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Bahá’ís of San Diego: an independent search for truth

Proselytizing is explicitly against the rules

Michelle Goering
Michelle Goering

Bahá’ís of San Diego

  • Contact: 6545 Alcala Knolls Dr., San Diego 858-268-3999 www.sandiegobahai.org
  • Membership: 800+
  • Community Member: Michelle Goering
  • Age: 57
  • Born: In the Mennonite community of Goessel, KS.
  • Formation: Bethel College, North Newton, KS; National Bahá’í Center Temple, Wilmette, IL

San Diego Reader: Why Bahá’í?

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Michelle Goering: The Bahá’í Faith began in Persia, what is now Iran, in 1844. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh (which means “the glory of God”) fulfills the promises in all religions of the return of one who will unite humanity. The Bahá’í Faith has been around for a fairly short time, but it’s now in more localities than any other religion except for Christianity. The primary message of Bahá’u’lláh is that there is one God, one humanity and one progressively unfolding faith revealed by the Founders of the world’s religions. I became a Bahá’í because of that vision, which would include and draw from everyone in the solving of the world’s problems. I appreciate the richness of the experience of being able to communicate with people from every different kind of background, and there is a real hope I felt that these teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are like a blueprint: these are steps, and here is where we are in the process. It could really bring about peace and the betterment of the world.

SDR: How does your community grow in its faith?

MG: Bahá’u’lláh says this is the age for independent search for truth, that every soul can recognize God and the Manifestation or Messenger for the age. So, in that way we don’t have clergy. People come together for consultation to share ideas and there is an emphasis in Bahá’í on sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’ís are free to express themselves however they like. I do some writing myself, including an article on why I became Baha’i on the Bahá’í website called Baha’i Teachings that includes a new article every day from different people about different topics.

SDR: What is the mission of your community?

MG: San Diego Bahá’ís and their friends are engaged in an educational process to develop skills and capacities within individuals to be able to serve their own families, communities and neighborhoods. The structure of the San Diego Bahá’í community is decentralized. We have a Bahá’í community center in Linda Vista for the city for San Diego, but this is not a place where the whole community gathers, generally. Instead, our activities — children’s classes, junior youth groups, devotional gatherings, study circles — are carried out in neighborhood groups, in homes or other spaces that have been rented or borrowed for activities… We are always encouraging people to investigate Bahá’í through our scriptures. Proselytizing, however, is explicitly against the rules, according to our writings. We do however believe people should know about Bahá’í and our current revelation.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

MG: The soul is eternal and its progress is infinite toward God, its creator. When we pass from this world to the next world, whatever spiritual development we’ve been able to achieve within this life is an assistance in the next realm. Bahá’ís don’t believe in some kind of finished state — depending on what you’ve done here, either eternal damnation or eternal reward. Instead, there is always a distance to travel toward our creator, and at the same time, God is the unknowable essence. We can’t begin to fathom what God really is and can only know God through these Messengers to help us understand. But we can move in that direction.

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Michelle Goering
Michelle Goering

Bahá’ís of San Diego

  • Contact: 6545 Alcala Knolls Dr., San Diego 858-268-3999 www.sandiegobahai.org
  • Membership: 800+
  • Community Member: Michelle Goering
  • Age: 57
  • Born: In the Mennonite community of Goessel, KS.
  • Formation: Bethel College, North Newton, KS; National Bahá’í Center Temple, Wilmette, IL

San Diego Reader: Why Bahá’í?

Sponsored
Sponsored

Michelle Goering: The Bahá’í Faith began in Persia, what is now Iran, in 1844. Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh (which means “the glory of God”) fulfills the promises in all religions of the return of one who will unite humanity. The Bahá’í Faith has been around for a fairly short time, but it’s now in more localities than any other religion except for Christianity. The primary message of Bahá’u’lláh is that there is one God, one humanity and one progressively unfolding faith revealed by the Founders of the world’s religions. I became a Bahá’í because of that vision, which would include and draw from everyone in the solving of the world’s problems. I appreciate the richness of the experience of being able to communicate with people from every different kind of background, and there is a real hope I felt that these teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are like a blueprint: these are steps, and here is where we are in the process. It could really bring about peace and the betterment of the world.

SDR: How does your community grow in its faith?

MG: Bahá’u’lláh says this is the age for independent search for truth, that every soul can recognize God and the Manifestation or Messenger for the age. So, in that way we don’t have clergy. People come together for consultation to share ideas and there is an emphasis in Bahá’í on sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’ís are free to express themselves however they like. I do some writing myself, including an article on why I became Baha’i on the Bahá’í website called Baha’i Teachings that includes a new article every day from different people about different topics.

SDR: What is the mission of your community?

MG: San Diego Bahá’ís and their friends are engaged in an educational process to develop skills and capacities within individuals to be able to serve their own families, communities and neighborhoods. The structure of the San Diego Bahá’í community is decentralized. We have a Bahá’í community center in Linda Vista for the city for San Diego, but this is not a place where the whole community gathers, generally. Instead, our activities — children’s classes, junior youth groups, devotional gatherings, study circles — are carried out in neighborhood groups, in homes or other spaces that have been rented or borrowed for activities… We are always encouraging people to investigate Bahá’í through our scriptures. Proselytizing, however, is explicitly against the rules, according to our writings. We do however believe people should know about Bahá’í and our current revelation.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

MG: The soul is eternal and its progress is infinite toward God, its creator. When we pass from this world to the next world, whatever spiritual development we’ve been able to achieve within this life is an assistance in the next realm. Bahá’ís don’t believe in some kind of finished state — depending on what you’ve done here, either eternal damnation or eternal reward. Instead, there is always a distance to travel toward our creator, and at the same time, God is the unknowable essence. We can’t begin to fathom what God really is and can only know God through these Messengers to help us understand. But we can move in that direction.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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