I became a Baháí in December of 1959 and was enrolled in the Nashville, Tennessee, Baháí Community. After living in Blacksburg, Virginia (1963-1965) where I taught at VIP, and then in Athens, Georgia (1965-1968), where I taught and earned my PhD, I moved moved to Temple Terrace, Florida, where I began my professorship at the University of South Florida.
In the Tampa area I took great joy in being in a vibrant community again after having been mostly an isolated believer for six years. Consequently, I become very active in both local and state Baháí activities, first as a member of the State Goals Committee (1969-1972) where he participated in organizing the successful mass teaching efforts in Florida. In 1969 he was elected a delegate to the 1969 National Convention.
During my almost forty years at the University of South Florida, I was was sponsor of the Baháí Club. In 1971-1973 I chaired the Florida Summer School Committee, one of the challenging jobs I had undertaken. In 1972 I went on pilgrimagea truly life-changing experience for me, and in 1975 I began what has been a continuous and rewarding relationship with the Association of Baháí Studies.
From 1975-1978 I served as a member of the Publishing Committee for the Bahá’í Publishing Trust of the United States. I have been blessed to have been elected delegate to the National Convention continuously from 1977 until the present. During this same time, I have served in various as an assistant to the Auxiliary Board in the early 1980s, as an Associate editor for the Journal of Baháí Studies, and as a member of the Executive Committee for the Association of Baháí Studies in the late 1990s.
In addition to teaching courses based on my own books at numerous Baháí summer schools and permanent schools from 1970s to the present, I served on numerous Local Spiritual Assemblies with my wife Lucia as we moved from one community to another in the Tampa areawhile I taught at the university, she managed to create a successful dance school which she ran for twenty-seven years.
In 2008 I was pleased to be elected to the South Central Baháí Regional Council, but when I turned seventy, I found that travel for me became difficult, whereupon I asked for and was granted permission to be relieved of this very challenging work. That service instilled in me the greatest respect for those who are elected to serve, whether on Regional Councils, National Spiritual Assemblies, or other positions that require such dedication, time, and energy.
In 2013 I was appointed editor of the Journal of Baháí Studies Association for Baháí Studies and, in 2015, was appointed editor of the Association for Baháí Studies Publications –then a co-publication project with Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
It is my intention after I am no longer editor to continue doing translation work with my other team members, Amrollah and Ehsanollah Hemmat, to finish several articles, and to do online presentations via this web site.
Selected talks, radio and tv presentations listed in chronological order (1968-2003):
For those who are interested, I include the following sample of some of the public speaking engagements I have given over the years. I was required to list these for my department, but I stopped tracking them in 2003 when I took over as Direct of Graduate Studies for the English Department:
“His Name Shall be One,” a talk on Bahá’í Faith, Fort Myers Civic Center, January 29, 1970.
“The Concept of a World Religion,” Brandon High School, March 19, 1970.
“The New Era,” Brandon High School, November 24, 1970.
“The Basis for World Equality,” Tampa Unitarian Church, February 14, 1971.
“Religion for Modern Man,” Gainesville Unitarian Church, Gainesville, Florida, April 16, 1972.
“The Faltering Traditions in American Society and the Search for an Integrating Principle,” Clearwater Mall, Clearwater, Florida, October 18, 1972.
“The Heralding of a New Age,” Holiday Inn, Bradenton Florida, October 25, 1972.
“Ontological Proofs in the Bahá’í Writings,” Reitz Student Union, University of Florida, January 17, 1978.
“Life after Life: An Analysis of the Work of R. A. Moody,” Northfield, Illinois, July, 1978.
“Life after Life,” Sarasota Public Library, Sarasota, Florida, November 3, 1978.
“World Religion,” a panel discussion at Fort Lauderdale Civic Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, November 5, 1978.
“The Concept of Progressive Revelation,” Unitarian Universalist Church, Tampa, Florida, January 20, 1980.
“The Metaphorical Nature of Physical Reality,” National College of Education, Evanston, Illinois, August 29, 1980.
“Discovering the Pearls of Wisdom,” National College of Education, Evanston, Illinois, September 1, 1980.
“The Vision of World Peace,” First Federal Bank, St. Pete, Florida, September 20, 1980.
“The Sands of Time,” a reading and discussion of poetry, Exchange Bank, Largo, Florida, October 26, 1980.
“The Necessity of World Peace,” Selby Library, Sarasota, Florida, February 12, 1982.
“Examples of Excellence,” Kentucky Bahá’í Institute, Bellarmine College, Louisville, Kentucky, July 1, 1983.
“The Concept of Progressive Revelation,” First United Methodist Church of Seffner, November 4, 1983.
“The Persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran,” Amnesty International, Tampa, Florida, December 2, 1983.
“The Bahá’í Concept of Justice,” Reitz Student Union, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, September 9, 1984.
“A Vision of World Peace,” Brandon, Florida (joint presentation with Congressmen Sam Gibbons), September 15, 1985.
“Our Children, Our Trust,” talk at Seminole Community College October 1, 1985.
“The Theology of the Bahá’í Faith,” Tampa Preparatory School, November 21, 1985.
“The Metaphorical Nature of Physical Reality,” a three-day seminar on his book The Purpose of Physical Reality, Montgomery Alabama, sponsored by the Alabama Bahá’í Schools Committee, February 10-21, 1988.
“The Metaphorical Nature of Physical Reality,” a talk on his book The Purpose of Physical Reality, the Selby Library, Sarasota, Florida, March 22, 1988.
“The Metaphorical Nature of Physical Reality,” a five-day seminar on his book The Purpose of Physical Reality, Bosch Bahá’í School, Santa Cruz, California, August 6-13, 1988.
“The Poetry of Religion,” featured speaker at the 20th Annual Green Lake Bahá’í Conference, Green Lake, Wisconsin, September 16-18, 1989.
“Reversing the Metaphorical Process,” a two-day workshop based on his book The Purpose of Physical Reality, San Diego, California, October 29-30, 1988.
“The Bahá’í Faith in Relation to St. Paul,” Temple Terrace Community Church, February 5, 1989.
“The Bahá’í Faith in Israel,” Congregation Schaarai Zedek, February 6, 1989.
“The Bahá’í Concept of Prayer,” two day workshop at Bosch Bahá’í School, Santa Cruz, California, April 8 and 9, 1989.
“Conserving Human Resources,” talk at Manatee County Central Library, sponsored by the Bahá’í community of Bradenton.
“The Unity of the World’s Religions,” Inverness Woman’s Club, January 21, 1990.
“The Concept of Progressive Revelation,” Unitarian Universalist Church, July 15, 1990.
“Personality Profiles,” Intercable t.v. program to talk on Bahá’í Faith, May 19, 1990.
“The Concept of World Order,” Florida Bahá’í Summer School, June 29-July 1, 1990, Melbourne, Florida.
“Stop the Violence: Save the Children,” Interfaith Memorial Service sponsored by the Hillsborough County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Committee, January 18, 1993 at St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Tampa.
Facilitator for Symposium on Race Relations in Hillsborough County, May 7 and 8, 1993.
“Building a Violence Free Society,” Sun City Center Kiwanis Club, May 26, 1994.
Featured Speaker at “Regional Bahá’í Youth Conference,” Estes Park, Colorado, June 9-12, 1994.
Featured Speaker, “35th Annual Green Lake Bahá’í Conference,” Green Lake, Wisconsin, September 16-18, 1994.
“The Concept of World Peace Begins in the Neighborhoods of America,” featured speaker for Bahá’í Peace Award ceremony in Louisville, Kentucky, April 8, 1995.
panelist for CUCA (Congregations United for Community Action), September 8, 1995.
“The Ocean of His Words: A Reader’s Guide to the Art of Bahá’u’lláh,” week-long curse at Bosch Bahá’í school in Santa Cruz, California, August 1995.
“The Ocean of His Words: A Reader’s Guide to the Art of Bahá’u’lláh,” week-long curse at Louhelen Bahá’í school in Davison, Michigan, July 21-July16, 1995.
facilitator at conference on “Paths to Peace: Global Prosperity Through the Advancement of Human Rights, & Moral Development,: December 23, 1995.
Spoke at seminar on scholarship and religion at Green Acre Bahá’í School in Eliot Maine, August 30, 1996
Talk on Human Rights at Manatee Community College, November 22, 1996.
“A Literary Approach to Scriptural Interpretation,” a week-long graduate seminar at Landegg Academy in Wienacht, Switzerland, May 9 -17th, 1997.
Invited to participate in first International Symposium on Religious Culture to be held in Beijing, China, November 1998, sponsored by PRIDE (Pacific Rim Institute for Development and Education)
Taught at weekly course at the Clearwater Bahá’í school on the evolution of Christian thought, 1999.
Spoke on the concept of mysticism in English literature at the Selby Public Library in Sarasota on January 7, 1999.
Gave a weekend institute on his work The Ocean of His Words at the University of Louisville (Feb 6-7, 1999.
Gave a talk at the Selby Library in Sarasota, March 22, 2000, entitled “Are the World’s Religions Really That Different?”
Taught course at Clearwater Baha’i Center every Sunday on “A Study of Islam as background to an understanding of the Baha’i Faith.” This course was taught on a college level and required a great deal of time and preparation.
The Good Life and Why We Hate It So, Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, August 10, 2003.