A Spiritual Journey: Connecticut Christian Embraces Bahai

April 24, 2009

Author: Peggy Fletcher Stack

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune


Jordan Dez loved worshipping at her big, white-steepled Connecticut church. She felt embraced by the liberal United Church of Christ congregation of her youth. It felt natural and right and fit in with her sense of God's love. She was baptized at 13 because, as she says, everyone around was a Christian.

That was her religious cocoon.

Yet, like many others of her generation, the 27-year-old Dez began in college to seek spirituality beyond the borders of traditional Christianity. While studying anthropology and Spanish at the University of Connecticut, she tried yoga, Buddhism and other Eastern faiths.

During graduate work at the School for International Training in Vermont, she met a handsome, brilliant Iranian student. He was a Bahai.

Jordan Dez had never heard of Bahais, but she was intrigued. There was no lightning moment when her husband-to-be described his faith, and he wasn't pushy about it. As they courted, though, she found herself increasingly attracted to the Persian-born faith that preaches love for all humanity and God's unfolding revelations down through the centuries.

"The guiding principle is unity and that was what I already believed. It spoke to me organically without any work," Dez says now. "It felt like home to me. It was natural to my personality."

She fell in love, she says, with the Bahai emphasis on gender equality as well as its preaching of harmony among various ethnic and religious groups. She appreciated its acceptance of prophets from different traditions, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Zoroaster, as well as two uniquely Bahai "messengers," known as the Bab and Baha'u'llah.

"God is God," Dez says. "And God will not leave us alone. More prophets are coming in the progression of humanity."

In November, after two years of study, Dez signed a "card," expressing her commitment to lead a Bahai life. That's all it took for her to be identified with the faith.

Now prayer and study are a daily part of her life, she says.