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Just last week, we had over 50 screenings of THE GATE: DAWN OF THE BAHA’I FAITH throughout the United States to help honor The Declaration of The Bab.
There are many reasons why I made this film. Today, we live in a world divided by nation, race, gender and religion. Many people have lost hope that we can ever achieve peace on Earth. However, Baha’is are hopeful because the Baha’i Writings promise that this will happen. Many people today are so horrified by conflicts and strife in the name of religion that they have disavowed religion altogether.
The Baha’i Writings say that “if religion becomes the source of antagonism and strife, the absence of religion is to be preferred.”
However, the Writings go on to say that true religion is a unifying force and is never divisive.
One of the first things that attracted me to the Baha’i Faith was the idea that one religion didn’t need to be ‘wrong’ for another religion to be ‘right’. Instead, the cornerstone of the Baha’i Faith is the idea of Progressive Revelation, where a single God has sent Divine Messengers every 500 to 1000 years to progressively reveal God’s word to us and uplift humanity. Thus, instead of believing in a single Prophet, Baha’is believe in the Divine Messengers who founded all the great world religions. We believe that we find the love of God and the love of humanity at the heart of all religions. What separates religions are the outer forms of religion and misunderstandings about the unifying message put forth by all the Messengers. The differences in religions can also be explained by the differences in social laws and teachings that address the differing needs of humanity in their respective ages.
Since I became a Baha’i in 2015, I have dedicated much of my time to teaching the Baha’i Faith and spreading its message of the oneness of humanity. Only three days after I became a Baha’i, I told a Baha’i friend that I wanted to retire in a few years and dedicate my life more fully to teaching the Baha’i Faith. He suggested that I consider making a movie about the Faith in order to reach a larger audience. His hope was that a movie could help us reach millions of people with our message of hope and peace.
Within an hour, I received an introductory e-mail from Peter Samuelson about helping fund a foster kids program. Peter also happened to be an experienced movie producer whose most successful movie was a comedy called ‘Revenge of the Nerds’. Peter and I had a wonderful conversation and began a strong friendship as well as a partnership in helping foster children. As an aside, I asked him about making a Baha’i movie and he invited me to Los Angeles to discuss it. As it turned out, I was already scheduled to fly there the following week. Peter and I were eating lunch at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica when a man at the next table asked a question about Christianity. I answered it and he and his companion joined our conversation. Amazingly, he had also been approached about making a Baha’i movie. Peter told me that making my movie would be a good idea and I set about building my team. An unrelated source introduced me to the writer of ‘Revenge of the Nerds’, who, in turn, introduced me to Bob Hercules, an experienced documentarian who became our producer and director. His business partner, Keith Walker, became our Director of Photography. Ed Price, a Baha’i author who I respected for his deep knowledge of the Faith, joined our team next. Ed suggested that we approach Dr. Nader Saiedi, one of the world’s leading Baha’i scholars and he agreed to join us as well. Later, we added Adam Mondschein, a Baha’i actor, as an actor and co-producer. Over the last 3 years, we have traversed 3 continents and worked together to produce what we hope will be an important contribution as one of the earliest documentaries of the history of the Baha’i Faith.
To learn more about THE GATE: DAWN OF THE BAHA’I FAITH or find out how you can see it, please visit: thegatefilm.com
Plans are in the works to make additional documentaries about the origins of the Baha’i Faith as well as short form content about the unifying principles such as the elimination of sexism, racism, nationalism and religious prejudice, harmony between religion and science and the elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty. To see this content follow The Gate Film on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.