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A New Student's Perspective

Oct 29, 2020
A New Student's Perspective

Course: Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation: A Systematic Survey (2020)
Faculty: Robert Stockman, Nima Rafiei

Editor’s Note: Phyllis Funk is a new WI student. She wrote this email to Robert Stockman after receiving an email from him checking in on her progress with the course.

I am reading the texts and watching the videos as much as possible. The Writings take me longer to get through than your average student, I am sure, but I enjoy plugging along and discovering this new style of writing and a spiritual message that was unknown to me. I google a lot of words for their definitions. I am familiar with some of the words but don’t want to assume, and I like to take the time to be sure I am understanding how the words are being used in the passages I am reading. I am not able to finish all the assigned readings for each unit, but I make sure I get the gist of it and move on. Each week when there is a new unit, I start with the new unit.

You asked what I am getting out of the course. More than I can express. I have lots of emotions while reading a lot of the texts: happy, joyful, enlightened, as well as times of confusion, sadness, and feelings of distance. I try not to get too caught up in my feelings and read through the lesson instead. For one, I know that a scripture or text can mean one thing to you at one time or point in your life, and later you can read the same scripture or text and, depending on where you are in life and what is taking place, the words can mean and speak something else to you. I am very conscious of the fact that I am extremely “western-thinking” (new term for me) and I have a lot to learn. I know that, in time, that will change as I stay diligent in my readings and absorb the comments and influences of the other classmates who post in the forum, many of whom have more insight and experience in how to think and see the meanings of the Writings. Baby steps… but I trust in God and know He has me where He wants me. Even though it is uncomfortable, I know it is for the best and, in time, I will get better and think and see things more clearly and differently, which is my personal goal.

I am using this course as a personal spiritual development with the goal to educate myself and be sharper, clearer, so that I will be able to confidently share with others the goals of the Cause and attributes of God. I would like to be able to help others with similar goals for their own spiritual journey and desire for a one world, unified place to live.

My Personal Learning Plan is to absorb as much as I can from this class. I will lag behind. I am okay knowing that. I plan to restudy all the Writings and use all the resources I have gained from this class to independently study at a slower pace on my own. I can continue to view YouTube videos from Wilmette Institute to help with my studies when I want even more insight. I actually learned about Shoghi Effendi by watching a video on YouTube from the Wilmette Institute.  That’s how I found out about your classes.

Thank you for conducting this class and letting me participate in a small way.  I am learning and being exposed to a whole new world, a new way of writing and thinking, and I am very thankful and appreciative. 



Phyllis Funk

I recently became Bahá’í and am very interested in learning as much as I can about the Faith. I come from a non-denominational Christian background. I hope to be awakened and develop a clearer understanding of the Writings and how I can become a better member for the Cause. The things that members of the Bahá’í Faith believe in are things that I am passionate about, such as the oneness of God, the unity of humanity, the harmony of religion, the need for science and religion to work together, gender equality, and elimination of all prejudice and racism. I also like the concept that Bahá’ís believe in each person's capability to discover the truth for themselves. I look forward to working towards a new world order for our global society.

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