Sunday, April 19, 2009

Resting on no Foundations Whatever: The Preposterous Claims of Charles Mason Remey

Mason Remey remained a faithful Hand of the Cause for the first two years following the death of Shoghi Effendi. During this two-year period he participated in and endorsed each and all of the decisions and actions of the body of the Hands of the Cause of God. In addition, he participated as a member of the nine Hands in the Holy Land, and as a member of the International Baha'i Council during this time. Among these decisions he joined in were the following:

1. The Hands of the Cause certified that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor Guardian, and that there was no qualified person Shoghi Effendi could have appointed as his successor.

2. The Hands of the Cause decided that they would carry on the Ten-Year World Crusade authored by Shoghi Effendi, until its conclusion in 1963; that the International Baha'i Council would serve under the direction of the Hands of the Cause of God, a decision concurred in by the International Baha'i Council, on which Mr. Remey served; that the Hands of the Cause would determine how the International Baha'i Council would pass through the successive stages outlined by Shoghi Effendi; and that the Hands of the Cause would arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice at the conclusion of that Crusade.

3. The Hands of the Cause designated nine of their number to serve in the Holy Land, to act as an executive body on behalf of the entire body of the Hands; for a time, Mr. Remey served as a member of this body of nine. One of the powers designated by the Hands of the Cause to this body was the authority to expel Covenant-breakers from the Faith.

4. During this entire two-year period, all of the Hands, including Mr. Remey, agreed that there was no living Guardian of the Cause of God.

And yet, beginning in 1960, Mason Remey condemned each and every one of these decisions as unauthorized, and further stated that in reality he had been the Guardian of the Cause for that entire period, and that these actions—each of which he condemned, and each of which, without exception, he had participated in—had prevented him from asserting his rightful position as the Guardian!

Let us now examine each of these points in turn, and see how the Hands of the Cause of God protected the Baha'i Faith from the preposterous claims of Mason Remey.

Mason Remey formally acknowledged that Shoghi Effendi appointed no successor; then two years later claimed that in actuality Shoghi Effendi had appointed him as his successor a full decade previously

As explained more fully here , at the conclusion of their First Conclave, the Hands of the Cause of God unanimously certified that Shoghi Effendi had passed away “without having appointed his successor.”


(Unanimous Proclamation bearing original signatures of the Hands of the Cause of God courtesy of D. Gershon Lewental, obtained from the State Archives of Israel; full text with signatures shown here)

Mason Remey signed this Unanimous Proclamation that there was no Guardian:



On the same day, the Hands of the Cause issued a Proclamation to the Baha'is of East and West, stating that “no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him.” (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 35)

“Mason Remey again joined his fellow Hands in signing this second formal statement that there was no successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God. For two years after the passing of the Guardian, Remey was personally involved and concurred with all actions taken by the Hands of the Cause to assume responsibility for the direction of the Faith until such time as they could arrange for the election of the House of Justice.”
("Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him") Revised, January 2008, A Statement prepared at the instruction of the Universal House of Justice by an Ad Hoc Committee at the Baha'i World Centre)

And yet, two years later, the Hands of the Cause informed the Baha'i Community that Mason Remey was now claiming that he had been the Guardian of the Cause of God for the entire two-year period:

“Mason Remey has had the temerity to assert that the beloved Guardian of the Cause appointed him during his own lifetime as his successor.” (Letter from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to all of the National Spiritual Assemblies in the Baha'i World dated October 15, 1960, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 232)

Our Beloved did not make such an appointment because to do so in the circumstances with which he was faced would have been a violation of the Sacred Texts; thus his nonappointment of a successor upheld the Text of the written Covenant of God. This was explicitly stated in the Proclamation issued from our first Conclave in which we said that "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him". This Proclamation was signed by Mason, who now states in one of his documents that he has known for the past twelve years that he was to be the second Guardian of the Faith, and the successor to Shoghi Effendi in that station!
(Confidential letter to the entire body of the Hands of the Cause dated July 7, 1960 from the nine Hands in the Holy Land, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 211)


Abdu'l-Baha, left, and His grandson Shoghi Effendi
in a photograph taken in 1919
Copyright 2006, Baha'i International Community
Reproduced with permission
Please click image for larger photograph

The Hands of the Cause are pointing out that the Sacred Texts directed Shoghi Effendi to appoint as his successor Guardian, someone who met the qualifications set forth by Abdu'l-Baha. In addition to certain virtues, the successor needed to be a lineal descendant of Baha'u'llah. The hereditary requirement is explained more fully here and here.

Abdu'l-Baha wrote:

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 Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 12)

If his eldest son did not meet these spiritual qualifications (or, by implication, if he had no son) Shoghi Effendi was not free to choose any other person; he could only appoint “another branch”—another “Ghusn”, another of the male descendants of Baha'u'llah, the Aghsan, “Branches”—to succeed him, and none of the Aghsan was within the Covenant, much less had these other qualities. These “Aghsan” included not only the first generation of the Agshan—Baha'u'llah's sons—but the succeeding generations of the male lineage of Baha'u'llah. This is shown by the fact that in the Master's Will, He refers to Shoghi Effendi as the “Chosen Branch,” the chosen Ghusn, the singular form of Aghsan. It is also shown in a letter written on Shoghi Effendi's behalf, in which his secretary states that his brother had been one of the Aghsan prior to his expulsion from the Faith:

“. . . the Guardian's own brother, the grandchild of the Master, an Afnan and Aghsan mentioned in the Will and Testament of the Master . . .”
(Letter dated 15 June 1950, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 248)

As the Hands of the Cause explained:

It has become clear during the past months that lack of knowledge of the meaning of the word "branch" as used in the Master's Will and Testament has led to great confusion in certain quarters in the West.

The word "Ghosn" (plural Aghsan) is an Arabic word, meaning "branch".

Baha'u'lláh used this word specifically to designate his own male descendants. It does not apply to any other category of people. He gave the title to 'Abdu'l-Baha of "the Most Great Branch". His second son, Muhammad 'Ali was known as "the Greater Branch"; His third son, Midhi, "the Purest Branch", etc. The Guardian himself is designated in the Master's Will as "the Chosen Branch".

All the male relatives of the Bab are invariably referred to as "Afnan", which means "twigs".

These two designations are not interchangeable.

Over and over in Baha'u'llah's Tablets these terms “Aghsan” and "Afnan" are specifically used in this sense.

For instance, in the Tablet of the Branch, the original word is "Ghosn" (i.e. branch), referring to 'Abdu'l-Baha.

The ordinary English usage of the word "branch" has caused a great deal of confusion, whereas there is not a shadow of ambiguity in the Persian and Arabic texts.

Because of ignorance of the Arabic and Persian languages and the use of these two terms in our Sacred Texts, spurious arguments have been put forth by those making the false claim that Shoghi Effendi could have appointed a successor other than a blood descendant of Baha'u'llah.
(Letter dated October 15, 1960 from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to all National Spiritual Assemblies, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 233)


It is significant that the Hands of the Cause speak of "ignorance of the Arabic and Persian languages."    Mason Remey claimed to be the Interpreter of the Word of God -- the Word of God he could not read.  Knowledge of the original languages of revelation was obviously a requirement of the office of Expounder of the Word of God, as shown by the conduct of Shoghi Effendi:
"The Guardian was exceedingly cautious in everything that concerned the original Word and would never explain or comment on a text submitted to him in English (when it was not his own translation) until he had verified it with the original."  (Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, "The Priceless Pearl," p. 204)

Mason Remey, who assumed the title of “second Guardian,” and the various claimants who assert that they are his successors—all of these self-appointed “Guardians,” are manifestly false claimants. They do not meet the clear and irrefutable Text requiring that the successor to what Shoghi Effendi terms the “hereditary office” of the Guardianship must be a lineal descendant of the Manifestation of God, one of His male descendants, one of the Aghsan.

Mason Remey agreed, along with all of the Hands of the Cause, to pursue Shoghi Effendi's Ten Year Crusade; two years later he called on all of the Baha'is to withdraw their support for the Hands in their pursuit of the goals of the World Crusade, claiming that the World Crusade had been, from its inception, harmful to the interests of the Cause of God.

The Hands of the Cause of God decided in 1957 that the surest course of action until the Universal House of Justice was elected would be to carry out the remaining provisions of Shoghi Effendi's Ten Year World Crusade. In a “Unanimous Certification,” the Nine Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land certified on November 25, 1957 that this was their function:

“We, the undersigned Hands of the Cause of God, assembled at the Baha'i World Centre, certify that by unanimous action we have constituted a body of nine Hands to serve the interests of the Baha'i World Faith at its World Centre in order to carry on from this Centre the provisions of the World Baha'i Crusade. . .” (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 31)

And in their Proclamation to the Baha'is of East and West issued on the same date, the Hands confirmed that this Crusade was divine in origin:

“Has not the Guardian, building upon the enduring foundation of the Master's Tablets of the Divine Plan, created the World Crusade to guide our work until 1963?”
(Ministry of the Custodians, p. 36)

Both of these documents were signed by Charles Mason Remey.

And yet, two years later, he claims that this had been the wrong course of action all along:

MASON ISSUED FIRST SERIES ENCYCLICALS BAHA'I WORLD FURTHERANCE FALLACIOUS CLAIM BRANDING ALL HANDS COVENANT BREAKERS AND INSTRUCTING FRIENDS CEASE ASSOCIATION HANDS
(Cable dated May 31, 1960 from the Hand of the cause Leroy Ioas to the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land; Ministry of the Custodians, p. 215)

Hand of the Cause William Sears pointed out that Mason Remey had written a ten-page letter attacking the Hands of the Cause (Letter dated June 30, 1960 from William Sears to the Hands in the Holy Land, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 216

As most of you undoubtedly know, Mason has followed up his original proclamation with other documents including one entitled "The Question of the Guardianship", and another document which he calls his first "Encyclical" to the Bahá'í world. In the latter document he definitely classifies all of the Hands as violators, calls upon the believers to abandon their activities in support of the plans announced by the Hands for the remainder of the beloved Guardian's Crusade, to withdraw their financial support of these activities, and directs them to turn to him alone for guidance and instructions.
(Confidential letter to the entire body of the Hands of the Cause dated July 7, 1960 from the nine Hands in the Holy Land, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 210)

It seems that his agitation, far from ceasing and far from being -- as we at first hoped and believed -- the evidence of great emotional disturbance and unbalance -- is a persistent and well-thought-out campaign. Not only does he personally continue to send out communications asserting his claim and adding ridiculous arguments to support it, but his attacks on the Hands and all who support them are becoming more violent and insidious all the time, and his chief supporters in France, Joel Marangella, Don Harvey and others, have now been joined by Mary Magdalene Wilkin in the United States. These henchmen are circularizing the Baha'i world widely with violent attacks on the Hands, their decisions and their right to carry on the beloved Guardian's Crusade while at the same time deducing so-called "proofs" of the authenticity of Mason's claims and position.
(August 9, 1960 Message from the Hands in the Holy Land to the Hands of the Cause, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 224)

Please observe: Mason Remey and his followers made—and still make today—“violent attacks on the Hands, their decisions, and their right to carry on the beloved Guardian's Crusade.” The folly of their position is obvious to everyone but themselves: They condemn the acts and decisions in which Mason Remey had himself participated.

It as if these were Mason Remey's angry denunciations:

“I, Mason Remey, utterly condemn the decision of Mason Remey and his fellow Hands to carry forward the World Crusade!”

“I, Mason Remey, utterly condemn the certification of Mason Remey and his fellow Hands that Shoghi Effendi did not name a successor Guardian, and that there was no one he could have named.”

“I, Mason Remey, condemn the decision of Mason Remey and his fellow members of the International Baha'i Council, to submit themselves to the direction of the Hands of the Cause of God!”

As explained here, not only did Mason Remey claim that the Hands of the Cause were misguided and misleading the Baha'i Community. The full extent of his moral collapse is shown by the fact that in 1
966 he asserted that Shoghi Effendi himself had misled the Baha'i community for his entire ministry: “Remey had by this time begun attacking Shoghi Effendi, declaring that the Administrative Order represented only the organizing of 'the Babi Faith' and must be 'dismantled', and that Remey now considered himself to be the 'first' Guardian of the Baha'i Faith.” ("Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him")

In 1957 Mason Remey along with the other Hands of the Cause asserted the authority of the Hands of the Cause of God to bring the International Baha'i Council through successive stages and then to call for the election of the Universal House of Justice; yet two years later he claimed that the Hands had no authority to take these steps.

In January, 1951 Shoghi Effendi cabled to the Baha'i World his “epoch-making decision” to form the first International Baha'i Council, which he described as the “forerunner” of the Universal House of Justice:

. . . To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Baha'i Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines.
(Shoghi Effendi, Cablegram, January 9, 1951; Messages to the Baha'i World - 1950-1957, pp. 7-8)

At the time of Shoghi Effendi's passing, this institution was composed of members whom he had appointed. As Shoghi Effendi wrote, its stages would include development into a Baha'i Court and transformation into an elected Baha'i Council, before its ultimate efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice. In two documents issued at the conclusion of their First Conclave, the Hands asserted their authority to decide upon the process of the successive stages of the development of the institution of the International Baha'i Council:

“4. That the entire body of the Hands of the Cause, meeting annually or whenever convened by the nine Hands, shall determine when and how the International Baha'i Council shall pass through the successive stages outlined by Shoghi Effendi culminating in the election of the Universal House of Justice;”
(Resolution of the Hands of the Cause of God, Nov, 25, 1957; Ministry of the Custodians, p. 34)

Meanwhile the entire body of the Hands, assembled by the nine Hands of the World Centre, will decide when and how the International Baha'i Council is to evolve through the successive stages outlined by the Guardian, culminating in the call to election of the Universal House of Justice by the membership of all National Spiritual Assemblies.
(Proclamation of the Hands of the Cause to the Baha'is of East and West, Ministry of the Custodians, pp. 37-38)

Mason Remey signed both of these documents.

Later, Mason Remey attacked the Hands, asserting that they had no such authority when they—and he—had issued these documents! The real reason he made this assertion was, of course, that the protective influence of the Hands of the Cause of God was effectively interfering with his spurious claim to the Guardianship, which he based on his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as the President of the International Baha'i Council.

The body of the Hands of the Cause of God, with characteristic humility, decided in 1959 that none of them would be eligible to serve on the elected International Baha'i Council, when it would be brought into being in 1961.

We are also happy to announce that another milestone in Baha'i history will be reached with the election of the International Baha'i Council during Ridvan 1961. The embryonic institution established and so highly extolled by the beloved Guardian will thus enter its final stage preceding the election of the Universal House of Justice. The members of all the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world, duly constituted in Ridvan 1960, will take part in a postal ballot to elect nine members to the International Council. This International Baha'i Council is to work under the direction and supervision of the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land, serve a two year term of office, and cease to exist upon the occasion of the election of the Universal House of Justice. All the Baha'is of the world, men and women alike, are eligible for election. As the Chief Stewards of the Faith are wholly occupied with specific tasks assigned them by the beloved Guardian and perforce assumed since his passing, they should not be considered for election to this Council.
(Conclave Message dated November 4, 1959 from the Hands of the Cause to the Baha'is of East and West; Ministry of the Custodians, p. 168)

All of the Hands were motivated by selfless service—all except Mason Remey. The effect of this decision was that it would deprive Mason Remey of his cherished position as President of that body, and interfere with his and his followers' lust for leadership.

Mason Remey later attacked the Hands of the Cause, alleging that they never had any authority to bring this body through its successive stages or to supervise its work; though he had himself, as shown above, joined all of his fellow Hands in declaring that the Hands possessed that authority.

The following year, the Hands of the Cause of God explained the folly of Mr. Remey's claims to the Baha'i world:

Without one written word from the Guardian, Mason Remey claims that because he was the President of the International Baha'i Council, and because this body is the embryonic international institution, it automatically makes him the President of that future body, and hence, Guardian of the Faith.

If the President of the International Baha'i Council is ipso facto the Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, then the beloved Guardian, himself, Shoghi Effendi, would have had to be the President of this first International Baha'i Council.

If the presidency of the first International Baha'i Council, which was not an elected body but appointed by Shoghi Effendi was a permanent thing, why did the beloved Guardian himself call for an elected International Baha'i Council in the future as part of the evolution of this institution and its eventual efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice?

We have not even an intimation in any writing of Shoghi Effendi that the officers of the first appointed International Baha'i Council would be carried forward into the elected International Baha'i Council.

There is nothing to indicate anywhere in the Teachings that the officers of the elected International Baha'i Council would not be elected according to the pattern of election of every other Baha'i elected body.

The manner of the election of the Universal House of Justice has been laid down by 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself. There is no possible reason for concluding that Mason Remey or any other Council member would automatically be carried forward into membership in that body. If the presidency of either an appointed or an elected International Baha'i Council were synonymous with the presidency of the Universal House of Justice, then it follows the beloved Guardian himself would have assumed this position.

Mason Remey signed the first communication sent out by 26 Hands of the Faith, from Bahji in November, 1957, in which it was stated that as the beloved Guardian had left no Will and no successor, the Hands of the Faith, designated by Shoghi Effendi as the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth, would carry on the work of the Crusade until the formation of that infallible Body, the Universal House of Justice.

Although Mason Remey, himself a Hand of the Cause, acted as one of the nine Hands in the Holy Land until the end of October, 1959, he never intimated his claim to be the second Guardian to any individual Hand, to the group of Hands serving at the World Centre, or to the body of the Hands gathered in Bahji at their Conclaves.

The first intimation any of us received of this astounding claim was when he mailed us a copy of his proclamation, at a time when it was already in the mail to National Assemblies and individuals.

How can Mason Remey reconcile his assertion that he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi as his successor during his lifetime with the provisions in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha that during the lifetime of the Guardian, nine of the Hands of the Cause of God must be elected by their fellow-Hands, and give their assent to the choice made by him of his successor? If the Guardian appointed Mason Remey, why did he go against the provisions of the Will in this important respect? Such an implication is a flagrant attack on Shoghi Effendi himself.

The terrible dangers of accepting so manifestly false a claim as that which Mason Remey has made are thus clear for all to see.

In addition to having set aside the provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will in making this claim, in addition to not having one single written word in evidence that the beloved Guardian intended to make him his successor, Mason Remey has written that he will appoint his own successor to the Guardianship.

Every believer, into whose mind has crept for even a second, a shadow of doubt as regards the personal status of Mason Remey may see for himself to what a degree he has entirely brushed aside every single foundation laid by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will for the Guardianship.
(Letter dated October 15, 1960 from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land to all National Spiritual Assemblies, Ministry of the Custodians, pp. 234-235)

While the nine Hands of the Faith would not have been authorized to overrule Shoghi Effendi's choice of successor, had he been able to designate one; the point the Hands of the Cause are here making is that the Will of Abdu'l-Baha required Shoghi Effendi to present his choice of successor to the nine Hands, for their assent, and he did not do so; so obviously, he had not appointed Mason Remey as his successor.

The matter of the International Baha'i Council being officially recognized as a Baha'i Court will be taken up in a later posting. For the present, it will suffice to say that this was not a designation within the power of the Hands of the Cause, or any other Baha'is, to control. Designating the International Baha'i Council as a Baha'i Court was a decision that lay entirely in the control of the civil authorities in the Holy Land; as the decision to designate six National Spiritual Assemblies as Baha'i courts, lay in the hands of the governments in six Muslim countries.

In 1957 Mason Remey joined the rest of the Hands of the Cause in providing that the Nine Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land had the authority to expel Covenant-breakers from the Cause of God; yet two and one-half years later, having himself been expelled from the Faith by them, he asserted that they had no such authority

In His Will and Testament, Abdu'l-Baha had provided that the Hands of the Cause of God would expel Covenant-breakers:

“. . . the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha. . .”

In October, 1957 the Hands of the Cause of God promulgated this unanimous resolution:

“6. That the authority to expel violators from the Faith shall be vested in the body of nine Hands, acting on reports and recommendations submitted by Hands from their respective continents.”
(Resolution of the Hands of the Cause of God, Nov, 25, 1957; Ministry of the Custodians, p. 34)

Mason Remey signed this resolution.

Astonishingly, he later claimed, and his followers who were expelled with him still claim today, that the Hands of the Cause had no authority, absent the presence of Shoghi Effendi, to expel Covenant-breakers. It is as if they are saying,

“We, Mason Remey and his followers, condemn the decision of Mason Remey and his fellow Hands in deciding that the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land had the authority to expel Covenant-breakers!”

Mason Remey was expelled from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker by the Hands of the Cause on July 26, 1960 (Ministry of the Custodians, p. 223).

Mason Remey showed by his own words and deeds that he was not a Guardian of the Cause of God.

Mason Remey was not a descendant of the Manifestation of God, nor did he have any document from Shoghi Effendi appointing him as his successor; nor did the Hands of the Cause of God give their assent. By self-claiming the Guardianship, he went expressly against this verse from Abdu'l-Baha:

"My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship."
(Abdu'l-Baha, quoted in Messages from The Universal House of Justice 1963-1986, paragraph 23.11, p. 52)

As we read above, for two years Mason Remey “never intimated his claim to be the second Guardian to any individual Hand, to the group of Hands serving at the World Centre, or to the body of the Hands gathered in Bahji at their Conclaves.” Then later, to the amazement of his fellow Hands, he claimed that he had been during that entire time, Shoghi Effendi's successor, the infallibly-guided Guardian of the Cause of God.

Yawning Inconsistencies in the Conduct of Mason Remey

Since Mason Remey had concocted this claim, he either had to admit that he did not know during that entire two-year period that he was the Guardian, which was inconsistent with his claim to be the infallible interpreter of the Word of God; or he had to say that he had known, and he was hiding this from the Baha'i world, which was inconsistent with his claim to be the infallible protector of the Cause of God. In both cases, it is impossible that a true Guardian of the Cause would conduct himself as Mason Remey did.

In letters written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi had stated that the Guardian of the Cause “is guided in his decisions to do that which protects it [the Baha'i Faith] and fosters its growth and highest interests," and that the Guardian of the Cause “is infallible in the protection of the Faith."

The divinely-guided Guardian of the Cause always acts in the best interests of the Faith, and is infallible in its protection. Mason Remey claims to have been the Guardian of the Cause throughout 1958 and 1959, when he was one of the Hands of the Cause of God, whose actions during that period he later condemned. How could he condemn his own actions, which he claimed were divinely guided? How could the divinely-guided Guardian of the Cause act against the Faith's best interests for two years? If he was divinely-guided, why didn't he recognize from the outset that the direction the Hands were taking was the wrong one? How could the divinely-guided Guardian of the Cause not know that he was the Guardian? How could he claim that the designation of him as the Interpreter of the Word of God was hidden in the messages of Shoghi Effendi, when he himself had missed their import? How could he be the infallibly-guided Guardian, yet formally and repeatedly deny that there was a Guardian? How could he be infallible in the protection of the Faith, yet withhold his identity as the divinely guided one—the essence of protection of the Faith—from the believers? And how could he be the successor to Shoghi Effendi, when he even denied that Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian, stated that Shoghi Effendi had grievously misinterpreted the Master's Will, and undertook to undo Shoghi Effendi's entire life work?

This is sheer nonsense. Mason Remey's selfish motives are transparent. It is quite astonishing that anyone ever accepted his claims.

As Baha'u'llah wrote,

“They regard a single drop of the sea of delusion as preferable to an ocean of certitude.” (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 58)

And, as Abdu'l-Baha wrote in His Last Tablet to America, regarding people who should know better, being taken in by the claims of the Covenant-breakers:

“. . the founders of this sedition -- namely, the violators of the Covenant -- are people whose aims are known to all the friends. Yet, O glorious God, they are deceived by them!” (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 432)

Abdu'l-Baha stated during His visit to America:

As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, a specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the past: It is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this appointment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of God against differences and schisms, making it impossible for anyone to create a new sect or faction of belief. To ensure unity and agreement He has entered into a Covenant with all the people of the world, including the interpreter and explainer of His teachings, so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine Words. The Book of the Covenant or Testament of Bahá'u'lláh is the means of preventing such a possibility, for whosoever shall speak from the authority of himself alone shall be degraded. Be ye informed and cognizant of this. Beware lest anyone shall secretly question or deny this to you. There are some people of self-will and desire who do not communicate their intentions to you in clear language. They envelop their meanings in secret statements and insinuations. For instance, they praise a certain individual, saying he is wise and learned, that he was glorified in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, conveying this to you in an insidious way or by innuendoes. Be ye aware of this! Be awakened and enlightened! For Christ has said that no one hides the lamp under a bushel. The purport of my admonition is that certain people will endeavor to influence you in the direction of their own personal views and opinions. Therefore, be upon your guard in order that none may assail the oneness and integrity of Bahá'u'lláh's Cause. Praise be to God! Bahá'u'lláh left nothing unsaid. He explained everything. He left no room for anything further to be said. Yet there are some who for the sake of personal interest and prestige will attempt to sow the seeds of sedition and disloyalty among you. To protect and safeguard the religion of God from this and all other attack, the Center of the Covenant has been named and appointed by Bahá'u'lláh. Therefore, if anyone should set forth a statement in praise or recognition of another than this appointed Center, you must ask him to produce a written proof of the authority he follows. Let him show you a trace from the pen of the Center of the Covenant Himself, substantiating his praise and support of any other than the rightful one. Inform him that you are not permitted to accept the words of everyone. Say to him, "It is possible to love and praise a person today, to accept and follow another tomorrow and still another next day. Therefore, we cannot afford to listen to this or that individual. Where are your proofs and writings? Where is your authority from the pen of the Center of the Covenant?"

My purpose is to explain to you that it is your duty to guard the religion of God so that none shall be able to assail it outwardly or inwardly. If you find harmful teachings are being set forth by some individual, no matter who that individual be, even though he should be my own son, know, verily, that I am completely severed from him. If anyone speaks against the Covenant, even though he should be my son, know that I am opposed to him.
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455)

Incredible Folly, Vaulting Ambition

How truly Shoghi Effendi had written in 1941, of eminent believers who had attemped in vain to mislead the Baha'i community:

Dear friends! Manifold, various, and at times extremely perilous, have been the tragic crises which the blind hatred, the unfounded presumption, the incredible folly, the abject perfidy, the vaulting ambition, of the enemy have intermittently engendered within the pale of the Faith. From some of its most powerful and renowned votaries, at the hands of its once trusted and ablest propagators, champions, and administrators, from the ranks of its most revered and highly-placed trustees whether as companions, amanuenses or appointed lieutenants of the Herald of the Faith, of its Author, and of the Center of His Covenant, from even those who were numbered among the kindred of the Manifestation, not excluding the brother, the sons and daughters of Baha'u'llah, and the nominee of the Bab Himself, a Faith, of such tender age, and enshrining so priceless a promise, has sustained blows as dire and treacherous as any recorded in the world's religious history.
(Shoghi Effendi, This Decisive Hour, paragraph 85.9; Messages to America, pp. 50-51)

The Source of Certitude

Anyone with questions on these matters can do no better than to carefully and prayerfully study the three great letters on this subject [1, 2, 3] written by the “blessed, sanctified and all-subduing” Universal House of Justice. If everyone did so, not one more person would be deceived by the utterly unfounded claims of Charles Mason Remey.

These letters from the House of Justice are one more expression of Shoghi Effendi's reassurance that “we must trust to time, and the guidance of God's Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller understanding” of the “provisions and implications” of Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament. (Baha'i Administration, p. 62)


The members of the newly-elected Universal House of Justice, with the Hands of the Cause of God, April, 1968, at the Shrine of the Bab, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel
Photograph courtesy of Baha'i National Archives, Wilmette Copyright 2009, used with permission
Please click image for larger photograph


Key to Photograph, L-R:
Member of the Universal House of Justice Amoz Gibson
Hand of the Cause of God Abu'l-Qasim Faizi
Hand of the Cause of God William Sears
Member of the Universal House of Justice Charles Wolcott
Member of the Universal House of Justice Ali Nakhjavani
Member of the Universal House of Justice H. Borrah Kavelin
Member of the Universal House of Justice Hushmand Fatheazam
Hand of the Cause of God Ali-Muhammad Varqa
Hand of the Cause of God Ali-Akbar Furutan
Member of the Universal House of Justice Hugh Chance
Member of the Universal House of Justice David Hofman
Hand of the Cause of God Shu'a'u'llah Ala'i
Hand of the Cause of God Paul Haney
Hand of the Cause of God Adelbert Muhlschlegel
Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum
Member of the Universal House of Justice Ian Semple
Hand of the Cause of God Taraz'u'llah Samandari
Hand of the Cause of God Jalal Khazeh
Member of the Universal House of Justice David Ruhe
Hand of the Cause of God Zikrullah Khadem
Hand of the Cause of God Collis Featherstone
Hand of the Cause of God Enoch Olinga
Hand of the Cause of God John Ferraby
Hand of the Cause of God Ugo Giachery
Hand of the Cause of God Rahmatu'llah Muhajir

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