Select Page

True Love

 The world today is submerged, amongst other things, in an over-exaggeration of the importance of physical love, and a dearth of spiritual values. In as far as possible the believers should try to realign this and rise above the level of their fellow-men who are, typical of all decadent periods in history, placing so much over-emphasis on the purely physical side of mating. Outside of their normal, legitimate married life they should seek to establish bonds of comradeship and love which are eternal and founded on the spiritual life of man, not on his physical life.  (Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Marriage and Family Life, p. 14)

This is one of the hardest quotes for many people inside and outside the Faith to understand, that our spiritual life is more important than sex.  I find it hard to rise above the level of those around me, who I fear are judging me for my “holier than thou” attitude.  This creates a barrier between me and other people, because I tend to avoid movies, TV shows, books and magazines that promote sex and stay away from those who who indulge in pornography and extra-marital sex.  I don’t mean to be judging them.  I mean only to use discernment in how to keep my own thoughts and actions pure.  This leads to a lot of loneliness’ and isolation.  I’m serving in an inactive cluster so find it hard to maintain relationships with like-minded people.

After a life of moving every two years, I’m coming to realize that I don’t have the ability to seek to establish friendships founded on spiritual life and I’m learning that this is a capacity I can develop, and find true love with my “best lover” and myself first, so that I have that love to give out to others.

It’s OK to rise above the level of my neighbors and put my faith in the importance of maintaining spiritual values, and I am grateful!

What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation?  I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!

If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Making Friends with Sin and Temptation

 

Help Keep This Site Alive

How to Feel Spiritually Connected During Sex

In this video, Janna gives you some ideas on how to grow your Baha’i marriage by looking at the role of your soul in your sexual relationship.

Have a watch and post your comment below.

Janna Denton-Howes is a Marriage Coach whose passion is to help couples get unstuck and move powerfully towards the vision of true Baha’i marriage.  If you liked this video, you can visit her site; read her blog and watch her other videos.

Top 3 Challenges in Marriage

In this video, Janna covers the following issues:

  1. Colicky babies
  2. Togetherness/Time Apart
  3. Pornography

Have a look and post your comments below.

 

 

Janna Denton-Howes is a Marriage Coach whose passion is to help couples get unstuck and move powerfully towards the vision of true Baha’i marriage.  If you liked this video, you can visit her site; read her blog and watch her other videos.

Newsletter – on Homosexuality

In this issue – Homosexuality

This is a very sensitive and much misunderstood topic in the Baha’i Faith and it’s one of the areas where we’re under attack.  Sincere Baha’is want to know how to answer questions knowledgeably when they arise in teaching situations.  There are so many negative articles on the internet that it’s hard to wade through them all to find a true and compassionate look at this topic.

Let’s look first at what the House of Justice has recently had to say on this topic:

Universal House of Justice on Homosexuality 19 April 2013

Universal House of Justice on Homosexuality 23 April 2013

Universal House of Justice on Homosexuality 9 May 2014 

Universal House of Justice on Transsexuality 

Universal House of Justice on Homosexuality and Civil Rights

Universal House of Justice on Homosexuality: Biological, or a Learned Behavior?

I believe the following authors have done a good job in tackling this topic and recommend these articles to you.

Question Time

Homosexuality and Civil Rights

The Gay Marriage Issue

Homosexuality again, thanks to Obama

Tom Price Talk on Homosexuality

Being Baha’i and Gay

My BNASAA Story

Featured Story:

Talk to them of the Love of God

Just before Mrs C left the household of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in ‘Akka, ‘He came into her room to say farewell, and seating Himself by the window looked off upon the sea in silence for so long a time that His guest began to wonder if He had forgotten her presence. ‘Then at length He turned to her and said, with that eager speech that is one of His peculiarities: “Mrs C when you go back to New York talk to people about the love of God. People in the world do not talk enough about God. Their conversation is filled with trivialities, and they forget the most momentous subjects. Yet is you speak to them of God they are happy, and presently they open their hearts to you. Often you can not mention this glorious Revelation, for their prejudice would interfere, and they would not listen. But you will find that you can always talk to them about the love of God.”’ ‘Then He went away, and Mrs C sat a long time in the gathering darkness, while the glory of the sun descended upon the glittering waters of the Mediterranean. The fragrant shadows seemed to echo softly with the last words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “You will find that you can always talk to them about the love of God.”’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 163)

Featured Prayer:

Prayer for Distress and Anguish

O Lord, my God and my Haven in my distress! My Shield and my Shelter in my woes! My Asylum and Refuge in time of need and in my loneliness my Companion! In my anguish my Solace, and in my solitude a loving Friend! The Remover of the pangs of my sorrows and the Pardoner of my sins! Wholly unto Thee do I turn, fervently imploring Thee with all my heart, my mind and my tongue, to shield me from all that runs counter to Thy will in this, the cycle of Thy divine unity, and to cleanse me of all defilement that will hinder me from seeking, stainless and unsullied, the shade of the tree of Thy grace. Have mercy, O Lord, on the feeble, make whole the sick, and quench the burning thirst. Gladden the bosom wherein the fire of Thy love doth smolder, and set it aglow with the flame of Thy celestial love and spirit. Robe the tabernacles of divine unity with the vesture of holiness, and set upon my head the crown of Thy favor. Illumine my face with the radiance of the orb of Thy bounty, and graciously aid me in ministering at Thy holy threshold. Make my heart overflow with love for Thy creatures and grant that I may become the sign of Thy mercy, the token of Thy grace, the promoter of concord amongst Thy loved ones, devoted unto Thee, uttering Thy commemoration and forgetful of self but ever mindful of what is Thine. O God, my God! Stay not from me the gentle gales of Thy pardon and grace, and deprive me not of the wellsprings of Thine aid and favor. Neath the shade of Thy protecting wings let me nestle, and cast upon me the glance of Thine all-protecting eye. Loose my tongue to laud Thy name amidst Thy people, that my voice may be raised in great assemblies and from my lips may stream the flood of Thy praise. Thou art, in all truth, the Gracious, the Glorified, the Mighty, the Omnipotent.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 29-30)

Featured Video:

Tony Valadez

This month, we’re featuring the music of Tony Valadez.

To listen to a prayer he created for the Feast of Perfection

Here are the words for those who want to sing along!

O army of God! The time hath come for the effects and perfections of the Most Great Name to be made manifest in this excellent age, so as to establish, beyond any doubt, that this era is the era of Bahá’u’lláh, and this age is distinguished above all other ages.   (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 71)

To listen to his other songs, visit his YouTube channel

Featured Book:

 

I don’t want to be Tahirih: Homosexuality in the Bahá’í Religion in Theology and Practice

This book by Hanna A. Langer was originally written as a Master’s Degree thesis at the Interfaculty Programme for the Study of Religion at Munich University.  In it she asks 4 questions:

  1. How do homosexuals themselves interpret and understand the core writings?
  2. How do they apply this understanding to their personal lives?
  3. How do they experience community life within the Baha’i Faith?
  4. What is the Institutions’ and believers’ approach towards them?

The book takes a look at different narratives which show that “the homosexuals” are not a homogenous group of people who share common goals or a common understanding of the writings but instead are as diverse as the broader community is. Therefore some people tell about their efforts to live in accordance with the religious law and abstain from sexual relationships, others are welcomed with their same-sex partners and others are shunned. Not everyone experienced a welcoming atmosphere within his or her community, but the book does neither try to sugar coat nor to dramatize.  The author believes the story of homophobia in the Baha’i Faith needs to be shared worldwide, and Hannah’s book is helpful to those who feel they are still being treated as second class citizens.

For more information and to buy the book

Questions and Answers on Homosexuality

By Susan Gammage

I’ve written a book on homosexuality, of which the House of Justice has said:

The House of Justice has indicated in the past its preference that a compilation of materials on the subject of homosexuality not be published.  The House of Justice reaffirms this previous policy and asks you not to publish this booklet.  However, you are entirely free to reproduce and use the material in courses and deepenings facilitated by you.  (Universal House of Justice to the author, 17 February 2005).

If you are interested in reading the book, write and tell me how you will use it and if I feel you meet this criteria, I will be happy to send you a copy.

Featured Coach:

Mary K. Radpour

Mary K. Radpour is a psychotherapist with more than 30 years’ experience and extensive training in a variety of therapeutic modalities. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, teaching in the areas of psychology, social work and women’s studies; is a founding member of the Baha’i Association of Mental Health Professionals and a board member of the Baha’i Network on AIDS, Sexuality, Addictions, and Abuse. www.bnasaa.org She has served as an Auxiliary Board Member and is a Faculty Member of the Wilmette Institute.

She is a frequent speaker at Bahá’í schools and conferences, on the topics of spirituality, sexuality, and mental health and has worked with individuals, families and groups, focusing on these and the following issues:

  • Post-trauma symptoms, resulting from physical, emotional and sexual abuse
  • Phobias
  • Depression and dysthymia
  • Anxiety
  • Family and Relationship conflicts
  • Gay and lesbian relationships
  • Sexual issues, such as gender confusion, sexual addiction, and sexual confusion resulting from rape or abuse
  • Grief Counseling
  • Adolescent issues

In addition to being a Certified Mediator, Mrs. Radpour has trained in the following therapeutic modalities:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family systems and strategic family systems therapy
  • Hypnosis and hypnotherapy
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Rapid Trauma Resolution
  • Mindfulness Focus therapy

She prefers to work in person, but does offer telephone consultations which focus on problem-solving, with individuals who are feeling distressed related to situations or circumstances in their current lives.

To view her PowerPoint on Sexuality and the Baha’i Teachings

To read about her talk at the Sexuality and Homosexuality Conference 

To learn more about the books she’s written

To visit her home page

Featured Business:

Jeffrey Reddick

Jeffrey Reddick is a Baha’i filmmaker best known for creating the Final Destination horror film franchise, which spawned four successful sequels as well as comic books and novels. Final Destination centers on a character who has a premonition of a terrible accident that will kill numerous people. While they escape from the scene of the accident before it happens, they are later killed in a series of complex, bizarre accidents.  The series is noteworthy amongst others in the horror genre in that the “villain” of the movies is not the stereotypical slasher, but Death itself whose intent is to claim the lives of those who manage to escape their fates.

Jeffrey is also known for a thriller called Tamara;  the story of an unattractive girl, who is picked on by her peers and returns after her death as a sexy seductress to exact revenge; and the remake of George Romero’s classic, Day of the Dead, where a small Colorado town is overrun by the flesh hungry dead and a small group of survivors try to escape in a last ditch effort to stay alive.

Recently he produced his first 10 minute short, directed with Rainn Wilson, called Good Samaritan which deals with the consequences of not helping someone in need and overcoming your fears to do the right thing. It’s an intense horror short about a man who gets brutally assaulted while witnesses stand by and do nothing. There is some is some scary and intense imagery that may not be appropriate for everyone. But if you want to see a creepy morality tale you can see it here:

 

To see other movies on his YouTube Channel

To read more about him

To read the Slice And Dice Interview: Final Destination Creator Jeffrey Reddick

To read The Gay Mind Behind Final Destination

To read his advice to screenwriters on creating a film franchise

To find his books on Amazon

To find him on Facebook 

To follow him on Twitter

Our Readers Write:

  1. I liked your story and compilation on divorce. What struck me personally as being a little unusual was the following description after the compilation:   “Zia Holte:  This month, we look at the music of Zia Holte – a singer songwriter with a clear, versatile, vocal range from sex kitten to mother next-door. Her voice can be heard on audiobooks, documentaries, jingles, movie trailers, radio, television and videogames.”  I was wondering why Zia’s range needed to include sex kitten. You wrote the book, “The Courage to be Chaste in a Sexual World”. Doesn’t the description “sex kitten” belong in the sexual world? Is it an apt description for a human being?  Just curious.  It did occur to me, of course, that the description wasn’t written by you, and that you had just copied it off somewhere.  (Sarmad Garmroud)

I replied:

Good catch Sarmad!  I’m embarrassed I didn’t catch that myself – was hurrying to get it done, with my mind in several places.  I’ve deleted that whole phrase.  Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

Other comments:

Thx it is beautiful  (Sophie Tekie)

Thank you dear Susan for all you do. The angels of the Abha kingdom so graciously assist us all.  (Loren Ritacca)

Susan, Definitely worth the wait. Thank you.  (Robert Moshrefzadeh)

This is the first time I’ve received your newsletter.  Thank you so much for your service!  (Ladjamaya Green)

Dearest Susan.  Good Grief! I can’t believe just how much you do for us, your readers. I am so thankful for the nature and quality of your work, and that you want to and are able to get it to us.   You are a wonder!  (Patrice Henderson)

 

Thanks to all who write in!  Your encouragement really keeps me going!  

By the way, I accept donations!  If you like the materials in these newsletters and on my website, please consider making a donation. Your help and feedback is GREATLY appreciated, to defray the costs of making these available to you!!!  There’s a PayPal “Donate” Button at the bottom of every page on my website. Thank you!!!

See you next month!  Hope it’s a month filled with perfection on many levels! 

 

Bahá’í Marriage and Sex

By Janna Denton-Howes

You get the whole chastity thing… but what about sex IN your Baha’i marriage?

You wonder if all sexual acts are “okay”, how sex and spirituality go together and HOW TO stop fighting about sex all the time!

Trust me, you aren’t alone.

Not only have I thought those same questions a million times, but I hear my clients voice them over and over again.

Which is why I’ve decided to share.it.all and offer this free ebook in hopes that it will answer ALL your questions and revitalize your physical intimacy!

26 of your questions are answered, including:

  • “Is sex only for making babies?”
  • “What about masturbation?”
  • “What about porn?”
  • “What about anal sex?”
  • “What about oral sex?”
  • “What about lubrication?”
  • “How do I have an orgasm?”
  • “How do I give my wife an orgasm?”
  • “How often is “enough”?”
  • “Did the Central Figures have sex?”
  • “Can I use a vibrator?”
  • “Can we use birth control?”
  • “How can I get in the “mood” quicker and more often?”
  • “Are we the only ones who are struggling with sex?”
  • “Why does my husband want to have sex all the time?”
  • “We’re so busy! How do we make time?”
  • “I feel disappointed in our sex life”
  • “I feel anxious when my partner initiates, what should I do?”
  • “Can I wear sexy lingerie?”
  • “What about role play?”
  • “Why can’t I have an orgasm by penetration alone?”
  • “What about romance novels and erotica?”
  • “I feel rejected by my wife, what do I do?”
  • “We went to a Counselor and got advice that doesn’t feel right, what should we do?”
  • “What are your book recommendations for learning more about sex?”
  • “I feel so self-conscious of my body, what should I do?”

To get your free copy

Janna Denton-Howes is a Marriage Coach whose passion is to help couples get unstuck and move powerfully towards the vision of true Baha’i marriage.  If you liked this video, you can visit her site; read her blog and watch her other videos.