Joel Bray Marangella
(September 22, 1918 – September 1, 2013)
Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
On 21 September 1964, Charles Mason Remey, the Second Guardian of the Bahá’í World Faith, announced the creation of the second International Bahá’í Council and appointed Joel Bray Marangella its President. The significance of this appointment was certainly realized by the Bahá’ís under the guardianship as Shoghi Effendi had used this same instrumentality in making his appointment of his successor by naming Mason Remey President of the first International Bahá’í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice).
Joel Bray Marangella was born on 22 September 1918 in Lynn, Massachusetts, in the United States of America. His father, Phillip Amalfi Marangella, came from a large Italian family who had immigrated to the United States when he was a boy of about four years of age. As a young man he became dissatisfied with the religious faith of his parents and undertook an extensive search for the Truth. One day he happened upon a book in the New York City public library written against the Bahá’í Faith. This caused him to become interested in finding out the truth about the Faith. His subsequent investigations led to his acceptance of the Faith while Joel was still a baby. Joel’s mother, born Edith Brooks Guthrie, came from a completely different background, being a Virginian by birth and raised in the Protestant faith. Even before she met Phillip Marangella she, too, had begun to search elsewhere for a faith that would satisfy her needs and her investigation of the Baha’I Faith led to her becoming a Bahá’í with him. This being the case, Joel Bray Marangella was exposed to the Teachings of the Faith at an early age, but in accordance with the Bahá’í Principle of independent investigation of the Truth, his parents always encouraged him to investigate other religious movements and faiths which he did.
During these early years Joel Bray Marangella was most fortunate to spend several months every summer at Green Acre, Eliot, Maine, where the first Bahá’í summer school had been established around the turn of the century and whose precincts had been forever hallowed by the footsteps of the Master when he visited America in 1912. Anyone who visits this beautiful spot located some five miles from the ocean on the Piscataqua River and senses the spiritual atmosphere, which pervades it can well understand why Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Baha’I Faith, should have referred to it as the “Acca of the West.” Joel’s first visit to Green Acre was when he was but two years of age or so, and then later when his father moved to Portsmouth, N.H., and built a summer cottage in Green Acre, this permitted him to enjoy a somewhat longer stay during the summer than those who were guests of the Green Acre Inn. It was in such a setting that he was privileged to attend the classes and lectures held at the school and come to know most of the early believers in America who had met the Master and many of whom had been amongst that early group of pilgrims who had visited the Master in the Holy Land. They were, indeed, aflame with the love of the Faith, with Bahá’u’lláh, and with the Master, Abdu’l-Baha. And as they came to understand the significance of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, and the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, that established the Institutions of the Baha’I Administrative Order they became loyal supporters of Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Faith. He also came to know some of the old believers who had taken up permanent residence in Green Acre, such as the immortal Marion Jack, who later in her response to the appeal of Shoghi Effendi for pioneers, distinguished herself so gloriously in her services for the Faith in Bulgaria, where she remained until her death – a Bahá’í heroine who Shoghi Effendi eulogized as a shining example to future pioneers of the Faith. His association with these dedicated and devoted believers exerted a profound influence on him as a young boy and one, which persisted throughout his life.
In later years Joel Bray Marangella lived in some of the major cities of the United States, including Boston, Miami, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and in the vicinity of Washington, D.C. (Rosslyn and Arlington, Virginia.) As soon as he was able to do so at the age of 15, he declared his intention of becoming a Bahá’í, becoming an enrolled believer at the then legal age of 21, when he was able to participate in both the spiritual and administrative activities of the thriving Bahá’í communities found in the cities cited above.
Joel Bray Marangella’s marriage to Irene Marie Aducat (a Bahá’í ) took place in September 1945 in a Bahá’í ceremony held in the lovely Evergreen Cabin at West Englewood, New Jersey, the site of the annual Souvenir picnic which commemorates the gathering held on its grounds for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá during his visit to America in 1912.
Pioneering in Europe
In the spring of 1950, prompted by an appeal of Shoghi Effendi for Bahá’í pioneers in Europe and with Shoghi Effendi’s approval, Joel Bray Marangella and his wife, Irene, accompanied by their two children (Joel Jani and Mark Vali; their third child Paul Maxwell, being born in France in 1953) journeyed to France where they remained for some 18 years, initially residing in Paris for four years and subsequently in Orleans, before moving to Switzerland and later to Perth, Australia, where they would reside for over thirty years. At Ridván 1954, the Hands of the Cause in Europe appointed Joel Bray Marangella as one of their nine deputies for the propagation of the Faith in that continent as a member of their Auxiliary Board. The Faith expanded in France, and Joel Bray Marangella, after having served as chairman of Local Spiritual Assemblies in Paris and Orleans, participated in the first National Baha’I Convention held in France during Ridvan 1958, in which the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of France was elected and became its chairman both at this time and in its successive elections. The momentous and historic Proclamation of Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith was received by this Assembly at Ridvan 1960. The National Spiritual Assembly of France responded to this Proclamation by accepting the second Guardian and, as it turned out, became the only Bahá’í National body in the world to recognize and accept the second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Charles Mason Mason Remey, and thus remain loyal to the Covenant and the provisions of the “Child of the Covenant” – the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Under the Second Guardian
On September 1961 the beloved second Guardian of the Faith, Charles Mason Remey, appointed Joel Bray Marangella to be his official representative to meet with the governmental authorities of the State of Israel, for the purpose of explaining to them that he was the second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and requesting them to recognize him as such so that he might be empowered to take up his “spiritual religious responsibilities and duties in Haifa at the Administrative Center of the Bahá’í Faith as the second Guardian of the Faith appointed to this position by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the first Guardian of the Faith.” A month later Joel Bray Marangella journeyed to Israel to carry out this responsibility, meeting twice with the acting Minister of Religious Affairs and the Director of the Bahá’í Department of that ministry and submitting a formal request and pertinent documentation on the part of the second Guardian.
Appointment as Third Guardian
In December 1961, Joel Bray Marangella received a letter from Mason Remey, which included an inner sealed envelope containing the following hand-written instructions on its cover:
Joel: Please take care of this sealed envelope among your papers in the Bernese Oberland. As I see things now it may have to do with the coming World Catastrophe in or after 1963. You will know when to break the seal.
According to Mason Remey’s instructions Joel Bray Marangella placed this letter in a safety deposit vault in a locality in Switzerland near where he had purchased a home only a short time earlier. On 21 September 1964, Mason Remey announced the creation of the second International Bahá’í Council and appointed Joel Bray Marangella as its President. The significance of this appointment was certainly realized by the Bahá’ís under the Guardianship as Shoghi Effendi had in the same manner used this instrumentality in effecting the appointment of his successor by naming Mason Remey President of the first International Bahá’í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice). In consideration of this fact, Joel Bray Marangella felt that the hour was propitious for him to open the sealed envelope above described and journeyed to Switzerland to do this. The sealed letter contained the following instructions in the hand of Mason Remey:
Letter Of Appointment of Joel Bray Marangella by the Second Guardian of the Bahá’ís Faith, Charles Mason Remey
This is to tell you to tell the Bahá’í World that I appoint you to be the Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith according to the Will and Testament of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
||“I took no action on the above directive, nor did I inform any of the believers of this appointment at the time for reasons explained in my proclamatory letter of 12 November 1969.”
– Joel Bray Marangella
Joel Bray Marangella Meeting in Florence
In the summer of 1965, while visiting Mason Remey in Florence, Italy, he directed that Joel Bray Marangella prepare a statement activating the second International Bahá’í Council. (The Bahá’ís would have recalled recalled that the first International Bahá’í Council was never activated.) This statement (approved by Mason Remey) subsequently was published in the October 1965 issue of “The Glad Tidings ” – the then official news organ of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith. The consequent responsibilities that Joel Bray Marangella inherited by virtue of the activation of the Council were further affirmed by Mason Remey in a letter addressed to Joel Bray Marangella and published in “The Glad Tidings” of May 1966, which stated the following:
On 12 November 1969, Joel Bray Marangella issued a proclamatory letter to the faithful Bahá’í friends throughout the world, announcing his accession to the Guardianship of the Faith as the duly authorized and rightful successor of Mason Remey in accordance with his explicit appointment made under the sacred and inviolable terms of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá.
It gives me great pleasure on the occasion of my 88th birthday to proclaim the appointment of the Third International Bahá’í Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—with the membership listed below. In this appointment, those believers, who have displayed an exemplary fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, during the many years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, in their faithful, steadfast and devoted support of and exemplary service to the living Guardian of the Cause of God, may now be assured that I have clearly identified my successor and thereby provided, following the termination of my ministry, for the continuance of the Guardianship in strict compliance with the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Unlike the action taken by the first and second Guardians of the Faith, who did not assume the Presidency of the International Bahá’í Councils appointed by them, I shall assume the Presidency of the third International Bahá’í Council as an actively functioning administrative body that can function, as such, thanks particularly to the facility of the internet, without its members being assembled in one location.
I am taking the opportunity provided in the appointment of this third International Bahá’í Council to identify my appointed successor. His identity is found in the one whom I have designated below as the single Vice President of the Council who will succeed to the Presidency, and thereby the Guardianship, upon my passing, or prior thereto, in the event of any incapacitation in the future that may preclude my being able to continue functioning as the Guardian of the Faith, either as determined and announced by myself or, if unable to make such a determination, as may be announced by my successor on the basis of a decision rendered by competent medical authority.
As the future event of a catastrophic nature prophesied by Bahá’u’lláh may seriously affect the membership of the Council, as shown below, it should be understood that, if the Vice President named below should not survive such an event, succession to the Guardianship will be inherited, in turn, by the surviving member of the Council, in the order named below:
President, Joel Bray Marangella
Vice President, Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand
Secretary General, Franklin Schlatter
Assistant Secretary, David Maxwell
Assistant Secretary, Daniel Havner
Assistant Secretary, Y.H. Taylor
Treasurer: Jeffrey Goldberg
Member: Ross Campbell
Member: Joel Jani Marangella
I also take this opportunity to announce with great pleasure the elevation of the following faithful believers to the rank of Hand of the Cause of God:
Future declarations submitted by believers enrolling in the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith who reside in countries and other localities that are not under the administrative jurisdiction of one of the Provisional National Bahá’í Councils or Mother Bahá’í Councils will be submitted to the International Bahá’í Council for acceptance, acknowledgement and matter of record. The Secretary General of the Council will upon receipt of this proclamation publish his email and mailing address.
Copies of future issues of the Bahá’í newsletter, “Herald of the Covenant,” published by the Provisional National Bahá’í Council of the United States, will be sent by that Council to the Secretary General of the International Bahá’í Council for translation by the appropriate Assistant Secretary of all or a part thereof, as determined desirable by the Secretary General, and subsequent distribution to the faithful believers residing in those countries and localities outside of the United States.
The Treasurer of the Council will establish an account under the name of “International Bahá’í Fund” to which contributions may be made by the faithful friends to cover such expenses as the cost of mailing newsletters and other material.
The Secretary of the International Bahá’í Council, Hand of the Cause, Frank Schlatter, will henceforth prepare the annual Ridván letter previously prepared by myself, recounting, for the information of the faithful friends, significant achievements that have taken place during the past Bahá’í Year. To enable him to do this, Provisional National Baha’i Councils and Mother Bahá’í Councils are enjoined to periodically inform the International Bahá’í Council of significant developments that have taken place in their countries so that the Secretary General of the Council may be able to include a summary of same in this Ridván letter.
Joel Bray Marangella.
Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
22 September 2006
Joel Bray Marangella Writings and Articles
The World Order Of Baha’u’llah Continues To Unfold – Published by the Bahá’í Scholar’s Publishing Trust, Library Of Congress # 2005902276, 2005
“What Will Be Your Excuse When You Meet Shoghi Effendi In The Next World? (A Possible Credible Scenario)” – July 2008
“The Diabolical Subversion Of The Bahá’í Administrative Order”
“Bahá’u’lláh Promises An Uninterrupted Interpretative Authority In The Kitàb-I-Iqàn”
“A Severe Trial Pursueth You”
“Shoghi Effendi Informs The United Nations Of His Role As The “Appointed Head” Of The Future Bahá’í “World Council” Prior To Its Formation In 1951”
Shoghi Effendi Foretells The Imminence Of His Passing Coincident With The Activation Of The International Bahá’í Council Before Ridván 1963.”
“Shoghi Effendi’s Only Proclamation Ignored”
“A Letter And Five Messages Acclaiming Shoghi Effendi’s “Epoch-Making” Decisions, Both Ignored And Forgotten And Their Import Unperceived.”
“The Essentiality Of The Guardianship To The World Order Of Bahá’u’lláh.”
“Irrefutable Evidence That Shoghi Effendi, The First Guardian Of The Bahá’í Faith, Appointed A Successor.”
“Even Now They Refuse To Face The Undeniable Facts”
“Unanswered Letters To Ruhíyyíh Khánum. Ridván 1988” — Naw-Rúz, 1999
“The Fourth And Final Letter Sent To Rúhíyyih Khánum” – Naw-Rúz, 1999
“Excerpts From May Maxwell’s Haifa Notes” – January–March 1937
“Open Letters Of 9 July 1960 And 21 October 1960” – Written By Joel Bray Marangella, Former Chairman Of The National Spiritual Assembly Of France And Auxiliary Member To The Hands Of The Cause In Europe, Stating The Reasons For His Acceptance Of Mason Remey As The Second Guardian Of The Faith. These “Open Letters” Were Posted To A Large Number Of Friends, Following Receipt Of Mason Remey’s Proclamation.
“A Brief History Of The Violation Of The Covenant Of Bahá’u’lláh At The World Center Of The Bahá’í Faith Following The Passing Of The First Guardian Of The Bahá’í Faith”. – “Herald Of The Covenant” Winter 1974/75
“The Tree Of The Covenant” – A Statement Of Beliefs Of The Orthodox Bahá’ís Under The Living Guardianship. – “Herald Of The Covenant”— Winter 1973/74 (Published By The European Bureau Of The Orthodox Bahá’í Faith)
“What Is The Meaning Of Loyalty To The Covenant Of Bahá’u’lláh And Who Are The Present Day Covenant Breakers?” –
“Herald Of The Covenant”—November 1977
“Commentary On The Will And Testament Of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá” – “Herald Of The Covenant” — January 1985
Letter To: Those Directing Affairs At The Bahá’í World Center: What Possible Answer Can You Give To Future Bahá’í Generations?
Letter To: Those Directing Affairs At The Bahá’í World Center: The Tablet Of The Holy Mariner Dooms Bogus Uhj To Extinction
“The Illegitimate Reign Of The “Custodians” At The Bahá’í World Center That Was Never Meant To Be”
“The Undeniable Falsehood Propagated By The Twenty-Six Hands Of The Cause That Only An Aghsán Could Inherit The Guardianship”
“Afnán As “Branch”
“If Only The Hands Had Taken The Time”
“Et Tu” Faithless Hands Of The Cause”
“The Lamentation Of Shoghi Effendi”
“This Most Great Order”
“How And Why Shoghi Effendi Obscured The Appointment Of His Successor And The Consequences.”
“The Failed Abortion Of “The Child Of The Covenant” — The “Divinely-Conceived” Bahá’í Administrative Order Delineated In The Will And Testament Of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”
“Knowledge Of Which Language Is Essential For Present-Day And Future Guardians Of The Faith?”
“Even Now, I Could Also Sign It”
“The Satanic Collusion To Terminate The Institution Of The Guardianship”