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Esperanto and Baha'i Faith

I found quite interesting for myself and felt the desire to share it with other Esperantists. The text is taken from Wikipedia. > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%AD_Faith_and_auxiliary_language

Various Bahá'í leaders have made various comments to certain languages and qualities. Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi made occasional comments favorable to the notion that potential auxiliary languages be simple and easy to learn.Abdu'l-Bahá also praised the ideal of Esperanto, a constructed language, and there was an affinity between Esperantists and Bahá'ís during the late 19th century and early 20th century. While `Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged people to learn Esperanto, he never stated that it should become the auxiliary language.

On February 12, 1913, `Abdu'l-Bahá gave a talk to the Paris Esperanto Society,

<pre>Now, praise be to God that Dr. Zamenhof has invented the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of becoming the international means of communication. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for this noble effort; for in this way he has served his fellowmen well. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees Esperanto will become universal. Therefore every one of us must study this language and spread it as far as possible so that day by day it may receive a broader recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world, and become a part of the curriculum in all the public schools. I hope that Esperanto will be adopted as the language of all the future international conferences and congresses, so that all people need acquire only two languages—one their own tongue and the other the international language. Then perfect union will be established between all the people of the world. Consider how difficult it is today to communicate with various nations. If one studies fifty languages one may yet travel through a country and not know the language. Therefore I hope that you will make the utmost effort, so that this language of Esperanto may be widely spread. </pre>

Also both Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Bahá'ís, emphasized that there is no official Bahá'í endorsement of Esperanto as the international auxiliary language. Today there exists an active sub-community of Bahá'í Esperantists; the Bahá'í Esperanto-League was founded in 1973, and Lidia Zamenhof, daughter of Esperanto creator L. L. Zamenhof, was a Bahá'í. Ehsan Yarshater, the founding editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, notes how as a child in Iran he learned Esperanto and that when his mother was visiting Haifa on a Bahá'í pilgrimage he wrote her a letter in Persian as well as Esperanto. At the request of 'Abdu’l-Baha, Agnes Baldwin Alexander became an early advocate of Esperanto and used it to spread the Bahá’í teachings at meetings and conferences in Japan. James Ferdinand Morton, Jr., an early member of the Bahá'í Faith in Greater Boston, was vice-president of the Esperanto League for North America.

The selection of the existing language or the creation of a new one each have their advantages; the selection of an existing language allows for a certain portion of the world's population to have already learnt it, but using an invented language would presumably have the advantage of being emotionally neutral.

July 15, 2017



I've had a few Esperantist friends who have been members of the Baha'i Faith. I've also had some Baha'i friends thanks to Esperanto. I've spoken several time at the local Baha'i meeting house - and even collaborated with them on a boy scout project - even though I am not a Baha'i. My impression after reading more on the topic than many members of the Baha'i faith have read themselves is that the terrestrial representatives of the Baha'i Faith have been steadily backpedaling their position on Esperanto since 1913. At this point, most Baha'is seem to see Esperanto as a cute idea, but not to be preferred over English or Persian. They are friendly people, though, and at any given meeting that I've been to, I've found that half of them have at least heard of Esperanto.


The one Idist I knowingly met in person is, I believe, a Baha'i. Is that what you're getting at?

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