SHOGHI EFFENDI INFORMS UNITED NATIONS OF HIS ROLE AS THE "APPOINTED HEAD" OF FUTURE BAHÁ'Í "WORLD COUNCIL" PRIOR TO ITS FORMATION IN 1951
In July 1947, some three and one half years prior to his appointment of the International Bahá'í Council on 9 January 1951, Shoghi Effendi prepared a statement for submission to the United Nations Special Palestine Committee that has been published in pamphlet form under the title of: "The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh." with the subtitle, "A World Religion."
On page three of this document one may note the following significant paragraph which incontestably proves, in Shoghi Effendi's own words, that the one who presides as President of the International Bahá'í Councilthis "World Council"can be none other than the Guardian of the Faith.
The pertinent paragraph appears under the heading of "ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER" and reads as follows:
"The passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá marked the termination of the first and Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Faith and signalized the opening of the Formative Age destined to witness the gradual emergence of its Administrative Order, whose establishment had been foretold by the Báb, whose laws were revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, whose outlines were delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, and whose foundations are now being laid by national and local councils which are elected by the professed adherents of the Faith, and which are paving the way for the constitution of the World Council, to be designated as the Universal House of Justice, which in conjunction with me, as its appointed Head and the authorized interpreter of the Bahá'í teachings, must coordinate and direct the affairs of the Bahá'í community, and whose seat will be permanently established in the Holy Land, in close proximity to its world spiritual center, the resting-places of its Founders."
When Shoghi Effendi subsequently proclaimed the appointment of this "World Council" in his cablegram of 9 January 1951, he significantly and appropriately addressed this Proclamation to the "National Assemblies of East and West" for, as the supreme administrative body in the Bahá'í World, this Council would exercise administrative authority over these national bodies. He provisionally named this World Council the "International Bahá'í Council," a title that appropriately described its role and function as the supreme administrative institution in the Bahá'í Administrative Order, and he outlined the several intermediary stages through which it would necessarily evolve prior to "its efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice." However, he did not immediately activate this World Council as an administratively functioning body under his Presidency, as would have been anticipated, in the light of his statement to the United Nations Committee quoted above, but created this Council as an embryonic institution, but yet a complete organism "from the first" which, as explained by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, is true of all embryonic organisms, (BWF p.313). In creating this supreme administrative institution in its embryonic form, Shoghi Effendi appointed both its irremovable embryonic Head (who would remain that head as long as he lived) and a body of eight other members who, although initially appointed, would, as he outlined, be elected members when the Council became "an elected body," in the third stage of its development. Having thus established "this first embryonic International Institution,"this embryonic Universal House of JusticeShoghi Effendi then carefully retained it as an inactively functioning institution during the remaining years of his ministry, as attested by Mason Remey, its appointed President, assigning tasks only to individual members of the Council. In retaining, in this way, the International Bahá'í Council as an inactive embryonic institution, Shoghi Effendi had been able to use it as an instrument for indirectly appointing and identifying his chosen successor "in his own lifetime," as enjoined by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, for the embryonic President of this embryonic body and therefore the Guardian-to-be, are indisputably one and the same person who would be awaiting birth into active life upon Shoghi Effendi's passing. As neither the Hands of the Cause nor the believers at large had perceived the significance of this act, Shoghi Effendi had been successful in ingeniously veiling from the believers at the time the identity of his chosen successor, Mason Remey, a Hand of the Cause whose unparalleled services for the Cause had commenced at the turn of the century during the Ministry of 'Abdul-Bahá, Who had acknowledged his unique and outstanding services and his exemplary fidelity to the Covenant in his many eulogies of him that may be read in the early publication, "Star of the West." As evidence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's esteem for him, He had addressed a Tablet to him on 2 March 1915, appearing in that publication, in which he significantly promised him that: "Ere long, Thy Lord shall make thee a sign of guidance among mankind." He was at the time of his appointment as President of the International Council (identified to the Bahá'í World as President of the Council in Shoghi Effendi's cablegram of 2 March 1951 )some twenty five years older than Shoghi Effendi. Had he been recognized at that time, by the Hands and the believers throughout the World as Shoghi Effendi's successor by reason of that appointment, this would have inevitably revealed to them, to their great consternation, the inescapable fact that for Mason Remey to outlive Shoghi Effendi and succeed him as Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi had clearly foreseen and had, in effect, predicted his own early passing (destined to take place some seven years later in November 1957).
It should therefore be clear why Shoghi Effendi had retained the Council as an inactively functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry which would only, upon his passing, assume its rightful active role, as the supreme administrative body in the Bahá'í World presided over by Shoghi Effendi's appointed President, Mason Remey, who could be none other than his chosen successor. This Council then, for the first time, would become an actively functioning "World Council," and commence to "coordinate and direct the affairs of the Bahá'í community" as Shoghi Effendi had projected in his letter to the United Nations Committee.
The projected active role and supreme administrative authority of the International Council was further confirmed in a message sent to the Bahá'í World on 23 November 1951 in which Shoghi Effendi stated that during the evolution of the "Master Plan designed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá," the final stage of which he titled the "Ten Year Global Crusade," would commence at Ridván 1953 and be designed to: "embrace all the continents of the earth and will bring the Central Body [i.e. the International Bahá'í Council] directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Bahá'í world which in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, as prophesied by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel,a consummation that God willing, will be befittingly celebrated on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the formal assumption by Bahá'u'lláh of His Prophetic Office."
As Shoghi Effendi labored to erect, "at long last the machinery of its highest institutions" and the "supreme organs of its unfolding Order," he followed up his appointment of the International Bahá'í Councilthis "Central Body" of the Faithwith the appointment of the first contingent of twelve living Hands of the Cause in his cablegram of 24 December 1952. He made additional appointments during the concluding years of his ministry, raising the number to twenty-seven at the time of his passing. On 8 October 1957, one month before his passing, Shoghi Effendi dispatched his last cablegram to the Bahá'í World in which he referred to the Hands of the Cause as the "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Comonwealth" with the clear implication that unfortunately was never perceived by the Hands, that while they were the current Chief Stewardsthese Hands of the Causeappointed by the Guardian of the Faith would, as they died, be no more, but the institution of the Hands itself as an integral and immortal organ of the embryonic Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh, would continue to exist as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endured, and that future Hands would continue to be appointed by future Guardians during the course of the development of this embryonic Commonwealth and as it achieved ultimate maturity in the Golden Age of Bahá'u'lláh, similarly to the other institutions of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in his sacred, divinely-conceived and immortal Will and Testament.
Upon Shoghi Effendi's passing, the Hands convened a conclave in 'Akká less than three weeks later and, as their first act, delegated nine Hands from their number to undertake a search of the safe and files of Shoghi Effendi's office in Haifa, which had previously, upon his death, been carefully sealed and secured. This search was carried out apparently in the expectation of finding a will and testament in which Shoghi Effendi had named a successor, in spite of the clear and unambiguous provision of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which states that: "It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor."
Of course, no such will and testament was found, for Shoghi Effendi, in complete fidelity to and compliance with the provisions of Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, had not used a testamentary document to appoint a successor but had accomplished the appointment in the manner discussed above. Although a will and testament was not found, the Hands would still have been expected to retain an unwavering faith and assurance that Shoghi Effendi would not have failed to be completely faithful to the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and to conclude that he had appointed a successor in some other way unforseen by them at the time. Assuming that to be the case, they certainly would have been expected to at least have taken the time to re-examine the provisions of the sacred and divinely-conceived Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to discover why or if they had been wrong in looking for a testamentary document in which Shoghi Effendi had appointed a successor. For in accomplishig such a review they would have perceived that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will clearly makes it incumbent upon the Guardian to name his successor "in his own life-time," and that it would have been for this reason that Shoghi Effendi had not left a will and testament naming a successsor. The Hands then would certainly have realized the necessity of undertaking a careful and thorough review of the important acts taken, historic decisions announced or statements made by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry, the significance of which they had obviously overlooked at the time that had pointed to or had revealed the identity of his appointed successor. Such a review however was never undertaken by the Hands, as attested by Mason Remey in his diary titled "Daily Observations," and, in fact, in the opening few minutes of the first consultative meeting they held after searching in vain for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, they came to the hasty, tragic and unwarranted conclusion, as announced by them to the Bahá'í World in the "Unanimous Proclamation" they issued on 25 November 1957., that Shoghi Effendi had passed away "without having appointed a successor."
Seizing upon the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had given them in his last message to the Bahá'í World, quoted above, the Hands interpreted this appellation to endow the institution of the Hands with a primacy over all other institutions of the Faith and an institution now invested with supreme authority in the Faith, notwithstanding the fact that such authority is clearly not theirs under the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Deluded as they now were in this belief of their supreme authority, the Hands had the temerity to announce to the Bahá'í World in the Proclamation cited above, that they were "the supreme body of the Bahá'í World Community and yet, in the very same Proclamation, they surrendered most, if not all, of their authority in their announced appointment of an illicit body of nine Hands from their number to which they gave the appellation: "Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith," a body completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. This illicitly formed body then ignominiously proceeded not only to flagrantly usurp the functions that should have been rightfully exercised by an actively functioning International Council, as Shoghi Effendi had planned, but, as announced in this same Proclamation, to shamelessly assume all of the "functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith." Thus, this illicitly established bogus body disregarded Shoghi Effendi's projected plans for the International Council, made it subordinate to themselves, and blatantly usurped its functions as they took over direction of the National Assemblies in their prosecution of the remaining goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade.
In their further plans, the Hands announced that the body of the Custodians in which they had invested such great authority would cease to exist after its brief reign of some six years with the election of the Universal House of Justice during Ridván in 1963. Although it would be a body minus its "sacred head"the Guardian of the Faithand therefore a headless, fallible and illegitimate body, they nevertheless would pretend that it was nothiing less than "that Supreme body" unmindful of the further fact that its election at this stage in the evolution of the Faith was far too premature, as Shoghi Effendi's plans, embodied in the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade had not envisaged the evolution of the International Bahá'í Council beyond its second essential stage as an International Bahá'í Court by Ridván 1963 and even then it's establishment as an International Court would be contingent upon the establishment of six national Bahá'í Courts "in the chief cities of the Islamic East" which he had named. Although, the demise of the ill-named body of the "Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith" would, according to their plans, take place coincident with the election of their headless Universal House of Justice at Ridván 1963, they made no mention about the assumption by that illegitimate body of the "functions rights and powers in succession to the Guardian" previously usurped by these Custodians. It may have been inferred that the Hands intended that these function, rights and powers be assumed by their so-called Universal House of Justice, even though interpretation of the sacred Writings is a right reserved solely to the Guardian of the Faith according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
It should be clear to any unbiased observer from the foregoing discussion that, in the Hands' unseemly haste to end the Guardianship of the Cause of God and in their usurpation of the "functions, rights and powers" of the Guardian of the Cause of God as well as the role and functions of the International Bahá'í Councilthe embryonic Universal House of Justicethey had been guilty of an inexcusable lack of faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, a repudiation of the most important provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abu'l-Bahá, and a shameful betrayal of both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi in their complete corruption of the Bahá'í Administrative Order whose Institutions he had so laboriously labored to erect during his 36 year ministry in complete conformity with the divinely-conceived, sacred and immutable provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
The Hands of the Cause were equally guilty of ignoring other historic and equally highly significant statements made by Shoghi Effendi in his writings and cablegrams that undeniably proved the continuation of the Guardianship and the essentiality of this Institution to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. These failures have been discussed at length in other writings of the undersigned as well as by many of the believers who have remained steadfast in their faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and may be found in the respective web pages where this documentation has been posted.
Joel Bray Marangella
Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith