One of the arguments that has been used against the second Guardian of the Faith, Mason Remey, in refutation of his accession to the Guardianship, is that he signed the proclamation issued by the Hands of the Cause on 25 November 1957 at the conclusion of their first conclave in the Holy Land in which they stated three reasons why Shoghi Effendi had been unable to appoint a successor and therefore, as they believed, the Guardianship of the Cause of God, as delineated in the divinely-conceived and sacred Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá had already come to its untimely end only thirty-six years after His Ascension and the inception of the Administrative Order. which "the master-hand of its perfect Architect" had fashioned.

A close examination of the reasons stated in this proclamation to the Bahá´í World will reveal that they did not constitute a basis, at all, for the Hands to reach such a hasty, tragic and surprisingly ill-informed conclusion that shockingly displayed not only a woeful lack of faith in the indestructibility and inviolability of the Covenant of Bahá´u´lláh but an appalling and inexcusable ignorance and misinterpretation of the provisions of the sacred, and divinely-conceived Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá–"the Child of the Covenant" and the "Charter of the New World Order" of Bahá´u´lláh.

Let us consider in the discussion below each of the reasons stated by the Hands of the Cause in their proclamation, as the basis for their decision that the Guardianship had ended, and determine their validity in the light of the provisions of the Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá:

Comment: Why would the Hands have expected to find a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi appointing a successor for, according to the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Faith is barred from using a will and testament to appoint his successor as he must appoint his successor "in his own life-time?"

  • Second reason: "It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir."
  • Comment: As the above stated reason immediately follows the statement that he had left no will and testament, a document normally and legally used for the purpose of naming an heir, it is obvious that their conclusion that Shoghi Effendi had left no heir is based on the very same fact that they had found no such document.

  • Third reason: "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 Testament and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that sacred document."
  • Comment: The Hands show clearly in the above statement that they have obviously interpreted the word "branch" appearing in the provision of the Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá which authorizes the Guardian, in the event he does not have a son that is qualified (or, no son at all) to "choose another branch to succeed him" to apply to all of the male blood relatives of Bahá´u´lláh. This interpretation is patently incorrect as Shoghi Effendi has stated that the term Aghsán applies only to the sons of Bahá´u´lláh (See page 239, God Passes By). As for these sons, `Abdu´l-Bahá, in His Will, had already identified Mírzá Muhammad ‘Alí as "The Center of Sedition" who had been " cut off from the Holy Tree" and Shoghi Effendi named him in God Passes By as "the archbreaker of the Covenant." Shoghi Effendi has pointed out in that same book that the other two sons of Bahá´u´lláh–"the vacillating Mirza Díyá´u´lláh and the treacherous Mirza Badí´u´lláh"–joined those who upon the ascension of Bahá´u´lláh "attempted to subvert the Covenant" and in turning against `Abdu´l-Bahá, the appointed Center of that Covenant, had become Covenant-breakers. It is obviously, for this reason, that although in Part I of His Will and Testament `Abdu´l-Bahá has included the Aghsán among those who are enjoined to show loyalty to Shoghi Effendi as the first Guardian of the Cause of God, He has omitted all reference to them in Part III, penned at a later date, wherein He enjoins only "the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord" to obey and turn unto him. It is crystal clear therefore that the provision of the Will and Testament, in which `Abdu´l-Bahá provides the Guardian with an alternative choice, in the event that he does not have a qualified son to appoint as his successor, by stating that he must then choose "another branch to succeed him," does not refer to an Aghsán. Furthermore, as the brothers of `Abdu´l-Bahá–the Aghsán–would obviously not be expected to outlive Shoghi Effendi, and as their disloyalty to the Covenant, had already taken place during the Ministry of `Abdu´l-Bahá, this would have excluded them, even if still living, from any consideration by Shoghi Effendi for appointment to the Guardianship. This being the case, and if only an Aghsán, according to the interpretation of the Hands, was eligible for appointment to the Guardianship, the end of the Guardianship would have already been foreseen during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi well before his passing. Yet, Shoghi Effendi, in his writings and communications to the Bahá´í World, consistently and repeatedly referred to the future of the Guardianship which is but further undeniable proof of the falsity of this baseless reason given by the Hands in support of their claim that the Guardianship had come to an early end.

    In view of the foregoing, the fact that Mason Remey was a signatory to the proclamation of the Hands should not be construed as his concurrence in their ill-founded decision that the Guardianship had come to an end with the passing of Shoghi Effendi as it is clear that their decision was based on incorrect and irrelevant facts and on an astounding ignorance of, and obviously false interpretation of, applicable provisions of the Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá, as discussed above. On the contrary, if he had believed that the Guardianship had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi he would not have courageously requested the Hands in their second conclave to reconsider their tragic decision, only to be told he was out of order, nor would he have made his several magnificently written appeals to the entire body of the Hands not to abandon the Guardianship or would have made his almost daily eloquent verbal appeals to the so-called Custodian Hands in Haifa over a period of more than two years in which he emphasized so forcefully and fervently the essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá´u´lláh or would have, in his insistent and almost daily pleas to them, presented such wonderfully decisive and sound arguments (as recorded in his diary) to all of which they turned a deaf ear. It was after this sustained and fruitless effort that he finally issued his Proclamation as the second Guardian of the Faith to the believers at Ridván 1960 who, by that time, had not only been strongly conditioned by the Hands to believe that the Guardianship had forever ended but had not even been provided with an opportunity by the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world to read his Proclamation for themselves and adjudge its validity. Therefore, the believers throughout the world with a few minor exceptions such as the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of France, a majority of whom alone accepted him as the second Guardian (that NSA being the only one to accept him), universally remained ignorant of the contents of the Proclamation, blindly accepted, without question and any investigation of their own, the condemnation of Mason Remey as an imposture by their respective Assemblies and consequently rejected his Guardianship out-of-hand. Had they, instead, been given the opportunity to read the Proclamation for themselves (and translated into their own language for those who did not know English) they would have found that he proved conclusively in this Proclamation that he was Shoghi Effendi´s rightful successor.

    If one were to combine in a single statement the three reasons given by the Hands in their Proclamation as conclusive evidence of the termination of the Guardianship it would state: Shoghi Effendi left no will and testament appointing a faithless Aghsán as his heir.

    The utter absurdity and irrelevance of the above statement as the reason for the termination of the Guardianship is clearly evident in view of the facts that have been presented above and it is even clearer that the reasons which the Hands presented in their Proclamation, as proof of the termination of the Guardianship, had no foundation whatsoever, were completely spurious and certainly in no way constituted an invalidation of Mason Remey´s accession to the Guardianship. It is clear that, if this same meaningless proclamation were presented to the undersigned today it could be signed without, in any way, invalidating the authenticity of his own Guardianship.

    Therefore, it is equally clear that even though Mason Remey joined the other Hands in signing this proclamation only some three weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, and in the interest, at the time, of preserving unity with his fellow-Hands, when he admittedly had not as yet perceived and been able to prove to them, himself, the indirect manner in which Shoghi Effendi had appointed him as his successor, (later to be completely perceived and fully explained in his Proclamation) this fact did not constitute a basis for the Hands to then accuse him of imposture, declare his Guardianship illegitimate on the basis thereof, use their prestige to persuade the vast majority of believers throughout the world to reject his Guardianship, declare, in effect, major provisions of the sacred and divinely-conceived Will and Testament of `Abdu´l-Bahá null and void and then in their inexcusable lack of faith in the inviolability of the Covenant of Bahá´u´lláh and their demonstrable ignorance of the provisions of `Abdu´l-Bahá´s Will, become guilty, in their hasty decision that the Guardianship had ended, of subverting, however unwittingly, the World Order of Bahá´u´lláh.

    Joel Bray Marangella

    Note: Emphases have been inserted throughout this document wherever deemed necessary to assist the reader in a better understanding of the facts.

    Australia, June, 2001