I figure I should post the letter that the National Spiritual Assembly sent me. They’ve already had someone lecture me on how I do not keep things private enough, so I am sure they are expecting and eagerly awaiting for me to post the letter. Congratulations, NSA… you’ll get plenty of fame from this one. Interesting, though, how after almost two months of waiting, I get a response within 24 hours of being notified that I was in the wrong with my blog. Without further ado, the letter (anything in bold is for emphasis on my part, not theirs):
Dear Bahá’ʹí Friend,
We have carefully read your letter of June 18, 2012, and first and foremost wish to express our grief that you have endured the torment of memories of sexual abuse at the hand of one who you should have been able to trust, as he was considered by many as a pillar of the Bahá’ʹí community. We also deeply regret the delay in our reply due to the heavy burden of work at the Bahá’í National Center and our intent to craft a thorough and appropriate response to your heartfelt comments.
We also deplore that you were given ill-‐‑advised counsel from a member of our staff years ago when you first reported an incident that occurred years earlier. Be assured that adjustments in staffing and oversight have been made since that time to ensure that complaints of sexual abuse are addressed swiftly, keeping the safety of potential victims as the highest priority. For example, when your story involving Dr. Maani came to our attention last year we investigated the matter immediately, and though the reported events took place many years prior, we were compelled to sanction him due to his reprehensible behavior. The National Assembly took this action despite the fact that his advanced age and ill-‐‑health lessened the threat of his repeating his misconduct. As you know, shortly thereafter, Dr. Maani expressed to the National Assembly deep remorse for his misdeeds and entreated it to restore his administrative privileges.
Underlying the teachings of all the revealed religions of the world is the possibility of spiritual transformation and the correction of human conduct. Thus, a primary purpose of the Bahá’ʹí Revelation is the reformation of character. When it is evident to the institutions of the Faith that a believer under sanctions has amended his behavior and expressed sincere regret, the way becomes open for the sanctions to be lifted. The timing of the National Assembly’s consideration of Dr. Maani’s request was exceptional in that he was dying of cancer and not expected to live more than a matter of weeks. Be assured that our decision to restore part of his administrative privileges so soon after his rights were removed does not imply that the National Assembly considers his transgressions to be inconsequential. On the contrary, the National Assembly knows that the damage of sexual abuse is severe and long-‐‑lasting. Under different circumstances, the sanctions would have likely remained in place for an extended period not only to correct his behavior, but also to serve as a warning to others and an affirmation to those he wronged that such behavior will not be tolerated.
In our review of the matter, we determined that due to Dr. Maani’s imminent death there was little compelling reason to announce his sanctions to the general community. However, you may be interested to know that, prior to receiving your June 18 message, we had already intended to address you personally, as a victim of his behavior, to inform you of our decision.
We cannot overestimate the detrimental effect Dr. Maani’s actions have had on your life and we know that you will never completely forget the incidents of abuse. But we pray that through Bahá’u’lláh’s assistance and through the support of your loved ones, [the same loved ones that I’m not allowed to tell because that would break Baha’i law?] you will be able to overcome the ill-‐‑feelings that remain in your heart, so that your soul may be freed to experience the joy of detachment in the path of the love of God. As part of this, you may have to find a way in your heart, to let go of the justifiable anger you feel toward this man who wronged you so many years ago. We must consider that ultimately, Dr. Maani is responsible to God for his actions, and it is God that judges and determines the application of justice and mercy.
Most regrettable is that Dr. Maani’s transgressions against you lead to your minimized involvement in Bahá’ʹí community life for almost two decades. It is our fervent hope that you will now make every effort to redeem those lost years by plunging into the work of your local community, using your insights and capacities, gained through tested experience, to bolster the community and its institutions to be ever more purified and effective channels for the spirit of the Cause of Baha’u’llah.
The National Assembly will offer prayers on behalf of you and your family at the House of Worship that God Almighty will surround you with His loving care, protection, and tender mercy.
Unfortunately, this only tells half of the story. But the entire letter is a slap in the face. And I don’t see mention of spying on me. Hope they love my reaction.