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September 2022

A monthly electronic Newsletter

News, Web Talks, live events,

upcoming courses

Great Webinars and Podcasts

The talks are live web video programs and are free. Just click to register, or go to our Facebook or YouTube page to watch live. The video will be available later on our YouTube account; the audio may be available as a podcast on our SoundCloud channel.

Upcoming Webinars

A Panel on Human Identity and Development

With Rhett Diessner, Jenni Menon Mariano, and Michael Penn, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2 p.m. Eastern

Shoghi Effendi through the Eyes of Laura Clifford Barney

Mona Khademi, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2 p.m. Eastern

The Economic Significance of the Law of Huququ'llah

Hooshmand Badee, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2 p.m. Eastern

Now on YouTube and SoundCloud

Science, Religion, and the Baha'i Faith: A Panel Discussion

The Science and Religion course faculty

What is Baha'i Education?

Filip Boicu

Sustainable Banking and Investing for Individuals: Spiritual Foundations and Practical Insights

Marilyn Waite, Emily Chew, and Jenna Nicholas

Our Common Humanity: Reflections on the Reclamation of the Human Spirit

Michael Penn

Wilmette Institute News

The Wilmette Institute Invites Everyone to Attend the September Project Center Gathering  (GTU)

This month's project center gathering will focus on race unity and social justice initiatives. It will be held on Sunday, September 25 at 4 pm Eastern Time. This Zoom meeting is open to all, and will feature presentations from the organizers of 3 or 4 local projects. After the presentations, attendees will be invited to join Zoom breakout rooms for more intimate interaction with the project teams. Register here.

Director's Report

The Wilmette Institute Continues Its Work at GTU)

Chitra Golestani and Robert Stockman visited the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) August 31-September 1 to renew acquaintances and explore collaborations with the faculty. The Institute is offering two courses for credit to GTU students this fall, on Baha'i history and about non-violent social change.

Faculty News

Dr. Peter Smith Expands His YouTube Video Channel

Dr. Peter Smith, a retired sociologist who lives in Bangkok, Thailand, has been developing his YouTube channel, and it has quite a few Baha'i Studies videos on it. Currently he is completing a 12-video series on Shaykhism for his upcoming course.

Student News

Learner Discovers the Inheritance of a Fortune: Shoghi Effendi and the Administrative Order

Phyllis Sinex took Shoghi Effendi: His Life and Ministry to get a better understanding of the administrative order and its unique place in the Faith. She now has a much better appreciation of what it took to build the administrative order, and of many of the steps Shoghi Effendi took to implement it. Combined with taking the Ruhi classes on the Covenant, what she learned in the course has strengthened her ability to make high-quality presentations about Shoghi Effendi in the future. 

Student Incorporates Art into Community Building

The readings, videos, and PowerPoint presentations in the course The Baha'i Faith and the Arts presented Enid Probst with a rich portrait of how the arts can be used for the Baha'i Faith. She has a greater knowledge of the many ways the arts are encouraged in the Baha'i writings and the importance of the arts in the Faith. 

Photo of Tinker Lindsay in her home office

Anti-Black Racism Course leads learner to "strong spiritual and personal commitment to taking action"

Racism now feels much more personal to Tinker Lindsay. She also feel better equipped—actually better educated across the board—to discuss and debate the subject of anti-Black racism. She also feel braver—more willing to speak up, and challenge her family members, work colleagues, and friends who have not had the benefit of taking this course, to whom she is recommending it.

Tips for Sustainable Living

Decluttering? Give Things Away!


The production of things takes energy and natural resources, so if you don't need something anymore, don't throw it away; find someone else who can use it, or give it to a charitable organization that will distribute or sell it.

September and October Courses

woman sitting on grass with laptop computer


Writing about the Writings

Sept. 1 - Oct. 19, 2022

In the past, the practice of exegesis, or drawing the meaning out of scriptural texts, has been the province of scholars specially qualified to produce scholarly commentary. In Writing about the Writings: The Art and Craft of the Personal Reflection Piece, however, students will engage in a different kind of exegesis with the goal of writing a more informal and accessible kind of commentary that does not require scholarly background—the personal reflection piece. The assumption behind the course is that all readers have a share in the multiplicity of meanings, which, according to `Abdu'l-Baha, are embedded within scripture. 

woman riding a bicycle

Sustainable Development and Human Prosperity

Sept. 8 - Oct. 26, 2022

Our headlong pursuit of economic development since World War II to respond to the needs of a rapidly expanding world population has created great wealth and lifted many out of poverty, but also pillaged the planet's natural resources, polluted the environment and overshot planetary boundaries, while increasing inequality and leaving half the world population struggling to meet basic needs. The UN has called for a fundamental transformation towards sustainable development to assure that future generations can also meet their own needs. The Baha'i teachings shed useful light on what this alternative should look like and how we might get there. We shall explore the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN. How do these translate into things we can do ourselves and in our local communities to live more sustainably? Combining science and spirituality can help us to work with both our head and our heart to build a more just and sustainable world. 

man and woman in dialogue

Introduction to Shaykhism

Sept. 15 - Oct. 26, 2022

This introduction to Shaykism will explore the history and teachings of a community whose founders and ideas were essential to the rise of the Babi Faith. In additional units we will read and discuss biographies of Shaykh Ahmad-i-Ahsa'i and of Siyyid Kazim-i-Rashti. In additional units we will examine their teachings, focusing particularly on their concept of God.

Thoughout the course, we will explore the relationship of Shaykhism to Shi'i Islam and to the Babí Faith as well as the role its founders played as forerunners of and preparation for the Bab. Many of the readings will come from the brilliant work of the French scholar A.L.M. Nicholas, available in English translation or summary, but we will also use the works of other Shaykhi scholars.


many raised hands of different colors

Race Unity: The Role of Persian Americans (in English)

Sept. 15 - Nov. 16, 2022

The course curriculum is designed for participants of Persian/Iranian descent. The Regional Baha'i Council of the Northwestern States will pay the fee for the residents of Oregon and Washington. Use the discount code "NWENG22" to register for free.

Scholarships are available for anyone who needs help paying the fee. Please email the Registrar, Niki Daniels, at learn@wilmetteinstitute.org. Click this link to see the fees: Tuition Fees.

many raised hands of different colors

Race Unity: The Role of Persian Americans (in Persian/Farsi)

Sept. 15 - Nov. 16, 2022

The course curriculum is designed for participants of Persian/Iranian descent. The Regional Baha'i Council of the Northwestern States will pay the fee for the residents of Oregon and Washington. Use the discount code "NWENG22" to register for free.

Scholarships are available for anyone who needs help paying the fee. Please email the Registrar, Niki Daniels, at learn@wilmetteinstitute.org. Click this link to see the fees: Tuition Fees.

Baha'i House of Worship, India

Introduction to Baha'i History

Sept. 15 - Nov. 30, 2022

Introduction to Baha'i History will explore the major themes of Baha'i history from the 1850s to the second decade of the twenty-first century, emphasizing the development of the Baha'i Faith over the last century and a half. We will cover the period from the exile of Baha’u’llah (1817-1892), the founder of the Baha'i Faith to Baghdad in 1853 to the end of Baha’u’llah’s life in 1892; the ministry of Baha’u’llah’s successors, ‘Abdu’l-Baha (1892-1921) and Shoghi Effendi (1921-57); the period from 1957 to 1996, which saw the election of the Universal House of Justice; and the period marking a new direction in community life and outreach to the public (1996-2017).

We will be reading from Peter Smith's The Baha'i Faith: A Short History as the principal text, Used copies of the book are available on Amazon.


Zoroastrianism for Deepening and Dialogue

Oct. 6 - Nov. 23, 2022

Zoroastrianism, an ancient religious tradition founded by Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, some 500 to 1,000 years before Christ, is the focus of this course. 

We will examine Zoroaster's life, what has survived of His words, His teachings, the subsequent developments of the Zoroastrian tradition, references to Zoroastrianism in the writings of Baha'u'llah and `Abdu'l-Baha, and the relationship of Zoroastrianism to later religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Baha'i Faith). We will study Zoroaster and the divinely ordained religion He founded to deepen in the basics of Zoroastrianism and its relationship to the Baha'i Faith and to prepare for dialogue with adherents of Zoroastrianism.


Economic Justice in a World of Injustices

Oct. 6 - Nov. 30, 2022

The topic of economics is vast and complex. It is commonly assumed that the economic health of a society is accurately represented by indices such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that the human experience is all but irrelevant. Many people are intimidated by economics and some view it as problematic to the forward progress of humanity and the planet. In this course, however, we will view economics and economic justice from a totally different perspective: through the lens of distributive justice. According to the Baha'i Writings, economic progress is perpetuated by justice. Issues of economic justice are fundamentally about the ethics and moral foundation of income distribution. Distributive justice is often considered not to belong to the scope of economics, but there is actually an important body of literature in economics that addresses normative issues in social and economic justice.

One text needs to be purchased for this course: Economics and the Baha'i Faith by Hooshmand Badee


Creating Marriage Wellbeing from the Beginning

Oct. 13 - Dec. 14, 2022

It’s fun and challenging to start and establish a marriage on a firm foundation. We invite couples in the first five years of marriage to strengthen their experience of the divine institution of marriage. Baha’u’llah refers to marriage as a “fortress for well-being and salvation.” Couples will have opportunities to deepen their friendship, expand communication and consultation skills, enhance spiritual and physical well-being, and establish roles and responsibilities as marriage partners.


Fostering a Baha'i Identity in Families

Oct. 13 - Dec. 7, 2022

How can we help children place love for Baha’u’llah and the desire to be of service to others as the foundation of their lives? This course enables parents to explore how they can foster a child’s connection to the Baha'i Faith through developing spiritually uplifting routines at home, engaging in service within the home as well as in their communities, and aligning family activities with the current goals of their communities. Participants will be given positive parenting tools inspired by the Baha'i Writings as well as hands-on strategies for implementing spiritual practices at home.

Materials are suited for those with children 14 years old and under. 

Anti-Black Racism in the U.S. and Building a Unified Society

Oct. 13 - Dec. 14, 2022

This course will examine anti-Black racism and racial prejudice in North American society in some of its most serious manifestations, explore the content and significance of relevant Bahá'í authoritative texts, and consider how Baha'is can initiate meaningful conversations and public discourse in a variety of contexts. It will begin with an exploration of definitions of race, racism, and prejudice. It will then turn to such subjects as understanding colonialism and slavery; the prison/industrial complex; Black Lives Matter and policing issues; white privilege and bias/stereotyping; housing and education segregation; violence against black women; Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement; and "one human family"—the experience of the Baha'i community. 

Building a New System of Global Governance

Oct. 20 - Dec. 7, 2022

As humanity passes through stages of collective growth and moves toward integration and unity, it finds itself caught in the thick of many painful and seemingly intractable challenges that mark a turbulent adolescence--crises such as the Covid-19 global pandemic, climate change, economic recession, proliferation of nuclear weapons, gross human-rights atrocities, and mismanagement of critical natural resources. In Building a New System of Global Governance, we will examine how we can solve these and similar problems using ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s advice offered a century ago about establishing collective decision-making and implementing institutions that can and should evolve into a world federation of nation-states. We will also explore the linkages between the creation of a new system of global governance and Baha'u'llah's promised Lesser Peace relying on recent guidance from the Universal House of Justice that illuminates this subject.

Exploring the Book of Revelation

Oct. 20 - Dec. 7, 2022

The Book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) holds a unique position as the only prophetic book in the Christian New Testament. The prophetic vision opens with a statement of its authority, a vision to John of Patmos from God transmitted by means of Jesus Christ and an angel. Its rich symbolism has been the object of study by Christians, both scholarly and popular, giving rise to many views of the future and the end times. Its language and symbolism owe much to the prophets of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and likewise shares motifs with later revelation in the Holy Qur’an and the Baha'i writings. In Exploring the Book of Revelation we will explore the contents of this fascinating sacred vision in the context of progressive revelation, highlighting its links to both former and later sacred texts. 

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The Wilmette Institute eNewsletter 

The Wilmette Institute eNewsletter is published monthly by the Wilmette Institute, which offers quality online courses on the Baha'i Faith. The Wilmette Institute is committed to engaging a broad and diverse international community of learners in deep study of the Faith and to fostering love for study of the Faith. The Wilmette Institute was established in January 1995 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States.

Information from the eNewsletter may be copied or reproduced, provided that the following credit is given: "Reprinted from the eNewsletter of the Wilmette Institute," followed by the issue's date. Recipients are encouraged to forward the eNewsletter to friends. If you have questions, please email us at learn@wilmetteinstitute.org.


Robert H. Stockman


Robert H. Stockman

Niki Daniels

Debra Lilly


Tinker Lindsay

Christine Muller

Enid Probst

Phyllis Sinex

Wilmette Institute, 1233 Central Street, Evanston, IL, 60201 USA

Phone 1.877.WILMETTE (1.877.945.6388)

Email: learn@wilmetteinstitute.org

Web: https://wilmetteinstitute.org

Courses: https://wilmetteinstitute.org/community-learning-courses/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/WilmetteInstitute

© 2022 National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the U.S.