An internal Baha’i household survey done in 1987 found that the divorce rate in the U.S. Baha’i community was higher than that in American society as a whole.
An internal Baha’i household survey done in 1987 found that the divorce rate in the U.S. Baha’i community was higher than that in American society as a whole. The report was never released to the public.
My own suspicion is that the high divorce rate has several causes. First of all, Baha’is are encouraged to utopian ways of thinking. Two young people with little in common save that they are recent converts to the faith will be encouraged to marry. I have seen this sort of thing over and over again with my own eyes. This utopianism is widespread in the faith and is the same reason for which so many other Baha’i enterprises end up doing damage to people. That both are “Baha’is” is not a basis for a marriage. One may be a liberal and the other a fundamentalist; current norms against such labeling make it difficult for people to identify one another on that basis, but you’d better believe the difference would show up in a marriage!
Young married Baha’is are also encouraged to pioneer, whether abroad to places like Haiti and Nicaragua, or homefront. Being uprooted from their social networks and families and isolated in a strange environment is not good for them as young marrieds.
In smaller communities the Baha’i committee work is a killer, and may isolate the two spouses, who spend less time together just coccoonin and watching t.v.
And it is my estimate that from a third to a half of U.S. Baha’is are what the sociologists would call marginal people–persons with poor social skills who are emotionally needy and who join the faith because they are love-bombed and find a high proportion of other marginals in it. A high rate of marginality is fostered by the cultists who have infiltrated the administration, since only such individuals would put up with being ordered around summarily or would eat up conspiracy theories about bands of dissidents seeking to undermine the administration. Marginals would have higher than normal divorce rates, obviously.
Finally, the Baha’i faith encourages a great deal of ego inflation in the individual. Each Baha’i thinks he or she is saving the world and is a linchpin in the plan of God. This inspires in them great (and often quite misplaced) confidence in their own judgment–I’ve seen them pronounce authoritatively on astronomy, biology, Qajar history, and many other subjects on which they are woefully ignorant. Such ego inflation and over-confidence in personal judgment would not be good for a marriage.
[P.S. I should have also included that the exclusiveness of the Baha’i community, non-attendance of non-Baha’is at Feast, pressure to convert spouses, etc., was also probably a contributing factor to Baha’i divorces where only one spouse was Baha’i]
Posted by Naser Emtesali at 5:33 AM
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