— An Orthodox Baha’i’s views on statements made by Shoghi Effendi in his “DISPENSATION”

-The First Guardian’s “Spiritual Testament” –

A document produced by Shoghi Effendi, the First Guardian of the Faith, and dated February 8, 1934, entitled “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh,” can be found in the volume The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh on pages 97 to 157. ‘The Administrative Order’ section of the “Dispensation” begins on page 143. The entire section is of vital importance to anyone seeking an understanding of the components of the future World Order as set forth in Bahá’ís Holy Writ. Some key quotations from this authoritative work of Shoghi Effendi, along with some observations regarding them, are provided here.

Pages 143 and 144: “His [‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s] Will and Testament should…be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three ages that constitute the component parts of the Bahá’ís Dispensation.”

Comment: Most present-day Bahá’íss no longer consider numerous provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as operational. They thus would appear to deny Shoghi Effendi’s use of the words “perpetual” and “indissoluble” in describing the Will, for the accepted dictionary synonyms and definitions of these words include lasting forever, eternal, never ceasing, continuous, permanent, enduring, constant, plus “that which cannot be dissolved, undone, or destroyed, lasting, firm.”

Page 144: “The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh, permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation.”

Comment: The majority of Bahá’íss in the world today are within an organization that does not operate within the terms of the Charter of the New World Order. Because that is the case, that organization is denying the “creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh” and the part that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had to play in giving birth to that Charter.

Page 144: “Being the Child of the Covenant—the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God—the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it.”

Comment: When one considers that Shoghi Effendi says the Will is the “Child of the Covenant”, he or she should realize that what is referred to is the bond between Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which produced the Will. And since the Will is likened to a “child”, the connotation that can be applied to it is that it is something more than the product of both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It is also an organism that will not have all of its features in place at once, but they will develop. In Some Answered Questions ‘Abdu’l-Bahá speaks of the origin of man, and he relates how “the embryo in the womb of the mother, gradually grew and developed, and passed from one form to another, from one shape to another, until he appeared with this beauty and perfection, this force and this power.”

Later in the same book ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says: “The seed does not at once become a tree, the embryo does not at once become a man, the mineral does not suddenly become a stone. No, they grow and develop gradually, and attain the limit of perfection.”

The position of Orthodox Bahá’íss is that the Will, the Child of the Covenant, cannot be expected to be fulfilled all at once. Yes, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá identified the Guardian as the ‘sacred head’ of the Universal House of Justice, but all Bahá’íss would agree that when Shoghi Effendi became Guardian there was no UHJ. Nor were there any Hands. Thus, the powers identified within the Will were latent powers. They were like the web-like appendages that one sees in a human embryonic organism that gradually evolve into hands and fingers, etc. It is the belief of Orthodox Bahá’íss that our task as Bahá’íss is to do what we can to insure that this Child of the Covenant has a chance to evolve into this world with all of its features in working order.

The world cannot afford to have this Child aborted or killed once it is born and just beginning to expand its powers for the good of mankind.

Page 144: “The Administrative Order…may be considered as the framework of the Will itself, the inviolable stronghold wherein the new-born child is being nurtured and developed.”

Comment: The framework, according to the dictionary, is “the way in which a thing is put together; structure; system” and when one adds to that the concept that it is “the inviolable stronghold”, the fortress or safe place that is not to be violated or changed, it should be seen that the elements within the Will and Testament are absolutely essential and not to be discarded or revised.

Page 144: “It [the Administrative Order] will, as its component parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency and vigor, assert its claim and demonstrate its capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace in the fullness of time the whole of mankind.”

Comment: The word “component” means essential; so the parts of the Administrative Order that are identified in the Will and Testament are absolutely necessary (as are the vital coordinated institutions) for that Order to be identified as the true Bahá’ís Order. Minus such “component parts, its organic institutions,” the pattern identified by Shoghi Effendi in this statement would no longer exist. That faulty condition will therefore be found in any organization that does not have such elements within it.

Page 146: “Alone of all the Revelations gone before it this Faith has, through the explicit directions, the repeated warnings, the authenticated safeguards incorporated and elaborated in its teachings, succeeded in raising a structure which the bewildered followers of bankrupt and broken creeds might well approach and critically examine, and seek, ere it is too late, the invulnerable security of its world-embracing shelter.”

Comment: The directions, warnings and safeguards referred to by Shoghi Effendi would undoubtedly include such statements of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s as the following:

*”It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice…to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath Opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition.”

* “Bahá’ís unity cannot be preserved save through the Covenant of God.”

*”…we must all turn our faces to the appointed Center in order that Bahá’ís unity might be preserved; otherwise in one year the Bahá’ís would be divided into a thousand sects.”

*”Should any of the members [of the Universal House] commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him…”

*“The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God.”

All Bahá’íss, of course, will also recall ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ‘s warning within His Will and Testament about placing oneself in opposition to the Center of the Cause. A believer’s opposition to what God had ordained results in the “vengeance of God [to] rest upon him!”

Page 147: “An attempt, I feel, should at the present juncture be made to explain the character and functions of the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure – the institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice…these two fundamental organs of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”

Comment: Because the believers did not have an understanding of the “character and functions” of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi found it necessary to elaborate on some of the salient features of the Administrative Structure, and at the outset of his discussion, as can be seen in the quotation, he identified the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice as “fundamental organs”, that is, they are basic or indispensable to the Administration. Additionally, they are “twin pillars”, without which the mighty Administrative Structure would be unsupported. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from such descriptive terms as the first Guardian used is that the Administrative Structure will collapse without both pillars in place.

Page 148: “It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá’u’lláh should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose. Their common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Acting in conjunction with each other these two inseparable institutions administer its affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interests, execute its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions. Severally, each operates within a clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction; each is equipped with its own attendant institutions—instruments designed for the effective discharge of its particular responsibilities and duties. Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies. Far from being incompatible or mutually destructive, they supplement each other’s authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally united in their aims.”

Comment: This paragraph of Shoghi Effendi’s is worthy of a fact-filled study guide. So the remarks provided here cannot begin to assess the importance of what he has offered above. How can anyone who is within an organization that does not see the essentiality of the “twin institutions of the Administrative Order” be undisturbed by the absence of one of the twins and of that twin’s subsidiary institutions? How can such people justify their organizational pattern in light of the first Guardian’s statement that the twin institutions must be “regarded as divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose”? Why should the Guardianship, an institution no longer a part of their organization and which, for them, did not last beyond the first Guardian, be considered as divine in its origin? What makes that institution’s functions “essential” and its aim and purpose “complementary” to the heterodox Universal House of Justice, if the institution of the Guardianship is no longer in existence because it does not have a living person ministering its functions ?

Shoghi Effendi’s statement indicated that the twin institutions would be “Acting in conjunction with each other.” How is it possible for the Universal House of Justice, minus the Guardian, to act in conjunction with the Guardian? Indeed, how can the Guardian act in conjunction with the UHJ when he’s not here? Shoghi Effendi said that the “two inseparable institutions” are to “administer its [the Administrative Order’s] affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interests, execute its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions.” Can anyone in the sans-Guardian organization satisfactorily explain how a missing Guardian of the Cause can be involved in such administering, coordinating, promoting and executing? How is it possible for this twin pillar to assist in supporting Bahá’u’lláh’s Administrative Structure? What is it about the Guardianship, as understood by the sans-Guardian believers, that makes it one of the “two fundamental organs of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”? What is so fundamental about the Guardianship in their organization today? And how will it be a fundamental organ in their organization in the future ?

Page 148: “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God.”

Comment: The meaning of the word “divorced” means completely separated. If, then, there is no individual who holds the office of Guardian, it should be absolutely clear that a complete separation exists within that so-called Bahá’ís organization, and, as a consequence, the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh for that organization must, ipso facto, be recognized as mutilated. Additionally, the ability of the Guardian of the Faith to identify his successor in his own lifetime would be missing, and therefore, the World Order would be deprived of the spiritual inheritance vested in the office of Guardianship, which, as spelled out by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will, requires that the Guardian’s successor must have a “goodly character” and “must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning.” Later in his “Dispensation” (on page 153), Shoghi Effendi refers to the Guardian as “he who symbolizes the hereditary principle.” So, obviously, if the Guardian is no longer alive and there is no successor, there is no one who “symbolizes the hereditary principle.” Such a deficiency clearly must have major ramifications. For any organization that would call itself Bahá’ís yet not have a Guardian within that organization’s administrative order, there is no way that order can be deemed the framework for the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh as enunciated by Shoghi Effendi.

Page 148: “Without such an institution [as the Guardianship] the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.”

Comment: The word “integrity”, according to the dictionary definition, means “undivided or unbroken condition; wholeness; completeness; or entirety.” Picture, then, the current sans-Guardian organization(s) and the peril that such organizations are bound to encounter inasmuch as the requisite institution for maintaining the wholeness or completeness of the organization is missing. Such a Faith will be unstable, and its reputation and influence will be diminished because it will be missing what truly distinguishes the Faith with the living Guardianship: the uniquely sanctioned interpretative power vested in the Guardian of the Faith. The Guardians provide the uninterrupted view for the Faith, and, clearly, as the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice, each Guardian provides that body with the “necessary guidance” to determine whether it can actually enact a law. For if the Divine Explicit Text has already established the Rule of Law on a given issue, the UHJ cannot enact a law that would supersede it. The responsibility for such a determination is the Guardian’s alone to make.

Page 150: “[T]he Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and …the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice.”

Comment: It should be noted that there are two different spheres identified in Shoghi Effendi’s statement, that of the Guardian and that of the Universal House of Justice. The interpretative function of the Guardian is not shared with the UHJ, and when he provides his interpretation, it carries authority and it is binding upon all—including the Universal House of Justice.

Page 150: “Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.”

Comment: Shoghi Effendi’s statement is clearly not abided by within the sans-Guardian organization. For instance, the sans-Guardian UHJ has taken over the Huquq, the “fixed money offering” that, according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will, can only “be offered through the guardian of the Cause of God…” Then, too, because the Hands of the Cause are to be appointed only by the Guardian of the Cause, and those of Shoghi Effendi are now passing into oblivion, the sans-Guardian UHJ decided to develop an institution called the Continental Board of Counselors and to provide them with similar duties to those placed upon the Hands. The UHJ not only appoints these individuals, but, unlike the requirement of the Will and Testament, which says that the Hands must be under the shadow of the Guardian “and obey his command,” these ersatz Hands by a different name answer to the UHJ. Clearly, in the sans-Guardian administrative order, there is only one domain, not two as prescribed by Baha’i Holy Writ.

Page 150: “Though the guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body [the Universal House of Justice] he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.”

Comment: The sans-Guardian organization maintains that its Universal House of Justice is that body identified by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament “as the source of all good and freed from all error.” However, based upon this statement of the first Guardian, any reasonable individual would admit that only with the Guardian in its membership can the UHJ be assured that its decision is “freed from error”. Otherwise, why would Shoghi Effendi have said that the Guardian is “bound to insist upon a reconsideration” of any action they may take ?

Page 151: “No Guardian of the Faith, I feel it my solemn duty to place on record, can ever claim to be the perfect exemplar of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh or the stainless mirror that reflects His light.” -and- “To the integrity of this cardinal principle of our Faith [that Guardians can interpret the Writings yet remain infinitely inferior to both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Bahá’u’lláh] the words, the deeds of its present and future Guardians must abundantly testify.”

Comment: Shoghi Effendi did not here — or in any other of his writings – ever provide the believers with the view that he would be the only Guardian.

Page 152: “The Bahá’ís Commonwealth of the future, of which this vast Administrative Order is the sole framework, is both in theory and practice, not only unique in the entire history of political institutions, but can find no parallel in the annals of any of the world’s recognized religious systems.”

Comment: Without the Guardian at its head, as is the case with the heterodox organization, the Administrative Order is obviously democratic in character, in contrast to Shoghi Effendi’s statement that the Order “must in no wise be regarded as purely democratic in character.” Without the Guardian at its head, such a so-called Bahá’ís Commonwealth will also give the lie to the first Guardian’s statement that the Bahá’ís Commonwealth is unique and that no parallel can be found for it “in the annals of any of the world’s recognized religious systems.”

Page 153: “Moreover, he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author, and ceases consequently, by virtue of the actual authority vested in him, to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing systems of constitutional monarchies.”

Comment: All Bahá’íss need to realize that when Shoghi Effendi refers to the individual “who symbolizes the hereditary principle,” he is saying that a blood-line hereditary line is not a ‘must.’ That which is symbolic does not, of necessity, have to be the literal or actual object or individual being represented. In fact, symbols usually are different from what they represent. A symbol stands for something else. Thus, the successor that the Guardian appoints need not be an Aghsán or member of Bahá’u’lláh’s family.

Furthermore, all Bahá’íss need to realize that the Guardianship is an institution of this world. There is no “actual authority” capable of being administered by any Guardian of the Faith, once he is no longer on this earthly plane. Also, the living Guardian is no mere figurehead because he has authority that is not to be found in a typical constitutional monarch.

Page 156: “The axis round which its [the Administrative Order of Bahá’u’lláh’s] institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”

Comment: It’s clear that the axis is the line, real or imaginary, that passes through an object and about which the object turns, as is the case with the earth’s axis. Geometrically, it is the central or principal line around which parts are arranged regularly, as the axis of a cone is the straight line joining its apex and the center of its base. So it is obvious in relation to the statement made by Shoghi Effendi that at the very center of the Baha’i Administrative Order everyone should find the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

But it is not just the Will in general terms that is there. Shoghi Effendi said that the institutions revolve “round the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” When one goes to the dictionary to get both the denotation and the connotation of the word “authentic,” he or she will find that it means “reliable” and “trustworthy”, and that its synonyms include “authoritative” and “true”.

Checking on the definition of “Authoritative,” you will see that its definition includes “having authority, officially ordered, commanding,” and “that ought to be believed or obeyed.”

Such terminology does not seem to provide much wiggle room for those who would contend that certain provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pertaining to the Administrative Order are no longer operational. One authentic provision of the Will is that “the guardian of the Cause of God is its [the Universal House of Justice’s] sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.” Another authentic provision of the Will is that “The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the guardian of the Cause of God” and “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God.” It is an authentic provision that “He must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world…”

Still another authentic provision of the Will is that “It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing.” Additionally, the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is authoritative when it provides the following: “It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnan, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him.” And finally, it is also an authentic provision of the Will which reads: “He that opposeth him [the guardian] hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition.”

If it is true that “The axis round which its [the Administrative Order’s] institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” where, then, are the provisions of the Master’s Will that are serving as the axis for the administrative system that is presently operating out of Haifa, Israel, and directed by a sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice with the Hands reduced to a single individual who is also functioning without guidance from the living Guardian of the Faith ?

Page 157: “The pillars that sustain its [the Bahá’ís System’s] authority and buttress its structure are the twin institutions of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice.”

Comment: There is no way that sans-Guardian Bahá’íss can align the authority or the structure of their administrative system with what Shoghi Effendi has enunciated in his “Dispensation.” The first Guardian clearly identified both the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice as absolutely essential in the Bahá’ís System.

Frank Schlatter

September 2006

— God’s Hands are Not Tied

God’s Hands Aren’t Tied

In response to an article that I wrote entitled “You’ve Got to Want a Guardian,” an Orthodox Bahá’ís friend wrote: “It doesn’t matter whether WE want a Guardian. The question is, does GOD want a Guardian. The mistake most Bahá’ís made in the past is to assume that they had the power or authority to go against the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”

That view of my friend brought to mind some quotations from the Qur’án that I had recently come across and which I am sharing here. The first is from Surih ix, 111, where the question is asked, “Who is more faithful to his Covenant than God?” A second appears in S. x. 4: “The promise of God is true and sure.”

A third is S. vi. 134: “All that hath been promised unto you will come to pass: Nor can ye frustrate it in the least bit. ”

A fourth (S .ii. 27) reads: “Those who break God’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what God has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: these cause loss only to themselves. ”

A fifth one (S. vii. 146) says: “Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right-­-them will I turn away from My Signs: Even if they see all the Signs, they will not believe in them.”

And the quotation that provides the subject of this article relates to the statement attributed to the Jews who said: “God’s hand is tied up.” Surih v 67 responds to that view with the following: “Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the blasphemy they utter. Nay, both His hands are widely outstretched: He giveth and spendeth of His bounty as He pleaseth. But the revelation that cometh to thee from God increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy.”

From the Old Testament, of course, we should have learned that it is not a mark of wisdom to believe that God is inconstant or indecisive, that He is prone to change His mind about things. We should have learned to take to heart Isaiah 55: 11, which says: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. ”

Thus, when Bahá’u’lláh made it incumbent upon all to turn to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, saying that by doing so was turning towards God, and when in His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made that same kind of statement with regard to Shoghi Effendi, the believers, who were then attuned to the Covenant, did indeed turn to the first Guardian of the Faith. But between the beginning and end of the first Guardian’s ministry, the great majority of believers lost touch with the Covenant, and despite the fact that the Will of’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made it incumbent upon Shoghi Effendi to appoint, in his own lifetime, his successor, that differences not appear after his passing, following Shoghi Effendi’s death in 1957 the wayward believers quickly accepted the fallacious position espoused by the Hands of the Cause, who maintained that the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá limited Shoghi Effendi to the choice of an Aghsán for his appointment. The believers thus accepted the concept that God had changed His mind about the Guardianship.

What is so hard for Orthodox Bahá’íss to understand is the heterodox Baha’i view that ‘Abdu’l-­Baha, in His Will and Testament, the Charter of the New World Order (a charter that is to last for at least 1000 years), would have placed such a severe limitation onto the Guardians of the Faith that they would be forced to find someone from the blood-line of Bahá’u’lláh to be their successors. That idea is particularly hard to accept when one realizes that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself was fully aware of the rampant Covenant-breaking within His family. Why, then, would He, who spoke on behalf of God, reduce the options available to the first Guardian of the Faith to none?

The fact of the matter is this: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will provides for another branch to be appointed if there is no eligible individual within the Guardian’s lineage. All Bahá’íss should know the emphasis that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá placed on the spiritual qualifications of the individual over any blood-line relationship. One very clear example of the Master’s view in this regard is found in His last Tablet to America. He wrote:

“Consider this text of the New Testament: the brothers of His Holiness Christ, came to Him and they said: ‘These are your brothers.’ He answered that His brothers were those who believed in God, and refused to associate with His own brothers.

“Likewise Qurratu’l-‘Ayn, who is celebrated in all the world, when she believed in God and was attracted to the Divine Breaths, she forsook her two eldest sons, although they were her two oldest children, because they did not become believers, and thereafter did not meet them. She said: ‘All the friends of God are my children, but these two are not. I will have nothing to do with them.’

“Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it, a branch from another tree. He both separates and unites.”

Now why can’t members of the sans-Guardian organization understand what is related here? I think the answer is as given in the Qur’án: “Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right–­them will I turn away from My Signs: Even if they see all the Signs, they will not believe in them.”

–Frank Schlatter

—The Hands of the Cause of God: What are Their Functions ?

The Hands of the Cause–What are Their Functions ?

You would think that the answer to the question posed as the heading for this article would be a simple one. But it isn’t, primarily because those individuals who were designated as Hands of the Faith by Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian, performed a role within the Cause which, clearly, was not theirs to assume. That is, in 1957 the Hands of the Cause arrogated to themselves the powers of a collective Guardianship, taking on all the responsibilities of the Guardian of the Faith, and there is nowhere in the writings a provision for such a takeover of the Faith by the Hands of the Cause.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will establishes the duties of the Hands. The Master wrote: “The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are to diffuse the Divine Fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the character of all men and to be, at all times and under all conditions, sanctified and detached from earthly things. They must manifest the fear of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.”

The Hands do not even operate on their own. “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world…”

The Hands are enjoined by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to “be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the guardian of the Cause of God [to] cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha and in no wise accept any excuse from him.” They are not, though, instructed to cast out believers who, for whatever reason they may have, oppose and protest against the Hands of the Faith. (Yet that is exactly what happened in 1960.)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will also made the following a requirement for the Hands:

“The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be distinguished (i.e., secret ballot).”

As everyone should know by now, the assent of the nine Hands does not mean that the Hands can overrule the Guardian in his choice of his successor. Shoghi Effendi made that very clear in his statement printed in the “Baha’i News” of February 1955, page 1. The first Guardian wrote: “The statement in the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith.”

Thus, the Hands of the Cause in 1960 were not in a position to overrule the appointment by Shoghi Effendi of Mason Remey as his successor. Their responsibility was to place themselves under the direction of the second Guardian and to recognize that they “must be under his shadow and obey his command.” They were called upon by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament to recognize that “Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of God.”

In light of the preceding statement, then, if believers perceive that there is a breach in the Faith today, they have but to realize that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had indicated how that schism could occur! They must recognize that one or more members of the body of Hands could well be responsible for schism, rather than to suggest the only other alternative available: that the second Guardian of the Faith was the cause. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will identifies the Guardian of the Faith as the security for the Faith’s unity. “The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God.” The Master’s Will states: “He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition.”

‘Abdul-Baha’s Will cautions all believers to be aware of the manner in which the Covenant is violated. He states in his Will that “The greatest of all things is the protection of the True Faith of God, the preservation of His Laws, the safeguarding of His Cause and service unto His Word.” At the close of His Will the believers are instructed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to recognize when anyone should “advance a pretext” for violating the Covenant. Thus, all of us are responsible for recognizing when even the Hands of the Cause of God might go astray. We should realize, then, just what the implications are when the Master’s Will says: “All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice.”

The Hands of the Cause are not the Center of the Cause; nor are they the House of Justice. Quite simply, their primary function is to “diffuse the Divine Fragrances

— Response to "Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him"

Re:”Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him”

A document entitled “Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him” was circulated on America Online (in the Bahá’ís File Library under “Remey Covenant Breakers”)in late 2000. The following is the official response from the Mother Bahá’ís Council of the United States.

The article entitled “Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him” contains much truth, but it also contains a number of half-truths or falsehoods. Thus, those who are not knowledgeable about which parts of the document are true and which are somewhat off the mark may come to the erroneous impression that the entire article is true. Such is simply not the case.

It is true that the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice wrote to explain their new definition of Covenant-breaking on 23 March 1975, which, in effect, abrogated the definition of Covenant-breaking that existed in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s and Shoghi Effendi’s ministries. That new definition of Covenant-breaking essentially sanctioned the take-over of the Faith in 1957 by the Hands of the Cause, for the UHJ’s definition states that an attack on the Central Institution of the Faith is a violation of the Covenant, and since the UHJ subscribes to the theory that after November of 1957 there were no more Guardians, then, ipso facto, the Hands, as a collective Guardian–a role which is nowhere described for the Hands in the writings of the Faith–were the Central Institution of the Faith between 1957-1963 and they could determine who was Covenant-­breaking because they only had to decide who was acting in opposition to them and cast them from the Faith. Subsequent to its own election in 1963, the UHJ, minus a “sacred head and distinguished member for life of that body,” ascribed to itself the role of the “Central Institution of the Faith,” and, thus, the usurpers of the Cause seized the power to put anyone out of the Faith who questioned their illegitimate authority.

However, prior to 1957 the Center of the Faith could only be identified as the Guardian inasmuch as the Will and Testament of’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá identifies the Guardian as the “Center of the Cause.” The definition of Covenant-breaking at that time was given in John Ferraby’s book “All Things Made New.” The edition that was published in 1957, prior to Shoghi Effendi’s death, stated: “These Covenant-breakers profess to accept the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh but they turn away from the Centre of the Cause–in the day of the Centre of the Covenant, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and in our day, the Guardian–and thereby they deny what they profess to accept.”

*****

It is true that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stated that Covenant-breakers “do not doubt the validity of the Covenant, but selfish motives have dragged them to this condition.” It is also true that the Master warned that, if unchecked, Covenant-breaking would “utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.” The article would have one believe that it was Mason Remey and his followers whose selfish motives are to be questioned. But is it not interesting that Mason Remey and his followers, particularly those who follow Joel Marangella today, maintain that to be a true believer one must show “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause” of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whereas those who follow the Haifa organization no longer identify that as a qualification for membership? How could they, when the UHJ itself has decreed that there are to be no more Guardians, and, in the process, has taken over a function of the Guardian’s which was not within its power to assume: the handling of the Huquq–which the Will says is “to be offered through the guardian of the Cause of God”?

And yet Shoghi Effendi stated on page 4 of The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh that the Kitab-i­Aqdas, Baha’ullah’s Book of Laws, and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “are inseparable parts of one complete unit.” So who is it, then, that is in the process of exterminating Baha’ullah’s Law? Is it those who are abiding by all the provisions of the Master’s Will, or those who are now ignoring what that Will provides?

*****

Yes, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said that “Were it not for the protecting power of the Covenant to guard the impregnable fort of the Cause of God, there would arise among the Bahá’íss, in one day, a thousand different sects as was the case in former ages.” So when was the protecting power of the Covenant actually withdrawn? That action occurred when the first cablegrams went forth from the Hands, calling for the believers to cling to the station of the Hands of the Faith, for when the believers turned to the Hands of the Faith instead of to the Center of the Cause the seeds of violation were planted around the world.

*****

Indeed so is the matter of Covenant-breaking “a spiritual contagion threatening the well-being of the individual believer because of its subtle appeal to the human ego”! And who is it now that no longer feels that a living Guardian of the Faith is necessary within the Bahá’ís Administrative Order? Who is it now that delights in the fact that they no longer have a Guardian over them? One has only to look at the sans-Guardian organizations across the world to see the ones who have succumbed to the “subtle appeal to the human ego” that is referred to in the article.

*****

Granted that Shoghi Effendi wrote that the “movements, sponsored by deluded, self-seeking adventurers, find themselves sooner or later, enmeshed in the machinations of their authors.” That was written, of course, before the Hands of the Faith in 1957 seized upon the words “Chief Stewards of Baha’ullah’s embryonic World Commonwealth” to mean that they themselves could form a collective Guardianship, thus setting in motion the train of events which found the Hands of the Cause rejecting the rightful successor to Shoghi Effendi and forming their own House of Justice without a Guardian as its “sacred head.”

*****

It is apparently true that the Hands of the Faith, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, looked for a will and testament. But should they have been looking for a will when it is clear from the provisions of’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament that the appointment of the Guardian’s successor was to be in his own lifetime “that differences not arise after his passing”? Thus, the appointment will not be made in a will, a document which normally is read after the testator’s death. It should have been obvious to the Hands that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will actually foreclosed on the Guardian’s appointment of his successor being made via a will. Indeed so, the entire body of Hands found themselves at a loss when their brief search for a will proved of no avail. But was the condition of the Hands that which Horace Holley described when he developed their joint proclamation: “The first effect of the realization that no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him was to plunge the Hands of the Cause into the very abyss of despair”?

Naturally, if it were indeed the case that there were no Guardian, then the Hands, in thinking such a thought, should have been plunged into despair. However, by the time the proclamation was written, most of the Hands were not distraught. Rather, the majority of the Hands had already decided that the Will and Testament, and thus the Guardianship, was no longer operational, and they could now take over the Faith.

Since most people have not read Mason Remey’s Proclamation of 1960 or his “Daily Observations”, they may not realize that he had had a vision some years prior to Shoghi Effendi’s passing in which he saw himself as the Guardian of the Faith. However, at the time of Shoghi Effendi’s death he did not realize the manner in which he had succeeded to the Guardianship. That realization did not come until some two years later when he perceived the connection between his presidency of the International Bahá’ís Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice, and his accession to the Guardianship of the Faith. It was on the basis of the vision he had had some few years before and on his own thought “that there be nothing of the kind for me in that vision” that he signed the first letter put out by the Hands following their conclave in Akka.

Inasmuch as Mason Remey signed on with the other Hands and went along with the majority who had decided that the Will was “Bada”, remaining in Haifa as one of the so-called “Custodians of the Faith” (and remonstrating with his fellow-Hands on an almost daily basis not to violate the Covenant and the Will and Testament by abandoning the Guardianship–all to no avail), he was enabled to observe the other Hands and to realize over the course of two years that most of the other Hands did not want another Guardian. Talk about violation! ‘Abdu1.Baha wrote in His Will that the Hands were to be “ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the guardian of the Cause of God” they were to “cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha. ” Yet it was the Hands themselves who were in opposition to there being another Guardian!

*****

It should be accepted as true that when the Hands decided to form their sans-Guardian UHJ they thought that “all the conditions of the Faith [could] be examined anew and the measures necessary for its future operation determined in consultation with the Hands of the Cause. ” Yet where in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu1-Baha is the authority for the Hands of the Cause to determine the future operation of the Faith in consultation with the UHJ? It’s not there!

*****

The article indicates that Mason Remey “himself laid claim” to the Guardianship of the Faith in his Proclamation of April 1960. Those who have not read Mason Remey’s Proclamation may feel that such a statement is true. However, Mason Remey did not say that in his Proclamation. Instead, he wrote: “Be it understood. I, of myself, make no claims for myself. I am but telling and reminding the Hands of the Faith and the Bahá’íss of all the world of the responsibilities that the beloved Guardian placed upon me as President of the Bahá’ís International Council.”

*****

It is clear that the article refers to “divisions” among Remey’s followers. In all justice, though, the article could just as readily have referred to “divisions” from the organization directed by the Hands and the sans-Guardian UHJ, for the individuals that are identified as the followers of Mason Remey were, first of all, members of the Faith under Shoghi Effendi and then were within the Faith usurped by the Hands. Suffice it to say, that such individuals as John Carre, Reginald King, and Leland Jensen had their own agendas, and in their efforts to carry out their agendas they eventually violated the Covenant. But their violation had nothing to do with whether they followed Mason Remey or not, for Mason Remey was not a Covenant-breaker.

Finally, the manner in which Mason Remey’s appointments of Donald Harvey and Joel Marangella were made is a matter of historical record, and those who are willing to investigate the facts can see why those who followed Donald Harvey went their way and why those of us who follow Joel Marangella now call ourselves Orthodox Bahá’íss. But to characterize Joel B. Marangella as a “forlorn survivor” of those who followed Mason Remey is to underestimate the power of the Covenant and to exaggerate the importance of the number of adherents of the Faith.

The article’s author seems to derive strength and comfort from the fact that so few of the members of the Bahá’ís Faith at the time of Shoghi Effendi’s passing had recognized Mason Remey, and even fewer of those believers ultimately had the insight to recognize Joel Marangella’s appointment. The author’s implicit assumption is that the number of followers of the Guardian is the criterion by which to judge the veracity of his claim to the office. Does it follow that because most of the Bahá’íss of the world have rejected the Guardian of the Faith that he therefore must be an impostor?

The history of religion informs us that a religious movement is not to be judged by the number of its adherents. The history of the people of Israel, as recounted in the Books of the Old Testament, is replete with references to this basic truth. One particularly good example is found in the story of how God delivered the people of Israel from the oppression of the Midianites in chapters 6 and 7 of the Book of Judges. Gideon’s army was reduced from thousands of soldiers to a few hundred: “And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying Mine own hand hath saved me.” Judges 7:2. Then God tested them, and the few that remained in the army defeated the enemy through the “sword of the Lord.”

Of course, we, as Bahá’íss, have the example of the defenders of Shaykh Tabarsi, who, at the outset, numbered some 300 Babis untrained in the art of war who remained undefeated, even though regiment after regiment of soldiers were dispatched to conquer them. The enemies of the Faith were only able to bring about their surrender after ignominiously making an oath on the Qu’ran to permit them safe passage and then slaughtering them when they came out of the fort.

The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh is not dependent upon the Bahá’íss. Rather the success of their efforts to establish His Administrative Order is dependent upon the power of the Covenant. Tbe Hands and those who followed them vainly believe that they can change the principles and institutions of the Administrative Order as outlined in the Will and Testament of’ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as if this Order belonged to them. But the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh does not belong to the Bahá’íss, and they do not have the power to change it, no matter how many people join with them. As Shoghi Effendi makes abundantly clear in “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh,” the Administrative Order of Bahau’1lah is divine in origin. It is not a manmade system, and it is not dependent upon the peoples of the world for its authority or power.

Like Gideon’s army, the faithful supporters of the Third Guardian, Joel B. Marangella, will be victorious through the power of the Covenant of God. Those who vaunt themselves against God, believing they have the power to establish God’s Kingdom after their own fancies, will perish.

The future will undoubtedly record who are the past and present-day violators of the Covenant. All of us who live in the present, though, especially those of us who consider ourselves to be Bahá’íss, would be well-advised to investigate this matter thoroughly and to seek out the truth for ourselves.

–The Mother Bahá’ís Council of the United States

Early in 2001

— Unity Within the Faith Requires Unity on the Word

UNITY WITHIN THE FAITH REQUIRES UNITY ON THE WORD

Two recent e-mails to the Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States referred to “the need for fellowship and the need not to split the faith into sects” and called for Orthodox Bahá’ís to “abandon your childish ways” and “come back to the fold.” The exact messages (with misspelled words corrected) are as follows:

Message 1 from a heterodox believer:

Leave it to Americans to try to instill their own interpretations of the group. If you and your members were true Bahá’ís you would understand the need for fellowship and the need not to split the faith into sects. That obviously was the downfall of all older religions, (Christianity for example). If you truly honor and believe in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá you would stop this selfish senseless bickering. You are in no way honoring the Messenger of this time by your actions.

It truly saddens me to find an organization like yours trying to split and de-value what the rest of the Bahá’ís are trying to accomplish. To achieve world peace it must start now between your organization and the true faith. Come home and abandon your childish ways. If you love God and love humanity, look into your heart and see that what you are doing is only causing more grief and it is confusing to the friends that have not heard the new message.

Message 2 from a heterodox believer:

It is amazing that you would uphold the terror that the government of Iran is placing upon people of different faiths. Two men were recently executed for believing something different than what the government believes. To align yourself with a people as this proves that you are self-serving. Come back to the fold and stop this talk.

…………………………..

The writer(s) of these two messages labor(s) under an impression that is apparently widespread within the sans-Guardian organization. The heterodox believers seem to feel that it does not matter whether their organization is right or wrong. They seem to think that what is important is only to be united.

However, such a view is tragically erroneous, for to be united while following a wrong course can only lead to disaster.

The writer of the first message was therefore informed that there is a basic problem with his position. Since the sans-Guardian believer had suggested the need to truly honor and believe in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he was informed that it was ‘Abdu’l- Bahá Himself in His Will and Testament who said that it was incumbent upon Shoghi Effendi “to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing.” As a consequence, the heterodox believer was asked: “Who is now interpreting those words to account for a sans-Guardian administration of the Cause?”

It is not the Orthodox Bahá’ís who espouse such an interpretation! Indeed, when one identifies himself or herself as an Orthodox Bahá’í, the individual accepts every clause of the Master’s sacred Will–all the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in that Document. But such is not the case of the sans-Guardian Bahá’ís. Beginning in 1957 their leadership disavowed the Master’s Will. Thus it is they, the sans-Guardian believers, who do not honor and believe in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Then, too, upon what basis can one attribute selfishness and bickering to the Orthodox Bahá’ís? How are Orthodox Bahá’ís dishonoring the Messenger of this time?

Should the believers in the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh unite under an administration which is obviously flawed because it does not contain its supreme Institution, namely, the Center of the Cause, the Guardian of the Faith? The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá calls for the Guardian of the Faith to be the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice. The heterodox organization’s UHJ is minus its sacred head, and, as noted above, the reason for that beheading goes back to the 1957 interpretation of the Hands of the Faith that Shoghi Effendi had not appointed his successor.

The Hands of the Faith were never given the interpretative power of the Cause. They were never vested with infallibility, and the writings clearly state that they are to operate only under the guidance of the living Guardian of the Faith. Thus, when the Hands took over the Faith in 1957, they set out to establish an administration which is different from that enunciated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and clarified by Shoghi Effendi. So why should people unite on that which is clearly outside the Faith?

Such is the response that was made to the first message.

The writer of the second message apparently misread some of the material that is to be found on our Home Pages. That individual claimed that the Orthodox Bahá’ís are upholding “the terror that the government of Iran is placing upon people of different faiths.” The individual apparently felt that our article dealing with heresy within the Bahá’í Faith somehow implies that the Iranian government is right in persecuting Bahá’ís. The sans-Guardian believer surely missed the following sentence in that article: “Certainly, the abhorrence of the peoples of the world toward what has happened to the Bahá’ís in Iran is fully justified.”

Truly, Orthodox Bahá’ís, like sans-Guardian believers, are appalled that a government can exercise the kinds of terrorism, bestiality, injustice, and the flagrant abuse of humanity that the Iranian government has exercised against the Bahá’ís. Nobody should have to fear anyone else simply because his or her beliefs are different from others. Emphatically, then, Orthodox Bahá’ís are totally against all forms of oppression.

At the same time, though, all of us need to be fully aware of what our beliefs are and how we have arrived at those beliefs. And in the case of sans-Guardian Bahá’ís, those who now follow the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice need to recognize that they are no longer building the Administrative Order that was delineated and explained by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. Orthodox Bahá’ís, therefore, maintain that the heterodox organization is pursuing a heretical course.

In light of the preceding, it should be clear that the current estrangement between the heterodox Bahá’ís and the Orthodox Bahá’ís cannot be remedied by members of the Orthodox Faith joining “the fold” of the sans-Guardian Faith. Appeals for unity are wonderful appeals, if all the believers in Bahá’u’lláh could be united within the true Faith. But it must be borne in mind that to unite under a false banner would be foolish in the extreme, and those who would call for such unity should be reminded of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words in His Will and Testament: “the Center of Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with divine unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others.”

From 1957 until the present-day, those under the sans-Guardian UHJ have repeatedly used the theme of “unity” as the supreme watchword for their organization. But true unity must be founded on the Word and the Word in this Day can only be kept pure as long as there is a living Guardian as the Center of the Cause.

Those who have read the last page of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will know what He said about seeking guidance. He said that all must “turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice.” It is not the House of Justice minus the Guardian to whom the believers must turn. They must first turn to the Center of the Cause: the Guardian of the Faith.

The heterodox organization does not have a living Guardian. And without a living Guardian that organization cannot achieve unity on the Word. Orthodox Bahá’ís believe that to join the sans-Guardian organization would be to join with those who are outside the true administrative pattern for the Faith.

— Three Letters of the Sans-Guardian UHJ Appraised

In their books Wellspring of Guidance and Messages from The Universal House of Justice 1968-1973, the inquirer will find that at several different times the sans-Guardian UHJ found it necessary to justify its existence without the Guardian as its “sacred head.” What follows are statements from three of the UHJ’s letters (in the left-hand column) and reactive comments of an Orthodox Bahá’í (in the right-hand column).

Universal House of Justice Letters March 9, 1965

Why were steps taken to elect Universal House of Justice with the foreknowledge that there would be no Guardian? Was the time ripe for such an action? Could not the International Bahá’í Council have carried on the work?

At the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi’s death it was evident, from the circumstances and from the explicit requirements of the Holy Texts, that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

This situation, in which the Guardian died without being able to appoint a successor, presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text, and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice.

The friends should clearly understand that before the election of the Universal House of Justice there was no knowledge that there would be no Guardian.

Neither the Hands of the Cause of God, nor the International Bahá’í Council, nor any other existing body could make a decision upon this all- important matter. Only the House of Justice had authority to pronounce upon it. This was one urgent reason for calling the election of the Universal House of Justice as soon as possible.

Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the international administration of the Faith was carried on by the Hands of the Cause of God with the complete agreement and loyalty of the national spiritual assemblies and the body of the believers. This was in accordance with the Guardian’s designation of the Hands as the “Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth.”

From the very outset of their custodianship of the Cause of God the Hands realized that since they had no certainty of Divine guidance such as is incontrovertibly assured to the Guardian and to the Universal House of Justice, their one safe course was to follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi.

The Guardian had given the Bahá’í world explicit and detailed plans covering the period until Ridván 1963, the end of the Ten Year Crusade. From that point onward, unless the Faith were to be endangered, further Divine guidance was essential. This was the second pressing reason for the calling of the election of the Universal House of Justice.

Having been in charge of the Cause of God for six years, the Hands, with absolute faith in the Holy Writings, called upon the believers to elect the Universal House of Justice…

The second series of problems vexing some of the friends centers on the question of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice and its ability to function without the presence of the Guardian.

It should be understood by the friends that before legislating upon any matter the Universal House of Justice studies carefully and exhaustively both the Sacred Texts and the writings of Shoghi Effendi on the subject. The interpretations written by the beloved Guardian cover a vast range of subjects and are equally as binding as the Text itself.

Although not invested with the function of interpretation, the House of Justice is in a position to do everything necessary to establish the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh on this earth.

Unity of doctrine is maintained by the existence of the authentic texts of Scripture and the voluminous interpretations of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, together with the absolute prohibition against anyone propounding “authoritative” or “inspired” interpretations or usurping the function of Guardian.

The friends are called upon to trust to time and to await the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, which, as circumstances require, will make pronouncements that will resolve and clarify obscure matters.

The third group of queries raised by the friends concerns details of functioning of the Universal House of Justice in the absence of the Guardian, particularly the matter of expulsion of members of the House of Justice. Such questions will be clarified in the constitution of the House of Justice…

Meanwhile the friends are informed that any member committing a “sin injurious to the common weal” may be expelled from membership of the House of Justice by a majority vote of the House itself.

Should any member, God forbid, be guilty of breaking the Covenant, the matter would be investigated by the Hands of the Cause of God, and the Covenant-breaker would be expelled by decision of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, subject to the approval of the House of Justice…

May 27, 1966

You suggest the possibility that, for the good of the Cause, certain information concerning the succession to Shoghi Effendi is being withheld from the believers. We assure you that nothing whatsoever is being withheld from the friends for whatever reason.

There is no doubt at all that in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi was the authority designated to appoint his successor; but he had no children and all the surviving Aghsán had broken the Covenant. Thus…it is clear that there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will.

…that same Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the Guardian’s appointment of his successor, as you are aware. The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian’s choice.

Do not forget that Shoghi Effendi said two things were necessary for a growing understanding of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh: the passage of time and the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

The infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, operating within its ordained sphere, has not been made dependent upon the presence in its membership of the Guardian of the Cause.

In the absence of the Guardian, is the Universal House of Justice in danger of straying outside its proper sphere and thus falling into error ?

Here we must remember three things: First, Shoghi Effendi…has already made innumerable such definitions, supplementing those made by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and by Bahá’u’lláh Himself.

Second, the Universal House of Justice, itself assured of Divine guidance, is well aware of the absence of the Guardian and will approach all matters of legislation only when certain of its sphere of jurisdiction, a sphere which the Guardian has confidently described as “clearly defined.”

Third, we must not forget the Guardian’s written statement about these two institutions: “Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other.”

Whereas the Universal House of Justice cannot undertake any function which exclusively appertained to the Guardian, it must continue to pursue the object which it shares in common with the Guardianship.

Now the Universal House of Justice must function without the Guardian, but the principle of inseparability remains. The Guardianship does not lose its significance nor position in the Order of Bahá’u’lláh merely because there is no living Guardian.

No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God’s Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations.

If some of the statements of the Universal House of Justice are not detailed the friends should realize that the cause of this is not secretiveness, but rather the determination of this body to refrain from interpreting the teachings…

However great may be our inability to understand the mystery and the implications of the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the strong cord to which all must cling with assurance is the Covenant.

The Universal House of Justice, which the Guardian said would be regarded by posterity as “the last refuge of a tottering civilization,” is now, in the absence of the Guardian, the sole infallibly guided institution in the world…

As the Universal House of Justice has already announced, it cannot legislate to make possible the appointment of a successor to Shoghi Effendi, nor can it legislate to make possible the appointment of any more Hands of the Cause, but it must do everything within its power to ensure the performance of all those functions which it shares with these two mighty institutions.

…it must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huqúqu’lláh.

It must make provision in its constitution for the removal of any of its members who commits a sin “injurious to the common weal.”

7 December 1969

In attempting to understand the Writings, therefore, one must first realize that there is and can be no real contradiction in them, and in the light of this we can confidently seek the unity of meaning which they contain.

It is impossible to conceive that two centers of authority, which the Master has stated “are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness the Exalted One,” could conflict with one another, because both are vehicles of the same Divine Guidance.

Nowhere is it stated that the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice is by virtue of the Guardian’s membership or presence on that body.

He [the Guardian] is…made the irremovable head and member for life of the supreme legislative body of the Faith. It is as the head of the Universal House of Justice, and as a member of that body, that the Guardian takes part in the process of legislation.

….One can understand how great would be the attention paid to the views of the Guardian during the above process were he alive.

Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; on the contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken.

In the Bahá’í Faith there are two authoritative centers appointed to which the believers must turn….one center is the Book with its Interpreter, and the other is the Universal House of Justice guided by God to decide on whatever is not explicitly revealed in the Book.

…the Interpreter of the Book must also have the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the elected representatives of the Cause. The writings of the Guardian and the advice given by him over the thirty-six years of this Guardianship show the way in which he exercised this function in relation to the Universal House of Justice…

The fact that the Guardian has the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the Universal House of Justice does not carry with it the corollary that without such guidance the Universal House of Justice might stray beyond the limits of its proper authority; such a deduction would conflict with all the other texts referring to its infallibility, and specifically with the Guardian’s own clear assertion that the Universal House of Justice never can or will infringe on the sacred and prescribed domain of the Guardianship

As Shoghi Effendi’s secretary wrote on his behalf to an individual believer on 25 March 1930, “The contents of the Will of the Master are far too much for the present generation to comprehend. It needs at least a century of actual working before the treasures of its wisdom hidden in it can be revealed…”

Commentary by an Orthodox Bahá’í A Current Reaction

Perhaps the questions really should be “Hadn’t the Hands already decided that the provisions of the Will were ‘Bada’?” “Wasn’t the election of a so-called UHJ without a Head actually a sham?”–and– “Didn’t you have any idea of the singular importance of the International Council inasmuch as Shoghi Effendi said it was ‘the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation'”?

The “explicit requirements of the Holy Texts” made it imperative that if the Guardian’s “glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.” (W&T, para.#18)

“It is…preposterous that they should claim that the matter of succession was one that could be rightfully referred to the Universal House of Justice… [T]his body ‘enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text’ and ‘hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions.'” –3rd Guardian, 4-11-87.

This is certainly so, although the “Chicago Manifesto” and other messages from the ‘leaders of the Faith’ made it clear that “The door to the appointment of a second Guardian, as far as can be determined by references to the Bahá’í writings, is closed.”

Let’s face it. The Hands of the Cause had decided that they wanted to be in charge of the Faith and, according to Mason Remey’s “Daily Observations” they didn’t give a thought to investigating the possibility that Shoghi Effendi had appointed his successor in his lifetime, according to the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Did the believers have any choice but to give their loyalty to the “Administration” until such time as the truth was made known to them–either through the Second Guardian’s Proclamation or through their own independent recognition that Shoghi Effendi had indeed named his successor? The Hands seized upon the words “Chief Stewards” and interpreted them to mean that they were the leaders of the Faith.

There was no “safe course” for the Hands once they set upon the path they did. Certainly, they did not “follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi.” The 10-year Crusade did not, for instance, call for the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. The first Guardian established specific stages through which the International Council was to evolve. The Hands did not fulfill each of those stages.

One of those stages that the Hands by-passed was the one calling for the International Bahá’í Council to evolve into a Bahá’í Court, which Shoghi Effendi identified in a Cablegram of 25 April 1951 as an “essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” The Hands decided that such a stage was not essential.

The Hands had disavowed the sacred and immutable Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when they decided that the Guardianship had ended. They lost their faith in the Holy Writings.

This should be a vexing series of problems for anyone following a headless Universal House of Justice! In the Maxwell Notes, Shoghi Effendi clearly states: “It is the Guardian’s responsibility to prevent the International House of Justice from abrogating any of the laws of the Aqdas.”

The Maxwell Notes also cite Shoghi Effendi as saying: “The Guardian can over-rule a decision of the International House of Justice if he conscientiously feels it is not in accord with the teachings. This is the interpretive right.” In addition, in his “Dispensation”, Shoghi Effendi refers to “these two inseparable institutions” and says the Guardian “is bound to insist upon a reconsideration” of positions taken by the UHJ which may “conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.” What good is it, then, for the so-called UHJ to study the past writings of the first Guardian when there is now a third Guardian? A living Guardian is essential.

Shoghi Effendi’s Dispensation says: “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be mutilated…”

To have “unity of doctrine” the friends should remember ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words: “As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh…: It is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this appointment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of God against differences and schisms, making it impossible for anyone to create a new sect or faction of belief. To ensure unity and agreement He has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world, including the interpreter and explainer of His teachings, so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus created a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine Words.” (Promulgation of Universal Peace, Second Edition 1982, 455-456.)

Mason Remey said in his Third Encyclical: “[W]hile sincerity is a virtue when following in the true path, sincerity in following the wrong path can lead only to destruction.” The friends need to read the writings and recognize that it is the Guardian who will insure that the Faith is on the proper path.

The Will is clear: “Should any of the members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him…” The constitution of the legitimate UHJ will conform with such provisions as are enunciated in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will.

Obviously, the present body called the Universal House of Justice is no longer complying with “every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will” as called for by Shoghi Effendi. (See Bahá’í Administration, 90)

When the Hands are gone, the heterodox organization will put the power of expulsion into someone else’s hands. But Shoghi Effendi didn’t: “The Guardian, like the Master before him, has not considered it advisable to as yet permit any person or Assembly to put another person out of the Cause of God….no one but himself can pronounce a person to be in that diseased condition we call ‘Covenant-breaking.'” (See Bahá’í News, June 1949, p. 2)

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The so-called Universal House of Justice has apparently done everything in its power to prevent its followers from getting the information that the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith has attempted to give them. If their followers truly realized the importance of the continuing Guardianship and acted on that realization, the UHJ would face a very blank wall.

The first sentence is correct. The second one is not. In God Passes By (p.239) Shoghi Effendi uses the term “‘Aghsán'” to apply to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh only and mentions the relatives of Bahá’u’lláh separately from them. As there were no remaining faithful sons (i.e., ‘Aghsán’) of Bahá’u’lláh at the time the third part of the Will and Testament was written, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” makes no reference to them in this part of the Will, but only to the Afnan. It is obvious therefore that when the Will provides the Guardian with the option of choosing “another branch” to succeed him He is not referring to the ‘Aghsán’ at all. The term “branch” as used here has a spiritual connotation and refers to a male member of the Faith who fulfills the required qualifications enumerated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá” in His Will and who has demonstrated his outstanding fidelity to the Covenant.

The confirmation of the Guardian’s appointment is to be done at the time of the appointment, which is, of course, while the Guardian making the appointment is alive. The body of nine Hands was not in existence at the time Shoghi Effendi appointed Mason Remey as President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice.

Yes, we will gain understanding with the passage of time, but to have the guidance of the true Universal House of Justice, that body must have a Guardian as its “sacred head.”

The Dispensation says that the Guardianship provides “the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives.” Without the Guardianship that guidance “would be totally withdrawn.” If the UHJ is infallible without the Guardian serving as its “sacred head,” why would Shoghi Effendi have explained in the “Dispensation” that “he is bound to insist upon a reconsideration” of a position they may have taken, thereby indicating that without his guidance their proposed enactments are subject to error ?

It is interesting to note that even if the Guardian should not attend the deliberations of the Universal House of Justice in person, the Will says: “Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him.” Now, why do you suppose that provision is in the Will ?

The Universal House of Justice is not the Universal House of Justice unless it contains the institution with which it is “inseparable,” namely, the Guardianship. Obviously, the current sans-Guardian body is unaware of the sphere of jurisdiction of a true Universal House of Justice.

There is something ludicrous about this statement. The sans-Guardian UHJ has no Guardian. So it’s clear their Guardian-in-absentia will not be able to infringe upon the domain that they establish for themselves. Or does this statement by the UHJ attempt to imply that the UHJ does not require the Guardian as its “sacred head” and thereby justify its headless and illegitimate status ?

One of the things which gives the lie to this statement is that later on in this same letter the sans-Guardian UHJ states “it must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huqúqu’lláh, a function which “exclusively appertained to the Guardian” and not an “object which it shares in common with the Guardianship.”

This is ridiculous. The Guardianship is one of “the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure.” It is “divine in origin,” “essential” in its function, and the two institutions are “complementary in their aim and purpose.” (Dispensation, pp. 4 & 5)

This is a statement of tremendous irony. The Hands of the Cause took the future of God’s Cause into their own hands and tried to force it into ways that are not called for in the clear texts.

The pronouncements of the sans- Guardian Universal House of Justice are their own interpretations of the teachings. And if one is a follower of that body and goes against that body’s interpretations, he or she is called a “Covenant-breaker.”

It’s clear that the meaning of the Covenant to the so-called Universal House of Justice is different from the meaning that Orthodox Bahá’ís ascribe to the Covenant. The Covenant has to do with the succession of divine interpreters. As Shoghi Effendi says in the Maxwell Notes: “The Bahá’í Revelation has administrative institutions established by Bahá’u’lláh and made clear in the Master’s Will and Testament. The Master’s Will appointed both the successor and interpreter. No other Revelation has this.”

Shoghi Effendi says that the Fathers of the Christian Church “wholly inferred and indirectly derived” the “authority and features of their administration.” Likewise, the heterodox UHJ must infer and indirectly derive that Shoghi Effendi had in mind a headless UHJ when he made the statement he did about the UHJ being “”the last refuge of a tottering civilization.” On the contrary, all of the writings, messages and pronouncements of Shoghi Effendi until the very last days of his ministry have referred to the Guardianship as an essential, living and continuing institution throughout the entire duration of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.

The Will states: “This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them…” The Guardian, like the UHJ, “is equipped with its own attendant institutions– instruments designed for the effective discharge of its particular responsibilities and duties.” The UHJ does not share in the direction of the Hands. (See W&T, para 22 & Dispensation, p. 5)

This is a particular responsibility/duty of the Guardian. The heterodox UHJ has infringed “upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other [institution].” (See Dispensation, p. 7)

Again, this is the prescribed domain of the Guardian.

………………………….

This statement is an attempt on the part of the heterodox UHJ to justify their sans-Guardian existence. In effect, they are denying the need for “The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, [which] is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice.” (Dispensation p. 6)

This is just so much smoke. As long as the heterodox UHJ has no Guardian at its head, the talk of conflict is sense-less. There will be no outward conflict because the heterodox UHJ will not have a Guardian who could “insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.” (Dispensation, p. 7)

Nowhere in the Master’s writings or in Shoghi Effendi’s writings will there be found any statement that the UHJ will be formed without a Guardian as its head. As Shoghi Effendi points out in the Maxwell Notes: “In the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the words ‘irremovable’ and ‘expounder’ are found…” And Shoghi Effendi says the Guardian is the “permanent head” of the UHJ. (Dispensation, p. 7)

True. So where is the head of the heterodox UHJ? Where is the heterodox UHJ’s “distinguished member for life of that body” ?

How much dedicated attention has been given by those in the heterodox organization to the views of the second and third Guardians ?

In Bahá’í News, June 1950, p. 8 the Guardian is quoted: “In the spiritual realm they [men] have…reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians’), guided directly by the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by ‘this is the day which will not be followed by night’. In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension, through, first the Master, and then the Guardians.”

Nowhere in the Will or in the writings of Shoghi Effendi is there a reference to two centers but only “the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure.” The last page of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will identifies the Guardian of the Faith as the “Center of the Cause.”

Shoghi Effendi writes that “he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author, and ceases consequently, by virtue of the actual authority vested in him, to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing systems of constitutional monarchies.” The heterodox organization doesn’t even have a figurehead! (Dispensation, p. 9)

Let’s reiterate what Shoghi Effendi wrote: The Guardian “is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.” (Dispensation, p. 7)

“…at least a century of actual working…” Shoghi Effendi wrote: ” …Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have both revealed and even insisted upon certain details in connection with the Divine Economy which they have bequeathed to us, their followers. This is why such an emphasis has been placed in their Will and Testament upon the powers and prerogatives of the ministers of their Faith.” (WOB, p. 22) Shoghi Effendi also said: “…Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Aqdas, and later ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will–a document which confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas–have set forth in their entirety those essential elements for the constitution of the world Bahá’í Commonwealth…” (WOB, p. 19.) For the contents of the Will of the Master to actually work, all the essential elements of the “Charter” of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh must be in place. Such circumstances do not exist in the man-made organization of the heterodox Universal House of Justice with its subsidiary institutions and believers. Nor will such circumstances ever exist until such time as the duly-appointed Guardian of the Faith is indeed the “Center of the Cause” from whom, with the properly- constituted Universal House of Justice, all must seek guidance. Otherwise, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states at the end of His Will and Testament, “he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.”

— Logic and proofs of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith:

LOGIC AND PROOFS RELATED TO THE ORTHODOX BAHÁ’Í FAITH by Frank Schlatter

In late August of 1996, the author, while following the heterodox Bahá’í newsgroup soc.religion.bahai, came across a posting that out-of-hand rejected the arguments of those of us who oppose the heterodox Bahá’í position. The posting stated that the arguments of those who opposed their organization were illogical. Also, it was said those who opposed their Faith did not employ the writings as proof. As a result of that posting, I decided to challenge the expressed viewpoint, and on August 30, 1996, I posted a series of syllogisms with the newsgroup, at the end of which I challenged the heterodox Bahá’ís to provide a series of syllogisms of their own that employed the writings to support their position. No heterodox Bahá’í attempted to meet the challenge. Instead, those within the newsgroup were urged by its heterodox Bahá’í members not to read the syllogisms, denouncing the writer of the syllogisms as a “Covenant-breaker.”

Recognizing that I am not a logician, I knew that my syllogisms would not meet the strict criteria that logicians would demand in the development of syllogisms. At the same time, though, I think that any reader who has studied the Faith and who objectively evaluates my syllogisms will recognize that they do properly employ the writings of the Faith and they do accurately utilize the historical facts related to the continuing Guardianship of the Faith. Therefore, the syllogisms should be of value to anyone who is interested in the differences found in the majority and minority organizations and particularly in realizing the views of those of us who, at present, call ourselves Orthodox Bahá’ís.

These, then, are the syllogisms that I offered to the newsgroup and which are still in the archives of soc.religion.bahai under the subject “Proofs of the Orthodox Bahá’í”:

Premise One: In Shoghi Effendi’s ministry the Guardian of the Faith alone could cast individuals from the Faith for Covenant-breaking activities.

Premise Two: Shoghi Effendi did not give anyone else the right to identify a person as a Covenant-breaker.

CONCLUSION: The Hands of the Faith, following Shoghi Effendi’s passing, assumed the right to label individuals as Covenant-breakers on their own recognizance.

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Premise One: “Bahá’u’lláh hath made the Center of the Covenant the Interpreter of His Word” and He stated of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that “They who deprive themselves of the shadow of the Branch, are lost in the wilderness of error…”

Premise Two: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His own Will and Testament states that the Guardian is the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice.

CONCLUSION: That institution which is formed without the Guardian as its “sacred head” and calling itself a Universal House of Justice is not the institution established by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament and its followers may be in jeopardy of having left the shade of the Branch.

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Premise One: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was empowered by Bahá’u’lláh to direct the affairs of the Cause: “When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed…” “We have made Thee a shelter for all mankind.”

Premise Two: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote in His Will and Testament that it was incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause “to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not appear after his passing.”

CONCLUSION: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was empowered to provide sufficient alternatives to make it possible for the Guardian of the Faith to appoint his successor.

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Premise One: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was identified by Bahá’u’lláh to be the Interpreter following Bahá’u’lláh’s passing.

Premise Two: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in turn, stated in His Will and Testament that Shoghi Effendi was the “expounder of the words of God,” and thus identified him as the Interpreter after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing.

CONCLUSION: When Shoghi Effendi provided the English translation of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the believers, that version of the Will became Shoghi Effendi’s interpretation, and those persons who argue that a different text is closer to the truth are opposing Shoghi Effendi’s interpretation.

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Premise One: In His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá identifies the interpolation and falsification of the words and verses of the Sacred Text as a Covenant-breaking offense.

Premise Two: In His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá enjoins those who read His Will to peruse the confession of Badi’u’lláh, a document in which Badi’u’lláh describes the falsification of the Holy Text.

CONCLUSION: The believers need to know what ‘Abdu’l-Bahá considered as a violation of the Covenant.

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Premise One: Shoghi Effendi is identified in the English version of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the interpreter, i.e., “the expounder of the words of God.”

Premise Two: Shoghi Effendi states in his writings that Bahá’u’lláh’s Aqdas and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá are “inseparable parts of one complete unit.”

CONCLUSION: The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá must be classified as a part of the Holy Text.

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Premise One: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament has identified “falsification of the Holy Text” as breaking the Covenant.

Premise Two: The Hands of the Cause in their letter of October 15, 1960, to the National Spiritual Assemblies changed the designation of the Guardian in the Master’s Will from “the chosen branch” to “the Chosen Branch,” thus implying that the designation must be a reference to the Aghsan (which Shoghi Effendi had interpreted in “God Passes By” to mean a “son” of Bahá’u’lláh).

CONCLUSION: The Hands of the Cause in their October 15, 1960, letter falsified the Holy Text and in so doing committed an act in violation of the Covenant.

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Premise One: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the duly appointed authority of the Faith.

Premise Two: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the duly appointed authority, says in His Will and Testament that “All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice.”

CONCLUSION: It does not necessarily follow that “All” can eventually turn only to the House of Justice minus the Center of the Cause nor that the House of Justice can become the Center of the Cause.

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Premise One: Same as Premise One in the foregoing syllogism.

Premise Two: Same as Premise Two in the foregoing syllogism.

CONCLUSION: It does not follow that an individual can be identified by the Hands of the Cause as a Covenant-breaker when such an individual turns to the Guardian of the Faith as some did when they turned to the one they believed the first Guardian had appointed as the second Guardian and rejected the stand of the Hands (who have not been promised infallibility within the Writings and who, at the time, were not looking for a successor to Shoghi Effendi).

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Premise One: Shoghi Effendi in his proclamation of January 9, 1951, identified the International Bahá’í Council as the embryonic Universal House of Justice.

Premise Two: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said that the embryo “possesses from the first all perfections…but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees.”

CONCLUSION: The embryonic Universal House of Justice contained all the perfections that that body would have in its final efflorescence, including its embryonic “sacred head.”

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Premise One: Shoghi Effendi wrote “The hereditary authority which the Guardian is called upon to exercise, the vital and essential functions which the Universal House of Justice discharges, the specific provisions requiring its democratic election by the representatives of the faithful–these combine to demonstrate the truth that this divinely revealed Order, which can never be identified with any of the standard types of government referred to by Aristotle in his works, embodies and blends with the spiritual verities on which it is based the beneficent elements which are to be found in each one of them. The admitted evils inherent in each of these systems [is] rigidly and permanently excluded…”

Premise Two: The sans-Guardian organization now is minus the “hereditary authority which the Guardian is called upon to exercise.”

CONCLUSION: That system which is minus the “hereditary authority” of the Guardian no longer carries with it the promise of the “admitted evils in each of these systems [being] rigidly and permanently excluded” from it.

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Premise One: When the Guardian of the Faith, in his own lifetime, names his successor, the named successor will not become Guardian until the mantle of Guardianship is passed to him; that is, when he is “born” into the position.

Premise Two: While the Guardian of the Faith continues to exercise the functions of his office, the named successor has the potential powers of the Guardian, but those powers are embryonic in form.

CONCLUSION: As the mother/father of the embryonic child do not enter the womb during the gestation period, neither does the Guardian of the Faith place himself within the embryonic institution that he has produced. Hence, Shoghi Effendi did not identify himself as the head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice and take the position of President of the International Bahá’í Council.

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Premise One: The Universal House of Justice has two parts to it, one of which is the democratic element–that part which is elected by the members of the National Houses of Justice.

Premise Two: The second element within the Universal House of Justice comes in the person of the individual “who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation…and [who] ceases consequently, by virtue of the actual authority vested in him, to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing systems of constitutional monarchies.”

CONCLUSION: When in his message of January 9, 1951, Shoghi Effendi indicated that the International Bahá’í Council would evolve through a series of steps, one of which was “its transformation into a duly elected body,” the election would not have included the person who would symbolize “the hereditary principle.”

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Premise One: Subsequent to the writing of His Will and Testament, whenever ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to the Universal House of Justice it is implicit in His words that He is referring to the Universal House of Justice with the Guardian as its “sacred head.”

Premise Two: During his entire ministry when Shoghi Effendi refers to the Universal House of Justice it is implicit in his words that he is referring to the Universal House of Justice with the Guardian as its “sacred head.”

CONCLUSION: Those who maintain that there are implications in the Writings that the line of continuing Guardians as the head of the Universal House of Justice might end are “sowing the seeds of doubt” about the central institution of the Faith.

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Premise One: The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that the “body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God.”

Premise Two: The Will and Testament says that the Guardian must “continually urge” the Hands of the Cause.

CONCLUSION: The Guardian’s living presence is essential for the Hands of the Cause to act in accordance with the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

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Premise One: The Guardian of the Faith is the Center of the Cause.

Premise Two: The Hands of the Cause “must be under his [the Guardian’s] shadow and obey his command.”

CONCLUSION: The appellation that Shoghi Effendi used to identify the Hands, that is, “the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth” does not necessarily carry any other meaning than to say the Hands are subject to his– the Guardian’s–commands.

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Premise One: Shoghi Effendi identified the extent to which the International Bahá’í Council–the embryonic Universal House of Justice–would evolve by the end of the 10-year Crusade that was set in motion in 1953 when he said it was “the establishment of a Bahá’í Court in the Holy Land, preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.”

Premise Two: Shoghi Effendi said that the “formation of the Bahá’í Court” was an “essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.”

CONCLUSION: To be consistent with Shoghi Effendi’s statement, the formation of a Bahá’í Court could not be by-passed and a headless Universal House of Justice established in its stead.

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Premise One: The appointment of the Guardian’s successor must be done in the lifetime of the Guardian and, if the Hands of the Cause have elected “from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God,” those nine must ratify the Guardian’s appointment by giving “their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor.”

Premise Two: Shoghi Effendi stated (“Bahá’í News of Feb. 1955, p. 1) that the statement in the Will “does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian.”

CONCLUSION: A will and testament to be opened after the Guardian’s passing will not be employed to effect the appointment of the Guardian’s successor. Thus, a different means will be used.

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Premise One: Shoghi Effendi knew that he and his wife had no children and that the Aghsan had defected from the Faith, and thus there was no child in his lineage and no Aghsan who could become his successor.

Premise Two: Shoghi Effendi, as late as November of 1954 referred to the construction of future structures on Mount Carmel that would “serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice.”

CONCLUSION: Shoghi Effendi was either providing the believers with false hopes concerning the line of continuing Guardians (that is, he was deceiving the believers), or he failed to make an accurate interpretation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, or he knew he would be guiding the Faith from the next world, or he felt there were means to continue the line of Guardians and, indeed, had already appointed his successor.

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The posting closed with two paragraphs, the last one stating: “I would be interested in the syllogisms that conclusively establish the validity of the present pattern of the organization now being followed by the majority of the Bahá’ís in the world.” The key words, of course, are the words “conclusively establish,” for it is impossible for members of the heterodox organization to conclusively establish the validity of the organizational pattern which they now follow. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Charter of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, calls for the Guardian of the Cause to be the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice, and their Universal House of Justice was formed without a living Guardian. It is little wonder, therefore, that no heterodox Bahá’ís accepted the challenge to post their logic and proofs in the form of syllogisms.

— A series of 57 statements that utilize the Bahá’í

57 STATEMENTS OF FACT RELATED TO THE CONTINUING GUARDIANSHIP

Prefactory Note: In the fall of 1996, the newsgroup known as soc.religion.bahai and run by members of the sans-Guardian Bahá’í Faith carried a number of postings dealing with the Lesser Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. Franklin Schlatter, the secretary for the Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States, managed to get two postings onto the newsgroup, the first of which are the nineteen syllogisms located elsewhere on this Home Page. The first posting challenged other newsgroup participants to provide counter-syllogisms, but the challenge was not taken up by anyone. Instead, others resorted to name-calling and advised the newsgroup to avoid what Schlatter had written. On 11 September, Schlatter’s second posting to the newsgroup was briefly disseminated and then it disappeared, apparently because the statements of fact were more factual than the moderators could countenance!

Some weeks later the moderators of the social.religion.bahai newsgroup provided additional credence to such a position when they changed the charter of the newsgroup so that Orthodox Bahá’ís were precluded from providing to the newsgroup their perspective on the continuing Guardianship of the Faith.

What is given here is the posting that appeared and then, within 24 hours, disappeared from the social.religion.bahai newsgroup.

When an individual has been identified as a “Covenant-breaker” it becomes very easy for those who maintain that they are within the Covenant to resort to such emotional, opinion-molding devices as name-calling, guilt by association, stereotyping, smokescreens, and glittering generalities. And whether the person be a loyal follower of the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice or an accused Covenant-breaker, what gets lost in all the dialogue is that what, in fact, is happening is that we are experiencing a difference in interpretation of the writings, and only the Guardian of the Faith has the mandate from the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to resolve such differences. Thus, emotional appeals and/or condemnations become counter-productive in whatever dialogue is developed.

I wonder, therefore: Is it possible for us to communicate our views without resorting to name-calling and to reach some kind of agreement regarding our disagreements–and especially our differences in interpretation?

If communication (not necessarily “association”) is possible, it is clear that those engaged in the dialogue need to establish specific points of agreement and disagreement. As an initial step in this process I’d like for the members of this newsgroup to determine for themselves the veracity or falsehood of each statement in the list of statements that follows. (Call it a true-false test if you will, for all each of us has to do is to identify whether each statement is true or false.) Once you have completed this survey, I’d like to suggest that you add your own *specific* facts to the list and share them via the newsgroup. In this way, progress toward common understandings might be achieve.

1. In His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not set any age limitations on the one appointed as Guardian of the Faith.

2. In the third part of the Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not refer to the Aghsan at all.

3. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not say that the appointment of the Guardian’s successor is to be done by means of a will and testament.

4. In the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá it says that it is “incumbent” upon the Guardian to appoint his successor “in his own life-time” so “that differences not appear after his passing.”

5. The English translation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will says that if the Guardian’s lineage is not “matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.”

6. In the English translation of the Will and Testament that Shoghi Effendi provided the believers, the “b” in the word “branch” is in the lower case in the passage that is cited in statement #5.

7. The Will and Testament says that the Hands of the Faith “must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important service in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God.”

8. The Will and Testament says these nine Hands (see #7) “must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor.”

9. During Shoghi Effendi’s lifetime the Hands of the Faith did not elect from their own number the nine Hands who, according to the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, were to “give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor.”

10. Shoghi Effendi gave his interpretation regarding the provision in the Will which calls for nine Hands to give their assent to the Guardian’s successor, when in the “Bahá’í News” of February 1955 he is quoted as saying: “The statement in the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith.”

11. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that the Hands of the Faith are under the Guardian, that they are to obey his command, and that the Guardian must “continually urge” the Hands “to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world…”

12. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says that the “guardian of the Cause of God” is the “sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body”–meaning the Universal House of Justice.

13. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will provides the Guardian with the power to expel a member of the Universal House of Justice from that body if the member should “commit a sin injurious to the common weal.”

14. The Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not specifically give the power to expel a member of the Universal House of Justice to any other person, persons, or institution except the Guardian.

15.The Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not give the Universal House of Justice the power to countermand the Guardian’s appointment of his successor, or even to investigate the processes by which the Guardian chooses his successor.

16. At the time when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stated that the Guardian “is its sacred head” the democratic element of the Universal House of Justice had not been elected, so the provision of the Guardian being the “sacred head” was not then in effect, and, thus, the provision, as written, deals with a future relationship between the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice.

17. Because the Hands of the Faith during Shoghi Effendi’s ministry did not elect nine Hands “from their own number” who “shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God,” that provision of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá relating to the Hands’ assent to the Guardian’s choice of a successor was not in effect prior to Shoghi Effendi’s passing.

18. In Shoghi Effendi’s January 9, 1951, cablegram to the National Assemblies of the East and West, announcing the formation of the International Bahá’í Council, the first word is “Proclaim.”

19. In that January 9, 1951, cablegram Shoghi Effendi said that his “historic decision” to establish the International Bahá’í Council at that time was the “most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the course of the last thirty years”.

20. In his January 9, 1951, cablegram Shoghi Effendi identified the stages through which the International Bahá’í Council would evolve.

21. At no point in his January 9, 1951, cablegram does Shoghi Effendi use the word “dissolve” in his description of the stages through which the International Bahá’í council was to evolve.

22. In a message from the Hands in the Western Hemisphere in May of 1960, page four, they wrote: “All the other Hands of the Faith [except Mason Remey] were entirely united that the International Council as an ‘appointed’ institution becomes dissolved when it becomes ‘elective.'”

23. In a cablegram of March 2, 1951, Shoghi Effendi welcomed the assistance of the newly-formed International Bahá’í Council, and identified Mason Remey as its President.

24. In none of Shoghi Effendi’s messages is there to be found the word “temporary” to describe the position of President on the International Bahá’í Council.

25. In their message from the Hands in the Western Hemisphere in May of 1960, Hands of the Cause Grossman, True, and Sears write: “…the ‘appointed’ phase of which Mr. Remey was the temporary President, would no longer even exist with the same identity after it was democratically elected…”

26. Shoghi Effendi wrote: “That Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Aqdas, and later ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will–a document which confirms, supplements and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas–have set forth in their entirety those essential elements for the constitution of the world Bahá’í Commonwealth, no one who has read them will deny.”

27. In his “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh” Shoghi Effendi identifies two components of the Universal House of Justice, “the democratic election by the representatives of the faithful” and the “hereditary authority” exercised by the Guardian of the Faith.

28. In his January 9, 1951, cablegram Shoghi Effendi stated that its evolution into a Bahá’í Court was an “essential step.”

29. In his cablegram of October 8, 1952, launching the world-embracing ten-year crusade, Shoghi Effendi set for a goal “The establishment of a Bahá’í Court in the Holy Land, preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.”

30. The establishment of the Universal House of Justice in 1963 was not a part of Shoghi Effendi’s ten-year crusade goals.

31. In November of 1954 Shoghi Effendi stated that the raising of the Archives Building on Mount Carmel would “herald the construction, in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith, of several other structures, which will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice.”

32. In November of 1957 Shoghi Effendi died.

33. In a message of the Hands of the Faith of November 25, 1957, the Hands wrote: “The first effect of the realization that no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him was to plunge the Hands of the Cause into the very abyss of despair.”

34. In the message of November 25, 1957, from the Hands they stated that Shoghi Effendi “in his mysterious insight into the present and future needs of the Bahá’í Community, called into being the International Bahá’í Council and the company of twenty-seven Hands with their Auxiliary Boards, whom in his final communication to the Bahá’ís, he designated “Chief Stewards of the Embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh.”

35. In a resolution adopted by the Hands in 1957 the Hands made the following decision: “We nominate and appoint from our own number to act on our behalf as the Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith…[named here are nine Hands] to exercise–subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Bahá’í World Faith–all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, as are necessary to serve the interests of the Bahá’í World Faith, and this until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, may otherwise determine.”

36. Between 1957-1960 Mason Remey maintained a diary known as his “Daily Observations” in which he repeatedly noted that the other Hands of the Cause showed by their attitude that they did not want another Guardian.

37. In his “Daily Observations” Mason Remey records that he attempted to get the other Hands to reconsider their position that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended.

38. At Ridván 1960 Mason Remey issued a proclamation, stating that he was the second Guardian on the basis of his having been identified by Shoghi Effendi as the President, or head, of the International Bahá’í Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice.

39. Following Mason Remey’s proclamation, the other Hands of the Faith labelled Mason Remey and his followers as Covenant Breakers.

40. The French National Spiritual Assembly in 1960 voted to accept Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith.

41. The Hands of the Faith as reported in the “Bahá’í News” of July 1960 “sent Hand of the Cause ‘Abu’l Qasim Faizi to France as their representative, with specific instructions to dissolve the National Assembly and call for a new election.”

42. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has no provision within it which states that the Hands of the Cause have authority over National Spiritual Assemblies.

43. The Hands of the Faith, not the Guardian of the Cause, set the election of the Universal House of Justice for 1963.

44. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has no provision within it for the Hands of the Cause to determine the election of a Universal House of Justice.

45. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has no provision within it for the Hands of the Faith to consult with the Universal House of Justice.

46. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not give the Hands a position of authority over the Universal House of Justice.

47. Shoghi Effendi interpreted the meaning of the expression “This is the day which will not be followed by night” in the “Bahá’í News” of June, 1950 when he wrote:

“Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians’), guided directly by the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by ‘this is the day which will not be followed by night’. In this Dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet’s ascension, through, first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Bahá’u’lláh’s function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith.”

48. Prior to Shoghi Effendi’s passing the accepted definition of a Covenant Breaker was as given by John Ferraby in “All Things Made New” (printed in 1960), p. 251: “These Covenant-breakers profess to accept the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh but they turn away from the Centre of the Cause–in the day of the Centre of the Covenant, ‘Abdul-Bahá, and in our day, the Guardian…”

49. Following Shoghi Effendi’s passing and the assumption of control of the Faith by the Hands and then by the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice,, the definition of a Covenant Breaker–as given in John Ferraby’s “All Things Made New”, printed in 1975–became “These Covenant-breakers profess to accept the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh but they turn away from the central authority in the Cause to which all must turn and thereby they deny what they profess to accept.” (p. 252)

50. The qualifications for a believer during Shoghi Effendi’s ministry were spelled out by Shoghi Effendi in 1925 and included the proviso: “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will.”

51. The changes in the sans-Guardian Faith now make it impossible for the followers of the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice to adhere to every clause of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

52. Shoghi Effendi wrote in “The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh” that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Aqdas are “inseparable parts of one complete unit”. (p. 4)

53. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not specifically give the Universal House of Justice the power to change the provisions of the Will and Testament.

54. The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá establishes that the Huquq, the fixed money offering, is to be “offered through the guardian of the Cause of God.”

55. The sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice, to adapt to what it considers new conditions in the Faith, has taken control of the Huquq.

56. The Huquq is not identified in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the “endowments dedicated to charity” that the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice on 7 December 1969 makes reference to when claiming that the possibility of a break in the line of Guardians is shown in that passage taken from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.

57. Within the declaration statement to which Orthodox Bahá’ís subscribe when they join the Faith are the following: “That ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest Son of Bahá’u’lláh, is the appointed Center of His Covenant with the Bahá’ís, the sole Interpreter of His Holy Word, the perfect Exemplar of the Faith and the Author of a divinely-conceived Will and Testament whose immutable provisions constitute the Charter of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh for as long as His Dispensation shall endure.” -and- “That Shoghi Effendi was the first Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, appointed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, the designated Interpreter of the revealed Word of Bahá’u’lláh, the permanent and sacred head of the Universal House of Justice described in that Testament and the one towards whom all Bahá’ís were enjoined to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination in matters of the Faith.”

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I see all the statements in the preceding series as true. Where do we differ ?

Sincerely, Franklin D. Schlatter

obfusa@rt66.com

— Warning: This Religious Faith Now Contains Heresy

WARNING: THIS RELIGIOUS FAITH NOW CONTAINS HERESY by Franklin D. Schlatter

The world-at-large has been shocked during the last decade at the reprehensible actions of the Iranian government toward members of the Bahá’í Faith, prompted, in the main, by the Bahá’ís’ purported heresy against the Islamic religion. For although the Bahá’ís accept Muhammad, along with Christ, Moses, Buddha, and a number of other prophets, their acceptance of Bahá’u’lláh, who proclaimed a new revelation from God in 1863, proves to Muslims that the Bahá’ís have denied the general Islamic belief that God would send no prophets after Muhammad. Thus, the Islamic government in Iran has maintained that the Bahá’ís are “fighting God and His Messenger (the Muslim prophet Muhammad)” and are “creating discord among Muslims,” and because the Iranian Constitution provides no protection to the Bahá’ís, they have been fair game for persecution.

Muslims and the Iranian government aren’t the only ones who accuse the members of the Bahá’í Faith of heresy, though. Members of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith have also levied heresy charges of a different sort against those whose believers have suffered persecution in Iran. However, those within the Orthodox Faith have no intention of persecuting anybody, least of all the members of an organization that ascribes to almost every belief that they do. Besides, like the littlest kid on the block, they are in no position to beat up on anyone, for they are a minority of a minority–a small band of Bahá’ís who have separated themselves from the larger body and for some 30 years have attempted to get those whom they call “heterodox Bahá’ís” to change their heretical doctrines. Then, too, Holy War is prohibited by their Faith.

Having achieved no success in changing the minds of those who call themselves Bahá’ís but who have instead disavowed some of the fundamental verities of the Bahá’í Faith, the members of the Orthodox Faith want to tell the world about the heresy that they see WITHIN the Bahá’í Faith, and not the Faith’s purported opposition to some other religion. For the belief of the Bahá’ís in Iran that has been called a heresy by the Muslims is the belief of the Orthodox Bahá’ís as well, and they, too, would be condemned by the Islamic government of Iran for it.

But no matter how many beliefs the Orthodox Bahá’ís share with the other Bahá’ís, the Orthodox believers are opposed to the unauthorized, illegitimate leadership that now heads the larger body. According to the Orthodox Bahá’ís, the world needs to recognize that the plan for a universal order that is now espoused by the heterodox Bahá’ís is suspect because of the changes that the major body is making within the Faith, the most important of which pertain to the administrative order of the Faith. The Bahá’í Administrative Order, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, is supposed to be the pattern for a future world order, but not with the modifications being put into place by those whose present world headquarters is in Haifa, Israel. Those changes, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, constitute a monumental heresy.

According to the Orthodox Bahá’ís, the beginnings of the heresy occurred in 1957 upon the death of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the leader of the Faith who was known as the first Guardian. When Shoghi Effendi died, the second Guardian was to assume command of the Faith, but that didn’t happen. What occurred instead was a religious coup d’etat. Despite the fact that the Bahá’í writings explicitly call for a successor Guardian, a group of individuals– who had recently been appointed by the first Guardian to subordinate positions directly under him–usurped command of the Faith. They claimed that they could find no evidence of an appointed successor, and they themselves fabricated a way for them to take over the Faith. Their leadership eventually won complete acceptance by almost all Bahá’ís (except for those in the Orthodox camp).

Orthodox Bahá’ís claim that the usurping subordinates, who were known as Hands of the Cause, simply did not want a Guardian and they did not look for the successor appointed by the first Guardian. The Hands, whose function was to assist the Guardian of the Faith, had made up their minds that the institution of Guardian was to be no more, so they decided amongst themselves that God had changed his mind about the necessity for such an institution. They further decided that one of the most basic writings of the Faith, the Document that had established the institution of the Guardian, was no longer operative.

They didn’t divulge such decisions to the Bahá’ís at large, deciding, from their assumed position of command, to condition the believers to the absence of a Guardian. The Hands immediately revised the plans that had been developed for the Bahá’í Administrative Order by the recently deceased Guardian, and they refused to listen to anyone (at first just one of their own number) who pointed out to them that the sacred writings of the Faith made it absolutely essential that there be a Guardian.

At the time when the Hands first began to implement their heretical plans, the individual who had actually been appointed as the first Guardian’s successor and who, as a Hand of the Cause himself, was in their very midst repeatedly called upon his fellow Hands to look for and to accept the second Guardian. But the other Hands were so obsessed with what they were doing that they would brook no interference with their plans from anyone, even the second Guardian of the Faith, whose appointment to office they refused to recognize.

Orthodox Bahá’ís maintain that the real heresy within the Bahá’í Faith becomes clear when one looks at the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the “Child of the Covenant,” the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant designated His eldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as His successor and the interpreter of His book. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will–which was identified by Shoghi Effendi as “inseparable” from Bahá’u’lláh’s Book of Laws–perpetuated the line of succession by naming his eldest grandson (Shoghi Effendi) the first Guardian of the Faith and making it incumbent upon him to appoint his successor, in his own lifetime, that “differences may not arise after his passing.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained the importance of the Bahá’í Covenant in this manner:

As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh–a specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the past–it is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this appointment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of God against differences and schism, making it impossible for any one to create a new sect or faction of belief. To insure unity and agreement He has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world including the Interpreter and Explainer of His teachings so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine words. The Book of the Covenant or Testament of Bahá’u’lláh is the means of preventing such a possibility, for whosoever shall speak from the authority of himself alone shall be degraded. Be ye informed and cognizant of this.

As to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi emphasized its importance in such statements as this: “That Bahá’u’lláh in His Book of Aqdas [the Prophet-Founder’s Book of Laws], and later ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will–a document which confirms, supplements, and correlates the provisions of the Aqdas– have set forth in their entirety those essential elements for the constitution of the world Bahá’í Commonwealth, no one who has read them will deny.” He characterized the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as “The Charter of the New World Order,” and while focusing on the Administrative Order of Bahá’u’lláh, he said: “The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá unveiled its character, reaffirmed its basis, supplemented its principles, asserted its indispensability, and enumerated its chief institutions.”

To support the Administrative Structure, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly establishes two institutions–twin pillars: the institution of the Guardianship (the interpreter of the Word) and the Universal House of Justice (the supreme legislative body). The Will conclusively identifies the Guardian as the “sacred head and the distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice. However, when the Hands of the Faith formed their Universal House of Justice in 1963, they constituted a body without a Guardian at its head.

In the meantime, in 1960, Hand of the Cause Charles Mason Remey proclaimed himself to be the second Guardian of the Faith. A distinguished Bahá’í of long-standing, whose membership in the Faith traced back to the turn of the century, and whom, on more than one occasion ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called his son, he made his proclamation on the basis of his appointment by the first Guardian to the presidency of the embryonic Universal House of Justice in 1951. In that year Shoghi Effendi had issued a proclamation of his own to signal the most important historical development in the Faith since the death of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the reading of his Will in 1921. Shoghi Effendi’s proclamation announced the constitution of the First International Bahá’í Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice. He subsequently appointed the membership of the Council and designated its officers, identifying Mason Remey as its president.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in his writings, had stated that “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections,…–in one word, all the powers–but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees.” On the basis that the head of the embryo stays with the body from its conception and the fact that Shoghi Effendi had appointed him president–or head–of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, Mason Remey informed the Bahá’ís that he was Shoghi Effendi’s successor, since the presidency of the Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship are synonymous. But by the time Mason Remey made his proclamation, the Hands of the Faith were entrenched in their leadership roles. Their plans were far advanced. In addition, Mason Remey did not meet their expectations as a second Guardian. And because the Bahá’ís around the world had become so accustomed to following the lead of the Hands, when the Hands denounced him as an imposter, the great majority of Bahá’ís rejected Mason Remey’s claims. Then, assuming additional powers which were not theirs to assume, the Hands cast Mason Remey and his followers out of the Faith which they now controlled.

From that point on, the majority Bahá’ís have called the followers of Mason Remey and his duly-appointed successor, Joel B. Marangella, “Covenant-breakers” (the Bahá’í term for heretics), since the Remey/Marangella followers (Orthodox Bahá’ís) refuse to accept the changes the Hands–and now their Universal House of Justice– have made in the Administrative Order that Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá originally established. As a result of the Hands’ labeling the Orthodox Bahá’ís as “Covenant-breakers”, the followers of the Hands and their Universal House of Justice are instructed to have nothing to do with the Orthodox Bahá’ís, and they are even forbidden to read the printed materials that the Orthodox Bahá’ís have prepared in defense of their position for the continuance of the Guardianship.

Among the arguments that the Orthodox Bahá’ís have raised with the heterodox believers is their position that Shoghi Effendi called for adherence to every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament as a requirement for membership in the Faith. That requirement was subsequently included in the Declaration of Trust of all national Bahá’í bodies. But now, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, the heterodox Bahá’ís have abandoned such requirements. Indeed, they maintain that the heterodox Bahá’ís have abandoned the Will itself.

Naturally, the heterodox or sans-Guardian Bahá’ís (the majority body) maintain that the course they are following is right. They emphasize that their interpretation of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá justifies their actions. Of crucial importance to them is their claim that Mason Remey was ineligible to be a Guardian because he was not a member of Bahá’u’lláh’s family. The sans-Guardian believers contend that the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá calls for all Guardians to be in Bahá’u’lláh’s blood-line. They base their interpretation upon the provisions in the Will which say that after the Guardian “will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants,” and “should he [the first-born] not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God)…then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.” The sans-Guardian believers interpret the word branch in the preceding sentence to refer to a member of Bahá’u’lláh’s family, and since Shoghi Effendi had had no children and since all the other members of Bahá’u’lláh’s family were either dead or had become Covenant-breakers, they contend no succession to the Guardianship was possible.

The Orthodox Bahá’ís, on the other hand, point to the same passage within the Will and say that the word branch refers to the spiritual family of Bahá’u’lláh: members of the Faith. They maintain that the spiritual relationship in such appointments always takes precedence over the physical, the lineage of the prophet. The Orthodox Bahá’ís accuse the sans-Guardian believers of failing to read the entire passage in which the reference to the Guardian’s choosing another branch is found, for they say that when the sans-Guardian followers quote the passage they tend to leave out, or misinterpret, a critical clause. The passage reads: “should he [the child of the Guardian] not inherit of the spiritual within him (the Guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.” The crucial words, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, have to do with the Guardian’s lineage not being fulfilled so that he must go outside the blood-line.

The Orthodox Bahá’ís contend that a divinely-inspired spiritual institution developed to last for ten centuries or more would surely not be terminated at the end of a 36-year span on the death of the very first Guardian. They therefore have tried to get the majority body to reassess the provisions of the Document which, as Shoghi Effendi, that first Guardian, wrote, “together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas [Bahá’u’lláh’s Book of Laws], constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith.”

Since 1963, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, the Hands’ Universal House of Justice has been manipulating those elements to which Shoghi Effendi referred. The Hands’ Universal House of Justice has now become both the Center of their Cause–the Guardian–and the supreme legislative body. Through such actions, the Universal House of Justice has completely contravened Shoghi Effendi’s assertion that neither the Guardian nor the Universal House of Justice “can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other.” Since the Hands’ international body is without a Guardian, that body has now taken over other functions that the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá makes the exclusive domain of the Guardian, such as removing a member from the Universal House if he commits a “sin injurious to the common weal.” Also, the Hands’ Universal House of Justice now appoints those who have the same functions that were originally assigned to the Hands–individuals that the Will says are to be appointed by the Guardian. Obviously, because of the exigencies of the time, those with the functions of the Hands now serve under the Universal House rather than under the Guardian alone.

Of prime significance, according to the Orthodox Bahá’ís, is that the Universal House of the Hands has no one on the body to call them to account. The first Guardian wrote that one of the functions of the Guardian on the Universal House is “to insist upon a reconsideration by them [the fellow-members of the Universal House of Justice] of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá’u’lláh’s revealed utterances.”

The members of the headless Universal House of Justice, though, say that a living Guardian is not needed to insure that their decisions are correct. They feel that the writings of the Faith are clear enough to dispense with a Guardian. They have written: “In attempting to understand the Writings…one must first realize that there is and can be no real contradiction in them, and in the light of this we can confidently seek the unity of meaning which they contain.” Orthodox Bahá’ís point to such statements of the Hands’ Universal House of Justice as evidence that the majority Bahá’í body is saying that there is now no need for the interpreter ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said was essential to prevent somebody from creating “a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine words.” It is through such pronouncements, say the Orthodox Bahá’ís, that the Hands’ Universal House of Justice continues to perpetuate the heresy within their organization.

Those who follow the Hands’ Universal House of Justice maintain that the spread of their Faith is a sign that their cause is God’s Cause, and they encourage all comers to join with them in developing what they say are the foundations of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.

However, the Orthodox Bahá’ís are now attempting to warn others to look closely at what the majority body under the Hands’ Universal House is doing. The Orthodox Bahá’ís are convinced that the larger organization has been taken over by heresy and is creating an order that will be far different from the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh that is called for in the writings of the Prophet Founder and His appointed interpreters.

— Some Un-Answered Questions

Bahá’ís the world over are very familiar with the book Some Answered Questions, which provides a series of questions that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá succinctly answers with an unequivocal authority and rightness, and the volume is therefore one of the Bahá’í Faith’s most cherished works. Some Answered Questions provides for inquirers Bahá’í responses to questions about God, His Manifestations, and the “origin, powers and conditions of man,” as well as dealing with such topics as the nonexistence of evil, reincarnation, and the methods of acquiring knowledge. Unfortunately, the mass of Bahá’ís around the world do not have a similarly authoritative book for a series of other questions that most of them either refuse to face or are totally unaware that such questions have gone unanswered by those who call themselves Bahá’ís. And what is singularly disturbing is that we who raise such questions are invariably labelled as “covenant-breakers” simply because we have the temerity to ask the questions. It is therefore a very sad time when the questions that need to be answered are not given the attention that they deserve.

Perhaps one of the most important of the questions that is being asked at this time is this: Why are those who ask questions about the legitimacy of the present administration of the Bahá’í Faith which has its “Universal House of Justice” in Haifa, Israel, considered to be breaking the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh?

That question cannot be answered satisfactorily because of the way it leads to all the other un-answered questions that Bahá’ís the world over are not prepared to answer. It is one thing to smugly assert that your religious organization has all the answers to resolve the world’s problems. It is quite another matter to face up to those questions that your administrative bodies and your religious leaders do not want you to consider. The questions that have never been satisfactorily answered by the current administration of the majority of Bahá’ís in the world are these:

1) If, as Shoghi Effendi states on page four of The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh the Most Holy Book of Bahá’u’lláh (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas) and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit,” how can the current administration of the Faith for the majority of Bahá’ís in the world disavow some of the major provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will?

2) Upon what basis in the writings of the Faith did the Hands of the Cause in 1957 assume the role of a collective Guardian of the Faith when the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá specifically states that the Hands of the Faith “must be under his [the Guardian’s] shadow and obey his command,” that they are to be “under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God” and further that “He [the Guardian] must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God…”?

3) Where in the writings of the Faith are the Hands of the Cause assured that they, minus a living Guardian to guide them, will make the right decisions for the guidance of the Faith?

4) Where in the writings of the Faith is the Universal House of Justice given the power to take over a function of the Guardian’s which is expressly delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá–namely, that provision in the Will which states that the fixed money offering, the Huquq, “is to be offered through the guardian of the Cause of God” ?

5) Where in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a divinely conceived Testament that delineates the Bahá’í Administrative Order, is there a provision which authorizes the Universal House of Justice to be established or function without the Guardian serving as its sacred head? (The Will states: “By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.”)

6) Where is the “sacred head” of the current UHJ ?

7) If Shoghi Effendi translated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament into English, as he did, and if, as he said, future translations of the Will were to be made from the English version, then why must anyone believe that the provision in the Will and Testament related to the appointment of the Guardian’s successor makes it mandatory for the appointed one to be of the “blood-line of Bahá’u’lláh” as interpreted by the Hands of the Cause and subsequently by the sans-Guardian UHJ ?

[The provision in the Will reads as follows:

O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words:–‘”the child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.]

8) Where in the aforementioned passage from the Will is there a clearly-established proviso that the successor of the Guardian of the Faith must be of the “blood-line of Bahá’u’lláh ?”

9) How do the Bahá’ís who presently follow the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice respond to the view that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi both stated that the spiritual relationship is far more important than the physical one, thus making it clear that the Guardian’s appointment of his successor would be based on spiritual qualities rather than on strictly family ties ?

10) Upon what basis in the writings can anyone be called a “covenant-breaker” if that individual, in compliance with Shoghi Effendi’s qualifications of a believer, maintains a “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will” [See Bahá’í Administration, p. 90.]

Until such time as the Bahá’ís around the world have the kinds of definitive answers to these questions that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself provided to the questions asked of Him and which appear in Some Answered Questions, the Bahá’ís will continue to be at odds with one another over the legitimate organizational pattern that will lead to “that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith,” spoken of by Shoghi Effendi on pages 3 and 4 of The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.

— Neither the Hands Nor the UHJ Have the Authority to Overrule the Guardian

(Facsimile of source in Bahá’í News, February 1955)

On May 27, 1966, the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice responded to a believer who had asked a number of questions regarding the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, and in that response its members wrote about the necessity for the Hands of the Faith to confirm the Guardian’s appointment of his successor. They wrote:

“To have made an appointment outside the clear and specific provisions of the Master’s Will and Testament would obviously have been an impossible and unthinkable course of action for the Guardian, the divinely appointed upholder and defender of the Covenant. Moreover, that same Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the guardian’s appointment of his successor, as you are aware. The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian’s choice. In 1957 the entire body of the Hands, after fully investigating the matter, announced that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and left no will. This is documented and established.”

What the sans-Guardian body is implying by the preceding words is that following the death of Shoghi Effendi, the Hands of the Cause of God at that time decided on the basis of the evidence they then had in their possession that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor, and thus from that time on, any individual who might be identified as the second Guardian could not be accepted as the first Guardian’s successor simply because they, the Hands, had voted against such a possibility. The sans-Guardian UHJ that was formed by the Hands of the Faith therefore provided its sanction to the view that the Hands of the Faith, following the death of the Guardian, actually had the power to overturn an appointment made by the Guardian.

However, no individual or body of individuals within the Faith have the power to overrule the Guardian’s appointment of his successor, either at the time of the appointment or at a later time. On page one of the American Bahá’í News of February 1955 under the title “Passage on Will and Testament” a statement written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi reads:

The statement in the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not imply that the Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá could not have provided for a conflict of authority in the Faith. This is obvious, in view of His own words, which you will find on page 13 (p. 11 of 1944 U.S. edition) of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon…the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One,” etc.

The statement of the sans-Guardian UHJ given at the outset of this article makes reference to these nine Hands who were to be elected and who were to give their assent to the Guardian’s choice, noting that the “Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the guardian’s appointment.” What the sans- Guardian UHJ’s statement does not mention is that when Shoghi Effendi proclaimed the establishment of the International Bahá’í Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice, and then subsequently identified Mason Remey as that body’s President, or head, there were no Hands of the Cause who had been appointed at that time, the first contingent of twelve Hands not having been appointed until 24 December 1951. Moreover, these were obviously not the “nine Hands” which the Guardian appoints to serve under him at the World Center as prescribed in the Will and Testament of the Master and who are the only Hands who are required to give their assent in secret ballot (as a protective certification) attesting to the validity of the appointment made by the Guardian. As a consequence, the provision of the Will which relates to the Hands’ assent was not then in effect. But the fact that this body was not in existence on 9 January 1951 when Shoghi Effendi made his proclamation and his appointment does not make his announcement of his successor invalid. It simply means that that particular provision of the Will was not yet operational–just as certain other provisions of the Will (such as those related to the Universal House of Justice) had not yet come into operation.

Because the confirmation of the Guardian’s successor is to be made by the elected nine Hands of the Cause at the time the Guardian makes the appointment and because Shoghi Effendi made his appointment of his successor at a time when there were no Hands, through the instrumentality of his messages to the entire Bahá’í world he identified his successor to the Guardianship. No one within the Faith, including those who claim to be the Universal House of Justice, has the power to overrule that appointment, for the Universal House of Justice, as Shoghi Effendi stated in his “Dispensation,” cannot “infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other [the Guardian of the Faith].”

The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá provides that it is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Faith to appoint his successor in his own lifetime and not by testamentary document. Shoghi Effendi fulfilled that obligation when he appointed Mason Remey to be the President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, since being the President, or head, of the Universal House of Justice is synonymous with being the Guardian of the Cause.

— Shoghi Effendi Never Gave Anyone Else the Right to Expel Believers

(Facsimile of source in Bahá’í News, June 1949)

Anyone who has paid attention to the statements that the Wilmette/Haifa Bahá’íss have made in opposition to those whom their leaders have labelled as “Covenant-breakers” will find that the Wilmette/Haifa Bahá’íss say that the so-called “Covenant-breakers” are guilty of distorting the sacred texts or of fabricating materials, or of falsely identifying certain statements as coming from the Bahá’ís writings. It is for this reason, therefore, that those of us who have been the target of such accusations are now placing on this website facsimile copies of certain pages from issues of the American Bahá’ís News which conclusively prove that we are not inventing statements that are matters of historical record.

Along with other documents on this website the inquirer can see the following facsimile pages:

1) The first page of the Bahá’ís News of February 1951 in which Shoghi Effendi proclaims the formation of the embryonic Universal House of Justice.

2) Page eight from the Bahá’ís News of June 1950 which carries Shoghi Effendi’s interpretation related to “the day which will not be followed by night.” (See the statement under the heading “Divine Guidance.”)

3) Page one of the Bahá’ís News of 1955 which shows the Hands cannot overrule the Guardian. (See our article “Neither the Hands Nor the UHJ have the Authority to Overrule the Guardian”)

Within this brief article the inquirer is encouraged to view page two from the American Bahá’ís News of June 1949 whereon is found the Guardian’s position “On Expulsion and Reinstatement of Covenant-Breakers.” It is a position that prior to his death in 1957 he did not change, a position that, as can be seen, withholds from everyone else the power to expel persons from the Faith for Covenant-breaking.

So how could the Hands in 1960 expel Mason Remey and his followers from the Faith? Where were the Hands given the right by Shoghi Effendi to excommunicate his successor and those who accepted him? Indeed, upon what basis could the Hands level Covenant-breaking charges against those who continued to abide by every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will ?

Do the writings of the Faith state that disagreement with the Hands of the Cause constitutes Covenant-breaking ?

Of fundamental importance: where in the writings of Shoghi Effendi between 1949 and November of 1957 is there any evidence that the Hands were entrusted by him with the power to become a collective Guardian and to have the power to determine when certain persons displayed “that diseased condition we call ‘Covenant- breaking’ ?

The fact is that Shoghi Effendi never changed the position which is provided on the facsimile page of the Bahá’ís News of June 1949 and which is provided here for ease of reading:

On Expulsion and Reinstatement of Covenant-breakers

The Guardian, like the Master before him, has not considered it advisable to as yet permit any person or Assembly to put another person out of the Cause of God. There is a sharp distinction between depriving a believer of his voting rights, which is a severe disciplinary measure and not a spiritual sanction, and pronouncing a former believer to be a truly spiritually diseased soul, a soul in the condition the Master referred to when, in His last cable to America before His ascension, He said: ‘he who sitteth with a leper catcheth leprosy’. The Guardian has, within the last few years, considered the National Assemblies strong enough to wield the instrument of sanction in the sense of depriving a Bahá’ís of his voting rights. But no one but himself can pronounce a person to be in that diseased condition we call “Covenant-breaking”, and no one but he can reinstate a Covenant-breaker. No National Assembly has been given this right and cannot, therefore, review the question or reinstate any one. All any National Assembly can do is to report to the Guardian if they are approached by a Covenant-breaker, and then the Guardian will take action. It is a pity that some of the Western friends, with remarkable naivete, do not grasp the fact that there is absolutely nothing keeping those who have broken the Covenant, whether Bahá’u’lláh’s or the Master’s, out of the Cause of God except their own inner spiritually sick condition. If they were sound, instead of diseased, and wanted to enter the service of the Faith, they would apply direct to the Guardian and he would be able to adjudge of their sincerity and, if sincere, would welcome them into the ranks of the faithful as he did with Sydney Sprague. Unfortunately, a man who is ill is not made well just by asserting there is nothing wrong with him! Facts, actual states, are what count. Probably no group of people in the world have softer tongues, or proclaim more loudly their innocence than those who in their heart of hearts, and by their every act, are enemies of the Center of the Covenant. The Master well knew this and that is why He said we must shun their company, but pray for them. If you put a leper in a room with heathy people, he cannot catch their health; on the contrary they are very likely to catch his horrible ailment.

— How the Believers Were Turned Against the Continuing Guardianship of the Faith

(Facsimile of N.S.A. Message of November 6, 1957)

(Facsimile of N.S.A. Message of November 6, 1957)

In a statement written recently (August 1997), providing the official position of the Mother Bahá’í Council of the United States (MBC), the MBC wrote that the Hands of the Faith in 1957 seized upon the words “Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth” to mean that they themselves could form a collective Guardianship, thus setting in motion the train of events which found the Hands of the Cause rejecting the rightful successor to Shoghi Effendi and deciding to form their own Universal House of Justice in 1963 without a Guardian as its “sacred head.”

Anyone who has studied the statements of the Hands of the Cause and those who subscribed to their interpretations in late 1957 and in the succeeding years will realize that the majority of the Hands and their followers readily disavowed the continuing Guardianship of the Faith. Even before the Hands had ventured into their secret “conclaves” beginning in November 1957, the Bahá’í world was being conditioned to having a Faith without a Guardian.

The conditioning began on November 5, 1957, with the first message sent forth by the widow of Shoghi Effendi, Rúhíyyih Khánum, following Shoghi Effendi’s death on November 4th. In her cablegram announcing the first Guardian’s death, she wrote: “URGE BELIEVERS REMAIN STEADFAST, CLING INSTITUTION HANDS LOVINGLY REARED, RECENTLY REINFORCED, EMPHASIZED BY BELOVED GUARDIAN.” No allusion whatsoever is provided to suggest that there might be a successor to Shoghi Effendi. Instead, the believers were urged to cling to the Hands.

One day later November 6, 1957 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá ís of the United States, in a letter to the Bahá ís in this country, repeated a message it had forwarded to the Local Spiritual Assemblies, a message which included the cablegram of Rúhíyyih Khánum and the NSA’s own injunction for “EVERY BELIEVER TO RESPOND GUARDIAN’S SUPREME SACRIFICE BY OVERWHELMING EXPRESSION OF LOYALTY DEVOTION SERVICE AND UNITY…” The friends were then informed by the NSA that “The Hands of the Cause will meet in Haifa shortly thereafter [following the funeral of Shoghi Effendi on November 9] after which announcement will be made to the Bahá’í World concerning the future direction of the Faith.”

Thus was the Bahá’í world readied for the “Proclamation by the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá’ís of East and West,” sent forth on November 25, 1957, following their secret conclave in ‘Akka. Written by Hand of the Cause, Horace Holley (as attested to by Rúhíyyih Khánum in her eulogy of Holley following his death), the document recounts how nine Hands of the Cause searched through the materials of Shoghi Effendi and “certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament.” The document then stated: “It was likewise certifed that the beloved Guardian had left no heir.”

In addition, the proclamation announced the following: “The Aghsan (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithlessness to the Master’s Will and Testament and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that sacred document.”

Note two things in the previous sentence: 1) The word “Aghsan” is followed by the parenthetical “branches” with a lower case “b”, although when Shoghi Effendi used the word “Aghsan” he capitalized the word “Branches.” (The qualification is a significant one because the word “Branches” when begun with a capital letter after “Aghsan” signifies Bahá’u’lláh’s sons–and does not relate to additional members of Bahá’u’lláh’s lineage.) 2) Acknowledgement is made that Shoghi Effendi was “named first Guardian” in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which, of course, makes the case that, until that time, other Guardians were to follow Shoghi Effendi.

However, based upon their own perceptions and failing to recognize that the appointment of his successor could not be accomplished by a written will to be opened subsequent to Shoghi Effendi’s death (since the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá makes it clear that the appointment is to be in the Guardian’s own lifetime “that differences not arise after his passing”), Holley had the Hands coming to the “realization that no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him” and, thus, such a realization purportedly plunged “the Hands of the Cause into the very abyss of despair.”

A different story is told by Mason Remey, who, in his “Daily Observations” wrote that early in their conclave it was proposed “that the Will and Testament of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá be pronounced Badah [God changed His mind] and that the Guardianship be ended forever and closed forever.” Mason Remey said this view was “carried enthusiastically and supported by all the Persian Hands,” and when Rúhíyyih Khánum concurred with this majority, the die was cast. However, the majority of the Hands “decided that it would not do at that time to announce to the world their abandonment of the Guardianship.”

During these proceedings, Mason Remey recalled a vision that he had had a few years before in which he had seen himself to be the second Guardian of the Faith, but he did not realize then the manner in which he had succeeded to the Guardianship, that is, as President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice he had actually been designated Shoghi Effendi’s successor. But that realization was to come at a later time. At the conclusion of the November 1957 meeting of the Hands, Mason Remey, on the basis of his vision and with his thought that he expressed in his diary at the time “that there be nothing of the kind for me in that vision,” also signed the first letter put out by the Hands.

For the next two years on an almost daily basis he would remonstrate with his fellowHands not to violate the Covenant and the Will and Testament by abandoning the Guardianship, but to no avail. Instead, using Shoghi Effendi’s designation of them as the “Chief Stewards of the Embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá u lláh” as a justification for their actions, the Hands determined to establish a Universal House of Justice which, once constituted, “on consultation with the Hands of the Cause,” could examine anew the conditions of the Faith “and the measures necessary for its future operation.” Never mind that within the writings of the Faith there is no provision for the Hands to exercise such authority.

Such limitations did not bother the American NSA. In a report of the NSA in the February 1958 Bahá’í News, the NSA expressed the view that “any idle questioning of the direction of Bahá’í affairs proclaimed by the Hands assembled in the Mansion of Bahá’u’lláh is swept away in this fervent, eloquent appeal to respond to the Guardian’s expressed intention and hope.” According to the NSA, “Those at the helm possess experience, the skill, and the devotion to steer the ship through whatever stormy seas arise until the world triumph of the Faith is demonstrated in 1963, the Centenary of Bahá’u’lláh’s Declaration.” Furthermore, in the U.S. Supplement to the Bahá’í News of February 1958, the NSA wrote: “The guardianship of the Faith is still vouchsafed, and the direction of the work is safeguarded through the institution of the Hands of the Cause which he [Shoghi Effendi] himself perfected within months prior to his ascension.”

Thus, by April 1958, the American Hands of the Cause and the NSA of that country were sufficiently emboldened to state in a document entitled “A New Bahá’í Era”: “The door to the appointment of a second Guardian…is closed” And in that same month, as reported in the U.S. Supplement to the Bahá’í News of September 1958, Horace Holley emphasized the authority of the Hands in his talk at the 50th Annual Convention, giving credit to Shoghi Effendi for the Hands’ assumption of power:

“…as you know, the Guardian himself, just a little while before he passed on, constituted them [the Hands] the chief custodians, so that they could qualify under the Will and Testament to appoint a body of nine, as the Will and Testament describes, and be recognized by the Faith.”

If one reads this statement for the first time, he or she might well ask: “When and where did Shoghi Effendi conceive such a scheme?” Did Shoghi Effendi actually say that the Hands were to be “the chief custodians so that they could qualify under the Will and Testament to appoint a body of nine, as the Will and Testament describes”? Was it really the first Guardian’s intent to set up the Hands as a collective Guardian following his passing? Do the writings of Shoghi Effendi and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá make it evident that the matter of the succession within the Faith should be as Holley described it in his talk, when he said: “If it had not been for that provision in the Will and Testament that the Hands were to appoint a body of nine, there would have been no one but the State of Israel” ?

In his presentation to the Convention, Horace Holley contended that it was indeed the Guardian’s view, for Holley stated: “Now you see how tremendous this is, what a vision the Guardian had.” But those who would know the truth would be well-advised to check what Shoghi Effendi actually said, for the vision that Holley attributes to Shoghi Effendi appears to be a fabricated one. It is not to be found in the first Guardian’s writings.

Furthermore, according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will, the members of the body of nine Hands to which Holley referred were “to be occupied in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God.” This provision, however, does not imply that they were to be the Guardian. The Will simply provides that these Hands “must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor,” a provision that Shoghi Effendi had previously indicated Bahá’í News of Feb. 1955 p. 1 did not give the Hands the authority to overrule the Guardian. Like all the other Hands, the nine Hands are to “be under his [the Guardian’s] shadow and obey his command.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will certainly identifies the relationship between the Hands and the Guardian of the Faith:

“This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted…”

By January of 1959, however, the Hands of the Faith were firmly entrenched in their position of authority, and the Hands of the Cause in America (Corinne True and Horace Holley) could therefore state in a message to the 1958 state conventions that “the Chief Stewards supply the instrument through which the Bahá í World Community is guided and encouraged to complete the projects defined by the Guardian.” The implication, of course, was that Shoghi Effendi had provided what was needed by the Hands to guide the Faith. Never mind that ‘Abdul-Bahá had said that the Guardian “must continually urge them”!

In the report of the 51st U.S. National Convention, printed in the June 1959 Bahá’í News, the convention reporters singled out Horace Holley’s brief address to the Convention. They wrote: “Particularly impressive was his reminder that through one inspired sentence designating the Hands as ‘chief stewards,’ Shoghi Effendi gave continuity to the Faith after his passing, when no national assembly could have taken the initiative in order to assure this.”

Thus it was that the Hands in their “Third Annual Message…to the Bahá’ís of East and West” could assume all authority for the future of the Faith. Their message is replete with their usurped authority:

* “we have fixed the date for the election of the Universal House of Justice as Ridván 1963…”

* “We have therefore formulated the following plan of action…”

* “We call for the election in Ridván 1961 of the twentyone National Spiritual Assemblies of Latin America…”

* “We have therefore set the date for the election of these European National Bodies…”

* “We are also happy to announce that another milestone in Bahá’í history will be reached with the election of the International Bahá’í Council during Ridván 1961.” (And in so doing they bypassed the establishment of a Bahá’í Court, called for in Shoghi Effendi’s proclamation of the Council on January 9, 1951, and which the first Guardian on April 25, 1951, characterized as an “essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.”)

In their position of control, the Hands placed themselves over the Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice, adding to the functions that the Guardian had originally given the Council. They said that the Council would be expected “To assist the Hands of the Cause in the care of the properties at the World Center, and in the establishment of the Universal House of Justice; and in any other functions which the Hands may assign from time to time.”

Little wonder, then, that Mason Remey, whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed as the President of the Council, refused to go along with the plans of the Hands and left Haifa. Yet little wonder is it also that in Ridván of 1960, when Mason Remey identified himself as the second Guardian, most of those who saw or heard of his proclamation immediately discounted what he said and continued to follow the Hands. The conditioning of the vast majority of believers was complete. They now felt that a living Guardian of the Faith was no longer necessary and they could rationalize, along with the Hands, that the Hands were empowered to do what they were doing, even though it meant the abandonment of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Document that Shoghi Effendi identified with Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book, saying that they “are inseparable parts of one complete unit.”

The great majority of Bahá’ís can no longer subscribe to that statement of Shoghi Effendi’s. Determining that a living Guardian is no longer necessary to guide the Faith, the Hands and their followers have blissfully brought Bahá’í Holy Writ to naught.

–August 1997

— How the Haifa-Wilmette Believers Respond to Pertinent Questions

(Facsimile of Bahá’í News of February, 1955)

(Facsimile of Bahá’í News of February, 1951)

How the Haifa-Wilmette Believers Respond to Pertinent Questions and Evidence Related to the Issue of Succession Within the Faith

In the fall of 1997 a follower of the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice wrote to say that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appointed Shoghi Effendi and that Shoghi Effendi, “in turn, left clear and unequivocal provisions for the election of the UHJ,” implying that there was no question that the international body which had been formed in 1963 by the then Hands of the Faith was the rightful successor to the beloved Guardian. However, because Orthodox Bahá’ís are well aware that nowhere in the writings of Shoghi Effendi can there be found any provision for the election of a UHJ that is minus the Guardian of the Faith as that body’s sacred head, the individual was requested to provide supporting documentation for his statement.

He was asked whether Shoghi Effendi had stated that the Hands of the Faith were to call for the election. He was also asked whether Shoghi Effendi had said that the election was to occur in 1963. Finally, he was asked if Shoghi Effendi had ever said that the UHJ was to be elected minus its “sacred head and distinguished member for life of that body,” as is called for in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The Haifa-Wilmette believer responded in a manner that has become all too familiar to members of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith. He avoided the questions that were asked of him, saying that “According to the writings of the dearly beloved Master, today the UHJ is the voice of God. Anyone who questions the authority of that blessed House questions the authority of God…”

He subsequently made a litany of the passage from the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which says that after the Guardian “will succeed the first born of his lineal descendants.”

The sans-Guardian believer then wrote: “There is no room for argument here. None whatsoever. It is clear, precise. A third grader could understand these words. There is no use trying to beat about the bush, finding arguments and excuses. There are no excuses! Shoghi Effendi died childless… Upon his passing the Guardianship ceased, stopped, finished. Do you understand this ?”

In our rejoinders to the sans-Guardian believer we noted that he was avoiding the central issue, pointing out that Shoghi Effendi had clearly stated that Bahá’u’lláh’s Book of Laws and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament are “inseparable parts of one complete unit,” and thus not subject to modification by anybody. We subsequently noted that the proponent for a sans-Guardian UHJ did not recognize that in the Will there is a second provision related to the Guardian’s successor. That provision is preceded by the words “should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: ‘The child is the secret essence of its sire,’ that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character.” We then pointed out that the alternative provision reads: “then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.” We emphasized the word “must” and pointed out that the purpose for this injunction in the Will was to insure that differences not arise after the Guardian’s passing.

Incredibly, the sans-Guardian believer accused us of making up this alternative provision, saying that it did not come from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Naturally, we asked him whether his copy of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will was missing the paragraph that begins: “O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing.”

When confronted with the entire paragraph and told where to locate it, the sans-Guardian believer abandoned the exchange. However, shortly thereafter a second sans-Guardian believer came to the first individual’s aid, saying that he would provide his perspective on the matter. After noting that Shoghi Effendi had no children, he then wrote: “What is disputed is…whether or not he appointed someone else…meaning Mason Remey. Please correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t Mason the chairperson of the first council of the Hands?”–a statement that is obviously in error, for there was no such institution either before or after Shoghi Effendi’s passing.

Every Bahá’í should know that Mason Remey was appointed by Shoghi Effendi as the President of the first International Bahá’í Council, which the first Guardian portrayed in his proclamation of 9 January 1951, as the “most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the course of the last thirty years” (in other words, the most important milestone since the death of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá), and he characterized the Council as the embryonic Universal House of Justice. Therefore, the International Bahá’í Council was NOT “the first council of the Hands.” The Hands of the Cause form a subsidiary institution to the Guardian himself, and at the time that the International Bahá’í Council was formed and when Mason Remey was made that institution’s President, the first contingent of Hands of the Cause had not been named. (Shoghi Effendi named the first Hands months later.)

The heterodox Bahá’í went on to cite the passage from the Will which provides for the Hands of the Cause to “elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the guardian of the Cause of God,” and that these nine must give their assent to the Guardian’s chosen successor. The sans-Guardian believer then wrote:

“Whether Remey was appointed the Second Guardian or not (of which there is little/no evidence, particularly not specific evidence) doesn’t matter as this council of the Hands rejected his claim through a majority vote, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stipulated. His fellow Hands found him unworthy and/or his claim false. It was not within his power to make such a claim in the first place, but it was clearly within the power of the other Hands to keep someone unworthy from the position of the Guardianship as obviously happened.”

After apprising the heterodox Bahá’í of his error regarding Mason Remey as the chairman of the first council of the Hands, we informed the believer that he was also in error when he contended that the Hands of the Faith had the power to reject Mason Remey by a majority vote. Shoghi Effendi’s statement on page one of the American Bahá’í News of February 1955 clearly does not give the Hands of the Faith the authority to overrule the decision of the Guardian in his appointment of his successor. We wrote: “To say that the Hands of the Faith were qualified by the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to overrule the Guardian is to say the Hands of the Cause carry more authority than the Guardian. Shoghi Effendi’s 1955 statement makes such a position patently false.”

We therefore once again asked for those clear and unequivocal provisions which were purportedly set forth by Shoghi Effendi which would allow for the election of a Universal House of Justice minus its “sacred head and distinguished member for life of that body.”

The second heterodox Bahá’í retired from the discussion and was replaced by a third individual. This believer stated that it was not a matter of dispute that the Guardian is the “sacred head and distinguished member for life” of the UHJ. He then suggested that because of a statement by Bahá’u’lláh to the effect that the UHJ “should be composed of ‘counsellors of Bahá (Bahá numerologically is the equivalent of 9), or should it be greater it doth not matter.’ Thus 9 members plus the Guardianship is not ruled out.”

(We assumed that this believer was implying that the Guardianship somehow continues minus the presence of the living Guardian of the Faith–a view that, quite naturally, is espoused by the sans-Guardian UHJ. However, the writings of both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi make a living Guardian essential to the institution of the UHJ.)

The third believer then cited the following set of quotations from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as provided in the book Wellspring of Guidance on pages 47-48

“My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned

in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. There will be no grounds for difference . . . Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance, and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated. …

“At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme House of Justice.

“The establishment of that House is not dependent upon the conversion of all the nations of the world. For example, if conditions were favorable and no disturbances would be caused, the friends in Persia would elect their representatives, and likewise the friends in America, in India, and other areas would also elect their representatives, and these would elect a House of Justice. That House of Justice would be the Supreme House of Justice. That is all.”

On the basis of the preceding material, the heterodox believer stated his view that no one can make a claim to the Guardianship of the Faith and that there is shown here ” the lack of a requirement of the Guardian’s participation in that election process. Simply the election by the ‘delegates’ constitutes that which Abdu’l-Bahá considers ‘would be the Supreme House of Justice.'”

This third believer therefore contended that ” in light of historical fact, wherein the Universal House of Justice was indeed elected by this process, this Universal House of Justice, with its seat in Haifa, Israel, upon Mount Carmel, is by Abdu’l-Bahá’s criteria the ‘Supreme House of Justice’ and ‘He who opposes it is cast out…'”

In our response to the third believer we indicated that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement that “no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship” should be considered very carefully. We then proceeded to give the following explanation, saying:

“Those who now follow the sans-Guardian UHJ are quick to pass judgment on Mason Remey, saying that he claimed the station of Guardianship and thus was in violation of this statement of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s. However, what most people do not realize is that Mason Remey did NOT make such a claim. In his 1960 proclamation he wrote:

“‘Be it understood. I, of myself, make no claims for myself. I am but telling and reminding the Hands of the Faith and the Bahá’ís of all the world of the responsibilities that the beloved Guardian placed upon me as President of the Bahá’í International Council.’ And as Mason Remey pointed out in his proclamation, the International Bahá’í Council was identified by Shoghi Effendi as the embryonic Universal House of Justice, of which he had been made the head. So Mason Remey was not claiming something that was not his to claim. He was informing the Bahá’í world of what Shoghi Effendi himself had established.

“It should be emphasized, though, that the Hands of the Cause themselves made their own claim to the station of Guardianship, for they developed a body they called the Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith which they called upon ‘to exercise–subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Bahá’í World Faith–all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.’

“[The third believer] maintains that on the basis of the quotation he provided from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that there is a ‘lack of a requirement of the Guardian’s participation in that election process.’ He is right, for the Guardian of the Faith is ipso facto a member of the UHJ. The Guardian is not elected to the UHJ. The Guardian is appointed to that body by his predecessor. The Guardian of the Faith–Shoghi Effendi says in his Dispensation–is ‘he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation.’ He also says that ‘by virtue of the actual authority vested in him,’ he ceases ‘to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing systems of constitutional monarchies.’

“Shoghi Effendi goes on to say that ‘this Order identified with the name of Bahá’u’lláh’ is not ‘to be confused with any system of purely aristocratic government in view of the fact that it upholds, on the one hand, the hereditary principle and entrusts the Guardian of the Faith with the obligation of interpreting its teachings, and provides, on the other, for the free and direct election from among the mass of the faithful of the body that constitutes its highest legislative organ.’

“He adds: “Whereas this Administrative Order cannot be said to have been modeled after any of these recognized systems of government, it nevertheless embodies, reconciles and assimilates within its framework such wholesome elements as are to be found in each one of them. The hereditary authority which the Guardian is called upon to exercise, the vital and essential functions which the Universal House of Justice discharges, the specific provisions requiring its democratic election by the representatives of the faithful–these combine to demonstrate the truth that this divinely revealed Order, which can never be identified with any of the standard types of government referred to by Aristotle in his works, embodies and blends with the spiritual verities on which it is based the beneficent elements which are to be found in each one of them. The admitted evils inherent in each of these systems being rigidly and permanently excluded, this unique Order, however long it may endure and however extensive its ramifications, cannot ever degenerate into any form of despotism, of oligarchy, or of demagogy which must sooner or later corrupt the machinery of all man-made and essentially defective political institutions.’

“The present administrative system under the sans-Guardian UHJ is NOT that system which is described by Shoghi Effendi. It is minus one of its twin pillars, for as Shoghi Effendi says in the Dispensation, the Administrative Order requires the living Guardian of the Faith to provide ‘the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives.’

“So, we repeat, where does Shoghi Effendi say that the UHJ is to be elected minus its ‘sacred head and distinguished member for life of that body’ ?”

******

The third individual did not return to the discussion, and the question that we have asked still remains to be seriously addressed by any individual who espouses the view that a Universal House of Justice can be developed minus the Guardian of the Faith as its head.

The purpose in giving this overview of an exchange that transpired between an Orthodox Bahá’í and three members of the Haifa-Wilmette organization is to provide an illustration of the manner in which heterodox believers espouse their views. There obviously is a tendency to parrot the party-line that has been given to them by their leadership without making a thorough study of the writings of the Faith. Additionally, there is a tendency to move from faulty premises to wrong conclusions and to sidestep issues that they are not willing to face. And when others confront them with statements from the writings for which they have no response, if they are pressed on the issue, they will drop the matter entirely–usually condemning those who would provide an alternative viewpoint to theirs as violators of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. It is our hope that those who are willing to conduct a scholarly investigation into the succession of leadership within the Bahá’í Faith will come to recognize where the truth of the matter is to be found and will join the true Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, that which is now guided by the third Guardian Joel B. Marangella.

— If Only They Had Taken The Time

Twenty-six of the twenty-seven living Hands of the Cause of God appointed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry, assembled at ‘Akká in their first conclave following his passing some nine days after his internment in London, England, where he had passed away on November 4, 1957. They were understandably still in a profound state of shock, bewilderment and consternation, as his passing had been so sudden, unexpected and without any apparent forewarning whatsoever to the Bahá’ís World, although he had so clearly alluded to its imminence during the undersigned’s pilgrimage in November 1952 at dinner table one evening that Rúhíyyih Khánum jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room an event about which I was to remind her in a letter sent to her many years later. And he had also provided two other definite indications that his ministry would soon come to an end but, although they had been given in writing, they had been stated purposely in such an indirect and veiled manner that his predicted passing before the termination of the Ten Year Global Crusade, upon which the believers were about to embark at the time, would remain concealed from the Bahá’ís World during the remaining period of his ministry. However, he certainly had anticipated that both the Hands of the Cause and the believers would, following his passing, retain an unwavering faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the inviolability of its sacred and divinely-conceived “Child ” – the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – and not fail to perceive and understand why it had been necessary for him to obscure from them, in the way that he had, what would have been, an unthinkable and overwhelmingly distressing prospect for them to bear, if he had openly forewarned them of his impending passing in the near future, and, as a result, they had been faced with a prospect too awful to contemplate and one that would have unquestionably seriously interfered with their future labors for the promotion of the Faith. In view of all that he had stated in his copious writings on the divinely-conceived genesis of the Bahá’ís Administrative Order and the future essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, certainly the last thing he would have anticipated, following his passing, would be that the Hands of the Cause would decide to terminate the Guardianship and, in turn, influence the mass of the believers to likewise abandon the Guardianship.

Surprisingly, it apparently never occurred to the Hands of the Cause, following Shoghi Effendi’s passing, that the convening of a conclave in ‘Akká, for the purpose of determining who Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor, should be necessary even though the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá do not prescribe or require the convocation of such a conclave by the Hands of the Cause upon the passing of a Guardian, for according to the explicit provisions of that Document, his successor must be appointed by him, “in his own life-time” and, therefore, his identity should be known prior to his passing in order “that differences may not arise after his passing.” The Hands had. obviously forgotten this provision of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as attested by the fact that, on the first day of their conclave, they chose a body of the Hands to perform a search of Shoghi Effendi’s papers in anticipation of discovering a will left by him which, understandably, he had not made in the light of the above quoted provision to which Shoghi Effendi would have scrupulously adhered.

Tragically, however, the Hands upon not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi immediately came to the hasty conclusion that the Guardianship had come to an untimely end thirty-six-years after the inception of the Bahá’ís Administrative Order in spite of all that he had written on the divinely-conceived genesis of the Bahá’ís Administrative Order in which he had repeatedly emphasized the future essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. Certainly, the last thing Shoghi Effendi would have anticipated, following his passing, would be that the Hands of the Cause would decide that the Guardianship had ended and, in turn, influence the mass of the believers to abandon the Guardianship.

This, however is what they actually did in the proclamation they issued on November 25, 1957 that provides clear evidence that they had not only erroneously anticipated finding a will left by Shoghi Effendi but had not even taken the time to make a cursory review of Shoghi Effendi’s acts or writings to determine if in some way, other than by a testamentary document, Shoghi Effendi had appointed a successor during his “own life-time” whom they had failed to recognize.

For they obviously never questioned the validity of their interpretation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that only an Aghsán could inherit the Guardianship, a term which they erroneously applied to all the blood line relatives of Bahá’u’lláh, which differed markedly from Shoghi Effendi’s statement found in God Passes By wherein he applies this appellation only to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh who had died well before the termination of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry.

For, in their proclamation the Hands stated:

It is “certified that the beloved Guardian had left no will and testament.”

“It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir.”

“The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithlessness to the Master’s Will and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that sacred document.”

The following account recorded in the Diary of one who was present at this first conclave of the Hands, of which no official record was maintained, confirms conclusively the unseemly haste with which the Hands of the Cause reached their tragic conclusion that the Guardianship had forever come to an end:

“Twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Faith assembled in conclave in the great pillared hall of the Mansion of Bahjí at ‘Akká in the early afternoon. After the reading of prayers, [they] read the report of those of us who had searched in the Guardian’s rooms and found no will and testament among his papers. Such in a few words was our report. Upon Rúhíyyih Khánum’s the widow of Shoghi Effendi insistence, no minutes or written records were kept of the proceedings of the conclave. To me this seemed to be unwise; I felt that a record should be kept of this most important meeting of the Hands of the Faith, but as no one made any objection to this procedure and as I myself was quite conditioned through my years of residence in Haifa to accept and to follow without question everything that Rúhíyyih Khánum told us to do–I therefore refrained from saying anything about this subject. No one objected to her insistence in this matter so no records were taken. There followed, as I remember, some talk upon the parts of a number of our members about inconsequential things and then the meeting was adjourned until the following morning.

“Several of us, including myself, returned to Haifa for the night while the rest, consisting of all of the Persian Hands, remained the night at Bahjí where we who had gone to Haifa for the night met with them on the following morning.

“Following prayers and some mention of the Guardianship to the effect that no will or testament had been found in the safe or in the desk of Shoghi Effendi, Dr. Muhájir, the youngest of the Persian Hands, sprang to his feet proposing that the Will and Testament of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá be pronounced BADAH and that the Guardianship be ended forever and closed forever. This was immediately seconded and carried enthusiastically and supported by all the Persian Hands who spoke to the point supporting this putting aside for a thousand years (until the coming of the next Manifestation) the Institution of the Guardianship–allowing that this next coming Manifestation might then possibly see fit to re-establish the Guardianship if he thought best in a thousand years from this present date–but as far as this Dispensation was concerned that there should be no more Guardianship.

“Each of the Persian Hands spoke supporting this motion–each repeating practically verbatim the same argument so one could understand at first thought that they had talked it up and decided it all beforehand. This entire matter was so quickly done and its passage pressed and accomplished so quickly, that it was very apparent that at some time during those night hours these Persian Hands at Bahjí had consulted together and made a covenant amongst themselves and had made this arrangement to pronounce the Guardianship BADAH and thus railroad the matter through and carry the day. Furthermore, Rúhíyyih Khánum concurred with this majority so their point was carried by the majority.”

It is evident from the above account that the Hands of the Cause hastily reached the incredulous conclusion that the Guardianship had come to an end on the very first day of their deliberations during this conclave and, in spite of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which, as explained by Shoghi Effendi, had been divinely-conceived in a mystic intercourse between the minds of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and accordingly had actually become “their Will,” they had, nevertheless come to the unbelievable conclusion that God had changed His mind about the establishment of the Institutions of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh as delineated in that Will and Testament. In reaching this conclusion they would destroy, at the same time, all of the international institutions of the Faith as they would automatically remove the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice and the future Institution of the Hands of the Cause, as well, who, under the terms of that sacred Document, could only be appointed by future Guardians of the Faith. The Hands of the Cause were ,therefore, as a result of this conclusion, in effect, declaring the major provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament null and void, blatantly ignoring the fact that Shoghi Effendi had equated the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in its sacredness, immutability and immortality with Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book–the Kitáb-í-Aqdas–and had declared that Will a part of the explicit Holy Text whose laws and provisions were, therefore, destined to remain inviolate, unchanged and operable as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, itself, endured.

Let us consider an alternative scenario that would have transpired if the Hands, upon not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, had retained an unshakeable faith in the inviolability and indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the immutability of every clause of the sacred and divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – “the Child of the Covenant” and the “Charter of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh” and accordingly had instead of rushing headlong into their decision that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi decided to review again the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pertaining to the matter of succession. They would have then certainly concluded that Shoghi Effendi, unquestionably faithful to every clause of the sacred, divinely-conceived and immutable Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had appointed a successor “in his own life-time” although, for some valid reason (which they would later come to understand) he had obviously made this appointment in such a way that the identity of his successor had been so obscured, that he had not been recognized, as yet, either by them or by the believers throughout the world. Therefore, in order to discover the identity of his successor and when and in what manner he had made this appointment it would be essential for them to take the time to re-examine carefully and systematically those communications that Shoghi Effendi had dispatched to the Bahá’ís World as well as other acts and pronouncements he had made during his ministry that would lead to this discovery and also determine why his successor had not now made known to them his accession to the Guardianship. They, then, certainly would have determined that the most likely period in which to undertake this search, initially at least, would be during the last seven years of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry when, as the crowning achievement of his long labors to erect the institutions of the Administrative Order in complete accordance with the provisions delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he had finally established the International Institutions of the Faith at its World Administrative Center. For it was during this period that he had dispatched a series of historic and epoch-making cablegrams to the Bahá’ís World, whose tremendous import and implications they may have failed to take into account and had possibly overlooked, such as, his cablegram of 25 April 1951 in which he had pointed out that “the establishment of the International Bahá’ís Council and the construction of the superstructure of the Báb’s Selpulcher” had constituted “the initial major evidences of “the rise and consolidation of the Administrative Center of the World Faith of Bahá’u’lláh” and his cablegram of 24 December 1951 wherein he had recalled with “feelings of profound thankfulness and joy . . . the chain of historic events heralding the long anticipated rise and establishment of the World Administrative Center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.” They would have noted that his cablegram of 30 June 1952 had particular significance wherein he had hailed the erection “at long last of the machinery of its highest institutions . . . and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order are in their embryonic form, unfolding.”

Even more importantly they would have taken note of a cablegram dispatched by Shoghi Effendi of even greater potential significance than those from which excerpts have been quoted above as it was the only one that had opened with the word “Proclaim” which actually made this cablegram, dispatched on 9 January 1951, a Proclamation that highlighted the importance of an historic and epoch-making decision of such significance and magnitude that Shoghi Effendi had proclaimed the significance of this decision in the following unprecedented terms:

“. . . this historic decision marking the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the course of the last thirty years” (i.e. since his assumption of the Guardianship upon the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá).

“. . . the greatest event shedding luster upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’ís Dispensation [an epoch that had commenced in 1946] potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order on the morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Ascension”

These highly significant phrases: “weighty epoch-making decision,” this “historic decision,” this “most significant milestone,” this “greatest event,” were included in a cablegram which opened with the phrase: “Proclaim to National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of the formation of the first International Bahá’ís Council,” a Council that he identified in subsequent passages as: “this first embryonic International Institution” that he indicated would evolve through two intermediary stages, the first of which would be the International “Bahá’ís Court,” a stage that he subsequently emphasized in his cablegram of 25 April 1951 would be an “essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” (incidentally, this International Court was never permitted by the Hands to function as such).

The Hands may have then further noted that Shoghi Effendi had stated that one of the major considerations that had induced him to make this “historic decision” was “the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions” (that is, National Spiritual Assemblies) and they would now understand that this was the reason why he had addressed his cablegram specifically to the National Spiritual Assemblies and not to the believers, as had normally been the case in most of his cablegrams. And they may then have further realized that the reason why Shoghi Effendi had hailed “with thankful, joyous heart at long last the constitution of the International Council” and had used such laudatory terms in his cablegram proclaiming the formation of this “first International Institution” – this “Nascent Institution” – was due to the fact that he was proclaiming, “at long last,” the establishment of none other than the Universal House of Justice, albeit in embryonic form.

The President and four other Hands who were also members of this International Council and in attendance at the Bahjí conclave could have attested to the fact that the Council, under the Presidency of Mason Remey , had never become an actively functioning body during Shoghi Effendi’s ministry but he had assigned tasks only to individual members. In fact, he had additionally insured the retention of the Council in an inactive status by appointing and announcing that Rúhhíyih Khánum was the “chosen liaison ” between himself and the Council. Could the Hands then have considered this International Council at variance in its composition from the Universal House of Justice or anything less than the Institution described by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will when Shoghi Effendi had referred to it as: “This first International Institution” – “this Nascent Institution?” And if they had researched the Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to learn what He had stated about the EMBRYO they would have come to understand that the composition of this Institution in its originally conceived embryonic form would remain the same and unchanged throughout all of its subsequent stages as it evolved towards maturity and ultimately attained the plenitude of its powers, for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated: “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers” (BWF p.313) and, therefore, this International Council – this embryonic Universal House of Justice – this newly created embryonic Institution, composed of an irremovable HEAD – its President – appointed by Shoghi Effendi and a BODY of eight other members (initially appointed but becoming an “elected body” in its third stage, as outlined by Shoghi Effendi) was unquestionably a complete organism from its very inception to which nothing would be added, discarded or removed in its composition as it developed. although, of necessity the original functions assigned to it by Shoghi Effendi would be progressively enlarged, as he had pointed out, there would “be added further functions in the course of the evolution of this first embryonic International Institution” until finally achieving “its efflorescence” as the fully matured and functioning Universal House of Justice well into the future, as envisaged by Shoghi Effendi, when at least a number of National Houses of Justice would coexist. The plans of Shoghi Effendi clearly had not projected this final stage of development taking place so prematurely and inappropriately as planned by the Hands for 1963. Most importantly, therefore, the Hands would have come to understand that the embryonic Head of this Universal House of Justice appointed by Shoghi Effendi would remain its permanent and “sacred head” throughout all the stages of its development (as long as he lived). Upon attaining this understanding, the Hands would have been startled by the sudden realization that the appointed and hence permanent and irremovable HEAD of this embryonic organism – THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ’Í COUNCIL – Mason Remey, who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi to this office could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith who had been awaiting recognition by both them and the believers throughout the world.

How surprised and elated the Hands of the Cause would have been to discover that Shoghi Effendi’s appointed successor was from their own number and in their very midst, and that his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as his successor had initially remained unrecognized due to the indirect manner of his accession to the Guardianship through his appointment as the President of the International Bahá’ís Council. They would have found it even more surprising that Shoghi Effendi’s successor was an individual whom they had least expected to be the second Guardian of the Faith as he certainly did not meet the criteria that they would have undoubtedly previously established in their own minds due to their preconceived ideas and their erroneously held belief that only an Aghsán, whom they had misinterpreted as applying to all descendants from the blood line of Bahá’u’lláh, could inherit the Guardianship under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (but, according to Shoghi Effendi, a term that applied solely to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh). For the second Guardian was not of the blood line of Bahá’u’lláh or even a Persian. He was not from the Orient but from the Occident. He was not a young man but almost twenty-five years older than Shoghi Effendi and he neither wrote nor spoke Farsi or Arabic (although this is not one of the qualifications for appointment to the Guardianship delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will). Nevertheless, perhaps, upon reflection, they would have had to admit that he was unquestionably the most distinguished male believer in the Faith having become a believer at the turn of the century while a young student of architecture at the Beaux Arts in Paris and among his achievements on behalf of the Faith had published several of the earliest books about the Faith, had travelled around the world several times as he visited numerous countries for the purpose of promoting the Faith, had been the architect of several Bahá’ís Temples already constructed, had been chosen by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to be the architect of the Temple to be constructed in the future on Mount Carmel and by Shoghi Effendi for the Temple to be built in Tihrán, and had been the architect of the magnificent International Archives building constructed on Mount Carmel and the existing Western Pilgrim House at the foot of that mountain. He had been eulogized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in numerous Tablets for his devotion to the Covenant, his exemplary services to the Faith, the purity of his motives and the nature of his character, eulogies that may be found in several issues of the publication: Star of the West in one of which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to him as “that luminous person and heavenly man . . . who does not breathe but to raise the call to the Kingdom of God.” His distinguished period of service to the Faith had endured for more than half a century. Certainly, no male believer possessed higher Bahá’ís credentials or had acquired more experience in the Faith or had performed greater service to the Faith than Mason Remey. How much less qualified to inherit the Guardianship would have been, for example, a son of Shoghi Effendi whom many believers had speculated had been secretly conceived and hidden away from them during all of the thirty-six years of his ministry and who would suddenly appear upon Shoghi Effendi’s passing and be able to function effectively as the Guardian of the Faith, although he had experienced no direct association with any of the believers during these long years, performed any service for the Faith and who would have possessed, at best, a very limited knowledge of the activities of the believers and the developments within the Faith during this period including the actions, and the formidable works and undertakings of Shoghi Effendi during his ministry.

It is highly doubtful that any of the Hands would have been aware of the fact that in appointing Mason Remey his successor, Shoghi Effendi had brought into realization the promise that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had made to him almost a half century earlier in a Tablet, dated May 3, 1906 wherein He stated: “Ere long, thy Lord shall make thee a sign of guidance among mankind.” (Star of the West, Vol.V, No.19).

Moreover, the Hands would now have understood why Shoghi Effendi had resorted to an indirect method in appointing his successor which had been necessary to obscure the fact from the believers that his passing was imminent. For the appointment of Mason Remey, a man so much older than himself, who, nevertheless, was obviously destined to outlive him was a clear indication of his anticipation that his ministry would soon be coming to an end.

If the Hands would have now embraced Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith they would have been engaged under his direction in the functions assigned to them in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while the International Bahá’ís Council would now have become an active body with the Guardian presiding as its “sacred head” in this initial stage, as well as in successive stages until attaining ultimately its efflorescence as the Universal House of Justice. This Council would now have exercized rightful administrative jurisdiction over the subordinate National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world which would themselves ultimately and progressively, to the extent feasible, become, in parallel stages of development to the Council, subordinate National Houses of Justice.

Alas, the Hands of the Cause did not follow the scenario traced above with the result that they did not discover that Shoghi Effendi had faithfully discharged his responsibility under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and had appointed his successor. Instead, they reached their inexcusable and hasty conclusion that the Guardianship of the Cause of God had forever ended and, in so doing, in effect, not only declared the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred and divinely conceived Will and Testament pertaining to the matter of succession null and void but actually, however unwittingly, repudiated, as well, almost everything that Shoghi Effendi had written concerning the divine genesis, foundation, principles, character and institutions of the Bahá’ís Administrative Order.

Following this shameful display by the Hands of their lack of faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the immortality of the divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal “Child of the Covenant”–the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá–these Hands were now convinced that they had become, as they stated: “the supreme body of the Bahá’ís World Community” and accordingly referred to themselves as the: “Chief Stewards of the Bahá’ís World Faith” on the basis that Shoghi Effendi had referred to them in his last cablegram to the Bahá’ís World before his passing as “the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth” blindly unmindful of the significant difference in these two appellations and ignoring the implications and important promise contained in the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had used in referring to them, as opposed to the appellation they gave themselves – a monumental difference which will be subsequently discussed in some detail.

The Hands now proceeded to announce in their proclamation of 25 November 1957 the establishment, outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a body composed of nine members appointed from their own number which they named: “Custodians of the Bahá’ís World Faith” with its seat in Haifa. They stated that this body would “exercise – subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Bahá’ís World Faith – all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’ís Faith” thus creating, as it were, a substitute collegiate guardianship of the Faith. Notwithstanding this ill-conceived and pseudo-guardianship illicitly conferred on this body by the entire body of the Hands, its tenure was, oddly enough, destined, according to their plans, to be short-lived as they further announced that this body would only continue to exist “until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá may otherwise determine.” What was surprising in the above quoted statement was that even though the Universal House of Justice they were planing to elect in 1963 would be illegitimate without the Guardian presiding as its “sacred head” they untruthfully stated that it was being established “in conformity with the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” Their plans to carry out the election of this body, at Ridván 1963, was but further evidence that they were unaware that Shoghi Effendi had already established this body in its embryonic form, in the temporary name of the International Bahá’ís Council, and that they had been guilty of not permitting it to become an actively functioning body in the capacity that Shoghi Effendi had intended thus preventing that body from exercising any authority whatsoever over subordinate national administrative bodies, how much less permitting it to become a “Bahá’ís Court” in the second stage of its development as had been projected by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951, a stage, he had later emphasized in his cablegram of 25 April 1951, that would be an “essential prelude” to its further development. At this stage it would have necessarily been required to exercise Supreme Court jurisdiction over the “six national Bahá’ís Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East, Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, New Delhi, Karachi and Kabul,” cited in his cablegram of 8 October 1952, where the believers residing in those countries, of which the above named cities are the capitals, would then become subject to the Laws of the Aqdas after receiving prior approval and recognition of the authority of these courts from the respective governments concerned. Furthermore, Shoghi Effendi had in outlining the objectives of the Ten Year Global Crusade, set the goal of establishing by 1963 both the International Bahá’ís Court (the second stage of the Council’s development) as well as the National Bahá’ís Courts mentioned above. Therefore, it is clear that the plans of the Hands to establish their sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice in 1963 (subsequently accomplished) was not only extremely premature but not in accordance with Shoghi Effendi’s plans. In sharp contrast, Shoghi Effendi’s plan as outlined in his Proclamation envisaged that the International Council would become an International Bahá’ís Court during its second stage of development in its relationship to the six national Bahá’ís Courts, mentioned above. This stage in the Council’s development would obviously be an active stage in which only a Guardian of the Faith could properly preside as the Chief Judge of this Court, as it were, and, as this Judge would be the same individual that Shoghi Effendi had appointed as the irremovable President of the Council. Therefore, the goal announced by Shoghi Effendi to establish this International Court by 1963, was but further proof, had the Hands been able to perceive it, that Mason Remey was destined to become this Judge – the appointed second Guardian of the Faith – no later than Ridván 1963 and thereby a further clear prediction by Shoghi Effendi that his ministry would come to an end with his passing some time before or not later than 1963, a prediction that was to come true at the mid-point of the Crusade in 1957.

In confirmation of the foregoing discussion about the International Bahá’ís Court, it is pertinent to mention highly significant remarks made by Shoghi Effendi at the dinner table in Haifa one evening during the pilgrimage of the undersigned during the period 28 November to 7 December 1952. Seated around the table that evening (30 Nov.) in addition to my wife and myself were Rúhíyyih Khánum, and six other members of the International Bahá’ís Council including its President, Mason Remey and Secretary General Leroy Ioas. My Haifa Notes reflect that in discussing the development of the International Bahá’ís Council, he made the following remarks about the second projected stage of its development as the International Bahá’ís Court that pertained to Mason Remey’s future role on this Court, the tremendous implications of which obviously were not perceived by any of us, at the time, including even Mason, himself.

“The Bahá’ís Court to be established in Haifa will operate initially only for the Eastern world where religious law is recognized. The present President of the International Bahá’ís Council will then become the [Chief] Judge (the guardian in an aside to Mason [Remey] and with a smile asked ‘Mason are you ready to become a Judge?’”)

Many years later I reminded Rúhíyyih Khánum in a letter to her of the above quoted remarks of Shoghi Effendi, among other statements he had made, as evidence of Shoghi Effendi’s intention that Mason Remey remain the irremovable Head of the International Bahá’ís Council as it developed through successive stages and the consequent tremendous implications that were to be perceived therefrom, to which she never replied.

In a cablegram that Shoghi Effendi dispatched to the Bahá’ís World in October 1957, a month before his passing, he once again provided a sure promise of the continuing Guardianship in the years to come, as I have briefly referred to above. Again, as he had done in identifying his successor, he made this promise in such an indirect way that the Hands of the Cause, blinded as they were by their conviction that the Guardianship had ended, failed to perceive it, and, in stead, ironically misconstrued the appellation he used in referring to the Hands of the Cause, the last contingent of which had been announced in this same cablegram, as conferring upon them a station, and an authority that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His divinely-conceived, immortal and sacred Will and Testament bestowed solely upon the Guardian of the Faith. As cited earlier, the Hands of the Faith referred to themselves in their Proclamation issued at the conclusion of their conclave on November 25, 1957 as “the supreme body of the Bahá’ís World Community” now that they had terminated the Guardianship and, additionally assumed the appellation of “Chief Stewards of the Bahá’ís World Faith” on the basis that Shoghi Effendi had referred to them in his last cablegram to the Bahá’ís World as “the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth.” What they completely failed to recognize was that there was a tremendously important difference between the appellation used by Shoghi Effendi, quoted above, and the one they used. For in the appellation Shoghi Effendi’s used in referring to them as “the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth” he included the key word “embryonic” which, by its very use, had brilliantly provided a promise of the continuance of the Guardianship. As previously discussed, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers” and therefore it is clear that everything that exists in an organism in its embryonic state – in this case, the Chief Stewards – is to be found in its fully developed state. If one considers this explanation as it applies to the organism of the embryonic World Commonwealth, it becomes clear that every institution that exists in this embryonic World Commonwealth, including the Hands of the Cause – the “Chief Stewards” – (these two terms being synonymous) must necessarily continue to exist in all the stages of its development and these Institutions remain when it has achieved its stage of efflorescence and reached the plenitude of its powers as the future World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh. It should therefore be clear that this future World Commonwealth, will include all of the Institutions with which it had been originally endowed at its inception and therefore will unquestionably include these “Chief Stewards” – the Hands of the Cause – as expressly mentioned by Shoghi Effendi in his last cablegram to the Bahá’ís World as one of its Institutions. And, it therefore follows that as there will be Hands of the Cause in that future World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh there has to be, at the same time, a living Guardian of the Faith in that future Commonwealth to appoint them. Could any clearer promise than this have been provided by Shoghi Effendi of the continuance of the Guardianship ?

In the light of the foregoing, it should now be understood that it was only after Shoghi Effendi had “at long last” erected all of the local and international institutions of the Faith, as delineated in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, and as his ministry drew to a close, that he was able, for the first time, to appropriately make reference in his communications to the Bahá’ís World to the embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh which had only then, with the erection of these institutions, finally come into existence.

In summation, it is evident that if only the Hands of the Cause had taken the time following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, when upon not finding a will and testament left by him, to re-examine the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá concerned with the matter of succession and the writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Administrative Order with an open, unbiased and inquiring mind freed from pre-conceived ideas, false interpretations and expectations, they may happily have discovered the following:

That they were wrong in interpreting the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to restrict Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of a successor to a blood-line descendant of Bahá’u’lláh.

That they had been wrong to expect that Shoghi Effendi would appoint a successor in a conventional will and testament and to search for a will and testament left by him naming a successor as the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explicitly states that the Guardian must appoint his successor “in his own life-time.”

That Shoghi Effendi had issued a Proclamation on 9 January 1951, in which he proclaimed the “weighty epoch-making decision” of the formation “at long last” of the embryonic Universal House of Justice under the temporary title of: “International Bahá’ís Council” and had appointed as its President, Charles Mason Remey – a fellow-Hand of the Cause and highly distinguished early American believer from the time of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Who had been repeatedly eulogized by Him in His Tablets.

That Shoghi Effendi had outlined progressive stages in the development of the International Bahá’ís Council as it evolved from the embryonic state in which it had been created by him and became in its second stage the International Bahá’ís Court, described by him as “an essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” and whose appointed Chief Judge would be Mason Remey.

That Shoghi Effendi had retained the International Bahá’ís Council in an inactive state as a functioning body from the time of its formation and during the remaining years of his ministry as its activation as a functioning body would have meant that he would have to depose Mason Remey as its President and assume the Presidency, himself for the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice, even in its embryonic state, as the International Bahá’ís Council, could only be the Guardian of the Faith for as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated: “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers.” That Shoghi had used the International Bahá’ís Council as the instrument by which to obscure the identity of his appointed successor because, if the identity of his successor, who was a man so much older than himself, had been recognized, it would have been a startling prediction that he expected his ministry to soon come to a close and be a prospect, if believed, that would have produced incalculable consternation on the part of the believers and interfered with the effective prosecution of the Ten Year Global Crusade upon which they were soon to embark.

That with the passing of Shoghi Effendi, Mason Remey the appointed embryonic Head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, and then the Guardian-to-be, could now as the second Guardian of the Faith preside over a Council that had emerged from it embryonic state and in its new-born active state, rightfully exercise administrative jurisdiction over those National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world to which Shoghi Effendi’s Proclamation of 1951 had been specifically addressed. That Shoghi Effendi had in complete fidelity to every clause of the sacred provisions of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a fidelity that he had never failed, himself, to enjoin on all of the believers, had appointed his successor in faithful compliance with its immutable terms and had, as the crowning achievement of his ministry, and his greatest legacy, both to us and to generations unborn, erected all of the divinely-appointed Institutions of the Administrative Order fashioned by the “master-hand of its perfect Architect” whose mind, infused with the “creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh,” gave birth to the “Child of the Covenant” and the “Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and promise of this most great Dispensation.”