THE FOURTH AND FINAL LETTER TO RÚHÍYYIH KHÁNUM FROM THE THIRD GUARDIAN – NAW-RÚZ 1999



PREFACE



Four letters have been addressed to Rúhíyyih Khánum, the last of which was sent to her on Naw-Rúz, 1999. They remain unanswered to date. As a decade has passed since my third letter, it is believed that the time has come to reveal their contents to the Bahá'ís at large and accordingly place them together in a single volume for open publication. This preface should be particularly informative to recently declared believers who have embraced the Faith many years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the first beloved Guardian of the Faith, and who, therefore, may be unacquainted with the background of Rúhíyyih Khánum, his widow, and the role that she played, following his sudden and unexpected passing in November 1957, that supported the tragic abandonment of the institution of the Guardianship by the vast majority of believers in the Bahá'í world and the consequent mutilation of the institutions of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh – "this unique, this wondrous System – the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed."

Rúhíyyih Khánum, born Mary Maxwell, was the daughter of William Sutherland Maxwell and May Maxwell, distinguished Canadian Bahá'ís whose meritorious and exemplary services to the Faith over the years were duly recognized by Shoghi Effendi when he elevated them to the rank of Hands of the Cause. Sutherland Maxwell, as he was better known, was the distinguished architect of the magnificent superstructure of the Báb's Sepulcher situated on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Haifa. His illustrious wife, one of the earliest believers and "'Abdu'l-Bahá's beloved handmaid and distinguished disciple," established the Faith in Paris during the early years of this century and became known as "the mother of Paris." She further embellished her long and glowing record of devoted and exemplary service to the Faith by winning a martyr's crown as a result of her final heroic and dedicated act of pioneering service for the Faith when she courageously set out, alone and in the late evening of her life, for Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she, soon afterwards, laid down her precious life.

Having been blessed with parents so completely devoted to the Faith, Mary Maxwell had inevitably been inspired by them to follow in their footsteps and had become imbued at an early age with the same devotion to the Faith. She was well qualified to promote the Faith as she possessed not only a sound knowledge of the teachings but was endowed with such additional helpful attributes as beauty, charm, a high level of intelligence and the ability to express herself extremely well, both verbally and in writing.

It was while she was on a pilgrimage in 1937 to the sacred Bahá'í Shrines in the Holy Land that she met and was asked by Shoghi Effendi to become his wife. They were married the same year. During the twenty years of Rúhíyyih Khánum's marriage to Shoghi Effendi she distinguished herself by her devoted and selfless service to the Guardianship not only because of the duties she performed so well as a gracious hostess to the pilgrims that visited the World Center but more particularly because of her valuable assistance to Shoghi Effendi in a secretarial capacity for much of this period as she answered, on his behalf, so beautifully and efficiently, the many personal letters he received, written in English, for which he had only the time, himself, to add a brief hand-written postscript.

She had enjoyed an unique position during these years to observe, at first hand, Shoghi Effendi's long and arduous labors to erect the machinery of the Bahá'í Administrative Order throughout the world in faithful and complete compliance with the provisions of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá – "the Charter of the New World Order" – and to witness, as his ministry drew to a close, the culminating and crowning achievement of these labors which he had so joyfully announced in a message to the Bahá'í world on 30 June 1952 with the following words:

"At the World Center of the Faith where, 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..."

As evident had been her devotion and loyalty to Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Faith, and "Center of the Cause" during his ministry, her strongly held conviction in the continuing essentiality of the Guardianship, as an Institution, to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, down through the future years to come of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh had been emphatically expressed in two of the works written by her. For example, in her work titled: "Teaching Problems" she stated:

"Belief in the Center of the Covenant (at present Shoghi Effendi, the Center of the Master's Covenant) and love for him are the shield and the sword of a Bahá'í. He can conquer with them, without them he is defenseless."

In her paper titled: "Twenty Five Years of the Guardianship" she wrote:

"For the first time in history, a religion has been given to men which cannot be split up into sects, for the two Wills – those of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master are so strongly constructed and so authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is impossible to divorce the body of the teachings from their provisions. The principle of successorship, [as found in the Guardianship] endowed with the right of Divine interpretation, is the very hub of the Cause into which its Doctrines and Laws fit like the spokes of a wheel – tear out the hub and you have to throw away the whole thing."


Some 30 years had passed since the death of Shoghi Effendi when my first letter was addressed to Rúhíyyih Khánum at Ridván 1988 and more than 35 years had elapsed since my wife and I had made our pilgrimage to the Holy Land (28 November-7 December 1952) and experienced the great joy and privilege of meeting and talking with Shoghi Effendi every evening as we, together with those members of the International Bahá'í Council permanently residing in Haifa, (of whom there were seven, including its President) joined him at the dinner table in the Western Pilgrim House for the evening meal (the day of our departure being an exception when he honored us with his presence at lunch as we were departing in the afternoon). It was at the very outset of our second memorable evening together that Shoghi Effendi, made a startling, completely unexpected and highly disturbing observation about himself that precipitated such an immediate physical and highly emotional reaction on the part of Rúhíyyih Khánum that she jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room. As shocking and unforgettable as his remarks had been to me, it was only after I had read her book published in 1988 titled: "The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith" (having read it subsequent to my first letter to her) that I noted, to my great surprise and incredulity, the following statement: "I could never have survived the slightest foreknowledge of the Guardian's death" which clearly indicated, to my great surprise, that she had completely forgotten the statement he had made to us that evening in 1952 that had caused such a marked reaction on her part. Although I had reminded her of this event in my first letter, I felt compelled, upon reading the lines from her book quoted above, to write my second letter reminding her again of the fateful words that Shoghi Effendi had spoken on that memorable evening so long ago and the nature of her reaction to them. She was also reminded of another equally significant statement that he had made on the same evening when in the process of discussing the future development of the International Bahá'í Council he had actually identified the one who would become his successor, but in such an indirect and wholly unanticipated manner that he certainly realized that all of us seated around the table would fail to perceive this fact. For, it had been in the way that he had phrased a question, he had directed to the President of the Council that we would have gleaned this surprising information, had we been truly perceptive. However, Shoghi Effendi had undoubtedly been aware of the preconceived ideas and misconceptions on the matter of succession that were held, not only by us, but by all of the believers (as confirmed, indeed, by future events) which would serve to completely veil from us the significance and impact of his words. And more than that, we would fail to perceive from his discussion of the second stage in the evolution of the Council within a specific timeframe that he had set that he had further confirmed, in an indirect way, if we had been able to perceive it, his earlier remarks on the same evening that had been so disconcerting and particularly so to Rúhíyyih Khánum. The reader should not be led to believe from the foregoing that because Shoghi Effendi had spoken to us personally of these significant matters that we who were gathered around the table that evening had been made privy to information that had not been made available to the Bahá'ís at large. It would have been possible for someone who was truly perceptive to derive the same information from such sources as Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation of 9 January 1951 to the Bahá'í world (in cablegram form) and from subsequent momentous messages he had dispatched at the time, taken together with the information outlined in his published plans on the goals to be achieved during the Ten Year Global Crusade (1953-1963) as they pertained to the development of the newly-appointed International Bahá'í Council. On the other hand, in retrospect, it is obvious why Shoghi Effendi chose to draw an obscuring veil over the information that he had revealed to us in such an indirect way that evening in Haifa. For, if he had done otherwise, and openly revealed this information to the Bahá'í world, it would have produced incredulity, consternation and such chaos that it would have unquestionably severely impeded, at the very least, our teaching efforts and the achievement of the goals that Shoghi Effendi had set for us in the Ten Year Global Crusade (1953-1963). It is also particularly clear why he could not have confided the name of his successor-to-be to Rúhíyyih Khánum as it would have informed her that he knew that his death was not far off (all spiritually advanced souls knowing when their end shall be) and he had known, as well, as we have learned from her book about Shoghi Effendi, that she could never have survived such foreknowledge.

It is perhaps understandable that Rúhíyyih Khánum, stricken with profound grief, and still suffering from a state of shock as a result of Shoghi Effendi's sudden passing on 4 November 1957 while on a trip to England, would have been very distraught and in less than a clear frame of mind to consider the matter of succession when the Hands of the Cause assembled in a conclave in 'Akká less than three weeks following his passing for the purpose of determining Shoghi Effendi's successor seemingly unmindful of the fact that such a conclave is not called for or, in fact, is required under the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá for the Guardian's successor must be appointed by him "in his own life-time" thereby precluding, even for a moment, any interregnum in the Guardianship and that he, therefore, had obviously already been appointed (as, indeed, he had been) but had not been recognized and should be looked for in their midst. Having looked for and not found a will and testament amongst Shoghi Effendi's papers (because the use of a will is precluded under the terms of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Testament) the Hands issued their proclamation on 25 November 1957 stating that "Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament," a statement, in itself, that revealed the obvious fact that they could not have recently referred to the terms of 'Abdu-l-Bahá's Will which clearly specify 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, that differences may not arise after his passing."And they further revealed a surprising lack of understanding of the meaning of certain passages of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, not to mention their obvious and incredible loss of faith in the sacredness, and immutability of this immortal Document although it had been described by Shoghi Effendi as "the Child of the Covenant"and "the Charter of the New World Order" of Bahá'u'lláh, for they fallaciously stated in this same proclamation that "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him."

Through the inclusion of the statements quoted above in their proclamation to the Bahá'í world these Hands apparently did not seem to realize that, they had, in effect, repudiated the major provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a Document that Shoghi Effendi had equated in its sacredness and immutability with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and therefore an act, on their part, which can only be characterized as a flagrant violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Furthermore, they had, however unwittingly and indirectly, accused Shoghi Effendi of imposture for they could not point to a single word in all that Shoghi Effendi had written on the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh that indicated anything other than the continuity of the Guardianship down through the future ages of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh. Nor had they seemed to realize that in one fell swoop they had dismantled forever the international institutions of the Administrative Order at the World Center of the Faith, as delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, whose establishment, "at long last," Shoghi Effendi had acclaimed to the Bahá'í world with such joy but a few years before his passing. That Rúhíyyih Khánum, should have supported this stand, especially in the light of her words concerning the Guardianship, quoted above, and acquiesced in this shameful abandonment of the Guardianship by the Hands of the Cause (with a single notable exception) and should have continued to do so, as time went on, when the pain of Shoghi Effendi's loss should have become less intense and the clarity of her thinking should have been restored to a state of normalcy had been, in my view, incomprehensible and unpardonable, to say the least.

My third letter to Rúhíyyih Khánum was written because the Haifa Notes of Gayle Woolson, an American Bahá'í, had come to my attention only after writing my first two letters. Gayle had distinguished herself by her outstanding pioneering services for the Faith in several Latin American countries, the accounts of which can be found in several issues of the United States Bahá'í News at the time. The esteem and high regard in which she had been held by the newly declared Bahá'ís of South America are evidenced by the fact that she had been elected a member of the first National Spiritual Assembly of South America. She had made her pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the period February 16-25, 1956, less than two years prior to Shoghi Effendi's passing. The credibility of her Haifa Notes were certainly beyond question. She records in these notes the following highly important statement made by Shoghi Effendi to one of the Persian pilgrims who had obviously been concerned about the matter of succession when he questioned him about a son:

" EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT WILL BE FULFILLED. THE BAHÁ'ÍS MUST NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT THIS. "


As this significant and unambiguous statement made by Shoghi Effendi can leave no doubt in the mind of the reader that Shoghi Effendi had undeniably made provision for the continuity of the Guardianship, as enjoined by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, it was placed at the very top of my third letter to Rúhíyyih Khánum to attract her attention, even if she chose not to read its remaining contents, with the hopeful anticipation that this statement by Shoghi Effendi's that so undeniably indicated to anyone familiar with the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will, the most important provision of which pertains to the matter of succession, that Shoghi Effendi had provided, without question, for the continuation of the Guardianship.

It was my fervent hope then that this would finally bring to her the frightening realization of her great error in abandoning the Guardianship and of her failure to exert the great influence that she possessed upon her fellow-Hands not to do likewise (an effort that would not have been required in the case of the only Hand of the Cause who had endeavored from the outset, and in numerous instances afterwards, to persuade them not to forsake the Guardianship) and that, having seen her tragic error, she would then have undertake a reexamination of the question of the continuity of the Guardianship and to reconsider with an open and unbiased mind the validity of the claim to the Guardianship set forth in the eulogized by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Tablets addressed to both him and to others (published in issues of Star of the West); one who had been the earliest author of several publications about the Faith; one who had travelled to every continent of the globe for the purpose of assisting the believers in their teaching endeavors; one whose outstanding achievements for the Faith had been recognized by Shoghi Effendi when he had been elevated by him to the rank of a Hand of the Cause (in the first contingent of twelve living Hands named on 24 December 1951); one who had been the distinguished architect of several Bahá'í Temples as well as the International Archives building on Mount Carmel and the Western Pilgrim House, already constructed, and the architect chosen by 'Abdu'l-Bahá for the Temple to eventually be built on Mount Carmel; one who had been brought to Haifa by Shoghi Effendi in 1950 and advised that henceforth he should consider Haifa his permanent home; one whom Shoghi Effendi had especially honored, above all others in the Bahá'í world, by appointing him the President of the International Bahá'í Council – the embryonic Universal House of Justice – established in accordance with his Proclamation of 9 January 1951; one who had served as Shoghi Effendi's representative at appropriate official functions of the Israel government and finally, following Shoghi Effendi's passing in England as the sorrowful and grieving friends at his funeral gathered around the grave site in the cemetery in London where he was to be buried, the one who stood next to Rúhíyyih Khánum as they lowered the casket of Shoghi Effendi into the grave and upon whose shoulder she had laid her head as this sad event took place.

One might well ask if such an outstanding servant of Bahá'u'lláh with his matchless life-long and brilliant record of service to the Faith had not been deemed worthy to inherit the Guardianship of the Faith who would ever be worthy? Irrefutable evidence has been presented in these letters to Rúhíyyih Khánum that Shoghi Effendi did, indeed, consider him worthy and by appointing him as his successor "in his own life-time" faithfully preserved the Bahá'í Administrative Order for future generations to come in all of its divinely-conceived perfection and glory as delineated by the "master-hand of its perfect Architect."


Joel Bray Marangella







FIRST LETTER

Ridván 1988

My dear Rúhíyyih Khánum,

I dare hope that you will read this letter which should have been written many years ago. I could not bring myself to write it then but recently I have had the strong feeling that it is one that Shoghi Effendi would want me to write to remind you of two highly significant statements that he made during Irene's and my unforgettable pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the period 28 November to 7 December 1952 – statements that had such a critical bearing on events that were to transpire some five years later with such dire consequences for our beloved Faith. Now that more than thirty years have passed since Shoghi Effendi was taken from our midst, the passage of time has hopefully served to assuage the trauma, anguish, mental pain and bereavement of that tragic event and to enable you to consider dispassionately the statements which I shall recount, one of which brought such a strong emotional response on your part, and to reflect on their significance and implications. You will unquestionably recall the first statement. It is very doubtful that you will remember the second, although it confirmed, indirectly, the first but had another significance which all of us seated around the dinner table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi failed to grasp. Many years were to pass before, in reviewing my Haifa notes, the significant implications of Shoghi Effendi's words were understood for the first time.

When I set out to write this letter I reflected on the first time that I had seen you. It was at the National Bahá'í Convention in Montreal, Canada during Ridván 1927. My twin sister and I had accompanied our parents to this convention. I recall being with a group of children that you took upon yourself to keep entertained during one of the convention sessions. Oddly enough, this is the only event that I recall of this convention held so many years ago. I looked again at the Convention photograph appearing in The Bahá'í World for the years 1926-1928 and noted that you are not in it but your beloved mother is there seated next to Keith. My sister and I are the only children in the photograph and may be seen standing in the center of the group holding The Greatest Name with our father and mother seated on our right. It is a particularly wonderful photograph in which one finds so many of the early believers, who not only had already distinguished themselves in their service to the Faith, but were destined to win even more laurels in the years ahead. Although we never met during the twenty-five years that had elapsed betweenthis convention and our meeting in Haifa I recall seeing you from afar on several occasions over the years in Green Acre and in Wilmette. It remained for us to exchange words for the first time in Haifa and I remember that one of the first things you said to me, which touched me very much, was that you kept in your prayer book the very inadequate poem that I had written following the passing of your dear mother in Buenos Aires in 1940 and had then sent to Shoghi Effendi. Unlike my father, who was poetically gifted, and, as you know, wrote many poems, this was the only poem I ever wrote. Unfortunately, I never retained a copy for myself and the only line I can remember is the last in which I referred to your mother as "a hero, martyr and a saint."

Speaking of your mother, I must continue to digress from the main purpose of this letter to relate to you the wonderful spiritual experience I had in her presence in New York City only a short time before she set sail on her fateful voyage to Argentina where she became a glorious martyr to our beloved Cause. Your cousin, Jeanne, and I had planned to go to a show one evening. Before doing so, we had been invited by your mother to have dinner with her. We must have met initially at the New York Bahá'í Center because I recall walking along 57th Street with your mother between us holding each of us by the arm as she conversed with us in her inimitably loving way as we proceeded to her hotel nearby. It must have been around 7 o'clock when we entered the dining room which was soon filled to capacity. Your mother began to relate to us some of her experiences with Shoghi Effendi in Haifa. We became so completely absorbed and enthralled with what she was saying that we lost all sense of time or place. When we finally came out of this transfixed state and looked around us we were amazed to find that so much time had passed we were the only ones left in the dining room, the others having left without our being conscious of them at all. I can only describe that memorable evening as being one in which I had felt I was in paradise and its memory remains vividly in my mind to this day. The spiritual exhilaration I felt then was never repeated until those never-to-be-forgotten days spent many years later in the presence of Shoghi Effendi. As you know, I spent my early childhood years growing up in Green Acre and consequently came to know most of the distinguished believers of the time but I found in your mother a special quality that set her apart, as far as I was concerned. It was this experience in her presence that brought to me a realization of her spiritual greatness and moved me to pay tribute to her in my poem written upon the occasion of my first learning of her passing.

To return to the purpose of this letter. It was on the third day of our pilgrimage that we gathered as usual at the dinner table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi. The group seated at the table that evening consisted, in addition to yourself, of five other members of the International Bahá'í Council, including its President, Mason, and its Secretary General, Leroy (Ugo and Amelia being absent), Sylvia, yet to be appointed) and Irene and myself as the only pilgrims present.

Shoghi Effendi prefaced the startling, completely unexpected, and highly disconcerting statement that he was about to make by relating the tremendous burden under which the Master had labored, as His ascension neared, in keeping up with His voluminous correspondence. Then he dropped a verbal bombshell by saying words to the effect:

"Now my correspondence is becoming more than I can handle."

You must certainly remember that, no sooner had he made this remark, you jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room, only to return when you had composed yourself. Shoghi Effendi then said some comforting words to us which served to calm our emotions and allay our fears that such an unthinkable event was imminent.

Shoghi Effendi must certainly have had a purpose in alluding so clearly to his passing in what could only be construed as the near future. Why had he taken this occasion and chosen this particular audience to do so? And why had Irene and I been chosen to be privy to this startling and highly disturbing intimation? Had he made such an allusion to others? It would appear that he had not for, had he done so, the news would have spread like wildfire throughout the Bahá'í world. And, if given credence, it would have caused such consternation as to seriously impede the accomplishment of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade upon which the world-wide Bahá'í Community was soon to embark.

While I would not be so presumptuous as to state that I knew what purpose or purposes Shoghi Effendi had in mind in alluding so clearly to his passing in the near future, at this time, he certainly knew that it would have a tremendous impact upon all of us while at the same time it would affect some of us in a particular way. For example:

  • As his wife, you were the closest to him and the only one (unless you had confided in others) who knew that there was no son to succeed Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian. Over the years we heard speculation that you had a son whose existence was being kept secret by hiding him away in Europe or elsewhere while he grew up and until such time as it would be appropriate to introduce him to the believers. Shoghi Effendi certainly knew, as evidenced by your deeply emotional reaction to the allusion he had made to his passing, that his death would be such a heart-rending and traumatic event that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for you to bear the thought of anyone taking his place as the second Guardian of the Faith. Was he, therefore, by his intimation, at this time, hoping to prepare you, in some measure, for this unthinkable event that would occur some five years in the future?

  • As for Mason, he would be affected in a unique and particularly important way as the appointed President of the International Bahá'í Council. In a statement that Shoghi Effendi would make but a few minutes later he would not only emphasize Mason's future role as President of this Council but would further corroborate, indirectly, his previous intimation and, this time, even give us a time element.

  • As for the other members of the International Council, shaken as they would be by the thought of his passing, they would hopefully begin to consider and reflect upon the manner in which the Council would be affected once it had been brought into life as an actively functioning administrative body under the Presidency of Mason.

  • As for Irene and myself, I feel that he knew that I had gained a supernal vision, through his writings, of the glory and perfection of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh which would remain with me forever, as well as an unshakable faith in the sacredness, immortality and immutability of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Charter – a Charter which together with the Aqdas, as he had pointed out, "enshrined those priceless elements of the Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá'í Faith." He knew, therefore, that I would never forsake the Guardianship as an Institution because of the vision and faith with which I had been imbued by him. And finally, he realised that Irene, as my loving consort, would always support me whatever the future might bring.


If we are to appreciate fully the highly significant statement that Shoghi Effendi was to make, only minutes after his allusion to his passing, we need to refer to a few important passages of his historic proclamatory message of 9 January 1951. This message opened with the words "Proclaim to National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of the formation of the International Bahá'í Council" and went on to acclaim this event as "the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the course of the last thirty years." And in the closing lines of this first Proclamation he had issued during his ministry he hailed "with thankful, joyous heart, at long last, the constitution of the International Council which history will acclaim as 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 ... ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith ..."

As momentous as this Proclamation was, it is doubtful whether any of us recognized it as a Proclamation, per se, because it had been dispatched in cablegram form. Be that as it may, that evening as we sat around the table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi, some two years after its issuance, there is little doubt that the epoch-making importance which Shoghi Effendi had attached to the formation of the International Council had already been largely forgotten not only by the Council members, who were most directly affected, but by the Bahá'ís at large. This is, perhaps, understandable in view of the following:

  • The International Council had not been activated as an administratively functioning body. The President of this Council, Mason Remey, as we learned only some years later from him, although urged by his fellow-Council members to convene the Council had not done so, awaiting instructions from Shoghi Effendi which were not forthcoming during the remaining years of his ministry. As perplexing as this may have been to the members of the Council, the Bahá'ís throughout the world were never aware of this highly significant fact and remain in ignorance of it to this day (not that they, in their present frame of mind, would perceive any significance in this). It is not surprising that the members of the Council expected the Council to be activated, as a further examination of Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation reveals the fact that he had particularly addressed it to the National Assemblies throughout the world (and not to the friends of East and West as he so often did) and he had pointed out that one of the principal considerations that had induced him to arrive at his decision to create the Council had been "the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions." In this statement, linking the International Council administratively with the National Assemblies, it became clear that Shoghi Effendi intended that the International Council – "the supreme Council" in the Bahá'í World – would, when activated as an administratively functioning body, automatically exercise administrative jurisdiction over the National Assemblies, as its subordinate Councils, a clear intention that was destined to be overlooked by the Hands of the Cause, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi.

  • As Shoghi Effendi had not assumed the Presidency of the Council himself, there was a tendency, it seemed, to regard the Council as a transitional institution rather than the transitional embryonic stage of one single Institution, namely; the Universal House of Justice. Nor did anyone realise why Shoghi Effendi had so carefully preserved the Council in this pure embryonic stage, even going so far as to appoint you as "the chosen liaison" between himself and the Council, thus symbolizing, as it were, an umbilical cord relationship between the Guardian and this embryonic body and precluding any semblance of direct contact with or supervision of this institution, as a body.

  • Some eleven months following the formation of the International Bahá'í Council, the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause was appointed by Shoghi Effendi (including some Council members) followed by a second contingent some two months later. Unlike the inactive state of the Council, as a functioning body, the Hands were thrust immediately into the limelight on the international center stage as they conspicuously participated, as the Guardian's representatives, in the Intercontinental Conferences around the world and in other activities which brought them world-wide attention, publicity, and acclaim. Indeed, these activities were so prominent that they inevitably eclipsed and cast into shadow the activities of the Council whose members were only performing individual tasks assigned by Shoghi Effendi as they assisted him to discharge those responsibilities in the Holy Land that he had outlined in his Proclamation. As this situation continued until the passing of Shoghi Effendi, it is not surprising that, by that time, the International Bahá'í Council had taken second place to the Hands in the minds of the believers and in the minds of the Hands, too, and all had lost sight of the fact that the International Council was nothing less than the Universal House of Justice, albeit in embryonic form. And, according to 'Abdu'l-Bahá,

    "THE EMBRYO POSSESSES FROM THE FIRST ALL PERFECTIONS... ALL THE POWERS – BUT THEY ARE NOT VISIBLE, AND BECOME SO ONLY BY DEGREES."

Considering the diminished stature of the Council in our minds, for the reasons discussed above, it is understandable that even the Council members, including its President, to say nothing of Irene and myself, were ill-prepared to comprehend the implications of the second highly significant statement that Shoghi Effendi would now make. This statement pertained to the second stage in the evolution of the Council as outlined in his Proclamation, namely; the International Court. In order to better appreciate Shoghi Effendi's words spoken so long ago, it would be helpful to preface them with brief excerpts from another momentous message which he had dispatched on 8 October 1952 (i.e. a little more than a month prior to our pilgrimage) on the auspicious occasion of the launching of the "world-embracing spiritual Crusade." In this message which included an enumeration of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade he cited "The establishment of a Bahá'í Court in the Holy Land preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice." As a concomitant, he also called for the establishment of "six national Bahá'í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East." and the "Codification of the Laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas." It followed that it would be necessary for the National Assemblies of these countries to be transformed into National Courts as subordinate courts of the International Court.

With these goals in mind we are prepared to consider the significance and implications of the following statement made by Shoghi Effendi, as shown in my Haifa Notes:

"The Bahá'í Court to be established in Haifa will operate initially only for the Eastern World where religious law is recognized. The present President of the International Bahá'í Council will then become the Judge. (The Guardian, in an aside to Mason and with a smile asked: 'Mason are you ready to become a Judge?') Rúhíyyih Khánum then asked whether when the Council became the Court, all the women would get off? The Guardian said, no – not even when the Court became elective, but only when the International House of Justice was formed."


The above quoted statement of Shoghi Effendi and the question he posed to Mason tells us several very important things; namely:

  • Of the six members of the Council seated around the table, Shoghi Effendi singled out Mason in stating that he would be the Judge (shall we say Chief Judge). I distinctly remember being puzzled about this, as in my mind, up to that time, I had considered all of the members of the Council of co-equal status.

  • Shoghi Effendi, had indicated Mason would be the head or chief Judge, of the second stage in the development of the International Council. It followed that Shoghi Effendi was also telling us that Mason was the irremovable head of this embryonic institution (as is the head of any embryonic organism). And, significantly, in its second stage of development, as the Court, the Council would necessarily be required to enter an active stage. As its irremovable head, Mason would then continue to be the President through the successive stages of development of the International Council, if he were to live that long, until it reached full maturity as the Universal House of Justice. As Presidency of this body and Guardianship are synonymous terms Mason would, at that time, as well as in its prior active stages, be none other than the appointed second Guardian of the Faith, whereas in its embryonic stage he had been only potentially so.

  • If the goal of transforming the Council into the International Bahá'í Court was realised no later than the end of the Ten Year Global Crusade (i.e. 1963) this was a clear and dire forecast that Shoghi Effendi would not live beyond the activation of the Court; otherwise, as the Guardian, he would have to assume the Presidency of the Court instead of Mason. Therefore, in stating that Mason would be "the Judge" of this Court, Shoghi Effendi was, in fact predicting his passing sometime before 1963. Could there be anything clearer than that? But, happily we failed to perceive it and Shoghi Effendi knew that we would fail to do so.


Only someone with the brilliance of mind of Shoghi Effendi could have conceived of such an ingenious way to appoint his successor "in his own life-time" as required by the Master's Will, yet in such a disguised manner as to wisely conceal this appointment, for reasons already stated, from the believers who would not perceive it because of their false misconceptions concerning the matter of succession. Such misconceptions included the following:

  • That the Guardian, like 'Abdu'l-Bahá, would appoint his successor in a written conventional-type testamentary document.

  • That if the eldest son of the Guardian did not fulfill the necessary spiritual qualifications, the alternative stipulation in the Master's Will stating that "then must he (the Guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him" meant that only a male descendent of the blood-line of Bahá'u'lláh could be appointed.

We need only look at the Proclamation issued by the Hands following their first Conclave in 'Akká, less than three weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to find these misconceptions confirmed as well as their obvious ignorance or lack of understanding of the provisions of the Master's Will. The following excerpt from this Proclamation will suffice to illustrate this point:

The Hands "certified that the beloved Guardian had left no Will and Testament. It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir. The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian fortheir faithlessness to the Master's Will and Testament ..."

Naturally, they found no Will as only a cursory review of the Master's Will and Testament will show that for Shoghi Effendi to have left a Will would have been completely contrary to the provision of the Master's Testament which states clearly and in unmistakable terms that: "It is incumbent upon the Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own lifetime him that shall become his successor, that differences may not rise after his passing." (The phrase "in his own lifetime" being redundant if a Will had been intended, as that is the only time when a Will can be written).

They were equally wrong on the eligibility of an heir. Having no son, the alternative provision contained in the Master's Will applied, requiring the Guardian to "choose another branch to succeed him." If the Hands had given this critical matter but a little thought and study they would not have interpreted the above quoted phrase to mean that Shoghi Effendi could only appoint an Aghsán to succeed him, and then concluded that as there was no Aghsán to appoint, the Guardianship had come to an end, only thirty six years after the inception of the Administrative Order.

At the very outset of their deliberations, the Hands would have asked themselves whether 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in his great wisdom and in the light of all that both Bahá'u'lláh and Himself had suffered as a result of the treachery and infidelity of their relatives, would have placed at risk the future continuity of the Guardianship and hence the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh by restricting future Guardians in their choice of a successor to a spiritually qualified son or a male blood-line relative of Bahá'u'lláh.

Secondly, they would have realized that to make such an interpretation would be obviously contrary to Shoghi Effendi's interpretation. For, in spite of the fact that he knew there was not an Aghsán who could be appointed as his successor he had labored unremittingly to erect and finally establish the international administrative institutions of the Faith at the World Center and, in fact, some five months before our pilgrimage to Haifa had announced in a cablegram, dated 30 June 1952, "that, 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." Again, as late as 27 November 1954 (almost two years to the day after he had alluded to us that his passing was near) he dispatched a cablegram in which, after referring to preparations for the erection of "the International Bahá'í Archives designed by Hand of the Cause, Mason Remey, President of the International Bahá'í Council," had gone on to state that "The raising of this Edifice 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." Was the Guardian to be accused of deceiving the believers throughout the world in referring to these future seats of the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause?

In light of the foregoing the Hands would have inevitably concluded that they should look for some other interpretation of the term "branch" as used in the Master's Will. Having realised this, a reexamination of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá would have shown them the importance placed on spiritual relationships over physical or blood-line relationships. For example:

  • In the IQAN, Bahá'u'lláh, in several instances, refers to Sádiq, the sixth Imám, as "the son of Muhammad," obviously a spiritual son being meant.

  • In SOME ANSWERED QUESTIONS, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that:

    "Muhammad was the root, and 'Alí the branch, like Moses and Joshua," both of these branches denoting a spiritual relationship to the Prophet. Similarly it may be perceived that Bahá'u'lláh is "the Ancient Root," 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "The Most Great Branch" or "primal branch" thereof, (a spiritual relationship, in this case) and the successive Guardians are the "the spiritual branches, twigs, or offshoots of that Most Great Branch of "The Tree of the Covenant."

Their research would further have confirmed their faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and in the immortality of the Will and Testament bequeathed to us by The Center of the Covenant. They would have noted that Shoghi Effendi had extolled 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Divine Masterpiece" as "the brightest emanation of His mind," "His greatest legacy to posterity," "the Charter of the New World Order," and "The offspring resulting from the mystic intercourse between Him Who had generated the forces of a God-given Faith and the One Who had been made its sole Interpreter and was recognized as its perfect Exemplar" – this divinely-conceived offspring being "The Child of the Covenant" and hence "Their Will."

Even more significantly, they would have noted that Shoghi Effendi had stated that Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book, the AQDAS and the Master's Will were "inseparable parts of one complete unit," clearly indicating thereby that every clause of the Master's Will was sacrosanct, immutable and as changeless as the Laws of the AQDAS, itself, and therefore could not be altered, abrogated, or declared invalid as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endured.

With their minds hopefully freed from an obsession with blood-line relationships and in their knowledge that every clause of the Master's Will was inviolable the Hands would now have concluded that their single task was to find the one who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi in his own life-time as his successor.

If the above scenario had taken place, the Hands would not have taken it upon themselves to establish an organization of their own making, completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Master, with the title: "Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land" upon which they conferred authority to direct the world-wide activities of the Faith as a collegiate substitute head for the Guardianship pending, as they announced it, the formation of a sans-Guardian, and, therefore, headless so-called Universal House of Justice in 1963, incidentally, by-passing the two essential intermediary stages (of which the Court was one) which had been prescribed by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951. And the divinely-appointed System bequeathed to us by the Master would not have been so dismembered and dismantled as to make it unrecognizable – "that unique and wondrous System the like of which mortal eyes hath never witnessed."

Perhaps, then, either you, Mason or Leroy, who had been present at the table with Shoghi Effendi five years earlier when he had discussed the evolution of the International Bahá'í Council, would have remembered that conversation and called it to the attention of this gathering of the Hands. Mason, being a very humble man and not assertive in the sense of pushing himself forward, would have been disinclined to do so, but you and Leroy could have done so and you, particularly, could have influenced them to permit the International Council to assume the role envisaged for it by Shoghi Effendi at least through its second stage of development as the International Court with Mason as its Chief Judge. If this development had taken place, they should have then realised that this Institution was the only one endowed with authority to administer the world-wide affairs of the Faith and exercise administrative jurisdiction over the nine National Spiritual Assemblies cited in Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation of 9 January 1951.

Furthermore, if the Hands had permitted this embryonic Universal House of Justice to be activated as a functioning body, they may have eventually recalled and realized the significance of the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the embryo possessing "from the first all the perfections – all the powers." If their research had been diligent they might have noted also that Mason had written a letter, as President of the Council, to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States on 1 July 1952 (i.e. while Shoghi Effendi was still living) signed by Mason and countersigned by Leroy, as Secretary General of the Council, in which he referred to the Ark mentioned in the Tablet of Carmel and stated:

"the 'Ark' means the Laws of God, and refers to the Universal House of Justice, the embryo of which is the present International Bahá'í Council."


Perhaps, finally, the realization would have dawned upon them that Mason, as the embryonic head of the International Council appointed by Shoghi Effendi and now its active head upon the emergence of the Council into active life, could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith. They then should have joyfully welcomed and embraced him as the Guardian and announced this joyful news to the Bahá'í World. But alas! This was not to be.

There are those who have argued that as Mason had acquiesced in the sans-Guardian organization established in Haifa and as he had even accepted membership in their body of nine Hands directing the world-wide affairs of the Faith, this was proof that he could not have been the second Guardian of the Faith. They would not have said this if they had read the three appeals he made to his fellow-Hands in which he pleaded with them during this period not to abandon the Guardianship or his diary titled: "Daily Observations" in which he chronicles his repeated remonstrances with the nine Hands in Haifa, of which you would be well aware, again pleading with them not to repudiate the Will and Testament of the Master and to uphold the essentiality of the Guardianship. Admittedly, he did not, himself, at first, perceive the relationship between his Presidency of the International Council, as the embryonic Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship and, finally, did so, only some two and a half years following the passing of Shoghi Effendi. It was then, as you know, that he refused to remain a member of this organization any longer and permanently left Haifa. It was while he was aboard ship on his way back to the United States that he began to write his final appeal to his fellow-Hands and the realization dawned upon him for the first time of the significance of his appointment as the President of the International Council and the reason why Shoghi Effendi had not permitted this Council to become an administratively functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry (significantly the only one in the Bahá'í World to realize this). One might consider this nine year period between Mason's appointment as President of the Council in 1951 and the issuance of his own Proclamation at Ridván 1960 as a period of spiritual gestation before he finally became aware of his new spiritual station. The fact that Shoghi Effendi chose a man more than twenty years older than himself to be his successor is not for us to question. In my own mind I cannot conceive of anyone more worthy than Mason as he had proven his exemplary fidelity and unsurpassed loyalty to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh since the days of the Master and whose services to the Faith since then shall forever live in the annals of the Faith. There was certainly no one more unlike Shoghi Effendi to be his successor but this, in itself, is significant as it serves to emphasize the distinction that we must always make between the personality of the Guardian and the reality of the Institution of the Guardianship.

In the unwarranted haste that the Hands displayed in terminating the Guardianship, it would appear that there may have been those who, for reasons of their own, did not actually want the continuation of the Guardianship. In your own case, for instance, there has been speculation that you were not prepared to accept anyone in the place of Shoghi Effendi nor to surrender the position you enjoyed as the First Lady of the Bahá'í World with its attendant prestige, power and influence. This is difficult to believe but it is equally incredulous that one who had beensuch a long and faithful champion of the Guardianship and who had paid such a glowing tribute to the Guardian in your work titled: "Twenty-five years of the Guardianship" would so readily abandon the Guardianship following his passing. Even more surprising is the fact that you and your fellow-Hands, save one, should have succumbed to the diabolical, insidious, and pernicious doctrine of "BADAH" first promulgated by the Persian Hands; a doctrine which holds, incredulously enough, that God has changed His mind, concerning the continuity of the Guardianship in this "Day of God,""The Day that shall not be followed by The Night" – and has accordingly decreed that the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh shall not be established in all of its perfection and glory – "the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven" so long-promised, prayed for, and awaited.

Let us attempt to visualize the frightening situation that would exist in the distant future when those Bahá'ís who knew, worked for, and loved Shoghi Effendi had long since gone, when the Will and Testament of the Master was considered all but null and void and the believers thoroughly conditioned to a Faith without the guidance, protection and direction of the living Guardian of the Faith, assisted by his appointed Hands. Would not the Faith then be faced with terrible perils and be exposed to corruption of every sort. The pseudo "Universal House of Justice" would find it necessary to eradicate from the writings every reference to the Guardianship for fear that it would expose the extent to which the Bahá'í Administrative Order, as delineated by the Master, had been deformed. To do this, they would have to destroy, in some cases, or excise in others, those writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Administrative Order and its divine origin such as found in "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" or in GOD PASSES BY under the chapter titled: "The Rise and Establishment of the Administrative Order." In fact, not more than thirty years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, efforts are already being made to downgrade the importance of the Master's Will and Testament and condition the Bahá'ís to the view that the Institution of the Guardianship is not essential to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, using the specious argument that this Institution was not specifically mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh in His Writings. Yet, at the same time, and inconsistently the equally fallacious concept is being foisted on the believers that Shoghi Effendi is continuing to perform the function of Guardianship from the other world, disregarding the fact that the Center of the Covenant, Himself, is there and that He made the Guardianship a function of this world in His Will and Testament.

Already, and notwithstanding professed continued loyalty to Shoghi Effendi, the standards that he established are being corrupted. Take, for example, the qualifications of a believer which he established, as long ago as 1925 which included, significantly enough, "steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved's sacred Will". Not only does this clause no longer have meaning to those who have renounced the Guardianship, but the other requirements, as well. As shocking evidence of this, I recently viewed a television program about the Faith which included an episode showing a group of young Bahá'ís engaged in a teaching trip in North Carolina. To my utter amazement and disbelief, after they had spent only a few minutes speaking of the Principles of the Faith to a black woman seated on her verandah, they presented her with a Bahá'í Declaration Card and asked her to sign it. The great danger to which such practices expose the Faith should be obvious.

There is no doubt in my mind that serious and spiritually-minded scholars of the Faith, in the future, who have become well versed in the writings and communications of Shoghi Effendi, provided they can obtain them, will inevitably perceive that Shoghi Effendi, having dedicated his life to the faithful execution of the three Divine Charters of the Faith, had, finally, in the concluding years of his ministry, erected, as he had so joyfully announced, the "highest institutions" of the "unfolding Order" of Bahá'u'lláh in their embryonic form and had left in place as his greatest legacy, "Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth" as he had announced in his very last communication to the Bahá'í World in October 1957. These scholars will realise that Shoghi Effendi would have been incapable of doing anything but remaining completely faithful to every mandate left us by the Master and would have, without question, appointed his successor "in his own life-time." They will then further perceive, what a majority of believers in the Bahá'í World so sadly failed to perceive, the manner in which Shoghi Effendi fulfilled this all-important requirement assigned to the Guardian by the Master. And finally, they will search for, and find, the living Guardian of the Faith.

Did Shoghi Effendi foresee, when we met so many years ago, that, one day, as inconceivable as it would have been then, I would find it necessary to write a letter, such as this, calling your attention to his past statements and actions in which he clearly and undeniably indicated that the Guardianship would not come to an end with his death. I feel assured that Shoghi Effendi and your beloved parents in the other world will rejoice that I have made this effort, as difficult as it has been for me, to awaken you to the grievous and tragic error you have committed in abandoning the Guardianship and repudiating the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Indeed, how very sad, tragic and ironic it is that you became a party, however unwittingly it may have been, to the destruction of the labors of Shoghi Effendi carried out so devotedly, arduously and sacrificially, during the course of his ministry to establish the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh, as delineated in the Divine Charter bequeathed to us by "the Master-builder of the World."

Even though I do not expect to receive a reply to this letter, it is my fervent hope that it will have enabled you to perceive the overwhelming evidence which proves that it was Shoghi Effendi's intent and purpose to preserve the continuity of the Guardianship in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Center of the Covenant and that he, in fact, did so, but in such a disguised way that it was not perceived by any of us for the obvious reasons pointed out in this letter. No! The immortal "Child of the Covenant" did not die after a life of only thirty-six years but will live as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endures.

Realizing how difficult it would be for you to admit that you have grievously erred in your abandonment of the Guardianship and loss of faith in the immortality and immutability of the Master's Will and Testament, I still dare hope that you will, at least, leave behind you some form of testamentary statement urging the believers to reopen and reexamine the question of the continuity of the Guardianship on the basis of the information and arguments presented herein.

Although the forces now arrayed against the mighty and resistless Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and the Child of that Covenant are formidable and overwhelming, including as they do, for the first time in the history of the Faith, the very institutions designed by the Master to protect and propagate the Faith, this Covenant shall certainly prevail against them and ultimately emerge victorious.

No more fitting conclusion to this letter could be made than to quote the following excerpt from Shoghi Effendi's immortal work: "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh":

"Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy, misconceive its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent its purpose. The bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose for mankind in this day. The Source from which it derives its inspiration is no less than Bahá'u'lláh, Himself. Its shield and defender are the embattled hosts of the Abhá Kingdom. Its seed is the blood of no less than twenty thousand martyrs who have offered up their lives that it may be born and flourish. The axis round which its institutions revolve are the authentic provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá."


Finally, I find solace and assurance in the following Words of Bahá'u'lláh:


"None in the kingdom of earth and heaven can frustrate Thy purpose; none throughout the realms of revelation and of creation can prevail against Thee"


Faithfully, in the service of the Covenant,


Joel Bray Marangella


P.S. All words and phrases within quotation marks, when not otherwise identified, or readily recognized as those of others, are Shoghi Effendi's.






SECOND LETTER





Ridván 1990




My dear Rúhíyyih Khánum,


This second letter to you, which I had never anticipated writing, is due to the fact that, since my previous letter of two years ago, I have had the opportunity to read your book titled: THE GUARDIAN OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH. In my previous letter I reminded you of the startling and wholly unexpected allusion that Shoghi Effendi made to his passing during the occasion of Irene's and my pilgrimage at the end of 1952 and the highly emotional response that it evoked on your part at the time. You can, therefore, understand my surprise that you did not recall this event, even upon later reflection, when you wrote the following lines which appear on page 237 of your book:

"No one dreamed that the time clock inside that heart was reaching the end of its allotted span . . .I do remember a very few things that might have been significant but certainly they meant nothing to me at the time. I could never have survived the slightest foreknowledge of the Guardian's death and only survived it in the end because I could not abandon him and his precious work, which had killed him long before any one believed his life would end."


You must have been surprised also upon reading my letter (assuming you read it) to discover that you had so completely forgotten the very clear intimation that Shoghi Effendi had made to those of us seated at the dinner table one evening in Haifa that his passing could not be far off. Of those hearing this dire pronouncement which included, in addition to yourself, the other members of the International Bahá'í Council permanently residing in Haifa, Irene and myself, only the three of us remain alive today.

In relating the circumstances of this intimation in my previous letter you may recall that I reminded you that Shoghi Effendi made this intimation by drawing a parallel between the unbearably heavy correspondence which had overburdened the Master prior to His ascension and the correspondingly heavy correspondence with which he was then increasingly burdened and that was becoming more than he could handle. And, that it was, upon hearing these words that you jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room. The comforting words that Shoghi Effendi spoke following your return to the table apparently served to allay your fears, as well as ours, that this unthinkable event was imminent and to put the memory of this ominous event out of our minds completely, and surprisingly enough, in your case, to such an extent, that it did not come to mind, even when you wrote the lines quoted above. In my last letter I mentioned that I considered it highly unlikely that Shoghi Effendi would have made a similar intimation to others, either before or after this event. Your comments reveal the fact that he had obviously not done so. The question therefore remains as to why Shoghi Effendi had chosen to make such a disturbing and shocking intimation in our presence that evening. Several possible reasons were outlined in my previous letter. Upon further reflection, an explanation not previously mentioned inevitably crosses my mind. Incredible though it may seem, Shoghi Effendi must have foreseen that one day it would fall to my lot to remind you not only of this intimation of his passing but also of the other highly significant statements he made that evening which had such a tremendous bearing on the very future of our beloved Faith and its divinely-appointed Institutions. The fact that you reacted so strongly and emotionally to Shoghi Effendi's intimation of his early passing that night at the dinner table certainly confirmed your words quoted above that you would not have been able to survive the foreknowledge of his death. Shoghi Effendi certainly sensed this and it was for this reason that he would never have been able to confide in you the identity of the person whom he had already appointed as his successor. For, had he openly identified him either to you or to the Bahá'í world at large, it would have been tantamount to forecasting the early end of his ministry, as his chosen successor was a man more than twenty years his senior and, although already of advanced age, would outlive him (actually doing so by some 17 years). Not only would such a foreknowledge have had the effect upon you which you have mentioned but it would certainly have paralyzed the other believers, throughout the Bahá'í world as well, in their labors for the Cause.

As we think about this matter in that light, we can see that Shoghi Effendi had been faced with something of a dilemma. How could he appoint the person whom he had chosen to be his successor "in his own life-time" according to the terms of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and, at the same time, veil or obscure his identity, during the remaining years of his ministry, in such a way that the believers would not perceive that his ministry would be soon drawing to a close? As Shoghi Effendi resolved this dilemma so ingeniously and so much at variance with our long-held expectations as to the manner in which he would appoint his successor, and even though I discussed this in my previous letter, it bears repeating in this letter.

By appointing his successor – the Guardian-to-be – the President or Head of the International Bahá'í Council – "this first embryonic International Institution" – Shoghi Effendi very obviously realized that the believers would lack the discernment to perceive the relationship that existed between his nominee being appointed President of this embryonic body and his continuance in this Office as this body developed through its intermediary stages of evolution (as outlined in his 9 January 1951 Proclamation), finally reaching maturity as the fully developed Universal House of Justice, the Head of which can only be the Guardian of the Faith. In other words, the appointed embryonic head of this body would remain the irremovable head of this body as it developed through its successive stages until becoming the fully matured Universal House of Justice exercising all of its powers. We need only refer to the Master's words concerning the development of an embryonic organism to confirm this, for He has said: "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind . . . all the powers – but they are not visible and become so only by degrees." With these words of the Master in mind, we can understand why Shoghi Effendi referred to the International Bahá'í Council as an "Institution" indicating that it was not some temporary or provisional body created, outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá but, in fact, nothing less than the Universal House of Justice in its embryonic form. And, for this reason, Shoghi Effendi had to maintain the Council in an inactive state; otherwise he would have had to assume the Presidency himself. And this is why he appointed you the "chosen liaison" between himself and the Council and never directed its President (according to his statement) to convene the Council into a functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry but assigned tasks to individual Council members only.

If an even more convincing argument is desired to prove that it was Shoghi Effendi's intention that the Head or President of the Council would remain as its head through successive stages of development, we need only call to mind the remarks that Shoghi Effendi made that same evening which unequivocally pointed to the one whom he had chosen as his successor. We again failed to perceive their significance due to our preconceived ideas and expectations based on false interpretations of the provisions of the Master's Will and Testament as evidenced, for example, by the misguided and fruitless search that was undertaken following the death of Shoghi Effendi for a Will and Testament. Although this, too, was discussed in my previous letter, there is an additional point that I failed to make which is of the greatest significance as it proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Mason was Shoghi Effendi's chosen successor. You may recall from my previous letter that I mentioned the remarks that Shoghi Effendi made concerning the evolutionary stages in the evolution of the International Bahá'í Council and that when he discussed the second or next stage of its development in which it would be constituted as an International Court, he had pointed out to us that Mason would then become the Judge (i.e. the Chief Judge) of this Court. And, then, most significantly, he turned to Mason at the table and asked him if he was ready to be a judge, thus singling him out in this way from the other members of the Council seated around the table that night who obviously would then be associate judges on this Court.

Perhaps this reference to Mason as the future Chief Judge of this Court and the query he directed to him would have held more meaning to us if we had grasped the full import and implications of Shoghi Effendi's Proclamation made almost a year earlier (9 January 1951) in which he had proclaimed his "epoch-making decision" to create the International Bahá'í Council as "the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order" and "the greatest event shedding lustre upon the Formative Age . . . ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Three Central Figures of the Faith . . ." For, if we had perceived the significance of this Proclamation and even asked ourselves why he had used the superlative terms that he did in proclaiming this event, perhaps we would have been prepared to consider the implications of the role, functions, and authority that Mason would be called upon to exercise as the Chief Judge of the International Bahá'í Court. We would have noted that under the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade this International Court – this Supreme Court in the Bahá'í world and forerunner of the Universal House of Justice – would be called upon to exercise jurisdiction over six National Bahá'í Courts (evolved themselves from National Spiritual Assemblies) established in certain Islamic countries designated by Shoghi Effendi where they would be authorized to apply the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh and such subsidiary laws as would inevitably be required in administering Bahá'í justice to believers in those countries. If we had considered the role, functions, and authority of the Chief Judge of the International Court under these circumstances, and in the light of the provisions of the Will and Testament which apply to the Guardian's role as the "sacred head and distinguished member for life" of the Universal House of Justice, we would have realized that only the Guardian of the Faith could possibly preside as the Chief Judge of this, Court. For, as we know, the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá confers authority solely upon the Guardian, of the Faith to interpret Bahá'í Holy Writ and to adjudge the propriety of such subsidiary laws as may be contemplated by the Universal House of Justice and where necessary require their reconsideration to insure that they do not contravene the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh. This is the vital point that I wish to make. The fact that Shoghi Effendi told us specifically that Mason was to be the Chief Judge of this Supreme Court to be established in the Holy Land proves conclusively and irrefutably that Mason Remey was Shoghi Effendi's chosen successor.

What we also, of course, failed to perceive, was that by telling us that Mason was to become the Chief Judge of this International Court, which we have already shown to be an Office synonymous with the Guardianship, Shoghi Effendi was, in fact, making the dire prediction that his own demise would take place before the establishment of this Court projected to take place during the Ten Year Global Crusade (his death actually taking place almost at the midpoint of the Crusade).

Shoghi Effendi certainly realized that none of us hearing his words that evening would grasp their import or the significance of the query he had put directly to Mason. Perhaps, he had entertained the hope that we would recall this conversation following his passing, realize its import, and inform the Bahá'ís throughout the world, who, together with the Hands of the Cause, were erroneously expecting to learn of Shoghi Effendi's successor through the instrumentality of a will and testament. They would have learned that, in fact, he had appointed his successor some six years prior to his death in accordance with the terms of the Master's Will and had thus insured the uninterrupted and unbroken continuity of the Guardianship from the very moment of his passing. If you, particularly, had remembered this conversation, perceived its significance and then informed your fellow-Hands, the great mass of the believers throughout the world would not have abandoned the Guardianship, the ramifications of which if permitted to continue, will lead to the destruction of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. In my own case, I, too, failed to understand the import of Shoghi Effendi's words even though I had taken notes when he was speaking. It was only many years later when Mason who, by that time, had gone through a spiritual gestation period of some 9 years since his appointment as the Guardian-to-be (i.e. President of the IBC) and some two and a half years following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, issued his Proclamation to the Bahá'í world at Ridván 1960 that it all became so clear to me as to be undeniable. With this realization, I could do nothing less than give him my wholehearted and complete support even though it meant separating myself from my family, my friends of long-standing, and many of my activities for the Cause, witnessing the illegal dissolution of the NSA of France, being deposed as a member of the European Auxiliary Board and accepting the painful ostracism that I knew was sure to follow. How else, could I prove faithful to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, the immortal Child of that Covenant, and to the Center of the Cause?

At long last, it had now become evident, that the Master's portentous and highly revealing prophecy to Mason Remey concerning his future role contained in a Tablet addressed to him as long ago as 1915 had been fulfilled:


"Verily I beseech God to make thee confirmed under all circumstances. Do not become despondent, neither be thou sad. ERE LONG, THY LORD SHALL MAKE THEE A SIGN OF GUIDANCE AMONG MANKIND." (Star of the West - Vol.V, No. 19, March 2, 1915).

Let us now consider the latter part of the passage quoted from your book on the first page of this letter. You have said that you were only able to survive the Guardian's death "because I could not abandon him and his precious work . . ." This sentiment is certainly understandable in view of your great love for him and appreciation, more than any of us, due to your closeness to him, of his devoted, untiring, and magnificent labors during his 36 year ministry for the triumph of the Faith and the erection of the Institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh, as delineated in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. I find a great paradox in your statement, for, notwithstanding this sentiment, you have acquiesced in, if not presided over, the dismantlement of the very international institutions of the Faith whose final establishment during the concluding years of his ministry represented the crowning achievement of Shoghi Effendi's long, arduous, and dedicated labors to erect the administrative machinery of the Faith. Were not these achievements hailed by him in a veritable deluge of momentous and historic cablegrams to the Bahá'í world (as found in the book: MESSAGES TO THE BAHÁ'Í WORLD, 1950-1957) extolling the fact that these international institutions had finally been established? For example, in his message of 30 June 1952 (some 5 months before our pilgrimage) he stated:

"At the World Center of the Faith, where, 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 . . ."

Were not these "highest institutions" and "supreme organs" that had at long last been erected in their embryonic form none other than the Universal House of Justice (i.e. the International Bahá'í Council) and the institution of the Hands of the Cause? Small wonder, then, that Shoghi Effendi could joyfully announce to the Bahá'í world that the "embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh" had been established in all of its perfection and glory and he could as his ministry drew to its conclusion derive the greatest satisfaction and joy in the knowledge that he had faithfully discharged, with the erection of these institutions, and in the planning and inauguration of the Ten Year Global Crusade, every mandate bequeathed to us by the Master.

Flushed as the Bahá'í world was with the auspicious and momentous victories for the Faith on every front during these concluding years of Shoghi Effendi's ministry who could have imagined that within the space of but a few years following his passing the historic achievements wrought by him in finally erecting the "supreme organs" of the Administrative Order at the World Center of the Faith would be reduced to naught by those believers whom he had so recently elevated to the station of Chief Stewards of that Order? Who would have thought that these Hands of the Cause would, when tested, display such a woeful ignorance and poor understanding of the most important provisions of the Master's Will and Testament, and so quickly, with a single notable exception, lose faith in, the immortality, immutability, and inviolability of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's divine Charter of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh or would be so perfidious as to perpetrate the following ignominious acts?:

  • Abandon the living Guardianship of the Faith and declare it ended for all time.

  • Establish, without any authority whatsoever, a body composed of their own number completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Master upon which they conferred authority to direct the affairs of the Faith pending their announced establishment of a spurious Universal House of Justice (i.e. sans Guardian) of their own making in 1963.

  • Depose the Head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice – the International Bahá'í Council – created by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and cancel the plans for the future development of the Council through successive stages as outlined by Shoghi Effendi.

  • Establish in 1963 their headless so-called Universal House of Justice pretending, notwithstanding, that this body deprived of "its sacred head and the distinguished member for life" was endowed not only with the same authority and infallibility as the one delineated in the Master's Will and Testament but was invested with prerogatives which belong only to the living Guardian of the Faith.

  • Destroy the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and leave those hands appointed by Shoghi Effendi leaderless until they died out (as the Hands work under the direction, as their very name implies, of the Head of the Faith – the Guardian).

  • Foster the fallacious conception amongst the believers that Shoghi Effendi was the one and only Guardian of the Faith and, therefore, the fourth Central Figure of the Faith (as you have, in fact, also done in your book). Such a conception is completely contrary to everything that Shoghi Effendi wrote about the Guardianship and the provisions of the Master's Will and Testament which clearly reveal that the Guardian does not take his station with him to the other world but the Guardianship is a function of this world, for only an unbroken line of living Guardians can possibly safeguard the Faith from schism as the sole Interpreters of Bahá'í Holy Writ and safeguard the Laws of Bahá'u'lláh from corruption as the indispensable and sacred Heads of the Universal House of Justice down through the centuries of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh.

  • By declaring the living Guardianship ended, automatically render invalid those clauses in National Bahá'í Constitutions which confer supreme authority on the Guardian as the Head of the Faith; such constitutions being based on the Declaration of Trust of the NSA of the United States which was approved by Shoghi Effendi as the model for all constitutions prepared by National Bahá'í Administrative bodies throughout the world.


I find it incomprehensible that one who loved Shoghi Effendi so deeply, and so cherished and appreciated his magnificent achievements, should not only have acquiesced, if not taken the lead, in dismantling the institutions he had so laboriously and painstakingly erected during his ministry but, in the process, however unwittingly, also invalidated and discredited the greater part of his matchless writings on such subjects as the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Can any greater disservice to Shoghi Effendi be imagined than this? Are future generations of Bahá'ís expected to give the credence that is due to Shoghi Effendi's writings on other subjects when, if, for example, they are asked to ignore what he has written about the sacredness, immortality,and inviolability of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá? Will the chapter titled: "The Rise and Establishment of the Administrative Order": be deleted from his book: GOD PASSES BY or the chapter titled: "The Administrative Order:" be deleted from The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh because they no longer have validity? Are they expected to believe that the following words of Shoghi Effendi extolling the Divine Charter penned by the infallible Pen of the Master no longer have meaning?:

"His greatest legacy to posterity."

"The brightest emanation of His mind."

"His supreme act."

". . . 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."

"this Divine Masterpiece, which the hand of the Master-builder of the world has designed for the unification and triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá'u'lláh."

"the Child of the Covenant – the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God."

"the Charter of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."

"they [Aqdas and Will and Testament] are not only complementary but . . . mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit."

Certainly the time is not now far off when you will meet Shoghi Effendi in the other world. Your joy at meeting him again will certainly be beclouded by the knowledge that you will gain then that ironically you had permitted the great love that you had held for him to become the very veil that led to the abandonment of the Guardianship as a continuing Institution of the Bahá'í Administrative Order and your consequent rejection of his chosen successor. I don't know how you will be able to explain to him or justify those actions of yours, or your acquiescence in the acts of others, which have resulted in such disastrous consequences for the future of our beloved Faith and the continued existence of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. How will you account for your loss of faith in the most important provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's divine Charter whose sacredness, immortality, and immutability he has equated with Bahá'u'lláh's Most Holy Book? If you do not perceive the enormity of this violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh before your passing and make amends, you most certainly will in the other world and then it will be too late to do so. You will, in that case, have to live with the awful knowledge of this tragic betrayal throughout eternity. It, therefore, is my ardent hope that you will for your own salvation and for the sake of the Cause reflect upon and reconsider carefully, in the light of what I have written above, the stand you have taken against the continuity of the Guardianship, find the humility and courage to admit your error and rally to the aid of those who have labored these many years for the victory of the Covenant and the continued life of the divinely-conceived "Child of the Covenant".

Your dear parents, too, must be greatly saddened that one who had been closer to Shoghi Effendi than anyone else as his loving consort, and had served him so faithfully, devotedly, and selflessly during his glorious ministry, has, following his passing, allowed her great love for him to become the very veil that has obscured her understanding and recognition of his intent and purpose with respect to the continuity of the Guardianship and, therefore, has led so tragically to her repudiation of the major provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. Certainly, they must ardently hope and pray that you will perceive the great error that you have made and forthwith forsake your continued support of, if not, in fact, your leadership of, those misled believers who are bent on tearing out the heart, cutting off the head and severing the hands of the divinely-conceived perfect "Child of the Covenant" and who are attempting to foist upon the Bahá'í world in the place of that perfect "Child" a deformed, dismembered caricature which they have the audacity to pretend is the likeness of the Administrative Order bequeathed to us by the infallible Pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

I have given much thought to your dear mother, since last writing, calling to mind the last time I saw her. I was greatly privileged to be amongst the group of New York believers who visited her aboard ship on the day that her ship was preparing to set sail for South America; who had the opportunity to exchange a few parting words prior to her departure and to wave a final and sad farewell to her as her ship pulled away from dockside en route to Buenos Aires where she was destined to perform her final memorable act of service to the Cause she had served so faithfully and devotedly and there add to her unforgettable record of service the shining crown of martyrdom. Looking back in retrospect, I feel that the spiritual bond that had been forged between us during the days she spent in New York before her departure, led to my going to France many years later, the scene of some of her earliest victories for the Cause which had earned her the title: "Mother of Paris." When I had felt the urge to pioneer in Europe in response to the second Seven Year Teaching Plan, France had never entered my mind. The circumstances that finally resulted in my being stationed first in Paris and later in Orleans were to me nothing short of miraculous. I can only conclude that it was in no small measure due to your mother's intercession on my behalf in the other world that enabled me to fulfill this desire and to settle in France, where I spent some of the most productive and happiest days of my life in serving the Faith for a period of 18 years. As you know, I was able to lend my assistance to the formation of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France and was privileged to become its Chairman. Significantly, and to the eternal credit of this Assembly, it was the only one in the Bahá'í world which, upon receipt of the Proclamation of the second Guardian of the Faith during Ridván 1960, refused to be swayed by the edict issued by the Hands of the Cause in Haifa to reject out of hand his claim to the Guardianship. (The Hands having no authority to direct the NSA to do anything.) Instead, the Assembly studied this Proclamation, restudied the Will and Testament and applicable references from the writings, prayed over the matter and after due consultation voted and passed a resolution recognizing Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith, finding the claims and evidence presented in his Proclamation well founded, sound, and completely valid.

In concluding this letter, I would like to take up a matter that has nothing to do with the principal issue discussed in this letter but one that has to do with a wonderful graphic handiwork done by Shoghi Effendi which may have been all but forgotten and perhaps never viewed by the new generation of Bahá'ís. As it graphically represented in such an unique and magnificent way Shoghi Effendi's implementation of the mandate bequeathed to us in The Tablets of the Divine Plan penned by the Master, I feel certain that you will agree that this handiwork should be displayed in a proper place where future Bahá'í generations may view, admire, and appreciate it. I am referring to the map of the world on which Shoghi Effendi had superimposed in graphic form the goals of the "Ten Year International Bahá'í Teaching and Consolidation Plan" more commonly referred to us as the Ten Year Global Crusade. Shortly after Irene's and my arrival in Haifa on pilgrimage, Shoghi Effendi placed in my hands, for study, the original of this wonderful map which had not then been published. I was deeply moved by this act and felt honored to be entrusted with this precious map during the period of our pilgrimage. Upon my return to France, in due course, I received a copy of the booklet that had been published containing the various lists of the goals of the Crusade and, as an appendix, a folded-up map reproduced from the one that Shoghi Effendi had presented to me for study in Haifa. I wanted to pay tribute to this marvellous handiwork and it occurred to me that the best way to do this would be to reproduce it as faithfully as I could on a large map that could be hung on the wall. Accordingly, a large canvas map of the world was secured in Paris measuring some 8 feet by 12 feet which was then suspended on the wall of one of the rooms of our house for purposes of reproduction. After working on this map for several months during my spare time, a fairly good reproduction was completed in time for it to be taken to the Intercontinental Conference being held in Frankfurt in July 1958 where it was hung on the wall in the foyer of the hall where the conference was being held. Sometime later, I saw this map hanging on the wall of the Hazíratu'l-Quds in Frankfurt where it may still be to this day. For this map to have maximum exposure in the future it would seem most appropriate to hang this map, or one like it, on the wall of a building at The World Center; otherwise the map that is folded away and contained as an appendix to the booklet will never be seen and appreciated by any but a few scholars in the years to come.

There could be no more fitting conclusion to this letter than to quote a passage from GOD PASSES BY (p.25-26) which affirms so magnificently what I have so inadequately been trying to say about the divinely-conceived, divinely ordained and divinely appointed Order of Bahá'u'lláh, as delineated in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá:

"It should be noted, in this connection, that in the third Vahíd of this Book [the Bayán] there occurs a passage which, alike in its explicit reference to the name of the Promised One, and in its anticipation of the Order which, in a later age, was to be identified with His Revelation, deserves to rank as one of the most significant statements recorded in any of the Báb's writings. 'Well is it with him,' is His prophetic announcement, 'who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Bahá'u'lláh, and rendereth thanks unto his Lord. For He will assuredly be manifest. God hath indeed irrevocably ordained it in the Bayán. It is with that self-same Order that the Founder of the promised Revelation, twenty years later – incorporating that same term in His Kitáb-i-Aqdas – identified the System envisaged in that Book, affirming that 'this most great Order' had deranged the world's equilibrium, and revolutionized mankind's ordered life. It is the features of that self-same Order which at a later stage in the evolution of the Faith, the Center of Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant and the appointed Interpreter of His teachings, delineated through the provisions of His Will and Testament. It is the structural basis of that self-same Order which, in the Formative Age of that same Faith, the stewards of that same Covenant, the elected representatives of the world-wide Bahá'í Community, are now laboriously and unitedly establishing. It is the superstructure of the self-same Order, attaining its full stature through the emergence of the Bahá'í World Commonwealth – the Kingdom of God on earth – which the Golden Age of that same Dispensation must, in the fullness of time, ultimately witness."


Faithfully in the service of the Covenant,


Joel Bray Marangella










THIRD LETTER



30th December 1990


"EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT WILL BE FULFILLED. THE BAHÁ'ÍS MUST NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT THIS. "

Shoghi Effendi




My dear Rúhíyyih,

I hasten to write this third letter to you only because the above quotation taken from the Haifa notes of Gayle Woolson was recently brought to my attention again and if I do not send this letter to you now we may be cut off from communication for some time in view of the ominous events that are looming upon the horizon .

These notes of Gayle Woolson were based, with respect to the above quotation, on a question raised by one of the Persian pilgrims "about his descendents, about a son." during their pilgrimage and recorded in Gayle's notes during the period February 16-25, 1956, less than two years prior to Shoghi Effendi's passing. A copy of her complete notes is attached for your information.

What is glaringly obvious from the above quotation is that this quotation from Shoghi Effendi's words to this pilgrim are in complete contradiction to your alleged statement that there was no one eligible for Shoghi Effendi to appoint as his successor based on your obviously erroneous interpretation of the Will and Testament of the Master that only someone from the bloodline of Bahá'u'lláh could inherit the Guardianship (there being no such person at that time).

It is also significant that these same Haifa notes contain on page 3 a corroborative statement made by Shoghi Effendi with respect to the buildings that would be built on Mount Carmel which he said would include in addition to the Archives building "for Preservation" and the building for the Universal House of Justice "for Legislation," the Guardianship building "for Interpretation" and the building for the Hands"for Propagation." This statement was, of course, a reiteration of his statement contained in his message to the Bahá'í world some two years earlier on 27 November 1954 (page 74, MESSAGES TO THE BAHÁ'Í WORLD 1950-1957).

Certainly you and those who follow you must ask themselves why Shoghi Effendi would have given such definite assurances concerning the continuity of the Guardianship if, in fact, there was no one destined to succeed him. You would be the last one to accuse him of deceiving the Bahá'ís or giving them false assurances. He could make the statement he did to this pilgrim for the very reason that I have attempted to point out in my previous two letters to you and that is that he had, in fact, already provided for his successor in appointing him the Head or President-to-be of the active Universal House of Justice, then only in its inactive embryonic state of development prior to becoming the International Bahá'í Court, whose Head or Chief Judge could be none other than the Guardian of the Faith according to the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of the Master.

I have recently been rereading the early editions of the STAR OF THE WEST published prior to the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. One has only to do this to realise why Shoghi Effendi deemed Mason Remey spiritually qualified to be appointed his successor, a man of unsurpassed service to the Cause and its Institutions and of undeviating loyalty and fidelity to the Covenant for more than a half century. The following quotation taken from the Tablets of the Master to or about Mason Remey will suffice:

"O my dear son !
" . . . This blessed purpose of thine is the magnet of the confirmations of the Abhá Kingdom. "

(Translated by Shoghi Rabbani, May 23rd, 1919 Haifa,
Palestine) .

In a letter to Albert Windust the Master referred to Mason Remey in these words:

"His honor Mason Remey, that luminous person and heavenly man, is occupied in service in Germany and Holland. He does not rest for a moment and does not breathe but to raise the call to the Kingdom of God.


In a letter to Corinne True, the Master eulogized Mason Remey in these words:

"Praise be unto God, that the model of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár made by Mr. Bourgeois was approved by his honor, Mr. Remey, and selected by the Convention. His honor, Mr. Remey is, verily, of perfect sincerity. He is like unto transparent water, filtered, lucid and without impurity. He worked earnestly for several years, but he did not have any personal motive. He has not attachment to anything except to the Cause of God. This is the spirit of the firm and this is the characteristic of the sincere. "

(Translated by Aziz'u'lláh S. Bahadur, June 12th, 1920,
Haifa, Palestine.)



In Volume 13 of the STAR OF THE WEST (p 221 ), a Tablet of the Master to Mason Remey is quoted under the date of October 7, 1921, as follows:

"Sometime ago I wrote thee a letter the content of which was that, praise be to God, thou hast become confirmed in drawing a plan for the pilgrim house in Haifa. It is my hope that this pilgrim house may be built under your supervision. Also in the future a Mashriqu'l-Adhkár will be established on Mount Carmel. Thou wilt be its architect and founder."


If those who abandoned the Guardianship in 1957 had only had the spiritual understanding of Abul Fazl, that greatest of all Bahá'í scholars who in writing of the twelve Apostles of Christ referred to them as "branches" of that Manifestation they would perhaps have realised that spiritual relationships take precedence over the physical or bloodline relationships and been prepared to accept as a successor to Shoghi Effendi some one other than a son of Shoghi Effendi or a bloodline relative of Bahá'u'lláh and would not have so falsely interpreted the Will and Testament as to place this constraint on Shoghi Effendi's choice of a successor .

It is my fervent hope and prayer that you, who loved Shoghi Effendi so deeply, will ponder over and reflect upon the words of Shoghi Effendi quoted as a preface to this letter which provided such a clear and unmistakable assurance of the continuity of the Guardianship and re-examine carefully your position in opposition to the continued existence of that divinely-created and appointed Office as prescribed by the unerring and immortal Pen of the Master and urge those who have followed you to do likewise.

Faithfully, in the service of the Covenant,



Joel Bray Marangella







FOURTH LETTER



Naw-Rúz 1999

My dear Rúhíyyih Khánum,

I do not know whether you have ever read the three previous letters that I sent to you a long time ago but I feel that beloved Shoghi Effendi and your dear parents in the other world would want me to make this final effort, in spite of my feeling of complete inadequacy to the task, to rescue you, before you have entered the next world and it has then become too late, from the diabolical madness with which you have become possessed following the passing of Shoghi Effendi that has caused you to believe that the Guardianship of the Cause of God has forever ended and resulted in your repudiation, in effect, of the major immutable provisions of the divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal Will and Testament of the Master. My effort at this time is all the more pressing and imperative as it will certainly not be long now before you meet both Shoghi Effendi and your parents in the world beyond and are called to account for the leading role you have played following Shoghi Effendi’s passing, in spite of your great and enduring love for him, in the abandonment by the vast majority of the believers of the Institution of the living Guardianship and in the efforts that have since been made by those who have followed your lead in not only declaring the Guardianship forever ended but in taking part in putting an end to some of the greatest achievements of his ministry involving the erection during the closing years of that ministry of the highest institutions of the divinely-conceived Bahá’í Administrative Order at the World Center of the Faith.

I cannot imagine how you, who were closer to Shoghi Effendi than anyone else during his ministry, who loved him so deeply, who were the most ardent supporter during his lifetime of the institution of the Guardianship in your statements and writings, who served him so devotedly and faithfully in a secretarial capacity for so many years and who were so keenly aware of his untiring, devoted and dedicated labors to erect the institutions of the Administrative Order in complete fidelity to the provisions of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ’Abdu’l-Bahá, will, as you then face him, find it possible to justify and explain why, even as profoundly distraught as you were over the tragic and sudden event of his passing, you so quickly lost faith in the immortality and immutability of the Master’s Testament and forsook the Institution of the Guardianship whose essentiality and indispensability to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, as you so well knew, he had so clearly and consistently emphasized in his matchless writings. And what excuse will you offer to justify the prominent lead you have taken in efforts made since his passing to dismantle and permanently consign to oblivion the highest institutions of "the Administrative Order which the master-hand of its perfect Architect has fashioned" whose erection,"at long last" as his ministry drew to a close, he had hailed and announced with such great joy and sense of accomplishment in his momentous messages to the Bahá’í World and to substitute in their place a man-made, sans-Guardian, deformed and hence imperfect organization bearing no resemblance to the divinely conceived Order bequeathed to us by the Master.

Had not the erection of these highest institutions of the Administrative Order constituted the crowning achievement of Shoghi Effendi’s labors? Will he not find it inexplicable and incomprehensible, therefore, that almost on the morrow of his passing, the major provisions of the sacred Will and Testament of the Master had been, in effect, declared null and void as you and your fellow-Hands assembled at Bahji, came to the fateful and hasty conclusion that the Guardianship had forever ended (with two notable exceptions) and then proceeded to ignore and nullify Shoghi Effendi’s glorious handiwork that had been but recently completed at the World Center of the Faith and to establish initially a collegial body of nine Hands of the Cause known as the Custodians of the Faith, completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of the Master, to direct the affairs of the Faith as a substitute for the Guardianship to be followed by the election at Ridván 1963 of a so-called Universal House of Justice which would be in the absence of its "sacred head"– the Guardian of the Cause of God – nothing more than a man-made, illicitly-established, headless and fallible organization?

Did not these nefarious decisions and acts cited above to substitute man-made institutions for the divinely-appointed highest Institutions of the Administrative Order delineated in the Master’s Will completely ignore, disregard and cast aside what Shoghi Effendi had already so auspiciously accomplished and acclaimed himself and serve to shamelessly nullify the historic and momentous decision and act he had proclaimed in the one and only Proclamation he had issued during his ministry to the Bahá’í World on 9 January 1951 in which he had proclaimed that"at long last"this "Nascent Institution""this first embryonic International Institution"– had been established? Additionally, had he not extolled in this historic Proclamation the formation of this embryonic Universal House of Justice in such unprecedented and superlative terms as the "most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh"since the Ascension of the Master and "the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation?" And, further, had he not announced in his message of 2 March 1951 that he had appointed the President of this embryonic Universal House of Justice?

Will not Shoghi Effendi find it equally inexplicable that his historic message of 30 June 1952 which clearly corroborated the fact that he had already established the embryonic Universal House of Justice had been equally ignored for had he not stated clearly:

"At the World Center of the Faith, where, 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"

And why Shoghi Effendi will certainly ask was it found necessary to replace the Institutions he had already erected in their embryonic form with imperfect man-made substitutes for had not these embryonic Institutions he had established been complete organisms at their very inception as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has explained in the following words?:

". . . the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers – but they are not visible, and become so only by degree."(BWF p.313)

Further, how will you be able to explain to Shoghi Effendi why his writings pertaining to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Bahá’í Administrative Order such as those found in "God Passes By" ( Chap. XXII ) and in the "Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh" have, in effect, been consigned to the wastepaper basket by those who, like yourself, have abandoned the Guardianship and these magnificent writings treated as though they had never been written? Did not you and your dear mother in your jointly authored Haifa Notes of 1937 make the following significant statement concerning Shoghi Effendi’s spiritual testament – a testament that you, and those who have abandoned the Guardianship, now consider all but null and void?

"There was a danger that the friends might misunderstand the Master’s Will, and thus the "Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh" was written, Shoghi Effendi’s spiritual testament in detail. He has fixed in it the relation of things to each other. We cannot go beyond what he has defined. However, the second Guardian can interpret the "Dispensation" itself. He has the same promise to be the inspired interpreter. The Guardian is the interpreter, expounder of the Cause and the protector of the Cause."

He may well ask, too, whether he is to be accused of deceiving the believers about the future of the Guardianship during successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith when in a cablegram dispatched to the Bahá’í World (on 27 Nov.1954), only three years before his passing, in which his plans to erect the structure of "the International Bahá’í Archives, designed by the Hand of the Cause, Mason Remey, President of the International Bahá’í Council" on "God’s Holy Mountain" had been outlined, he had significantly stated that:

"The raising of this Edifice 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 suchdivinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice."

Of particular significance, too, in the above quoted statement is the fact that it was made when there were no blood-line descendents of Bahá’u’lláh, even then, who were eligible to be appointed as his successor, much less in "successive epochs" to come for future Guardians to appoint as successors proving conclusively that Shoghi Effendi did not interpret the Will and Testament of the Master to restrict the appointment of his successor to relatives of Bahá’u’lláh, as falsely contended by those who have now abandoned the Guardianship.

Will you perhaps attempt to justify to Shoghi Effendi your abandonment of the Guardianship with the argument that had he meant to appoint a successor he would have certainly confided in you, well before his passing, the identity of this successor? How could he have done this when to identify his successor would have been a sure prediction of his passing in the near future and he certainly was aware of the reaction that you would have had to such a prediction, for as you have stated on page 237 of your book titled: "The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith":

"I could never have survived the slightest foreknowledge of the Guardian’s death"

I became aware of this sensitivity on your part myself , while in Haifa, as a result of the unforgettable incident that transpired during Irene’s and my pilgrimage which I have brought to your attention in a previous letter and which bears repeating here. One evening (on 30 November 1952 to be exact) when we had the great privilege of joining Shoghi Effendi, as well as yourself and the other members of the International Bahá’í Council then residing permanently in Haifa, at the dinner table, he made such a clear and unmistakable allusion to the imminence of his passing, as he drew a parallel between the overwhelming workload with which he was increasingly burdened and that of the Master shortly before His Ascension, that you were so emotionally affected by this allusion to his passing in the near future that you jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room returning only after you had regained your composure. Realizing your great sensitivity to such a foreknowledge, as evidenced in this one incident alone, you must admit that Shoghi Effendi could never have confided in you that the one whom he had chosen as his successor was a man more than twenty years older than himself? For had he so informed you of his identity, would not this have clearly indicated that his passing was near at hand and would you then have been able to continue to effectively function by his side faced with this awful and unthinkable prospect and the certainty that it was soon to take place? Moreover, what would have been the reaction of the believers throughout the world if they, too, had come to understand that Shoghi Effendi’s passing would take place in the near future? Did he not have to conceal this information from the Bahá’í World as well, especially as the believers were about to embark on the Ten Year Global Crusade? As the Will and Testament required Shoghi Effendi to appoint his successor "in his own life-time ", he was then obviously faced with the dilemma of openly announcing to the Bahá’í World the one whom he had chosen as his successor without, at the same time, revealing that the one whom he had chosen to be his successor portended, due to his already advanced age, his own early death. As events following the passing of Shoghi Effendi would conclusively prove, the provision in the Master’s Will requiring the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own life-time " had been completely forgotten by the believers including even the Hands of the Cause, as well, who anticipated that Shoghi Effendi would appoint his successor in a conventional will and testament, as evidenced by the fact that they announced to the Bahá’í World following their first conclave in ‘Akká that they had searched for such a document and, upon not finding one, had come to the tragic conclusion that the Guardianship had forever ended. No doubt the fact that this ignorance of this provisions of the Master’s Testament on the part of the believers was universal had obviously been realized by Shoghi Effendi and it had thus enabled him to ingeniously find the way to openly make the appointment of his successor "in his own life-time " while, at the same time, obscuring his successor’s identity from the Bahá’í World and the foreknowledge that would otherwise have inevitably revealed that his own ministry would be coming to an end in the near future.

As it turned out, events, as they unfolded, revealed that all of the believers including the Hands of the Cause had been so convinced that Shoghi Effendi’s successor would be named in a traditional will and testament that Shoghi Effendi had not only been completely successful in concealing his identity during the remaining years of his ministry but due to this deplorable ignorance of the terms of the Will and Testament of the Master and lack of re-examination of this sacred Document especially by the Hands of the Cause, before reaching their hasty conclusion that the Guardianship had ended the identity of Shoghi Effendi’s successor remained undiscovered following his passing, with tragic consequences for the Faith, even though he had openly announced this appointment, in an indirect way to the Bahá’í World.

Erroneously anticipating, as mentioned above, that Shoghi Effendi would leave a will and testament, the Hands of the Cause in the first conclave held following his passing to determine the matter of succession (a gathering, incidentally, not called for in the Master’s Testament as under its provisions in which the appointment of a successor is made during the lifetime of the incumbent Guardian there will never be an interregnum even for a moment in the Guardianship) they failed, when no such will and testament was found, to consider any alternative that may have been revealed to them had they taken the time to carefully re-examine not only the Master’s Will and Testament but had reviewed particularly the momentous messages that Shoghi Effendi had addressed to the Bahá’í World during the last seven years of his ministry. Had they done so, they may have perceived the tremendous significance that was to be found in Shoghi Effendi’s Proclamation of 9 January 1951 (significantly addressed to the NSA’s throughout the world) and his announcement some two month’s later on 2 March 1951 of Mason Remey’s appointment to the Presidency of the International Bahá’í Council – the embryonic Universal House of Justice. Nor did they discern any significance in, or question the fact, that he had carefully retained this "Nascent Institution" of the International Council following its formation as an inactively functioning body under an inactively functioning President during the remaining years of his ministry even appointing you as the "chosen liaison "(in his cablegram of March 8, 1952) between himself and the Council thus precluding any semblance of the assumption of the Presidency of this Institution himself.

It is important to note that Mason Remey did not perceive the significance of this appointment himself, either at the time it was made or until some two and a half years following Shoghi Effendi’s passing. It was only after gaining maturity in this station, having been new-born into this station, so to speak, coincident with the passing of Shoghi Effendi, that he perceived, for the first time, significantly being the only one in the Bahá’í World to do so, that as Presidency of the embryonic Universal House of Justice and Guardianship are synonymous terms that it was in this manner that Shoghi Effendi had appointed him his successor "in his own life-time" in complete conformity with the provisions of the Master’s Testament. It was, therefore in this ingenious way that Shoghi Effendi had openly appointed and announced his successor while at the same time necessarily obscuring the appointment from the Bahá’í World for the reasons discussed above. As Mason had not yet perceived the manner in which he had inherited the Guardianship during the first and second conclaves of the Hands in the Holy Land he was unable to point out to the Hands at the time the manner in which he had inherited the Guardianship although his diary indicates that while he had remained painfully silent during the first conclave in ‘Akká when the Persian Hands hastily pushed through their diabolical and preposterous doctrine of "BADA" (contending that God had changed His mind about the Guardianship – a knowledge that can only be revealed by a Manifestation of God) and influenced their fellow-Hands to believe that the Guardianship had therefore forever ended, he resolved to argue in the second conclave against the termination of the Guardianship and, when he actually did so, was quickly ruled out of order. His diary also reveals that he repeatedly appealed to the Custodian Hands in Haifa while still a member of that body for a period of more than two years not to abandon the Guardianship but to no avail. It was only when he had left Haifa and finally realized the manner in which he had inherited the Guardianship that he issued his Proclamation at Ridván 1960 announcing his accession to the Guardianship – a Proclamation sent, as you know, initially to the NSA of the United States with the hope that it would be distributed to the Bahá’í World but whose circulation was subsequently so completely suppressed that the vast majority of the believers throughout the world have never had the opportunity to read it for themselves to this day and review the irrefutable evidence presented therein that supports and unquestionably validates his accession to the Guardianship.

You knew Mason Remey well since you were a young girl and would readily acknowledge that he was a very humble person, self-effacing and never in the least self-seeking nor did he ever show the slightest ambition for leadership. This is attested by no one less than ‘Abdu’l-Baha Who, as you certainly know, eulogized his character and devotion to the Faith and the Covenant in many of His Tablets that have been published in old issues of THE STAR OF THE WEST.

The following extracts taken from three of these Tablets will suffice to reflect the esteem in which he was held by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the unique destiny that awaited him as promised by the Master.

In a Tablet addressed to Mason Remey on 28 April 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stated:

"Thy letter was received and its perusal imparted happiness impossible to describe. It was an indication of the loftiness of thy nature, the strength of thy effort and the purity of thy intentions."

In a Tablet to Corinne True of Chicago on 20 August 1920, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote:

"His honor, Mr. Remey is, verily, of perfect sincerity. He is like unto transparent water, filtered, lucid and without any impurity. He worked earnestly for several years, but did not have any personal motive. He has no attachment to anything except to the Cause of God"

Most remarkably of all, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá made the following highly significant and prophetic statement to Mason in a Tablet dated May 3, 1906 (appearing in Vol.V, No.19):

"Verily, I beseech God to make thee confirmed under all circumstances. Do not become despondent, neither be thou sad. ERE LONG, THY LORD SHALL MAKE THEE A SIGN OF GUIDANCE AMONG MANKIND."

It remained for Shoghi Effendi to bring the above prophetic statement into fulfilment in his appointment of Mason Remey as his successor.

I feel that it is also pertinent to include a further verbal statement made by Shoghi Effendi during my pilgrimage which is recorded in my Haifa Notes. It is one that you heard too and one that I related in one of my previous letters to you. On the same memorable night at the dinner table when he had alluded so strongly to the imminence of his passing he made a second equally significant statement which undeniably confirmed that Shoghi Effendi foresaw that his passing and Mason Remey’s accession to the Guardianship would take place before the end of the Ten Year Global Crusade which was soon to commence but, again, the significance as well as the momentous implications of his statement were unperceived by all of us seated at the table that evening and remained so, if not forgotten, during the remaining years of his ministry. It was during Shoghi Effendi’s discussion of the several stages through which the International Bahá’í Council would develop that he mentioned the second stage of the International Bahá’í Court – a stage which Shoghi Effendi had stated in his cablegram to the Bahá’í World on 25 April 1951 would be an " essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice"– that he had this to say:

"The Bahá’í Court to be established in Haifa will operate initially only for the Eastern World where religious law is recognized. The present President of the International Báhá’í Council will then become the Judge (The Guardian in an aside to Mason and with a smile asked: ‘ Mason are you ready to become a Judge?’)"

As Shoghi Effendi had set the goal of the establishing the International Bahá’í Court during the Ten Year Global Crusade that was to terminate at Ridván 1963, Shoghi Effendi’s statement and the question he posed to Mason could only mean that provided the goal of establishing the International Court were met according to Shoghi Effendi’s plan, Mason Remey would then become the Chief Judge of this Court sometime during the ten-year period starting in 1953. Therefore, Shoghi Effendi’s statement presaged the following highly significant and indisputable events:

  • That the International Bahá’í Council, in the second stage of its development as an International Court, would undeniably become an active body whose Chief Judge, as stated and intended by Shoghi Effendi would be Mason Remey. According to Shoghi Effendi’s plans, as announced in his cablegram of 8 October 1952, this Court would exercise jurisdiction over six subordinate National Bahá’í Courts "in the chief cities of the Islamic East, Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, New Delhi, Karachi and Kabul." As this supreme Bahá’í Court in Haifa would inevitably be faced with questions of interpretation of the Laws of the Aqdas and such subsidiary laws as might be required and the applicability of these laws to cases referred to it by the National Bahá’í Courts it should be obvious that only the Guardian of the Faith was endowed with the authority and capability of fulfilling this function and presiding as the Chief Judge of this International Court under the terms of the Master’s Testament.

  • That Shoghi Effendi had confirmed that Mason Remey was the irremovable embryonic head of an embryonic body which, although in its initial stage of development had been designated by him as the International Bahá’i Council, would when reaching its maturity following the completion of intermediary stages of development outlined by him in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951 ultimately effloresce in its final stage into the Universal House of Justice and, as long as Mason Remey lived, he would continue to be its irremovable "sacred head"– the Guardian of the Cause of God – at whatever stage of development it had then attained.

    "New Century Schoolbook"
  • That as Mason Remey would, of necessity, according to Shoghi Effendi’s statement quoted above, play an active role as the Chief Judge of the International Court which had been projected by Shoghi Effendi to be established prior to the expiration of the Ten Year Global Crusade this was a clear indication that Shoghi Effendi clearly foresaw that his passing was destined to take place before the termination of this Crusade (as indeed it did, prior to the midpoint of the Crusade). This allusion to the imminence of his passing, as clear as it now appears in retrospect, would have been such a shock had we perceived its significance at the time, that it providentially remained unperceived by all of us that evening in Haifa although unfortunately it remained unperceived following his passing with dire consequences for the future of the Faith. For had his words spoken that memorable evening in Haifa been called to mind and their significance perceived, following his passing, either by Mason, you or Leroy and had this information been then presented to your fellow-Hands assembled at their first conclave in ‘Akká, not to mention the corroborative evidence to be found in Shoghi Effendi’s Proclamation and his other momentous messages issued to the Bahá’í World, some of which have been cited above, that irrefutably proved the continuity of the Guardianship, they could not have reached their hasty and ill-considered conclusion that the Guardianship had forever ended. Indeed, would not Shoghi Effendi’s statements made to us that evening in Haifa, if they had been brought to their attention, have alone sufficed to prove to them that Shoghi Effendi had foreseen as early as 1951 that his passing would take place in the near future and in view of this had, as discussed above, faithfully appointed his successor "in his own life-time" as required under the terms of the Master’s Will and Testament?

There is no doubt that after a half century of proven fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, as attested by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and, in many respects, a magnificent and unmatched record of service to the Faith that carried him, as you know, many times around the world, coupled with his multiple services in the architectural field that included the design of several Bahá’í Temples, already built, and two yet to be constructed (on Mt. Carmel, as chosen by the Master and in Tihran, as chosen by Shoghi Effendi) and the International Archives Building erected on Mount Carmel, Mason Remey was, without doubt, the outstanding male believer in the world as Shoghi Effendi’s ministry drew to a close. His recognition as such by Shoghi Effendi is evident in his appointment of him not only as a Hand of the Cause but the one chosen to be his successor. Indeed, if such a wonderful tried and tested believer whose unique, outstanding and highly meritorious services to the Faith and long-time unsurpassed fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh had not made him worthy to inherit the Guardianship, no man would ever be worthy under the criteria stipulated in the Master’s Will. Should we instead have expected that Shoghi Effendi’s successor would be a clone of him? Obviously this would have been impossible, as Shoghi Effendi had been tutored and prepared by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as no future Guardian could ever be, for the unique role he was destined to play as the first Guardian of the Faith including such notable achievements as the erection of the institutions of the Administrative Order, his matchless translations into the English language of the sacred Writings and his explanatory writings such as found in the "Dispensation" and his monumental historical account in "God Passes By." Although future Guardians will only have to build upon what Shoghi Effendi has so brilliantly inaugurated and accomplished, we know that it was not the Master’s intention that he would be the only Guardian of the Faith as those who have now abandoned the Guardianship would have us believe; otherwise He would never have provided in His Will for a line of living Guardians down through the centuries to come of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh whose essentiality, indispensability and irreplaceability to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh as the sole interpreters of Bahá’í Holy Writ and as the sacred heads of the Universal House of Justice are clearly delineated in that sacred Document. Certainly no greater contrast in personality and background between Shoghi Effendi and Mason Remey upon their accession to the Guardianship can be imagined; Shoghi Effendi being young, Mason very old; Shoghi Effendi being Iranian, Mason being American; Shoghi Effendi being from the East, Mason from the West, etc, a contrast that should prove to us that the station of the Guardianship is beyond and above such distinctions and differences.

Hopefully, now that more than forty years have elapsed since the passing of Shoghi Effendi and the tremendous trauma and shock of that event has been somewhat assuaged by the passage of time, you should now be able to perceive with a clear perspective the terrible wreckage that has been made of the Bahá’í Administrative Order by those who have abandoned the Guardianship and deluded themselves into believing that the "divinely-ordained institutions of Bahá’u’lláh’s victorious Order" erected by Shoghi Effendi are replaceable in the absence of the Guardianship with a man-made defective system of their own making. For is it not obvious that the highest Institutions, next to the Guardianship, of this Most Great Order, that "at long last" had been erected by Shoghi Effendi in conformity with the Master’s Will as his ministry drew to a close and whose establishment he had hailed with such joy have now been destroyed by those who have substituted a man-made imperfect organization in which there is no Guardianship, no Hands of the Cause and a sans-Guardian and therefore fallible so-called Universal House of Justice foisted on the Bahá’í World under the pretence that, in spite of this glaring deformity and imperfection, it is the same divinely-ordained Institution delineated in the Master’s sacred Will? And moreover, what argument can you present to justify representing this sans-Guardian so-called Universal House of Justice as a replacement for the "Center of the Cause" which in the Master’s Testament is clearly identified as the Guardian of the Cause and what defense can be offered to validate the perverted and corrupted definition they have now given to the meaning of loyalty to the Covenant as being equated with loyalty to this spurious House of Justice.

What possible explanation will you, who loved Shoghi Effendi so deeply and who during his lifetime realized and appreciated, I am sure, more than any of us the extent of his untiring labors to faithfully fulfil to the letter the Mandates that the Master had bequeathed to us, be able to offer him in the other world to justify your participation in this shameful destruction of the Institutions he had so faithfully and devotedly erected in conformity with the Will and Testament of the Master – a Document that he had extolled in his writings as coequal in its sacredness with the Aqdas and, therefore, nothing less than a part of the explicit Holy Text whose immutable provisions are destined to remain unchanged and inviolate for no less than a full thousand years?

It is my ardent hope that you may now perceive the enormity of your betrayal of Shoghi Effendi’s immortal legacy to us and perceive that you have undeniably repudiated, in effect, the major provisions of the Masters sacred Will and Testament, which, as painful as it is for me to say it, can be viewed in no other light than a clear violation of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and that you will now realize this and act to make amends before it is too late. For it will, indeed, be too late when you enter the next world and then unquestionably perceive what you have done and suffer unremitting remorse from which you will be unable to find surcease throughout eternity. How terribly sad and tragic it will be for one who attained such a high station in this world during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi to forfeit this station upon entering that greater world and only then come to the painful and undeniable realization that she has been tragically guilty, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, of not only taking the lead in the misguided efforts she has made herself but in those she has made to influence her fellow-believers as well to put an end to the Guardianship of the Cause of God and the other highest institutions of the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.

There can be no doubt that the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh embodying the divinely-conceived Administrative Order in all of its glory and perfection – fulfilling, as it does, the long-promised Kingdom of God upon earth as it is in Heaven – is assuredly destined to become a reality in this, the Day of God, in spite of all that has been done and is still being done to thwart God’s purpose by those who have lost faith in Bahá’u’lláh’s indestructible, resistless and glorious Covenant and its sacred, divinely-conceived and immortal Child. For, we have the sure and unmistakable promise that God’s purpose will be fulfilled in the following Words revealed by both the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh:

"Naught can resist Thy will, nor frustrate what Thou hast purposed by Thy power." – Bahá’u’lláh

"Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be." – The Báb

Faithfully, in the service of the resistless and indestructible Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and its sacred and immortal Offspring,



Joel Bray Marangella

 

P.S. I have been unable to resist highlighting and emphasizing significant statements made by the Master and excerpts from Shoghi Effendi’s cables and other statements and words which prove so conclusively and irrefutably that, in faithful compliance with the terms of the Will and Testament of the Master, Shoghi Effendi assured the continuity of the Guardianship and erected all of the Institutions of the Bahá’í Administrative Order. Future unbiased and spiritually minded scholars will unquestionably reach the same inescapable conclusion when studying the writings and cablegrams of Shoghi Effendi.

JBM