Wilt thou forgive them Bahá’u’lláh?

“For they know not what they do.”

Those who refuse to face the undeniable facts concerning the continuance of the Guardianship comprise two groups. In the vast majority are those believers who were thoroughly conditioned by the Hands of the Cause, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to believe that Shoghi Effendi had died without being able to appoint a successor, notwithstanding his copious writings in which he had repeatedly extolled the divine genesis, sacredness and immutability of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and had invariably emphasized the absolute essentiality and indispensability of the Institution of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh and the continued existence of this Institution—the “Center of the Cause”—throughout the entire duration of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.

Little did these believers realize that it had been at the outset of the very first consultative session held at the conclave of the Hands in ‘Akká, but a few weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, that, after they had found, in their search of Shoghi Effendi’s papers, that he had left no will and testament appointing a successor, they had (with one notable exception) reached their hasty, ill-considered and fateful decision that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended forever, inexcusably and blindly ignoring the fact that they had been manifestly wrong in expecting to find a testamentary document left by Shoghi Effendi appointing a successor, as the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly requires the Guardian to appoint and make known his successor “in his own life-time” and that, in view of this provision, no Guardian will ever leave a testamentary document appointing his successor. Nor did the believers further realize that, having found no will and testament, the Hands surprisingly spent no time at all during the remaining period of the conclave, as recorded by Mason Remey in his memoirs, to consider whether Shoghi Effendi had appointed his successor in the manner delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which they had obviously failed to remember and consequently had overlooked, and therefore had appointed him in some way that they had failed to perceive at the time. For, in their unseemly haste to declare the Guardianship ended, they had not undertaken a careful and systematic review of the historic and epoch-making cablegrams dispatched by Shoghi Effendi during the closing years of his ministry, in which they might have possibly and hopefully perceived the highly significant implications contained in several of these messages to the Bahá’í World. If they had undertaken such a review, they may have discovered, most importantly and critically, his unprecedented cablegram of 9 January 1951, which had been the first and only message he had dispatched during his ministry, that opened with the word: “Proclaim” and had been specifically addressed to the then nine National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá’í World as they had attained, by this time, an “adequate maturityand had become “vigorously functioning national administrative institutions” which, for this reason and other developments in the Holy Land that he cited, had induced him, finally, to make his “historic and “weighty epoch-making decisionto proclaim “the formation of the first International Bahá’í Council” as “the first embryonic International Institution” of the Faith. Nor had the believers realized that, in the Hand’s undue haste to abandon the Guardianship, they had completely overlooked and had completely failed to appreciate, at the time, the tremendous importance and unique significance attached to this cablegram in which he had proclaimed, in unprecedented and superlative terms, the formation of the International Council as the “most significant milestone in (the) evolution of (the) Administrative Order” and, “at long last,” its “constitution” as “the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of Formative Age of Bahá’í Dispensation . . . .”

If indeed the Hands had given due consideration to this message of supreme importance that had been unquestionably a Proclamation issued by Shoghi Effendi (and the only one he had issued during his ministry) they would have further noted in his follow-up message of 2 March 1951, that he had publicly identified Mason Remey, whose unparalleled services to the Faith for half a century had made him unquestionably the most distinguished living Hand of the Cause and eminently worthy of his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as the President of “this first embryonic International Institution”—an Institution which could be none other than the embryonic Universal House of Justice. Possibly, then they may have realized that it had been because of the tremendous implications of this appointment, that Shoghi Effendi had never instructed Mason Remey to convene the Council as an actively functioning body under his Presidency, during the remaining years of his ministry, for as long as this Institution was retained as an inactively functioning Institution, its President would only remain Shoghi Effendi’s appointed successor, whereas immediately upon the activation of the International Bahá’í Council —this “nascent Institution”—and the assumption by Mason Remey of an active role as its President, that status would automatically change, as the President of the Universal House of Justice and the Guardian are, according to the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, one and the same person. If however, immediately following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Hands had not seized control over the affairs of the Faith and had permitted the International Council, now as a fully active body, to assume this role, that unquestionably rightfully belonged to that body, the Hands then may have perceived that Shoghi Effendi had, in this indirect way, publicly identified his appointed successor “in his own life-time (and in a manner in which no witnesses would be required at this stage in the Faith to certify, by secret ballot, the authenticity of this appointment), and moreover had not made the appointment by testamentary document, as they had erroneously originally anticipated and which they now would have certainly realized would have been contrary to the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Moreover, he had accomplished this appointment in a way that had been completely unforeseen by them, yet, it had been accomplished in a manner which had faithfully conformed to the terms of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will, while at the same time, he had, of necessity, cleverly, wisely and successfully veiled from them, as well as all of the believers at the time, the identity of his successor. For it should now have become obvious to the Hands, following his unexpected and seemingly premature passing, that it had been necessary for Shoghi Effendi to obscure the identity, of Mason Remey as his successor at this time, as he had already reached the advanced age of 77, and was already more than 25 years his senior, and if the believers had realized then that Mason Remey was destined to outlive him, this unmistakably meant that Shoghi Effendi knew, and had indirectly predicted in this way, that his own passing was near at hand.

As the Hands had failed to review the messages of Shoghi Effendi, they would certainly not have read his lengthy cablegram of 23 November, 1951 (which inexplicably had not been included, with his other messages in the book titled: “Messages to the Bahá’í World 1950-1957”) and was to be found only in a pamphlet published by the NSA of the United States in 1952 under the title of: “World Order Unfolds” and therefore would never have discovered the undeniable fact that he had further indirectly confirmed the prediction of the imminence of his passing in this message. For, in this message, he had projected the future active role of the International Bahá’í Council, referred to by him for the first time, as the Central Body,” which he significantly indicated would now become an active institution as he stated it would be directing the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world in the “widely ramified operations involved in their prosecution of their respectively assigned goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade scheduled to commence in 1953. (Shoghi Effendi’s passing, as clearly foreseen and predicted by him, actually taking place in November 1957 at the mid-point of the Crusade). At the same time, he had further confirmed, albeit in this indirect way, the permanency of Mason Remey’s presidency of this actively functioning Institution and his rightful accession, by reason thereof, to the Guardianship.

Again, if the Hands had taken the time to accomplish the aforementioned review of Shoghi Effendi’s messages, they would have further noted his message of 30 June 1952 which provided further corroborating evidence, if there were need of any further evidence, on their part, that Shoghi Effendi had, in fact, with the appointment “at long last of the International Institutions of the Faith, finally faithfully established all of the institutions delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, with exception of the body of nine Hands, “elected from their own number who will serve under the direction of the Guardian in the Holy Land when the services of this number of Hands to assist the Guardian in his work at the World Center will then inevitably be required. For this message of 30 June 1952, dispatched subsequent to the appointment of the first contingent of twelve Hands of the Cause, on 24 December of 1951, significantly announced that: “At the World Center of the Faith, where, at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected. . .” and “the supreme organs of its unfolding Order are in their embryonic form, unfolding.” Was it then still necessary for Shoghi Effendi to spell out that these “highest institutions” and “supreme organs” could be, in addition to the Guardianship, any other institutions than the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause, both in their embryonic stage of development.

If a different scenario had unfolded at the first conclave of the Hands in ‘Akká, and they had remained unwaveringly steadfast in their faith in the Covenant and in the certainty that Shoghi Effendi would not have left this world without naming his successor, as enjoined in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—the divine genesis, sacredness, and immutability of which he had repeatedly emphasized in his writings and which therefore, as stressed by him, entitled this document to be viewed as a part of the “explicit Holy Text”—and if the Hands had coupled such an indomitable faith with an open-mindedness and willingness to forsake the preconceived ideas they held on the matter of succession and had earnestly undertaken a comprehensive and searching review of the past writings and acts of Shoghi Effendi, in a determined effort to resolve the perplexing situation with which they were now faced, they would have undoubtedly perceived the undeniable facts discussed in this paper. If they had approached the search for Shoghi Efffendi’s successor in this way and with this attitude, the Hands would have certainly made the surprising and welcome discovery that Shoghi Effendi’s successor—a fellow-Hand of the Cause—was in their very midst and that Shoghi Effendi had dutifully and faithfully carried out the sacred mandate of the Center of the Covenant that required him to appoint his successor “in his own life-time.”

Tragically however, the Hands, having at the very outset, revealed their woeful ignorance of the major provision of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their admitted search for a testamentary document left by Shoghi Effendi, and having remained shockingly unmindful of the highly significant messages he had dispatched to the Bahá’í World, as outlined above, which would have inevitably enabled them to discover his successor, now shamelessly, thoughtlessly and incredibly, conceived and implemented plans that would set aside and tragically nullify Shoghi Effendi’s culminating labors during the final years of his ministry in which he had finally put in place, and had acclaimed with such joy, the International Institutions of the Administrative Order in their embryonic form at the World Center of the Faith and in these ignominious plans they would ignobly repudiate, in effect, the divinely-conceived Order delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament as they set about to establish a humanly devised and flawed organization of their own making.

In the absence of a living Guardian, insofar as they were concerned, the Hands had no qualms in identifying themselves, in their “Unanimous Proclamation” of 25 November 1957, issued at the close of their first conclave, as the supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community” but then on the very heels of this pronouncement, and although lacking any authority to do so under the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they appointed a body of nine Hands from their number, upon which they bestowed the supreme title of: “Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith” and to which they then incredibly assigned “all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith” which, on the face of this preposterous statement, included among its powers, the right to interpret the revealed Writings of the Faith, a right that is exclusively reserved in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Guardian of the Cause of God. At the same time, the entire body of the Hands did not seem to realize that in their appointment of this illicit body of nine Hands selected from their own number (and not elected as they falsely stated in the Proclamation cited above) and their assignment of the functions, rights and powers of the Guardianship to these so-called Custodians of the Faith, they had, at the same time, obviously relinquished the supreme station that they had initially bestowed upon themselves. Incredibly they had now bestowed upon a body whose projected life-span, and illicitly short-lived reign over the affairs of the Faith, according to their own plans, would last less than six years and yet had been incongruously designated by them as the supreme body in the Cause.” This body then brazenly requested all of the National Spiritual Assemblies in the Bahá’í World to officially recognize them as this supreme body in written letters to them. Following its short-lived illegitimate reign, with its projected demise scheduled to take place at Ridván 1963, the nefarious plans of the Hands called for its replacement with an elected equally illegitimate so-called Universal House of Justice, minus its “sacred head”—“the Guardian of the Cause of God”—which would then have superseded the now deceased body of Custodians and which, from now on, would permanently rule over the affairs of the Faith and be designated the “Supreme body” of the Faith, although the former so-called Custodians of the Faith did not give up their residence in Haifa and, in their obvious reluctance to surrender the supreme authority they had previously enjoyed, continued to cling to and exercise some ill-defined power.

Thus, in their glaringly transparent faithlessness, these now fallen Hands had unhesitatingly and shamelessly dismantled the divinely-appointed international institutions which Shoghi Effendi had but recently established “at long last” in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and which he had acclaimed as the final crowning achievement of his indefatigable labors to establish the institutions of the Bahá’í Administrative Order, as fashioned by “the master-hand of its perfect Architect.” They then, basking in the great aura of prestige that they had but recently acquired during the last few years of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry and with the incomprehensible acquiescence and support of Shoghi Effendi’s widow, Rúhíyyih Khánum, who, of all persons, should have known better, found it surprisingly easy to persuade the vast majority of their fellow-believers throughout the world to embrace, without question, this sans-Guardian corrupted organization of their own making which they had so shamelessly substituted for the divinely-conceived Bahá’í Administrative Order delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

In addition to the those who followed the Hands in their obvious violation of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and repudiation of the major provision of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, there are two existing principal factions comprised of a few believers who, although still professing belief in the essentiality of the Guardianship, are actually as guilty of heterodoxy in their beliefs as those who have embraced the sans-Guardian organization, foisted upon the Bahá’í World by the erring Hands of the Cause. For, they have equally and no less incomprehensibly disregarded and, in effect, repudiated the sacred, immutable and immortal terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pertaining to the Guardianship as they have conveniently ignored the fact that He had wisely insured, in the immutable provisions of His Will and Testament, that an interregnum would never exist, even for a single moment, when there would not be a living Guardian of the Faith, much less for a period of days, months or years, and now, for more than four decades during which they still vainly await the appearance of a guardian who has been fashioned after their own imagination and who clearly will not be the Guardian fulfilling the requirements delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament. Persistently holding to this fallacious belief, they have further ignored the provisions of the Will and Testament which clearly provide for the appointment of successive Guardians of the Faith in one way only and in no other way, and that is through the direct appointment by the living Guardian of his successor “in his own life-time.” In spite of this clear and unambiguous provision in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a Document which Shoghi Effendi has stressed is a part of the sacred and immutable “explicit Holy Text,” and, therefore, not subject to alteration in any way, the members of these factions, led by self-appointed “gurus,” one of whom even had the effrontery to appoint himself the so-called “Regent” of the Faith, a term not found anywhere in the Teachings or in the writings of Shoghi Effendi, and whose followers, after his sudden and premature death, established an obviously illegitimate Regency Council, which together with the other equally illegitimate organization, have continued to promote their fabricated fanciful and untenable theories and to cling to ludicrous beliefs in the future appearance of a guardian, that are completely contrary to the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Continuing to cling to their delusional belief, one faction persists in believing that a descendant from the blood-line of Bahá’u’lláh will appear one day to claim the Guardianship, while the other faction believes that some obscure individual, previously unknown to the believers, who traces his lineage back to King David of Biblical times, will magically appear out of the blue, after several decades now since the passing of Joseph Pepe, the adopted son of Mason Remey, whom they have unbelievably recognized as Mason Remey’s successor, on this basis alone, and although he had never performed one act of service to the Faith or even been a declared Bahá’í and, most importantly, had not been appointed by Mason Remey as his successor and furthermore had been known to have had no interest in assuming Guardianship of the Faith. Yet this group incomprehensibly, completely ignores the fact that Mason Remey, prior to the adoption of this son, had clearly made known, during his life-time, in a document penned in his own handwriting, the appointment of the undersigned as his successor, in accordance with the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Inexplicably, both of these groups apparently expect that these future claimants to the Guardianship whom they still await, will be imbued with not only a desire to seek the Guardianship, but will claim to have inherited the Guardianship solely on the basis of their alleged lineage or sonship and, moreover are expected, by sole virtue of having descended, allegedly, from the one whom they have recognized as the former Guardian of the Faith, to have been endowed, automatically thereby, with the appropriate spiritual qualifications to be the Guardian of the Faith, disregarding the fact that most of the male descendants of both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in the past history of our Faith, turned out to be disloyal to the Covenant and their lineage had not prevented them from becoming Covenant-breakers. Although these future claimants that they await may never have been previously declared believers or been renowned for their past records of devoted and exemplary service to the Faith and fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, and will lack the required specific appointment to the Guardianship by their predecessor in the Guardianship, they still ridiculously believe that these claimants will have the audacity to advance their spurious claim to the Guardianship and then, even more incredulously, expect to be embraced, without question, as the legitimate Guardian of the Faith by the vast majority of the believers, who, until now, have even failed to recognize and accept the one whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor and who have long since been convinced that the Guardianship came to an end with the passing of Shoghi Effendi.

How can the majority of the misled believers in the sans-Guardian organization with its headquarters in Haifa, as well as the other factional groups discussed above, who profess fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in the light of the facts outlined above and further summarized below, (which are by no means exhaustive) do anything less than reconsider their stand against the uninterrupted continuance of the Guardianship and renounce their obviously fallacious, ill-considered and unfounded beliefs and then embrace the uninterrupted continuing Guardianship of the Faith as provided for in the sacred, divinely-conceived and immutable provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “this Divine Masterpiece which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification; and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá’u’lláh and which were undeniably, faithfully and completely adhered to by Shoghi Effendi? They certainly cannot continue to ignore the following undeniable facts:

  • FACT: Shoghi Effendi described the divine genesis of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in stating: “The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from the mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose [Bahá’u’lláh] and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient [ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá].”

  • FACT: The divine genesis of the Will has been further emphasized by Shoghi Effendi in stating that the Will and Testament may be viewed as the Child of the Covenant—the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God.” and the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation.”

  • FACT: Shoghi Effendi has further pointed out that “the Will and Testament should thus be regarded as the perpetual, the indissoluble link which the mind of Him Who is the Mystery of God has conceived in order to insure the continuity of the three ages that constitute the component parts of the Bahá’í Dispensation.

  • FACT: Shoghi Effendi has further explained that, while the Will and Testament was penned by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, it can be considered in no other light, in view of the above, than the Will of Bahá’u’lláh as well and therefore this sacred Document must be considered astheir Will and Testament” and has further emphasized its essentiality in his statement that: “nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book and the provisions of their Will could possibly safeguard the Faith . . .(emphasis added)

  • FACT: The enduring relationship existing between the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Most Holy Book of Bahá’u’lláh and the continued applicability of the provisions of this divinely-conceived and sacred Document, as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures, has been further emphasized by Shoghi Effendi in his statement that: “the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá . . . together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith.”

  • FACT: The eternal “close relationship that exists between the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has been further affirmed in Shoghi Effendi’s statement that: “these sacred documents . . . are not only complementary but . . . mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unitand therefore it is undeniable that every provision of the Will and Testament, including its most important provision pertaining to the Guardianship and the matter of succession, is no less sacred, immutable and enduring than the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and, in consequence thereof, not subject to change, much less expiration, as long the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures.

  • FACT: The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá identifies the Guardian as the irreplaceable and only “Center of the Cause and the “sacred head and distinguished member for life of the Universal House of Justice. of the Universal House of Justice.

  • FACT : A complete and thorough research of the writings of Shoghi Effendi will fail to find one word that infers any possibility of a temporary cessation of the Guardianship, much less the possibility of its termination at any time prior to the end of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. On the contrary, it will be noted that he has repeatedly stressed, in his writings, the essentiality of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh and has referred, in his writings, to its “future Guardians. In a message, as late as 27 November 1954 (three years before his passing), in referring to “the International Archives designed by Hand of the Cause Mason Remey, President of the International Bahá’í Council” to be constructed on Mount Carmel, he stated that “the raising of this Edifice” would “in turn herald in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith (this Age, having not yet terminated) 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.”

  • FACT: In view of all that Shoghi Effendi has written, as quoted above, and the undeniable evidence of Shoghi Effendi’s incomparable and unsurpassed fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and to its sacred and immortal “Child”—the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—the Hands, as well as the believers at large, should have found it inconceivable that Shoghi Effendi would have failed to appoint his successor “in his own life-time, as enjoined by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

  • FACT: At the stage of the Faith in which Shoghi Effendi found himself, he appointed his successor openly and publicly, “in his own life-time” as mandated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá but, of necessity, in an indirect manner so as not to disclose the imminence of his passing to the believers, as explained above, and through the instrumentality of a Proclamation addressed to the Bahá’í World in which he established the embryonic Universal House of Justice—provisionally titled the International Bahá’í Council—whose appointed President, and therefore the Guardian-to-be, he had also publicly identified by cablegram. Appointment of his successor in this manner, obviously, had not required attestation as to its authenticity, as would be required at a later stage in the development of the Faith, when, as a necessary safeguard, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has wisely provided that the authenticity of the appointment be certified in secret ballot by the nine Hands of the Cause, who have been elected from their number to serve the Guardian in the Holy Land and whose credibility would therefore be beyond question. However, by resorting to this indirect manner of appointment, Shoghi Effendi had spared the believers the tremendous shock that they would otherwise have sustained and which would have paralyzed them in their efforts to achieve the formidable goals that he had assigned them in the Ten Year Global Crusade that was shortly to commence at Ridván 1953, for had they perceived the dreadful implications that were to be drawn from the fact that the one whom he had appointed as his successor was not a man younger than himself, as they had undoubtedly anticipated, but one who, in spite of being more than 25 years his senior, they then would have been faced with the shocking, highly disturbing and awful prediction by Shoghi Effendi, of the imminence of his early passing.

  • FACT: Upon Shoghi Effendi’s passing in November 1957, the twenty-six Hands of the Cause (one being absent) who had assembled in conclave at ‘Akka, tragically failed to discern the manner in which Shoghi Effendi had unquestionably appointed his successor, both due to their misconceptions and erroneous interpretations of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and failure to take the time, while keeping an open mind and unwavering faith in the Covenant, to closely re-examine its provisions or to carefully review the messages of Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá’í World, where they would have hopefully discovered that the key to the identity of his successor lay in the one and only Proclamation he had issued during his ministry.

  • FACT: Shoghi Effendi has identified the Aghsán as the sons of Bahá’u’lláh only in the book, GOD PASSES BY (p.239) and therefore, as contemporaries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they had long since died and certainly had never been eligible to inherit the Guardianship. However, notwithstanding this definition by Shoghi Effendi and due, undoubtedly, to their failure to remember it, the Hands obviously believed that, not only did the term Aghsán pertain to all of the male relatives of both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, but they interpreted the passage in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in which the Guardian is authorized to appoint another “branch” as his successor, in the event that his first born son does not inherit the requisite spiritual qualifications, to mean that the Guardian was restricted in the appointment of his successor solely to an Aghsán, as they erroneously understood the meaning of the term. As further evidence that the term “branch” as used by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the passage of His Will and Testament, cited above, (as translated by Shoghi Effendi in the 1944 edition of the published Document) is Shoghi Effendi’s use, in this instance, of the lower case “b” in the word “branch,” whereas, for example, in his translation of a passage appearing in the THE GLEANINGS FROM THE WRITINGS OF Bahá’u’lláh, (p.244) Shoghi Effendi has capitalized the letter “B” when Bahá’u’lláh refers to His Sons as “My Branches (Sons).”

  • FACT: Laboring as they were under the erroneous belief that only an Aghsán, as they understood the term, could inherit the Guardianship, the Hands declared this to be one of two reasons why Shoghi Effendi had been unable to appoint a successor, for, in their Proclamation issued at the end of their conclave under date of November 25, 1957, they stated as their first reason, the fact that the Hands, who had been chosen to examine the contents of the safe and desk of Shoghi Effendi, had certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament” and as their second reason, they stated: “It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir” for as they contended: “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.” The question comes immediately to mind, when considering the second reason they have given, that if they were already so convinced that Shoghi Effendi’s successor could only be an Aghsán and, as they had pointed out, not a single Aghsán had remained faithful to the Covenant for him to appoint as his successor, why had they still undertaken a search for a will and testament naming a successor in Shoghi Effendi’s papers when they had already concluded that this search would obviously prove futile?

  • FACT: The Hands had inexcusably ignored the supreme importance and the true status of the International Bahá’í Council as the embryonic Universal House of Justice, unmindful of the Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá found in the book: BAHÁ’Í WORLD FAITH (p.313) in which He stated: “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . all the powers—but they are not visible and become so only by degreesthus indicating that an embryonic organizm is a complete entity at its inception and in the case of the embryonic Council, this would have undeniably been true of its formation at the time of its appointment by Shoghi Effendi. If the Hands had remembered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement concerning the embryo quoted above, they may have realized that the irremovable embryonic “sacred head” of this embryonic body—“this first embryonic International Institution”—appointed by Shoghi Effendi, could be none other than Mason Remey and who, as the Guardian-in-waiting, would assume the Guardianship of the Faith at such time as the Council was brought into active life as a fully functioning body under his presidency.

  • FACT: Not only did they lack the authority, but there had been no justification whatsoever for the Hands to appoint a body, outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and consequently of their own making, upon which they bestowed the title, “the Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith,” and to which they incredibly assigned “all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith” and which, as a result, had usurped both the Guardianship and the role that Shoghi Effendi had projected for an active International Bahá’í Council. Notwithstanding this collegiate headship, the Hands further decreed that the duration of its supreme rule would last for a period of less than six years when, upon its demise at Ridván 1963, it’s illicit rule over the affairs of the Faith would be transferred to an illicitly formed, prematurely elected, and undeniably fallible sans-Guardian so-called Universal House of Justice.

  • FACT: Unmindful or forgetful as the Hands had been of pertinent passages from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and significant messages of Shoghi Effendi, they would certainly not have recalled, if they had ever perceived it, the unmistakable promise of Bahá’u’lláh found in the Kitáb-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude) that there would always be a source of guidance in the Faith—which obviously would be found only in the future Guardians of the Faith—who would later be designated as such by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament. This promise revealed by Bahá’u’lláh follows:

  • “Those words uttered by the Luminaries of Truth must needs be pondered and should their significance be not grasped, enlightenment should be sought from the Trustees of the depositories of Knowledge, that these may expound their meaning, and unravel their mystery. For it behooveth no man to interpret the holy words according to his own imperfect understanding, nor, having found them to be contrary to his inclination and desires to reject and repudiate their truth.”

  • FACT: Following Mason Remey’s accession to the Guardianship, he too, in complete fidelity to the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had clearly appointed, “in his own life-time” the undersigned as his successor. The manner in which it was accomplished and the timing of this appointment is recounted in my own Proclamation of 12 November 1969, as follows:

  • “This act of appointment goes back to the year 1961, some nineteen months after the Proclamation issued by Mason Remey. In December of that year, a letter was received from Mason Remey in whose outer envelope was enclosed a smaller sealed envelope containing the following inscription written by Mason on its face:

    “Joel: Please take care of this sealed envelope among your papers in the Bernese Oberland. As I see things now it may have to do with the coming world catastrophe in or after 1963. You will know when to break the seal.”


    It was only following Mason Remey’s public announcement on September 21, 1964 of my appointment as President of the Second International Bahá’í Council, and the obvious implications of this appointment, that I decided that the time had come to open the sealed envelope described above which until then had remained deposited in a safety deposit box in a bank in Interlaken, Switzerland. The hand-written statement found therein read as follows:

    “Dear Joel:

    This is to tell you to tell the Bahá’í World that I appoint you to be the third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith according to the Will and Testament of the Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

    Mason, Guardian

    of the Bahá’í Faith”


As I stated in my Proclamation: “upon reading this statement of appointment, I was first struck by the fact that it was addressed to me and not to the believers and that it commissioned me ‘to tell’ the Bahá’í World that I was the third Guardian. The question that immediately arose in my mind was when I should tell the believers of this appointment. I realize now that, in the light of the events that were later to transpire, I should have informed the believers of this appointment at the time, I opened the letter addressed to me by Mason, as it is obvious that Mason Remey, then already 87 years of age, had phrased the letter in the way that he did, as he had realized that the time might soon be at hand when his physical or mental faculties would have become so impaired that it would be necessary for him to abdicate the Guardianship and for me to assume the Guardianship of the Faith while he was still living which would be a very difficult and most reluctant decision for me to make. Fortunately, he did not leave this decision to me when, less than four years later in the summer of 1965, I visited him in Florence, Italy, (actually Fiesole on the hills above) and he instructed me at that time, as the appointed President of the second International Bahá’í Council, to announce to the Bahá’í World the activation of this Council whose membership, he had announced earlier. I then prepared an announcement that appeared in the October issue of the “Glad Tidings” (our Newsletter at the time) under the title of “Council Assumes Task.” However, aware as I was of the tremendous implications involved in the activation the International Council, I tried, unsuccessfully, as I later realized, to compose the wording of my announcement in such a way that I would only be assigning tasks to individual members, much as Shoghi Effendi had done upon his appointment of the first International Bahá’í Council, and thus, I thought, at the time that this would preclude my actual assumption of the presidency of an actively functioning body. There were however, two essential differences in my situation and the one that Mason Remey had found himself in as President of the first International Council, for unlike the specific instructions given me by Mason Remey to activate the Council, Shoghi Effendi had never instructed Mason Remey to activate the International Council under his presidency during his ministry and secondly Shoghi Effendi had announced in his cablegram of 8 March, 1952 that Rúhíyyih Khánum was the “chosen liaison” between himself and the Council, thus further precluding any semblance of assuming the presidency himself. Whether Mason Remey had realized the full implications of the instructions given to me to activate the Council, I do not know, or whether he understood that in doing this he had thereby abdicated the Guardianship. However, it had been as though Mason had sensed the great reluctance that I had in assuming the Guardianship, and to further induce me to overcome this reluctance that he stated the following in a letter to me, under date of February 18, 1966: “I am turning the affairs of the Faith over to you as the President of the second Bahá’í International Council to handle this for me—you having the other members of the Council to assist you” and further in this same letter: “from now on I will leave you free to conduct the affairs of the Faith, I making suggestions when necessary.” (published in the Glad Tidings of May 1966)

I dearly loved, respected and held Mason Remey in the highest esteem for his exemplary and unique services to the Faith, starting at the turn of the 20th century and enduring for more than half a century, that had clearly been unmatched by any living believer. Little wonder therefore that Shoghi Effendi had chosen him to be his successor in spite of his advanced age. I knew him well and had been in his presence many times in such varied places as his home in Washington D.C, much later in the National Haziratu’l-Quds and in our apartment in Paris during the course of a fireside meeting and at another time in the Paris apartment of beloved Edith Sanderson on the sad occasion of a commemorative service held following her passing and on still another occasion when he joined my wife and myself as we sat in one of the famed side-walk cafés in Paris. On pilgrimage in Haifa in 1952, my wife and I sat around the dinner table with Shoghi Effendi and Mason, together with Rúhíyyih Khánum and the other members of the International Bahá’í Council who resided in Ha&iulm;fa, when Shoghi Effendi significantly mentioned Mason’s future role as the Chief Judge of the International Bahá’í Court (the second stage in the evolution of the International Bá’í Council projected to be established together with six national Bahá’í Courts by Ridván 1963) and still later visited him in Florence, Italy, on two occasions following his accession to the Guardianship. It therefore caused me the greatest personal distress and it was one of the hardest things that I have ever been called upon to do, when it had become increasingly evident that Mason was suffering from serious dementia and events in the Faith had come to such a pass, as the faithful friends at the time will confirm, that I had no recourse but to issue my proclamation of November 12, 1969 informing the believers of my accession to the Guardianship while Mason Remey was still living and continued to live for another five years until his passing in 1974 at the age of 100 years.

I can do no better in concluding this paper than to quote the following brief extracts from the matchless writings of Shoghi Effendi in “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh”:

“Without such an institution, [the Guardianship] the integrity of the Faith would be imperilled and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered . . . . The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this day.”

Joel Bray Marangella

Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

Australia, March, 2004


NOTE. There is a third group that I have not discussed in this paper who are the followers of an individual who lays claim to the Guardianship on the basis of receiving his appointment from Donald Harvey who had apparently received his appointment sometime in 1969, as the third Guardian, directly from Mason Remey who, obviously, as his mental faculties declined, had forgotten that he had appointed this writer his successor in 1961 and had further lost sight of the significance of his instructions to me in October of 1965 to activate the second International Bahá’í Council. He had also obviously forgotten that because of his conviction that a devastating world-wide physical catastrophe was near at hand which could take the lives of not only the President but other members of the Council as well, he had further designated all of them as Vice Presidents of the Council whom he had stated, as an evident precautionary measure, would successively inherit the Guardianship in the event of my death in such a catastrophe, in the order he had named them, and as they survived. Significantly, although neither Donald Harvey, nor the one that he appointed as his successor had been members of the second International Council, the fact that he had now named Donald as his successor provided clear evidence of Mason’s deteriorating mental condition, for he had never made any statement that his appointment of Donald as his successor had nullified either my previous appointment or the previous appointment of the Council Vice Presidents as potential successors in the event of my death. When I wrote to Donald Harvey’s successor I reminded him that both he and Donald had recognized Mason Remey’s Guardianship solely on the basis of his presidency of the first International Bahá’í Council, yet they had refused to acknowledge my accession to the Guardianship which had been effected on exactly the same basis and which had even been additionally confirmed in his previously hand-written letter of 5 December 1961 appointing me as his successor and his subsequent letter in which he stated: “I am turning the affairs of the Faith over to you . . .”

The obviously illogical act on the part of Mason Remey in complete disregard of the fact that he had aleady appointed his successor, I had good reason to believe, had been due to the baleful influence of a person close to him who, unaware of my earlier appointment, had taken advantage of his growing dementia and had obviously influenced him, for his own selfish reasons, to make this unwarranted second appointment. As he had never expressed any dissatisfaction or displeasure with my services in support of his Guardianship, quite the contrary being the case, I considered this irrational and inexplicable act symptomatic of dementia that had been further confirmed with the increasingly strange and uncharacteristic statements that he made in his letters that so completely contradicted his past wonderful writings on the subject of the Guardianship. I now fully realized the wisdom of his instructions me in his letter as long ago as 1951 “to tell” the believers that I was his successor. And now the time had come when I felt impelled to prepare and dispatch my proclamation of November 1969 to the faithful Bahá’ís. Mason’s second appointment of a successor was, of course, recognized as having no validity for three reasons: the first being that I had received my appointment in a letter from him, as discussed in the text above, as early as 5 December 1961; the second being that the International Bahá’í Council, of which I was the President, had already been activated in October 1965 under the specific instructions of Mason Remey which had then automatically brought about his abdication of the Guardianship and my accession to the Guardianship; and the third, aside from the question of Mason Remey’s abdication, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá understandably makes no provision for the withdrawal by the Guardian of his one time appointed successor, once it has been made under divine guidance and his replacement by another, for if ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had included such an illogical provision, it would have inferred that the Guardian’s initial appointment had lacked the requisite divine guidance.