9 JANUARY 1951
The date on which Shoghi Effendi issued the only Proclamation of his ministry.
The date on which he proclaimed an "historic decision marking the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baháulláh in the course of the last thirty years."
The date on which he established "this first embryonic International Institution" which "history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Baháí Dispensation."
The date marking an undertaking "potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order of the Faith on the morrow of Abdul-Bahás Ascension."
The date that hailed an event "ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith in the course of the First Age of the most glorious Dispensation of the five thousand century Baháí Cycle."
THE SPECIFIC RECIPIENTS OF THIS PROCLAMATION
Shoghi Effendi specifically addressed his Proclamation to "the National Spiritual Assemblies of East and West" because, as national administrative bodies they would be subordinate to this international administrative bodythis "first embryonic International Institution." It was this same supreme administrative body, now "at long last" established, to which Shoghi Effendi had previously referred in a statement addressed to the Palestine Committee of the United Nations in July, 1947 in which he pointed out that the foundations of the Administrative Order are now being laid "by the national and local councils by the professed adherents of the Faith, and which are now paving the way for the constitution of the World Council, to be designated as the Universal House of Justice which in conjunction with me as its appointed Head and the authorized interpreter of the Baháí teachings, must coordinate and direct the affairs of the Baháí community" It was this same supreme administrative body this "Nascent Institution" that Shoghi Effendi had now constituted, in January 1951, together with the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, whose creation he had announced some nine months later, on 24 Dec, 1951, to which he further unmistakably referred in his cablegram of 20 June 1952 when he wrote: "At the World Center of the Faith, where at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected, and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are in their embryonic form, unfolding."
THE CONDITIONAL TIMING OF SHOGHI EFFENDIS PROCLAMATION
Shoghi Effendi had waited many years before, as he stated, he had been induced to make the "historic decision" to constitute "at long last " this "first embryonic International Institution," which in the first stage of a projected four-stage evolutionary development, had been designated by him as the International Baháí Council, based on the following important developments in the Holy Land and in the Baháí World:
IMPORTANT SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS PROCLAMATION INITIALLY DISREGARDED AND FOLLOWING THE PASSING OF SHOGHI EFFENDI INEXCUSABLY IGNORED BY TWENTY SIX HANDS OF THE CAUSE
This "first embryonic International Institution" created during the concluding years of Shoghi Effendis ministry crowned "at long last" his labours to erect the highest institution of the Administrative Order in complete conformity with the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, for this institution was nothing less, as stated by Shoghi Effendi, than the "forerunner of the supreme administrative institution" of the Faith the Universal House of Justice which, although created in its embryonic form at the outset, and given the provisional title of International Baháí Council, was, notwithstanding, unquestionably a complete and perfect organism from the first, which is an invariable characteristic of all embryonic organizms, as explained by Abdul-Bahá in His writings. This "Nascent Institution," having been created by Shoghi Effendi, in accordance with the explicit provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá possessed an irremovable "sacred head" appointed by him and a body of eight believers who, had also been initially appointed by him, but this body would, as he outlined, be replaced with an elected membership in the third stage of development.
THE "WEIGHTY EPOCH-MAKING DECISION" OF SHOGHI EFFENDI TO FORM THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁÍ COUNCIL AND TO APPOINT ITS PRESIDENT AND IRREMOVAL HEAD, THE MOMENTOUS IMPLICATIONS OF WHICH REMAINED UNPERCEIVED BY TWENTY-SIX HANDS OF THE CAUSE
As one looks back in retrospect, it is surprising that there is no evidence that any of the believers or the Hands of the Cause ever questioned or considered the implications that should have be drawn from the fact that the International Baháí Councilthe embryonic Universal House of Justicewhose creation in 1951, Shoghi Effendi had hailed with such unprecedented superlatives, had never been convened as an actively functioning body under the Presidency of Mason Remey during the remaining years of Shoghi Effendis ministry, nor had its three Secretaries (Leroy Ioas, Secretary General, Ethel Revell and Lotfullah Hakim, secretaries for the West and East respectively), acting in their respective capacities, ever issued any instructions from the Council to the National Spiritual Assemblies related to achieving the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade as had been clearly foreseen in the projected role of the Council as clearly outlined by Shoghi Effendi in his message of 23 November 1951. Individual members of the Council had however been assigned tasks by Shoghi Effendi and Mason Remey had sent out two very long letters to the Baháí World, as President of the Council, which had been countersigned by Leroy Ioas, as Secretary General (published in the United States Baháí News), informing the believers of the status of developments at the Baháí World Center but these letters were not specifically addressed to the National Spiritual Assemblies and were in no sense instructions from the Council.
Some three weeks following the sudden and unexpected passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, the Hands of the Cause took it upon themselves to convene a conclave in Akká for the purpose of determining his successor seemingly oblivious of the fact that the Will and Testament makes no provision for such a conclave by the Hands or anyone else for this purpose, as it is clearly redundant for the simple reason that the Guardian is required to name and make known his successor "in his own life-time." If they had remembered this provision they would have realized that they as well as the believers at large had obviously overlooked some act, decision or pronouncement of Shoghi Effendi during the course of his ministry which had revealed the appointment of his successor in faithful compliance with the immutable provisions of that divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal Document. This fact apparently never entered their mind when they convened their conclave and subsequently announced that they had actually undertaken what they should have realized in the first place would turn out to be a fruitless search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi naming a successor. They then took no time whatsoever during this first conclave to review any of the "historic" and "epoch-making" messages he had issued during the concluding years of his ministry, as attested by Mason Remey in his dairy, or showed any evidence in the fateful decisions that they precipitously took during this conclave that they had, in the least, remembered the importance of any of these messages, much less their tremendous significance or implications. This being the case, they certainly could not have been expected to recall or place any importance on the statement that Shoghi Effendi had made in his letter to the Palestine Committee of the United Nations in July 1947 in which he had pointed out that he, as the Guardian of the Faith, would be the Head of a future Baháí "World Council" or would they have considered the momentous implication in the fact that when he had actually constituted this World Council some three years later, under the provisional title of "International Baháí Council," he had not assumed the Presidency of this Council, but instead had appointed Mason Remey as the President of this supreme administrative body. Certainly, the further question would never have entered their minds as to why this International Council had never been convened by its President as an actively functioning body during the remaining years of Shoghi Effendis ministry, or would they have perceived the highly significant reason for this fact.
Although some of the older English-speaking Hands would have undoubtedly been familiar with the "Star of the West" published many years ago in which are found many glowing eulogies paid to Mason Remey by Abdul-Bahá they would have certainly long forgotten that one issue records a highly significant, unique and momentous promise made to Mason Remey by Abdul-Bahá concerning his future role in the Faith that He made to no other believer. This remarkable promise by Abdul-Bahá may be found in a letter addressed to Mason Remey, as long ago as 1915, and published in "The Star of the West" at the time, wherein He stated: "Ere long Thy Lord shall make thee a sign of guidance among mankind." (Vol V, No.19, March 2, 1915). These Hands, of course, would not have recalled this prediction or realized that, the promise embodied in that statement would become a reality through Shoghi Effendis appointment of Mason Remey as the President of the International Baháí Council. For once this Councilthe embryonic Universal House of Justice would be activated as an administratively functioning body, Mason Remey would automatically become Shoghi Effendis appointed successor and the "sacred head" of this Institution. Shoghi Effendi had therefore, in appointing his successor in this indirect way, made possible the fulfilment at long last of the promise made so many years previously to Mason Remey by Abdul-Bahá.
Aside from the tragic fact that the Hands of the Cause (later with a single notable exception) had never perceived the significance of any of the decisions, acts and statements of Shoghi Effendi enumerated above which gave conclusive evidenced that he had remained completely faithful to the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and had clearly provided for the continuation of the Guardianship of the Cause of God, the Hands (again with a single notable exception) incomprehensibly lost faith in the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, whose provisions Shoghi Effendi had described as sacred, immortal and immutable, and a document which "together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas" constituted "the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Baháí Faith." Moreover, Shoghi Effendi had explained that these two documents "are not only complementary but that they mutually confirm one another and are inseparable parts of one complete unit." And therefore it was inexcusable that they should have failed to realize that as the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá was nothing less than a part of the explicit Holy Text whose provisions are destined to remain unchanged and applicable as long as the Dispensation of Baháulláh endures.
It was inexcusable that the Hands and particularly Rúhíyyih Khánum had either forgotten or had chosen to ignore Shoghi Effendis writings in "The Dispensation of Baháulláh," as Rúhíyyih Khánum, the widow of Shoghi Effendi, who in 1937, as Mary Maxwell and the daughter of May Maxwell, had accompanied her on pilgrimage to Haifa and actually co-authored their well known and widely read Haifa Notes. And it is in these Notes that they had identified "The Dispensation of Baháulláh" as Shoghi Effendis spiritual Testament. In this letter addressed "To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the West," under date of February 8, 1934, is found the following marvellous explanation given by Shoghi Effendi of the manner in which the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá had been divinely-conceived: "The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose [Bahaullah] and the One [Abdul-Bahá] Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenantthe heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of Godthe Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him [Baháulláh] Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One [Abdul-Bahá] Who ultimately conceived it" And even earlier in a letter, dated March 21, 1930, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baháí of the United States and Canada (before Canada had it own NSA) a letter that was to be later incorporated in the book: "The World Order of Baháulláh" Shoghi Effendi in referring to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá stated: "For nothing short of the explicit directions of THEIR Book and the surprisingly emphatic language with which THEY have clothed the provisions of THEIR Will could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have so gloriously labored all their lives." (emphasis added)
In view of the foregoing statement, it is glaringly obvious that it was nothing short of blasphemy for the Hands of the Cause to, in effect, claim that with the passing of Shoghi Effendi this divinely-conceived Will and Testament had been so deficient in its terms and lacking in foresight, that its major provisions, providing for the continuity of the Institutions of the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause of the Cause of God and the sacred headship of the Universal House of Justice, down through the centuries to come of the Dispensation of Bahaullah, had, with the passing of Shoghi Effendi, become null and void only thirty-six years after the passing of Abdul-Bahá and the inception of the Administrative Order.
Tragically, for the future of the Faith, the Hands were shamefully guilty of failing to recognize any of the foregoing and much more that Shoghi Effendi has written on the subject. This incomprehensible failure, coupled with their loss of faith in the Covenant of Bahaullah, their preconceived ideas on the matter of succession and their unmistakably erroneous interpretation of the provision of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, pertaining to the requisite qualifications of the Guardians successor that placed ludicrous and unfounded limitations on his choice of a successor, led them to incredulously declare in a Proclamation that they issued to the Baháí World on 25 November 1957 that "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him."
Having thus so ingloriously abandoned the Guardianship, the Hands also ignored Shoghi Effendis plans for the development and the future role of the International Baháí Council and relegated it to a subordinate position to their own. They did not permit its President to convene the International Council which then would have become an active body and as the supreme administrative institution of the Faith exercise direction over the National Spiritual Assemblies as envisaged by Shoghi Effendi in his message of 23 November 1951. Instead, they announced the establishment of a completely superfluous and illicit body outside of the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, comprised of nine Hands which would assume a collegiate Guardianship of the Faith, as it were, to which they gave the title: "The Custodians of the Baháí World Faith" a body which they had the incredible audacity to state would assume "all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardianship of the Baháí Faith." That statement taken at face value incredibly meant that these Custodians would now assume the Guardians role as "the Center of the Cause" and assume the right of interpretation of Holy Writ which is indisputably the sole prerogative of the Guardian of the Faith. To reinforce their position, they then, addressed a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies, under date of 2 December 1957, requesting that this body now be recognized in a letter of reply as "the supreme body in the Cause." Yet, this illicit body would, according to their own ill-conceived plans, exercise this spurious supreme authority for a brief period of some five years before its demise and replacement by an equally illegitimate, headless, so-called Universal House of Justice to be elected by the National Spiritual Assemblies at Ridvan 1963. With the projected demise at Ridvan 1963 of this former illegitimate "supreme body in the Cause" the Hands make no mention as to whether the equally illegitimate Universal House of Justice to be formed at that time would then inherit the "functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardianship" which the "Custodians" had previously illicitly assumed but it may be inferred that this was their intention as there was no other body or person to which they could transfer these functions. This so-called Universal House of Justice, to which they would transfer the former ill-gotten functions of the Custodians, would then according to their plans now magically become the "supreme body" of the Faith, and they would ridiculously pretend, that this Universal House of Justice, even without the Guardian presiding as its "sacred head," would still be the same complete and infallible Institution delineated in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, irrespective of the fact that one need only refer to the writings of Shoghi Effendi in "The Dispensation of Bahaullah," to find the utter and undeniable falsity of such a pretension.
In the now fully corrupted man-made and sans-Guardian organization the Hands had created, in which the institution of the Hands, as they died out, would also be no more, they had shown that they had been completely unmindful of Abdul-Bahás explanation in His Will and Testament of the essential relationship that must exist between the executive (represented by the Guardian) and the legislative institutions (the Houses of Justice) in the Baháí Administrative System and the fact that their respective functions are not susceptible to combining in a single institution such as the Hands had now created in their spurious so-called Universal House of Justice, for He stated: "the legislative body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid and assist the legislative body . . ." For this very reason, every Democratic government on earth recognizes the essentiality of maintaining the separation of these powers in government and accordingly their respective Constitutions invariably provide for separate executive and legislative institutions.
Let us now consider the position of Mason Remey while his fellow-Hands were diabolically engaged in destroying the labours of Shoghi Effendi, and especially those during the seven closing years of his ministry when he had finally established the international institutions of the Faith and when through their decisions and actions they had actually, in effect, repudiated almost everything he had written about the Baháí Administrative Order. Shoghi Effendi had summoned Mason Remey to come to Haifa in 1950 and henceforth make Haifa his home. This required Mason Remey to leave his magnificent home on Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. which the undersigned had seen in a visit to his home in the late 1940s shortly after Mason Remey had returned from a trip to Switzerland, where incidentally he showed me the ice axe he had used in climbing the Matterhorn at the age of 75. Upon arrival in Haifa, very much in contrast to his residence in Washington, he lived in a single modest room in the Western Pilgrim House without private bathroom facilities (which the undersigned observed during my pilgrimage in 1952). He, of course was more than happy to reside in these humble lodgings during a time when he was able to render service to the Guardian. He was often called upon by Shoghi Effendi to represent him at official functions held by the Israeli government and was engaged, among other things, in completing his design for the Baháí Temple to be built in the future on Mount Carmel as the chosen architect in a Tablet addressed to him by Abdul-Bahá appearing in the "Star of the West" (Vol. 13, No. 8, Nov. 1922) in which He stated: "thou wilt be its architect and Founder." As Shoghi Effendi had asked Mason Remey to make Haifa his permanent home and as he had then appointed him both the President of the International Baháí Council, and a Hand of the Cause in the first contingent of twelve Hands of the Cause he had appointed on 24 December 1951, it was only natural that his fellow Hands would, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, include him as a member of the body of nine "Custodians of the Baháí World Faith" that they appointed who would reign from their seat in Haifa. However, it should be clearly understood that he never accepted from the outset the legitimacy of this sans-Guardian organization as a substitute for the Guardianship. In his dairy titled "Daily Observations", he recounts in extensive detail both his fruitless efforts to persuade his fellow-Hands during their second conclave held in Akká to reconsider their decision to declare the Guardianship at an end, and his almost daily verbal appeals made to the fellow-members of the body of Custodians in Haifa. Moreover, he penned three further magnificently written appeals to all of the Hands setting forth brilliant arguments against their abandonment of the Guardianship of the Faith. But to all of these efforts they paid no heed. In final despair and desperation he left Haifa in early 1960 and returned to the United States hoping to be able to more effectively mount from there a renewed effort to prove to these wayward Hands the fallacy of their position against the continuation of the Guardianship.
It finally remained for Mason Remey in his Proclamation issued some two and a half years after the passing of Shoghi Effendi at Ridvan 1960 to irrefutably prove that Shoghi Effendi had appointed him as his successor. This Proclamation was sent through the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to the National Baháí Convention convened in Wilmette, Illinois, with the anticipation that this National Assembly would make further distribution to the other National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world. This however, was never done as the self-styled "Hands in the Holy Land" in a cable addressed "To the Continental Hands and All National Spiritual Assemblies" advised of their repudiation of what they termed Mason Remeys "preposterous claim" to the Guardianship. Only the National Spiritual Assembly of France (with its seat in Paris where Mason Remey had first become a Baháí at the turn of the Century) fortunately had been the only other recipient of his Proclamation and following its careful study, followed by a review of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and applicable writings and messages of Shoghi Effendi, became the only National Spiritual Assembly in the Baháí World to officially recognize Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith. Although the Hands possess no authority to dissolve a National Spiritual Assembly under the terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, they nevertheless then declared its dissolution.
The Proclamation brought to those believers who were open minded a clear understanding for the first time as to why Shoghi Effendi had not directed Mason Remey as the President of the International Baháí Council, to convene this embryonic Institution into an actively functioning administrative body during the remaining seven years of his ministry. For, as previously explained, if Shoghi Effendi, had assumed the Presidency himself, of this "World Council" which is the rightful role of the Guardian of the Faith, as he had clearly pointed out in his letter to the United Nations, he would not have been able to appoint Mason Remey as its President. It now became clear that, by virtue of this appointment, Mason Remey had been, during the years following his appointment by Shoghi Effendi in 1951, the second Guardian of the Faith in-waiting, and therefore undeniably his duly appointed successor, whom he had appointed "in his own life-time" as required under the terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá which stipulates that the President or the "sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith. In resorting to this completely unexpected and indirect manner of appointing his successor, he had publicly announced the appointment of his successor "in his own life-time, as required, although it had not been recognized as such Shoghi Effendi. In this manner Shoghi Effendi had purposely ingeniously and successfully obscured the identity of his successor from the believers, at the time, for he had obviously surmised correctly that they would not expect him to appoint as his successor a believer who was already of such advanced age, that for him to succeed Shoghi Effendi, it clearly portended his own early demise. All advanced souls know when their end shall be and he had hinted so strongly to his early end when the undersigned was a pilgrim there in November 1952 in the presence of several members of the International Baháí Council including Rúhíyyih Khánum at dinner one evening that she jumped up from the table in tears and rushed out of the room, an event incidentally of which she was reminded in a letter written to her many years after the passing of Shoghi Effendi. He had therefore clearly foreseen that his ministry was coming to a close and that his great work was almost done. He knew that the imminence of his passing had to be obscured for if the mass of the believers realized that his passing was near at hand it would be an unthinkable and shocking prospect and one that would have such a devastating impact on the Baháí World that it would inevitably impede the successful prosecution of the Ten Year Global Crusade scheduled to commence in 1953.
There are those who contend that Shoghi Effendis appointment of Mason Remey was invalid because it had not been witnessed by the nine Hands of the Cause who according to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá must be elected from their own number to serve under the direction of the Guardian at the World Center and secretly vote their assent to his choice of a successor (a provision that insures the authenticity and validity of the appointment but as Shoghi Effendi has clearly explained this provision does not confer upon the Hands a veto authority of the Guardians choice of a successor as some would unthinkingly suggest). What they who advance this argument fail to realize however is that the development of the Faith had obviously not reached a state where Shoghi Effendi had required the services of this body of nine Hands at the World Center (which would have involved one third of the total number he had appointed) who were engaged in world-wide teaching activities. He had therefore never called for this body to be elected by the Hands during his ministry. However, it is undeniable that the validity and authenticity of his appointment of Mason Remey as his successor required no attestation of witnesses or was this appointment open to question as Shoghi Effendi had openly identified his successor in a cablegram to "the friends of East and West" under date of 2 March 1951 wherein he had identified Mason Remey as the President of the International Baháí Council and therefore, as heretofore explained, identified him as the future Guardian of the Faith.
THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES
The vast majority of Baháí throughout the world, who were never provided the opportunity to read the Proclamation of Mason Remey for themselves, were led astray from the Covenant of Baháulláh by the Hands of the Cause who should have been the very first to defend the Covenant and uphold the immutability of the provisions of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, the "Child of the Covenant" and as a result of the esteem in which they were held and their strong influence, were readily led by them to not only reject the Guardianship of Mason Remey but to accept, without question, their ill-founded decision that the Guardianship had come to an end with the passing of Shoghi Effendi.
The Hands foisted upon the Baháí World, in place of the divinely-conceived Baháí Administrative Order bequeathed to the World by Abdul-Bahá, a sans-Guardian, sans-Hands of the Cause administrative organization of their own making with a headless, illegitimate, fallible and prematurely established Universal House of Justice which they had the effrontery to diabolically pretend was still the infallibly guided Institution delineated by Abdul-Bahá in His Will and Testament.
The vast majority of believers were thus tragically duped at the time of Shoghi Effendis passing, and still remain so to this day, into believing that this now thoroughly corrupted and pathetic counterpart of the divinely-conceived Baháí Administrative Order delineated by Abdul-Bahá will, notwithstanding, still be able to establish the World Order of Baháulláhthe long promised and awaited Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.