Ridván 1988

My dear Rúhíyyih Khánum,

I dare hope that you will read this letter which should have been written many years ago. I could not bring myself to write it then but recently I have had the strong feeling that it is one that Shoghi Effendi would want me to write to remind you of two highly significant statements that he made during Irene's and my unforgettable pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the period 28 November to 7 December 1952 – statements that had such a critical bearing on events that were to transpire some five years later with such dire consequences for our beloved Faith. Now that more than thirty years have passed since Shoghi Effendi was taken from our midst, the passage of time has hopefully served to assuage the trauma, anguish, mental pain and bereavement of that tragic event and to enable you to consider dispassionately the statements which I shall recount, one of which brought such a strong emotional response on your part, and to reflect on their significance and implications. You will unquestionably recall the first statement. It is very doubtful that you will remember the second, although it confirmed, indirectly, the first but had another significance which all of us seated around the dinner table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi failed to grasp. Many years were to pass before, in reviewing my Haifa notes, the significant implications of Shoghi Effendi's words were understood for the first time.

When I set out to write this letter I reflected on the first time that I had seen you. It was at the National Bahá'í Convention in Montreal, Canada during Ridván 1927. My twin sister and I had accompanied our parents to this convention. I recall being with a group of children that you took upon yourself to keep entertained during one of the convention sessions. Oddly enough, this is the only event that I recall of this convention held so many years ago. I looked again at the Convention photograph appearing in The Bahá'í World for the years 1926-1928 and noted that you are not in it but your beloved mother is there seated next to Keith. My sister and I are the only children in the photograph and may be seen standing in the center of the group holding The Greatest Name with our father and mother seated on our right. It is a particularly wonderful photograph in which one finds so many of the early believers, who not only had already distinguished themselves in their service to the Faith, but were destined to win even more laurels in the years ahead. Although we never met during the twenty-five years that had elapsed betweenthis convention and our meeting in Haifa I recall seeing you from afar on several occasions over the years in Green Acre and in Wilmette. It remained for us to exchange words for the first time in Haifa and I remember that one of the first things you said to me, which touched me very much, was that you kept in your prayer book the very inadequate poem that I had written following the passing of your dear mother in Buenos Aires in 1940 and had then sent to Shoghi Effendi. Unlike my father, who was poetically gifted, and, as you know, wrote many poems, this was the only poem I ever wrote. Unfortunately, I never retained a copy for myself and the only line I can remember is the last in which I referred to your mother as "a hero, martyr and a saint."

Speaking of your mother, I must continue to digress from the main purpose of this letter to relate to you the wonderful spiritual experience I had in her presence in New York City only a short time before she set sail on her fateful voyage to Argentina where she became a glorious martyr to our beloved Cause. Your cousin, Jeanne, and I had planned to go to a show one evening. Before doing so, we had been invited by your mother to have dinner with her. We must have met initially at the New York Bahá'í Center because I recall walking along 57th Street with your mother between us holding each of us by the arm as she conversed with us in her inimitably loving way as we proceeded to her hotel nearby. It must have been around 7 o'clock when we entered the dining room which was soon filled to capacity. Your mother began to relate to us some of her experiences with Shoghi Effendi in Haifa. We became so completely absorbed and enthralled with what she was saying that we lost all sense of time or place. When we finally came out of this transfixed state and looked around us we were amazed to find that so much time had passed we were the only ones left in the dining room, the others having left without our being conscious of them at all. I can only describe that memorable evening as being one in which I had felt I was in paradise and its memory remains vividly in my mind to this day. The spiritual exhilaration I felt then was never repeated until those never-to-be-forgotten days spent many years later in the presence of Shoghi Effendi. As you know, I spent my early childhood years growing up in Green Acre and consequently came to know most of the distinguished believers of the time but I found in your mother a special quality that set her apart, as far as I was concerned. It was this experience in her presence that brought to me a realization of her spiritual greatness and moved me to pay tribute to her in my poem written upon the occasion of my first learning of her passing.

To return to the purpose of this letter. It was on the third day of our pilgrimage that we gathered as usual at the dinner table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi. The group seated at the table that evening consisted, in addition to yourself, of five other members of the International Bahá'í Council, including its President, Mason, and its Secretary General, Leroy (Ugo and Amelia being absent), Sylvia, yet to be appointed) and Irene and myself as the only pilgrims present.

Shoghi Effendi prefaced the startling, completely unexpected, and highly disconcerting statement that he was about to make by relating the tremendous burden under which the Master had labored, as His ascension neared, in keeping up with His voluminous correspondence. Then he dropped a verbal bombshell by saying words to the effect:

"Now my correspondence is becoming more than I can handle."

You must certainly remember that, no sooner had he made this remark, you jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room, only to return when you had composed yourself. Shoghi Effendi then said some comforting words to us which served to calm our emotions and allay our fears that such an unthinkable event was imminent.

Shoghi Effendi must certainly have had a purpose in alluding so clearly to his passing in what could only be construed as the near future. Why had he taken this occasion and chosen this particular audience to do so? And why had Irene and I been chosen to be privy to this startling and highly disturbing intimation? Had he made such an allusion to others? It would appear that he had not for, had he done so, the news would have spread like wildfire throughout the Bahá'í world. And, if given credence, it would have caused such consternation as to seriously impede the accomplishment of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade upon which the world-wide Bahá'í Community was soon to embark.

While I would not be so presumptuous as to state that I knew what purpose or purposes Shoghi Effendi had in mind in alluding so clearly to his passing in the near future, at this time, he certainly knew that it would have a tremendous impact upon all of us while at the same time it would affect some of us in a particular way. For example:

  • As his wife, you were the closest to him and the only one (unless you had confided in others) who knew that there was no son to succeed Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian. Over the years we heard speculation that you had a son whose existence was being kept secret by hiding him away in Europe or elsewhere while he grew up and until such time as it would be appropriate to introduce him to the believers. Shoghi Effendi certainly knew, as evidenced by your deeply emotional reaction to the allusion he had made to his passing, that his death would be such a heart-rending and traumatic event that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to bear the thought of anyone taking his place as the second Guardian of the Faith. Was he, therefore, by his intimation, at this time, hoping to prepare you, in some measure, for this unthinkable event that would occur some five years in the future?

  • As for Mason, he would be affected in a unique and particularly important way as the appointed President of the International Bahá'í Council. In a statement that Shoghi Effendi would make but a few minutes later he would not only emphasize Mason's future role as President of this Council but would further corroborate, indirectly, his previous intimation and, this time, even give us a time element.

  • As for the other members of the International Council, shaken as they would be by the thought of his passing, they would hopefully begin to consider and reflect upon the manner in which the Council would be affected once it had been brought into life as an actively functioning administrative body under the Presidency of Mason.

  • As for Irene and myself, I feel that he knew that I had gained a supernal vision, through his writings, of the glory and perfection of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh which would remain with me forever, as well as an unshakable faith in the sacredness, immortality and immutability of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Charter – a Charter which together with the Aqdas, as he had pointed out, "enshrined those priceless elements of the Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá'í Faith." He knew, therefore, that I would never forsake the Guardianship as an Institution because of the vision and faith with which I had been imbued by him. And finally, he realised that Irene, as my loving consort, would always support me whatever the future might bring.

If we are to appreciate fully the highly significant statement that Shoghi Effendi was to make, only minutes after his allusion to his passing, we need to refer to a few important passages of his historic proclamatory message of 9 January 1951. This message opened with the words "Proclaim to National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of the formation of the International Bahá'í Council" and went on to acclaim this event 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." And in the closing lines of this first Proclamation he had issued during his ministry he hailed "with thankful, joyous heart, at long last, the constitution of the International Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í Dispensation, potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order ... ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith ..."

As momentous as this Proclamation was, it is doubtful whether any of us recognized it as a Proclamation, per se, because it had been dispatched in cablegram form. Be that as it may, that evening as we sat around the table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi, some two years after its issuance, there is little doubt that the epoch-making importance which Shoghi Effendi had attached to the formation of the International Council had already been largely forgotten not only by the Council members, who were most directly affected, but by the Bahá'ís at large. This is, perhaps, understandable in view of the following:

  • The International Council had not been activated as an administratively functioning body. The President of this Council, Mason Remey, as we learned only some years later from him, although urged by his fellow-Council members to convene the Council had not done so, awaiting instructions from Shoghi Effendi which were not forthcoming during the remaining years of his ministry. As perplexing as this may have been to the members of the Council, the Bahá'ís throughout the world were never aware of this highly significant fact and remain in ignorance of it to this day (not that they, in their present frame of mind, would perceive any significance in this). It is not surprising that the members of the Council expected the Council to be activated, as a further examination of Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation reveals the fact that he had particularly addressed it to the National Assemblies throughout the world (and not to the friends of East and West as he so often did) and he had pointed out that one of the principal considerations that had induced him to arrive at his decision to create the Council had been "the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions." In this statement, linking the International Council administratively with the National Assemblies, it became clear that Shoghi Effendi intended that the International Council – "the supreme Council" in the Bahá'í World – would, when activated as an administratively functioning body, automatically exercise administrative jurisdiction over the National Assemblies, as its subordinate Councils, a clear intention that was destined to be overlooked by the Hands of the Cause, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi.

  • As Shoghi Effendi had not assumed the Presidency of the Council himself, there was a tendency, it seemed, to regard the Council as a transitional institution rather than the transitional embryonic stage of one single Institution, namely; the Universal House of Justice. Nor did anyone realise why Shoghi Effendi had so carefully preserved the Council in this pure embryonic stage, even going so far as to appoint you as "the chosen liaison" between himself and the Council, thus symbolizing, as it were, an umbilical cord relationship between the Guardian and this embryonic body and precluding any semblance of direct contact with or supervision of this institution, as a body.

  • Some eleven months following the formation of the International Bahá'í Council, the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause was appointed by Shoghi Effendi (including some Council members) followed by a second contingent some two months later. Unlike the inactive state of the Council, as a functioning body, the Hands were thrust immediately into the limelight on the international center stage as they conspicuously participated, as the Guardian's representatives, in the Intercontinental Conferences around the world and in other activities which brought them world-wide attention, publicity, and acclaim. Indeed, these activities were so prominent that they inevitably eclipsed and cast into shadow the activities of the Council whose members were only performing individual tasks assigned by Shoghi Effendi as they assisted him to discharge those responsibilities in the Holy Land that he had outlined in his Proclamation. As this situation continued until the passing of Shoghi Effendi, it is not surprising that, by that time, the International Bahá'í Council had taken second place to the Hands in the minds of the believers and in the minds of the Hands, too, and all had lost sight of the fact that the International Council was nothing less than the Universal House of Justice, albeit in embryonic form. And, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá,


Considering the diminished stature of the Council in our minds, for the reasons discussed above, it is understandable that even the Council members, including its President, to say nothing of Irene and myself, were ill-prepared to comprehend the implications of the second highly significant statement that Shoghi Effendi would now make. This statement pertained to the second stage in the evolution of the Council as outlined in his Proclamation, namely; the International Court. In order to better appreciate Shoghi Effendi's words spoken so long ago, it would be helpful to preface them with brief excerpts from another momentous message which he had dispatched on 8 October 1952 (i.e. a little more than a month prior to our pilgrimage) on the auspicious occasion of the launching of the "world-embracing spiritual Crusade." In this message which included an enumeration of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade he cited "The establishment of a Bahá'í Court in the Holy Land preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice." As a concomitant, he also called for the establishment of "six national Bahá'í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East." and the "Codification of the Laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas." It followed that it would be necessary for the National Assemblies of these countries to be transformed into National Courts as subordinate courts of the International Court.

With these goals in mind we are prepared to consider the significance and implications of the following statement made by Shoghi Effendi, as shown in my Haifa Notes:

"The Bahá'í 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'í Council will then become the Judge. (The Guardian, in an aside to Mason and with a smile asked: 'Mason are you ready to become a Judge?') Rúhíyyih Khánum then asked whether when the Council became the Court, all the women would get off? The Guardian said, no – not even when the Court became elective, but only when the International House of Justice was formed."

The above quoted statement of Shoghi Effendi and the question he posed to Mason tells us several very important things; namely:

  • Of the six members of the Council seated around the table, Shoghi Effendi singled out Mason in stating that he would be the Judge (shall we say Chief Judge). I distinctly remember being puzzled about this, as in my mind, up to that time, I had considered all of the members of the Council of co-equal status.

  • Shoghi Effendi had indicated Mason would be the head or chief Judge of the second stage in the development of the International Council. It followed that Shoghi Effendi was also telling us that Mason was the irremovable head of this embryonic institution (as is the head of any embryonic organism). And, significantly, in its second stage of development, as the Court, the Council would necessarily be required to enter an active stage. As its irremovable head, Mason would then continue to be the President through the successive stages of development of the International Council, if he were to live that long, until it reached full maturity as the Universal House of Justice. As Presidency of this body and Guardianship are synonymous terms Mason would, at that time, as well as in its prior active stages, be none other than the appointed second Guardian of the Faith, whereas in its embryonic stage he had been only potentially so.

  • If the goal of transforming the Council into the International Bahá'í Court was realised no later than the end of the Ten Year Global Crusade (i.e. 1963) this was a clear and dire forecast that Shoghi Effendi would not live beyond the activation of the Court; otherwise, as the Guardian, he would have to assume the Presidency of the Court instead of Mason. Therefore, in stating that Mason would be "the Judge" of this Court, Shoghi Effendi was, in fact predicting his passing sometime before 1963. Could there be anything clearer than that? But, happily we failed to perceive it and Shoghi Effendi knew that we would fail to do so.

Only someone with the brilliance of mind of Shoghi Effendi could have conceived of such an ingenious way to appoint his successor "in his own life-time" as required by the Master's Will, yet in such a disguised manner as to wisely conceal this appointment, for reasons already stated, from the believers who would not perceive it because of their false misconceptions concerning the matter of succession. Such misconceptions included the following:

  • That the Guardian, like 'Abdu'l-Bahá, would appoint his successor in a written conventional-type testamentary document.

  • That if the eldest son of the Guardian did not fulfill the necessary spiritual qualifications, the alternative stipulation in the Master's Will stating that "then must he (the Guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him" meant that only a male descendent of the blood-line of Bahá'u'lláh could be appointed.

We need only look at the Proclamation issued by the Hands following their first Conclave in 'Akká, less than three weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to find these misconceptions confirmed as well as their obvious ignorance or lack of understanding of the provisions of the Master's Will. The following excerpt from this Proclamation will suffice to illustrate this point:

The Hands "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 fortheir faithlessness to the Master's Will and Testament ..."

Naturally, they found no Will as only a cursory review of the Master's Will and Testament will show that for Shoghi Effendi to have left a Will would have been completely contrary to the provision of the Master's Testament which states clearly and in unmistakable terms that: "It is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own lifetime him that shall become his successor, that differences may not rise after his passing." (The phrase "in his own lifetime" being redundant if a Will had been intended, as that is the only time when a Will can be written).

They were equally wrong on the eligibility of an heir. Having no son, the alternative provision contained in the Master's Will applied, requiring the Guardian to "choose another branch to succeed him." If the Hands had given this critical matter but a little thought and study they would not have interpreted the above quoted phrase to mean that Shoghi Effendi could only appoint an Aghsán to succeed him, and then concluded that as there was no Aghsán to appoint, the Guardianship had come to an end, only thirty six years after the inception of the Administrative Order.

At the very outset of their deliberations, the Hands would have asked themselves whether 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in his great wisdom and in the light of all that both Bahá'u'lláh and Himself had suffered as a result of the treachery and infidelity of their relatives, would have placed at risk the future continuity of the Guardianship and hence the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh by restricting future Guardians in their choice of a successor to a spiritually qualified son or a male blood-line relative of Bahá'u'lláh.

Secondly, they would have realized that to make such an interpretation would be obviously contrary to Shoghi Effendi's interpretation. For, in spite of the fact that he knew there was not an Aghsán who could be appointed as his successor he had labored unremittingly to erect and finally establish the international administrative institutions of the Faith at the World Center and, in fact, some five months before our pilgrimage to Haifa had announced in a cablegram, dated 30 June 1952, "that, 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." Again, as late as 27 November 1954 (almost two years to the day after he had alluded to us that his passing was near) he dispatched a cablegram in which, after referring to preparations for the erection of "the International Bahá'í Archives designed by Hand of the Cause, Mason Remey, President of the International Bahá'í Council," had gone on to state that "The raising of this Edifice will in turn 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." Was the Guardian to be accused of deceiving the believers throughout the world in referring to these future seats of the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause?

In light of the foregoing the Hands would have inevitably concluded that they should look for some other interpretation of the term "branch" as used in the Master's Will. Having realised this, a reexamination of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá would have shown them the importance placed on spiritual relationships over physical or blood-line relationships. For example:

  • In the IQAN, Bahá'u'lláh, in several instances, refers to Sádiq, the sixth Imám, as "the son of Muhammad," obviously a spiritual son being meant.

  • In SOME ANSWERED QUESTIONS, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that:

    "Muhammad was the root, and 'Alí the branch, like Moses and Joshua," both of these branches denoting a spiritual relationship to the Prophet. Similarly it may be perceived that Bahá'u'lláh is "the Ancient Root," 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "The Most Great Branch" or "primal branch" thereof, (a spiritual relationship, in this case) and the successive Guardians are the "the spiritual branches, twigs, or offshoots of that Most Great Branch of "The Tree of the Covenant."

Their research would further have confirmed their faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and in the immortality of the Will and Testament bequeathed to us by The Center of the Covenant. They would have noted that Shoghi Effendi had extolled 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Divine Masterpiece" as "the brightest emanation of His mind," "His greatest legacy to posterity," "the Charter of the New World Order," and "The offspring resulting from the mystic intercourse between Him Who had generated the forces of a God-given Faith and the One Who had been made its sole Interpreter and was recognized as its perfect Exemplar" – this divinely-conceived offspring being "The Child of the Covenant" and hence "Their Will."

Even more significantly, they would have noted that Shoghi Effendi had stated that Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book, the AQDAS and the Master's Will were "inseparable parts of one complete unit," clearly indicating thereby that every clause of the Master's Will was sacrosanct, immutable and as changeless as the Laws of the AQDAS, itself, and therefore could not be altered, abrogated, or declared invalid as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endured.

With their minds hopefully freed from an obsession with blood-line relationships and in their knowledge that every clause of the Master's Will was inviolable the Hands would now have concluded that their single task was to find the one who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi in his own life-time as his successor.

If the above scenario had taken place, the Hands would not have taken it upon themselves to establish an organization of their own making, completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Master, with the title: "Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land" upon which they conferred authority to direct the world-wide activities of the Faith as a collegiate substitute head for the Guardianship pending, as they announced it, the formation of a sans-Guardian, and, therefore, headless so-called Universal House of Justice in 1963, incidentally, by-passing the two essential intermediary stages (of which the Court was one) which had been prescribed by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951. And the divinely-appointed System bequeathed to us by the Master would not have been so dismembered and dismantled as to make it unrecognizable – "that unique and wondrous System the like of which mortal eyes hath never witnessed."

Perhaps, then, either you, Mason or Leroy, who had been present at the table with Shoghi Effendi five years earlier when he had discussed the evolution of the International Bahá'í Council, would have remembered that conversation and called it to the attention of this gathering of the Hands. Mason, being a very humble man and not assertive in the sense of pushing himself forward, would have been disinclined to do so, but you and Leroy could have done so and you, particularly, could have influenced them to permit the International Council to assume the role envisaged for it by Shoghi Effendi at least through its second stage of development as the International Court with Mason as its Chief Judge. If this development had taken place, they should have then realised that this Institution was the only one endowed with authority to administer the world-wide affairs of the Faith and exercise administrative jurisdiction over the nine National Spiritual Assemblies cited in Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation of 9 January 1951.

Furthermore, if the Hands had permitted this embryonic Universal House of Justice to be activated as a functioning body, they may have eventually recalled and realized the significance of the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the embryo possessing "from the first all the perfections – all the powers." If their research had been diligent they might have noted also that Mason had written a letter, as President of the Council, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States on 1 July 1952 (i.e. while Shoghi Effendi was still living) signed by Mason and countersigned by Leroy, as Secretary General of the Council, in which he referred to the Ark mentioned in the Tablet of Carmel and stated:

"the 'Ark' means the Laws of God, and refers to the Universal House of Justice, the embryo of which is the present International Bahá'í Council."

Perhaps, finally, the realization would have dawned upon them that Mason, as the embryonic head of the International Council appointed by Shoghi Effendi and now its active head upon the emergence of the Council into active life, could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith. They then should have joyfully welcomed and embraced him as the Guardian and announced this joyful news to the Bahá'í World. But alas! This was not to be.

There are those who have argued that as Mason had acquiesced in the sans-Guardian organization established in Haifa and as he had even accepted membership in their body of nine Hands directing the world-wide affairs of the Faith, this was proof that he could not have been the second Guardian of the Faith. They would not have said this if they had read the three appeals he made to his fellow-Hands in which he pleaded with them during this period not to abandon the Guardianship or his diary titled: "Daily Observations" in which he chronicles his repeated remonstrances with the nine Hands in Haifa, of which you would be well aware, again pleading with them not to repudiate the Will and Testament of the Master and to uphold the essentiality of the Guardianship. Admittedly, he did not, himself, at first, perceive the relationship between his Presidency of the International Council, as the embryonic Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship and, finally, did so, only some two and a half years following the passing of Shoghi Effendi. It was then, as you know, that he refused to remain a member of this organization any longer and permanently left Haifa. It was while he was aboard ship on his way back to the United States that he began to write his final appeal to his fellow-Hands and the realization dawned upon him for the first time of the significance of his appointment as the President of the International Council and the reason why Shoghi Effendi had not permitted this Council to become an administratively functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry (significantly the only one in the Bahá'í World to realize this). One might consider this nine year period between Mason's appointment as President of the Council in 1951 and the issuance of his own Proclamation at Ridván 1960 as a period of spiritual gestation before he finally became aware of his new spiritual station. The fact that Shoghi Effendi chose a man more than twenty years older than himself to be his successor is not for us to question. In my own mind I cannot conceive of anyone more worthy than Mason as he had proven his exemplary fidelity and unsurpassed loyalty to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh since the days of the Master and whose services to the Faith since then shall forever live in the annals of the Faith. There was certainly no one more unlike Shoghi Effendi to be his successor but this, in itself, is significant as it serves to emphasize the distinction that we must always make between the personality of the Guardian and the reality of the Institution of the Guardianship.

In the unwarranted haste that the Hands displayed in terminating the Guardianship, it would appear that there may have been those who, for reasons of their own, did not actually want the continuation of the Guardianship. In your own case, for instance, there has been speculation that you were not prepared to accept anyone in the place of Shoghi Effendi nor to surrender the position you enjoyed as the First Lady of the Bahá'í World with its attendant prestige, power and influence. This is difficult to believe but it is equally incredulous that one who had beensuch a long and faithful champion of the Guardianship and who had paid such a glowing tribute to the Guardian in your work titled: "Twenty-five years of the Guardianship" would so readily abandon the Guardianship following his passing. Even more surprising is the fact that you and your fellow-Hands, save one, should have succumbed to the diabolical, insidious, and pernicious doctrine of "BADAH" first promulgated by the Persian Hands; a doctrine which holds, incredulously enough, that God has changed His mind, concerning the continuity of the Guardianship in this "Day of God,""The Day that shall not be followed by The Night" – and has accordingly decreed that the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh shall not be established in all of its perfection and glory – the Kingdom of God "on earth as it is in Heaven" so long-promised, prayed for, and awaited.

Let us attempt to visualize the frightening situation that would exist in the distant future when those Bahá'ís who knew, worked for, and loved Shoghi Effendi had long since gone, when the Will and Testament of the Master was considered all but null and void and the believers thoroughly conditioned to a Faith without the guidance, protection and direction of the living Guardian of the Faith, assisted by his appointed Hands. Would not the Faith then be faced with terrible perils and be exposed to corruption of every sort. The pseudo "Universal House of Justice" would find it necessary to eradicate from the writings every reference to the Guardianship for fear that it would expose the extent to which the Bahá'í Administrative Order, as delineated by the Master, had been deformed. To do this, they would have to destroy, in some cases, or excise in others, those writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Administrative Order and its divine origin such as found in "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" or in GOD PASSES BY under the chapter titled: "The Rise and Establishment of the Administrative Order." In fact, not more than thirty years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, efforts are already being made to downgrade the importance of the Master's Will and Testament and condition the Bahá'ís to the view that the Institution of the Guardianship is not essential to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, using the specious argument that this Institution was not specifically mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings. Yet, at the same time, and inconsistently the equally fallacious concept is being foisted on the believers that Shoghi Effendi is continuing to perform the function of Guardianship from the other world, disregarding the fact that the Center of the Covenant, Himself, is there and that He made the Guardianship a function of this world in His Will and Testament.

Already, and notwithstanding professed continued loyalty to Shoghi Effendi, the standards that he established are being corrupted. Take, for example, the qualifications of a believer which he established, as long ago as 1925 which included, significantly enough, "steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved's sacred Will". Not only does this clause no longer have meaning to those who have renounced the Guardianship, but the other requirements, as well. As shocking evidence of this, I recently viewed a television program about the Faith which included an episode showing a group of young Bahá'ís engaged in a teaching trip in North Carolina. To my utter amazement and disbelief, after they had spent only a few minutes speaking of the Principles of the Faith to a black woman seated on her verandah, they presented her with a Bahá'í Declaration Card and asked her to sign it. The great danger to which such practices expose the Faith should be obvious.

There is no doubt in my mind that serious and spiritually-minded scholars of the Faith, in the future, who have become well versed in the writings and communications of Shoghi Effendi, provided they can obtain them, will inevitably perceive that Shoghi Effendi, having dedicated his life to the faithful execution of the three Divine Charters of the Faith, had, finally, in the concluding years of his ministry, erected, as he had so joyfully announced, the "highest institutions" of the "unfolding Order" of Bahá'u'lláh in their embryonic form and had left in place as his greatest legacy, "Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth" as he had announced in his very last communication to the Bahá'í World in October 1957. These scholars will realise that Shoghi Effendi would have been incapable of doing anything but remaining completely faithful to every mandate left us by the Master and would have, without question, appointed his successor "in his own life-time." They will then further perceive, what a majority of believers in the Bahá'í World so sadly failed to perceive, the manner in which Shoghi Effendi fulfilled this all-important requirement assigned to the Guardian by the Master. And finally, they will search for, and find, the living Guardian of the Faith.

Did Shoghi Effendi foresee, when we met so many years ago, that, one day, as inconceivable as it would have been then, I would find it necessary to write a letter, such as this, calling your attention to his past statements and actions in which he clearly and undeniably indicated that the Guardianship would not come to an end with his death. I feel assured that Shoghi Effendi and your beloved parents in the other world will rejoice that I have made this effort, as difficult as it has been for me, to awaken you to the grievous and tragic error you have committed in abandoning the Guardianship and repudiating the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Indeed, how very sad, tragic and ironic it is that you became a party, however unwittingly it may have been, to the destruction of the labors of Shoghi Effendi carried out so devotedly, arduously and sacrificially, during the course of his ministry to establish the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh, as delineated in the Divine Charter bequeathed to us by "the Master-builder of the World."

Even though I do not expect to receive a reply to this letter, it is my fervent hope that it will have enabled you to perceive the overwhelming evidence which proves that it was Shoghi Effendi's intent and purpose to preserve the continuity of the Guardianship in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Center of the Covenant and that he, in fact, did so, but in such a disguised way that it was not perceived by any of us for the obvious reasons pointed out in this letter. No! The immortal "Child of the Covenant" did not die after a life of only thirty-six years but will live as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endures.

Realizing how difficult it would be for you to admit that you have grievously erred in your abandonment of the Guardianship and loss of faith in the immortality and immutability of the Master's Will and Testament, I still dare hope that you will, at least, leave behind you some form of testamentary statement urging the believers to reopen and reexamine the question of the continuity of the Guardianship on the basis of the information and arguments presented herein.

Although the forces now arrayed against the mighty and resistless Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and the Child of that Covenant are formidable and overwhelming, including as they do, for the first time in the history of the Faith, the very institutions designed by the Master to protect and propagate the Faith, this Covenant shall certainly prevail against them and ultimately emerge victorious.

No more fitting conclusion to this letter could be made than to quote the following excerpt from Shoghi Effendi's immortal work: "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh":

"Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy, misconceive its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its purpose. The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no less than Bahá'u'lláh, Himself. Its shield and defender are the embattled hosts of the Abhá Kingdom. Its seed is the blood of no less than twenty thousand martyrs who have offered up their lives that it may be born and flourish. The axis round which its institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá."

Finally, I find solace and assurance in the following Words of Bahá'u'lláh:

"None in the kingdom of earth and heaven can frustrate Thy purpose; none throughout the realms of revelation and of creation can prevail against Thee"

Faithfully, in the service of the Covenant,

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith

P.S. All words and phrases within quotation marks, when not otherwise identified, or readily recognized as those of others, are Shoghi Effendi's.