An introduction to "An Appeal to the Heterodox Bahá'ís" emphasizing that future spiritually minded scholars of the Faith will inevitably recognise the continuity of the Guardianship as assured by Shoghi Effendi and reject a substitute man made Bahá'í organisation in place of the divinely conceived Administrative Order delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament.

Joel Bray Marangella


One of the Persian pilgrims present at Haifa when I was, told me that one of the Persian men in their group had asked the Guardian about his descendents, about a son, and the Guardian answered,


(Extracted from Haifa Notes of Gayle Woolson, Feb.16-25, 1956)

For those of you who did not know or have not heard of Gayle Woolson, a brief review of her Bahá'í credentials is in order. She was an American pioneer to Latin America during the First Seven Year Plan whose devoted and tireless labors for the Faith both during her years of that plan, as well as afterwards, met with outstanding success as recorded in numerous issues of the United States Bahá'í News at the time. She was elected a member of the first National Spiritual Assembly of South America in 1951.

It is doubtful whether inquiring scholars of the Faith in future years will ever read Gayle's Haifa Notes and note the very clear and unequivocal assurance that Shoghi Effendi gave to a pilgrim, as quoted above, concerning the continuity of the Guardianship, less than two years prior to his passing. There is no doubt, however, that as these scholars study the writings and messages of Shoghi Effendi they will inevitably find equally clear corroborative statements such as those found in the publication titled: MESSAGES TO THE BAHA'I WORLD 1950-1957. For example:

"The raising of this Edifice [the International Bahá'í Archives on Mount Carmel ] 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." (27 Nov.1954) (Reiterated in Gayle's Notes) ( Underlining added)

These future unbiased, spiritually minded scholars of the Faith and earnest seekers of the Truth will not be able to reconcile in their own minds statements such as the foregoing and others that will come to their attention in which Shoghi Effendi has given such clear and definite assurances concerning the continuity of the Guardianship and, additionally, has stressed the essentiality of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, with the view espoused by a majority of the Bahá'ís that the Guardianship came to an end with Shoghi Effendi's passing. These scholars will indubitably conclude that such a view makes no sense at all because, if it were valid, Shoghi Effendi would certainly not have given the assurances that he did concerning the continuity of the Guardianship.

These scholars will learn that these Bahá'ís have based this belief on their interpretation of the terms of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which they contend constrains the Guardian from appointing anyone as a successor other than a worthy son or a descendent from the blood line of Bahá'u'lláh and as there had been no one who met this criteria, Shoghi Effendi had been unable to appoint a successor. How ever, it will be obvious to these scholars that Shoghi Effendi could not have agreed with this interpretation; otherwise, to reiterate, he would not have given the definite assurances concerning the future of the Guardianship, such as he had done in the foregoing quotations and in other writings and messages, unless he were to be accused of dissimulation or deception and that would certainly be unthinkable.

In the light of the foregoing, these scholars will want to study the Will and Testament for themselves (l) – a Document whose sacredness, immutability, and immortality Shoghi Effendi equated in his writings with the Most Holy Book (The Aqdas) revealed by Bahá'u'lláh – and review the history of events that took place immediately following the passing of Shoghi Effendi to determine the facts surrounding the fateful decision to declare an end to the Guardianship. This review will reveal that some two weeks following the sudden and unexpected death of Shoghi Effendi in London, the Hands of the Cause, assembled in conclave at the World Center, appointed a delegation from their number who, together with Shoghi Effendi's widow, Ruhíyyih Khánum, "broke the seals placed upon the beloved Guardian's safe and desk and made careful examination of their precious contents. These same Hands, rejoining the other Hands assembled in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament. It was like wise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir. " The reason for this conclusion, they stated, was that "The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithless ness to the Master's Will and Testament..."(2)

These scholars will no doubt find this information surprising for two reasons:

  • Firstly, the Hands will have already known before undertaking the search through the files of Shoghi Effendi that he had no son and that there were no Aghsán to inherit the Guardianship.
  • Secondly, it was obvious from only a cursory examination of the terms of the Will and Testament of the Master that no Guardian would ever use a traditional type testamentary document for the purpose of appointing a successor for it is very clear that the Master's Will makes it incumbent upon the Guardian "to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor" (in much the same way as successors were appointed (usually being anointed at the same time) during the Mosaic dispensation).

  • It would be apparent, then, to these scholars that the Hands had lost sight of this provision in the Master's Will concerning the manner in which the Guardian appoints his successor and had obviously not taken the time to reexamine the Will on this point and perceive the wisdom involved in this provision which, together with other safeguards as well, insures that there is not an interregnum even for a moment between the passing of one Guardian and the accession of the next. On the other hand, had these Hands carefully reexamined the Master's Will and come to the realization that Shoghi Effendi would have appointed his successor "in his own life-time" as called for in its provisions (as, indeed, he had done some five years prior to his passing) they might have discovered the key to the recognition and acceptance of the one whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor. Tragically enough, they obviously did not do this, and failing to find a successor, based on their preconceived notion that they would find him named in a testamentary document, they reached a hasty conclusion and made their fateful, ill-considered and completely false decision that the Guardianship had ended only some 36 years after its inception – a decision that would hold grave consequences for the future of the Faith as outlined by Shoghi Effendi in the following words:

    "Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle..." (i.e. successive Guardians inheriting their Office through appointment by their predecessors and not by election or by the appointment of others).

    "The interpretation of the Guardian functioning within his own sphere is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice."

    "Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperilled and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. "

    And with respect to the relationship of the Guardian to the Universal House of Justice of which he is the "sacred head and the distinguished member for life..." he had stressed the essentiality of the Guardianship as follows:

    "Without such an institution... the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn . "

    " . . . [ the Guardian ] is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them [ Universal House of Justice] of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances. " (this statement unquestionably indicates that the Universal House of Justice is subject to error in its enactments without the protection afforded by the Guardian as its "sacred head" exercising his interpretive authority.

    Having concluded their study of the writings and messages of Shoghi Effendi, these scholars will have come to the realization that the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh can never become a reality without the existence of all of the institutions delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His divinely-conceived Will and Testament, an "instrument" which Shoghi Effendi had pointed out could "no more be divorced from the One Who provided the motivating impulse for its creation [ Bahá'u'lláh ] than from Him Who directly conceived it [ 'Abdu'l-Bahá ] and a Document which he had identified as nothing less than the "Charter of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh." In the light of these statements, these scholars will find it incomprehensible that the Bahá'ís should have established a substitute organization for this divine System; one that has been so altered and corrupted as to be completely minus two of the three highest institutions of the Administrative Order bequeathed to them by 'Abdu'l-Bahá (The Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause) and in which the third (the Universal House of Justice) has been mutilated and rendered fallible and unprotected through the removal of its "sacred head" – the Guardian of the Cause of God.

    Certainly, these scholars will never accept this corrupted and deformed organization that has been foisted upon the Bahá'í World which bears no resemblance to the Administrative Order delineated by "the master-hand of its perfect Architect." And they will inevitably conclude from all that Shoghi Effendi had written concerning the institutions of the Administrative Order that the very last thing that he had ever intended was that these highest institutions whose final erection he had hailed in such glowing terms and which had constituted the crowning achievement of his long and untiring labors to fulfill faithfully and in every respect the sacred Mandate of the Master in His Will, should, upon his passing, be so shamefully discarded and his labors to erect "at long last" these supreme institutions be reduced to naught.

    Finding themselves now in a disturbing quandary, where will these scholars turn for an answer? Hopefully, they will read such appeals as the enclosed or in some other way learn that there is a small remnant of Bahá'ís who have not abandoned the Guardianship and accepted the second Guardian of the Faith upon the issuance of his Proclamation to the Bahá'í World at Ridvan 1960. If these scholars are afforded the opportunity of reading this Proclamation they will discover that the second Guardian of the Faith presented a completely sound and valid claim to accession to the Guardianship and that he, alone, discovered and revealed the hidden key to the continuity of the Guardianship, as explained in the enclosed appeal. They will further realize that the great mass of the believers throughout the world have never been given an opportunity to read this Proclamation for themselves and adjudge the validity of the claim outlined herein.

    These scholars will come to understand why Shoghi Effendi chose the ingenious manner that he did in appointing his successor so as to veil this appointment in such a way as to preclude the consternation that would have otherwise ensued had the believers grasped the significance of an appointment which, by its nature, indirectly, but clearly, foretold his own early passing. Although, this appointment was made "in his own life-time", in strict accordance with the terms of the Master's Will, they will conclude that the veil that Shoghi Effendi had purposely drawn over this appointment had obscured this act to such an extent that only those who had retained an unwavering faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and its immortal Offspring – the Will and Testament – had been able to recognize and accept the second Guardian when for the first time, this veil had been lifted in his Proclamation.

    With what great joy, then, will these diligent scholars join the ranks of those who have labored these many years on behalf of both the second Guardian and his duly appointed successor, convinced that the establishment of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, as bequeathed to us by 'Abdu'l-Bahá – "this Most Great Order" ..."This unique, this wondrous System, the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed" is nothing less than, as Shoghi Effendi has stated, "God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day."



    1. It would be desirable that these scholars obtain one of the early publications of the Will and Testament containing the translation made by Shoghi Effendi such as the one that includes the following notation on the first page:"Issued by National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, 1944, from text received at 104 Wall Street, New York, February 25, 1922, addressed by the Guardian to "The beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the United States of America and Canada." Later publications in which the Will and Testament appears have been corrupted in that the phrase "another branch" has been changed to "another Branch" with respect to the Guardian's alternate choice, should he not have a son worthy of inheriting the Guardianship apparently with the intent of substantiating their claim, by the insertion of a capital "B", that only an Aghsán can be chosen as a successor under these circumstances.

    2. In GOD PASSES BY (p.239) it may be noted that Shoghi Effendi uses the term Aghsán to apply to the sons of Bahá'u'lláh only and mentions the relatives of Bahá'u'lláh separately from them; therefore they are not Aghsán. It follows then that it is these sons of Bahá'u'lláh or brothers of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that the Master refers to in Part One of His Will and Testament as follows:

    "It is incumbent upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán (the Bab's kindred), the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God."

    Significantly, Part Three written by the Master at a later date makes no reference to the Aghsán at all in the following passage referring to Shoghi Effendi:

    "For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. "

    The fact that no Aghsán were mentioned is because, as Shoghi Effendi points out (GPB, p.247) Bahá'u'lláh's "two sons, the vacillating Mírzá Díya'u'lláh and the treacherous Mírzá Badí'u'lláh [and others mentioned] all united in a determined effort to subvert the foundations of the Covenant. . . " From the foregoing, alone, it may be deduced that the provision of the Master's Will permitting the Guardian to choose "another branch" has nothing to do with the Aghsán or other relatives of Bahá'u'lláh but has a totally different meaning involving a spiritual relationship to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as explained in the enclosed appeal.

    Joel Bray Marangella
    Third Guardian of the Faith