Northern Illinois Bahá'ís

Why Bahá'í - Nancy McKee


Northern Illinois USA Glen Ellyn, IL

Being a Bahá’í was a choice for me, conscientiously investigated by mind and heart, and chosen.  I was fortunate enough to become a part of a dedicated and vibrant group of individuals who helped me begin to appreciate the nature of the commitment I made.  They instilled in me the attitude of lifelong learning and progress I needed to be a Bahá’í.

I had moved to a new small town where I didn’t know a single soul.  There was a storefront on Main Street that said “Bahá’í Center” in the window; I had never seen the word before and had no idea what it meant.  But a month later there was an announcement on local radio about a meeting at the library on Friday evening, a discussion about the future of education, sponsored by the Bahá’í community.  I decided to go, thinking it would be a good way to meet people – and it didn’t cost anything!

The talk was very thought-provoking, and I met several  people – mostly about my age, who were friendly and engaging.  They offered to answer my questions and were interested in getting to know me.  The thing I remember most is that they weren’t pushy about their Faith.  Nothing would have made me run for the door faster than that…

After work the following Monday, I headed straight for the library to look for books about the Bahá’í Faith, and found several.  I checked them all out and spent a week reading.  And all those new friends came by to visit me almost every day.  They often gathered for supper in one another’s homes and spent evenings studying Bahá’í Writings and having long, deep discussions.  I was welcome to join them and often did. 

It took about a week of reading, questioning, and thinking, but I knew this was where I belonged.  The Bahá’í teachings seemed to answer every question I’d ever had about religion, including the ones I couldn’t articulate.  My mom raised us in the Presbyterian church; I wasn’t a newcomer to faith.  But in the Bahá’í Faith I felt at home.

My new friends were surprised when, only a week after we first met, I handed them a signed “declaration card”, the formality that stated my intention to become a Bahá’í.  It’s dated 11/21/77.

Little did I understand then what a commitment I was making, but I’ve never looked back.  Something a speaker said in that first weekend has never left me:  “Becoming a Bahá’í doesn’t mean you’ve gotten anywhere; it just means you’ve agreed to go.”  This Faith requires a daily effort to renew and strengthen the commitment one makes when one decides to become an adherent; the journey doesn’t end, it continues through all the worlds of God.