The following information was published in United States Bahá’í News No. 172, (page 17), December 1944,with respect to an amendment that the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada had made to the By-Laws of their Declaration of Trust, based on directions that had been received from Shoghi Effendi during the previous year: Their statement follows:

“In the first place, the constitution and by-laws of a National Spiritual Assembly are as far as possible uniform and identical with those of every other National Assembly, thus laying the administrative basis of the Bahá’í electoral bodies which later are to elect the members of the Universal House of Justice, and give every Bahá’í community in the entire world the same organic law. Thus, the American National Assembly does not of its own volition initiate amendments, since to do so by independent action would create differences between the various national constitutions, but takes such action only when the Guardian himself has sent directions which require amendments, as in the present case. . . . . Article II. The Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada]. for whose benefit this Trust is maintained [Canada would establish its own NSA later], shall consist of all persons resident . . . who are accepted by the National Spiritual Assembly as fulfilling the requirements of membership in the Bahá’í Community under the following qualifications set forth by the Guardian of the Faith:

“ (a) Full recognition of the stations of the Báb as Forerunner, of Bahá’u’lláh as Author and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as True Exemplar of the Bahá’í religion, unreserved acceptance of, and submission to whatsoever has been revealed by their Pen; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will; and close association with the spirit as well as the form of Bahá’í Administration throughout the world. . .”

It may be noted from the qualifications enumerated by Shoghi Effendi above that the believer must maintain “steadfast adherence to every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will.” Shoghi Effendi has explained in his spiritual testament: “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh” that this Will should be considered not only as the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ but, as well, an expression of the Will of Bahá’u’lláh, and, as such, actually “their Will and Testament”—“the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God”— and in consequence thereof, “the Child of the Covenant.” Moreover, Shoghi Effendi has emphasized that “the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which 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 . . .are not only complementary, but . . . mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit” and therefore the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is clearly nothing less than a part of the explicit Holy Text, all of whose provisions have been promised to endure and remain in effect for at least a full thousand years.

Shoghi Effendi, as quoted above, has stipulated that one of the essential requirements that must be fulfilled to be accepted as a Bahá’í is: “Steadfast adherence to every clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred Will.”

This Will calls for an unbroken line of Guardians of the Cause of God as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures, each of whom, following the appointment of the first Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, inherits the Guardianship solely through an appointment made by his predecessor “in his own life-time.” (i.e., not by testamentary document)

This Will states that “The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the Cause of God.” and enjoins all “to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him.”

Moreover, this Will stipulates that the Guardian of the Cause of God presides as “the sacred head and the distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice” and provides him with the sole authority to appoint Hands of the Cause.

In the light of the foregoing, it is crystal clear that those individuals who identify themselves as Baháˆís but belong to an organization that does not have a living Guardian of the Cause of God as the Head of the Faith—“the Center of the Cause”—and the “sacred head” of its Universal House of Justice, as stipulated under the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, are seriously deluded and, however blindly, are blatantly misrepresenting themselves as Bahá’ís, who, undeniably, at best, are no more than pseudo Bahá’ís.

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

May 2008