'ABDU'L-BAHÁ'S UNIQUE PROMISE TO A BELIEVER
"ERE LONG, THY LORD SHALL MAKE THEE A SIGN OF GUIDANCE AMONG MANKIND"
The above quotation has
been extracted from a
Tablet addressed to Mason Remey and may be found in the publication "Star of
the West" (Vol. V, No. 19, March 2, 1915). In addition to this brilliant
and unique promise made to him by Abdul-Bahá, he was
frequently eulogized by Him in other Tablets that are recorded in various issues
of the "Star of the West" where, for example, He has addressed him as:
"O thou enlightened beloved son," has extolled him as
that "luminous person and heavenly man," and referred to
"the loftiness of thy nature, the
strength of thy effort and the purity of thy intentions."
Moreover, He expressed His infinite love for him, stated he was confirmed
"in service to the Kingdom," and informed him that his
devoted labours for the Faith were "a magnet of the confirmations of
the Abha Kingdom."
Moreover, during Abdul-Bahás visit
to Philadelphia on June 8-10, 1912, this significant account is recorded in the
"Star of the West":
"Mr. William Remey came in about this time and when
him, he greeted him most warmly" and said to him, "Your
brother [Mason] mentioned
your name to me. You are greatly blessed by having such a brother. At present
you do not know how greatly you are blessed but you will see this with your own
eyes. Your whole family will be glorified; they will be proud that they have
such sons as Mr. Remey and yourself." Mason Remeys
accomplishments in his
outstanding service to the Faith over a period of more than half a century were
unique, manifold, marked by exemplary devotion to the Covenant, as attested by
Abdul-Bahá and recognized by Shoghi Effendi, and certainly
remain unparalleled by any other male believer in the Faith to this day and
include the following, to enumerate the most notable:
"Mr. William Remey came in about this time and when Abdul-Baha saw him, he greeted him most warmly" and said to him, "Your brother [Mason] mentioned your name to me. You are greatly blessed by having such a brother. At present you do not know how greatly you are blessed but you will see this with your own eyes. Your whole family will be glorified; they will be proud that they have such sons as Mr. Remey and yourself."
Mason Remeys accomplishments in his outstanding service to the Faith over a period of more than half a century were unique, manifold, marked by exemplary devotion to the Covenant, as attested by Abdul-Bahá and recognized by Shoghi Effendi, and certainly remain unparalleled by any other male believer in the Faith to this day and include the following, to enumerate the most notable:
Shoghi Effendi recognized and acknowledged this outstanding and matchless record of service to the Faith in appointing him a Hand of the Cause in the first contingent of twelve Hands of the Cause, appointed in December 1951. But even more importantly and significantly, and prior to his elevation to the rank of a Hand of the Cause, Shoghi Effendi appointed him the President of the "first International Baháí Council""the first embryonic International Institution" of the Faith established by him in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951. We know from the words of Abdul-Bahá that "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . .in one word all the powersbut they are not visible and become so only by degrees." Therefore "this first embryonic International Institution" was a complete and perfect Institution "from the first" but with limited functions initially that would be expanded as it evolved and as projected by Shoghi Effendi. As a complete and perfect Institution at the outset, it was nothing less than the Universal House of Justice in its embryonic form, and, as such, it necessarily possessed its embryonic and irremovable "sacred head"its President, Mason Remeyappointed by Shoghi Effendi, and included a body of eight additional members, provisionally appointed by him, four of whom were Hands of the Cause who, as outlined in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951, would be subject to election to this body in its future development. Although evident, but not perceived by anyone at the time, was that, as the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá stipulate that only the Guardian of the Faith presides as the permanent "sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have had to depose Mason Remey, if he were to assume the presidency himself of this "nascent Institution." And it was for this reason that he carefully retained the International Council as an inactively functioning Institution during the remaining seven years of his ministry, even appointing Rúhíyyih Khánum as the "chosen liaison" between himself and the Council, while assigning tasks only to individual members of the Council so as to preclude any semblance of presiding over an actively functioning Council himself.
Should it not then have been crystal clear that when this Councilthis embryonic Universal House of Justiceemerged into active life and became an administratively functioning body, the presiding Head of this body could be none other than the Guardian of the Faith?
Had not Shoghi Effendi in this ingenious way appointed his successor, openly and without question, "in his own life-time" as he was specifically enjoined to do under the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha? Had it been necessary for nine witnesses to attest to the authenticity and validity of this appointment, as necessary as this provision might be as an essential safeguard in the future? For there could be no question as to the validity and authenticity of this appointment as Shoghi Effendi had revealed the identity his successor to the Baháí World in appointing Mason Remey the President of the International Baháí Council through the medium of a cablegram that he had unquestionably dispatched from Haifa? Had he not in this way insured that there would not be even an instant when the Faith would be without a Guardian, and in view of this, no need for the Hands to convene a conclave, outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, to decide this matter? Would not Mason Remey then have been able to assume the Guardianship of the Faith coincident with Shoghi Effendis passing and then convene an actively functioning International Council under his Presidency? And would this then not bring this "Central Body directing the widely ramified operations" of the Ten Year Global Crusade, now in its fifth year of progress, "into direct contact with all the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baháí world which, in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahaullah. as prophesied by Abdul-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel" as clearly projected by Shoghi Effendi in his message of 23 November 1953? (The Ten Year Global Crusade (1953-1963) being Shoghi Effendis implementation of Abdul-Bahás "Tablets of the Divine Plan" that would culminate at Ridván 1963).
In appointing Mason Remey as his successor had not Shoghi Effendi finally brought into fulfilment the promise made by Abdul-Bahá to Mason Remey in His Tablet written forty-two years earlier, as quoted above? This fact should be crystal clear and undeniable. Yet, the living Hands of the Cause which Shoghi Effendi had but recently appointed, as well as the believers worldwide, would not have recognized that he had done so, not only at the time the appointment was made in 1951, but most critically following his passing as they would have been unfamiliar with or had forgotten this promise made by Abdul-Bahá so many years ago. Inexcusably, however, was the fact that the Hands ignored completely Shoghi Effendis plans for the future role and development of the International Council and never permitted the Council to assume any responsibility whatsoever for "directing the widely ramified operations" of the National Spiritual Assemblies, in the prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade as projected by Shoghi Effendi, or permitted the Secretary General of the Council, Leroy Ioas, or the secretaries of the Council for East and West, (Dr. Lotfullah Hakim and Ethel Revell, respectively) whom Shoghi Effendi had specifically appointed to perform these secretarial tasks, to write a single letter of instruction pertaining to these operations to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world. Instead, they established an illegitimate body of nine Hands on which they bestowed the title: "The Custodians of the Baháí World Faith," a body completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, as a pseudo collective Guardianship, which assumed direction of the affairs of the Faith, including those affecting prosecution of the Ten Year Global Crusade, thus usurping both the role and functions of the Guardianship and those Shoghi Effendi had projected for the International Baháí Council. They even shamelessly asked the believers to recognize, these custodians as "the supreme body in the Cause" in spite of its obvious illegitimacy, and a body, although actually appointed, by the Hands, they falsely stated had been "elected by the Hands of the Cause," in a letter addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies on December 2, 1957 (obviously a clumsy attempt to give the impression that it was the elected body of nine Hands called for in the Will and Testament who serve under the Guardian at the World Center). Yet, this so-called supreme body which one of these NSAs ridiculously addressed as "the Most Supreme Body in the Baháí World Faith" would, in accordance with the announced plans of the Hands, cease to exist less than six years later at Ridván 1963, when it would be replaced by an equally illegitimate body elected by the members of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baháí world which they pretended to be the Universal House of Justice delineated in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, although minus its "sacred head"the Guardian of the Cause of Godas required under the provisions of that sacred Document.
The tragic failure on the part of the Hands of the Cause, to recognize that Shoghi Effendi had undeniably appointed Mason Remey as his successor and, as a result, to declare the Guardianship ended, and in turn to persuade the believers at large that this was true, may be attributed, not only to an incomprehensible loss of faith, on the part of the Hands in the indestructible Covenant of Baháulláh and in the divinely-conceived and immortal "Child of the Covenant"the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahábut to the following inexcusable oversights, erroneous beliefs, false interpretations and misconceptions:
The false expectation that Shoghi Effendi would leave a will and testament appointing a successor even though the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá specifically enjoins the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own life-time." Evidence of this expectation is the statement that the Hands made in a public proclamation that they had undertaken a search of Shoghi Effendis papers for such a document without success. On that basis, and without the consideration of any alternatives they forthwith, and in inordinate haste, concluded that the Guardianship had come to an end.
The false interpretation of the provision of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá in which the Guardian is authorized to "choose another branch" as his successor, in the event that his eldest son lacks the necessary qualifications, based on the false belief that the word "branch" used in this clause refers to the Aghsán, a term which they believed applied to all of the male relatives of Baháulláh, whereas Shoghi Effendi has defined the term Aghsán to apply only to the sons of Bahaullah (In GOD PASSES BY on page 239) who, as contemporaries of Abdul-Bahá, would have long since died before the termination of his ministry. In view of this, the Aghsán could never have been under consideration as his successor, in any case, aside from the fact that they had all become disloyal to the Covenant. Yet, it was this infidelity of the Aghsán, who were no longer living, that was incredulously declared by the Hands in their Proclamation issued at the end of their first conclave in Akká on 25 November 1957 to be the single reason why Shoghi Effendi had been unable to appoint a successor. This declaration was amazingly made in complete disregard for the messages he had dispatched, particularly during the closing years of his ministry, and his copious writings on the Baháí Administrative Order in which he had repeatedly projected the continuance and had consistently stressed the essentiality of the Guardianship to the World Order of Baháulláh and had never made the slightest reference or allusion to the possibility that the Guardianship would ever be terminated in the future as the result of disloyalty to the Covenant on the part of any believers, much less on the part of those whom the Hands had even erroneously classified as Aghsán.
The failure to even re-examine and reconsider, much less appreciate and comprehend, the significance of the one and only Proclamation (issued in cablegram form on 9 January 1951) that Shoghi Effendi had made during his ministry in which he had appointed the International Baháí Council and to recognize the momentous implication to be drawn from his identification of its President, Mason Remey, in his follow up cablegram on 2 March 1951.
The blatant failure to recognize that the International Baháí Council was, in fact the Universal House of Justice, albeit in its embryonic form, even though Shoghi Effendi had declared his "historic" decision to form this Council as the "most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Baháulláh in the course of the last thirty years." and "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 of the Faith on the morrow of Abdul-Bahás Ascension, ranking second only to the glorious events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith . . ."
The failure on the part of the Hands to take the time to carefully review other historic and epoch-making messages of Shoghi Effendi to the Baháí World that would have further led them to realize that he had established the embryonic Universal House of Justice, such as his message of 20 June 1952 in which he stated: "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" It would have been seen that that these supreme organs were undeniably none other than the Universal House of Justice and the Institution of the Hands of the Cause. Had they studied and reflected upon the import of such messages they undoubtedly would have recognized that the International Baháí Council, as the embryonic Universal House of Justice, was the supreme Administrative Institution of the Faith and then permitted it to function as projected by Shoghi Effendi.
The Hands obviously had forgotten that Shoghi Effendi had stressed the fact that the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, reflected the Will of Baháulláh as well as that of Abdul-Bahá and had referred to this sacred document in his work: "The World Order of Baháulláh" as "their Will and Testament," "their Book" and "their Will" and stated that the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Will and Testament were "not only complementary but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit." In the light of that statement the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá must be considered as nothing less than a part of the explicit Holy Text whose laws and provisions shall remain immutable and inviolate as long as the Dispensation of Baháulláh endures. Yet, the Hands, in their abandonment of the Guardianship have, in effect, shamelessly declared the major provisions of this divinely-conceived, sacred, and immortal Co-Authored document null and void thirty six years after the inception of the Administrative Order, seemingly further unmindful that Shoghi Effendi, stated in "The Dispensation of Bahaullah," that "the bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is Gods immutable Purpose for mankind in this day."
Thus, was born the greatest violation of the Covenant of Baháulláh that the Faith has known to this day, instigated by those who should have been the most steadfast defenders and supporters of that Covenant and who, because of their prestige and the veneration in which they were held as Hands of the Cause of God, were able to influence the vast majority of the believers to blindly follow them in this violation. Only the National Spiritual Assembly of France and a small ban of believers who remained steadfast and unwavering in their faith in the Covenant of Baháulláh and the immortality of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá stand out in solitary glory in their recognition and acceptance of the second Guardian of the Faith, Mason Remey and his duly appointed successor and for their exemplary fidelity to the indestructible and resistless Covenant of Baháulláh over the many years since the inception of this Great Violation. They have no doubt that all of the Institutions of the Administrative Order, as delineated by Abdul-Bahá in His Will and Testament, will ultimately be restored in all of their divinely-conceived perfection and glory, for as Baháulláh has affirmed in one of His supplications to God: "Naught can resist Thy Will, nor frustrate what Thou hast purposed by Thy power."
Joel Bray Marangella
Guardian of the Baháí Faith