|Courtesy : Google Trends|
The graph is self explanatory.
Here are some comments by Haifan Baha'is.
Steve Cooney :
It probably represents declining interest in the Bahai Faith vis a vis other things like Pokemon Kanye etc. This is not a new trend The Bahai Faith has been in decline esp in the West for quite a while Blogging activity is another downward trend. If it weren't for paid bloggers the Bahai Faith would be invisible in the blogosphere. The Bahai World Centre cannot find volunteers for hundreds of unfilled positions. There is no wait list for pilgrimage now you can go on demand pretty much. The number of publications on the BF has been declining especially since 2001. There are however some signs of a grass roots renewal in the under 30 demographic. None of this is really a surprise....
Don Calkins :
I think there is a strong correlation in the U.S. w/ the way Ruhi and the Core Activities were implemented. People were told to stop doing the things they had been doing that attracted people to the Faith. Enrollments have plummeted. Enrollments had been in a decline in 2000 for around 15 years, but they really took a nose dive soon thereafter.
Don Calkins :
Enrollments in 94 when the USNSA met w/ the House of Justice was about 130 per month. 2000 they were down to about 100, around 2003/4 they were down to around 75 and the last 5 years or so have rarely been over about 55, currently running below 50. If you have access to old TAB you can track this via monthly stats.
Another indicator is the number of Baha'is noted in various newspaper by non-Baha'i organizations as Baha'is for their community involvement. I used to track it via google and brag about it. We were running several a month, sometimes more and they quickly nearly stopped. Since about 2003 we rarely have move than a couple per year.
This should not be blamed entirely on Ruhi. The religious well is being poisoned by religious right rhetoric. The true silent majority is quietly walking way from all religion. And they are not going to be particularly impressed by Ruhi or the Core Activities.
It is not an issue of which is more important or effective. that is a bogus discussion. IMO Ruhi and the Core Activities were supposed to be an additional level of functioning, not a replacement. While the House of Justice has indicated this older type of activity is needed, we have lost 20 years of experience and good will, experience and good will that could have been used to feed into the Core Activities. and it is prob going to take a lot longer than that to get it back.....
Robert Moldenhauer :
Australia is similar to the US. Enrolment has been dropping for years. It dropped below 100 per year the previous year and recovered to 124 last year. Even adding in youth reaffirmations the net is still negative.
The trend in Australia has been the slow replacement of the (mainly white) Baha'is with Persians. My old community (Parramatta) had about 500 members in 1980 with no Persians. It now has a membership of about 500 with 1 non-Persian.