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.
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:
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 …
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?”