Back in the days when I was an enrolled Baha'i, there would nearly always be, circulated at Feast, various pamplets advertising from companies whose market consists largely of Baha'is: Kalimat Press, Oneworld, Special Ideas, etc. that sell Baha'i books, jewelry, prayer beads, promotional materials like t-shirts and bumper stickers. When I was Secretary, I used to get that stuff in the mail all the time. Selling Baha'i items means that a company is trying to reach a niche market, to say the least, and these companies do this with the permission of the institutions. Kalimat, for example, was once described in a UHJ letter as having "privileged access" to the Baha'i community. But without that "privilege", it would be nearly impossible to reach Baha'is at all, except for repeat customers. Membership lists are not given out, except to Secretaries who are asked to keep them confidential.
Well, a few years ago, a Baha'i gentleman, as a labor of love, revived the children's magazine Varqa. It is not so much a "Baha'i magazine" like Brilliant Star, but a magazine based on Baha'i principles. Here's the description:
Varqa International Children's Magazine is a full-colour literary magazine for children ages 7 to 14 and is entirely advertisement-free. Varqa, whose name means “dove,” the symbol of peace and bearer of good news, is dedicated to the spiritual and intellectual development of children. It strives to generate hope and constructive energy for the future of humankind inspired by the principles of the Bahá'í Faith, namely:
unity of mankind
unity of religions
the equality of women and men
the independent investigation of truth
celebration of social justice, diversity, cultures, creativity, and art
appreciation of nature
protection of the environment
Like many projects taken on for idealistic reasons, it is barely staying afloat. However, this man, who knows some of the UHJ members was told that the House will not allow him to promote his magazine through the LSAs. This was done informally and orally, so there is no paper trail. One House member told him this, claiming that the others were on his side. Without access to local Baha'i communities, the magazine is cut off from promoting to its primary audience.
The administration says that it encourages individual initiative, but I hear stories like this all the time, where individual initiative is simply squashed. My feeling is that you have to be the "right" individual. As I understand it, no reason was given for this prohibition. Somebody up there doesn't like this guy personally? They don't want competition to "official" Baha'i magazines? They don't like a magazine based on "principles" rather than directly teaching the religion? Who knows?
Anyway, those of you out there, Baha'i or not, who have young children should check this magazine out at their website, and consider subscribing or otherwise offering your support.