I am suddenly curious about Ruhi, a Bahá’í indoctrination program, because I have heard so many awful remarks about it. I’ve been told to try it for myself, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen, given that I am a rather outspoken apostate, and frankly, it’s really not designed for the likes of me.
This page is intended to be a slate for me to work out my thoughts on Ruhi upon.
My source is the Ruhi Resources site, which outlines the seven Ruhi books and the units within them.
The Emphasis of Ruhi
One thing that I have noticed is that most of these books concern matters of communicating doctrines, as opposed to discussing the doctrines themselves; for example: teaching oneself (reading and deepening), teaching children, teaching non-Baha’is (proselytizing), teaching Baha’is, and well, teaching Ruhi itself (“tutoring”).
It appears to me that the one book that is almost entirely about the primary beliefs of the Baha’i Faith is Book I (Reflections on the Life of the Spirit). Books IV and VII appear to be a mix of primary content and preparation for communicating that content. The remainder of the program is mostly about communication (proselytism and indoctrination).
Topics That Appear to Be Missing (?)
- The Covenant (coming in Book 8?)
- The Guardianship
- The Present Institutions
- The Universal House of Justice
- The Cousellors and Auxilliary Board Members
- National and Local Spiritual Assemblies
- Official Baha’i Views on Other Religions
- Respect for Cultural Diversity
- Spiritual Foundations
- Fear of God
- Belief and Obedience
- Martyrdom and Sacrifice
- Seven Valleys and Four Valleys
- Hidden Words
- “Social” Principles
- Unity of God, Religion, and Mankind
- World peace
- Universal compulsory education
- Gender: equality and roles
- Elimination of prejudice
- World government
- Universal auxiliary language
- Elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty
- Social Institutions
- Marriage and divorce
- Moral law
- Criminal Law
- Civil Law
- Baha’i Writings on Science and History
- Harmony of Science and Religion
- Prophecies pointing to the Bahá’í Faith
- Baha’i Prophecies
- World peace
- World government (prophecy or principle?)
- Unforeseen calamity
- The fate of rulers and religious leaders
Outlining the Doctrinal Content
Book I: Reflections on the Life of the Spirit
- Unit 1: Significance of reading scriptures (partly about self-deepening)
- reading regularly
- thinking about what one reads
- Unit 2: Prayer
- “one must feel a profound desire to pray”
- Unit 3: Immortality
- “The soul is a spiritual entity, created by God.” (this seems rather unnecessary)
- “The soul and the body, together, constitute the human being.” (how does this work with “soul, mind, and spirit”?)
- The soul is a sign of God. (and what isn’t?)
- “the unfaithful soul will recognize its loss and be consumed in eternal remorse.”
- “Nothing should sadden us in this world, because days of blissful joy await us.”
Book IV: The Twin Manifestations
- The Greatness of this Day … and its promise for humanity.
- To learn to narrate and appreciate the life of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh
- This seems largely about communication.
Book VII: Walking Together on a Path of Service
- Unit 1: The Spiritual Path (service to the Cause).
- This seems slightly secondary in nature, though not wholly about communicating “the Cause”. The primary task would be to identify what “the Cause” is.
- Unit 3: Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots
- the importance “of artistic endeavors” (this seems enlightened, but I am reminded of the propagandistic value of art. I am curious about how this topic is approached).