Common Sacred Ground: Retrieving the Memories of a Global Identity
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The first part of this paper is an early history of the Baha'i Faith. The majority of sources used in constructing this history are based on personal reflections; life stories that, though they come through the filter of generations and decades, shed a personal light on historical events. H.M. Balyuzi's Bahci'u'llcih: King olGlory, Adib Taherzedeh's The Revleation o!Baha'u'llcih, volumes 1-4, and Nabil-i-Azam's The Dawnbreakers are the primary works being referenced. All of these deal primarily in translation and exposition of the memoirs and reminiscences of individuals that were witness to the events described. The second part integrates the experiences and memories; the life stories of several individuals, from two distinct backgrounds, into the modem history of their religion. Over the summer and fall of 2005 I conducted either phone or personal interviews with members of my own family, and several Persian Baha'is. The way their stories interact and lead to common conclusions is of great interest. They are a direct link to history. The construction of religious identity is an intangible goal, but through the life stories of these individuals, some light is shed on the subject. The goal of this paper is not so much to come to conclusions about Baha'i history but to preserve it. We stand within a century and a half of the genesis of this already global religion. If there had been more scholarly work preserved from 150 or 750 AD, how much more could we know of Christianity or Islam; of Christ or Muhammad? History at this point can serve a very practical function; that of preservation. This narrative seeks to preserve, highlight and reflect.