This is a direct sequel to I am NOT an “Orthodox” Baha’i!
I recently found a small group on reddit devoted to the teachings of a faction of Baha’is called “Orthodox”. This was one of the groups arising from the attempt by Hand of the Cause of God Charles Mason Remey to take over the Baha’i Faith in 1960 by claiming to be its second Guardian.
I looked into it and then made a crosspost between it and the exbahai subreddit with this:
This prompted a member of the first group to come in ours to defend his beliefs.
Question: Knowing that Shoghi Effendi was supposed to appoint his successor in his lifetime and also knowing that he never identified Charles Mason Remey as his successor, how can anyone believing in Remey as the second Guardian be considered faithful to the Covenant of the Baha’i Faith?
The Star of The West”, 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 GOD SHALL MAKE THEE A SIGN OF GUIDANCE AMONG MANKIND.
Mr. Husband, I ask you to be fair minded and help me understand if there is something opaque or obscure about Abdu’l Baha stating to Mason Remey that in the future he would be a sign of guidance among mankind.
The substance of the Orthodox Baha’i argument is that in the appointment of Mason Remey as President of the International Baha’i Council (nascent Universal House of Justice) in the only proclamation of his ministry to the Baha’i World in 1951, Shoghi Effendi openly named his successor.
In this way Shoghi Effendi used this “nascent institution” as the instrument through which he was to identify his successor (in cable of 2 March 1951).
As the third Guardian, Joel Bray Marangella stated, this was a veiled appointment as the consternation of the Baha’i World would be great if they understood the implications of Shoghi Effendi naming a man almost 25 years his senior as perhaps a foreshadowing of his early death. Shoghi Effendi dies of influenza at age 61 and Mason Remey lives to be just short of 100.
in the appointment of Mason Remey as President of the International Baha’i Council (nascent Universal House of Justice) in the only proclamation of his ministry to the Baha’i World in 1951, Shoghi Effendi openly named his successor.
Strange that Shoghi Effendi’s widow never got that memo. Both Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha named their successors explicitly and in writing. The Guardian did not. If the President of the International Baha’i Council was to be the next Guardian, why wouldn’t the Guardian himself take that position and have Mason Remey be his Vice-President?
Shoghi Effendi naming a man almost 25 years his senior as perhaps a foreshadowing of his early death.
Seriously? No matter when you expect to die, it is logical to appoint someone your own age or younger to take your place. But not TOO young, like Abdu’-Baha did when he appointed Shoghi Effendi himself.
The International Baha’i Council was an inactive institution, only to be brought into life with the death of the first Guardian, Shoghi Effendi and the second Guardian, Mason Remey, being the President of the IBC (nascent UHJ) and proceeding with what might have been a seamless continuation of the Executive Branch over a nascent UHJ.
Right, so we can just throw out what was written in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, eh?
O ye beloved of the Lord! 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. He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the Guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words:—“The child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the Guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the Guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.
The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the Guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the Guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be distinguished (i.e., secret ballot).
The position of the Haifan Baha’is is that Mason Remey was not a branch, only a Hand of the Cause of God. His appointment as President of the International Baha’i Council wasn’t also an appointment to the Guardianship because Shoghi Effendi never said anything like that. And the nine Hands of the Cause that were elected to be Custodians of the Faith, including Mason Remey, voted to reject Remey’s claim to the Guardianship, as they were empowered to do.
Mason Remey was no more authorized to claim the Guardianship than anyone else in 1960. It is telling that since that time, the Remeyite faction of Baha’is have splintered over other claims. Remey did nothing to stop that, showing his lack of effective leadership.
O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause of God. All must be under his shadow and obey his command. Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of God.
After Shoghi Effendi died in 1957, the Hands of the Cause of God decided to follow this provision of the Will and Testament, despite there being no one appointed as the second Guardian. Nine of their number were thus elected to be “Custodians of the Baha’i Faith”, including Charles Mason Remey. Then in 1960, Remey tried to take over the Faith for himself by claiming to be the second Guardian, despite NO indication from Shoghi Effendi that this was ever intended. Remey and those who sided with him were expelled from the Baha’i community as a result.
Since Shoghi Effendi did not obey Abdul-Baha, as I showed, that may have justified in Remey’s mind his attempt to claim the Guardianship despite not being a descendant of Baha’ullah. In this case, he simply lost a popularity contest.
1). Branch has only spiritual significance here, i.e. male Baha’i. Shoghi Effendi had excommunicated all male members of his family so, of course, blood relevance is irrelevant as interpreting a blood descendent of the Prophet to wear the mantle of Guardianship is not possible. 2). The Custodians are an institution made up of whole cloth and not a part of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha. Mason Remey is on a runaway train with Ruhiyyih Khanum supporting the Persian Hands that the Guardianship had come to an end and God had changed his mind (Bada). He is the only Hand not giving way to the specious argument that God had changed His mind. 3). Assent of the Hands (as interpreted by the third Guardian, Joel B. Marangella) is a public acknowledgement of the Guardian’s choice of successor (Not unlike the Knights of the Round Table). Certainly the vassals of the King are not in a position to thwart his choice of successor.
Below is an excerpt from Joel B. Marangella’s Ridvan Message of 2005.
Mason Remey has recorded in his Dairy titled, “Daily Observations” that Shoghi Effendi never directed him to activate the Council under his Presidency during the remaining years of his ministry, although Shoghi Effendi did assign individual tasks to members of the Council and he had himself acted as Shoghi Effendi’s representative in meetings with officials of the Government of Israel. Although Shoghi Effendi had limited the initial functions of the Council to the Holy Land and to relations with the Government of Israel, he stated that: “To these will be added further functions in the course of the evolution of this first embryonic International Institution marking its evolution into officially recognized Bahá’í Court, its transformation into a duly elected body, its efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice.”
Of significance and puzzling at the time, was the fact that Shoghi Effendi, in a message of 8 March 1952, announced the appointment of Rúhíyyih Khánum as his “chosen liaison” with the Council. It was only some eight years later and some three years following the passing of Shoghi Effendi that it became clear why Shoghi Effendi had found it necessary to appoint a “chosen liaison” with the Council, even though six of its members permanently resided in Haifa and he met them every evening at the dinner table. It then too, became obvious why Shoghi Effendi had never instructed Mason Remey, as its President, to convene this embryonic Council into an actively functioning administrative body during the remaining years of his ministry. For had he done so, he would have had to depose Mason Remey as its President (a permanent appointment and not a temporary one) because, according to the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, only the Guardian of the Faith presides permanently as the ” sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice, albeit brought into life in its embryonic form. For, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated, “The embryo possesses from the first all perfections. . .in one word, all the powers. . .” (BWF, p. 313)
Shoghi Effendi, in his message of 23 November 1951, outlined the projected “added further functions” of the Council which would be assumed sometime during the period of the Ten Year Global Crusade scheduled to commence at Ridván 1953, when he stated: that this “Master Plan designed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will embrace the continents of the earth, and will bring the Central Body directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Bahá’í world, which in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as prophesied by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel. . .” As direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies would require the Council to become an actively functioning body that would have been presided over by Shoghi Effendi, himself, if he had not appointed Mason Remey as its President, Shoghi Effendi, obviously had been aware that his own passing was destined to take place before the expiration of the Ten Year Global Crusade and therefore, in preparing this message, had forecast in this indirect way his own early demise which actually took place six years later in November 1957 at mid-point of the Ten Year Crusade.
There can be no question that “CENTRAL BODY” referred to in Shoghi Effendi’s message above could be none other than the International Bahá’í Council, as it certainly did not apply to the Hands of the Cause, the first contingent of twelve living Hands having been appointed by Shoghi Effendi a month following the issuance of this message on 24 December 1951.
Notwithstanding the very clear intention of Shoghi Effendi, as undeniably shown in his message quoted above, that the International Bahá’í Council would be the body”directing” the “widely ramified operations” of the National Spiritual Assemblies involved in the prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade and thereby clearly require the services of the three secretaries of the International Bahá’í Council, specifically appointed by Shoghi Effendi for this purpose, these secretaries never wrote a single letter to the National Spiritual Assemblies during this Crusade. For, they were prevented from doing so for the reasons discussed below.
The Hands of the Cause at the time of Shoghi Effendi’s passing, whose number had increased to twenty-seven through additional appointments, inexcusably failed to recognize the position of the International Bahá’í Council, potentially at the time of its appointment, as the supreme administrative body in the Bahá’í Administrative Order, as they had either overlooked, ignored, or completely forgotten the tremendous importance Shoghi Effendi had placed on the formation of the International Bahá’í Council in his Proclamation and his subsequent message of 30 June 1952 confirming that this International Council was nothing less than the embryonic Universal House of Justice when he stated 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.”
The failure of the Hands, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to recognize that this embryonic Universal House of Justice could now emerge into active life and take over direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, as envisaged in Shoghi Effendi’s message of 23 November 1951, coupled with their loss of Faith in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the immortality of the divinely-conceived “Child of the Covenant” —the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’-Bahá— as a result of their misguided search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, inevitably doomed to failure, as Shoghi Effendi was obligated to appoint his successor “in his own life-time” according to the explicit terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, led to their fateful decision to declare the Guardianship of the Faith forever ended. They then further incredulously deluded themselves into believing that they had become the sole heirs of Shoghi Effendi’s authority until such time as they would prematurely call for the election of a Universal House of Justice of their own making, during Ridván 1963 and although minus the Guardian as its “sacred head” still pretend it to be and foist it upon an unsuspecting Bahá’í World as the same Institution delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament.
Although the Hands of the Cause have no administrative responsibilities under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they seized complete control over the affairs of the Faith, established an illicit body of nine Hands which they gave the appellation of “The Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith,” subordinated the International Council to this body, and, contrary to the intentions of Shoghi Effendi, as expressed in his message of 23 November 1951, took over the direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, as evidenced in the book that was subsequently published under the title of “The Ministry of the Custodians, 1957-1963.”
As a result, neither the Secretary General of the International Bahá’í Council or his two assistant Secretaries ever wrote a letter to the National Spiritual Assemblies pertaining to achieving the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade. If, on the other hand, this supreme Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—established by Shoghi Effendi had been permitted to function and evolve through the successive stages that he had outlined, the Hands of the Cause would have come to realize that the irremovable head of this body appointed by Shoghi Effendi, could be none other than his appointed successor and that it was, in this indirect way (chosen to veil from the believers the imminence of his passing) that Shoghi Effendi had clearly and undeniably provided for the continuance of the Guardianship, in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
You realize that almost no Haifan Baha’i would EVER accept as valid your claims and opinions, how much less likely someone who rejects the Baha’i Faith completely. But I still thank you for coming here and spelling out the Orthodox Baha’i positions with such clarity. I will thus end on that note and wish you farewell.
That last comment was actually a diplomatic means of telling him to STFU and GTFO.
And HERE I will answer his absurdities with my responses.
Branch has only spiritual significance here, i.e. male Baha’i. Shoghi Effendi had excommunicated all male members of his family so, of course, blood relevance is irrelevant as interpreting a blood descendent of the Prophet to wear the mantle of Guardianship is not possible.
There is nothing in the writings of the Central Figures of the Faith or its (first) Guardian to indicate that. That seems to be a rationalization made up after the fact to explain what Mason Remey did in 1960. That Shoghi Effendi expelled all his relatives doesn’t change the meaning of words in the Baha’i Writings. It just made him an irrational asshole
The Custodians are an institution made up of whole cloth and not a part of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l Baha.
And the International Baha’i Council wasn’t?! Why didn’t Shoghi Effendi just call for the Universal House of Justice to be elected directly around 1950 instead of taking these little baby steps? If there were already a dozen or so National Spiritual Assemblies by that time, the UHJ could have been elected then and the Guardian would have fulfilled the provisions of Abdu’-Baha’s Will and Testament.
Assent of the Hands (as interpreted by the third Guardian, Joel B. Marangella) is a public acknowledgement of the Guardian’s choice of successor (Not unlike the Knights of the Round Table). Certainly the vassals of the King are not in a position to thwart his choice of successor.
Bullshit. The vassals of a King can act to prevent an unworthy person from becoming the next King if they see that the first King is mistaken in his choice of who should be his successor and thus force him to choose a better option. That’s the concept of “checks and balances” in action.
As direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies would require the Council to become an actively functioning body that would have been presided over by Shoghi Effendi, himself, if he had not appointed Mason Remey as its President, Shoghi Effendi, obviously had been aware that his own passing was destined to take place before the expiration of the Ten Year Global Crusade and therefore, in preparing this message, had forecast in this indirect way his own early demise which actually took place six years later in November 1957 at mid-point of the Ten Year Crusade.
Again, that is absolute nonsense! If Shoghi Effendi was aware of his approaching death at age 60, what was he doing in London when he died? He could have stayed in Haifa throughout the whole Crusade and sent a Hand of the Cause of God to do what he wanted to have done there or anywhere else in the world. And he appointed a group of Hands of the Cause of God only a month before his death, while telling none of them, not even his wife, that he was going to die. Because he died in London, he had to be buried there to conform to Baha’i law. Any other religion would have had his body transported to Haifa where he spent most of his life. Awkward!
And that is why I have as much contempt for the “Orthodox Baha’is” as I do for the SCBF.