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Discovering the Baha’i Faith as a Mormon Missionary

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Erin Wagner
Waseca, Minnesota
Baha’i since 2011

I came across the Baha’i Faith while serving as a missionary for the Mormon Church. Religion had always been a part of my daily life and included scripture study, prayer, church attendance and serving the congregation.

The residual blessings of church involvement were obvious because there was not an aspect of my family’s lives that was not affected by us being Mormons. We benefited socially, spiritually, financially, educationally, and physically.

My mother’s side of the family had been Mormon since the church was founded. My father converted when he was a teen, and his participation allowed him to be a better husband and father than he would have been otherwise.

I chose to serve a mission because as a Mormon, I wanted to be able to look honestly at any other religion and say, “We have all those good things and more,” and because I believed there must be more people who, like my father, would find greater happiness living greater truths, if only they knew where to find them.

While knocking on doors near Minneapolis, Minnesota, my missionary companion and I were surprised to be warmly greeted by a couple who said they would be happy to listen to our message if they could share about their faith—Baha’i. I almost salivated! It was a religion I’d never even heard of!

After presenting a brief history of the Baha’i Faith, they explained progressive revelation which hit me like a locomotive. Mormon doctrine holds that other religions may contain elements of truth, but because they no longer have living prophets to share ongoing revelation, they have devolved. For Mormons, revelation was restored with the founding of the church and remains intact through its priesthood.

My study of the Qur’an and other belief systems had convinced me that there was more at play, though I didn’t know what. The paradigm of progressive revelation shared by this Baha’i couple was an elegant reconciliation of doctrinal teachings and my own personal experiences.

I remember thinking as I left that night that my entire universe may have just been turned upside down, but felt reassurance that this was neither the time nor the place to pursue what I’d learned. I would know when I needed to answer the “Baha’i question.”

Two years later, after finishing my mission and returning home to Utah without any further contact with the Faith, my boyfriend was deciding whether or not to convert to Mormonism. He expressed regret at not having investigated multiple religions, but how could he know where else to invest his time? Like an involuntary reflex, I heard myself say, “That’s easy. It’s Mormonism or Baha’i.” It was instantaneously clear that it was time for me to address the issue.

I got my hands on some introductory books and was impressed to find that the teachings seemed water-tight. One particular teaching helped me overcome my life-long bane of anxiety. I heard a description of the Baha’i interpretation of sin—not that we do good or evil, but that we are always pursuing God, sometimes by looking to the heavens, and sometimes by looking to the dust. The peace I felt as I considered the idea is hard to describe.

I studied the faith on my own for three months, then contacted the closest Baha’i community.
I tried to be 100% Baha’i and 100% Mormon for another three months, at which point I knew where I belonged. I went from almost weekly temple worship, 30 minutes of daily study from Mormon scripture, full activity in my congregation, regular prayer, three and a half years of perfect church attendance, and an almost completed degree from Brigham Young University, to a declared Baha’i.

I signed my Baha’i registration card and informed my immediate family and a few close friends of my decision. After the initial shock, they all expressed full support. In some ways I feel I never left Mormonism. My beliefs were already Baha’i. Leaving the church community, though, was like getting divorced from a spouse that I was truly in love with.

That turned out to be a time of massive transition for me personally. In addition to becoming a Baha’i, I graduated from school, quit my job, moved to Minnesota, started a business and got married. In retrospect, that was probably too much change in too little time! Learning the subtleties of involvement in Baha’i communities has also been a challenge. I had been accustomed to the more developed structure of Mormon congregations. However, I have never looked back. I’m blessed with daily confirmations that I made the right choice, and I’ve found ways of using my religious and spiritual education to make my unique contribution.

Most importantly, I have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of family members (like my father and my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather) whose courageous decisions to join a little-known spiritual movement have impacted generations to follow. Of all my blessings, I am most grateful to know that my own children will be raised steeped in the teachings of Baha’u'llah.

232 Responses

  1. Progressive Revelation is the ‘raison d’ etre’ of every Manifestation and the only engine for humanity’s true progress. The real history of humanity is the history of its religions, the rest is a bagatelle of enjoyment and sorrows and of no lasting worth.Erin Wagner has known the Truth.

  2. Valerie Smith

    That is quite the story! I commend her for her courage, and also for her great openness in listening to someone tell about their religion. That’s not always the case.

  3. What a touching story of a brave young woman! Thank you for sharing about your quest for truth and for the confirmation for the rest of us on this lifelong path!

  4. Greta anderson

    As a young, recently declared minnesotan, I felt very connected to your story. Thank you for sharing, and keep sharibg, it is truly beautiful. God bless! Love, greta

  5. Antonio Toledo

    Dear Erin,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I wonder if you revisited the couple who introduced you to the Baha’i Faith….

    Tony Lim Toledo
    Laguna, Philippines

  6. hari madray

    WHAT A BEAUTIFUL AND INSPIRING STORY. I TOO WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH PROGRESSIVE REVELATION AS IT MADE ABSOLUTE SENSE TO ME. THE BAHA’I FAITH HAS TRANSFORMED MY LIFE FOR THE BETTER AND I THANK GOD EVERY DAY FOR GUIDING ME TO THIS PATH. THE WRITINGS OF BAHA’U'LLAH, THE PROPHET FOUNDER OF THE BAHA’I FAITH BLEW ME AWAY. LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY.

  7. Deborah

    I was very moved by your story. I have several dear friends that are Mormon and wondered how they might see the connection between their faith and the Baha’i Faith. Also, we have invited Mormon missionaries into our home, offered refreshment, listened and shared our beliefs. We will continue to do so especially knowing the seeds of truth that are planted and might grow.

  8. Reggie Newkirk

    What a magnificent personal account of spiritual search, family love and unity, service and courage. Thank you for sharing your story and may your bright God-loved countenance embue your husband, future children, extended family and friends with that unconditional love ‘Abdu’l-Baha so wonderfully demonstrated to us during His 239 Days sojourn in the United States and Montreal.

  9. Laura Khoshbin

    Dear Erin, thank you for sharing your story! I have many Mormon friends and have been very impressed with their reverence, sense of community, their devotion to each other, and their work ethic. You have much to be thankful for in having grown up in such a good family and community. All the best to you!
    Laura Khoshbin
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

  10. Joyce Burndam

    Congrats for your Spiritual Birth,
    Wish you everlasting Joy and Happinness.

  11. Ernest Lopez

    How heartwarning that the connection to the Mormon Faith and the recognition of the Teachings of Baha’u'llah were a harmonious process. We all owe appreciation and graitude to our parents, the religious teacher of our past and the Teachings of the Christian/Mormon Faith which are not in conflict. Truth is One. And humanity slowly coming to One Universal Faith will speed up the progress of mankind towards World Peace. How powerful is the light of unity! Welcome to the World Faith.

  12. Julie Swan

    Thank you so much for sharing this story of this great transition. I hope that your family has fully accepted your decisions. Weaving your experience of your past religion with the new is honoring both. May confirmations continue always!

  13. Carol Hudson

    A truly wonderful story of discovery and confirmation! Thank you for sharing Erin.

  14. What a powerful, inspiring, eloquently related story. Thank you, Erin. You bring such richness to the worldwide Bahai Faith community.

  15. Louis Offstein

    Dear Erin,

    Your story was inspiring and what an open mind you must have. My very best wishes to you and what a wonderful journey you have ahead of you at such a young age.

    I’m a Baha’i living in St. Paul.

  16. Evelyn Pesantez

    Wonderful and touching! Thanks for sharing this great example. May Baha’u'llah keep blessing you and all your family!

  17. carolyn sparey

    This is SO inspiring; thank you.

  18. Dottie Frye

    A wonderful testimony to independent investigation! Being the first in one’s family to become a Baha’i has its challenges, but many rewards as well. Erin is fortunate to have such a loving and understanding family and friends. I joined the Baha’i Faith more than fifty years ago when my children were very young, and six months later my husband embraced the Faith as well. We feel so blessed to have found this wonderful religion.

  19. carolyn sparey

    This is SO inspiring —— thank you.

  20. Firooz R. Oskooi

    Baha’is are good, but tested ones are better and stronger.
    Congratulations.

  21. Charlotte Solarz

    I am so happy reading this! Congratulations to you, Erin! These disciplines you speak of: of daily prayer and study and worship and community are vital to the Baha’i community, who with earnest attention engage with the progresssive study circles and so on. It was nice to read about your sincere dedication while serving the Mormon church and that it enabled your precious spiritual quest to lead you to Baha’u'llah! That is really marvellous!

  22. Judy Raiten

    This is wonderful! Thank you.

  23. Mehrdad Badiian - Eghrari

    Alláh’u’Abhá my dear: Erin Wagner what a wonderful and great story, welcome dear sister. Looking forward to meeting you if not in this lower world, in the Kingdom of Abhá: The Concourse on High.. Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá.

  24. Dear Erin,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful story! I’m a Baha’i who has been happily married to a Mormon for many years. We have two teenage children who were both baptized into the LDS Church. Our son is 19 and currently serving a mission in Honduras, and our 14 year old daughter is also considering going on a mission when the time comes. I love the Church, and attended regular Sunday worship with my family for about a decade. While I also made sure to educate my children about the Baha’i Faith, I felt that the structure and social environment provided by the Church was very beneficial to them. During this time I not only made a number of very good friends in the ward (whose friendship I still enjoy), but also discovered countless commonalities between the Mormon and Baha’i faiths that I wanted to share with my Baha’i friends. These observations were eventually published in my book, “Commonalities: A Positive Look at Latter-day Saints from a Baha’i Perspective” (George Ronald, 2009).

    It is refreshing to see someone who went directly from being a devout Mormon to becoming a dedicated Baha’i, without undergoing a lengthy period of disillusionment or doubt. Certainly there are some who for whatever reason have to go through such a process, but it is encouraging to know that this is not a matter of course.

    If possible, I would appreciate an opportunity to ask you how you were able to take the step from Mormon to Baha’i and still feel like you “never left Mormonism.” This knowledge could help others to see the natural progression from one to the other, and perhaps mitigate the fear usually associated with such a move — notwithstanding the inevitable sense of separation from one’s closely knit ward family, and the potentially emotional reaction from family members.

    I can be contacted through the Message button on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Commonalities.

    Yours gratefully,
    Serge van Neck

  25. D Lewis

    This is a true seeker which are very rare. She probably found that Joseph Smith had over 30 Prophecies about the faith in his writings in Doctrines and Covenant.

  26. What a lovely story – and what a special family to have supported you throughout your life so far…

  27. By accepting Baha’u'llah one finds more love and admiration for Christ, Welcome to the Family of Baha, what we learn in life today will help us to progress tomorrow,

  28. TUPOU KOLOUA FINUCANE

    This beautiful story have touched me so much from every angle. It is the most beautiful story I’ve ever heard for a very long time. Being raised in the Baha`i Faith over 43 years ago, I am in awe in this lady’s spirit. It is the most beautiful gift I could receive 2 days before, 2013. Thank you very very much for sharing. It’s a priceless story. May she continue to live a prosperous, and healthy life with her family. Ya`ba`ullah`baha!

  29. Randall Dighton

    Wonderful and heart-warming story. My dear wife is related to about a third of Utah, as her mother’s family came from Scotland with Brigham Young’s converts. We have shared our beloved Faith with many of her family, and always welcome the elders when they visit. At teaching booths at various festivals and fairs, it’s the Mormons who always ask the Baha’is to share ideas, watch each other’s booth during lunch breaks, etc. Such a difference from some evangelical groups who actually move locations if they’re within hearing distance of the Baha’is!
    Much love to you and your family as you grow in this blessed Cause.

  30. Marielle

    Thank you for sharing your story, Erin. It provides a confirmation to me. We just received two missionary young men from the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints in our home. We had a very pleasant discussion, sharing our faith discovery stories and ideas about family and the next world. The Elder said he had made friends with a Baha’i on his last place of mission. He asked more questions about the Faith then he would tell us about his Church. We had to urge them to share their teachings. They both seemed to agree with the Baha’i teachings we were sharing. As in your story, the progressive revelation was the first thing we told them about. Before they left, as the elder was offering us a Book of Mormon, the other guy pointed at our bookcase and quite amazed, told his elder we already had one. It was heart warming to see the surprise in their faces.

  31. You are blessed to have recognized that Baha’u'llah fulfills the Covenant of Jesus Christ, and your family is blessed by that recognition.
    “..ye are the first among men to be re-created by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory.” (Baha’u'llah)

    (Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice, p. 83)

  32. Luana Hirahara

    I can really relate to this story. I also found the Faith through the Mormon path. I was attending Church College of Hawaii (no BWU of Hawaii) as an Episcopalian when I found the Bahais in the community of the North Shore of Hawaii. The Mormons helped me see the necessity of investigating religion, not just accepting what I was raised with. That was over 40 years ago…I have been pioneering in Japan for 35 years now.

  33. Benjamin

    That was great. Thank you for sharing. That last paragraph hit me especially when you mentioned “…that my own children will be raised steeped in the teachings of Baha’u’llah.” goosebumps.

  34. Joyce Olinga

    Dearest Erin, Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I have had known several wonderful Mormon families that truly live their Faith. Recently, I found in my old library (of being a Baha’i for over 40 years) the book, “So Great a Cause” which shared that Joseph Smith knew the Promised Day was approaching in 1844 and that there would be two Manifestations of God! Had he not been murdered, Joseph Smith could have met Baha’u'llah! Blessings to you and your precious family for seeing the fulfillment of his teachings!

  35. Bret Breneman

    I’m very impressed with your integrity and earnestness. May many others similarly prepared find the precious Cause of God in its latest edition!

  36. Doug Krotz

    Intersting story of a young Mormon becoming a Baha’i

  37. Amanda Yazdani

    I can completely commiserate with the “universe turning upside down” feeling. Your heart knows truth, but your mind realizes the difficulties and change associated with accepting it as reality.

  38. Willis

    This must have taken supreme courage and a clearly pure heart. The truth is that Baha’is are not made — they are found. All the lovers of truth who serve humanity are Baha’is. Congrats on your knew journey and know that your heart is God dwelling place. And God loves being at home.

  39. Wonderful story, a very courageous move on your part….I’m sure Baha’u'lla’h will shower you with many blessings…..

  40. Charles Boyle

    What a refreshingly honest and articulate summary. I am both deeply touched, and enthused at the same time.

  41. syrus

    as a person who lives in a 80% Lds community and belive in the bahai faith I was very exited to hear this story.How would i be able to contact you so i could share some of my experiences and be able to get some advice.

  42. Barbara Griffith

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience of finding the Faith and being a Baha’i. Would Love to get acquainted. Warmest Baha’i Love Greetings, Barbara Griffith

  43. kathy floritto

    Erin, your affirmation was a pleasure to read and I thank you for it. Although I’m much older than you, I, too, at ‘decision making’ time and although my health is not good enough to help at missions, etc., I believe the Baha’i faith offers everything I’ve been seeking for many years..and who knows? At some point, the health issues may settle down to a point where I’m able to be useful!!
    Thanks again,

  44. Robert Laliberté

    Your story is very beautiful and touching, You are a true spiritual seeker. Many years ago, I was sharing an apartment with another baha’i. One day, 2 Mormons knocked on our door. We welcomed them and share different thoughts. We found them very open and we kind of becoming friends. That’s the power of love and unity coming from the Manifestations of God. I bet Jesus and Baha’u'llah are very goof friends. Don’t you think so?

  45. Epi Saafi

    What a great story! I am Baha’i from the Island of Tonga and been in the States for 30yrs – lived in Tooele, Utah with my family. I am going to utilize the same method used by the Baha’i couple from Minnesota on you on those Mormon missionaries that will visit my house in the near future. Congratulation to you and your family and thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

  46. Chris D.

    Its wonderful to read accounts of souls that have embraced the cause.

  47. Melodies

    Amazing story… Could we get in touch?

  48. Nabil

    What an awesome story! Truly inspiring and hopefully others will follow in their own investigation of the truth.

  49. Kathy Willenbring

    Hi Erin!
    So pleased to read your story in the magazine. I enjoyed your visit to me ,along with Jeffrey, last Oct. ( BD of The Bab). Would love to see you again sometime. I am so pleased that The Faith has attracted a fine young person such as yourself. I do have complete faith that our society does have hope, thru Baha’u'llah and young Bahai’.

  50. Donald Summerlin

    awesome! sitting here with tears in my eyes. thank you.

  51. Tamara Jensen

    I too converted from Mormonism to Baha’i and have been ever so grateful for the experience. I had known for a long time that the Mormon religion was seriously lacking in spirit and I was unhappy with it’s cover up and whitewashing of it’s history. I met a man, whom I fell in love with. He started to explain to me about the Baha’i faith and it’s principle’s, he read to me from the writings of the Bob, Baha’u'llah and the others and it felt right with me and I knew that I could not deny it. My progression is slow, but coming along. This I do know and that is I am a much happier person with the knowledge that I have now will it will be passed on to my grown children and their children.

  52. Pauline Hoff

    Thank you for sharing in such a loving way!

  53. Joann Donnald

    Welcome to the Baha’i Faith, Erin. Having reached out to the Baha’i Faith along the same road as you took, investigation, study of world religions, I can only share my 40 years experience in the Faith and assure you your decision will benefit you throughout your life.

  54. Ramine

    Wow–so courageous and moving. I love the affirming descriptions of her positive experiences as a Mormon. So important that our recognition of Baha’u'llah lead us to a deeper appreciation of the fact that we are all one, and a recognition of the positive impacts of other religious communities, as well. Erin is obviously a very special person.

  55. Marty Flick

    Erin – what a courageous, marvelous story of ‘the Valley of Search’ – and discovery! Have you read an article – I can’t recall the name of it – but it shares one man’s search through Mormon history and prophecy – and proves Baha’u'llah through it! That would give you a handy reference to discuss with friends who are still in the church. I’m glad your transition was so wonderful! Keep on keepin’ on!!

  56. What a wonderful story and how moving to be willing to go through such a significant transformation and transition and to not have fear. It re,minds me of the early stories of the Baha’is in Iran and what they faced both personally and collectively by making such a huge step forward in their thinking, especially to accept the universality of their new faith in the context of what was often a narrow-minded priesthood in Islam.
    I love the way Erin tries to resolve her social conflicts and be part of both. Ultimately, that is what Baha’u'llah wants when He said, over a century ago, that in the future, all differences would be eliminated among the religions and we will be only be able to see one unifying and evolving community. the community of the faithful and the righteous, without distinction. Erin demonstrates, through her efforts, the nobility of human beings when we see it all as one elegant and enriching process, the gift of the message of Baha’u'llah to this enlightened age…the oneness of mankind. “Ye are all the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch”…no matter what faith yo profess. Sisters, brothers…all one human family in faith. God bless your great heart, Erin Wagner.

    Your fiend in universal faith, Jack Lenz

  57. Sara

    A beautiful story of personal experience with so much for Baha’is to learn from as we interact with Mormons, teach the Faith, and build our communities. Thank you so much for sharing it!

  58. LOL… that should be your “friend” n universal faith…JL:)

  59. Jeanine H.

    A fascinating and courageous account. Thanks for sharing it.

  60. Sharonne Fogle

    It is good to know that teaching Morman’s does work! In Jackson, MI back in the 1960′s we lived near a Morman church. Every week we had our afternoon fireside in the “Happenings” column in the paper. One afternoon 2 ladies came. They were Morman as it turned out. The mother had just come from Milwakee and had heard Hand of the Cause Bill Sears speak and had declared. Her daughter told how she had been praying urgently to help unify the church around the corner from us, to no avail. And they had seen our notice and came. The dughter declared within a week, After that Morman leader came to her house repeatedly, even the Michigan Governor at that time Mr Romney!

  61. Carole Hitti

    Thanks for sharing! One of my dearest Baha’i friends is from a long-time Mormon family, my dear sister is a Mormon, and I live in a town which is strongly Mormon. I enjoy every sentence of your story!!!

  62. Carol Curtis

    Wonderful Erin, and it is such a privilege to know you and to have played a little part in your awakening to the Baha’i teachings.

  63. Carol Curtis

    Wonderful Erin, it is such a privilege to know you and to have played a little part in your awakening to Baha’u'llah.

  64. Terri Lynn

    Dear Erin and Readers,
    I was also a former mormon and related to your story very well. I thought the Mormon faith had wonderful qualities, but there was something missing for me. After finding the Bahai faith, I felt great peace, as if the last piece of my puzzle had been placed. Thank you for sharing your story.

  65. James Wilkinson

    This is an interesting story to read, Erin, considering that I was a Baha’i when I met an LDS woman to whom I would be married for thirty years or so. Our long marriage showed us that about the only two major religions that could marry without significant conflict was Baha’i and LDS. We raised out children as “Bah’ormans;” I even sent a child on a Mormon mission! As if to prove our belief that religion is accepted by the individual, not forced by the parents, some of my children chose LDS when they got older and some chose Baha’i.

    And, prior to marrying her, I was the first Baha’i in Willmar, MN, long ago!

  66. Graham Nicholson

    Dear Erin
    Have you read Commonalities, by van Neck, a wonderful positive contribution to the connections between Mormonism and Baha’i.

  67. Pam erdman

    Thank you my dear, for sharing your story. I have been a Bahai since 1964 and felt about my Christian church as you do about your Mormon congregation. Being a believer in such a relatively young Faith is challenging, but like you, I also have never looked back. I am thankful every day that God lead me to know of His new Faith. Now I pray to prove worthy.

  68. As a Baha’i living in Zion with friends who go to BYU and a devout Mormon previous business partner, Erin’s story strikes a resonant note. I try to avoid explaining the Baha’i concept of good and evil by saying “We have a poorly developed concept of sin,” but in a sense we do. We have our laws and spiritual principles and sense of ethic or morality, but the focus is not if we break a law, we sin and go to Hell. Sin, Hell, Satan, and the need for absolution offered by an intermediary (priest or minister) were all a big challenge for me as a young Baha’i, as I had been raised as a Roman Catholic. It took quite a while to “get” that God basically forgives you before you’ve so much as conceptualized the act. Sometimes the tough thing is forgiving yourself, accepting divine grace—but also accepting that, forgiven or not, you may have consequences in this world. But as Erin suggests, the paradigm shift from trying not to condemn yourself by sinning to believing you are born noble and that your job here is to come closer and closer to God is a big jump, but a supremely liberating one.

  69. Truly a wonderful story of courage and service to God. I shared this with our Baha’i community during feast and absolutely everyone was moved. Thank you for your story!

  70. Roderick Markham

    Thank you for sharing your spiritual journey. My facebook address: http://www.facebook.com/rod.markham

  71. I enjoyed reading of your response to Baha’i from within your quest for truth. Thank you.

  72. Marty Klann

    Welcome home !

  73. Erica

    Such a beautiful piece! I’ve had several close Mormon friends who have always treated me with such warmth. Some have even gone so far as to observe part of the Fast with me to show support. We often remarked that our Faiths shared a lot of common good

  74. Kimberlee J Benart

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it! I have had many Mormon acquaintances, primarily at work, and have always been so impressed with their character, devotion to family, and steadfastness of faith. I visited the Mormon sites in Salt Lake City once, and have lived where the Mormon pioneers passed through. My own ancestors included several who broke away from the conventional religions of the day (Anglicanism/Catholicism) to join the (then) new movements of Seventh Day Adventists, Methodists, and Quakers. We have to appreciate all souls who find their path and walk their way, though it may be different from that of their parents, and may not even have been something they were even seeking.

  75. Shohreh Abrari-Venouss

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful enriched experience of discovering about the truth in the teachings of the Baha’i Faith with us.
    I think we, as Baha’is, are all very proud of being born in a Baha’i Family but never understand how important it is to share this wonderful Faith and teachings with as many people as possible! My daughter and I came across some people in Epcot @ Florida this past week who had no idea about the Baha’i Faith and some of them thought that this amazing new independent world religion is a sect of Islam! We have been trying to keep in touch with all our seekers on a regular basis and I hope that by e-mailing this posting to our curious seekers, at least some of them realize how important it is to make their investigation about the truth associated in the Baha’i writings more serious.
    Wishing courage, patience and steadfastness for every single Baha’i in this world to teach the Baha’i Faith on a regular and daily basis to every single seeker to brighten this world with the most recent teachings of God,
    Shohreh Abrari-Venouss

  76. Mario Larose

    Am very happy for you and your family. Rest assured that God will assist you in your endeavor to serve Humanity

  77. Kathy Afnani

    Erin, you recognized the Manifestation for this day because you are a pure soul. Many blessings to you on your spiritual journey. Your greatest tests will be other Baha’is. Always remember that you are a Baha’i for love of Him!

  78. Rex Rampersaud

    This is the power of independent investigation

  79. LizKauai

    Mahalo, Ke Akua!
    Beautiful account!

  80. Dearest Erin,
    Welcome to the Baha’i Faith and Happy Brithday!
    I know several Mormons, co-workers, neighbors and have gone to their churches and have Mormon friends. Your decision to become a Baha’i by independently investigating the truth is a great service to mankind.
    I hope to see you in one of the Baha’i conferences in 2013.
    Warm regards,

  81. Hartson Doak

    I have had the Mormon missioneries coming to my home evry Wednesday for almost three years. I tell them up front that I am a Baha’i . Who Baha’ullah is and that their waiting for the Second Coming is over. I have had a Deacon and former Bishop come and talk to me and give his blessing to do this. My statement to him was” The Baha’is are out there. Your Elders are going to meet us as they have me. Isn’t it wiser for them to know something about the Baha’i Faith before they are confounded with questions they can not answer?”. I was invited to attend church. So, I have. I have been introduced to new or visiting members to the class as the resident Baha’i. Seeds

  82. Anne King Sadeghpour

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. It helped me understand Mormonism better and was so heartfelt. I truly feel that the Mormom community has so many beautiful teachings in place, that Mormons are already living the life that we as Baha’is seek to live, in many ways and that recognition of Baha’u'llah is never far from grasp.
    Understanding progressive revelation must make your life very, very rich.
    With loving appreciation, Anne

  83. Harlan Lang

    Welcome Erin! Your story means so much to me. I moved to Salt Lake City in 1960 for a job. I was an agnostic and had almost lost hope in making sense of religion. But it was there in Zion that I first learned of the Baha’i Faith and was strongly drawn to investigate. My agnosticism vanished immediately when I read about progressive revelation and read the writings of Baha’u'llah. I was a member of the Air National Guard and was probably the only member of my unit who was not a returned LDS missionary. None of them knew I had become a Baha’i until one man asked me, “What’s new”. I told him I’d found a new religion. He turned and looked me in the eye and said, “It’s not that Bahala-hala thing, is it?” Surprised, I asked him how he knew and he replied that he had met one of them on his mission in Ohio, and that I had the same look in my eyes that she had! I had only been a Baha’i for a month, but that put me on cloud 9. We had a fantastic conversation about the Faith as about 10 others walked into the room and joined us, adding their experiences with Baha’is while on missions. Somehow I could answer their questions as if I were an old time Baha’i. They were extremely polite and never once tried to convince me of their beliefs. It was a divine experience! I couldn’t believe that I had gone from being an agnostic to being a person with that “look” in my eyes in just a month. For me Utah and the Mormons had something to do with it.

  84. Janet Nattress

    Thank-you so much for sharing your story. Your Mormon forefathers prepared you for direct acceptance of Baha’u'llah. You have shown us the ‘bridge’ for Mormons. They see religion as devolving, so a current Manifestation with progressive revelation is the path for them to recognize this Revelation is not waning. It has the power to reach and unite the whole world and the religions. We are just learning how to wield this mighty sword, but the Universal House of Justice is the representative of God on earth, and I find their letters are an infallible guide to the path of Baha’i life.

  85. Grammy Godin

    All I can say is….wow.And ditto to ALL the comments.I am so thankful to have checked the site tonight finding this uplifting story from a wonderful young lady.Erin,your courage to continue your spiritual journey as a Ba’hai is inspiring.Many blessings to you,thanks for sharing.

  86. Subramaniam Devado

    God’s ways are mysterious.Your story is such a powerful confirmation from Baha’u'llah to all those Baha’is like myself.Your sincerity and pure hearted search has lead you to the ocean of His revelation.I believe that you will be able to weather all storms within and without the Faith and I pray that your journey will be fulfilling.

  87. Gwen

    Dear Erin, Thanks so much for sharing your story You have definitely inspired me to teach harder as a Bahai.

    Beautiful!! Welcome aboard! We need you!

  88. Paul Green

    Erin
    Many have been blessed that you have shared your story with them. You have received many responses. But one thing struck me. I have been a Baha’i for over 40 years and looking at the names of those who responded to your story with their emails I was humbled by some of the names of those who did respond.. I recognized a number of names, and noticed that there are some wonderful people and great Baha’i teachers who commented having read your story. So you have been blessed too. May God Bless You

  89. Alison

    Such an inspirational story Erin! My mother, who passed at 92 and had been a Baha’i since she was 18 spent the last several years of her life with my dear brother and sister-in law in Utah. Through my visits there and the stories my family have shared about their Mormon neighbors, I am grateful for the way so many Mormons live their lives, and so happy you were able to see the connection to Baha’u’llah.

  90. Katie D.

    Allauabha Erin! I love your story! I am from Utah as well, I went to Utah Valley University and am from a Mormon background- but am now serving at the Baha’i World Centre! Many people have approached me about your article saying I needed to read it since we have this in common! :) Very amazing! My email is katherinedanner@hotmail.com if you would ever like to chat. Thank you for your courage to speak up triumphantly and to take a stand! Here is my story posted on this website. Much love to you dear! You are an inspiration to me, and I bless you on your path as a brilliant light and pioneer! I send my love from the Holy Land! http://www.bahai.us/2012/02/14/why-bahai-katie-danner/

  91. Mario

    Erin: Alegría sentimos en mi familia por su historia, es la de un buscador. Sí, conocí a algunos Mormones que visitaron mi hogar y les dije lo mismo, me dio tristeza ver que salieron casi corriendo…otros, aceptaron un libro y no he vuelto a saber de ellos…pero usted demostró una valentía extraordinaria y ahora es de la familia, la gran familia mundial que cree en la enseñanzas de Baha’u’llah. La firmeza en la alianza será ahora su reto…¡Muchas gracias por su historia tan linda e inspiradora!

  92. I hope this wonderful soul becomes aware of and protected from the ‘fiends’ of the Faith as well.

  93. Malcolm

    What a wonderful story Erin. I have always been impressed by the Mormons and especially the elder missionaries. Its a testimony to your genuine spirituality and receptive nature. I wish you well in all your endeavors.

  94. Erin Wagner

    Jamshed,

    I agree, and learning about progressive revelation was like zooming out far enough enough to see the threads made a tapestry. Thanks for your thought!

    Erin Wagner

  95. Erin Wagner

    Valerie,

    You’re right–it’s not always the case. I have to give credit to a one particular friend who had served a mission in Prague some 15 years ago. He mentioned that, since he spent two years asking others to have an open mind about religion, he had to keep an open mind himself. Little did he know the seed he was planting!

    Erin Wagner

  96. Erin Wagner

    Mitko,

    Thanks for reading. I’ve been blessed to hear others’ stories; it’s nice to pay that blessing forward.

    Erin Wagner

  97. Erin Wagner

    Greta,

    Recently declared Minnesotan? :) Whereabouts are you? I’m in Waseca–usually participate with the Rochester community.

    Erin Wagner

  98. Erin Wagner

    Tony,

    I am in touch with the couple. I visited them about a month after declaring. I believe the most memorable line of the evening was “Dammit Joan, you ruined my life.” To which she replied, “No, no–that was Baha’u'llah.” [To be absolutely clear, it was in jest (mostly).] They also recently finished tutoring us in Book 2.

    Erin Wagner

  99. Erin Wagner

    Hari,

    Amen!

    Erin

  100. Erin Wagner

    Deborah,

    Kudos! The doctrine of progressive revelation really caught my attention, but it’s worth noting that the element that sealed the deal on my interest was the couple’s spiritual and emotional maturity. It was obvious that they couldn’t be baited into contentious discussion. They didn’t feel compelled to justify themselves or share everything they had all at once. They were more interested in meeting me where I was at, and that communicated the strength of their faith. Just for kicks, you might want to read Alma chapter 32 verses 21-22 &43 from the Book of Mormon — one of the most beautiful discourses of all time on seeds of faith :) [Here it is online: http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm?lang=eng Thanks for your efforts!

    Erin Wagner

  101. Erin Wagner

    Reggie,

    Thanks for your thoughts! I’m currently working my way through Baha’u'llah’s writings, but I’m *very* excited to get to Abdu’l Baha’s stories and teachings. I never anticipated changing religions, so I’ve come across a number of situations where I don’t know quite how to respond. I anticipate that a good study of his example will help me a lot!

    Erin

  102. Erin Wagner

    Laura,

    Oh, I agree. Thank you for recognizing that. I think it’s the “default mode” to assume that if I became Baha’i, it’s because there’s something wrong with Mormonism, but not at all. It’s just the next step forward. I LOVED being part of the Mormon community, and the Baha’i teachings resonated because I knew how much they would strengthen that community. Yet, in accepting those teachings, I was no longer in a position to render that service. Most ironic decision of my life!

    Erin Wagner

  103. Erin Wagner

    Joyce,

    Thank you! Best wishes also for you and yours.

    Erin Wagner

  104. Erin Wagner

    Ernest,

    Thank you! It’s funny–I think when we talk about the world coming to a single Faith, we assume that means that they leave their old faith and adopt Baha’i (like I did). But the fact that I was–completely unbeknownst to me–trying to be Baha’i before knowing it existed makes me approach that prophecy a little differently. I was trying to live it and THUS recognized it. For most of my friends and family, my goal is not to make them recognize the Faith, but to encourage them to live the elements of their own religion that correspond (ie, prioritize correctly). Having learned to live truth in a safe, familiar environment, I think they’re so much more prepared to recognize the Faith for what it is. Moral of the story: I think we’re living one common Faith when we emphasize the right principles, whether or not it’s under the same label. Thoughts?

    Erin Wagner

  105. Erin Wagner

    Julie,

    Thank you! My family has been awesome. It was a shock to my parents at first–of five siblings, I was the most active in the Church–but they know what’s really important. I don’t know whether or not they see that this is (to me) a continuation of their spiritual growth, but if not, the day will come.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  106. Erin Wagner

    Carol,

    Thank you for the words of encouragement!

    Erin Wagner

  107. Erin Wagner

    Barmak,

    Thank you! As for the eloquence, we must give due credit to Joyce Litoff who compiles and edits the newsletter. It made a lot more sense after she’d gone through it a couple times :) As for the worldwide community, I feel like I’m still learning what that is. Mormonism permeated my identity–I knew EXACTLY what it meant to be a member. Adopting a new Faith and paradigm, however, is a long process, and while I’m learning, I miss the confidence that comes with 25 years of rigorous religious education. I have to continually remind myself that I’m not leaving Mormonism behind–I’m expanding its truth principles to include the whole world.

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    Erin Wagner

  108. Erin Wagner

    Louis,

    Maybe we’ll cross paths sometime! I find an open mind is a very restful state of being–no energy is lost defending concepts that can’t stand on their own merits!

    Erin Wagner

  109. Erin Wagner

    Evelyn,

    And you and yours! Thank you.

    Erin Wagner

  110. Erin Wagner

    Carolyn,

    Yay! Hope the inspiration fuels action!

    Erin Wagner

  111. Erin Wagner

    Dottie,

    Good for you! I’m particularly grateful to have investigated the faith before marrying–I think that my sense of obligation to a spouse would have been too great to accept such a sweeping change. Kudos on your and your husband’s courageous steps!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  112. Erin Wagner

    Firooz,

    Ha! I’ll try to remember that. Makes the ordeal seem far more worthwhile :)

    Erin Wagner

  113. Erin Wagner

    Charlotte,

    Thank you! I’m in a small town now that has just one other Baha’i family. Having those disciplines I think has been vital for my continued growth. I miss the richness that comes from being part of something so big (in Utah, Mormonism is as big as it gets!), but it’s an honor to be pioneering.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  114. Erin Wagner

    Judy Raiten,

    Thanks for commenting!

    Erin Wagner

  115. Erin Wagner

    Mehrdad,

    Thank you for the gracious welcome! Allah’u'Abha!

    Erin Wagner

  116. Erin Wagner

    Serge,

    Sending you a Fb message now!

    Erin Wagner

  117. Amy Lugsch

    Erin,
    Someone posted your article on Planet Baha’i without your name…and I knew it was you! So wonderful! Such an amazing journey. I am so happy to have met you! You are an amazing young woman! <3

  118. Erin Wagner

    D,

    I’ve been a Baha’i for less than 2 years, and my first study goal is to get through all of the Baha’i writings once. Next, I’ll study specific correlations between the two religions. Where did you learn about those 30 prophecies you mentioned? That would be good information to have on hand.

    Thanks!

    Erin Wagner

  119. Erin Wagner

    Carolyn,

    I know!!! I think recognizing the Faith was easier for me because in our house, religion was a means of acquiring spirituality, not an end unto itself. I’m glad their goodness is obvious to you, too!

    Erin Wagner

  120. Erin Wagner

    Mahbod,

    I absolutely agree! One of the big confirmations of my declaration is that my appreciation for Christ is so much deeper and more personal than it had ever been before. I was taught growing up to embrace anything that testified of Christ, and for good reason!

    Erin Wagner

  121. Erin Wagner

    Tupou,

    Thank you for your kind words! May you and yours also have a safe, productive and spirit-filled 2013.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  122. Erin Wagner

    Randall,

    That might make us cousins! :) though I’d have to check. I’m always so grateful to hear of good relations between the two faiths since I value them both so highly.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  123. Erin Wagner

    Marielle,

    Ha! Yeah, one thing a missionary in the U.S. does NOT find often is a Book of Mormon nestled on someone’s shelf! I’m so glad that it was a good experience for you both. There’s a scripture in the Book of Mormon where a prophet explains to his son that as he teaches, he must be bold, but never overbearing. It sounds like you were all able to find that balance in your visit. Keep planting seeds!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  124. Erin Wagner

    Brent,

    You’re absolutely right–there is no better description for it than to call it a “blessing.”

    Erin Wagner

  125. Erin Wagner

    Luana,

    Whoa! That’s great! How did you end up in Japan?

    Erin Wagner

  126. Erin Wagner

    Benjamin,

    It’s strange sometimes to think of all that I would have done differently if I had had these teachings my whole life. Having benefited so much from Mormonism, I feel a *very deep* desire to make sure my own kids will be *even more* prepared.

    Erin Wagner

  127. Erin Wagner

    Joyce,

    One of my Baha’i friends gave me a copy of that book, and I’m really excited to read it! First, however, I want to get through all of Baha’u'allah’s writings, and possibly a good chunk of Abdu’l Baha & Shoghi Effendi. I think with all that additional knowledge, revisiting Mormon doctrine will be a mind-blowing experience.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  128. Erin Wagner

    Bret,

    That’s as good a prayer as ever I’ve heard. It’s funny that sometimes teaching means bringing people to recognize Baha’u'llah, and sometimes it means preparing them to recognize Him someday in the future. Gotta meet people where they’re at.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  129. Erin Wagner

    Amanda,

    LOL! I had always been grateful to have Mormonism infuse every facet of my life–but I even with that awareness, I couldn’t have understood how much I depended on it without having lost it. Being now utterly without religious crutches, I’m learning to walk on the legs of my own independent investigation of truth. I like to think of it like a long-term investment…

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  130. Erin Wagner

    Willis,

    I agree that “all the lovers of truth who serve humanity are Baha’is.” I’ve often explained that concept to members of other faiths by stating that there’s “Baha’i” the noun, and “Baha’i” the adjective. “Baha’i” the noun is someone who has declared faith in Baha’u'llah. “Baha’i” the adjective describes one who recognizes that all religious traditions are meant to teach spiritual qualities of love, unity, compassion, patience, etc. Someone who is “Baha’i” the adjective doesn’t demand justice in the form of punishment for past wrongs, but works toward justice in the form of setting people up to progress toward their potential.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  131. Erin Wagner

    Brian,

    Thank you! And likewise to you and yours.

    Erin Wagner

  132. Erin Wagner

    Charles,

    I hope it encourages you in planting your own seeds, whether or not they grow where you can see them.

    Erin Wagner

  133. Erin Wagner

    Syrus,

    Let me guess — Arizona? Friend me on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ErinHWagner). I’d love to hear your stories!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  134. Erin Wagner

    Barbara,

    The pleasure is mine! Whereabouts are you? A good way to connect is Facebook, if you have an account. Here’s my profile: http://www.facebook.com/ErinHWagner

    Have a great day!

    Erin Wagner

  135. Erin Wagner

    Kathy,

    Good luck, my friend! From the time I realized I needed to take my investigation seriously, I was racked with anxiety because of the potential fall-out among my friends and family (which, thankfully, didn’t happen! but there was no way to know that at the time). I felt personal pressure to pursue new truth and honor my history, and the two felt so mutually exclusive. The more I learned, the greater the internal conflict. A turning point came as I was crying over it in the car, and finally felt exhausted to the point that I didn’t care which one won out–I just wanted to do what was right. I needed that period of “suffering” to relinquish my attachment to labels and aim for something more substantial. Hopefully you can skip that phase, or at least make it a fair bit shorter!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  136. Erin Wagner

    Robert,

    Ha! I couldn’t agree more! Well put.

    Erin Wagner

  137. Erin Wagner

    Epi,

    I miss Utah! Kudos on your teaching efforts. Yes, that teaching method was VERY effective. First, they were kind and open. Second, they were good listeners. Third, they sincerely considered everything I said and showed love and acceptance. Fourth, they were well versed in their own beliefs. And fifth, I think they were open to being guided–progressive revelation was exactly what I needed to hear, but perhaps the missionaries who knock on your door will need to learn about unity or independent investigation of truth. I believe that when we’re in a position to teach or serve, we’ll know what to say as long as our heart’s in the right place.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  138. Erin Wagner

    Melodies,

    It would be an honor! Are you on Facebook? You can find me here: http://www.facebook.com/ErinHWagner

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  139. Erin Wagner

    Nabil,

    Agreed! I had learned the importance of independent investigation of truth when I was challenged, as a Mormon teenager, to “find my own testimony.” Perhaps before teaching people about the Faith, we sometimes need to explore the idea of how to find truth at all. It’s my experience that open-ended conversations on that topic usually go well. How about your?

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  140. Erin Wagner

    Kathy!!!!!!!!

    I thought of you as Nick and I were passing by your neck of the woods, but that was at about 11:30 last night, so I didn’t think an unannounced visit was really called for :) We young ones also need the guidance of people with more experience in the world, so I’m glad you’re on our team!

    Erin

  141. Erin Wagner

    Donald,

    Thanks for sharing! Hope you found a tissue! And an outlet for the inspiration.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  142. Erin Wagner

    Tamara,

    We are few and far between, so it’s good to meet another Mormon-Baha’i! As you are *well* aware, there is the doctrine of the Church and the culture of the Church. I was extremely blessed to be in a family where religion was a means to gaining spirituality and not an end unto itself, so Mormonism has been nothing but a Godsend to us. I’m so sorry that you’ve encountered the other side of it. What I wouldn’t do to take those experiences for you. If it’s any consolation, my travels, studies and relationships have taught me that that duality exists in all religions (even, to a small extend, the Faith) because they’re all good ideals embraced by terribly imperfect people. Is there anything I can do to help the old wounds heal?

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  143. Erin Wagner

    Pauline,

    It’s been a good experience for me. I appreciate that you notice the tone of the message. My study of the faith has helped me understand better than every before that HOW we teach is as (or more!) important than WHAT we teach. Not only did the doctrine of progressive revelation catch my attention, but this couple’s spiritual maturity, groundedness, openness and compassion were proof that I needed to take this seriously.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  144. Erin Wagner

    Joann,

    That makes me smile. I have so much to look forward to! Thank you for the warm welcome.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  145. Erin Wagner

    Ramine,

    Thank you. Early in my investigation, I was on the phone with my then-boyfriend (one of only 3 or so people who knew what I was up to) crying because pursuing this might mean I would have to leave behind all that I LOVED about being Mormon. I’ve kept as close of ties with the Church as have seemed appropriate, but that’s had to be farther than I would like. At times, it’s seemed like it would be easier to turn my back on it and dive headlong into Baha’i, but that would be missing the point, would it not? I grimace to think how many doors that would close and bridges it would burn!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  146. Erin Wagner

    Marty,

    I haven’t read it. I’m aware of “So Great a Cause” and “Commonality”, but if you ever happen upon the name of that article, I would be interested in reading it.

    Thanks!

    Erin Wagner

  147. Erin Wagner

    Jack,

    I absolutely agree! My own experience makes me think that the world coming to a universal faith is not a *change* as a *realization* of what’s already there. As for the story, I don’t deserve so much credit–there was plenty of fear :) but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

    Erin Wagner

  148. Erin Wagner

    Sara,

    Thank you! If there were one piece of advice I could offer in terms of interacting with Mormons, it’s that almost all elements of the Faith are taught within Mormonism, just with different words. Instead of building “unity,” Mormons build “Zion.” Instead of “independent investigation of truth,” all members are challenged to “find your own testimony.” The best way to connect with members of the Church is to identify those commonalities and help them understand that all other elements of the faith–rituals, community structure, etc.–were given by God to help us attain these central principles, that the central principles are the most important, and that that’s where you’re on the same page.

    Hope that helps!

    Erin Wagner

  149. Erin Wagner

    Ramasamy,

    I’m not sure specifically to what you’re referring, but my experiences as a Mormon may have prepared me for that, as well. Mormonism has beautiful, well-articulated doctrine, but it also has a very strong unspoken culture. The doctrine is universally uplifting, but the culture is comfortable for certain personality types and extremely uncomfortable for other personality types. Also, no matter how good the teachings are, the Church is full of imperfect people. There are many, many ways of either offending or being offended, and situations can go toxic VERY quickly. Not to mention that we’re at the receiving end of all kinds of un-Christian treatment throughout the Christian world. All of that has helped me to listen neutrally to both praise and criticism of any group or belief system, and search for what is true in the speaker’s comments, and what pain may have moved them to perceiving anything in a distorted way. That, to me, is a big part of what is required in independent investigation of truth.

    Erin Wagner

  150. Erin Wagner

    Sharonne,

    What a great idea to publish your firesides! Yes–within Mormonism, you “tend to your flock,” so I would be surprised if they *hadn’t* been visited by someone from the congregation (that is happened to be Romney is a nice twist!). I hope their journey has been a good one–enough challenges and enough times of rest. Thank you for your efforts on their behalf.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  151. Erin Wagner

    Carole,

    Thanks for being one of the bridges between the two! Means a lot to me to know there are others out there nurturing relationships.

    Erin Wagner

  152. Erin Wagner

    Hi Carol! It was SO NICE to see you again this Thanksgiving! It’s very reassuring to me to know that the relationships established through learning and teaching always hold some spark in them, whether or not the student or tutor are in the same city (or state, or country…)

    For anyone else reading this, when I first connected with the Baha’i community in Utah, Carol was my first point of contact. She got me hooked up with the nearest community, then tutored me through Book 1.

    Erin

  153. Erin Wagner

    Terri,

    Thank you for sharing! For me, that final piece was realizing that the “Zion” I was striving to build within my ward (congregation) could be built with anyone anywhere–that the camaraderie and solidarity needed to extend, not just to Church members, but to everyone. Removing the “in-group / out-group” mentality has really deepened my spirituality.

    My very best to you,

    Erin Wagner

  154. Erin Wagner

    James,

    Willmar! Of all places! Is that where you are now? “Bah’ormans”–I LOVE IT! My husband and I are enjoying that same pleasant co-existence. He is Catholic, and is deeply committed to the principles in Catholicism that lead to loving spirituality–the same principles taught by the Faith! I would venture that for your children, whether they chose Baha’i or Mormonism, they are enriching their wards/communities with their knowledge of the other.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Erin Wagner

  155. Erin Wagner

    Graham,

    I had not heard of it until this article posted, but van Neck commented. We’ve connected and he’s sending me a copy! Thanks for the recommendation. In case you haven’t seen it, he has a Facebook page for the book: http://www.facebook.com/Commonalities . I’m planning on posting my reactions there as I read through the book. Feel free to join the conversation!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  156. Erin Wagner

    Pam,

    Amen! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Erin Wagner

  157. Erin Wagner

    Karen,

    Jeffrey Brown forwarded me your contact info and I’ve sent you an email. Yeah–what a paradigm shatterer! The concept of good and evil is such a paradox. I’m SUPREMELY grateful that God gave us light and dark as an analogy (sometimes I wonder if the purpose of physical/mortal existence is to see examples of intangible principles so we know how to use them in the next life). I had thought before that you have to “fight” or “overcome” evil/darkness. In fact, all you have to do is good, which introduces light to the scene and the darkness takes care of itself. It’s a very subtle nuance, but it’s the difference between spiritual progress and spiritual stagnation.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Erin Wagner

  158. Erin Wagner

    Earle,

    I’m glad the article could be of assistance! Growing up Mormon, there are thousands of opportunities to learn from each other since each lesson has a discussion component and people are encouraged to share their personal experiences. I’ve learned SO MUCH from hearing others’ stories; thank you for helping me pay that blessing forward.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  159. Erin Wagner

    Friend request sent!

    Erin

  160. Erin Wagner

    Thank you for commenting, Claudia! Hope your own quest for truth never ends.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  161. Erin Wagner

    Ha! Home never felt better :)

    Erin

  162. Erin Wagner

    Erica,

    Wow! Good for them, and for you. It’s always gratifying to find that stable, common ground to build on. A few earlier comments on this article were about what it meant to achieve “one world faith.” If the ideas in those comments have any truth to them, sounds like you guys are getting there!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  163. Erin Wagner

    Kimberlee,

    I couldn’t agree more! To me, a big part of “independent investigation of truth” means committing to support a friend or family member who may be doing something I don’t understand or particularly agree with. I do everything I can to encourage them to take all information into account before choosing a direction. Once they’ve chosen a direction, I encourage them to follow through until either (1) it becomes obvious that it was, in fact, the right choice; or (2) they’ve learned by experience what they couldn’t learn through study and are now ready to try a better path. Applies to family members as well as religious movements.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  164. cute! funny! heartwarming!

  165. Felix Gomez

    Fantastico,interesante y y luminoso…Felix Gomez

  166. Thank you for posting this. I really appreciate it, especially as I have two half sisters and their families who are Mormons, a religion I highly respect. I have always been impressed with Mormons for their dedication to their religion, commitment to family and strong bonds of love. Thanks for building this bridge.

  167. Erin Wagner

    Shohreh,

    Kudos on your teaching efforts! It’s always so gratifying to find receptive souls. One thing that I’ve learned in my transition from Mormonism to Baha’i is that Baha’is have the opportunity to teach in a way that is MUCH more effective than long-established institutions (including Mormonism). Whereas I, as a missionary, went out and told people what was right about my religion, now I, as a Baha’i, talk to people about what they’re doing right in their life. We have discussion after discussion about living true principles to be happy, and no matter with whom I’m talking, we almost always come to the same conclusions. Eventually, most people will ask where I got all the ideas I’m sharing, at which point I tell them about the Faith. Like I said, it’s a bazillion times more effective than “preaching from a mountain top.”

    Erin Wagner

  168. Erin Wagner

    Mario,

    Thank you! At times I struggle to find my means of serving, so your assurance is welcome.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  169. Erin Wagner

    Kathy,

    Oh, don’t I know it! Fortunately, there are very clear teachings in the Mormon church about giving and taking offense, and having been part of a congregation of imperfect people my whole life, I know what to expect. Here is a *phenomenal* discourse one of the leaders of the Mormon church gave on the topic a few years back. Sounds like you would appreciate it!

    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/and-nothing-shall-offend-them?lang=eng

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  170. Erin Wagner

    Michael,

    It’s very good of you to have accepted their invitation to go to church! I hope that you also had the chance to invite them to a devotional or something. For most Mormons, the service they need from Baha’is right now is not to teach them about Baha’u'llah, but simply to give them greater awareness of varying belief systems and all that they have in common. At that point, they are empowered to recognize the Faith, or simply to live true principles within their own congregations.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  171. Erin Wagner

    Hartson,

    It sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun! Kudos on sharing details of the faith. I hope that you’ve also had the chance to get to know the elders and understand the experiences that strengthened their faith. They’re in a position where it’s not appropriate for them to spend lots of time learning about Baha’u'llah, but it is always appropriate to talk to them about the virtues of independent investigation of truth, the oneness of mankind, etc. If you haven’t already, ask each elder you meet what spiritual experiences convinced him of truth of Mormonism and moved him to go on a mission. Build upon what he already knows, and for the most part, keep your teaching within the context of Mormonism. Asking them to step into the Baha’i frame of mind is a less-effective way to teach (frankly, it’s what the missionaries are using)–you are empowered to meet people where they’re at, teach them within their comfort zone, and let them expand their worldview accordingly.

    Again, I’m so glad to hear that your experiences with the Church have been so positive!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  172. Erin Wagner

    Anne,

    I loved your comment about how “Mormons are already living the life that we as Baha’is seek to live in many ways.” I absolutely agree! The Mormon congregation/community is designed to meet the many social, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of its members. The members more often than not give each other the benefit of the doubt because they know that they’re all on the same team working toward the same goal. For me, becoming a Baha’i was the realization that that same kind of unity could be extended even to people outside of my religion. It blew my mind!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  173. Erin Wagner

    Harlan,

    What a story! Thank you so much for sharing. I love the members of the Church, and I’m always so proud to hear of them blessing people’s lives this way.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  174. Erin Wagner

    Janet,

    I agree! Progressive revelation is powerful in bridging Mormonism and the Baha’i faith. There is one complication, however. Mormons believe that Christ’s dispensation had devolved, but was restored when Joseph Smith was called to found the Church. That authority to act in the name of God–the priesthood–was passed from Joseph Smith to Brigham Young to John Taylor to Lorenzo Snow…all the way down to Thomas S. Monson who is the current prophet on the earth today. The potential conflict in this area is that it is a doctrine vital to Mormonism that Thomas S. Monson is *the exclusive* representative of God on earth, whereas the Baha’i Faith says that the House of Justice is God’s mouthpiece while God is also working through whatever people may have an open heart and receptive spirit.

    Just a heads up :)

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  175. Erin Wagner

    Grammy,

    Thank you for your kind words! I’m happy that my story can be of service.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  176. Erin Wagner

    Subramaniam,

    Thank you for your encouraging words! I agree–God’s ways are mysterious! I’m grateful that there is room in the Faith to say, “God’s plan is bigger than I can see–I don’t know everything he’s up to, but I’m learning.” That’s a very humble but empowering position.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  177. Erin Wagner

    Gwen,

    Bless your heart! Fortunately, I learned from this dear couple that “teaching harder” is a relatively simple thing to do: 1. Invite people into your home with kindness and a smile. 2. Listen to them lovingly. 3. Discuss true principles. 4. Be confident–your objective is not to “preach Baha’u'llah”, but to give souls a place where they can practice independent investigation of truth.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  178. Erin Wagner

    Paul,

    Thank you for mentioning! I’m so new to the Faith and its communities that I would never have known. Allah’u'abha!

    Erin Wagner

  179. Erin Wagner

    Alison,

    I’m also glad to hear that they’ve found their niche in Utah. The Mormon community is both extremely kind and extremely functional :) They’re in good hands!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  180. Erin Wagner

    Katie,

    Jealous! Jealous! Jealous! The only downside to being married now is that I can’t pack up and head to Haifa. Please, send some of its good vibes my way!

    Great story! When were you at UVU? I graduated from BYU April 2011, and had been in Provo and Salt Lake off-and-on since 2003. I’m gonna kick myself if we overlapped!

    Sending you my email address now.

    Erin Wagner

  181. Erin Wagner

    Mario,

    (Desculpeme de mis erores–hace anos desde que he hablado o escribido espagnol!)

    Gracias de haber compartido las ensenanzas de Baha’u'llah a los missionarios. Algo de importante a saber es de que si yo habia hicido mi mission en otro pays o un estado que yo no tenia razon a visitar otravez, no habia tenido oportunidad a contactar este familia Baha’i que me ensene. !Quisas que sus efuersas han tenido effecto de todos modos!

    !Sigue siguiente!

    Erin Wagner

  182. Erin Wagner

    Malcom,

    It’s a common saying in the Church that its practice of entrusting its public relations efforts to an army of 60,000 19-year-old boys is proof that it must be true! It’s little less than a miracle that young men at that age can be entrusted with such great responsibility and rise to the occasion.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  183. Erin Wagner

    Wendi,

    I’m glad that you’ve had first-hand experience with Mormonism! There are so many wild misconceptions out there, but you pegged what’s really important to them — dedication to religion, commitment to family and strong bonds of love. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  184. Sue Frenzel

    I am so thrilled for her! And so impressed by her! The maturity in understanding she shows outweighs that of someone who has been a member of the Baha’i Faith for decades. And whoever that Baha’i couple was who invited her in if she would listen about the Baha’i Faith–God bless you! You must be so full of joy for her!

  185. Susan Frenzel

    I lived in Salt Lake City and Bountiful, Utah, for 19 years as a Baha’i and was a Baha’i pioneer (missionary) to Blanding, Utah for 9 months while working as a dj at a radio station there, and I always wondered what would attract a Mormon to the Baha’i Faith. Would it be Baha’i efforts to remove racial prejudice in ourselves, would it be freedom of thought, independent investigation of truth, might they be looking for the Return of Christ? In my wondering I was coming at it from what’s different, not from what Mormons and Baha’is have in common. Equality of Men and Women–The most equal, best marriage I ever saw was Bishop Haven and CarolAnn Bergeson’s. They raised their children to believe in the oneness of mankind so thoroughly that they have grandchildren of all races. Not only was/is his family the most Christian I’ve ever known, but they would be the best Baha’is, I believe, if they investigated the Faith. Yes, unity, love, compassion, love of God, love of our fellow men, willingness to work to improve the lives of those around us, truthfulness, honesty, Mormons and Baha’is share those things. It seemed you couldn’t distinguish the Bahai’s from the Mormons in Utah–Baha’is didn’t seem to stand out most of those 19 years. Baha’is in Salt Lake were outstanding in trying to bring the races and nationalities into harmony, but I would expect so many returned missionaries to be willing to work on that, having brought home spouses from all nations. Just offering the Faith for investigation and letting the other individual find what’s important to her, to discover what’s in common.

  186. Najin Mansuri

    Dear Erin:
    Thanks for sharing your story. I always love to hear how each individual finds the Faith and what it was about it in particular that struck a cord in their hearts. Your story was also a great learning experience for me. I’m 4th generation Baha’i, but I remember from my childhood that cord that struck my heart was the inclusiveness of Baha’u'llah’s message. Nobody had the absolute truth, we all are loved by God, and we aren’t an exclusive “saved club” while the rest of the world is destined to “hell”. Of course, since then, I’ve had many other types of confirmations (and tests that have strengthened my Faith.)
    I can feel the purity of your heart in your constant search for truth, and it’s so, so sweet how you’ve taken to answer each and every one of what must be about 100 posted comments. That is the true Baha’i spirit. We are very lucky to have you join our world community. Your community experience in the Mormon Faith will add greatly to the community experience we are just learning to develop within our Faith. Oftentimes, there are Christian folks who feel a little lost and miss that sense of community and structure they had in their Church when they join our community. But the Ruhi training courses are truly a blessing, as they prepare us better for service. And Book 8 deals with the Covenant and building a sense of community in great depth.
    Since you have a long list of books you plan to read, may I suggest that you begin with the Kitab-i-Iqan? (The Book of Certitude). It’s the second most important Book from Baha’u'llah’s Revelation (the Book of Laws being the first).
    Many blessings to you on this wonderful, exciting, spiritual journey.
    Regards,
    Najin Katherine Mansuri
    Quito – Ecuador

  187. Jake

    I too left mormonism for the Bahai faith- it has all of the good elements of mormonism, but without the troubling history, the view of the world as wicked and morally inferior, and the divisive rituals (and it has a strong respect for other religions, which I’m working on)

  188. sy

    Hi Erin, this is the most wonderfull story that has touched my heart. I live in a 75% mormon community and I have been searching for the true faith for last 13 years. After searching all religions, where I myself was born as a muslem, have grown up mainly in the mormon community. I finally came across the Bahai faith the last two years, but have not decleared my self as one yet. It has been a challenge for me in Utah, but I love the community. I would love to chat with you, in any form, so I could share some obsticles infront of me and see you may have some ideas.

  189. sy

    I did not realize that you have replyed back to me so I had send you another one. As where i am from is utah and I don’t have facebook.

  190. Lena Johansson

    Dear Erin
    WELCOME TO THE FAMILY !!!!!!!!
    How great to read your story. I found the Faith in Arizona, being a foreign exchange student at West High. One of my class-mates was a mormon and he told about travelling to another country to be a missionar. Wonder what happened to him ? It was 67-68.
    Thank you for sharing so openly about your road in searching for yoour spiritual road , finding peace in mind and now serving manking. Greetings from Lena, Sweden,

  191. Valeria Wicker

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Erin! Growing up, my family always welcomed the elders, though there were sticking points why they never converted. The missionaries were always patient, and my grandma credits them for turning her on to the idea of progressive revelation. She declared as a Bahá’í a few months after I did.

  192. Steven

    Erin, there is some existing literature reviewing concepts and relationships between the Latter Day Saints and the Baha’i Faith. Here’s a start – http://www.angelfire.com/mo/baha/LDS.html – there is much more. I sometimes wonder who might have read early newspaper coverage, not so well done, but which reached the US by 1850. See http://bahai-library.com/1850_brief_reports

    Ah the opportunities of history….

  193. Guisela

    What a wonderful story – when becoming a Baha’i in California in 1970, my Baha’i friend told me “there is a wonderful story of how we have found the Faith”. May Baha’u'llah increase your wonderment at His Cause.

  194. Andrea H.

    Erin, Thank you for sharing your story. I am finding myself in a similar situation, although I have been removed from the religion of my upbringing for quite some time now, I have been searching for a belief structure that reflected my own beliefs. From what little I’ve learned so far I think it might be Baha’i! What books did you find useful when you set out to learn about this religion?

  195. Joan Jensen

    Precious Erin,
    It was so nice to sit with you this afternoon and catch up. Your insights always blow me away! I loved reading the link you shared in your reply to Kathy on Jan 3, “And Nothing Shall Offend Them”. Very powerful! It reminds me of a passage from a talk by ‘Abdu’l-Baha published in The Promulgation of Universal Peace. On Dec 2 He told us “Let not your heart be offended with anyone. If some one commits an error and wrong toward you, you must instantly forgive him.” and a few sentences later He shared the other responsibility we have “Beware! Beware! lest ye offend any heart.”
    We’ll stay in close touch, in our life adventures.

  196. jon

    I love you story

  197. Rod

    If Jesus was and still is the only begotten son that was born of a virgin,had the authority to forgive sins(only God can do that by the way) taught not only truth but claimed He was the way,truth and the life and no man comes to the Father but by Him,then there may not be much wiggle room to buy into the idea/concept of progressive revelation.If someone believes all religions are equal,one is no better than the other,then You better be right because what if there are long term ramifications such as when Jesus Himself said not everyone who says to me Lord,Lord will enter into Heaven. And “there is a way that seems right to a man but in the end leads to death”.And there are other scripures with such authority given to Jesus. His birth was divine and has not been happened to anyone else. His resurrection from the dead after being crucified was predicted by Him and it happened exactly like He said it would. Jesus showed Himself in the transfiguration when He went up into the clouds. Many eyewitnesses saw it with their own eyes. He told the disciples to go into all the world and Baptize them in the name of the Father,Son and Holy Ghost.Some people are still doing that today and sre true Christians,but sadly there are many who are not who have given Christians and The Church a bad image,but Jesus even predicted that when He said “many will depart from the faith,be lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God”. I dont believe the truth is a buffet from which You can pick and choose what combinations You decide for yourself. That is not what Jesus taught.

  198. Caity Quinn

    Dear Erin,

    It’s been so lovely to read your beautiful story, and to read your responses to everyone’s comments! Welcome to the Baha’i community! Congratulations to you for your courage and perseverance. I know it is difficult to be an isolated (or almost isolated) believer who is pioneering. If you ever feel in need of spiritual conversation, or just sharing of our personal teaching work it would be lovely to Skype or chat on Facebook. I am in Toronto, and my good friend is serving the Faith at Green Acre Baha’i School and in Manchester, NH. We have these wonderful conversations where we share what we are learning in our daily study of the writings and what is happening in our teaching. With all of the wonderful technology at our fingertips we can still feel connected to the larger community, which is so helpful.

    When I was a child I had a good friend whose family was Mormon. I would go to Church with them often, and participate in their children’s classes. Unfortunately, I don’t remember very much of those classes. I have been studying the Bible and the beliefs that various churches teach, but I do have a lack of knowledge regarding Mormonism. I have found that a solid understanding of the Bible has been incredibly important for sharing the message of Baha’u'llah among Christians, and I am sure that one day I will be in need of more specific knowledge if any Mormons come knocking on my door (or if I have the blessing of meeting some in my day to day life).

    You are absolutely right when you speak of those who are already living their lives according to Baha’u'llah’s teachings as Baha’is. It is not the name or label that is important, it is the degree to which the soul of a person is devoted to God and to serving humanity that matters.

    Please, don’t hesitate to reach out for some spiritual sisterhood! You are never alone, and I will pray for you.

    Much love to you,
    Caity Quinn

  199. Erin Wagner

    Sue,

    I have to give credit to a good religious upbringing. My mother, especially, understands the balance between justice and mercy, obedience and open-mindedness. Thank you for your encouraging words!

    Erin Wagner

  200. Erin Wagner

    Susan,

    All those years in Utah, you certainly speak from experience! I think one bridge-builder has to do with the Mormon identity as a “peculiar people.” They dress modestly, don’t drink or smoke, abstain from sex until marriage, are careful to be honest in their speech and involved in their congregations. Perhaps the first step is simply to expose members to the Faith–it’s eye-opening to find out that there’s another place so jam-packed with goodness!

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  201. Erin Wagner

    Najin,

    I feel very welcomed, thank you! How ironic that you commend my responding, and then I didn’t check back for a week and a half! Apologies for the delay–I didn’t realize the story was still circulating.

    Ruhi has been wonderful! It’s a lot like Sunday School was. I’ve completed books 1 and 2 and am slated to start book 3 in just a couple weeks. And, bless his heart, my husband is going through them all with me. It’s great fodder for relationship-building conversation.

    Blessings to you in Ecuador!

    Erin Wagner

  202. Erin Wagner

    Jake,

    Welcome, fellow seeker! Good luck on your journey–the respect for other religions has been important to me. Fortunately, it’s a sense that was cultivated in me while I was young. After all, if I had been so blessed by my ancestors’ willingness to hear about new religions, how could I not develop that attribute, myself?

    All the best,

    Erin Wagner

  203. Erin Wagner

    Sy,

    My very best to you in your spiritual journey! I had the good fortune of spending 6 weeks in Senegal (95% Muslim) and was blown away by the similarities between Islam and Mormonism. In fact, if you were to draw a Venn diagram with Mormonism one circle and Islam the other, the space where they overlap is probably the Baha’i Faith. I’d love to be of service. Probably the best way to get in touch is Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ErinHWagner?ref=tn_tnmn.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Erin

  204. Erin Wagner

    Lena,

    I think the very first step toward me becoming a Baha’i was during my exchange to France my junior year of high school. I remember being so sincerely sad that the people there had so much less truth than I did (I’m embarrassed now to admit), when I got a spiritual slap in the face–the sudden and undeniable realization that God was involved in their journey just as much as he was mine, and if I wasn’t in tune enough to see that, I was CERTAINLY in no place to judge.

    From that point on, my view of my religious education changed. I no longer used it as a frame–trying to fit everything into that paradigm–but rather as a starting ground, continually adding to it.

    All our best!

    Erin Wagner

  205. Erin Wagner

    Valeria,

    Just further proof that open-mindedness can only result in good! Thank you for sharing.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  206. Erin Wagner

    Steven,

    Awesome resources! Thanks for pointing me to them!

    Erin Wagner

  207. Erin Wagner

    Guisela,

    “…increase your wonderment…” What a beautiful way to put that!

    Erin

  208. Erin Wagner

    Andrea,

    Enjoy the journey!!! Let’s see, I took turns reading explanatory books and books of scripture. The first two explanatory books I read were, “Baha’u'llah and the New Era” and “God Speaks Again”. They were both really helpful. The first book of scripture I read was the Kitab-i-Aqdas, which was probably NOT best place to start :) (It has lots of technicalities and commandments that are meant for the future.) Instead, I’d say start with the Hidden Words (the intro to it is pretty much a line-by-line explanation of my faith), and if you want something meatier, go on to Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u'llah.

    I’m glad that you’ve first established what YOU believe. My short answer for when people ask why I became Baha’i is that, “It teaches what I believe.” Have you heard of the principle of independent investigation of truth? Coolest teaching ever! And Baha’u'llah said it’s the first principle of the Faith.

    Let me know if I can ever be of service. Good way to get in touch is Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ErinHWagner?ref=tn_tnmn.

    All the best!

    Erin Wagner

  209. Erin Wagner

    Joan,

    Love you guys! I’m so glad you’re applying to Haifa. It’s fun getting to know the Baha’i writings like I know those in Mormonism. So much to learn!

    Erin

  210. Erin Wagner

    One more thing–I also listened to Baha’i podcasts while working around the house, etc. They were usually about how people came to know the Faith and helped me understand better how to apply the doctrines and principles I was learning in my reading.

  211. Bonnie Fitzpatrick-Moore

    Erin what a story! Isn’t God amazing, hasn’t He designed religion and its progressive journey so magnificently?! I was raised in the church, but always felt out of place. I could never understand why people of different religions didn’t like those who believed differently. I asked sooo many questions in Sunday school, that eventually i was forbidden to speak. i was one of those children who couldn’t understand the Sunday behavior and the rest of the week behavior, i know there was so Great Power somewhere, but could never find it until it found me. i love progressive revelation, it makes everything so clear and you then understand that we all should love one another no matter what we believe! Thank you for reminding again just how great God is! Bonnie

  212. Daniel Kayse

    Did Joseph Smith prophesy of Baha’u'llah in the capacity of a “Seer”? This fellow thinks so:
    http://josephsmith1891.webs.com

  213. Marva Davis

    Erin:
    Carole Hitti is as some say, My Spiritual Mother, She was very patient teaching me the Faith. It took a few years from knowing she was a Baha’i to becoming interested in my independant search. Now nearly 32 years later I give thanks each day that I am a Baha’i.

  214. Erin Wagner

    Bonnie,

    I like how you think! Yes, God is good.

    Yours,

    Erin Wagner

  215. Sarah

    Dear Erin,

    Your experience brought tears to the eyes. We knew a couple from the Mormon Faith who were truly sincere and pure-hearted. We each gently shared from our Faiths and asked questions and admired each other, or at least we did them, but they definitely had everything they needed, and what they had a lot of and fully engaged in and loved was the structure, and also their belief, of course :D

  216. Janet Maloney Imaki

    Dearest Erin, I prayed for you to find the Baha’i Faith, even before you were born. I lived in Salt Lake City in the 1960′s. My step father Edward Parker was transferred there from LA. There were about 65 Bahai’s in Utah at that time maybe 4 or 5 youth. I traveled with Baha’i friends to every corner of Utah where we would go to a park and sit and pray, sowing our spiritual seeds. Although we serve the faith for Baha’u'llah it is nice to know that our efforts however small have born fruit.Thank you for your story. Janet Maloney Imaki

  217. Joel

    Actually, Christ (which you call Jesus) did in fact confirm progressive revelation when he stated, “…and when HE “the spirit of Truth comes, He will lead you into all truth, and He will not speak of Himself, but of the Father.” Now then, who could this male figure Christ call ‘HE’ could be but someone who comes after Christ to fulfill his prophecies which Church ministers have been preaching and promising for hundreds of years. There are so many other such confirmations, however, when a religion such as Christianity divides into over 25,000 different sects, denominations, etc. there are thousands of interpretations to validate their existance, much like the pharisees who for their own validation denied Jesus who became the Christ right in front of their very eyes.

  218. Don

    Rod, You say Jesus predicted His resurrection and imply it was physical. Jesus said He would rise “after 3 days and 3 nights.” Friday (crucifixion) to Sunday morning (resurrection) was only after 2 nights. But, Jesus also said to His followers “ye are My body.” That body, the followers, spiritually “died” on Thursday (Last Supper, denial of faith, hiding from officials) and was risen on Sunday commencing with Mary Magdalene urging the men to recognize Jesus’ eternal spirit that death can not conquer. Baha’is believe in that spirit, and not in a mythological physical return that is common in all pagan beliefs, and believe it is found again in history through Baha’u'llah. If you require proof, look at His Writings. Christ said we shall know Him by His voice when He returns (not by His body or name), just as do the sheep (believers) recognize the voice of the Shepherd (Christ, Holy Spirit).

  219. I love this story! I am one of those Baha’is who greets with love and enthusiasm the Mormon pairs that come around to teach the Word of God, and I have often wondered what the outcome of such a greeting might be. Now I know. You can bet I will keep doing it.

  220. Thelma Batchelor

    I’ve loved reading this story and, in addition, the many excellent comments too. Baha’is in the UK have a UK Baha’i Histories website where individuals are writing their stories of how they have become Baha’is. It makes for great reading http:bahaihistoryuk.wordpress.com/

  221. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
    zynga group? There’s a lot of folks that I think
    would really enjoy your content. Please
    let me know. Cheers

  222. tony

    Dear Erin,
    Your story has been a wonderful story, and I am happy and glad for your spiritual path. The question I have for you is, has there been any form of pressure (obvious or hidden) that you do not belong to the TRUE faith since you live with among the LDS community and especially friends and family? I know it’s hard to response to these questions on a public site, but I would appreciate an your honest and true feelings since I am struggling with changes in my life.

  223. tony

    dear erin, this was a wonderful story. I admire your courage and conviction to your change. My question is, after all this time if there is any type of pressure that has been developed in your community or family and friends. Some times at the beginning as our closest one could be understanding but reality hits latter.as I am going through some changes myself, I would like to get your feed back.

  224. john

    in general Baha’is are very peaceful people

  225. john

    I have loved your story. your courage to a new and make sense faith. What I wonder if there has been any type of pressure developed since the beginning. Some times our loved ones may support things at first but hope for change latter on. Have you felt that with your friends, family or your community? Your honest feed back would help since that I am going through new changes.

  226. Elise

    (I know this is an old post, so I hope that you get it)
    I just came upon your blog while researching the similarities and differences between the two religions. It seems to me that they do compliment each other. I am a mormon, however there are things within my religion that I do have problems with. One of the biggest being the rigidness within the community that prevents a person such as you from practicing both religions (if that is what you choose). I have found elements in several religions that are equal to or even better than those of the LDS church. However there is such an emphasis on “the one true church” that I think we miss out on learning from and incorporating other religious views and practices into our lives.
    As I don’t know you this may be to personal, but I do have a question for you. If the mormon community were more accepting of your other beliefs and practices, would you continue to practice/participate in mormon activities in combination with your new Baha’i faith? If that answer is yes, what would you keep and what would you forego (for both religions)?
    Thanks!

  227. Erin Wagner

    Tony,
    Sorry for the delay in responding—it’s been a while since I last checked for new comments.

    Your simple question has a very complex answer. To answer it most directly, responses from friends and family fell into three categories:

    Support: A handful of people, when they heard the news, responding by saying, “Erin, if that’s what you believe you need to do, I support you 100%. I don’t understand it and don’t feel it applies to me, but you always need to do what you believe is right. I trust you.” Ironically, although they were in no way pushing Mormonism, they made me feel instantly comfortable coming back, should I ever feel like *that* was the right thing to do. I learned from their examples what it means to teach without proselytizing.

    Hesitance: It was more common for my friends and family to feel like they shouldn’t tell me what to do, but nor could they look like they were offering any kind of endorsement. They may have felt threatened by the implications, so creating a bit of emotional distance kept them from having to try to resolve the apparent divergence of our spiritual journeys.

    Mourning: Sometimes, my friends and family would go into a period of mourning, because as far as they could tell, I apostatized and forfeited my eternal salvation. In this state, they said and did things with the best of intentions, but which were profoundly hurtful in their delivery. I soon realized that as long as I maintained any kind of official relationship with the Church, my emotional and spiritual wellbeing would be compromised. I had “Do not contact” added to my membership records in the Church, and stepped far enough back that if anyone wanted to reach out to me, they’d be stepping on my turf :) . Even the most enthusiastic member missionaries seem to understand that you don’t walk into someone else’s life uninvited and start telling them what to do.

    But despite these variations, I learned (the hard way) that it doesn’t matter how others respond as long as you’re planted on a firm foundation. When my study of the Faith turned serious, I broke up with my boyfriend because I felt that I needed to be free to make my decision regardless of the implications to others. The day we broke up was awful, but the next day was euphoric. I had committed myself 100% to doing what was right, *no matter the consequences.* I could walk happily to my martyrdom, if that was what awaited me :) Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, I spoke with my then-ex, who was obviously miserable, and felt like I had been selfish in not considering the implications of my decision on him. We got back together, and I plummeted into depression. After much study (and some counseling), I learned that I had transgressed my personal boundaries—I had taken responsibility for my boyfriend’s emotions, which are inherently his own responsibility. And that opened the floodgates for also taking responsibility for everyone else’s emotions, too. I withered under the burden.

    So I learned from all of this that there are two ways of looking at the situation; they are perhaps equally accurate, but one is empowering and the other debilitating:

    The debilitating perspective is to believe that if others are sad, angry, frustrated, confused, etc. about your decision, you are the cause of the negativity in their life and need to correct it.

    The empowering perspective is to believe that “all things work to the good of those who love God,” and whatever the circumstances, anyone can turn to God and find the strength, love and healing to adapt. It has nothing to do with you. In fact, God designed this life to be full of obstacles just like this so that we would *have* to do just that. Their negative reactions (fear, feeling threatened, mourning your decision, suspicion, inconsiderate comments, etc.) are an indication to them that there is a gap in their spiritual understanding. When they recognize that the red light is blinking (which may take a while), they can start taking corrective action. Your job is to be 100% committed to exercising your agency righteously, so that you can be 100% supportive of their exercise of agency. When you reach that state, you won’t mind so much what they say and do, because you’ll recognize that it’s motivated by pain, and that with each confrontation, they have the opportunity to examine their own paradigms.

    There are two other concepts I found helpful to understand:
    1. To add to the emotional confusion, I recognize now that I had an “enmeshed” relationship with the Church. In my mind, there was no difference between Erin and Mormonism. They were one in the same thing. So as I separated myself from the Church, I lost a lot of motivation. I became less sharp, less potent. A couple years down the road, when I learned about enmeshment, I realized that I had been relying on an external source for my confidence / sense of direction, and that now I get to grow that confidence from the inside. I’m addressing those unhealthy thought patterns, and my potency is returning, tempered with wisdom and love :)
    2. On various occasions, I would tell someone I became a Baha’i and explain a spiritual experience that motivated the decision. To my amazement, they seemed to not even process the words I had just spoken. I may as well have been speaking Russian. I left those conversations crippled by a sense of violation, though I couldn’t explain why that, of all things, was my reaction. I learned later that there are various ways to objectify a person, and one of them is “denial of subjectivity,” not acknowledging the validity of their personal experiences and interpretations. They didn’t realize what they were doing or why, but it was dehumanizing, a violation of my agency. It is 100% ok to not seek those people out. There is nothing you can say or do while on their turf that will increase their awareness.

    Last thought—I learned that it was ok for me to withdraw. Most of the time, when I sought out a friend or family member to tell them about my decision, it turned sour. However, if I just moved forward on my new path and waited until circumstances brought us together again, the topic could come up naturally and it was a much better experience for everyone. I used to be the engine behind most of my relationships—seeking out the other person, making sure we were in touch—so when I stopped, I went from regular contact to almost none. The shift was huge and, frankly, depressing, but it also gave me plenty of space to heal and grow. In fact, I regret not taking better advantage of the lull. It was the perfect time for me to retreat into my wilderness to commune with the Lord before embarking on a new journey.

    If you want to continue the conversation, just friend me on Facebook: facebook.com/erinhwagner. Also, READ THIS BOOK: http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382631711&sr=8-1&keywords=boundaries

    Erin

  228. Erin Wagner

    John,

    Someone else asked a very similar questions, so if you don’t mind, I’ll just repost my response to him:

    Sorry for the delay in responding—it’s been a while since I last checked for new comments.

    Your simple question has a very complex answer. To answer it most directly, responses from friends and family fell into three categories:

    Support: A handful of people, when they heard the news, responding by saying, “Erin, if that’s what you believe you need to do, I support you 100%. I don’t understand it and don’t feel it applies to me, but you always need to do what you believe is right. I trust you.” Ironically, although they were in no way pushing Mormonism, they made me feel instantly comfortable coming back, should I ever feel like *that* was the right thing to do. I learned from their examples what it means to teach without proselytizing.

    Hesitance: It was more common for my friends and family to feel like they shouldn’t tell me what to do, but nor could they look like they were offering any kind of endorsement. They may have felt threatened by the implications, so creating a bit of emotional distance kept them from having to try to resolve the apparent divergence of our spiritual journeys.

    Mourning: Sometimes, my friends and family would go into a period of mourning, because as far as they could tell, I apostatized and forfeited my eternal salvation. In this state, they said and did things with the best of intentions, but which were profoundly hurtful in their delivery. I soon realized that as long as I maintained any kind of official relationship with the Church, my emotional and spiritual wellbeing would be compromised. I had “Do not contact” added to my membership records in the Church, and stepped far enough back that if anyone wanted to reach out to me, they’d be stepping on my turf :) . Even the most enthusiastic member missionaries seem to understand that you don’t walk into someone else’s life uninvited and start telling them what to do.

    But despite these variations, I learned (the hard way) that it doesn’t matter how others respond as long as you’re planted on a firm foundation. When my study of the Faith turned serious, I broke up with my boyfriend because I felt that I needed to be free to make my decision regardless of the implications to others. The day we broke up was awful, but the next day was euphoric. I had committed myself 100% to doing what was right, *no matter the consequences.* I could walk happily to my martyrdom, if that was what awaited me :) Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, I spoke with my then-ex, who was obviously miserable, and felt like I had been selfish in not considering the implications of my decision on him. We got back together, and I plummeted into depression. After much study (and some counseling), I learned that I had transgressed my personal boundaries—I had taken responsibility for my boyfriend’s emotions, which are inherently his own responsibility. And that opened the floodgates for also taking responsibility for everyone else’s emotions, too. I withered under the burden.

    So I learned from all of this that there are two ways of looking at the situation; they are perhaps equally accurate, but one is empowering and the other debilitating:

    The debilitating perspective is to believe that if others are sad, angry, frustrated, confused, etc. about your decision, you are the cause of the negativity in their life and need to correct it.

    The empowering perspective is to believe that “all things work to the good of those who love God,” and whatever the circumstances, anyone can turn to God and find the strength, love and healing to adapt. It has nothing to do with you. In fact, God designed this life to be full of obstacles just like this so that we would *have* to do just that. Their negative reactions (fear, feeling threatened, mourning your decision, suspicion, inconsiderate comments, etc.) are an indication to them that there is a gap in their spiritual understanding. When they recognize that the red light is blinking (which may take a while), they can start taking corrective action. Your job is to be 100% committed to exercising your agency righteously, so that you can be 100% supportive of their exercise of agency. When you reach that state, you won’t mind so much what they say and do, because you’ll recognize that it’s motivated by pain, and that with each confrontation, they have the opportunity to examine their own paradigms.

    There are two other concepts I found helpful to understand:
    1. To add to the emotional confusion, I recognize now that I had an “enmeshed” relationship with the Church. In my mind, there was no difference between Erin and Mormonism. They were one in the same thing. So as I separated myself from the Church, I lost a lot of motivation. I became less sharp, less potent. A couple years down the road, when I learned about enmeshment, I realized that I had been relying on an external source for my confidence / sense of direction, and that now I get to grow that confidence from the inside. I’m addressing those unhealthy thought patterns, and my potency is returning, tempered with wisdom and love :)
    2. On various occasions, I would tell someone I became a Baha’i and explain a spiritual experience that motivated the decision. To my amazement, they seemed to not even process the words I had just spoken. I may as well have been speaking Russian. I left those conversations crippled by a sense of violation, though I couldn’t explain why that, of all things, was my reaction. I learned later that there are various ways to objectify a person, and one of them is “denial of subjectivity,” not acknowledging the validity of their personal experiences and interpretations. They didn’t realize what they were doing or why, but it was dehumanizing, a violation of my agency. It is 100% ok to not seek those people out. There is nothing you can say or do while on their turf that will increase their awareness.

    Last thought—I learned that it was ok for me to withdraw. Most of the time, when I sought out a friend or family member to tell them about my decision, it turned sour. However, if I just moved forward on my new path and waited until circumstances brought us together again, the topic could come up naturally and it was a much better experience for everyone. I used to be the engine behind most of my relationships—seeking out the other person, making sure we were in touch—so when I stopped, I went from regular contact to almost none. The shift was huge and, frankly, depressing, but it also gave me plenty of space to heal and grow. In fact, I regret not taking better advantage of the lull. It was the perfect time for me to retreat into my wilderness to commune with the Lord before embarking on a new journey.

    If you want to continue the conversation, just friend me on Facebook: facebook.com/erinhwagner. Also, READ THIS BOOK: http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310247454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382631711&sr=8-1&keywords=boundaries

    Erin

  229. tony

    dear erin. thank you for responding to my request. through my life I have seen many people have change their path and, it was not easy for them. but, for the most they have been happy. friends, who have changed from Mormonism to others, from the beginning the support was shown by some family and friends and the wards members, that hoping that by time there will be a turn around. when it didn’t happened, then it becomes personal. any religion that is based on individual salvation philosophy, most people in that faith perhaps would react the same way, and we can’t really blame them, not only because they care ,but the most important issue is that they have been brought up that way. we must know power of up bringing and indoctrination of any concepts. What I love the most about bahaulla’s teaching is the welfare of the world and unity of mankind toward understanding, that we are all branches of one tree vs. focusing on eternal salvation of others with in our own idea. I love the courage and determination in your path, and my thoughts are with you. truth is like freedom, that we must stand strong for what we believe in. I don’t have a face book and have not come to the point to convince myself to create one. but I would love to talk to you some day in person. if you would like you could email me. Your journey has given me a lot of hops. Are you attending the phoenix conference in December?

  230. Erin Wagner

    Tony,

    I had a few people say, “Sure–do whatever. I know you’ll be back.” I will plead guilty to not seeking out their company very often :)

    You make a great point about people’s reasons for reacting in less-than-supportive ways. After all, Mormonism (and all that it entails) prepared me to recognize the Faith. I’ve found that the best cure for hurt or resentment is to fill myself up with gratitude. Now, I just need to figure out how to remember that more often!

    I live in Minnesota now, so I won’t be at the Phoenix conference. However, I’ll let you know if I’m ever passing through (for more than 20 minutes on a Southwest flight). However, there’s another great Baha’i in that area–Serge van Neck–who is married to a Mormon and wrote a book highlighting similarities between the two religions. Let me know if you would like an introduction.

    I wish you the very, very best on your own spiritual journey. You seem to have a clear idea of what you believe and why. Take courage!

    Erin

  231. tony

    I am very glad to hear from you. As I was going through my journey, I studied most of major religions, and the last one that open the door to the bahai faith was the Mormon religion. I remember having an amazing experience in the middle of the night ,that I know I needed to keep going. So then I end up reading the same type of books that compared the two faiths. the most enlighten part was the prediction of joseph smith about coming of Bahaullah. I would love to have an introduction about the book of serg van neck. by the way my wife and I live in Utah. if you ever pass trough ,look us up.

  232. chris

    best whishes to you.