by Stephen Rhodes
"All praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His Most Beneficent Law and protected His Straight and Luminous Path." (‘Abdu'l-Bahá)
Jesus said: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:19) Christians interpret this to mean that the body of Christ is the temple, and that Christ rose on the third day, Easter. However, this biblical quotation also applies to this day. The temple is the house of God, and the divine administrative order established by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá is the true temple of our Faith. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá was its divine architect, and Shoghi Effendi was the "zeal" who put the foundational structure in place throughout the Bahá'í world.
Following the death of Shoghi Effendi, the Persian Hands, along with Rúhíyyih Khánum, destroyed that temple when they met in a secret conclave in Haifa, and, after much prayerful deliberation, decided that there would be no more Guardians. This conclusion came out in a document called the Chicago Manifesto, written by the American National Spiritual Assembly in cahoots with the American Hands. This document went on to explain that the reason the Guardianship was to end was this: “GOD CHANGED HIS MIND.” (Oh, really?) This became the cornerstone of the new structure Rúhíyyih Khánum and Persian Hands erected in place of the divine edifice defined in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. They eagerly continued on their newly chosen path, despite the fact that Mason Remey, himself a Hand of the Cause,--one whom `Abdu'l-Bahá had called “my dear son” (Stars of the West v. 10, p. 144) -- repeatedly prodded them to continue to look for the Guardian.
The Hands of the Cause explained that they had looked for a physical will and testament by Shoghi Effendi, which they state that they never found. They thought that a future Guardian would have to be appointed in a will and testament because Shoghi Effendi had been appointed that way in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá. However, if they had looked with a diligent eye at the Will and Testament itself, they could have discovered the fact that the successive line of Guardians was to be appointed by each Guardian in turn during his lifetime, not in a will and testament to be read after his death. They also mistakenly believed that the appointed successor would have to be his eldest son, and, since Shoghi Effendi had no children, they further erroneously concluded that the Guardianship had to be ended. In truth, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá states that the living Guardian may choose "another branch," one other than his firstborn son. ‘Abdu'l-Bahá explains that a branch is another male believer. “Now Muhammed was the root, and Ali the branch, like Moses and Joshua.” (Some Answered Questions p.57) Neither Ali nor Joshua was a lineal descendant of Muhammed and Moses. The emphasis is on spiritual relationships in the writings.
The real will of Shoghi Effendi was his Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, which he called his "spiritual will." In this book, Shoghi Effendi referenced his establishment of the International Bahá'í Council, which he explained was the embryonic Universal House of Justice, and, further, that he named Charles Mason Remey as its President. The International Bahá'í Council was never activated during the life of Shoghi Effendi, which seemed strange at the time, because its formation in 1951 was hailed in Shoghi Effendi’s one and only proclamation to the Bahá'í World in his ministry as the most significant event in the history of the Faith “in the last thirty years” (since 1921, at the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá when His Will and Testament was read, naming Shoghi Effendi as the first of what was to be an unending succession of living Guardians.) The International Bahá'í Council was never activated, but it had served its purpose. The next Guardian had been appointed! True, it was done in a way that was inconspicuous to all at the time, for reasons that may never be completely understood. Nevertheless, Mason Remey, as head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, thus became Guardian upon the death of Shoghi Effendi.
Rúhíyyih Khánum and the Persian Hands of the Cause, destroyed the Temple, the divine administrative order of Bahá'u'lláh, when they decided that the Guardianship had ended, and that they would take over leadership of the Faith and wean the Bahá'ís off of their understanding that a living Guardian was necessary. Bahá'ís, up until that time, knew that the only proper head of the Bahá'í Faith is to be a living Guardian. The Will and Testament established the Guardian as the sole member of the executive branch of the Faith, as well as making him a sitting member of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme legislative branch, when it would properly come into existence. Shoghi Effendi explained that the Universal House of Justice was to evolve from the International Bahá'í Council to the Bahá'í World Court, and finally to the Universal House of Justice. The Hands, who had now taken over the Faith, didn’t follow his directions.
Well, of course, one evil thing leads to another. Next, the Hands at that time, 1957, took over the executive branch of the Faith and began replacing that divinely-inspired administrative order with their own, man-made structure, thus forming, an oligarchy--rule by an elite few. (The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá defines the role of the Hands of the Cause as being individual members who are to serve the Guardian under his directives.) The Hands were not even to meet as a separate body and make independent decisions, let alone, run the Faith. Shoghi Effendi wrote that the Bahá'í Faith was never to become an oligarchy. Rather, it was always to be that unique, divinely-inspired structure of Baha’u’llah and `Abdu'l-Bahá. The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá is the original sacred document that lays out the structure, and defines the duties, powers, and limitations of power of the separate, administrative institutions of the Bahá'í Faith. Only the Guardian has supreme executive powers, according to that sacred text. However, the Hands, at that time, went about making changes; penciling in their preferences and deleting things from sacred texts and books in order to conceal from future generations the fact that they had replaced the divine administrative order with their own man-made substitute. Later, in 1963, they formed their own--so called--Universal House of Justice without a living Guardian (since they had none,) as an “esteemed member for life of that body.” (One must ask, “who is sitting in the Guardian's chair on their headless UHJ?” That must be a pretty hot seat for someone.) It is now clear that they had, indeed, destroyed the temple.
Back to the Biblical quote that finishes with, "...and in three days I will rebuild it.” One day of creation is as 1000 years of the Lord, (Peter 3:8) but a day of prophecy is as a year. This is the formula used by `Abdu'l-Bahá when explaining the prophecies of Daniel in Some Answered Questions. If we apply this formula to our present day, the temple was destroyed in 1957, and three days later would be three years later, 1960. This is when Mason Remey sent out his Proclamation to the Baha’i world, telling them that he was, in fact, the Guardian, and then went on to explain in detail how he had become Guardian in compliance with Bahá'í scripture. Shoghi Effendi had indeed fulfilled his ‘incumbent duty’ to appoint his successor during his lifetime. Briefly, Mason Remey’s appointment as head (President) of the embryonic Universal House of Justice (the International Baha’i Council) is synonymous with the Guardian-in-waiting, which automatically made him Guardian upon the death of Shoghi Effendi.
Most of the Bahá'í world, led by the influence of Rúhíyyih Khánum and the Hands of the Cause at that time, rejected Mason Remey’s claim (with the notable exception of the French National Assembly, headed by Joel B. Marangella as its chairperson, the person who was to become the Third Guardian when Mason Remey, in advanced age, turned over the affairs of the Faith to him, notifying him in writing that he was to tell the followers of the Bahá'í Faith under the living Guardian that he, Joel Marangella, was now the Guardian.) The rejection of Mason Remey by Rúhíyyih Khánum and the Hands of the Cause, with no scriptural justification on their part, shows them to be the real Covenant breakers. (Actually, according to the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, only a Guardian can name someone a “Covenant breaker.”) Their out-of-hand rejection of Mason Remey marks the beginning of the great violation, the real source of division where they completely fell away from the Covenant.
A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties. There are duties and responsibilities on both sides. In the Covenant of God, He is to provide guidance and protection to mankind, which is always given through a chosen individual--the Great Manifestations of God in the Greater Covenant, and, in the Lesser Covenant, the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, by `Abdu'l-Bahá--followed, as He explains in His Will and Testament, by the Guardians. This unbroken chain of living Guardians is the head of the divinely-inspired administrative order, which is the channel through which the Holy Spirit flows from God out to mankind. With this continual guidance from the Guardians, the pure spirit of the Faith is also preserved. The establishment of the Guardianship in the Faith by `Abdu'l-Bahá signaled the fulfillment of the biblical prophecy, “the day that shall not be followed by night.” In this day, there is an unbroken chain of divine guidance to mankind, beginning with Baha’u’llah, continuing with `Abdu'l-Bahá, and on to the succession of living Guardians. The administrative order of the Faith, designed and explained by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, is the vehicle for God to provide mankind with His guidance and protection. Mankind, on his part, is responsible for recognizing and obeying the chosen individual, be it the Manifestation of God in His lifetime, or He and His rightful successors thereafter. Today, when one recognizes the living Guardian and obeys his directives, one is obeying the directives of Baha’u’llah and His Covenant.
Ruhiyyih Khanum was to be the ‘liaison’, whose duty it was to assist in transferring spiritual life from Shoghi Effendi to the nascent Guardian, Mason Remey. Instead she rejected him and called those who accepted his legitimate claim Covenant breakers. Interestingly, Rúhíyyih Khánum once wrote that the Guardian was the hub of the wheel: throw out the Guardian and you have to throw out the whole thing.
Whose Covenant, one might ask, are those devoted souls who follow the true Guardian and the true administrative order breaking? Is it not the height of irony that the followers of the original, authentic, and complete Bahá'í Faith are labeled Covenant breakers, the cause of disunity, and members of a ‘splinter group’ to boot? Who is it that actually splintered away from the true Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh? And does not `Abdu'l-Bahá warn in His Will and Testament that Covenant breakers will use divine unity as their excuse for themselves breaking the Covenant?
The Temple of Bahá'u'lláh was destroyed in 1957 by the real Covenant breakers, and was rebuilt in three days, (three years later, in 1960) by Mason Remey, the real living Guardian, when he sent out his proclamation re-establishing the true administrative order on its intended foundation in accordance with the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá.