Even as the Waves of One Sea
Original PDF


moral mood
Shoghi Effendi
transformative interrogation
transformative criticism

How to Cite

White Kazemipour, W. “Even As the Waves of One Sea: Bahá’í Consultation’s Implicit Cultural Support for the Clash of Differing Opinions”. The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, Mar. 2024, pp. 87-159, doi:10.31581/jbs-33.3.535(2023).


A 1922 letter from Shoghi Effendi implies cultural dynamics which support Bahá’í consultation’s desired but precarious “clash of differing opinions.” First, it implicitly establishes the expectation that a swell of apparent disagreement will likely precede an emergent collective understanding, and that it is not, instead, a sign of failure. Second, it sets an ethos which accommodates errors, fostering growth and broad participation. Third, the prayer to open Assembly meetings that is included in the letter may generate a moral mood and motivation, orienting participants to build a unity within diversity strong enough to contain the possible tumult of clashing opinions. As these features are internalized by and motivate consultors, they can support the group’s ability to achieve the volatile but effective and transformative clash of differing opinions while protecting the unity of the group.

Original PDF


‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Paris Talks. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/paris-talks/. Accessed 18 Feb. 2024.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/selections-writings-abdul-baha/. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Some Answered Questions. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/some-answered-questions/.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “Tablets to The Hague.” Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/tablets-hague-abdul-baha/. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/13#473669591. Accessed 17 Jan. 2023.

Abizadeh, Arash. “How Bahá’í Voters Should Vote.” The Journal of Baha’i Studies vol. 18, no. 1-4, 2008, pp. 77–94. doi: 10.31581/jbs-18.1-4.3(2008)

“Absolute.” Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford UP, 2000.

Arbab, Farzam. “An Inquiry into the Harmony of Science and Religion.” Religion and Public Discourse in an Age of Transition: Reflections on Bahá’í Practice and Thought, edited by Geoffrey Cameron and Benjamin Schewel. Association for Bahá’í Studies and Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2018.

Bahá’í International Community. Consultation and the Protection of Diversity. www.bahai.org/documents/bic/consultation-protection-diversity. Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Bahá’í International Community. One Planet, One Habitation. 1 June 2022, www.bic.org/publications/one-planet-one-habitation.

Bahá’í Prayers: A Selection of Prayers Revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb, and ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá. US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 2002.

Bahá’u’lláh. Gems of Divine Mysteries. Bahá’í World Centre, 2002.

Bahá’u’lláh. Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah. Bahá’í Reference Library, https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/gleanings-writings-bahaullah/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Bahá’u’lláh. “Lawḥ-i-Maqṣúd” In Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/tablets-bahaullah/5#722342929. Accessed 14 Jun. 2023.

Bahá’u’lláh. Prayers and Meditations. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/bahaullah/prayers-meditations/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Bahá’u’lláh. The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1978.

Bateson, Gregory. Naven, a Survey of the Problems Suggested by a Composite Picture of the Culture of a New Guinea Tribe Drawn from Three Points of View. 2d ed., Stanford UP, 1958.

Bregnbæk, Susanne, and Tine M. Gammeltoft. “The Varieties of Transformative Experience: Ethnographic Explorations.” Ethos, vol. 49, no. 3, 2021, pp. 239–48. Wiley Online Library, doi: 10.1111/etho.12322.

Brown, Mike. How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming. 1st ed.Spiegel & Grau, 2010.

Bryant, Rebecca, and Daniel M. Knight. The Anthropology of the Future. Cambridge UP, 2019. doi: 10.1017/9781108378277.

Cameron, Glenn, and Wendi Momen. A Basic Bahá’í Chronology. George Ronald, 1996.

Consultation: A Compilation. Bahá’í Reference Library, Nov. 1990. www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/compilations/consultation/.

Cosmides, Leda, and John Tooby. “Evolutionary Psychology: New Perspectives on Cognition and Motivation.” Annual Review of Psychology, vol. 64, no. 1, 2013, pp. 201–29. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.121208.131628.

Crasnow, Sharon. “Feminist Standpoint Theory.” Philosophy of Social Science: A New Introduction, edited by Nancy Cartwright and Eleonora Montuschi, Oxford UP, 2014, pp. 145–61.

Endrass, Birgit, et al. Talk Is Silver, Silence Is Golden: A Cross Cultural Study on the Usage of Pauses in Speech. Proceedings of the IUI workshop on Enculturating Conversational Interfaces, 2008.

Esslemont, John E. Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/other-literature/publications-individual-authors/bahaullah-new-era/. Accessed 23 Feb. 2023.

Fananapazir, Khazeh, and Seena Fazel. “Some Interpretive Principles in the Bahá’í Writings.” Bahá’í Studies Review, vol. 2, no. 1, 1992.

Friberg, Stephen R. “Revelation as Scientific in its Method: Science, Diversity, Consultation, and Learning in Action.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 3, no. 3, 2023, pp. 13–44.

Garro, Linda C. “Enacting Ethos, Enacting Health: Realizing Health in the Everyday Life of a California Family of Mexican Descent.” Ethos, vol. 39, no. 3, 2011, pp. 300–330.

Geertz, Clifford. “Religion As a Cultural System.” The Interpretation of Cultures, Basic Books, 1973, pp. 87–125.

Gregory, Louis G. “The Bahai Congress for Teaching and the Fourteenth Annual Convention.” Star of the West, vol. 13, no. 4, 17 May 1922, pp. 67–74, 89–93.

Haraway, Donna. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective.” Feminist Studies, vol. 14, no. 3, 1988, pp. 575–599. doi: 10.2307/3178066.

Harding, Sandra G. The Science Question in Feminism: Sandra Harding. Cornell UP, 1986.

Holley, Horace. “A Statement on Present-Day Administration of the Bahá’í Cause.” Bahá’í Year Book, vol. 1, Bahá’í Publishing Committee, 1925, pp. 45–55. dl.bahai.org/bahai-world/bahai-year-book-vol01-1925-1926.pdf.

The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude: A Compilation. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/compilations/importance-prayer-meditation-devotional-attitude/. Accessed 11 Jul. 2023.

Karlberg, Michael. Beyond the Culture of Contest: From Adversarialism to Mutualism in an Age of Interdependence. George Ronald, 2004.

Kolstoe, John. E. Consultation: A Universal Lamp of Guidance. George Ronald, 1985.

Lample, Paul. Revelation and Social Reality: Learning to Translate What Is Written into Reality. Palabra Publications, 2009.

Lample, Paul. “Toward a Framework for Action.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 28, no. 3, 2018, pp. 11–53. doi: 10.31581/jbs-28.3.2(2018).

Lareau, Annette. Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life, With an Update a Decade Later. 2nd ed., U of California P, 2011.

Latour, Bruno. Science in Action. Harvard UP, 1987,

Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. 1st edition, Cambridge UP, 1991.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. The Raw and the Cooked. 1st US ed. Harper & Row, 1969.

The Local Spiritual Assembly: A Compilation. 2017.

“The Local Spiritual Assembly.” Bahai.org, www.bahai.org/beliefs/essential-relationships/administrative-order/local-spiritual-assembly. Accessed 12 Apr. 2023.

Longino, Helen. Science as Social Knowledge. Princeton UP, 1990.

May, Dann J. “A Preliminary Survey of Hermeneutical Principles Found within the Bahá’í Writings.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, 1989, pp. 39–54.

McCluney, Courtney L., and Verónica Caridad Rabelo. “Conditions of Visibility: An Intersectional Examination of Black Women’s Belongingness and Distinctiveness at Work.” Journal of Vocational Behavior, vol. 113, Aug. 2019, pp. 143–52. doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2018.09.008.

McIntyre, Lee. The Scientific Attitude: Defending Science from Denial, Fraud, and Pseudoscience. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019.

Miyazaki, Hirokazu. The Method of Hope: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Fijian Knowledge. Stanford UP, 2004.

Nakhjavání, Bahíyyih. Response. George Ronald, 1981.

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada. The Bahá’í World: A Biennial International Record, Bahá’í Publishing Committee.

Oettingen, Gabriele, et al. “Self-Regulation of Goal Setting: Turning Free Fantasies About the Future into Binding Goals.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 80, no. 5, 2001, pp. 736-53.

Office of Social and Economic Development. Social Action. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20121126_001. Accessed 11 May 2023.

Oreskes, Naomi. Why Trust Science? Princeton UP, 2021.

Prayer and Devotional Life. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/compilations/prayer-devotional-life/. Accessed 11 May 2023.

Principles of Baha’i Administration. 3rd ed., UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1973.

Rabbani, Rúḥíyyih Khanum. The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988.

Rabelo, Verónica Caridad, et al. “‘Against a Sharp White Background’: How Black Women Experience the White Gaze at Work.” Gender, Work and Organization, vol. 28, no. 5, 2021, pp. 1840–58. doi: 10.1111/gwao.12564.

Reynolds, Jennifer F., and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana. “New Immigrant Youth Interpreting in White Public Space.” American Anthropologist, vol. 111, no. 2, 2009, pp. 211–23. doi: 10.1111/j.1548-1433.2009.01114.x.

Ruhi Institute. Ruhi Book 10.2 Building Vibrant Communities: Consultation. Pre-Publication, Ruhi Institute, 2017.

Shoghi Effendi. Bahá’í Administration. Bahá’í Publishing Committee, 1928.

Smith, Peter. “The History of the Bábí and Bahá’í Faiths,” in The World of the Bahá’í Faith, edited by Robert H. Stockman, Routledge, 2022, pp. 501–512.

Smith, Todd. “Becoming Attuned to Reality: Presuppositions and the Power of Learning in Action,” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 33, no. 3, 2023, pp. 45–85.

Smith, Todd. “Crisis and the Power of an Inclusive Historical Consciousness: Progressing from Delusional Habits to Dynamic Freedom.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 30, no. 1–2, 2020, pp. 47–113. doi: 10.31581/jbs-30.1-2.6(2020).

Smith, Todd. “Science and Religion in Dynamic Interplay.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 29, no. 4, Dec. 2019, pp. 9–49. doi: 10.31581/jbs-29.4.2(2019).

Smith, Todd, and Omid Ghaemmaghami. “Consultation,” in The World of the Bahá’í Faith, edited by Robert H. Stockman. Routledge, 2022, pp. 450–462.

Smith, Todd, and Michael Karlberg. “Articulating a Consultative Epistemology: Toward a Reconciliation of Truth and Relativism.” The Journal of Bahá’í Studies, vol. 19, no. 1, 2009, pp. 59–99.

Spiro, Melford E. Gender Ideology and Psychological Reality: An Essay on Cultural Reproduction. Yale UP, 1997.

Steel, Daniel, et al. “Multiple Diversity Concepts and Their Ethical-Epistemic Implications.” European Journal for Philosophy of Science, vol. 8, no. 3, 2018, pp. 761–80. doi: 10.1007/s13194-018-0209-5.

Strauss, Claudia. “Models and Motives,” in Human Motives and Cultural Models, edited by Roy D’Andrade and Claudia Strauss. Cambridge UP, 1992, pp. 1–20.

Strauss, Claudia. “Research on Cultural Discontinuities,” in A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning, edited by Claudia Strauss and Naomi Quinn. Cambridge UP, 1997, pp. 210–51.

Strauss, Claudia, and Naomi Quinn. A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning. Cambridge UP, 1997.

Taherzadeh, Adib. The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. George Ronald, 1992.

Throop, C. Jason. “Moral Moods.” Ethos, vol. 42, no. 1, 2014, pp. 65–83. doi: 10.1111/etho.12039.

Turner, Victor W. Drama, Fields and Metaphors: Symbolic Action in Human Society. Cornell UP, 1990.

Turner, Victor W. The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure. Cornell UP, 1977.

The Universal House of Justice. Letter written on its behalf to a National Spiritual Assembly, 22 June 1989. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#19890622_001. Accessed 11 May 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Letter written on its behalf to an individual believer, 19 May 1995. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#19950519_001. Accessed 11 May 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the Bahá’ís of Iran, 2 March 2013. Accessed 11 May 2023. www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/20130302_001/1#063389421. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1 November 2022. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20221101_001. Accessed 11 May 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in the United States, 29 December 1988. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/19881229_001/1#107655478. Accessed 11 May 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Letter written on its behalf to three individuals, 29 November 2017. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20171129_001. Accessed 11 May 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the Bahá’ís of the world, 28 November 2023. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/20231128_001/1#442556480. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the Bahá’ís of the world, Riḍván 2000. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20000421_001. Accessed 19 Dec. 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the Baha’is of the world, Riḍván 2021. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20210420_001. Accessed 22 Dec. 2023.

The Universal House of Justice. Message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, 30 December 2021. Bahá’í Reference Library, www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/the-universal-house-of-justice/messages/#20211230_001. Accessed 2 Jul. 2023.

van Gennep, Arnold. The Rites of Passage. U of Chicago P, 1960.

White, Whitney. Binding Together: Guaymí Resistance and Construction of Religious Identity through the Bahá’í Faith. 1993. University of California, Los Angeles, M.A. thesis.

Whitehouse, Harvey. Modes of Religiosity: A Cognitive Theory of Religious Transmission. AltaMira Press, 2004.

Williams, Bianca C. “Radical Honesty: Truth-Telling as Pedagogy for Working Through Shame in Academic Spaces,” in Race, Equity, and the Learning Environment, edited by Frank Tuitt et al. Stylus Publishing, 2016, pp. 71–82.

Wylie, Alison. “Why Standpoint Matters,” in Science and Other Cultures: Issues in Philosophies of Science and Technology, edited by Robert Figueroa and Sandra G. Harding, Routledge, 2003, pp. 26–48.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you wish to adapt, remix, transform, or build upon this work in any way, you may not distribute your work without first contacting the Editor for permission.

Copyright © 2024 Whitney White Kazemipour