Not only misinformation, but a deplorable lack of information has been posted on Bahá'í newsgroups, from time to time, questioning the validity of my accession to the Guardianship of the Bahá'í Faith. It has been obvious that those who have posted this information have either never read my Proclamation, under date of 12 November 1969, or have purposely chosen to ignore the facts presented therein for reasons of their own.

The facts attesting to my rightful accession to the Guardianship are summarized below:

Mason Remey addressed a letter to me on December 5, 1961, less than a year following the issuance of his own Proclamation at Ridván 1960, in which, in his own handwriting, he stated the following:

"Dear Joel:

This is to tell you to tell the Bahá'í World that I appoint you to be the third Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith according to the Will and Testament of the Master, 'Abdu'l-Bahá."

The hand-written facsimile may be seen in my Proclamation posted on my web page.

The above letter of appointment was placed in a sealed envelope, on the outside of which Mason Remey wrote the following:

"Please take care of this sealed envelope among your papers in the Bernese Oberland [Switzerland]. As I see things now it may have to do with the coming world catastrophe in or after 1963. You will know when to break the seal." (emphasis was inserted by him)

In accordance with his instructions, this sealed letter remained unopened and was deposited in a bank safety deposit box in Interlaken, Switzerland, where I had purchased a chalet in 1961, pursuant to Mason Remey's suggestion to the faithful friends to move to high ground, due to his concern that a global catastrophe involving a major displacement of the earth's crust would soon take place. Only subsequently, upon my retirement in 1973, was I able to make this a semi-permanent residence until my relocation to Australia in 1980. (The hand-written facsimile of Mason Remey's letter above may be verified in my Proclamation of 12 November 1969, posted on my web page)

In October 1961, I traveled to Israel at Mason Remey's request, as his designated representative, to present evidence to the Israel authorities of that country of his rightful accession to the Guardianship of the Faith, which upon their due recognition of this fact, would enable him to assume his spiritual responsibilities at the Administrative Center of the Bahá'í Faith. His letter read as follows:

"In order that I, Mason Remey, be recognized by the Government of Israel as the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith (head of the Faith), I hereby in this Writ do appoint and authorize JOEL B. MARANGELLA, a Follower of the Bahá'í Faith under the Guardianship of the Faith, and a citizen of the United States of North America, to travel to Jerusalem to explain to the said State of Israel that I, Mason Remey, am the present Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, requesting them to so acknowledge this, my position in the Faith, so that I can return to Israel, there to take up my spiritual responsibilities and duties in Haifa at the Administrative Center of the Bahá'í Faith as the Second Guardian of the Faith, appointed to this position by Shoghi Effendi Rabanni, the First Guardian of the Faith, all done and accomplished by him in full accord with the canons of the Bahá'í Faith, I having succeeded him to this position from the moment of his death that occurred in November, 1957."

Charles Mason Remey
Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith

"Subscribed and sworn to before me,
a Notary Public for Washington D.C., U.S.A.,
this 25th Day of September 1961"

The results of my meetings with the officials of the Government of Israel may be read in the footnote below.1

On September 21, 1964, Mason Remey announced my appointment as the President of the second International Bahá'í Council. The other appointed members of this Council were:

Monir Derakhchan

Nawasish Ali Siyyid

John B. Byers

James Barrett

Jean Donat

Bernard Fillon

Clarence McClymonds

My appointment as President of this second International Bahá'í Council was a further confirmation of my appointment as his successor, as it had been accomplished in the same manner, and the only manner, in which Shoghi Effendi had identified Mason Remey as his successor, in appointing him the President of the first International Bahá'í Council and the sole basis for his succession to the Guardianship, as explained in his Proclamation to the Bahá'í world at Ridván 1960. Therefore, I felt certain that the implication of my appointment by Mason Remey as President of the second International Bahá'í Council would be clear to those believers who had accepted Mason Remey as the second Guardian. I was equally certain that when the sealed letter that I had received some three years earlier from Mason Remey was opened, its contents would further confirm my appointment as Mason Remey's successor, which turned out to be the case. For the above reasons, I felt it would be redundant to now also publish the 5 December 1951 letter appointing me his successor, a decision I would later regret.

In 1965 Mason Remey specifically instructed me, to my great surprise, to immediately activate the International Bahá'í Council under my Presidency. I felt certain that the believers who had accepted Mason Remey's Guardianship on the basis of his Presidency of the first International Bahá'í Council, appointed by Shoghi Effendi, would certainly realize that Mason Remey's instructions to activate the second International Bahá'í Council would have caused great consternation and incredulity on my part. For, it was obvious that if the instructions of Mason Remey to activate the Council were carried out implicitly according to his instructions, it would inevitably and automatically result in his abdication of the Guardianship and my accession to the Guardianship, coincident with that activation. Although in 1965 Mason Remey was already 91 years of age, the possibility that a decision would be made by a Guardian to abdicate the Guardianship, as the result of some incapacity, had never entered my mind and had therefore never been envisaged. As I did not consider Mason Remey in any way incapacitated, at the time, and unable to continue as the Guardian, I had every reason to believe that Mason Remey fully realized the ramification and momentous import of such a decision, for he had clearly pointed out in his Proclamation that his own accession to the Guardianship had been solely based on his Presidency of the first International Bahá'í Council and that his succession had taken place coincident with the passing of Shoghi Effendi. In fact, it had been for this very reason that Shoghi Effendi had carefully retained the International Council in an inactive status during the remaining years of his ministry and had even appointed a "chosen liaison" between himself and the Council to preclude any semblance of his direction of this Council himself.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, I could not bring myself, at the time, to believe that Mason Remey really had intended to abdicate the Guardianship or inexplicably had fully realized the highly significant implications involved in his instructions to activate the Council. Accordingly, upon my return to France, where I then resided, a statement was prepared for publication in our Bahá'í newsletter, "The Glad Tidings" of October 1965 under the heading: "Council Assumes Task"(an article that had been forwarded to Mason Remey for his approval prior to its publication) in which I attempted to circumvent the actual activation of the Council, as a functioning body, by using such phrases as: "the second International Bahá'í Council (the embryonic Universal House of Justice under the hereditary Guardianship) will not be convened at this time as a collectively functioning body" and included a further statement to the effect that I would assign tasks only to individual members of the Council. However, there was a vital distinction, which I failed to perceive at the time, in my assigning such tasks to individual Council members, and the tasks that Shoghi Effendi had assigned, from time to time, to individual members of the Council that he had appointed, and one that I had been unable to avoid in my assignment of such tasks to members of an activated Council. This distinction lay in the fact that, in the case of the International Bahá'í Council appointed by Shoghi Effendi, it was he who had assigned tasks to individual members during the remaining years of his ministry, and not Mason Remey, who, although being the President of this supreme Council, had never been instructed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry to convene it as an actively functioning body or had been authorized to assign any tasks to its members. Furthermore, when Shoghi Effendi had assigned individual tasks to Council members he would have undoubtedly transmitted his instructions through the intermediary of his "chosen liaison" with the Council, Rúhíyyih Khánum (as specified in his message of 8 March 1952).

Some four years would pass, following the activation of the second International Bahá'í Council in 1965 under my Presidency, before an inexplicable act of such magnitude on the part of Mason Remey would occur that it caused me to seriously reflect again upon my status and, as a result, I perceived and had to acknowledge the distinction, ramifications and momentous import that been involved in my activation of this Council and the realization that my assignment of individual tasks to members of this Council had been a futile effort on my part to circumvent assumption of the Guardianship, as it had not paralleled the assignment of individual tasks to individual members of the first International Bahá'í Council that Shoghi Effendi had made during his ministry, in which Mason Remey, in his capacity as President, had played no part. I was then faced with the undeniable fact that Mason Remey had, indeed, brought about the abdication of his Guardianship four years earlier when he had instructed me to activate the second International Bahá'í Council. However, it was only with the greatest reluctance, that I had to accept the fact that my accession to the Guardianship of the Faith had taken place upon the announcement of the Council's activation, in the October 1965 issue of "The Glad Tidings."

My reluctance to assume the Guardianship was heightened by my realization that, contrary to what I had originally believed, Mason Remey obviously had not perceived the fact that he had actually abdicated the Guardianship or had realized the significance and ramifications involved in his instructions to activate the second International Bahá'í Council of which I was President. For, in a letter addressed to me some three months following the publication and distribution of my statement in the "Glad Tidings" announcing his decision, he sent me a letter on February 18,1966, which, while revealing that he had not realized that I had already acceded to the Guardianship, at the same time, it did provide undeniable evidence that he had no intention of trying to retract his letter of 5 December 1961, which he would have certainly realized would be contrary to the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that understandably makes no provision for the retraction of this one-time divinely guided and therefore irrevocable appointment. On the contrary, this letter, although not recognized by him as now redundant, provided further and unquestionable evidence that it had always been and remained his invariable intention that I should become his successor, as he stated:

"I am turning the affairs of the Faith over to you as the President of the second Bahá'í International Council to handle this for me’ you having the other members of the International Council to assist you" and further stated in the same letter, "from now on I will leave you free to conduct the affairs of the Faith, I making suggestions when necessary."

It now became clear from the above statement that Mason Remey, contrary to what I had originally believed, had, incomprehensibly, not realized the import of his instructions to me to activate the second International Bahá'í Council in 1965 and, as this had sadly been the case, it was undeniable evidence that his mind had already, by that time, begun to seriously fail. Even more critically, as events would subsequently reveal, this fact would be further substantiated, when, incredulously, in an announcement he would later make to the Bahá'í world, he would prove conclusively that he had completely forgotten his letter of 5 December 1961, quoted above, in which he had instructed me "to tell the Bahá'í World" of my appointment as the third Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith. As I mentioned earlier, I would later come to regret that I had not shared this letter with the friends when it had been first opened in 1964, when I had considered, at that time, that it would be redundant to do so, in view of the clear implication of my appointment by Mason Remey as the President of the second International Bahá'í Council. Now, some four years later, to my astonishment, Mason Remey would make an announcement that fully awakened me to the critical situation in which the Faith now found itself and which painfully forced me to issue my Proclamation of 12 November 1969. I then realized that I had been wrong in my earlier belief that it would be redundant to inform the faithful believers of the contents of Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961 when it had been first opened in September of 1964, for if I had done so, it would have forestalled the obviously illegitimate appointment of another successor that he had now incredibly announced and who, incidentally, was not one of the original eight other appointed members of the International Council listed above, whom he had stated, upon appointing this Council, would succeed, in turn, to the Guardianship, in the order named, in the event of my demise and then successively their own. There now remained no longer any doubt that his mind had seriously failed and it accounted for the increasingly irrational and uncharacteristic statements that he had begun to make in his letters addressed, not only to me, but to all of the faithful friends, that were highly disturbing and perplexing, that even included shocking criticism of acts that Shoghi Effendi had taken during his ministry. These letters and writings sadly contradicted and were completely at variance with his magnificent writings during the years, both preceding his accession to the Guardianship and during his short ministry as the Guardian of the Faith.

As mentioned above, if I had published Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961 when it had been first opened, it would have forestalled Mason Remey's illicit appointment of another individual as his successor that he would now make in 1969, obviously, not only forgetting that irrevocable appointment he had made in 1961, in accordance with the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but ignoring, as well, the fact that the second International Bahá'í Council had been activated in 1965 under my Presidency. Although his mind was failing and he was forgetful of this all-important act, it may well be asked what would now have induced him in these final years of his life to appoint an obviously illegitimate successor, when he had never uttered one word of dissatisfaction with, or criticism of, any of my undertakings, quite the contrary being the case, and had provided clear evidence, as cited above, of his intention from the very outset, and during his ministry, that I become his successor?

The answer to the foregoing question is found in the fact that the individual whom he would appoint in 1969 was actually the admitted choice of Joseph Pepe, a non-Bahá'í, under whose baneful influence Mason Remey had found himself sometime following his departure from Haifa in 1959 and his return to the United States. Being unmarried, living alone and of advance age, Mason Remey, understandably, had needed someone to care for him, and had become increasingly dependent upon this man who, no doubt, had offered to provide this care. My understanding is that Mason Remey had first known Pepe years earlier when visiting Florence, Italy, and now had met him again in these latter years of his life in Washington. Pepe had found in Mason Remey a golden opportunity to enrich himself financially, in the nefarious manner that is discussed in footnote below 2 and, who, upon learning of my long association and friendship with Mason Remey, and undoubtedly concerned about Mason Remey's intention, if not the fact, that he had already appointed me his successor, had possibly become fearful that his plans to become the sole heir of Mason Remey might be, in some way, thwarted if I were to inherit the Guardianship. Therefore, when he had later found in a Bahá'í who had visited Mason Remey in Fiesole, one whom he felt assured would pose no threat to his plans, he then schemed to persuade Mason Remey to appoint this individual of his choice as his successor. However, when he had actually prevailed upon Mason Remey to appoint this individual subsequent to all of the previous statements that Mason Remey had made affirming my appointment as his successor, as outlined above, it would appear that Pepe had no prior knowledge of Mason Remey's letter of 5 December 1961, which had probably been written prior to their association, and of the indisputable fact that any substitute appointment made by Mason Remey would have no validity whatsoever, as my appointment had already been made in accordance with the provision of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a provision that calls for a one-time, divinely-guided and therefore irrevocable appointment. Moreover, undoubtedly unfamiliar with the terms of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Pepe had blindly ignored the fact that my accession to the Guardianship had already taken place, when, upon Mason Remey's instructions, the second International Bahá'í Council had been activated as a functioning body in 1965, and that, in this manner, I had thereby unquestionably inherited the Guardianship in the same way that Mason Remey had succeeded to the Guardianship, the only difference being that my accession to the Guardianship had taken place upon Mason Remey's abdication and not upon his passing.

Decisive evidence that it was Pepe who had influenced Mason Remey to make this subsequent illicit appointment may be found in the following quoted extract of a letter written by Pepe to Brent Mathieu, (a supporter of Donald Harvey's successor) under date of 4 August 1990: "Mason Remey named Donald Harvey as his successor. To be honest, I did not want that role for myself and I suggested Donald to Mason to begin with. It would have made no difference for Donald and I were as "one" to each other and still are, I believe. Donald is no problem."

In the light of the foregoing summary of the facts, it should be clearly and undeniably evident that no Bahá'í, other than myself, can rightfully claim to be Mason Remey's legitimately appointed successor.

Joel Bray Marangella

Perth, Australia

29 October 2006


1. With Mason Remey's letter of authority in hand, I traveled to Israel in October 1961, accompanied by an attorney friend, Fergus Belanger, a resident of Orléans, France, where I also was living at this time and who had recently become a Bahá'í. Considerable documentation had been prepared to submit to the Minister of Religious Affairs and the Head of the Bahá'í Department, including an Aide-Memoire written by Mr. Belanger. Upon arriving in Jerusalem on 15 October, and before contacting the Minister of Religious Affairs we decided to visit the National Library of Jerusalem to obtain information about this Ministry. During our research it was suggested that we review the Israel Year Books and in reviewing the Year Book for the year 1957, published in December of that year, only a month after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, we were startled to find under the section covering the Ministry of Religious Affairs, in which the heads of the various Religious Communities in Israel were listed, the name of Mason Remey, as the President of the International Bahá'í Council. It was further noted that in the Year Book for the following year the "Supreme Spiritual Body of Nine Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land" had been listed and placed above the name of Mason Remey. Also, the name of Leroy Ioas had been added as Secretary General of the International Bahá'í Council. Mason Remey's name had been deleted entirely in the Year Book for 1959, the year of the third Conclave of the Hands of the Cause, at the termination of which Mason Remey had refused any longer to be a signatory to their messages to the Bahá'í world and only a short time before his Proclamation to the Bahá'í world at Ridván 1960. As the portfolio of the Minister of Religious Affairs was being held, pro-tem, by the Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, pending formation of a new Government, the next highest official was the Director General, Dr. Kahana. We were subsequently accorded a gracious reception by both Dr. Kahana and Dr. Colby, the head of the Bahá'í department of the Ministry with whom we had two meetings, They listened most cordially and sympathetically to our presentations at the time but it remained for their decision to be rendered after our return to France in a letter addressed to me by Dr. Colby, under date of February 13, 1962, in which he stated:"Whereas my arguments were of a strictly legal nature, yours are exclusively based on religion . . . I am therefore convinced that your claim should be brought before Bahá'í public opinion, which alone is capable of rejecting or recognizing it." On the basis of this letter, Mason Remey decided not to purse the matter further with the Israel authorities.

2. For Pepe to financially enrich himself and become the heir of Mason's estate, he obviously realized that the first thing he had to do would be to influence him to move to Italy, away from his relatives in the United States. And this he soon did, when Mason Remey surprisingly announced to the faithful friends that he would be moving to Florence, Italy, a move in which no benefit to either himself or to the Faith could be perceived. He left his beautiful home in Washington D.C. and upon arriving in Florence took up his initial residence in a single hotel room in the city where correspondence was addressed to him in care of American Express and where he was residing on my first visit to him in November 1962. For Pepe to insure maximum financial benefit from Mason Remey's relocation to Italy, he found a very large rundown unfurnished palazzo, for Mason Remey to buy, very much in excess of Mason Remey's needs, located in Fiesole, a fashionable suburb in the hills above Florence, which required extensive and costly renovations which required furnishing with a shipment of furniture from Mason Remey's Washington D.C. home which would insure that it would be a high-priced property when resold. To further insure that he would inherit this property upon Mason's passing, he then influenced Mason to legally adopt him as his son. I visited Mason Remey for a second time in Italy when he had taken up residence in this palazzo. It was during this visit that an incident took place that, upon later reflection, convinced me that Pepe may have been concerned that Mason was making some plans behind his back that could interfere with his plans to become Mason Remey's sole heir upon his passing and had therefore subsequently influenced Mason Remey to make an appointment of his choice. It was only some years later upon my reflection of events that took place upon my second visit to Mason Remey in Italy, that I called to mind the event in which Mason Remey had asked me to accompany him to his upstairs study for a private conversation away from the others. We had not been in conversation very long before Pepe burst into the room and told us that lunch was being served and that we should immediately come to the table. It only came to me years later that this interruption had taken place because Pepe had been concerned that because of the close relationship and association that had been mine over the years with Mason Remey, both before and after his accession to the Guardianship, that possibly some arrangements were being discussed behind closed doors that would be inimical to his interests and interfere with his plans to become the sole inheritor of Mason's estate upon his passing. Therefore, it would appear that against such an eventuality, he had decided that he would persuade Mason Remey to appoint an individual of his choice so that I would not become Mason Remey's successor, as Guardian of the Faith, not realizing that such an appointment would have no validity and additionally it was already too late. But, as Mason Remey had now come under the control of Pepe and in his deteriorated mental state, had even forgotten that he had first appointed me his successor as early as December 1961, he made an illicit appointment of an alternative illegitimate successor who had been suggested to him by Pepe, as confirmed in his letter quoted above.