New Wilmette Institute course: The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah

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Posted by Jonah on February 03, 2000 at 01:15:35:

Studying the Writings of Shoghi Effendi:

Introduction to The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh

click here to download The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh (offsite)


The Wilmette Institute is pleased to announce a six-week distance-learning course on The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. Coordinated by Dr. Rodney Clarken, a professor of education at Northern Michigan University, the course will involve reading Dispensation, discussing it with fellow students via email and possibly the telephone, and completing learning projects to test and apply one's learning, such as multiple-choice tests, firesides, deepenings, institute courses, children's classes, and artistic projects. A series of discussion questions have been developed especially for the course, and old study guides available in archives and in libraries will be copied for the students' reference. The course is designed both for someone wishing a basic introduction to the work and for someone seeking material to teach classes on it.

Running from February 15 through March 30, the course falls within the period of time when the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States has asked American Bahá'ís to study The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. Tuition is $75 for individual students and $60 per student for those joining as part of a local study group of three or more. Because we were only able to begin publicizing this course two weeks in advance, we will accept registrations until March 1; students registering late will be given extra time to catch up. For more information, visit . To register, go to (where there is an option for secure online payment); or call the Institute at 847-733-3415 to register by telephone; or fax registration information to 847-733-3563. A flier about the course with more detailed information follows.

The Wilmette Institute is also conducting a course on The Advent of Divine Justice, April 1-May 31, 2000, and another course on The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh from July 1, 2000 to September 30, 2000, thereby covering all three works the National Spiritual Assembly has asked the American Bahá'ís to study this year.


Wilmette Institute
Studies in theBahá'í Faith Program

Exploring Shoghi Effendi's Writings Course Series

Introduction to The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh


  The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, composed by Shoghi Effendi in 1934, is one of the most significant works of his Guardianship. Whereas many religions arrive at an understanding of the station of their Manifestation and other significant figures through theological controversy, in a single document Shoghi Effendi eliminated the potential for confusion and disunity by defining the stations of Bahá'u'lláh, the Báb, and ´Abdu'l-Bahá, and the nature and purpose of the Administrative Order. In the course of his explications, Shoghi Effendi interprets prophecies, defines some Bahá'í doctrines, and offers illuminating comparisons with previous religions. A thorough understanding of Dispensation is essential to any Bahá'í's deepening.


February 15, 2000, to March 30, 2000


Students should have copies of The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh or The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, which contains the letter. These can both be ordered from your local Baha'i book distributor, from the Baha'i Distribution Service (; phone 800-999-9019), or downloaded from the Wilmette Institute website. Students should also purchase Morton Bergsmo's Studying Shoghi Effendi's Writings.  The Institute will supply other study material.

FACULTY (tentative):

        Dr. Iraj Ayman
        Dr. Rodney Clarken
        Dr. Robert Stockman



A twenty percent discount is available when registering as part of a local group of three or more (who pledge to meet together semimonthly to study the texts). Larger discounts are available for even larger groups who plan to study the course together.

There are no residential requirements, for the course is conducted by correspondence and over the internet. College credit and scholarships may be available. Contact the registrar for more information..


The course is taught at the undergraduate level of difficulty. Therefore, it is open to those with a high school degree or equivalent. The course may be taken at the introductory level (a basic course that will help students teach the Faith more effectively), the intermediate level (for more in-depth study) or the advanced level (equivalent to graduate-level study).


All of our distance-education courses can be taken at three difficulty levels: introductory (roughly equivalent to a late high-school or early college level), intermediate (roughly equivalent to a standard undergraduate college course), and advanced (graduate level). Students in all three levels are assigned the same reading, but prepare different types of homework. Introductory students prepare an informal self-evaluation at the end of each unit, discussing what they learned and their reactions to or thoughts about it. Intermediate students prepare a more formal learning project for each unit, such as an essay, presentation, fireside, or artistic project. Advanced students, who will be mentored only by a professor with a doctorate, will work with their advisor one-on-one to prepare an individually-tailored course of study. Students at all levels will participate in the same listserver and conference calls, and receive the same course materials.


  The course will take five to ten hours of work each week and will involve:
  1. Reading and using the knowledge you acquire. The course is divided into a series of units, each of which involves reading part of Dispensation and related texts. The course offers a series of study questions, learning projects, and sample tests on Dispensation, including giving a deepening or fireside; doing an artistic project; or finishing a writing project about it.

  2. Assistance by a mentor/advisor, who reviews and comments on all homework you do, and answers your questions.

  3. For those who are part of local study groups, discussion assignments are provided.

  4. Participation in "Dispensation" the course's email discussion group. Because of the speed and efficiency that email provides, all students are urged to acquire email for the course.

  5. Access to the course's password-protected web site, which includes additional study material and completed sample homework assignments.

  6. Voluntary participation in conference calls with up to five other students and a faculty member.

  7. Completion of a final project that involves review of the material studied, evaluation of what one has learned, and systematic application of it to teaching and deepening.


The course is usually taken pass/fail with review and comments about assignments by the instructor.  It may be taken for a grade (A, B, C, D, F).

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