As you search the Internet about the Baha’i Faith, you may come across people who call themselves things like ‘orthodox’ Baha’is or some other group. The easiest way to know you have stumbled onto these folks is if they start talking about a ‘new’ Guardian or a different leadership structure. You should be advised that the vast majority of those who call themselves Baha’is (perhaps 99%) remain within one world religious organization that follows the Universal House of Justice that is based in Haifa, Israel, on Mount Carmel. This worldwide organization can be easily accessed at http://www.bahai.org. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah promised His followers that His religion would never successfully split into sects when He wrote, “This is the Day that shall not be followed by night…” (SLH, p. 33). Baha’is believe that this means that this religion will never be successfully broken into different sects.
Religious history is filled with sectarian strife and bloodshed. This divisiveness has often halted the growth and hindered the development of the great religions of the world. So Baha’is believe it is no accident that while some have tried (and are still trying), no one has ever been able to break the Baha’i religion into sects. This is because Baha’u’llah has made a unique ‘Covenant’ with His followers that He will protect His community from schism. Baha’u’llah wrote, “Follow not, therefore, your earthly desires, and violate not the Covenant of God, nor break your pledge to Him.” (GWB, p. 328). This is not only by mystical forces working beyond our comprehension, but by the existence of a divinely appointed Administrative Order (or governing body) laid out clearly and unmistakably in the Writings of Baha’u’llah Himself, with checks and balances that will protect humanity from itself.
To break the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, then, is a very bad thing in the Baha’i Faith. Those who try to break up the Faith are called ‘Covenant-breakers’ and the community avoids these people and their messages lest their divisiveness spread to others. Baha’is believe the desire for power and influence, and thus the inclination to create schism, is like a plague that must be quarantined and contained. Therefore, Baha’is have a strong organized religion and one of its duties is to protect the Faith from the dangerous sectarianism that would sap the strength and dissolve the spirit of our faith.