Time for Ruhi to Show Us the Money: Part I

show-me-the-ruhi

Before I can explain why it is time for Ruhi to “show us the money” (by which, I mean results), allow me a slight digression into the fields of anthropology and sociology. With your indulgence the connection to Ruhi will be shortly obvious.

A few years before Arbab began to work on Ruhi and FUNDAEC, a Dutch gentleman by the name of Geert Hofstede, was working on a large project for IBM. Within the human resource department of IBM, Hofstede’s main task was to travel the world and to gather information on how the different branches of IBM in different countries worked in order to glean lessons of best practices. While engaged in this work, he stumbled onto a framework for assessing culture. In essence, the data staring back at him started to form itself into patterns. Very soon, what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was to individual personalities, Hofstede’s Dimensions were to collective personalities – otherwise called, culture.

Technically there are 5 axes but for our purposes we need only explore 3 of them. If you would like to find out more, you can check out Hofstede’s own website, wikipedia or your friendly, neighborhood sociologist or anthropologist. In any case, the three axes or dimensions relevant to our discussion are:

  1. Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions accept and expect that power be distributed unequally. Low power distance (e.g. New Zealand) expect and accept power relations that are more consultative or democratic. People relate to one another more as equals regardless of formal positions. Subordinates are more comfortable with and demand the right to contribute to and critique the decision making of those in power. In High power distance countries (e.g. Malaysia), less powerful accept power relations that are more autocratic and paternalistic. Subordinates acknowledge the power of others simply based on where they are situated in certain formal, hierarchical positions. As such, the Power Distance Index Hofstede defines does not reflect an objective difference in power distribution, but rather the way people perceive power differences.
  2. Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.
  3. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. It indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations. Unstructured situations are novel, unknown, surprising, different from usual. Uncertainty avoiding cultures try to minimize the possibility of such situations by strict laws and rules, safety and security measures, and on the philosophical and religious level by a belief in absolute Truth; ‘there can only be one Truth and we have it’. People in uncertainty avoiding countries are also more emotional, and motivated by inner nervous energy. The opposite type, uncertainty accepting cultures, are more tolerant of opinions different from what they are used to; they try to have as few rules as possible, and on the philosophical and religious level they are relativist and allow many currents to flow side by side. People within these cultures are more phlegmatic and contemplative, and not expected by their environment to express emotions.

Now, let us assess the culture of Colombia, the country that Arbab found himself in, half-way around the world from Hofstede, as he was busy putting the finishing touches on his soon to be famous framework. The highest Hofstede Dimension for Colombia is Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) at 80. This means that as a society, Colombia has a very low level of tolerance for uncertainty. It is a culture where people strongly prefer to have things spelled out clearly. They are comfortable and seek out absolutes and recoil from unstructured situations or “grey” areas, whether that is from a philosophical, religious or practical stand point. Their ultimate aim is to control life and to eliminate or avoid the unexpected. Colombians know exactly what they believe and they have little tolerance for other ideas or theories.

According to Hofstede, Colombians have a rather high tolerance for power inequality. Their PDI score is 67 – this means not that there is inequality, but that people are comfortable with the idea of stratification in society. Those with higher rank are used to perks and people with lower rank know their place. This is a culture where there is a strong sense of hierarchy and formality.

Finally, Colombia has a very low Individualism (IDV) score: 13. This is not the lowest in the world but there are only 4 other countries (out of the 56 in the Hofstede database) with lower IDV scores; and they are all Latin American countries as well. This score means that the country prefers collectivism compared to individualism. Colombians identify themselves as members of a group, family, extended family, etc. They are loyal as this quality over-rides the majority of other societal values. This society functions by the unwritten rule that through strong relationships, people take care of each other.

By now gears will have been turning in your head as you put the pieces together. Whether Arbab realized it or not, the Ruhi course is perfectly molded to fit the cultural norms of Colombia! They prefer to have things in black and white; so filling in the blank with only one possible answer is ideal. They are comfortable with hierarchy and rank, so having a tutor lead the class through a sequence of courses makes perfect sense. And joining a group study circle (rather than individual study) again fits perfectly because culturally, they identify with groups and are happy to conform and subjugate their individuality.

hofstede-cultural-constants-colombia-usaObviously by now you are aware of the criticisms leveled at Ruhi. For now, let us ignore the well deserved critiques which point to the vast number of errors within the course. Let’s simply compare the culture of Colombia and the USA to see if it can explain why Baha’is in the US are chaffing at the pressure to take Ruhi courses.

Even a cursory glance tells us what we intuitively knew. These are vastly different cultures! If we tried, we could find two that were less alike but what would be the point? The culture of the US is very individualistic with a IDV score of 90. People are self-reliant, automonous; they want to be “their own man” (or woman).

The PDI for the US is low at 40 (the world average is 55). This means that Americans do not like authority, they prefer to live on equal footing with others; their ideal is a consultative or democratic society with few hierarchies or rank. And finally, the UAI score is low at 46. This means that US citizens are comfortable and prefer few rules. In contrast to Colombians, they are perfectly at ease in a situation where the outcome is unknown or unexpected. They thrive in the “grey” areas of life. There are only 6 other countries (out of 56) which have a lower UAI score. Culturally, Americans are tolerant of a variety of beliefs and ideas and do not feel the need to impose their own views on others.

Now, I have to inject a caveat. This is a scientific model to describe cultures. It should not be mistaken as being deterministic. There are always individuals within cultures that do not adhere to the norms (just ask George W. Bush about imposing his views on others) but the purpose of such broad strokes is to generalize accurately about the overall character of a specific culture.

This framework explains what we’ve already seen across the world-wide Baha’i community as Latin American Baha’is love Ruhi, while North American and European Baha’is are largely ignoring it. It is no wonder then, that the Ruhi course was so successful as it grew from the small Cauca valley north of Cali to nearby villages, then surrounding cities, and finally whole new regions of Colombia.

Or, was it?

I’ll explore that in Part II

  • fubar

    Baquia, excellent material and analysis. Jean Gebser's integral model includes a couple of other critical elements of culture: holism, development (progress) and regression. To "modernist" and "postmodernist" north americans or europeans, Ruhi is regressive: it represents going BACKWARD to tribal/imperialist social arrangements.

    If you do a similar analysis of Israel and Iran, you get a complete picture of the main sources of regression in bahai culture.

    If you do a similar analysis of the crisis of modernist/postmodern n. america and europe, you see why the collapse of the institutional paradigms that are supposed to uphold democratizing forces (Habermas, etc.) have led to a crisis of confidence in those institutions (as they have become dysfunctional – google "Disinformocracy").

    (yes, bahai institutions, such as NSAs, are examples of the problem, not solutions at this point.)

    | http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/10.html
    |
    | The Virtual Community
    | by Howard Rheingold

    —excerpt—
    We know the rules of community; we know the healing effect of community in terms of individual lives. If we could somehow find a way across the bridge of our knowledge, would not these same rules have a healing effect upon our world? We human beings have often been referred to as social animals. But we are not yet community creatures. We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival. But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, equality, and love of genuine community. It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail parties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries. It is our task–our essential, central, crucial task–to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures. It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed.
    — M. Scott Peck
    — The Different Drum: Community-Making and Peace

    —end—

    (Some of the material on technology is a bit dated, from the 1990s, but the social analysis is only confirmed by recent events.)

    The "good stuff" is about 1/3 of the way down, starting at

    "The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere"

    In short, what is needed to reverse the corruption in institutionally dysfunctional and/or corrupt societies such as n. america/europe is not "tribal regression" (Ruhi) or elaborate excuses about broken, dysfunctional institutions that can no longer accomplish their original purposes, but a paradigm shift to integral thinking, integral culture, integral politics, integral spirituality, integral education, etc.

    bahai institutions and bahai cluture is lost, and grasping for straws, vacillating wildly and irrationally between "broken solutions": dysfunctional "modernist/hierarchial" institutions (NSAs, etc.) and "regressive" bottom-up/tribal modalities (Ruhi).

    very sad. futile. pointless.

  • fubar

    Baquia, excellent material and analysis. Jean Gebser's integral model includes a couple of other critical elements of culture: holism, development (progress) and regression. To "modernist" and "postmodernist" north americans or europeans, Ruhi is regressive: it represents going BACKWARD to tribal/imperialist social arrangements.

    If you do a similar analysis of Israel and Iran, you get a complete picture of the main sources of regression in bahai culture.

    If you do a similar analysis of the crisis of modernist/postmodern n. america and europe, you see why the collapse of the institutional paradigms that are supposed to uphold democratizing forces (Habermas, etc.) have led to a crisis of confidence in those institutions (as they have become dysfunctional – google "Disinformocracy").

    (yes, bahai institutions, such as NSAs, are examples of the problem, not solutions at this point.)

    | http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/10.html
    |
    | The Virtual Community
    | by Howard Rheingold

    —excerpt—
    We know the rules of community; we know the healing effect of community in terms of individual lives. If we could somehow find a way across the bridge of our knowledge, would not these same rules have a healing effect upon our world? We human beings have often been referred to as social animals. But we are not yet community creatures. We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival. But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, equality, and love of genuine community. It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail parties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries. It is our task–our essential, central, crucial task–to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures. It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed.
    — M. Scott Peck
    — The Different Drum: Community-Making and Peace

    —end—

    (Some of the material on technology is a bit dated, from the 1990s, but the social analysis is only confirmed by recent events.)

    The "good stuff" is about 1/3 of the way down, starting at

    "The Selling of Democracy: Commodification and the Public Sphere"

    In short, what is needed to reverse the corruption in institutionally dysfunctional and/or corrupt societies such as n. america/europe is not "tribal regression" (Ruhi) or elaborate excuses about broken, dysfunctional institutions that can no longer accomplish their original purposes, but a paradigm shift to integral thinking, integral culture, integral politics, integral spirituality, integral education, etc.

    bahai institutions and bahai cluture is lost, and grasping for straws, vacillating wildly and irrationally between "broken solutions": dysfunctional "modernist/hierarchial" institutions (NSAs, etc.) and "regressive" bottom-up/tribal modalities (Ruhi).

    very sad. futile. pointless.

  • Craig Parke

    The Ruhi System IS the Baha'i Faith now. The social engineering workbooks themselves are the Sacred Holy Texts of the New Faith. They have replaced anything the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ever wrote. They are the creation of the new Supreme Holy Manifestations of God Committee for this Day – the clergy of the International Teaching Center – and THEIR personal opinions and personal interpretations of the Writings trump all. Their theorist class is the Head of the Faith and what they say goes. Period. If anyone has any other opinion or interpretation of anything at all they will eventually be kicked out of the Faith by any means necessary. So it is a fait accompli and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. The Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses IS the Sacred Scripture of the Baha'i Faith now and everyone must accept that fact or be terminated. The now sacred fill in the blanks lines are directly from the Mind of God for this State teachers College World Age. It is the new Rockefeller funded Sufi Order. It is as simple as that. Any discussion is futile. Any attempt to find any other footing or understanding is futile. People must be top down told what to think and what to believe. Any society and all the people in it that does not accept that mindset as revealed by the ITC is the enemy of God and will be declared to be so and will be condemned. Studying any sociological research will get you into severe problems with the lifetime incumbent authorities in the Baha'i Faith. So it is best to leave this topic alone and just lay back and accept the total top down programming and indoctrination of people's minds as the future of the planet. There will be no independent investigation of truth of any kind in the coming apparatchik World Order. Period. Eventually the Internet itself will be unplugged and there will only be the books and filling in the blanks with the pre-formulated right answers over and over 100,000 times from birth until death in the life of each human soul. The Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees mindset just cannot ever be overcome. It is just too deep in the DNA of everyone on this planet. It will always win out in "organized religion" and it has once again. Many had hoped for something better this time out, but, alas, it just wasn't to be. The Clergy class will always tell other people what to think and you had better think it or else. The same old, same old.

    So, Baquia, nice try. But the moment your identity ever becomes known you will most assuredly be denounced and burned at the stake by the professional theorist clergy in the Baha'i Faith

    Meanwhile, enjoy this until it is all eventually censored off of the Internet in the future Ruhi State.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zydAs5bRW1U

  • Craig Parke

    The Ruhi System IS the Baha'i Faith now. The social engineering workbooks themselves are the Sacred Holy Texts of the New Faith. They have replaced anything the Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi ever wrote. They are the creation of the new Supreme Holy Manifestations of God Committee for this Day – the clergy of the International Teaching Center – and THEIR personal opinions and personal interpretations of the Writings trump all. Their theorist class is the Head of the Faith and what they say goes. Period. If anyone has any other opinion or interpretation of anything at all they will eventually be kicked out of the Faith by any means necessary. So it is a fait accompli and there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it. The Ruhi Full Sequence of Courses IS the Sacred Scripture of the Baha'i Faith now and everyone must accept that fact or be terminated. The now sacred fill in the blanks lines are directly from the Mind of God for this State teachers College World Age. It is the new Rockefeller funded Sufi Order. It is as simple as that. Any discussion is futile. Any attempt to find any other footing or understanding is futile. People must be top down told what to think and what to believe. Any society and all the people in it that does not accept that mindset as revealed by the ITC is the enemy of God and will be declared to be so and will be condemned. Studying any sociological research will get you into severe problems with the lifetime incumbent authorities in the Baha'i Faith. So it is best to leave this topic alone and just lay back and accept the total top down programming and indoctrination of people's minds as the future of the planet. There will be no independent investigation of truth of any kind in the coming apparatchik World Order. Period. Eventually the Internet itself will be unplugged and there will only be the books and filling in the blanks with the pre-formulated right answers over and over 100,000 times from birth until death in the life of each human soul. The Chief Priests, Scribes, and Pharisees mindset just cannot ever be overcome. It is just too deep in the DNA of everyone on this planet. It will always win out in "organized religion" and it has once again. Many had hoped for something better this time out, but, alas, it just wasn't to be. The Clergy class will always tell other people what to think and you had better think it or else. The same old, same old.

    So, Baquia, nice try. But the moment your identity ever becomes known you will most assuredly be denounced and burned at the stake by the professional theorist clergy in the Baha'i Faith

    Meanwhile, enjoy this until it is all eventually censored off of the Internet in the future Ruhi State.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zydAs5bRW1U

  • Grover

    Nice article Baquia! I really like how you've used Hofstede’s work as the basis for critiquing Ruhi and explaining why there has been resistance in the western world to doing the Ruhi courses. I particularly like it because it gives an insight into ourselves about who we are as people.

    It is a shame ITC and the UHJ aren't social scientists. They might have been able to predict what has happened.

  • Grover

    Nice article Baquia! I really like how you've used Hofstede’s work as the basis for critiquing Ruhi and explaining why there has been resistance in the western world to doing the Ruhi courses. I particularly like it because it gives an insight into ourselves about who we are as people.

    It is a shame ITC and the UHJ aren't social scientists. They might have been able to predict what has happened.

  • Ian Mayes

    Could you give me your e-mail address? I would like to have a private discussion with you.

  • Ian Mayes

    Could you give me your e-mail address? I would like to have a private discussion with you.

  • Behyar

    Baquia! Ruhi has already come up with the goods in hundreds of localities around the world – probably one near you. You just are not looking and not listening. It is simply not true that "North American and European Baha’is are largely ignoring it." That may have been true up to about 2-3 years ago but it is not true now. This shows how out of touch you are. Wake up and smell the coffee!

  • Behyar

    Baquia! Ruhi has already come up with the goods in hundreds of localities around the world – probably one near you. You just are not looking and not listening. It is simply not true that "North American and European Baha’is are largely ignoring it." That may have been true up to about 2-3 years ago but it is not true now. This shows how out of touch you are. Wake up and smell the coffee!

  • Grover

    Really Behyar? When only 1 out of 5 new Baha'is finish Ruhi book 1, when only 10% of the community is actively doing anything (according to a presentation done recently in the US), when only 1/3 of the Toronto Baha'i community has done a Ruhi course and then afterwards the numbers stayed stagnant (see link from Baquia's article above to some official stats), when 2/8 non-Baha'is complete Ruhi book 1? When the community has been turned from a free-thinking to a fundamentalist Amway mindset and still no entry by troops, I'd say its been a complete disaster. Isn't time for you to wake up and smell the coffee?

  • Grover

    Really Behyar? When only 1 out of 5 new Baha'is finish Ruhi book 1, when only 10% of the community is actively doing anything (according to a presentation done recently in the US), when only 1/3 of the Toronto Baha'i community has done a Ruhi course and then afterwards the numbers stayed stagnant (see link from Baquia's article above to some official stats), when 2/8 non-Baha'is complete Ruhi book 1? When the community has been turned from a free-thinking to a fundamentalist Amway mindset and still no entry by troops, I'd say its been a complete disaster. Isn't time for you to wake up and smell the coffee?

  • Thank you Grover – this is the preamble to set the stage for what I really wanted to say, in a few days I'll be posting part II.

  • Sent you an email where you can reach me Ian.

  • Thank you Grover – this is the preamble to set the stage for what I really wanted to say, in a few days I'll be posting part II.

  • Sent you an email where you can reach me Ian.

  • Behyar, what exactly is your definition of "come up with the goods"? I'm looking at some communities around the world and the acceptance of Ruhi is very minimal, even after so many years. And the effect of Ruhi is non-existent in the data. If you have some concrete data, please brew some up for us.

  • Behyar, what exactly is your definition of "come up with the goods"? I'm looking at some communities around the world and the acceptance of Ruhi is very minimal, even after so many years. And the effect of Ruhi is non-existent in the data. If you have some concrete data, please brew some up for us.

  • Behyar

    The sort of criticisms of Ruhi courses that are being expressed on this list are typical of those who have never done the courses or have just done the first couple of books and decided they did not like it.

    It is true that when these courses were first being promoted, they were pushed forward in an unfortunate way and people who had not done any more than a couple of the books were being asked to become tutors when they had not overall vision of what the process is about. As a result many in the early stages had poor experiences of being taught the courses mechanically and by rote.

    But if you go through the courses to the end and do Book 7 (which is what you are now asked to so before you teach any courses), you will discover that the courses are not in fact designed to force a uniform view onto Baha'is – nor to promote taqlid. For example, many of the questions posed particularly in the later books do not have a right or wrong answer. They are designed to make the participants realise that the context is important when making decisions, that one cannot read across from the text to life in a fundamentalist manner.

    The early books may come across as rote learning, but in fact, if you look at them more carefully, they are designed to address a very real problem – the fact that 90% of people (and I mean here both Baha'is and non-Baha'is) have no experience of reading texts of the complexity of the Baha'i ones and no experience of thinking about them. Among those who are religious (Baha'i or not), 90% of people have been used to being told what to believe by religious leaders or those who presume to take a leading position (and this includes Baha'is) and have no experience of forming or expressing opinions about spiritual matters. I am not here talking about Colombia, India or the Congo. I am talking about people in North America and Europe.

    As a result, the Ruhi books have to start from a very low base. First making sure that people understand the words used in the texts – and that they feel comfortable asking when they do not. Second that they start thinking about how the quotations offered apply to their own lives. As they go through the books, they not only gain a better grasp of the texts but they have also been encouraged to do things like carry home visits, devotional meetings and children's classes. In other words, they start to gain self-confidence, they start to believe that they have capacities, and as a result of doing the service activities, they start to have something to say. Thus in the later books, the questions are more open-ended and encourage thinking and discussion.

    The course is not designed to impart information. It is designed to be transformational: First to help people transform their own lives by thinking about the scriptures and what it is telling them about how they should be; and second to transform Baha'is from being passive experiencers of their religion into active participants in it.

    In all this, it has been reasonably successful. Those communities which have embraced it have experience much higher levels of activity and enthusiasm. They have experienced higher levels of people coming into the Faith. These changes were slow to occur at first because it needed a critical mass to produce a noticeable effect but I think you will find the effect showing up in the national statistics within the next few years.

    I do not say that Ruhi is perfect – but people should also be aware that it is a self-correcting system. If you enter into it, do all the books and become a tutor, you also start to feed back comments to the creators of the course. Some of the books are being rewritten on the basis of these comments. Book 5 has not even been printed yet because it is still being rewritten as a result of comments coming back from those doing the draft course.

    SO I would reject most of what Baquia has written in his earlier piece "Ruhi Redux" and what Grover and Craig Parke say above and I would suggest it is mostly the result of neither understanding what the course is about nor experiencing the full course. Any who does Book 5, for example (that is the one for teaching Junior Youth classes) and still thinks that the Ruhi courses are about rote learning and indoctrination clearly has been asleep while the session was going on. Anyone who has done Book 7 and still says that Ruhi is about taqlid must have been attending Book 7 of some other course.

  • Behyar

    The sort of criticisms of Ruhi courses that are being expressed on this list are typical of those who have never done the courses or have just done the first couple of books and decided they did not like it.

    It is true that when these courses were first being promoted, they were pushed forward in an unfortunate way and people who had not done any more than a couple of the books were being asked to become tutors when they had not overall vision of what the process is about. As a result many in the early stages had poor experiences of being taught the courses mechanically and by rote.

    But if you go through the courses to the end and do Book 7 (which is what you are now asked to so before you teach any courses), you will discover that the courses are not in fact designed to force a uniform view onto Baha'is – nor to promote taqlid. For example, many of the questions posed particularly in the later books do not have a right or wrong answer. They are designed to make the participants realise that the context is important when making decisions, that one cannot read across from the text to life in a fundamentalist manner.

    The early books may come across as rote learning, but in fact, if you look at them more carefully, they are designed to address a very real problem – the fact that 90% of people (and I mean here both Baha'is and non-Baha'is) have no experience of reading texts of the complexity of the Baha'i ones and no experience of thinking about them. Among those who are religious (Baha'i or not), 90% of people have been used to being told what to believe by religious leaders or those who presume to take a leading position (and this includes Baha'is) and have no experience of forming or expressing opinions about spiritual matters. I am not here talking about Colombia, India or the Congo. I am talking about people in North America and Europe.

    As a result, the Ruhi books have to start from a very low base. First making sure that people understand the words used in the texts – and that they feel comfortable asking when they do not. Second that they start thinking about how the quotations offered apply to their own lives. As they go through the books, they not only gain a better grasp of the texts but they have also been encouraged to do things like carry home visits, devotional meetings and children's classes. In other words, they start to gain self-confidence, they start to believe that they have capacities, and as a result of doing the service activities, they start to have something to say. Thus in the later books, the questions are more open-ended and encourage thinking and discussion.

    The course is not designed to impart information. It is designed to be transformational: First to help people transform their own lives by thinking about the scriptures and what it is telling them about how they should be; and second to transform Baha'is from being passive experiencers of their religion into active participants in it.

    In all this, it has been reasonably successful. Those communities which have embraced it have experience much higher levels of activity and enthusiasm. They have experienced higher levels of people coming into the Faith. These changes were slow to occur at first because it needed a critical mass to produce a noticeable effect but I think you will find the effect showing up in the national statistics within the next few years.

    I do not say that Ruhi is perfect – but people should also be aware that it is a self-correcting system. If you enter into it, do all the books and become a tutor, you also start to feed back comments to the creators of the course. Some of the books are being rewritten on the basis of these comments. Book 5 has not even been printed yet because it is still being rewritten as a result of comments coming back from those doing the draft course.

    SO I would reject most of what Baquia has written in his earlier piece "Ruhi Redux" and what Grover and Craig Parke say above and I would suggest it is mostly the result of neither understanding what the course is about nor experiencing the full course. Any who does Book 5, for example (that is the one for teaching Junior Youth classes) and still thinks that the Ruhi courses are about rote learning and indoctrination clearly has been asleep while the session was going on. Anyone who has done Book 7 and still says that Ruhi is about taqlid must have been attending Book 7 of some other course.

  • Marcello

    Very interesting post, Baquia! I've often found it odd that the Baha'i Faith is perhaps the only faith that does not use it's founding texts as an introduction to the faith. Wanna learn Islam? Start with the Qu'ran. Christianity? The Bible. Hinduism? The Bhagavad Gita.

    But if you want to learn Baha'i, well, there's all this other stuff that you need to read before you get to Baha'u'llah. I was actually DISCOURAGED from reading Baha'u'llah by some Baha'is.

    And I can't figure out why. Baha'u'llah's writings are wonderful. They're what drew me to the faith in the first place. If you want to spread the Baha'i Faith, then spread the Kitab-i-Iqan far and wide. Don't worry about Ruhi. Compared to the Book of Certitude, it's really not important stuff.

  • Marcello

    Very interesting post, Baquia! I've often found it odd that the Baha'i Faith is perhaps the only faith that does not use it's founding texts as an introduction to the faith. Wanna learn Islam? Start with the Qu'ran. Christianity? The Bible. Hinduism? The Bhagavad Gita.

    But if you want to learn Baha'i, well, there's all this other stuff that you need to read before you get to Baha'u'llah. I was actually DISCOURAGED from reading Baha'u'llah by some Baha'is.

    And I can't figure out why. Baha'u'llah's writings are wonderful. They're what drew me to the faith in the first place. If you want to spread the Baha'i Faith, then spread the Kitab-i-Iqan far and wide. Don't worry about Ruhi. Compared to the Book of Certitude, it's really not important stuff.

  • Marcello, discouraged from reading Baha'u'llah? that's rather odd. Especially since that is one of the daily practices each Baha'i is asked to perform. The challenge with the Baha'i Faith of course is that unlike the other religions you mention, we have an abundance of books. So which one do you pick? Also, don't forget, there are many many more still untranslated into English!
    So the Ruhi proponents (such as Behyar above) suggest that Ruhi is a good, simple introduction to the Faith. Never mind that it is riddled with errors. Ruhi is the answer, or so we are told. If only we all did Ruhi and invited everyone we knew to Ruhi, then everything would be great. Which brings us to the question at hand… it is time for Ruhi to show us results. Part II will be posted in a few days.

  • Marcello, discouraged from reading Baha'u'llah? that's rather odd. Especially since that is one of the daily practices each Baha'i is asked to perform. The challenge with the Baha'i Faith of course is that unlike the other religions you mention, we have an abundance of books. So which one do you pick? Also, don't forget, there are many many more still untranslated into English!
    So the Ruhi proponents (such as Behyar above) suggest that Ruhi is a good, simple introduction to the Faith. Never mind that it is riddled with errors. Ruhi is the answer, or so we are told. If only we all did Ruhi and invited everyone we knew to Ruhi, then everything would be great. Which brings us to the question at hand… it is time for Ruhi to show us results. Part II will be posted in a few days.

  • Marcello

    It sure seemed like I was being discouraged! The local Baha'i Center has a small bookstore, and on the two occasions that I mentioned that I'd like to buy the Kitab-I-Iqan, the response was "Oh no, don't buy that one, buy this other one over here…" One of the recommended books was "God Speaks Again" and I've forgotten the other recommended book. Perhaps these Baha'is felt that I wasn't "ready" for Baha'u'llah. Very strange.

    The impression that I'm getting is that the UHJ believes that there should be only "one path" to the faith, and the UHJ should be in control of that path. Other faiths recognize that there are many paths, all are valid. It doesn't matter how you come to the faith, what's important is that you get there.

    If Ruhi works for some people, that's wonderful and it should be available to them. But those who prefer a different path to knowledge should be encouraged, not discouraged, from finding their own way.

  • Marcello

    It sure seemed like I was being discouraged! The local Baha'i Center has a small bookstore, and on the two occasions that I mentioned that I'd like to buy the Kitab-I-Iqan, the response was "Oh no, don't buy that one, buy this other one over here…" One of the recommended books was "God Speaks Again" and I've forgotten the other recommended book. Perhaps these Baha'is felt that I wasn't "ready" for Baha'u'llah. Very strange.

    The impression that I'm getting is that the UHJ believes that there should be only "one path" to the faith, and the UHJ should be in control of that path. Other faiths recognize that there are many paths, all are valid. It doesn't matter how you come to the faith, what's important is that you get there.

    If Ruhi works for some people, that's wonderful and it should be available to them. But those who prefer a different path to knowledge should be encouraged, not discouraged, from finding their own way.

  • mysery

    Baquia, I would love to have a private email chat with you. As a disgruntled follower of Baha'u'llah, it is quite refreshing to find others who share similar frustrations, but who love and value their faith that they seek to reflect upon its improvement 🙂

  • mysery

    Baquia, I would love to have a private email chat with you. As a disgruntled follower of Baha'u'llah, it is quite refreshing to find others who share similar frustrations, but who love and value their faith that they seek to reflect upon its improvement 🙂

  • I've sent you an email where you can reach me. Allahu-abha.

  • I've sent you an email where you can reach me. Allahu-abha.

  • Pingback: Time for Ruhi to Show Us the Money: Part II at Baha’i Rants()

  • Readers who would like to fit these reflections meetings into the context of the new CULTURE OF LEARNING AND GROWTH, can go to Baha’i Library Online and they will then have access to a 64,000 word, 125 page document entitled:THE NEW CULTURE OF LEARNING AND GROWTH: Community and Individual Paradigm Shifts:: A Context and a Personal Text. This article contains my reflections and personal understandings regarding this new culture of learning and growth and the accompanying paradigm shift in the Fourth and Fifth Epochs of the Formative Age: 1986 to 2021 and the Second Epoch(1963-2021) of â€?Abdul-Baha’s Divine Plan.

  • frank

    remember Eco in US?? Umberto Eco

    http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt

    meditate on Ruhi ( simple text)

  • Anna

    I make it easy

    14. Ur-Fascism speaks Newspeak.

    Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of Ur-Fascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show.

    * * *

    Ur-Fascism is still around us, sometimes in plainclothes. It would be so much easier for us if there appeared on the world scene somebody saying, “I want to reopen Auschwitz, I want the Blackshirts to parade again in the Italian squares.” Life is not that simple. Ur-Fascism can come back under the most innocent of disguises. Our duty is to uncover it and to point our finger at any of its new instances — every day, in every part of the world. Franklin Roosevelt's words of November 4, 1938, are worth recalling: “If American democracy ceases to move forward as a living force, seeking day and night by peaceful means to better the lot of our citizens, fascism will grow in strength in our land.” Freedom and liberation are an unending task.

    Umberto Eco (c) 1995

  • Craig Parke

    Yes. I read it back in 1995. I think the New York Times Review of Books had a big piece on it. These points were quoted often in warning about the Christian fundamentalist right that eventually did take control of U.S. politics. The rest is now history. Same with 9/11 and the current situation in Iran.

    I was a very dedicated Baha'i for 32 straight years up until 2004. Things started to go down hill when I saw Peter Khan speak in person in 2001 at the Milwaukee Conference. I just about fell out of my seat. I was just amazed. I took Ruhi Book One for six weeks in 2004 because I felt it was my duty as a Baha'i. It was an absolutely horrible experience. It did terrible psychological damage to me. “Spiritual claustrophobia” is perhaps something of an apt term for the experience. It was like being trapped in an elevator for six weeks with absolutely no way out. I just had to sit there with heart palpitations grasping for air hoping for a fireman's axe to come through the locked door stuck between floors. That was it for me in the Baha'i Faith after decades of very dedicated service.

    As I have said here before, thank God I met Kurt Vonnegut face to face back in NYC in 1983. It was a wonderful experience and is the only thing that keeps me going now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdANElmRU6k&feat

  • shame

    thanks for reading

  • shame

    ruhi ruhi ruhi and ruhi

    do you have the courage to investigate (just read the history written by “muslims”) the life and deeds of der prophet chairman Muhammad Rasoul- Allah?

  • shame

    Is Allahu-abha like italian ciao -both hello and good bye??

  • shame

    Is Allahu-abha like italian ciao -both hello and good bye??

  • RonPrice

    I posted an introduction to the paradigmatic shift in the Baha'i community, the new culture of learning and growth that is at the heart of this paradigm, nearly three years ago. I did this posting at several internet sites and have updated/revised that post in these last two-and-a-half years. It seemed like a good idea to give readers some specific steps on how to access this now revised article, what is now a book of 160,000 words and 350 pages at Baha’i Library Online(BLO). The Association for Bah??’?­ Studies New Zealand in 2007 launched its open access, internationally oriented, peer reviewed electronic periodical OJBS: Online Journal of Bah??’?­ Studies, but in January 2009 that initiative was discontinued. One of its first issues would have been devoted to an exploration of this new paradigm.

    In the time this book has been on the internet there have been many thousand views of this analysis, this statement on the new paradigm at the few sites where it has been posted. In addition to googling “Baha'i Culture of Learning and Growth” and accessing this article in the process at several internet sites, readers can find this piece of writing at BLO by clicking on the following:

    http://bahai-library.org/file.php?file=price_cu
    ——————
    Readers can also access the latest edition of this article at BLO by taking the following steps: (i) type Baha’i Library Online or Baha’i Academics Resource Library into your search engine; (ii) click on the small box �By author� at the top of the access page at BLO; (iii) type �Price� into the small box that then appears and click on the word �Go;� and then (iv) scroll down to article/document item #47 and (v) click on that item and read to your heart’s content. When your eyes and your mind start to glaze over, stop reading. The article can be downloaded free and you will then have access to a revised article, a 350 page, 160,000 word context for all this new paradigmatic terminology that has come into the Baha’i community in the last 15 years.

    The statement is a personal one, does not assume an adversarial attitude, attempts to give birth of as fine an etiquette of expression as I can muster and, I like to think, possesses both candour and critical thought on the one hand and praise and delight at the process on the other. I invite readers to what I also like to think is �a context on which relevant fundamental questions� regarding this new paradigm may be discussed within the Baha’i community. It is also my intention to update this article in the months and years ahead. One of the advantages of the BLO site is the freedom it gives to a writer to update the article right on the site in an ongoing process as new insights from major thinkers in the Baha'i community and information from the elected and appointed institutions of the Cause comes to hand.

    If time and the inclination permit, check it out. No worries, no obligation, just if it interests you. You may find the piece of writing too long as I'm sure many readers do. It is certainly a view from the inside. We each have a different experience on the inside of a paradigm, on the inside of this Faith or, indeed, living on the inside of our global society. You may also find this too personal due to the fact that I attempt to answer the question: �where do I fit into this new paradigm?� After a few paragraphs of reading, you will get the flavour of the exercise. Just keep reading if your mind and spirit are enjoying the process.

  • TB

    As a Baha'i who engages with the 'mainstream' community, though not in allegiance with the authority figureheads, I must say that the Ruhi book courses are an interesting phenomenon amidst the development of the Baha'i Faith. My fiance and I coming to participate within the community we noticed a few things upon observation: Not every Baha'i is the same in personality, knowledge, capacity, or spirituality. This is the beautiful thing about the Faith, and it is also something that makes itself a dynamic to be perfected through consultation and mutual accord.
    However, allow me to assert here and agree with you on the major charge that the current Haifa Universal House of Justice leadership is a false authoritarian pseudo-intellectual clergy class in development. Despite this knowledge, this does not keep us from being a part and not apart from the sans-Guardian Baha'i communities, because not all are fully cognizant of the matters at hand and how the current UHJ uses the Baha'i World Centre properties as a focal point for potential spy operations (see http://bahaispyringnusted.blogspot.com/2009/08/…) or how the corrupt false 'Head' of the Faith has been incrementally instituted by Ruhiyyih Khanum since its first bogus election. Hence the name of the book courses is RUHI and there are now eight series that are esoterically patterned to be like an initiation phase from one degree of knowledge or learning to another. General criticism for the courses would be their format, which has many writings not actually scriptural implemented, often taking many quotes out of context, and the yes/no categories that lack in-depth free thinking.
    Even so, let me state clearly that the Ruhi Book Courses HAVE NOT supplanted the actual Holy Scriptures! The actual impact of Ruhi, I think, is based upon “collaborators” and tutors involved, their approaches to the study group, and not so much reliance upon the booklet. Ruhi within a healthy context is when we as a group engage the text rather than rely upon it. For a scholarly criticism and synoptic overview of Ruhi in America–read http://bahai-library.com/?file=lee_ruhi_problem….
    We've been observing many Seekers who enter the study groups linger off due to the lack of engagement on the part of the tutors to the materials presented in the books. Then again, the courses represent a challenge to many who rely upon intellectuality rather than spirituality, such as prayer memorization. Personally, as an active Baha'i, I believe our devotionals and firesides are the true core activities, and Ruhi should be viewed as a reference tool for further study.
    On the comment of… “It is the new Rockefeller funded Sufi Order”… I couldn't agree more! Note I mentioned the hierarchical design of the Baha'i Administration was with Ruhiyyih Khanum (born Mary Sutherland Maxwell) as the brainchild, descended from a family of business tycoons. It is no wonder that the current UHJ placates the United Nations and Israel or that certain members within NSA's (such as in India or Australia) are connected to espionage and oil drilling operations, or that Kalimat Press produces “Baha'i Bling” jewelry making an absolute mockery and dollar off of the Greatest Name! Ruhiyyih Khanum created an administrative order (“Supreme Holy Manifestations of God Committee for this Day”) designed to mirror the old corrupted spirituality of past ages where there still exists the priestcraft or 'wise men'/women who are over spiritual matters.
    Anyone can read the 8th Ishraqat from the Aqdas and read Baha'u'llah's explicit delineation concerning the authority of the Houses of Justice–which is over MATTERS OF STATE ONLY! All other matters (“spiritual matters”) are to be reserved for personal (yes personal) interpretation and study from the Most Holy Book (Kitab-i-Aqdas). This is the love and mercy God Himself gave unto us as a sign of His loving-kindness. True Baha'is as believers must sift through the weeds, smoke, and BS to find the Truth awaiting them.
    So, if anyone who is interested in the true 2nd Principle of the Baha'i Faith–Independent Investigation of the Truth–then please read Kitab-i-Iqan (Book of Certitude) page 31 and Kitab-i-Aqdas pargraph 32. Therein lies the key to understanding the current crisis that is enveloping the Baha'i Community globally. If we as Baha'is wish to redeem ourselves and if non-Baha'is wish to keep an institutional cult out of its midst, please then research the Covenant of Baha'u'llah in its entirety!

  • Baquia

    Riiight, people don't want you to speak truth to power… it isn't that your ramblings are an incoherent nonsensical drivel that leaves anyone who reads it more stupid than before.

  • Paz

    Wow Guys,
    I think you don’t quite understand that what a cultural change Ruhi will be…and its not something that is going to happen over night. When Ruhi was first implemented we failed as Western Baha’is to truly grasp its purpose. We’re only just starting to see glmipes of the potential that it can have in transforming the Baha’i Fatih. We had stagnated into a religion that just kinda operated within its bubble. Now we have a purpose, and that is to be involved within the affairs of our communities. You mention numbers of people that have been thought Ruhi and yes, the number isn’t high….but this isn’t a game of numbers (like every other religion wants to harp on about) This is about developing quality and capacity to effect a positive change in society. In my cluster in Australia, we have over 800 registered Baha’i, only 350 have been through book 1 and only 70 odd are tutors…and only about 20 of those are active…and when i first arrived, when all we were doing was running study circles with Baha’is…Ruhi did seem kinda pointless…but 2 yrs later…after we started trying to put it into action…after lots of stumbling, broken hearts, even loss of faith in process…those that stuck with it have started to see some amazing results. we now have 15yr olds that are arising as asking to start their own Children Classes, and we have some Children’s Classes that are all made up of non-Baha’i kids…not a single Baha’i amongst them. Their parents love the Faith, and are regularly visited by the teachers some only 15 yrs old and are learnings about the teachings of the Faith. I have in my own Ruhi group, 4 non-Baha’i youth that we met in a park that want to become JY animtors and Baha’i Children Class teachers….And we have in just up the road a non-Baha’i that is going through Ruhi to be a tutor because he can see just what it can give to the world and wants to share it with his friends and family…. and we have some Ruhi groups that don’t have a single Baha’i amongst them. Are you telling me that its a failure? Its not…it’s a changing culture, and such things don’t happen overnight…it took my cluster 2 years to realize that we had to actually act on what we learnt and it might take multiple efforts before we started to see some results….or smell the coffee as you might say…
    Its all about Faith….Just trust in the UHJ and over time the results will be made apparent…its taken almost 10 yrs to start changing a culture, and in some place its happening faster than others, but if it can start to show results in Australia…then it has to be working, trust me.

  • paz

    There is no problem with reading Baha’u’llah…its not a failure on the part of the Ruhi Course, its just a failure of our capacity to understand it! I mean why would the first unit of Book 1 teach you some skills on how to read the writings, and then tell you to put it into practice, and they even suggest the hidden words…from Baha’u’llah no? So is the ruhi process wrong? No, its maybe our understanding of the process. Any new Baha’i should be reading the words of Baha’u’llah on their own, ever morning and eve within 4 hrs of starting Book 1 if the Ruhi Process is implemented properly….
    So yeah….i think its an issue of understanding and interpretation of the process than an issue with the process itself…and arrogance to think that us ‘westerners’ don’t have the same needs as the rest of the world when if comes to faith…

  • paz

    Marcello,
    If you really read what the UHJ says, i never ever states that ruhi is the only path to the faith….its never discourages deepening, or reading of the writings on your own (that probably stemmed from some fear or misunderstanding of the person(s) at the store…maybe even a lack of faith them selves in the power of the Words of Baha’u’llah to touch a person’s heart….or maybe they thought that you weren’t ready to read such ‘heavy’ books…they were trying to define your path, not the UHJ)
    The Ruhi process is supposed to exist as another path of learning, one that has an action orientated outcome, but it isn’t supposed to replace other methods such as deepenings, personal readings, study session with friends around the Iqan or Aqdas. As with many new idea, some people have gotten a little excited and taken it to far…but if you read all the messages from the UHJ you’ll they they NEVER stop people from taking that other path. They do emphasize Ruhi because it creates skills and capacity that can be put into action in a systematic manner…which allows us to effect a positive change in the world…we are no longer couch-chair baha’is but people that get out there and act…some of us might not need ruhi to do that…and thats fine…but i’m sure you agree that its only through putting Baha’u’llah’s teaching into action that we can actually create a better world…

  • Craig Parke

    The experience of many people is that there is now only one way permitted by the Administrative Order to both teach and study the Baha’i Faith and that is the lock step Ruhi group think system. So if what you say is true somebody better get the word out before thousands of people leave the Faith or stop contributing to the Funds in the only protest they have! Ooops! That has ALREADY happened! As Peter Khan says in one of his recent orations, many people will still die in silence as Baha’is of once long time lifetime service on LSA’s but they are now essentially gone from the Faith.

    You are indeed correct. The UHJ is not only infallible. The UHJ to a man IS Almighty God. They ARE Almighty God and they have COMMANDED that the Baha’i Faith is to TOTALLY FAIL EVERYWHERE ON EARTH by these methods as the ONLY permitted course of action. All individual thought and individual action is totally FORBIDDEN BY GOD. They ARE God and they have commanded this. It will lead to total failure for the Baha’i Faith everywhere in the world. So God has COMMANDED failure. Every good rank and file member of the Faith must absolutely carry out this mission. It is good to see you are doing your part! Awesome!

  • Zureick1

    “Meanwhile, enjoy this until it is all eventually censored off of the Internet in the future Ruhi State.”

    Luckily, I’ve never been a Baha’i, thus, I have never been indoctrinated to believe Baha’i Faith will one day rule the earth. Therefore, its not hard for me to see that such a thing will never happen. Because of this, it’s rather amusing to read your despairing comments! Calm down, the UHJ is never going to rule the earth! hahaha Must people have never even heard of your religion! You are talking about the UHJ as if it were the Papacy. The cold hard truth is that Baha’i Faith is an obscure region that most people are completely unaware of. If you don’t like it there are plenty of alternatives, including progressivism without fidelity to any religion at all.

  • Roosterpen

    The Ruhi Books is an attempt to provide spiritual education to the entire Baha’i World. No-one is forced to do it and you learn from independent investigation unlike other Faiths where clergy dictate everything. It teaches spiritual life and virtues to Baha’is. We are very fortunate to have a House of Justice caring about our spiritual welfare and offering us the opportunity to better oursleves and improve our lives. Having said that The House of Justice has stated that all will not feel attracted by it’s layout nor feel the need to do it but there is a need to educate our newer Baha’is as there is no system in place until now to give them a basic foundation about Baha’i life and society.

    Attacking and criticising the Ruhi Course is attacking and criticising Baha’u’llah Himself as well as Abdul-Baha for Their Writings form a large part of the ciriculum. The Ruhi courses teach you to pray, to love each other, not to be angry with one another, about the history of the Faith not to make bombs or molest children so why are you shameless people attacking such an innocent Course which does nothing but offer people a better way of dealing with life and it’s problems? Because you yourselves are infected with a poison of such magnitude that you attack unashamedly a Course compiled primarily of the Words of Baha’u’llah and Abdul-Baha. If you don’t like the structure then don’t do it but any Book or Course that exalts and glorifies the Words of the Blessed Beauty and the Master is in my humble eyes a masterpiece and worth more than all the treasures on earth.

    You say Ruhi has ‘failed’. So have the Words of Baha’u’llah failed also as mankind hasn’t responded to His Call??? So is Baha’u’llah also a ‘failure’ because His Words have failed to set the world on fire??? Or is it humanity’s and our failure to heed His call and obey what Ruhi teaches? You choose to blame the Prophets and the House of Justice for what is essentially mankinds failure to turn towards God. That is your choice but a very idiotic and blind narrow choice showing no maturity whatsoever about the problems and difficulties confronting the Manifestations of God and the House of Justice. Maybe you know better than Baha’u’llah Himself and should arise and declare yourself a Prophet and lead the world. Baha’u’llah tried. Abdul-Baha tried and the House of Justice is trying. In all honesty they shouldn’t waste their time on ingrates who have no appreciation of the goodness that Baha’u’llah and the House of Justice is trying to implement. I trust these people. I wouldn’t trust the Pope or a Mulla but I trust Baha’u’llah and his House of Justice that what comes from them is good and pure. You arise and do better than them rather than just sitting back and criticising. The course not made for Americans? So the Words of Baha’u’llah are not suitable for Americans? And the words of Abdul-Baha also? The Ruhi Courses are replete with quotations from the Holy Texts! Even a lot of the passages which do not have quotes are almost word for word from the Holy Writings? Are you a Baha’i? What’s wrong with memorizing the quotations? The Guardian and the Master exhorted us all to do that not just the Colombians. Did humanity become Baha’i while Baha’u’llah was alive or Abdul-Baha? So they were imperfect also? Baha’u’llah blames the Baha’is for not carrrying out His Teachings and that the world would have joined the Faith in His Own Lifetime if the Baha’is had listened. Maybe you should lay your blame a lot closer to home – like yourself and us as Baha’u’llah Himself has stated.

  • Craig Parke

    I, for one, am very glad that people are not making bombs now because they took the Ruhi Course Book that told them not to make bombs. That’s really great! I feel a whole lot better now about it! Thanks for keeping everyone informed of this wonderful development among the Baha’is! Much appreciated!

  • Baquia

    Roosterpen, conflating the Ruhi course and Baha’u’llah is the height of folly. The fact is that Ruhi is a mishmash of quotes from the central figures and writings from the anonymous ‘editors’ who mingle their words without context or proper attribution and have the unwitting Baha’is repeat and memorize them as if they were scripture.

    If you know anything about Baha’u’llah, then you’ll know His stance on ‘taqlid’ – and Ruhi is 100% taqlid

  • James

    Pretty much.

  • James

    Baquia,

    The Ruhi courses are way different than they were 5 or 10 years ago, the way they are implemented is different. It constantly evolves. There is nothing rigid or lock step about them. Ruhi in fact has driven the acknowledgement within the Baha’i community that, quite frankly, over the years a lot of mistakes have been made. It’s a very gentle system for personal growth, and is tailored to allow each participant to use his or her own strengths and styles to move forward. If that’s not your experience, I’m sorry, but things have changed a lot over the last 10 years. I didn’t like Ruhi in the beginning. None of the people in my community did. But it’s not what we first thought. Nobody in my community or any of the communities I’ve visited over the last 3 years thinks Ruhi is some “complete” system of teaching. It’s part of a learning process that is only beginning. It is a form of gathering experiences and sharing with one another, working as a community. A lot of the junior youth/ youth in my former community in New Jersey started meeting with friends from school, rather than other Baha’i youth, and their Ruhi groups became more interesting and useful. Their friends’ parents noticed a change in their kids’ behaviors. They started doing service projects together. And they didn’t feel pressed to hang out with eachother just because they’re baha’is… they get together when they want to, and focus on their individual ruhi groups: which are their friendships from school, not Feast or Baha’i school, but regular school.

    What I’ve seen with my own two eyes is way different from the picture you paint.

  • Desir0101

    I repeat.Roosterpen. You have everything to change the world but not spirituality. Bahais are arrogant people. You are God’s
    Elected Ones and we are God’s REjected Ones.What’s then your understanding all these years you are Bahai, before you participate in RUHI. Have you never pray, meditate on Bahaullah writings, teach the Faith . Only after completion of Ruhi you realised that now you are of capacity and resource person. RIDICULOUS.
    To serve humanity do not source from any book but from you inner self and faculties.

  • Baquia

    James, rather than engage in such fruitless back and forths (yes it is, no it isn’t, etc ad nauseum) why not pick a defined goal post and see if Ruhi achieves it?

    The only thing is that it can’t be a snake eating its own tail. That is, we won’t really get far if all we are measuring is how much Ruhi a community has done. In any case, as you know Ruhi coordinators keep quite a bit of statistics on how many participants take the course, how far along they are in each course, etc. But I have yet to see a well defined goal (remember, not a snake devouring itself!) and monitoring to see if that has been achieved. The only thing being measured unfortunately in the scope of the current statistics “busyness” is how much Ruhi related activity Ruhi is imposing on the Baha’i community.

    So it will have to be something meaningful and measurable of course. For example, increase/decrease in… participation in community events/feasts, etc. participation in contributing to the fund, participation in voting, new enrollments, etc. In this way we can put aside such posturing and see if Ruhi and the institute process has indeed contributed something significant to the Baha’i community. Frankly, I’m a bit astounded that such simple reason has to even be suggested.

    As I’ve outlined above, the fact that Ruhi has been in practice in Columbia for 40 years and not made any significant mark in improving the community there shows that it is basically a failure – mind you, this, in its most fertile environment! If Ruhi – after 40 years! – can’t make a dent in Columbia… then what the heck are we doing? Sadly few have even thought to ask this question.

    This idea of measuring results scares the beejeesus out of the institutions because it means accountability. Not accountability to the community, but rather, accountability to themselves. It means that they can’t hide behind flowery rhetoric as they prefer to do in order to declare everything and anything a ‘victory’.

    For example, I remember one teaching campaign in my locality that was trying something new: having Baha’is go up to people and doing ‘direct teaching’. What they meant in this case was to have a Baha’i walk up to a person or strike up a conversation with someone they didn’t know and bring up the Faith and invite the person to become a Baha’i. Gah!

    Everyone at the teaching meeting was uncomfortable with this – including me. But the response from the organizing person asst. ABM was to just try it and see – as an experiment. I suggested that this was a worthwhile undertaking with one suggestion to the asst. ABM for propagation: that we measure the success of this campaign so that we could then know if we should do more or less or just learn from it for the future.

    She was not happy about this, needless to say. And needless to say, thrusting well meaning Baha’is out into the world to become pushy “salesmen” went unsurprisingly bad. Anyway, sorry for the digression but this story popped into my head after talking about measuring Ruhi.

    So what do you think of this idea? does it sound reasonable to you?

  • Bozorg

    Come on, Baquia, be “unrestrained as the wind.”

  • Anonymous

    Bozorg, maybe tomorrow, today I took this

  • Desir0101

    Hi Roosterpen.
    �’Independent investigation of truth, unlike other faith where clergy dictate everything’’
    Iam right. Iam wrong.Clergy dictate the ceremonial rites, prayers and organizational meetings, but dictate not your faith and belief.

    There are no shunning of believers just because of a personal concept or opinion.
    Is it not dictatorship when Abdulbaha say’’you have no right to have your opinion’’????
    �’You shall deal mercilessly with covenant breaker’’. (surely Iam not one of them).
    And you know what treatment reserve for them from Bahais, people of Light, dictated by the UHJ, God’s representing on earth.
    One ex. If one of the spouse is a c-breaker, the other partner should shun him/her Should divorce.(what about the children)??

    The Writings exhort believers to love even their enemies but when you question on successors, infallibility of UHJ, contradiction in the writings of the central figures, you are then the worst sinner in the entire universe.

    You spoke of unity of religion. Very nice.
    But there are lot of rules in the faith to keep you away from others’ religions.
    It will be too long to quote all .
    �’independent investigation of truth’’ There are certain limit that you should not cross or go beyond or you will will be taxed GOD’s rebel one.As in the Tablet of Ahmad.

    RUHI: Bahaullah said’’intone O my servant the verses revealed……who reciteth..in the privacy of his chamber, the scattered angels….’’

    Bahaullah said through meditation on the Writings you attain to spiritual illumination.

    Meditate in the morn and evening. Myriads of mysteries will be unveiled before you.

    Every where it indicate that spiritual upliftment will occur through a one- alone study of the Sacred Writings and not in group study. It’s here that Ruhi failed.

    Meditation is the music that bring rhythm to prayer.

    ��About the history of the Faith’’
    The history have on many occasion distorted from both parties.

    UHJ: Entry by troops.—every Bahai was enthusiasm and excited…but when the result did not met the expectation the UHJ—Entry by troop is a long term process.

    RUHI: Great excitement, you will inflame the world with the systematic approach etc etc.But again a great deception.
    After so many years it’s now that you learn how to teach according to Ana method.
    But what about those few believers that brought the faith through out the world. There was no Ruhi.

    Five core activities: Great response before a big lapse.
    Infallibility reside in the Bahai concept.
    As long as every believer convince themselves that all the UHJ decisions are perfect even if after analyzing the outcome is negative, the UHJ is therefore infallible,.

    But really I appreciate your zeal, enthusiasm, faith to respond to the call to change the world to better.

    Bye.

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  • Phil Ramsey

    We have been Baha’is for 48 years, we both fell in love with the faith together By just knowing the writings and loving Baha’i who shown the love in there eyes and hearts
    I must say If they introduced the Ruhi method then we’d still be Humanist, we would have never become followers of Baha’ullah’ may praise be upon him

  • Phil Ramsey

    Your not correct when you say NO ONE IS Forcing It UPON YOU, peer pressure and by not taking part you’re set aside

  • Craig Parke

    I hear you Phil. Every blessing upon you two! My heart breaks for
    people like you and your wife with 48 years in only to have it all turn
    out like this. The once great promise of the Baha’i Faith is now gone in
    one of the greatest tragedies in World History. As Junior Supreme
    Manifestation of God for this World Age, His Supreme Holiness Peter
    Khan, said on many occasions: free thinkers of any kind are NOT wanted in the Baha’i
    Faith and NEVER WERE. No individual conscience is allowed either now
    according to certain other “Junior Manifestations” at the top.

    That
    kind of “Religion” will never attract and retain the fruit of the
    Hearts and Minds of the new unfolding World Age which is individual
    people who can think critically and take individual responsibility for
    their actions in their Planetary spiritual Journey. The caliber of
    people that have now left the Baha’i Faith in droves in total disgust
    would break the hearts of every other current or former religious or political movement in
    World History. There is just no word for the magnitude of the loss. The
    spectacular top down micro-managed failure of the Baha’i Faith after so
    much dedication of the rank and file over decades of work is a wonder
    and a prodigy. The full blown Ruhi idolatry was the end of the road for
    many.

    The current incredibly tone deaf leadership of the Baha’i
    Faith totally destroyed ALL organic spiritual processes within the Faith
    in conjunction with a bridge to the energies of the unfolding World Age and in doing so put their
    individual heads on poles for the Ages in Wide Screen Todd A.O. Technicolor. Despite the brain dead
    propaganda, there is now no avenue of contact for the Faith with those
    once and future unfolding spiritual energies. This incredible mass
    spiritual suicide has all been right out of the Tablet of the Holy
    Mariner. It is all there in that very prescient Tablet about Cosmic Archetypal Divine Judgment.

    I have
    thought about this strange turn of events a lot over the last ten years. What exactly was it’s
    origin? It had to be some sort of brain chemistry thing? It seems only
    the dysfunctional mentally ill and those with no personal perspective at
    all in life make it to the high positions of terminal “Lifetime Incumbency”
    (Tm). They seem to all be people in some kind of Obsessive Compulsive
    Disorder addiction ruling an organization in a clueless incestuous
    vacuum from the top down. People with unhappy childhoods and major
    issues with their parents who found some sort of psychological palliative
    in being obsessive compulsive group think “organization” people. The psychological phenomenon was
    apparent in the sorry histories of Soviet Communism and Nazism in the 20th
    Century and now the burgeoning panopticon National Security State
    phenomenon in the 21st Century. Such archetypal people are apparently
    everywhere among us.

    I was a totally dedicated Baha’i from 1972-2004. I
    tried to help the Faith with everything I had. Then I took Ruhi Book One
    in 2004 to be fair amid all the intense controversy and see what this
    was all about for myself. It was one of the absolutely worst spiritual
    experiences of my life! Pure “spiritual claustrophobia”. It was like
    being trapped in an elevator with automatons in a very badly written
    1950’s “Pod movie” for six weeks. I would never bring any glorious free and pristine fellow
    human Soul into a North Korean Police State.

    They say that Ruhi
    is optional as they try to back track. But IT ISN’T OPTIONAL AT ALL because the whole
    entire Faith is now based on it. What this means, therefore, is that when
    you teach the Faith you are pimping for the Ruhi System to FIND NEW
    MARKS for their pie charts and bar graphs in Haifa. I just could not do
    that to another human being. Mindless rote “indoctrination” is a form of
    incredible spiritual violence. So if teaching the Faith has now become
    an immoral act as it was for me in this new paradigm that was indeed the
    end of the road for me after all these years. When I finally realized
    this, I just sat in my car at a fast food place and cried as a grown man after all
    those years of dedicated service to the District Teaching Committee and
    the nearest LSA. I taught the Faith to many people. Now I deeply regret
    it. Yes. I know this outcome is based upon my own personal conscience
    and “individual conscience” is now completely forbidden in the Baha’i
    Faith according to certain of the “Junior Manifestations” but I live by my
    personal conscience. That is how I was raised.

    I truly hate and despise the leadership of
    the Baha’i Faith at every level now. To a man and to a woman, just
    horrible, horrible sick people for what they have done.There is going to be
    terrible Judgment upon them in the next World when the fully grasp the magnitude of what
    they have done.

    But Baha’u’llah foretold it all in the Tablet of
    the Holy Mariner. They have gone way beyond their “Station” and have,
    therefore, totally failed All Mankind. It is a lesson for the Ages.

    But
    the New unfolding World Age will thrive. The Baha’is will just not be
    players of any significance whatsoever. A terrible, terrible tragedy in a movement of truly once great promise for the suffering human race.