

I recently decided that I didn’t really want to say any more about the Rocky Mountain Bahá’ís, that is, the O’Bahá’ís (Orthodox Bahá’ís) of New Mexico and the BUPCees (Bahá’ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant) of Montana. It’s obvious that they’re irrelevant and seeing as I have taken the position that the Guardianship was a bad idea to begin with, I don’t really see the point of promoting their desperate causes.

Guardianship? For those not in the know, a Guardian is a sort of Bahá’í Imam or Ayatollah.

Anyhow, The BUPCees are just too kooky and fragmented, and the O’Bahá’ís—they’re just boring. What have they done for me lately?

But then I was reminded that these two pathetic minorities have recently been getting bullied in court by the dominant Bahá’í organization, henceforth referred to as the BIGS™ Corporation, or BIGS™ Inc.

Word on the street has it that the BIGS™ (Bahá’ís In Good Standing) have been diverting construction funds into litigation against those minuscule mountain communities, so I couldn’t help but take notice. And what are they suing the O’Bahá’ís and BUPCees for? Exclusive rights to Bahá’í terms such as “Bahá’í,” “UHJ,” and “The Greatest Name.”

“The Greatest Name”—now who wouldn’t want to corner that?

“The mainstream Baha’is have responded with a lawsuit that tries to bar the orthodox from calling themselves Baha’i and sharing the “The Greatest Name,” a sacred and trademarked symbol. Baha’is believe they are not only safeguarding their identity. They are defending the truth with a capital T.

“The Orthodox say that is not a matter for the courts to decide.”

—Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2009

At present, BIGS™ Inc is losing. They lost to the BUPCees in 2005 and then lost to the O’Bahá’ís in 2008. The latter case is being appealed. Stay tuned. The Chicago Tribune is on the case.

“… the Court finds that the alleged contemnors are not in contempt …”

Futurebus

How minority Bahá'í attorneys of the future will get to court.

I wonder how well paid the BIGS™ Inc legal team is. I wonder whether the BIGS™ Inc lawyers are themselves BIGS™ members. Then again, who cares?—I just hope they’re well paid. But I digress.

As for the mountaineers, can they even afford attorneys? I’m surprised that they can even afford airline tickets to Chicago. Then again, maybe they left the driving to Greyhound. Speaking of Greyhound, check this ride—but I digress further.

Our Daily Bread: Abhageddon

Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010 at 9:44 am

There is a wealth of doomsday prophecies and predictions in the Bahá’í scripture and literature. The following passage, for instance, clearly foresees the advent of Rock & Roll:

Suicidal Stanford

Suicidal Stanford

“The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day. Its face is turned towards waywardness and unbelief. Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly. Its perversity will long continue. And when the appointed hour is come, there shall suddenly appear that which shall cause the limbs of mankind to quake. Then, and only then, will the Divine Standard be unfurled, and the Nightingale of Paradise warble its melody.”

—Bahá’u'lláh, Gleanings … , pages 118-119

Of course, the simple fact of the matter is that the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith had already discovered Rock & Roll:

“the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and oftentimes it maketh my bones to quake while it maketh manifest”

Doctrine & Covenants, 85

The Bahá’í writings claim that humanity must be purged of its spiritual slumber and corruption by disaster before it will open its eyes to its Savior, Bahá’u'lláh. In the following citation, Shoghi Effendi describes the calamity that must befall mankind:

The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom. And yet it stubbornly refuses to embrace the light and acknowledge the sovereign authority of the one Power that can extricate it from its entanglements, and avert the woeful calamity that threatens to engulf it.

Ominous indeed is the voice of Bahá’u'lláh that rings through these prophetic words: “O ye peoples of the world! Know, verily, that an unforeseen calamity followeth you, and grievous retribution awaiteth you. Think not that which ye have committed hath been effaced in My sight.” And again: “We have a fixed time for you, O peoples. If ye fail, at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, He, verily, will lay violent hold on you, and will cause grievous afflictions to assail you from every direction. How severe, indeed, is the chastisement with which your Lord will then chastise you!”

Must humanity, tormented as she now is, be afflicted with still severer tribulations ere their purifying influence can prepare her to enter the heavenly Kingdom destined to be established upon earth?

Must the inauguration of so vast, so unique, so illumined an era in human history be ushered in by so great a catastrophe in human affairs as to recall, nay surpass, the appalling collapse of Roman civilization in the first centuries of the Christian Era? Must a series of profound convulsions stir and rock the human race ere Bahá’u'lláh can be enthroned in the hearts and consciences of the masses, ere His undisputed ascendancy is universally recognized, and the noble edifice of His World Order is reared and established?

—The Unfoldment of World Civilization.

At the time the above passage was written (1936), the world had already witnessed what it named “The Great War” and “The War To End All Wars”. At that very time, the world was bracing itself for an even more destructive world war. Even World War II, with its millions upon millions dead on the fronts, in the fire bombed cites, in the path of atomic bombs, and in Nazi and Stalinist death camps, even this “Most Great War” was not great enough to teach humanity much about war or genocide. So it is that Bahá’ís, true to their apocalyptic hypothesis, must await “still severer tribulations ere their purifying influence” bring about the utopian world they have been promised.

The Eighteen Terraces and the Nineteenth Hole

Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Welcome, pilgrim, to the Dan Carmel and the Terraces at the Bahá’í World Centre.

This is a brief guide to help you golf this authoritative, par-95 course.

the lumpy grass

"The Lumps" at "the Terraces"

In all these terraces the fairwayer must stray not the breadth of a hair from the “Law”. Please observe and heed all signs, and please refrain from wading after balls into the founts of Divine Bounty. Divots are strictly forbidden, and grounds for immediate expulsion without warning.

Please don’t feed the badgers.

By playing the BWC Links, you help to finance the maintenance of the terraces. Your continuing patronage is appreciated.

Disclaimer: though infallibly guided by the Sun of Divine Composition, the author knoweth very little about golf, and it ill-beseemeth him to go into great technical detail, for quotation from the words of others proveth acquired learning, not the divine bestowal. Furthermore, for they that move on these 18 differing terraces, the understanding and the words of the fairwayers have differed.

  1. The Terrace of Contentment. Why the fairwayer ever attempteth to drive his balls out of this terrace can only be said to be a divine mystery, but yea, golf is itself inscrutable. No man knoweth its secrets, and to go into detail on this matter would not prove meet or seemly.
  2. The Terrace of Search. The steed of this terrace is patience, for the course is well-concealed in the city, and the cabbies know not where it can be found.
  3. The Terrace of Conversion. The steed of this terrace is pain, and such that it would seem it may never end, for the gravel is something fierce for its sharp edges, and no steed will have anything to do with carrying anyone anywhere, and the fairwayer must find a place to change into more appropriate footwear, then lifting his bag, and turning toward the tee, the fairwayer is straightaway cast into …
  4. The Terrace of Proselytism. On this terrace the fairwayer is thrown into confusion. This terrace has no steed, for the steed has refused to go this far. Here the fairwayer is accosted from every direction by a host of holy caddies, each granting game advice at no charge, while the fairwayer stands firm beneath the Sun of limitless thirst. Secrets are many, but strangers are myriad. It is vital that the fairwayer find the right path, so that he may free himself of the all-knowing caddies. Peace be upon him who followeth the Right Path! The weary fairwayer, wearied out with his own life, waiteth longingly for those founts of unwelcome knowledge to ascend the steps to the …
  5. The Terrace of Wonderment, wherein the weary fairwayers, both proselyte and proselytizer, begin to wonder what they’ve signed up for. Thinking to excess upon this question, they find themselves pitching into …
  6. The Terrace of Shame, but growing weary of the pangs of conscience, they shake off their misgivings, return to the game, and find themselves groping through the lumpy grasses of …
  7. The Terrace of Administration. It is related that one day they came upon Majnun sifting the sand trap (it ill beseemeth thee to say “bunker”), and his tears flowing down. They said, “What doest thou?” He said, I seek for but one ball—any ball, that I may play out of this desert of dysfunction. I seek her everywhere; haply somewhere I shall find her. Finally finding a ball and chipping upslope, the weary fairwayer finds his ball trapped once more in …
  8. The Terrace of More Administration. Once again finding a ball and chipping upsloap, the weary fairwayer finds his ball trapped once more in …
  9. The Terrace of Still More Administration. This is the terrace of the highest authority, and the Men of the House sit consulting right over yonder in that big white house, but see that thou dost not approach them for the way is barred and to seek it is impiety. Just when the fairwayer loses hope that there may ever be a non-administrative terrace, he is reassigned to …
  10. The Terrace of Relocation, wherein the fairwayer must forsake every possession in exchange for freedom from administrative obligations and other community burdens, and receiving a set of rental clubs for the back half of the course. Shanking a beaten old secondhand ball into the prickly shrubs, he wanders in upon …
  11. The Terrace of Alienation, where culture sickness is but a euphemism, and the weary fairwayer loses whatever remains of his sense of place. The fairwayer inevitably finds his way from this hapless state into the …
  12. The Terrace of All-Consuming Homesickness, which is bound to lead to …
  13. The Terrace of Wholesale Forfeiture, wherein the fairwayer fails utterly to keep his head in the game, with thoughts only for the 19th Hole, and what delights lay waiting there, which I have not thought pertinent to mention here. The cloud of the Loved One’s mercy raineth only in the season of spring, wherefore the fairwayer, feeling the symptoms of overexposure and lusting for shade, ascendeth at last upon …
  14. The Terrace of Knowledge, where many a fairwayer dwelleth within the shadow of the tree of knowledge, having finally come upon the knowledge of the whereabouts of the tree of knowledge. After a siesta of undetermined duration, the fairwayer hooks a ball up upon …
  15. The Terrace of True Poverty, wherein pitiless ravens do lie in wait to pilfer balls. Having sliced his final ball into a fountain, the weary fairwayer begins to hit ghost balls up the fairway. Doing this, he mimes his way upward to …
  16. The Terrace of Illusory Contentment, wherein bliss causes the weary fairwayer to misplace his one remaining club, requiring that he shadow golf into …
  17. The Terrace of Absolute Nothingness, wherein the weary fairwayer wanders in a trance of delirium. And just when he thinketh it couldn�t get worse, he swaggereth as one inebriated up to …
  18. The Terrace of Absolute Exhaustion. Labor is needed, as he struggleth up this infernal ascent, hacking away at the path with an imaginary chipper, until, lost in vain hallucinations and pummeled by heat exhaustion, he stumbleth into …
  19. The Nineteenth Hole, the very lounge of the Dan Carmel on High, and drinketh from its bountiful, divers taps. Ecstasy alone can encompass this theme, not utterance nor argument; and whosoever hath dwelt at this stage of the journey knoweth whereof We speak.
© MMVII Dan “Carmel” Jensen Promotions. Provisional alternative land use partner of the Baha’i World Centre.

Membership Has Its Privileges!

Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 7:24 am

Yes, you can have your own official FBI* agent card! Print them while they last!

The official FBI agent card.

The official FBI agent card. Don't leave home without it.

Print this image (200 dpi), sign it with your alias of choice, slip it into your wallet, and be prepared to parade it at all Bahá’í functions. This will enable you to hoard the food and refreshments while all Bahá’ís-in-good-standing dutifully shun you!

Caveat: As FBI agents are becoming more and more common, you may need to divide the spoils with agents at an increasing number of events.
*FBI is an unregistered trademark of the Forum for Bahá’í Investigations. All rights reserved.

Happy Entry by Troops Day!

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Today — the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the New Millennium — must be a very special day. Any world cataclysms on the agenda?

Just curious. I don’t want to give anybody any ideas.

One day — maybe today — the people of the world will tire of the impotence of the established system that runs the world. It is inevitable. The state of world economies and politics will deteriorate, and the world will descend into a great catastrophe; perhaps a war or a worldwide economic collapse, forcing the people of the world to recognize the intrinsic superiority of God’s Administrative Order, and suddenly reject the world establishment and turn to us.

This revolutionary, utopian vision is the outlook that I inherited as a Baha’i child. It sounds remarkably similar to a Marxist outlook, only it adds God to the formula. We called this the day of “entry by troops.” The “troops” are the Bahá’í equivalent of the “workers of the world.”

A year ago, an international financial crisis caused the leadership of the Bahá’í Administrative Order to prepare for the long-anticipated catastrophe and call for great conferences around the world to prepare Baha’i communities for entry by troops. When I was a kid, I would have been surprised to find that it would take the world so long to recognize the superiority of our World Order. We expected something very big to happen by the year 2000, and probably well before that. Since then, The Bahá’í eschatological schedule has slipped, insurance policies extended, and mortgages refinanced, but the general outlook hasn’t changed. Some appear to expect something big to happen in the year 2012.

The Master (left)

The Master, praying for patience as an American follower tries to get his brown nose into the shot.

After all, that would be exactly 100 years since “the Master” came to America, and you know what the Mayans say about 2012.

But why wait till 12/12/12 when we can have the party on 9/9/9?

The Bahá’í “Administrative Order” is perhaps the single most distinguishing aspect of the Bahá’í Faith. It is a very bureaucratic religion, and it emphasizes unity above all, not permitting the slightest bit of factionalism. This aspect of the Administrative Order is described succinctly by the following passage from scripture:

The Administrative Order is the embodiment of the unity of God, unity incompatible with the existence of factions.

— The Master

Actually, I doctored that citation a little. The original passage reads as follows:

The Party [is] the embodiment of unity of will, unity incompatible with the existence of factions.

— The Monster (Joseph Stalin)

The Bahá’í Adminsitrative Order even has multi-year plans, you know, like the plans Stalin adored so much!

Anyway, it’s all about unity. And bureaucracy. Put them together an you have “the Party,” or as Bahá’ís say, “the Cause.” As I recently pointed out, the Bahá’í Faith is so bureaucratic, what they call “feasts” are actually committee meetings.

It being crucial that Bahá’ís know exactly what words to use when approached by the “troops”, a massive re-education program — code-named RUHI — has been initiated, and has been proceeding for 13 years now, in anticipation of that great day, expected sometime in the next dozen years. It is known to be a very simple program, tuned to focus on basic talking points of administrative doctrine.

I have lots more to say on this, but I need to post before civilization implodes. Now, where’d I put those boots?

Our Daily Bread: Baha'i Hair Care

Posted on Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Here are several of my favorite passages from Bahá’u'lláh’s “Most Holy Book.” I think these passages open a window into the future of Bahá’í fashion.

it is not seemly to let the hair pass beyond the limit of the ears. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Lord of all worlds.

please read this paragraph. I know your eyes want to gaze at the photo below, but please resist that temptation.

I imagine that Bahá’í hippies will not have long hair like the Founding Fathers of the Bahá’í Faith, or rather if they do, they might use those aboriginal-style ear lobe inserts to extend their ears as far as they desire to grow their hair.

The Look of Rock's Future

The Look of Rock's Future

… or maybe those long-in-the-back new wave hairdos from the ’80s will be permissible. I remember when the guys in Rush all had their hair cut for Grace Under Pressure. I was so impressed by their kosher fashion that I sent them a copy of The Promise of World Peace! That was a little embarrassing, them looking so extremely anti-homophobic and me being such a pawn, but it hardly diminishes the wisdom of keeping one’s ears clear of overgrowth.

… I mean, unless you’ve got Geddy Lee’s ears. Yikes.

Here’s another window into the future:

God hath decreed, in token of His mercy unto His creatures, that semen is not unclean. Yield thanks unto Him with joy and radiance …

I think the inner significance of this is that Bahá’í Rastafarians of the future might glue their modest dreadlocks with semen, or perhaps when future Bahá’ís need a little mousse, they can come by it in an environmentally responsible manner.

I’m talking about hair mousse, of course.

Finally, here’s one the strikes close to home for yours truly:

Shave not your heads; God hath adorned them with hair, and in this there are signs from the Lord of creation to those who reflect upon the requirements of nature. He, verily, is the God of strength and wisdom.

Geeze. Did he really need to use the word reflect?

The Lizard Man does not shave his head.

Observe that the Lizard Man does not shave his head.

Unfortunately, men of the future will not be able to conceal their bald spots by shaving their heads, so I suppose bald guys will cease reproducing and will go extinct.

It’s a little sad, but all for the betterment of the species, I guess.

Minions of the Millennium

Posted on Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Recent news in the Baha’i world of “mass teaching” efforts remind me of one of my favorite songs from childhood. It was a Baha’i-ified traditional C-major tune with an occasional descending B-flat for blues effect, probably a Negro spiritual, that I knew as “We Are Soldiers in God’s Army”. I’ve been teaching myself to play it on violin lately, and have felt compelled to some liberty with the lyrics.

The Baha’i lyrics are best described as millenarian, Biblical, and didactic; in general, a call to convert the masses. They begin as follows:

Now the Báb blew His trumpet
Announcing to the world the time had come
And like a thief in the night, He came by the Gate
And said He was the Promised One

Verse after verse, the song parades Baha’i leaders before us, exhorting Baha’is to get out and proselytize in the footsteps of their leaders:

Bahá’u'lláh was the Prophet
He had the Word that is right for now
And when the road got rough and the going got tough
He just stood there and taught anyhow

These verses refrain a curious conflict of tenses (perfect vs. imperfect) that brings to mind some of the intrinsic problems with universal progressive revelation, such as “if it was right for now 150 years ago, is it right for the present “now”? And, “is it really right for everybody?

The chorus goes as follows:

We are soldiers in God’s army
We gotta stop and teach the Word for now
We gotta hold a lotta love and unity
We gotta hold it up until we die

I don’t have much of a problem with the verses, as they tend to say so much about the predominant Baha’i state of mind, and truly, the chorus does as well, but I think some variations on the chorus might do the song some good. For example:

(Oh-oh-oh-owoh-oh …)
We are minions of the Millennium
We gotta stop–and think for ourselves
It’s time to see (its time to see beyond our idol called “Unity”)
It’s time to break it down so we can see.

Here the singer turns from the mic and says “break it down”, whereupon the maestro steps into his A-major improvisation.

Post-solo:

We are minions of the Millennium
We gotta stop–and “see with our own eyes”
We gotta think instead of followin’ the leader
There’s more to life than playin’ “Simon says”

And finally, as the music fades:

We are minions of the Millennium
We’ve had our fun–playin’ blind man’s bluff
We gotta think (we gotta think instead of followin’ the leader)
We gotta use our eyes so we can see.

Decoding the Apocalypse

Posted on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Hey all you eschatological detectives out there in cyberspace! Still looking for your Thief in the Night? Here’s an insightful how-to on thinking prophetically by XBOSS (Ex-Baha’i-of-Sorts) fringe celebrity Barry Smith:

Jesus laughed.

Posted on Monday, March 5th, 2007 at 4:58 pm

The SF Bay Area is a good place for those who enjoy trading their wages for palatable art and entertainment, but those who really desire the cutting edge—we head to Fresno.

Jesus or Bust
Barry Smith (photo by Mark Fox)

Now I understand that the book Science Made Stupid defines half-life as “Saturday night in Fresno”, and yes, there was something in there about Fresno and the event horizon of a black hole, but hey, times have changed!

I had run into Barry Smith on the aether a couple years ago, and just last Thursday I was cleaning out one of my email boxes when I stumbled on the remnants of our brief correspondence. I wandered onto the web and browsed through his tour schedule: coming to Fresno—tomorrow!

Coincidence? You be the judge.

I had six hours to drive to Fresno and back and catch Barry Smith’s show Jesus in Montana in between. I’d be locked out if I got there a minute late, so I left San Jose hoping that the 2 1/2 hour drive would not be extended to 3 hours by some unforeseen calamity (as it often is).

I turns out I arrived with time to spare, so I ran down Olive Avenue, wolfed down half a California burger, ran back to the Starline and dropped the price of admission out of my wallet onto the table. I had finally made it. I stumbled into the dark club, felt around for a chair, and basked in the glow of anticipation.

It was certainly therapeutic to sit in the dark laughing in unison with total strangers about a Baha’i doomsday cult, but what was perhaps just as exhilarating was re-living the grand chase for prophecy and universal annihilation that Barry Smith so hilariously describes in his expertly timed PowerPoint presentation.

This is not just any PowerPoint doomsayer. Move over Al Gore.

Barry Smith sees prophecy in the most mundane source material. He even finds Jesus in a street address from his childhood. Ludicrous, eh? Maybe so, but it’s not as uncommon as you may think, and you might want to try it some time. It can bring on quite a buzz.

I have been there. As a young Baha’i, I studied Biblical prophecy, American Indian prophecy, Hindu prophecy, Zoroastrian prophecy, Tibetan prophecy, Nostradamus, blah blah, but I never quite grasped the “Paul is dead” scandal; not, at least, until now.

Perhaps Barry Smith is having fun at the expense of others, but as much as anything, he is poking fun at himself. Perhaps that is the most therapeutic aspect of the whole show.

This must be made available on DVD someday. Come on Barry: if Al could do it, so can you.

A few notes for Baha’is …

I should warn you that “Jesus in Montana” has been rated “R” by—er, Barry?—for foul language, and references to drugs, Armageddon, fornication, religion, and one particular sex offender; but it isn’t all that hard on the Baha’i Faith.

Barry Smith goes so far as to say that, as part of the Baha’i doctrine of progressive revelation, prophecy is the way that God tells us how to recognize the Manifestations. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard it put that way before, but that seems to be the way a lot of Baha’is look at it. One might call it the “Thief in the Night” wing of the Baha’i Faith.

I understand that Baha’is of the dominant Haifan group are strongly advised to avoid any discussion of the sect that Barry Smith has so much fun with, but it seems to me there is little to fear. Smith pokes fun particularly at the minute size of the BUPC, and estimates, quite charitably, the total number of Baha’is at seven million. He does poke a little fun at progressive revelation, but in a good-natured way. Moses, for instance, taught us not to eat paste, and Jesus taught us how to write in cursive.

Disclosure

Yes, it is true that, like the cult leader that Barry Smith celebrates, I too am a Jensen, and yes my father is a Baha’i Chiropractor, and it’s true that he has been expecting Armageddon since he first read the Scriptures and the pilgrim notes; but that is where the similarities end. Well, my mother was born in Montana. Oh, and there was that guy named Barry who lived in our basement. Hmmm … maybe I didn’t actually grow up in California …

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