Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, the twenty-seven Hands of the Cause, having failed to perceive that Shoghi Effendi had faithfully provided for the continuation of the Guardianship of the Cause of God, as enjoined by the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, appointed an illegitimate body of nine Hands, completely outside the provisions of that divinely-conceived, sacred and immutable Document. They named this body “Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith” that then shamelessly and reprehensibly arrogated to itself the “functions rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.” With its seat established at the World Administrative Center of the Faith in Haifa, the Custodian Hands reigned over the Faith for some six years until they then transferred their ill-gotten functions to an equally illegitimate and obviously misnamed Universal House of Justice that had been elected at Ridván 1963 which, without the Guardian of the Faith presiding as its essential and irreplaceable “sacred head,” as stipulated under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, was obviously nothing more than a humanly devised, illicitly formed, headless, deformed, ineffective substituted body in place of the divinely-conceived institution bequeathed to us by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament.

The members of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith who, for the reasons outlined above, refuse to recognize the legitimacy of this so-called Universal House of Justice have been forced by this unfortunate and reprehensible chain of events to use the prefix “orthodox” to clearly indicate their steadfast adherence to a Faith that remains undefiled and unchanged since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, in which therefore its members continue to be faithful to the indestructible Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and adhere to every clause of the sacred and immortal provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—the “Child of the Covenant”—wherein the Guardian of the Cause of God has been appointed the “Center of the Cause” and “the sacred head and distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice. These faithful believers find it incomprehensible that twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Cause who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi during the last seven years of his ministry should have so quickly loss their faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and their assurance in Shoghi Effendi’s complete fidelity to the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they incredibly and hastily concluded that Shoghi Effendi had passed on without appointing his successor after searching for and not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, inexcusably unmindful in doing so, that the Guardian of the Faith is clearly enjoined by the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to appoint his successor “in his own life-time”, an unambiguous requirement to which he would have scrupulously and faithfully adhered to in the appointment that he would have certainly made and which they had obviously overlooked at the time. Had they, on the other hand, remembered the provisions of the Will and Testament pertaining to the matter of succession they would have known that they would not find such a will left by Shoghi Effendi and taken the time to reexamine his past actions and statements to discover the manner in which he had made and announced this vital appointment.

The Hands having unfortunately and tragically failed to discover the manner in which Shoghi Effendi had appointed his successor, and without any authority to do so, took control of the Faith instead of permitting the International Bahá’í Council, this “first embryonic International Institution,” whose formation “beneath the shadow of the World Spiritual Center of the Faith,” Shoghi Effendi had hailed in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951 as “the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order,” and “the greatest event shedding luster upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation,” to assume the now active role that properly and rightfully belonged to that institution as the supreme administrative institution of the Faith under the Presidency of Hand of the Cause, Mason Remey. Had the Hands recognized the preeminent role of the International Council and permitted it to function as clearly intended by Shoghi Effendi they would have remained faithful to his plans for the future development of the institutions of the Bahá’í Administrative Order and, in doing so, have inevitably discovered and recognized the identity of his successor in their midst. For it would have been be perceived that the President of this Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith. And it would have been further understood that it had been for this very reason that Shoghi Effendi had necessarily retained this embryonic institution—a complete and perfect institution at its inception (BWF, p. 313)—in an inactive status during the remaining years of his ministry, which would only following his passing become an actively functioning Institution, at which time, as projected in his message of 23 November 1951, it would, as the “Central Body” of the Faith, assume the role Shoghi Effendi had planned for this supreme Council and become fully engaged in “directing,” the “widely ramified operations of . . . all the National Assemblies of the Bahá’í world” as they prosecuted their assigned goals during the Ten-year Global Crusade, (1953-1963).

This now actively functioning International Council, under the Presidency of Mason Remey, would certainly have retained this designation until at least six National Bahá’í Courts had been established in “the chief cities of the Islamic East” as projected by Shoghi Effendi in his message of 8 October 1952, at which time, in the continuing Formative Age of the Faith, it would be appropriately renamed the International Bahá’í Court and exercise such limited judicial authority over the believers residing in the six countries concerned as would be granted by national governments; a status in the evolution of the Council that Shoghi Effendi had stated was an “essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.” Only at such time in the future, as considered propitious by a future Guardian of the Faith, would this institution, following a third stage in its development, ultimately achieve its final stage of efflorescence in the Golden Age of the Faith and at that time finally be appropriately renamed and fully function as The Universal House of Justice. This institution would then, in addition to being the supreme legislative Organ of the Faith, become the supreme judicial authority of the Faith and, in this capacity, exercise supreme authority, as well, with respect to legal matters in its relationship with subordinate National and Local Houses of Justice as they applied the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, without exception, to the believers residing in the future World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh

As the Bab has assured us that “God in truth keepeth watch over all things” and as Shoghi Effendi has stated that “the bedrock on which this Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this day,” how much longer will the members of the illegitimate and headless so-called Universal House of Justice continue to delude themselves into believing that they can continue to defy God’s immutable Purpose with impunity and that the man-made corrupted administrative system that that they have nefariously substituted for the divinely-conceived System delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will continue to survive as a substitute for the divine Order delineated in the sacred and immortal provisions of that Will, emphasized by Shoghi Effendi to be nothing less than an expression, as well, of Bahá’u’lláh’s Will, and therefore actually “their Will?”

The adherents of the Orthodox Bahá’í Faith have retained a steadfast and unwavering faith in the indestructible Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and know with absolute certainty that the divinely-conceived System bequeathed to us by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will ultimately be restored in the Bahá’í world in all of its divine perfection and glory, for as Bahá’u’lláh has assured us, the Will of God will prevail, in affirming: “Naught can resist Thy Will nor frustrate what Thou hast Purposed by Thy Power” and the Báb, as well, in these Words: “Whatever God hath willed hath been and that which He hath not willed shall never be.”

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

October 2008