On the Independent Investigation of Truth

One of my favorite passages from Abdu’l-Baha, one I consider to be foundational to the Baha’i paradigm: seeking Truth as an individual and then manifesting such virtues in our heart. In my experience, the independent investigation of truth, which is at the heart of the Baha’i Writings, conflicts with or is devalued by those who seek to shore up their lack of faith by imposing their personal interpretation on others.

“God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God. Therefore, depend upon your own reason and judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise, you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God. Turn to God, supplicate humbly at His threshold, seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils that obscure your vision. Then will your eyes be filled with illumination, face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories and bounties of the Kingdom.”

– 29 August 1912, Talk at Home of Madame Morey, Notes by Edna McKinney

– As a side note, my great-grandfather Fred Mortensen was in attendance at this meeting. Mrs. McKinney, along with Barbara Fitting, were the two who, against the wishes of the other Baha’is in attendance, welcomed Fred into their home and helped him wash and prepare to meet Abdu’l-Baha at Green Acre.

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