The Erring Hands on Trial
A HYPOTHETICAL TRIAL HELD IN THE NEXT WORLD OF THE
FORMER HANDS OF THE CAUSE OF GOD WHO,
UPON THE PASSING OF SHOGHI EFFENDI IN 1957,
DECLARED THE GUARDIANSHIP FOREVER ENDED
by Jeffrey A. Goldberg
with contributions by Hand of the Cause of God Franklin Schlatter
written under guidelines furnished by the third Guardian of the Cause
Joel B. Marangella
ACT ONE, Scene 1 (in the Abhá Kingdom) Reading of the Charges
[Court bailiff:] All rise. [All stand up] Hear ye! Hear ye! This Special Court of the Abhá Kingdom is now in session. The Honorable Chief Justice, Hand of the Cause of God Louis Gregory presiding.
[Louis Gregory:] Please be seated. This is a special court proceeding convened by the first Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi Effendi, for trial of certain former Hands of the Cause of God on charges of violating the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh following his passing on November 4, 1957. Allow me to introduce the Court. To my left are Hands of the Cause of God posthumously appointed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry, Martha Root, John Esslemont, Keith Ransom-Keller and Roy Wilhelm. To my right are Hands of the Cause of God, appointed by Shoghi Effendi on Dec 24, 1951: Dorothy Baker, George Townshend, William Sutherland Maxwell, Valiyyu'llah Varqa, and appointed on Feb 29, 1952, Siegfried Schopflocher. Welcome distinguished and honorable justices.
[Various justices responding:] Allah'u'-Abhá!
[LG:] Will the defendants please rise while the bailiff reads the charges.
[Bailiff:] To the defendants, please rise:
You, and each of you,
Hasan M. Balyuzi
Amelia E. Collins
H. Collis Featherstone
Ali Akbar Furutan
Dr. Ugo Giachery
Dr. Hermann Grossmann
Paul E. Haney
Leroy C. Ioas
Amatu'l-Baha Rúhíyyih Khánum
Dr. Rahmatu'llah Mohajer
Dr. Adelbert Muhlschlegel
Abu'l-Qasim Faizi Teherani
Dr. Ali Mohammad Varqa
are hereby charged with knowingly, intentionally, and willfully acting to combine, conspire, confederate and agree with each other, and other persons known and unknown, to commit and aid and abet in the commission of certain high crimes and offenses against the Kingdom of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh and His Mighty Covenant. You have the right to defend and answer:
That, from on or about November 4, 1957 and for the several years thereafter, you and each of you committed the following violations:
1) The attempted termination of the Guardianship of the Cause of God and mutilation of the Bahá'í Administrative Order;
2) The flagrant repudiation of the Will and Testament of the "Center of the Covenant" `Abdu'l-Bahá falsely declaring certain provisions of His sacred and immutable Will to be inoperative, null and void;
3) The blatant and inexcusable usurpation of the powers, authority and dominion of the International Bahá'í Council, the embryonic Universal House of Justice, after deposing its President, the second Guardian of the Cause, Charles Mason Remey;
4) The unjustified subversion of the Guardianship and the International Bahai Council by the illicit appointment of nine Hands to serve as the "Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith" and the erroneous attempt to empower that false entity, as claimed by them, with the "functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Faith;"
5) The rejection of and total opposition to the second Guardian of the Cause of God, Charles Mason Remey, and the unmitigated refusal to accept his Proclamation;
6) The illicit dissolution of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'í is of France without authority or justification, following its acceptance of Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith.
7) The creation and formulation of a headless, sans-Guardian, so-called Universal House of Justice in place of the Supreme Body called for by His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh and by the Master, `Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament;
8) The attempted destruction and mutilation of the highest Institutions of the Bahai Administrative Order, including the Guardianship"The Center of the Cause" the Universal House of Justice, and the Hands of Cause of God, all of which said Institutions had been notably and heroically established and announced to the Baháí World by Shoghi Effendi prior to his passing;
9) The shameless and inexcusable campaign to mislead most of the Bahá'í world into shunning and rejecting the second Guardian of the Faith and those believers who accepted him and thereby had remained truly faithful to the Covenant and obedient to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, and to influence the vast majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh to embrace their terribly Great Violation of His Covenant.
May God have mercy upon your souls.
[LG] The Defendants may be seated. How do you plead?
[Charles Wolcott] May it please the Court? I am Charles Wolcott, formerly Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and member of the Universal House of Justice as created by the Defendants. I have been selected by the Defendants to speak on their behalf. The Defendants plead not guilty, your honor, and wish to defend against the charges brought.
[LG] Very well, sir. The witnesses will be sworn by the bailiff. The Prosecutor shall be the distinguished Bahá'í, Thornton Chase. May the Truth be revealed.
[Bailiff]: Will the defendants please stand, raise your right hands and be sworn. Do you solemnly swear and affirm that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so you help you God.
[Defendants (in unison)]: We do.
[LG:] Preliminary matters, counsel....
[TC] Your Honor, Both sides have entered a stipulation regarding the admissibility of certain documents into evidence.
[LG:] Excellent. That should save some time. Do you concur, Mr. Wolcott?
[CW] Yes your honor. The stipulation is that the documents are admitted without foundation and without prejudice to the right of the parties to argue the weight or relevancy of the exhibits during closing argument.
[TC] In addition, the failure of any party to object to the authenticity of the documents will not be a waiver. For example, we will not object to the admission of documents authored by the headless UHJ organized by the defendants, but that will not operate as a waiver of any argument we may have as to the lack of authority of such an entity.
[LG] That will be fine. What are the documents, counsel?
[TC] Your honor, the parties are submitting the following documents into evidence:
Daily Observations of the Bahá'í Faith Made to the Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land by Mason Remey,
Appeals to the Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land by Mason Remey,
Announcement to the Hands of the Faith from Mason Remey, the second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith of his Appointment of Guardianship by the First Guardian of the Faith,
The Encyclical Letters to the Bahá'í World From Mason Remey Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, and Proclamation to the Bahá'ís of the World Through the Annual Convention of the Bahá'ís of the United States of America Assembled at Wilmette, Illinois Ridván 117 Bahá'í Era From Mason Remey the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
The Ministry of the Custodians, An account of the Stewardship of the Hands of the Cause.
Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of France, Bernard Fillon's detailed account of the events of April 23, 1960.
Announcement to all National Spiritual Assemblies dated October 6, 1963 from the so-called UHJ finding there was no way to appoint a second Guardian.
Letter, dated March 9, 1965, from the so-called UHJ on the appointment of the Guardian.
Letter, dated May 27, 1966, from the so-called UHJ on the relationship between the Guardianship and the UHJ.
Letter, dated December 7, 1969, from the so-called UHJ on the Guardianship and the UHJ
Letter, dated August 22, 1977, from the so-called UHJ on the infallibility of the Guardian and the UHJ.
Letter dated January 31, 1997, from the so-called UHJ on Mason Remey and those who followed him.
Letter dated June 4, 1997, by the so-called UHJ on the authority of the Hands to expel Covenant- breakers.
[LG] They shall be admitted into evidence. Anything else?
[TC] I would ask this court to take judicial notice of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh, `Abdu'l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi, as well as pertinent cablegrams from Shoghi Effendi and pilgrim's notes....
[LG] Granted. Of course, we will take notice of the contents of all of the Holy Texts and of the authenticated writings of Shoghi Effendi, including letters and his messages to the Bahai World. The pilgrim's notes will be admitted but, your stipulation regarding argument as to their weight or relevancy is reserved for closing argument. Agreed?
[TC] Yes, thank you
[CW] Agreed, your honor.
[LG] Mr. Chase, call your first witness.
ACT One, Scene 2 Prosecution
[TC:] Calling prosecution witness, His Eminence, Charles Mason Remey.
[LG:] Welcome Mr. Remey. The Court appreciates your participation in these proceedings. Please be seated.
[TC:] We are here in order to establish for the record your understanding of what transpired in the Faith after the death of Shoghi Effendi. But to begin, I'd like to get a bit of background information. Please state your name.
[MR:] My name is Charles Mason Remey, but I prefer Mason Remey.
[TC:] Mr. Remey, when and where were you born and how you did first learn of the Bahá'í Faith?
[MR:] I was born in 1874 in Burhgton, Iowa, and I first heard of the Bahá'í message in 1899-1900 in Paris France, where I was then a student at the Beaux Arts, from May Elles Bolles, who later married Sutherland Maxwell. I then immediately accepted the Faith.
[TC:] And they were the parents of Mary Maxwell, who Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Faith, married in 1937?
[MR:] Yes, that is correct.
[TC:] And were you living in Haifa at the time of Shoghi Effendis passing in 1957?
[MR:] Yes. He had summoned me to come to Haifa in 1950 and had told me that henceforth I should consider it my home.
[TC:] Mr. Remey, I want to ask you some questions about the period in your life after the passing of Shoghi Effendi. Do you recall the events that took place following the funeral of Shoghi Effendi in London, England in November 1957?
[MR:] I most certainly do. As you know, I kept quite a detailed diary of the events that unfolded. We arrived back in the Holy Land on the morning of November 15, 1957. Leroy Ioas, also a permanent resident in Haifa, had stayed behind in Haifa to secure the Guardian's apartment and effects. The first thing we did upon our arrival was to enter into the Guardian's apartment for the first time.
[TC:] Who was present at the time?
[MR:] Rúhíyyih Khánum, Mrs. Collins, Dr. Giachery, Mr. Ioas, and I entered the apartment that morning. We sealed the safe and Shoghi Effendis desk to make sure that nobody could tamper with them.
[TC:] What happened next?
[MR:] All of the remaining Hands of the Cause arrived in the Holy Land over the next day or two, except for Madame. True, who was too ill to travel. A memorial service was held at the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh. Then the next day, on November 19th, nine of the Hands, including myself, entered the Guardian's apartment once again, this time to search for a Will and Testament.
[TC:] What were you hoping to accomplish?
[MR:] At the time, all of us were stunned. We really did not have the time to think through all of the implications. The Guardian had been suddenly taken from us and we needed to find some guidance as to how he wanted us to proceed. We hoped that the Shoghi Effendi would have left us some document, perhaps a Will or a letter, that would have told us what we should do in the event of his death.
[TC:] What did you find?
[MR:] Unfortunately, not much of anything. We verified that the seals had not been broken. We carefully searched the safe and desk, but found no Will or any other document or instructions.
[TC:] What did the Hands decide to do next?
[MR:] That was about the time we drew up the Proclamation of the Hands in which we announced that Shoghi Effendi had not left a Will appointing his successor.
[TC:] Do you recall when that was?
[MR:] This was on November 25th just following our conclave.
[TC:] Mr. Remey, before we discuss the proclamation made by the Hands, I would like to know a little more about this secret conclave of the Hands. How did this meeting come about?
[MR:] After we confirmed that Shoghi Effendi had not left behind a Will or instructions in his office, we really did not know what to do next. You can imagine how we felt. The entire Bahá'í world was looking to us for guidance. As you know, I am sure, during Shoghi's entire ministry, there were many rumors about an heir, a son, who had been placed into hiding for his protection. I think most Bahá'ís were waiting to hear from us about the identity of the second Guardian...
[TC:] Of course, he had no son....
[MR:] Of course, so what were we supposed to do? I think the Hands had no choice but to hold a meeting to discuss how to proceed, although such a meeting is not called for in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá.
[TC:] Why was the meeting held in secret?
[MR:] It was very unwise, but Ruyiyyih Khanum insisted upon it that no minutes or notes were to leave the meeting. She felt that disunity might result unless we all agreed to keep it secret. So I went along with it, as did all of the others....
[TC:] Is there anything in the Writings of the Faith or in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá to support the need for the Hands to meet in secret conclave on any occasion?
[MR:] Of course not. Indeed, there is really only one meeting of the Hands called for in the Writings, and that would be in the Master's Will and Testament where it calls for an election by the Hands of nine of us to carry out the work of the Guardian in the Holy Land. Incidentally, this body of nine Hands was never called into being by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry. Certainly, I know of nothing in the Writings to require any meetings to be held in secret, especially a meeting of this importance.
[TC:] Why, then, did you consent to it?
[MR:] Like I said, I supported the idea of holding a meeting, what else could we do? I did not think the meeting should be secret. Frankly, we all obeyed Rúhíyyih because that is what we were used to. More often than not, Shoghi's instructions were delivered through Rúhíyyih, so we were very used to obeying her directives... only at this time, her directives were not coming from Shoghi Effendi.
[TC:] What can you tell me about what happened at the first meeting of the Hands?
[MR:] On the first day, those of us who had searched Shoghi Effendis office reported to the group that we had found nothing at all. Then really I cannot recall anything happening, other than adjourning the meeting until the next morning.
[TC:] There was no discussion of what to do next?
[MR:] Strangely enough, we really did not discuss it. There were various matters of business discussed but we had no direction or agenda, and the meeting had not even begun until the afternoon, so the meeting was adjourned.
[TC:] What happened the next day?
[MR:] Well, the Persian Hands had remained in the Mansion of Bahjí, while the rest of us returned to Haifa for the night. The next morning, we returned to Bahjí and resumed our meeting. After prayers, we began to discuss the Guardianship and the lack of a Will from Shoghi Effendi.
[TC:] What was discussed?
[MR:] Actually, as I recall, there was not a great deal of discussion....
[TC:] Did any of the Hands suggest that, they should take the time to carefully review past acts, pronouncements and messages of Shoghi Effendi to possibly discover if he had in some other way appointed his successor which they may have overlooked at the time?
[MR] No, such a proposal was never made.
[LIGHTS FADE OUT FROM COURTROOM SCENE AND FADE IN TO THE CONCLAVE HELD IN 1957]
[The Hands are all assembled together in the Mansion of Bahji and one of the Hands is finishing a prayer and after a moment of silence, the Hands begin their discussion]
[Rúhíyyih Khánum]: I think for the sake of unity, we should all take turns in chairing our meetings. Since you are the most elder Hand present, Clara, why don't you chair this first session?
[Clara Dunn]: That will be fine, but please feel free to jump in to assist me. I don't know how well I will do....
[RK:] You will do just fine. I don't think there should be a Secretary and that minutes should be kept of these proceedings. And, while the members are free to take notes, I must insist that all such notes be destroyed before you leave the room. This is of the utmost importance to the integrity of the Faith. I am sure that all agree that if there ever was a time for us to stand united, now is that time. We must not let disunity spread.
[FADE OUT CONCLAVE LIGHTS, FADE IN TO THE COUTROOM SCENE]
[TC:] It seems apparent that Rúhíyyih was firmly in charge...
[MR:] All of us gave great deference to Shoghi Effendi's widow, we were simply conditioned to follow her instructions, and it was no different after Shoghi died. Thats why nobody objected to her decisions. But I thought there should have been minutes of what the Hands had discussed, considering the importance of the decisions we were making.
[TC:] But we have no record of those proceedings, do we, other than your recollections?
[MR:] That's correct. Too bad, just from an historical sense, when you think about the importance of the motion the Hands passed that day.
[TC:] Please tell the Court about this motion....
[MR:] Dr. Mohajir, took the floor....
[TC] That would be the Defendant, Dr. Rahmatu'llah Muhájir?
[MR] Thats correct; he stood up and made this stunning motion....
[COURTROOM SCENE FADES OUT AND CONCLAVE SCENE FADES IN]
[CD:] The Conclave has accepted the report of those members who searched the office of Shoghi Effendi. Is there discussion as to how we shall proceed?
[Dr. Rahmatu'llah Muhájir (rising):]
I move to declare the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá as Badah and that the Guardianship be ended forever and closed forever!
[CD] Dr. Muhájir, can you tell us about Badah, for those of us not familiar with this term?
[RM] Badah is an Islamic tradition meaning that God's promises are unfulfilled, because God has the sovereignty to do as He pleases, and it is not our place to question why. Shoghi Effendi had no heir and as all of the Holy Family had been disloyal, and as only a male member of the Holy Family is eligible to be appointed to the Guardianship, there was nobody for him to appoint.
[Shoaullah Ala'i (rising):] I agree. This is exactly the teaching of Badah, according to the Holy Text.
[Zikrullah Khadem] Yes, there is no question that the Guardianship is Badah. Not forever, because the next Manifestation of God, after at least 1000 years, should He see fit, may reestablish it at that time. But there is simply no way for us to continue it on....
[RM]: I accept Mr. Khadem's astute amendment to my motion. My motion is to declare the end of the Guardianship until such time as a future Manifestation of God should reinstate it.
[The other Hands rise and begin seconding the motion and stating their agreement, all of them speaking at once.]
[CD:] Order please. Please.... Dr Varqa... what do you have to add?
[Dr. Ali Mohammad Varqa]: I respectfully second the motion. If our beloved Guardian could have appointed his successor, of course he would have done so. Is there any doubt about that? But he did not, because he could not, and he must have recognized that the Guardianship was Badah.
[Ali Akbar Furutan]: Let us bring this to a vote. There is nothing more to discuss.
[CD:] Yes, all right. All in favor of Dr. Muhájir's motion, to declare the end of the Guardianship raise their hands? [Pause...counting....] The motion passes.
[FADE BACK TO COURTROOM SCENE]
[TC:] Was there no further discussion before the motion passed?
[MR:] No there wasn't. I was stunned by how fast this had happened. Rúhíyyih immediately sided with the Persian Hands, and the motion was carried. No further discussion was held, except it was decided that we would not announce our decision to the Bahá'í world that the Guardianship had ended.
[TC:] Why not tell the Bahá'í world about such a momentous decision made by the Hands?
[MR:] Their reasoning was that this would come as a great shock to the believers, and that instead of creating a situation of speculation and disunity, the Hands should work to elect the Universal House of Justice before announcing this decision.
[TC:] Did you agree with this?
[MR:] At the time, it seemed correct not to announce this decision, because I knew with certainty that it was wrong. I knew that the Guardianship could not possibly have ended.
[TC:] Why did you not object at the conclave?
[MR:] I really don't know. I was very confused and disturbed by the whole thing. It came as quite a surprise and shock as it had been done so hastily. Thinking back about it, it is obvious that the Persian Hands had continued to meet after we had returned to Haifa that first night, and they had decided to make this declaration of Badah. They had thought it all through, and I was taken by surprise.
[TC:] Why then were you so certain the Guardianship had not ended, and why were you the only one?
[MR:] I was not the only one. Ugo Giachery, immediately after the conclave had ended, told me that he still held out hope there would be a Guardian. I think there were others too who were not so sure about it after the first conclave. It was Ugo who pointed out to me that the Persian Hands had obviously met together on the first night of the conclave, when all of them had stayed overnight at the Mansion of Bahji, and had then discussed it. Over time, Ugo and the others, slowly fell into line with the exception of Dr. Grossmann. They were afraid to break the unity of the Hands and there was enormous pressure on us. I remained silent, too, for at least a year after that. I heard later from Joel Marangella, who at the time was an Auxiliary Board Member working closely with Dr. Grossmann, that he so strongly believed that in some way the Guardianship would be continued that he went so far as to invite all of the eighteen Auxiliary Board members of Europe to a meeting in his home in Germany during the course of which he encouraged them not to give up hope for the continuance of the Guardianship and to convey this hope to the believers in Europe. The other Hands had obviously learned of this event and had become so concerned about it that they decided to relocate Dr. Grossmann to South America where he could no longer exert any influence on the European believers who held him in high esteem. Notwithstanding, I do recall subsequently hearing of an incident in which he had been supposedly telling the believers in South America that perhaps there would be a second Guardian, and there was much discussion amongst the Custodian Hands about this. Someone suggested that perhaps Dr. Grossmann was merely speculating that the Universal House of Justice, once it had been elected in 1963, might reestablish the Guardianship.
[TC:] But what made you so certain of your position that the Guardianship had not come to an end?
[MR:] It is somewhat embarrassing to discuss, even now, but I had a vision years before in which I had seen myself as the second Guardian. Following the death of Shoghi Effendi, I often thought about this vision, but even then could not see clearly how I was to become the second Guardian. However, it was far too embarrassing for me to put myself forward as the Guardian. It was my hope that the other Hands would, at the very least, think about and work towards a solution to the problem we facedas there had to be a Guardian, but how could that come about? Instead of endeavoring to resolve that question, the Hands instead deliberated on how they could get the believers to accept the end of the Guardianship.
[TC:] Mr. Remey, it still puzzles me as to why you remained silent for so long?
[MR:] I had not yet come to the realization, myself, of the specific manner in which Shoghi Effendi had insured the continuation of the Guardianship through my appointment as the President of the IBCthe embryonic UHJ an Office that can only be occupied by the Guardian of the Faith, as later fully explained in my Proclamation at Ridvan 1960. Therefore, most unfortunately, I was in no position then to prove to them the manner in which I had become Shoghi Effendis chosen successor. At the time, the emphasis for all of us, in all that we did, was to remain united so that the Faith might come through this crisis. In hindsight, now, it appears that I was mistaken, at least, in not coming forward sooner and more forcefully speaking out against their abandonment of the Guardianship. There is no way to know now what might have happened, if I had, although the results could not have been worse for the Faith than the violation that did occur. You should understand that I eventually worked very hard in entreating my fellow Hands to get them to see that their position was opposed to everything that Shoghi Effendi had written and done, and was in violation of the Covenant, but they were not willing to hear.
[TC:] There is no point in having you repeat to this Court all of the efforts that you then made, including the lengthy written appeals you sent to your fellow Hands, as well as the account of your almost daily exhortations to the Custodian Hands in Haifa, during the period you remained there, to reconsider their stand against the continuation of the Guardianship which is well preserved in your book, Daily Observations. All of these documents were admitted into this Courts record. However, the charges this Court is now considering deal with the culpability of the Defendants, so we must make some inquiry about what was going on in the minds of the Hands between the time when they reached their conclusion at the conclave in November 1957 that the Guardianship was Badah, and the time when you issued your own Proclamation at Ridván 1960.
[MR:] It is not possible for me to tell this Court what the Hands were thinking, other than to give you my own understanding of their reaction and responses to my appeals.
[TC:] Please do tell the Court.
[MR:] I had thought a great deal about this subject of Covenant-breaking, as you can well imagine. From a historical perspective, such as the recounting by Shoghi Effendi of the actions of the early Covenant-breakers in his book, God Passes By. The ambitions and desires of those Covenant-breakers who opposed Abdul-Bahá were evil. They seemed bent upon achieving a position of glory or power, even when their actions were blatantly destructive of the Faith, even violent and murderous.
[TC:] Is it your testimony that the Hands were Covenant-breakers in the historical sense?
[MR:] We had the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá that clearly pointed out the essentiality of the Guardian as "the Center of the Cause" and the "sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice and the extensive writings and highly significant messages of Shoghi Effendi which had obviously been ignored in the hasty decision to end the Guardianship, and, which if they had been examined closely and their implications taken into account, may have prevented their establishment of a sans-Guardian organization in place of the divinely-conceived and immortal Administrative Order bequeathed to us by Abdul-Bahá in His Will and Testament, a Document that Shoghi Effendi had equated in its sacredness and immutability with Baháulláhs Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. They were in error and they lost faith in the Covenant. There is no question in my mind about that. Some excuse for this failure by the Hands may be attributed to Shoghi Effendis sudden and unexpected passing and the fact that we had become so used to Shoghi Effendi as our leader, that we could not even imagine going on without him. This entire situation the untimely death of Shoghi Effendi, and the lack of any direct advice or instructions from him about the situation had been suddenly foisted upon us by events.
[TC:] Were the Hands not Covenant-breakers?
[MR:] Of course they were, and with disastrous results to the Cause of God. And that was the most frustrating thing about it.... how this spirit of violation seemed to descend upon the Hands.
[TC:] Can you give me an example of this spirit descending upon them?
[MR:] First of all, quite obviously, there was this plot by the Hands to abandon the Guardianship, but not to be straightforward about it. This whole notion of Badah, that God had changed His Mind about such a fundamental and distinguishing characteristic of the Faiththe basic Institutions of the Divine Government established by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá was so pernicious.... it threatened to destroy the Faith, and how strange it was that all of the Hands over time came to embrace this concept. It was such a blatant violation but they could not see it.
[TC:] Yes, but what specific examples can you relate that these Hands were violators?
[MR:] I guess from the start, it seemed like they wanted to have nothing to do with a second Guardian. In any Kingdom, when a highly esteemed and just King dies and there is no heir apparent to inherit the throne, what do his nobles do? Do they set out to destroy what had been a well-established and functioning government and replace it with a purely democratic system? That would be sedition.
[TC:] Yes. But is the Universal House of Justice that they established a purely democratic institution?
[MR:] Of course it is. As Shoghi Effendi has clearly explained in his writings, it is the elected Local and National Spiritual Assemblies, which in turn elect the International Assembly, a body that will be designated in its final stage of development as the Universal House of Justice, that constitutes the democratic element in the Bahá'í Spiritual World Government. When formed and in working order these institutions will be the voice of the rank and file of the believers. The royal element in the Faith is the Guardianship together with the institution of the Hands, The democratically elected members of the Universal House of Justice constitute only one part of the Universal House of Justice. The Guardian in his dual role as both the "Center of the Cause" and the "sacred head" for life of the UHJ, together with the Hands appointed by him, represent the nobility. The Hands, in doing away with the Guardianship, have done away with the nobility, including their own Institution as well, as future Hands can only be appointed by the Guardian and therefore they have turned the Faith over exclusively to the rank and file. Consequently, they have destroyed the divinely-appointed System given to us in the Will and Testament and replaced it with something of their own concoction. What could be a greater repudiation of the Master's Will than this? What else but the evil spirit of violation could bring the Hands to do these things?
[TC:] I think this goes to the heart of our inquiry today. How does this Court know the Hands were caught up in a spirit of violation, as opposed to being guilty of mere error did they not believe that their Universal House of Justice would decide the question?
[MR:] It is important for this Court to understand that, first and foremost, the Hands did not want a second Guardian. I have said countless times, if the Hands had been united in spirit in wanting a second Guardian to guide us, they would have found him. But instead, they said Badah! They just abandoned the entire spiritual structure of the divine government that is the heart of the Bahá'í message! The prospect that they held out to the believers that the House of Justice would decide the question was just a smokescreen... it was an effort to get the rank and file to accept the end of the Guardianship.
[TC:] We will get to that in a moment. When you say they did not want a second Guardian, how so?
[MR:] Well I recall when Rúhíyyih attended the 1958 conference in Kampala, she announced that the Guardianship was Badah. In Chicago, Hands of the Cause Horace Holley and Paul Haney met with the American NSA and they circulated a Manifesto announcing definitely that the Guardianship had ended for this Dispensation! Rúhíyyih said her announcement had been a slip of the tongue and she also had Horace and Paul stop the circulation of their Manifesto. But their true conviction came through. And it was only when the believers began to protest this conviction, that the Hands listened to them and reconsidered what they had to say? Nevertheless, they still wanted to put out of the Faith anyone who protested, and some believers were actually deprived of their Baháí voting rights simply because they argued in favor of the continuing Guardianship.
[TC:] Did any of the Hands actually tell you they did not want a second Guardian?
[MR:] You know Rúhíyyih Khánum was so absorbed in the personality of Shoghi Effendi and his way of doing things, that she could not imagine anyone else as the Guardian. And this was the dilemma for all of us. But for Rúhíyyih it was a stumbling block. Being in the position of a liaison, with the believers she had been the contact person for the Guardian, and really had been the person all of us turned to. She had been second only in our minds to Shoghi himself, and she did not want anyone to supplant her in this position and she ruled the Faith after Shoghi passed on.
[TC:] Did Rúhíyyih ever come out and say it?
[MR:] I do recall at a meeting of the Custodians, she insisted to me that there never would be another Guardian, and that no one else would ever live in the Guardians' house, after her. And she would have temper tantrums if the other Custodian Hands would not go along with her, shaking her fingers at us, and talking impatiently, as if she still was the channel through which Shoghi Effendi directed us.
[COURTROOM SCENE FADES OUT AND CONCLAVE SCENE FADES IN]
[The Custodians in Haifa are discussing Dr. Grossmanns speculation about the continuation of the Guardianship]
[RK] We must put a stop to these leaks about the continuation of the Guardianship.... it is too dangerous.
[Ugo Giachery]: Perhaps his remarks were taken out of context. After all, we don't know whether the Guardianship has ended or not. Only the Universal House of Justice, when it is established, can decide that question, and they might very well find a way to appoint the next Guardian.
[RK:] Nonsense! There will not be another Guardian! [pointing finger] Over my dead body. Understand this. The Guardianship is ended. Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian, and there is no other Guardian. I will not have a second Guardian. If the House of Justice finds a way to appoint a Guardian, then I will leave here and never come back.
[UG] You are not going to leave here. Where would you go?
[RK:] I will take myself to the wilderness of Tibet, I will hide from the Bahá'ís, if need be, but I will not accept any more Guardians.
[FADE BACK INTO COURTROOM SCENE]
[MR:] Such was the attitude of Rúhíyyih, and such was the attitude of the other Hands, with the exception of Dr. Grossmann.... they did not want a Guardian so they declared it Badah!
[TC:] If this Court accepts as fact that Rúhíyyih did not want the Guardianship to continue because she would lose her special status, why would the other Hands be opposed to a second Guardian?
[MR:] That is a very good question. By the time of the second conclave in November of 1958, I was determined to do whatever I could to remedy this situation. As I stated, because of my vision in seeing myself as the second Guardian, I did not want to be the one to bring up the continuation of the Guardianship. So I sat there at first and prayed that someone else would bring it up. Several Hands had been called aside to discuss letters received from the German believers, Dr. Schaefer and Eugene Schmidt, urging us to consider the essentiality of the Guardianship, but the Hands did not want to discuss this matter at the conclave. All of them were united in wanting not to discuss it. I was the only one who wanted to speak of it, and they did not want to give me the floor.
COURTROOM SCENE FADES OUT AND CONCLAVE SCENE FADES IN]
[This is the second secret conclave held in the Mansion of Bahjí in November 1958 with the Hands all assembled together (25 Hands)]
[Horace Holley:] Mason, you are out of order. This question of the Guardianship has already been decided and there is nothing more to discuss.
[other Hands murmuring with their assent to this]
[RK:] Just a minute now, Mason is the eldest Hand present. The least we can do is allow him to speak. These proceedings are secret and what harm would there be in letting him say his piece. Go on Mason.
[MR:] Thank you Rúhíyyih. I appreciate this opportunity to speak. I do not want antagonism or strife in these proceedings, but I must insist upon bringing it up again and again until you accept it for I am convinced that without a continuance of the Institution of the Guardianship that our Holy Cause will fail and go high and dry upon the rocks. But I know that the Cause is not going to fail. It is bound to triumph in the world and this can only be if we have a Guardian here in the flesh to guide us, therefore I firmly believe that we have a Guardian and that the time will come when you, one and all, will realize this and that then the second Guardian of our Faith will be wanted to command our Cause here upon earth.
You hope to establish the Universal House of Justice as a source of infallibility to supplant that of the Guardianship, a House of Justice of your own creation. This cannot be done unless there is a Guardian in office to establish it, for you all know that there are to be two pillars of that supreme body. It cannot come into existence without first the Guardianship to create the House of Justice. The Guardian will himself direct this establishment- you cannot establish it. What authority do you have? The Hands are required to perform two services for the Faithto propagate the Faith and to protect the Faith under the direction of the Guardian. The Cause can have no protection at all without the Guardianship and that means a Guardian here upon earth to lead and to govern usthen we will have a protected Faith, protected in the only way possible to protect it then the propagation of the Faith will be a simple matter. The beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, has laid out the campaign to establish the Faith in triumph upon earth our Second Guardian will lead the Cause on from victory to victory the world around! Victory cannot be attained in any other way!
[HH- interrupting:] Enough of this Mason. It is all well and good, but it is foolish to speculate about what might have been. You know very well there is no way for us to appoint a Guardian. We have no authority to do that either.
[MR:] Mr. Holley, if between now and our next conclave, we would only think about it, consider it, work on this problem... what other problem is more important than this? Perhaps we will find a solution. We have not even tried. All I am trying to do is to facilitate our thinking about this problem. Because I know in my heart that this Faith is from God, and that He guides it, and He has promised not to leave this Faith without a living Guardian.
Every Bahá'í knows that had there not been a first Guardian of the Faith by now the Cause would have broken up into sects and cults and it would no longer be united. Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship was the point of unity around which the Faith revolved. In other words, that by virtue of his Guardianship he was the heart of the Faith in this worldthat the Administration was the Guardianship and that the Guardianship was the Administration. No line of separation could be drawn. The individual Guardians of the Bahá'í Faith will live and die but the Guardianship of the Faith will live on as long as the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh endures. It is the heart and the life center of the Faith.
[HH:] And why cannot Shoghi Effendi continue to guide us? Shoghi Effendi already has told us all that we need to know with respect to the carrying out of his World Crusade. All we have to do is follow his injunctions, turn to him in the Abhá Kingdom and if we love him and obey that which he told us, he from his supreme station in the Abhá Kingdom will direct the Cause upon the plane of this world. We need no further Guardianship in this world.
[MR:] Mr. Holley, I have the floor. And I cannot understand how you can believe that. You certainly know that this flies in the face of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and everything that Shoghi Effendi has written about the Guardianshipthis is superstition and nonsense. It is an axe to the root of the Faith, a violation of the Master's Will and Testament. How is it possible that you, as a rational human being, can follow and believe in such a pernicious and ignorant philosophy?
[HH:] I must object... this is out of order! The Universal House of Justice will decide this question. This is not a question for us to consider.
[RK:] That will be enough...
[FADE-BACK TO THE COURTROOM SCENE]
[TC] Did any of the other Hands speak up or even suggest that the continuation of the Guardianship should be discussed?
[MR:] They would not even speak of the Guardianship. The subject was taboo. None of the Hands would allow this essential topic to be considered. In fact, every time I ever brought up the subject of the continuing Guardianship, the other Hands were united in arguing against me. They clearly did not want a second Guardian they put up a solid wall of resistance. To me, this revealed that they were very insecure about the subject and that their inner conviction was against the continuance of the Guardianship, but it was too painful for them to openly discuss it. So they would say that the Universal House of Justice would have to decide. It was apparent to me that the Hands enjoyed such great freedom in their position. The Hands ruled the Cause and they had nobody to hold them to account. The last thing they wanted was to go back to the time when they lived under the thumb of the Guardian. For example, the group of Custodian Hands in Haifa were all greatly and evidently personally enjoying life there, far more than we ever had enjoyed it during the days of Shoghi's ministry. We were like children away from school with no teacher to direct us or restrain us. The freedom we enjoyed, frankly was a personally delightful change from the state of years past when the beloved Guardian was directing and actually in command of practically every move we made. That life was indeed a most difficult life at times almost unendurable. You cannot have any comprehension of the tests, trials and difficulties we had to endure if you had not lived near to the Guardian and served him every day.
[TC:] I want to discuss a bit about your decision to come forward to the Bahá'í world and proclaim your Guardianship.
[MR:] Believe me when I tell you that my actions in defying the Hands and proclaiming my Guardianship were done with the greatest reluctance and only as the last resort. It was my prayerful wish, from the very beginning, to avoid a split in the Faith and to stop that violation before it could be spread, but it was not to be.
[TC:] So you then decided to promulgate your proclamation to the National Spiritual Assemblies?
[MR:] Yes, indeed, although I only had the means to send it to the NSA of the United States in Wilmette for presentation to the Convention at Ridvan `1960, and also to the NSA of France---
[TC:] [Interrupting] Why did you send it to Wilmette?
[MR:] The American NSA was in the position easily to distribute the text throughout the Bahá'í World, and I ----
[TC:] [Interrupting] And you expected them to distribute it?
[MR:] In hindsight, it was obvious that I had made a miscalculation. I honestly believed they would accept in good faith my claims. At least, one would have expected they would have received it with an open mind, and at least have inquired further. Certainly, they must have known of my sincerity.
[TC:] But they rejected it, didn't they?
[MR:] Yes, the spirit of violation is so dangerous, and it spreads so easily. The American NSA already was infected and they did not even consider it. They also had received a cable from the Custodians in Haifa denouncing me and this, of course, would have greatly influenced them. They squelched my Proclamation and kept it from the Bahá'í World. It makes you wonder how things might have turned out differently had they possessed the integrity to give it a full hearing and allowed the Bahá'í world to consider it to discuss it.
[TC:] But the American NSA was not the only one in receipt of your proclamation?
[MR:] Yes, the one bright moment in the entire ordeal was the reception given it by the French NSA. I had sent them a copy directly and they considered it carefully and dispassionately and I am proud to say they voted to accept my Guardianship. Perhaps if the other NSAs had been given the opportunity to consider it, they too might have accepted.
[TC:] And do you know what happened to the French NSA?
[MR:] Sadly, the violating Custodian Hands sent Mr. Faizi to France to try to dissuade the Assembly from their acceptance of my Guardianship. As he failed in this attempt, the Hands dissolved the NSA, and declared its members Covenant-breakers. Its all in the records of the French NSA. Mr. Fillon, the Secretary of the NSA, has written a detailed account.
[TC:] That is in the Courts record. By what authority did the Hands dissolve a National Spiritual Assembly?
[MR:] Indeed, by what authority did they do any of things they did in the Faith? By what authority did they expel me? The Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá gives them no such authority.
[TC:] I'd like for you to give me the Hands' reasons for identifying you as a Covenant-breaker because, if an individual can only be proclaimed a Covenant-breaker for opposing the Guardian of the Faith, how could they call you a Covenant-breaker?
[MR:] They eventually decided that my claim to be the second Guardian was "heretical" and "contrary to the explicit provisions of the Will of the Master." They maintained that I was seeking to create division within the Faith and to "sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts of the believers." They said I was undermining the activities of the institution of the Hands. So they called upon the believers everywhere to shun me and anyone who associated with me or actively supported my claims. If you read the book The Ministry of the Custodians, you'll see that in their correspondence with one another the Hands put forth a number of other arguments that they felt would constitute a basis for my being expelled from the Faith.
[TC:] Such as?
[MR:] They said that my opposition was "to the decisions and plans of our beloved Guardian"that is, Shoghi Effendi. The Hands in the Holy Land went so far as to make the absurd statement that my claim and activities were "a protest against the decision of Shoghi Effendi in not appointing a successor to him as the Guardian of the Faith." And they eventually suggested that I had somehow failed "to show ... obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God as called for in the Master's Will." Thus, they said, my purpose was "dissension and discord," and I should be cut off from the community of the believers. Hand of the Cause Sears said that I had opposed the Guardian for two years, and that I was causing a division in the Faith. Hand of the Cause Ioas used my proclamation itself as a transgression of the laws of the Faith and thus grounds for excommunication.
[TC:] Did any of the Hands realize that they might be exceeding their authority?
[MR:] Yes, Hand of the Cause, Hasan Balyuzi. He asked where the Hands obtained their authority to expel individuals from the community and then cited the passage in the Will and Testament which says that the Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and to cast out anyone who opposes or protests against the Guardian. Balyuzi said that "he couldn't find the express authority given to the Hands of the Cause to expel people for any reason other than opposition to the Guardian" and he suggested that the Hands would be setting up a new category of Covenant-breakers if they expelled anyone for any other reason. He was later apparently won over by the other Hands on the grounds that they were protecting the Faith. So it was that they had the audacity to declare themselves and the other violators as faithful, and to condemn my claim to the Guardianship and expel and shun the true and faithful believers.
[TC:] Could you summarize for the Court what was your claim to the Guardianship?
[MR:] What do you mean? Are you asking me what was the rationale of my claim to the office?
[TC:] Yes, please. Summarize briefly for the Court how it was you came to be the second Guardian?
[MR:] As I explained in my proclamation and appeals, Shoghi Effendi created the Bahá'í International Council as the embryo of The Universal House of Justice which would eventually develop into The Universal House of Justice. Shoghi Effendi chose me to be the President of the Bahá'í International Council, or in other words the embryonic president of the embryonic Universal House of Justice. According to the Will and Testament, the President of the Universal House of Justice is an office held only by the Guardian. Therefore, upon Shoghi Effendi's death, the International Council became active and so did my presidency and thus I held office as the second Guardian.
[TC:] Thank you, Mr. Remey, I have no further questions.
[LG:] Mr Wolcott, your witness
[CW:] Thank you, your honor. Mr. Remey, I want to take you back to the time of the first conclave of the Hands. Did you ever voice your objections to anyone at all or did you ever object to the holding of the conclave by the Hands?
[CW:] Then, you agreed with this meeting, did you not? You agreed that the Hands had the authority to have such a conclave?
[MR:] Well, there is nothing in the Writings that gave us that authority, and the Will and Testament does not call for the convening of such a conclave upon the passing of the Guardian but on the other hand, there is nothing that prohibited it.
[CW:] Did you agree with it?
[MR:] I did as this was an unusual time for the Faith.
[CW interrupting:] Thank you. Did you agree to keep the meetings secret?
[CW:] You agreed not to keep notes?
[MR:] Yes, but...
[CW interrupting:] Nevertheless, you did take notes, didn't you, and they were published under the title of Daily Observations?
[TC:] I object, your honor, to this line of questioning. Mr. Remey is not on trial here.
[LG:] I will allow the questioning, but be careful where you are going, Mr. Wolcott.
[CW:] I will move on, your honor. [placing before him a document] I would like to direct your attention to this document entitled: "Unanimous Proclamation of the 27 Hands of God, dispatched from the "Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh, Bahjí, 'Akká, Israel, November 25, 1957." Are you familiar with this?
[MR:] Yes, of course
[CW:] Can you tell the Court what this is?
[MR:] This is one of the two proclamations issued by the Hands on 25 November 1957 after the first conclave. We also issued a "Unanimous Certification" and a "Resolution" on the same date.
[CW:] This would be one of the official records of the proceedings at that conclave, is that correct?
[MR:] That would be true, yes.
[CW:] [pointing to the page] Do you recognize this signature?
[MR:] That's my signature.
[CW:] So you signed this document and accepted its contents?
[TC:] Objection, your honor. I don't see how this is relevant to these proceedings. Mr. Remey's signature on the proclamation and his acceptance of that proclamation does not tend to prove or disprove whether the Hands are guilty of the charges against them.
[LG:] Mr. Wolcott?
[CW:] Your honor, the prosecution has gone into great detail about the secret conclave and the proceedings by the Hands, and certainly they are producing this evidence to show that the Hands have violated the Covenant. This is within the scope of cross-examination. Presumably, Mr. Remey is not considered guilty of these charges so it certainly is relevant whether he gave his support and acquiescence to the actions of the Hands.
[LG:] I will allow this line of questioning for now; the objection is over-ruled. Proceed.
[CW:] Thank you, your honor.
[LG:] Mr. Remey, you may answer the question.
[MR:] Yes, I signed the document.
[CW:] Can you read this line [pointing] right here.
[MR:] (reading from the "Unanimous Proclamation" of the Hands dated 25 November 1957) "in our capacity as Hands of the Cause of God duly nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, assembled this 25th of November, 1957 at the Bahá'í World Centre and constituting the supreme body of the Bahá'í World Community."
[CW:] [Interrupting] so you agreed with the statement that the Hands constituted the supreme body of the community?
[MR:] At the time, I did go along, yes.
[CW:] and read right here. [pointing]
[MR:] (reading) "WHEREAS THE Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, passed away in London (England) on the 4th of November, 1957, without having appointed his successor; AND WHEREAS it is now fallen upon us as Chief Stewards of the Bahá'í World Faith to preserve the unity, the security and the development of the Bahá'í World Community and all its institutions"
[CW:] and this further paragraph. [pointing]
[MR:] (reading) "We nominate and appoint from our own number to act on our behalf as the Custodians of the Bahai World Faith . . ."
[CW:) And in the text that followed you were included in the body of nine Custodians that were named. You agreed with this?
[CW:] And you signed this document knowing it created the Custodians, and indeed you were one of them, isn't that correct?
[CW:] So how is it that you served as a member of this body and conducted yourself in the same manner as the other Hands, but the other Hands are on trial for violating the Covenant?
[MR:] You are taking this out of context. We were concerned mostly about unity at that time. None of us wanted to see the Faith break apart. We felt we needed to keep a common and united front. There is no question the Hands appointed the Custodians that day as set forth in the proclamation, and I was remaining united with them. But they assured me they would continue to address this matter of the continuing Guardianship.
[CW:] But you went along with the statement in that proclamation, "that Shoghi Effendi passed away in London (England) on the 4th of November without having appointed his successor," did you not?
[MR:] Yes, but what did that statement really say, as well as the statement in the second proclamation issued by the Custodians on the same day, which you have placed before me to read,? It said that Shoghi Effendi left no will and testament appointing a faithless Aghsán as his heir. Certainly that was true. In fact, there were no remaining living Aghsán to appoint. It did not say the Guardianship had terminated.
[CW:] But it did say, isn't it so, that it granted the nine Custodians authority to exercise, and I quote: "all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, as are necessary to serve the interests of the Bahá'í World Faith" and you signed this document... and agreed with it?
[CW:] And yet you maintain that the other Hands are guilty but you are not. How is that so?
[MR:] That was considered only a temporary arrangement. I signed for the sake of unity. I could sign that proclamation because it did not actually declare the Guardianship Badah the end of the Guardianship.
[CW:] And so, in your mind, it was the belief in Badah that violated the Covenant?
[MR:] Yes, and really taking the action that followed from it, their plan to elect a headless Universal House of Justice to replace the House of Justice delineated in the Will and Testament, which requires the Guardian to preside as its head. It was carrying out that plan to institutionalize their Badah doctrine it was that which constituted the violation. If you will note the next phrase after the one you quoted. It says that we were giving the Custodians this power temporarily (reading) "and this until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, may otherwise determine." You can see, I had not abandoned the Guardianship or the Universal House of Justice that they stated would be established and elected in conformity with the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá which must have the Guardian as its "sacred head."
[CW:] And yet you also signed the "Resolution of the Hands of the Cause of God Passed at Their Meeting at the Bahá'í World Centre," also on 25 November 1957, didn't you?
[MR:] Yes I did.
[CW:] In that resolution, the Hands said among other things the following, did they not? (reading) "In all their dealings with the Israel Government and any local authorities in Israel the Custodians shall act through the Bahá'í International Council, who shall act in accordance with the instructions of the Custodians."
[MR:] I do think that was in error. The Custodians, actually an illegitimate body, did not have the right to give the IBC any instructions at all.
[CW:] Yet you signed it
[MR:] As I explained, I felt that this was a time for showing unity, not dispute. But the Custodians also issued a proclamation addressed "to the Bahais of East and West" that the IBC would be allowed to function and I quote the following passage from this proclamation: (reading) "As to the International Bahá'í Council, appointed by the Guardian and heralded in his communications to the Bahá'í world, that body will in the course of time finally fulfill its purpose through the formation of the Universal House of Justice, that Supreme Body upon which infallibility, as the Master's Testament assures us, is divinely conferred: "The source of all good and freed from all error." Their agreement with that allowed me to sign all the documents.
[CW:] Why didn't you just convene the IBC and have the IBC carry out the business of the Faith in the Holy Land?
[MR:] That would have been most appropriate, and more than that, the Council, in accordance with Shoghi Effendis plans for the expanded future role of the Council, should have been permitted to direct the NSAs of the World in their achievement of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade that commenced at Ridvan 1960, but the Custodian Hands usurped this function. Although I eventually did assert myself, by that time their violation had become so deeply entrenched that they were determined to proceed with their 1963 plan. I collaborated with them for two years before refusing in December, 1959 to be a party any longer to this obvious violation.
[CW:] No further questions.
[LG:] Mr. Chase, does the prosecution wish to have redirect examination?
[TC:] Just a couple of questions.
[TC:] By the 1963 plan, you meant the plan by the Hands to elect a headless Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1963 to rule the Bahá'í world?
[TC:] After the Proclamation and resolutions of the Hands at the first conclave, you did not remain silent, did you?
[MR:] No, as you know, I made every effort within my power to convince the Hands that they had embarked upon the wrong course. But they would not listen. After I left Haifa in late 1959 I wrote several lengthy appeals to all of the Hands setting forth the reasons why the Guardianship should not be abandoned. And before that, while still in Haifa, hardly a day passed when I did not remonstrate with my fellow-Custodian Hands over this abandonment, but all to no avail.
[TC:] So you consider that you did not fail to meet your duty as Guardian?
[MR:] I think not. I stood up, single and alone. As I said in the following quotation from my "Announcement to the Hands".. (reading) "In my position as President of the International Council, I stand single and alone in all this world, Therefore my reason for standing single and alone upholding the Administration of the Faith and the Guardianship against the united stand of the Hands of the Faith. At the present time of this writing (April 5, 1960) I am the only person in the world who knows this, but I shall soon have to explain these matters to the Bahá'í world. For the time of silence, confusion, and violation is ended. Thus, I give the Hands of the Faith but a few hours before I announce my intentions to the friends of the Faith." (end quote) I stood up for the Guardianship, but only a few would later pay any heed.
[TC:] No further questions.
[CW:] I have nothing further, your honor.
[LG:] Mr. Remey, you may step down. The Court thanks you for your testimony. You are excused.
[TC:] Your Honor, the prosecution calls Leroy C. Ioas to the stand.
[LG:] Mr. Ioas, please sit here at the witness stand. You remain under oath, do you understand that?
[Leroy Ioas:] Yes, sir, I understand.
[TC:] Mr. Ioas, you are one of the defendants in this case, are you not?
[LI:] Yes, sir, I am.
[TC:] I want to ask you just a few questions about your service on the International Bahá'í Council.
[LI:] I will do my best to answer.
[TC:] You were appointed to the IBC by Shoghi Effendi, is that correct?
[TC:] And he named you as the Secretary-General of the IBC?
[LI:] Yes, and he named Assistant Secretaries, as well. Lotfullah Hakim and Ethel Revell.
[TC:] At any time while you were a member of the IBC, did the IBC ever have a meeting?
[LI:] No, sir.
[TC:] Did it function in any capacity?
[LI:] From time to time, individuals on the IBC would be charged with various tasks by Shoghi Effendi.
[TC:] Yes, I understand that IBC members were asked to do things, but did the IBC itself ever perform any functions?
[LI:] No, it could not function since there never was a meeting.
[TC:] So, would it be correct to say that you never functioned as the Secretary-General of the IBC, and that your Assistant Secretaries never functioned either?
[LI:] No, I would not agree with that statement.
]TC:] You just testified, did you not, that the IBC did not function, so how is that the Secretaries functioned?
[LI:] I recall a couple of instances when we wrote letters.
[TC:] Did you write letters on behalf of the Council to the NSAs?
[LI:] No, of course not. The IBC never functioned or met. The IBC never directed me or my assistants to take action in any way.
[TC:] So when you signed letters as Secretary-General of the IBC, on whose behalf were you writing?
[LI:] We were Hands of the Cause. We were acting at all times on behalf of the beloved Guardian.
[TC:] You were acting on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, then, and not the IBC?
[TC:] Therefore, it is true that you and your assistants never wrote any letters on behalf of the IBC?
[TC:] The IBC itself never did function in any capacity during Shoghi Effendis ministry, is that not correct?
[LI:] It never did function.
[TC:] I have no further questions.
[LG:] Mr. Wolcott, your witness.
[CW:] No questions, your honor.
[LG:] Thank you, Mr Ioas, you may step down. Mr. Chase, your next witness?
[TC:] Thank you, your Honor. The prosecution rests.
[LG:] [Turning to defense counsel] Thank you. Mr. Wolcott, are you ready to put on your defense? [fading]
ACT 2 The Defense
[Act opens in the Courtroom with Rúhíyyih Khánum in the witness box]
[LG:] Let the defense begin with their first witness.
[CW:] Please state your name for the record.
[RK:] I am Rúhíyyih Rabbani.
[CW:] You are the widow of Shoghi Effendi?
[CW:] You have heard the prosecution's testimony. Can you tell me why the Hands took control of the Faith after the death of your husband, Shoghi Effendi?
[RK:] The friends really were looking to us, as the Hands are charged with protecting and defending the Guardian. We were determined to carry out the wishes of the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, which were to prosecute the continuance of a successful Ten Year World Crusade which he had initiated in 1953 as implementation, at last, of the "Tablets of the Divine Plan" given us by Abdul-Bahá. Even Mason went along with us on that objective.
[CW:] But you do not agree with Mr. Remey, that you violated the Covenant?
[RK:] I disagree.
[CW:] Please tell the court, why?
[RK:] The Hands had verified that Shoghi had not left a will. And there were no instructions from him.
[CW:] Yes, but the prosecution has maintained that according to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá an appointment of a successor would have been made in the Guardian's lifetime and not by a Will and Testament.
[RK:] Anyway, he could not have made such an appointment. We had no children.
[CW:] Was there anybody else he could have appointed?
[RK:] There was nobody. All the living members of the Family were Covenant-breakers.
[CW:] By "the Family" you mean the Holy Family?
[RK:] Yes of course, descendants of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh. There was no one left to appoint.
[CW:] Why could he not have appointed "another branch," as permitted, as an alternative option, in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá?
[RK:] All of the Branches were gone. It was impossible to do.
[CW:] And Shoghi Effendi could not have appointed someone outside of the Holy Family?
[RK:] Such as Mason Remey? We thought not.
[CW:] Why not?
[RK:] There is nothing in the Writings stating who might be eligible to be the Guardian, other than members of the Holy Family. We did not believe Mason could adequately serve as the Guardian. He did not know Arabic or Persian, he was very old, and the nine elected Hands did not give their assent.
[CW:] You are referring, of course, to the passage, that states "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....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."
[RK:] Yes, exactly.
[CW:] Did the Hands elect nine of their own?
[RK:] Yes, they did, after Shoghi Effendi had passed away.
[CW:] The Custodians?
[RK:] Yes, and Mason was one of them.
[CW:] Did those Hands vote on Shoghi's appointment of Mason?
[RK:] Yes, of course. After Mason made his claim to the Guardianship, the Custodian Hands rejected his appointment. Therefore Mason could not have been the Guardian.
[CW:] So you continue to maintain that Mason Remey was not the second Guardian of the Cause?
[RK:] Mason was not appointed in accordance with the Will and Testament. The Master's Will and Testament sets out specific criteria, and Mason did not meet them.
[TC:] Objection, your honor. This Court should take judicial notice that Mason Remey was in fact the second Guardian of the Cause. It is not the purpose of this forum to inquire into the validity of Mason Remey's claims to office. This inquiry is whether the Hands violated the Covenant.
[LG:] Sustained. Mr. Wolcott, this Court is passing upon the reasonableness of the Hand's belief that Mason Remey was not the Guardian. This Court takes notice that Mason Remey was in fact the appointed successor to Shoghi Effendi and was validly the second Guardian.
[CW:] Thank you your honor. Madam Rabbani, would it be correct to say that you did not believe that Mason met the criteria for being the Guardian?
[RK:] Yes. We were positive that the Guardian had to be a member of the Holy Family, fluent in Arabic or Persian, and young enough to be able to carry on the affairs of the Cause. Our reading of the Will and Testament was that Mason was not eligible and therefore he could not have been appointed as successor.
[CW:] The prosecution argues that the Custodian Hands, a body that is not found in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, was not eligible either.
[RK:] Of course, we were collectively not the Guardian. Our job was to carry the Faith forward until the Universal House of Justice could be elected to determine what to do next.
[CW:] Why would the Universal House of Justice have to decide the succession of the Guardianship? Was that its function?
[RK:] As the Master said in His Will and Testament: "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice." The House needed to decide whether it was possible to appoint a second Guardian.
[CW:] The prosecution maintains the Custodian Hands had no authority to run the affairs of the Faith after Shoghi's passing. What authority did you believe you had?
[RK:] Lets not forget that Mason was one of the Custodians.
[CW:] Are you saying that Mason Remey gave you that authority?
[RK:] No, of course not. The authority of the Custodians came from Shoghi Effendi himself.
[CW:] How so?
[RK:] He stated about a month before he passed away that the Hands were "the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth, who have been invested by the unerring Pen of the Center of His Covenant with the dual function of guarding over the security, and of insuring the propagation, of His Father's Faith." That was our mandate, and that was exactly what we were doing. We were carrying out the wishes, instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi until such time as we could form the House of Justice.
[CW:] Did the believers accept this?
[RK:] Yes. The entire Bahá'í world accepted us as the leaders of the Cause. As you know, the cables from all over are published in my book The Ministry of the Custodians. We had universal support for our mission. The believers all over the world were behind us. All of the National Spiritual Assemblies wrote to us and swore their allegiance to us as the "supreme body in the Cause." I think that was authority enough.
[CW:] The Bahá'í world recognized your authority, but the body of nine so-called "Custodians of the Bahai World Faith" was not an Institution of the Cause delineated in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baháthe "Architect of the Administrative Order", was it?
[RK:] The Hands were an Institution. The Hands appointed us as Custodians. Eventually, the Universal House of Justice ratified our authority.
[TC:] Objection, your honor. There is no foundation for this House of Justicethe defense has not established that this body elected in 1963 was the Universal House of Justice delineated in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá. They are attempting to justify their violation of the Covenant with the circular argument that their own illegitimate, headless and violating institution allowed it.
[CW:] Your honor, if the inquiry here is the reasonableness of the Hands' belief that there could not be another Guardian, the pronouncements of this House of Justice are relevant.
[TC:] Their pronouncements cannot be relevant not unless this Court finds that it was reasonable for them to accept this House.
[LG:] [After conferring with the other Justices]. The objection is well taken that the defense posed by the Hands uses circular logic by attempting to validate the premise of their argument with the authority of the very body existing as the ultimate fruit of the Hands' actions. On the other hand, justice dictates that we give full hearing to the argument posed by the defense. It goes to the heart of the reasonableness of the collective belief by the accused Hands that their actions after the death of the first Guardian were not violations of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. This line of questioning is therefore allowed and admitted but the parties are free to argue the weight or relevancy of the testimony during closing argument.
[CW:] Thank you, your honor. Lets talk about this Universal House of Justice. After it was elected, it decided upon the question of the Guardianship, did it not?
[CW:] How did this House come into being?
[RK:] Due to the situation we found ourselves in... The Hands, after Shoghi passed away...we were left in charge. We knew that we did not have infallible guidance. All we could do was follow Shoghi's instructions and policies, including establishing the Universal House of Justice as the head of the Faith. Once the House took over the Cause, we would restore infallibility to the Administration. So the Hands brought about the election of the Universal House of Justice we conformed to everything that Shoghi Effendi and `Abdu'l-Bahá had stated on how to carry out its election.
[CW:] This election took place at Ridván, 1963. Correct?
[RK:] Yes. April 21, 1963, just before the World Centennial Congress in London, celebrating the victory of the Ten Year World Crusade. The goals set by Shoghi Effendi had been won.
[CW] Did the Universal House of Justice then rule on the question of the Guardianship?
[RK] Yes, on October 6, 1963, the House released the text of its resolution, as follows: "After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts bearing upon the question of the appointment of the successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, and after prolonged consideration of the views of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi."
[CW:] That was not the only time the House rendered a decision on this subject, was it?
[RK:] I believe they did discuss it a couple of times in response to questions from the friends.
[CW:] That would have been on March 9, 1965, to be exact. Do you recall?
[RK:] Yes, I believe this involved the release of a letter from the House to an NSA that had forwarded a number of concerns and questions but the basic issue was why we had to elect the House of Justice when the International Bahá'í Council could have carried out the work
[CW:] Do you recall how the House came down on that question?
[RK:] They said what we of course knew to be true- that we needed infallible guidance and that we needed the House to decide on this obscure question not revealed in the Holy Text of how to appoint a successor. While we were following the goals of the Ten Year Crusade, as established by Shoghi Effendi, we were following divine guidance. Once the Crusade came to an end, we needed to have the infallible guidance of the House.
[CW:] Did the House ever address any other questions regarding the Guardianship?
[RK:] A little more than a year later, they came out with their May 27, 1966, letter. It was almost a formal statement about the Guardianship.
[CW:] Could you tell me what they said?
[RK:] May I read parts of it?
[CW:] If you wish.
[RK:] The House said Shoghi had no children to appoint, "and all the surviving Aghsán had broken the Covenant.... there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will." They said it was "impossible and unthinkable" for the Guardian "to have made an appointment outside the clear and specific provisions of the Master's Will and Testament."
[CW:] Go on.
[RK:] They decided that "[t]he infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, operating within its ordained sphere, has not been made dependent upon the presence in its membership of the Guardian of the Cause." They went on to say that "during the Guardian's entire ministry he functioned without the Universal House of Justice, and now the House must function without the Guardian, but the principle of inseparability remains. The Guardianship does not lose its significance nor position in the Order of Bahá'u'lláh merely because there is no living Guardian."
[CW:] Do you have anything to add in your defense?
[RK:] None of us took any action because we wanted personal power or benefit. I loved Shoghi with all of my heart and I would never have done anything to hurt him. I loved and served him my entire life. He was the beloved Guardian, and we acted in service to him always.
[CW:] No further questions, your honor.
[LG:] Your witness, Mr. Chase.
[TC:] Thank you, your honor. Ms. Rabbani, I have many questions to ask you, but I would like to begin by asking you to explain how you came about to be known as Rúhíyyih Khánum. Your actual maiden name is Mary Maxwell, is it not?
[RK:] Yes that was my given name. But I am known as Rúhíyyih Khánum. Shoghi Effendi gave me that name during the 30s...
[TC:] And that would have occurred sometime around the time that you were married to Shoghi Effendi, correct?
[RK:] Yes, we were married March 24, 1937. We were married in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf in Haifa.
[TC:] Do you recall how this event, your marriage to the first Guardian, was announced to the believers?
[RK:] Of course, he sent a cablegram shortly afterwards.
[TC:] [Handing her a piece of paper] Was it this cablegram dated March 30, 1937?
[RK:] Yes, this is it.
[TC:] Would you mind reading it to the Court?
[RK:] Certainly. It was addressed to the American believers and says: "Institution of Guardianship, head cornerstone of the Administrative Order of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, already ennobled through its organic connection with the Persons of Twin Founders of the Bahá'í Faith, is now further reinforced through direct association with West and particularly with the American believers, whose spiritual destiny is to usher in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. For my part I desire to congratulate community of American believers on acquisition of the tie vitally binding them to so weighty an organ of their Faith."
[TC:] Is there anything about this message that impresses you?
[RK:] Well, I am not sure what you are getting at with this, but first of all, the marriage was obviously far more than the coming together of two souls, those of Shoghi Effendi and of mine. His message identifies the institution of the Guardianship as an integral part of our union. But more than that, he identifies a relationship that is far beyond our physical union by identifying the Guardianship as organically connected with the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.... [reading].... he calls the Guardianship the "head cornerstone of the Administrative Order of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh"
[TC:] Which means that the Guardianship of the Faith is fundamental to the Administrative Order that you can't have the Administrative Order without the Guardianship, is that not true?
[RK:] Yes of course that was what we believed at the time.
[TC:] And you have a special role with respect to the Guardianship?
[RK:] I don't know what you mean.
[TC:] He says in his message that the Guardianship was an integral part of your marriage.
[RK:] Why, yes he does. All right. At the end of that message he wrote that he congratulated the community of American believers on the acquisition of the tie vitally binding them to so weighty an organ of this Faith. So our marriage was symbolically a joining together of the East and the West.
[TC:] Was that all? Take a look at the message.
[RK:] [reading] He said that it was the "spiritual destiny of the American believers to usher in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."
[TC:] And what do you suppose is the significance of that?
[RK:] If the tie were brokenlf the American believers were cut off from this organic connection that he referred toShoghi Effendi's vision regarding the future World Order could be placed in jeopardy.
[TC:] So your marriage to Shoghi Effendi represented far more than a union of you and the Guardian--indeed, far more than a symbol of a joining of the East and the West?
[RK:] Yes, I think he was trying to say that our marriage, somehow, was a union of the American Bahá'ís with the Guardianship of the Faith--a necessary tie to the future unfolding of the World Order. But I find that hard to believe.
[TC:] How so?
[RK:] How was it that I was so special? Shoghi used to say that if I weren't May Maxwell's daughter, he never would have married me. He knew of her unwavering devotion to `Abdu'l-Bahá and of her untiring service to the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
[TC:] At the time of your marriage to Shoghi Effendi, you were on pilgrimage with your mother, May Maxwell, isn't that correct?
[RK:] Yes, we had arrived in Halfa in January of 1937.
[TC:] And it was during the three months before your marriage, from January to March that you and your mother wrote what came to be known as "The Maxwell Notes"?
[TC:] When you and your mother wrote those notes, were you concerned about the accuracy of what you were reporting in them?
[RK:] Yes. Very much so.
[TC:] Isn't it true, then, that they were as accurate as you could make them?
[RK:] Yes, of course.
[TC:] But most Bahá'ís would not consider what you and your mother recorded in "The Maxwell Notes" as material that they should consider as important, true?
[RK:] Well, yes. Pilgrim's notes were not considered to be reliable.
[TC:] And why was that?
[RK:] Because the view believers have of pilgrim notes is that the statements attributed to Shoghi Effendi were not authenticated by him and therefore are not as valid as what the Guardian himself wrote.
[TC:] This would be true even though some of the statements may actually corroborate or supplement what the Guardian himself wrote?
[RK:] I think so.
[TC:] So when Ruth Moffett, in 1954, cited the Guardian as saying that "Pilgrim notes are very important"that "They should be eagerly received as they bring the Spirit of the Shrines, and the station of the Guardianship, and the first-hand impressions which the cablegrams and letters cannot convey"and that although they cannot be authoritative, "they are very important, and should be so considered,"in light of such statements as these, the believers can pretty much ignore them?
[RK:] Yes, that is the case.
[TC:] Even though that runs counter to what the Guardian said about pilgrim's notes?
[RK:] What do you mean?
[TC:] Let me direct your attention to #147 of "Directives from the Guardian." Will you read this passage [handing her a paper and pointing]
[RK:] "he [meaning the Guardian] is unwilling to sign the notes of any pilgrim, in order that the literature consulted by the believers shall not be unduly extended."
[TC:] And will you read this letter [handing her a piece of paper] written on Shoghi Effendi's behalf on April 28, 1939.
[RK:] "Though not strictly official, and in some instances inaccurate and misleading, these notes, as experience has shown, can be of tremendous help, guidance and inspiration to many individual believers, and their value as such should therefore be readily admitted."
[TC:] Tell me, don't you think the notes you and your mother wrote of your pilgrimage should be considered as having such value?
[RK:] [Impatiently] Okay, yes. Our notes were accurate and valuable. Where is this going?
[TC:] [Handing her some papers and pointing] I am going to ask that you read to the Court some of the statements from your Pilgrim's Notes.
[RK:] "The Báb prophesied that His religion would spread to the whole world. One of the chief causes why this will be possible is because schism has been made impossible in the Cause due to the appointment of a successor in the 'Book of the Covenant' and 'Will and Testament.'"
[TC:] And this one.
[RK:] "The Bahá'í Revelation has administrative institutions established by Bahá'u'lláh and made clear in the Master's Will and Testament. The Master's Will appointed both the successor and interpreter. . .No other Revelation has this."
[TC:] How about this one?
[RK:] "The friends should read and study the 'Will and Testament.' We are too near to it to see it in the proper light. It is like a huge edifice. We cannot yet see it in perspective. This and the Aqdas are the two chief depositories of the truths enshrined in the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh."
[TC:] Please read this.
[RK] "There are gaps in the Aqdas which the Will fills in as if the Master and Bahá'u'lláh had arranged it. An example of this complementariness between the Will and the Aqdas is the Huquq. Huquq is referred to in the Aqdas, also endowments, fees, fines, inheritance, etc. Bahá'u'lláh specifies in the Aqdas that fines, fees, inheritance, If the heirs are dead, and endowments are all payable to the House of Justice. Regarding Huquq, He does not say in the Aqdas to whom it is to be paid .... Bahá'u'lláh says what Huquq is, emphasizes its importance, but does not say to whom it shall be given and does not say that it goes to the House of Justice. In the Will the Master makes it clear. The ordinance of Huquq is established by Bahá'u'lláh in the Aqdas, but He never said whom it was to be payable to, so He left a gap which the Master, in His Will, fills. He anticipates an Institution but does not refer to what it may be anywhere. Were it not for the Will, this would be very perplexing."
[TC: Do you recall writing these passages in your Notes?
[RK:] Yes. But isn't it interesting that the Aqdas does not make it a requirement for the Huquq to be paid to the Guardian. So after Shoghi's death, the House of Justice was able to accept it.
[TC:] But isn't this contrary to the express terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá?
[RK:] Yes but the House of Justice wrote
[TC:] [interrupting] You mean, the sans-Guardian House of Justice.
[RK:] Yes, it wrote that Bahá'u'lláh had anticipated that the Guardianship might end, and that is why the Aqdas states that endowments dedicated to charity are governed by the Manifestation, and after Him by the Aghsán, and after them by the House of Justice.
[TC] I want you to look at these words that you put down in the Maxwell Notes. [handing passage to Rúhíyyih.] You indicated that Shoghi Effendi informed you of the Huquq referred to in the Aqdas, as well as "endowments, fees, fines, inheritance, etc." From what you wrote it should be clear that endowments are something other than the Huquq. Notice that the statement reads as follows: "Huquq is referred to in the Aqdas, also endowments, fees, fines, inheritance, etc. Bahá'u'lláh specifies in the Aqdas that fines, fees, inheritance, if the heirs are dead, and endowments are all payable to the House of Justice." Did Shoghi Effendi equate endowments devoted to charity with the Huquq?
[RK:] Not when he spoke with us.
[TC:] And yet the passage cited by your House of Justice talks about the decisions related to the endowments dedicated to charity rested "with the Aghsán (Branches), and after them with the House of Justice." Tell me, do you recall any specific reference to the Guardianship within the passage that your House of Justice interpreted? That is, did Bahá'u'lláh use the word 'Guardian' or "Guardianship'?
[RK:] It refers to the Aghsán.
[TC:] I did not ask you about the Aghsán. My question was, is there a specific reference to the Guardianship in the passage your House of Justice interpreted?
[TC:] What do you recall from the Maxwell Notes regarding the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice?
[RK:] I remember him saying that it is the Guardian's responsibility to prevent the International House of Justice from abrogating any of the laws of the Aqdas.
[TC:] Yes, so the implication of that was what?
[RK:] Well, at that time the implication was that it would be possible for the Universal House of Justice to overstep its legislative responsibilities.
[TC:] I take it, then, that you would say that implication is no longer current?
[RK:] That's right. The Universal House of Justice decided--
[TC:] [Interrupting] Your Universal House of Justice--which was formed in 1963 without the Guardian as its head?
[RK:] Yes. The Universal House of Justice took up this matter in the late 1960's, I believe, and decided that the functions of the UHJ are not contingent upon the Guardian being present.
[TC:] I believe you are referring to a message of the sans-Guardian UHJ written on December 7. 1969. I have a copy of that message right here. I wonder if you would read for me the section that I have marked. [handing her a page]
[RK:] [Reading aloud] "The fact that the Guardian has the authority to define the sphere of the legislative action of the Universal House of Justice does not carry with it the corollary that without such guidance the Universal House of Justice might stray beyond the limits of its proper authority; such a deduction would conflict with all the other texts referring to its infallibility, and specifically with the Guardian's own clear assertion that the Universal House of Justice never can or will infringe on the sacred and prescribed domain of the Guardianship."
[TC:] Tell me, Madame Rabbani, in the absence of a living Guardian of the Faith, isn't that statement by your UHJ just so much double talk? As your own Maxwell Notes attest, Shoghi Effendi told you that the Guardian's responsibility is to prevent the International House of Justice from abrogating any of the laws of the Aqdas.
[RK:] I admit that it is a paradox.
[TC:] A paradox that is not likely to be resolved by a Universal House of Justice which is minus the Guardianship! Isnt that so ? Can you please read this next message [pointing to the pages]
[RK:] "While the specific responsibility of the Guardian is the interpretation of the Word, he is also invested with all the powers and prerogatives necessary to discharge his function as Guardian of the Cause, its Head and supreme protector. He is, furthermore, made the irremovable head and member for life of the supreme legislative body of the Faith. It is as the head of the Universal House of Justice, and as a member of that body, that the Guardian takes part in the process of legislation. If the following passage, which gave rise to your query, is considered as referring to this last relationship, you will see that there is no contradiction between it and the other texts:
'Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow members, but is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Bahá'u'lláh's utterances."'
[TC:] And that last quotation is from "The Dispensation of Bahaullah" written by Shoghi Effendi, isn't it?
[TC:] It is curious, is it not, that your UHJ is talking about the Guardian as if he sits at its head and is involved in legislation. But your UHJ never did have a Guardian at its head, did it?
[RK:] No. Do you want me to read more?
[RK:] The UHJ wrote: "Although the Guardian, in relation to his fellow-members within the Universal House of Justice, cannot override the decision of the majority, it is inconceivable that the other members would ignore any objection he raised in the course of consultation or pass legislation contrary to what he expressed as being in harmony with the spirit of the Cause. It is, after all, the final act of judgment delivered by the Universal House of Justice that is vouchsafed infallibility, not any views expressed in the course of the process of enactment."
[TC:] It appears your sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice has deemed the views expressed by Shoghi Effendi to be passéwhether they are the views which appear in the Maxwell Notes or those written in his "Dispensation." By the way, wasn't it stated in the Maxwell Notes that Shoghi Effendi identified his written work entitled "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" as his 'spiritual testament'?
[RK:] That's correct. As I recall, the beloved Guardian actually said that he wrote it as his spiritual testament in detail because there was a danger that the friends might misunderstand the Master's Will.
[TC:] I take it, that you would agree that 'The Dispensation' is a very important document for all Bahá'ís to study?
[TC:] And yet, as we have seen, there are apparently any number of things found in the 'Dispensation' written by Shoghi Effendi that you and the sans-guardian UHJ believe no longer apply. Do you recall some of the words of Shoghi Effendi in the Dispensation in which he described the divine genesis and exalted character of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá?
[RK:] I do. He said it is the "Charter of the New World Order," and further that it is "the Child of the Covenantthe Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God"that is, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá. He said that "the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it."
[TC:] So, in effect, the Will of `Abdu'l-Bahá is actually the Will of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá?
[TC:] So the Will, then, is inseparable from the Divine Holy Text itself?
[TC:] And therefore it is not subject to modification by anybody?
[RK:] Well, the Universal House of Justice has stated that at the time of Shoghi Effendi's death it was evident that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor. And because of that, the situation "presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text. and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice."
[TC:] But the Will and Testament clearly states that the Universal House of Justice only "enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text" and Shoghi Effendi has identified the Will and Testament as a part of that Text, yet your UHJ took it upon itself, not only to interpret certain passages of the Will and Testament but to declare that they were no longer operable and, thus, could be changed?
[RK:] They did not interpret the Writings. But it was clear to the House that there was no successor Guardian to Shoghi Effendi, and it had to do something.
[TC:] Lets discuss that for a moment. In your direct testimony earlier, you stated that the reason why the Hands had to take over the Faith after Shoghi's passing was because Shoghi had not left a Will.
[TC:] Where in the Holy Texts does it say that the Guardian is to appoint his successor in a Will?
[RK:] The manner in which the Guardian is appointed is stated in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá.
[TC:] Let me direct your attention to a passage in the Will and have you read that to the Court.
[RK:] [Reading] "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."
[TC:] That does not refer to a Will, does it?
[TC:] In fact, it says quite the opposite doesn't it?
[RK:] How so?
[TC:] It says, does it not, that the Guardian must appoint his successor "in his own lifetime"?
[TC:] And if the Master had meant by this that the Guardian was to write a Will during his life, would that make any sense? Is there any other time one can write a Will other than during one's lifetime?
[TC:] So the Master must have meant by the words "in his own lifetime" that some means other than a Will applies in the appointment of the Guardians successor. After all, a Will does not come into effect during one's lifetime, but only afterwards.
[RK:] Yes, I see that. But Shoghi could not have made an appointment anyway. We didn't have children.
[TC:] And where in the Holy Texts, does it state that Shoghi Effendi must have children?
[RK:] Of course it doesn't say that. We all know that the Guardian must be an Aghsán.
[TC:] Does it say that in the Holy Texts?
[RK:] In the Will and Testament, the Master uses the word Branches. That is the same thing.
[TC:] Have you seen anywhere in the Texts or the writings of Shoghi Effendi that defines the term "Aghsán"?
[RK:] Not that I recall, but everybody knows what it means.
[TC] Let me direct your attention to God Passes By, a book written by Shoghi Effendi, where on page 239, he refers to the Aghsán. Do you see how he defines it in parentheses?
[RK:] He defines them as Bahá'u'lláh's Sons.
[TC:] And in the "Gleanings From the Writings of Bahaullah" translated by Shoghi Effendi, on page 244....
[RK:] OK, so what is your point?
[TC:] Of course, originally the Book of the Covenant referred to Bahá'u'lláh's Sons, did it not?
[RK:] What do you mean?
[TC:] In the Book of the Covenant, Bahá'u'lláh appointed `Abdu'l-Bahá to be His successor, and then after Him, Muhammad Ali, the Greater Branch.
[RK:] Yes, but of course Muhammad Ali turned against `Abdu'l-Bahá.
[TC:] Indeed, and it was `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself who went outside of the Aghsán when He appointed Shoghi Effendi.
[RK:] [Becoming agitated] What are you trying to say, that Shoghi Effendi was not eligible to serve as Guardian?
[TC:] Not at all. What I am trying to say is that if we accept your premise that the Guardian must be an Aghsán, then the Master could not have appointed Shoghi Effendi to the Guardianship because Shoghi Effendi was not an Aghsán.
[RK:] But he was a part of the Holy Family. The House of Justice has stated that the Aghsán is a word used by Bahá'u'lláh to designate His male descendants.
[TC:] Assuming that is correct, Shoghi Effendi was not a male descendant of Bahá'u'lláh.
[RK:] [Becoming angry] That is nonsense! He was related to Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb!
[TC:] He was the grandson of `Abdu'l-Bahá by the Master's daughter. That means his lineage is through a female descendant.
[RK:] I don't know what you are trying to say.
[TC:] I am just trying to get to the truth about who is eligible to be appointed as Guardian.
[RK:] Everybody understood that the Guardian must be a male member of the Holy Family. Shoghi Effendi met that requirement.
[TC:] And Mason Remey did not?
[TC:] In your testimony, you stated that Mason Remey did not know Persian or Arabic and therefore he could not have been the Guardian. Where in the Holy Texts does it say that is a requirement?
[RK:] You know that it does not. Does everything have to be written? This is common sense. How can he interpret the Writings when he cannot even read the original?
[TC:] Perhaps if he is divinely guided, he could properly interpret a translation of the passage?
[RK:] Perhaps he could not.
[TC:] But don't you think that if it were important for the Guardian to be fluent in a particular language that the Master would have so stated in His Will?
[RK:] Or he could have left a gap for the House of Justice to fill.
[TC:] Is it your testimony that the House was charged with deciding who was eligible to be Guardian?
[RK:] No I was just being facetious. But the Will and Testament did leave it to the Hands.
[TC:] What do you mean?
[RK:] The Hands must give their assent.
[TC:] Yes, I believe you testified that the nine elected Hands did not give their assent to Mason Remey.
[RK:] [Defiantly] Thats correct. We did not give our assent and therefore under the terms of the Will and Testament, Mason could not be the Guardian.
[TC:] It was your testimony that the Hands known as the "Custodians" were the elected nine?
[TC:] And it was your testimony that the Custodians rejected Mason's claim to office?
[TC:] Were the Custodians elected by the Hands?
[RK:] Yes, of course. It is all there in my book on our ministry.
[TC:] You are referring, of course, to the book, The Ministry of the Custodians?
[TC:] Let me direct your attention, in that book, to the "Unanimous Proclamation of the 27 Hands," dated November 25, 1957.
[RK:] Yes that was the proclamation that established the Custodians.
[TC:] Can you read this section here where the Hands named the Custodians?
[RK:] Certainly....[reading] "AND WHEREAS in accordance with the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá) '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'"...... [Pausing]
[TC:] Please go on.
[RK:] [Resumes reading] "We nominate and appoint from our own number to act on our behalf as the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith"
[TC:] Please stop right there. So they were appointed?
[RK:] Okay, so we used the word appointed.
[TC:] They were not elected, were they?
[RK:] Appointed, elected Does it really make a difference?
[TC:] But the proclamation says appointed, not elected?
[RK:] You have made your point, they were not elected.
[TC:] Also, the Custodians were not appointed until after the death of Shoghi Effendi?
[RK:] Yes of course, so what?
[TC:] So the Custodians were not elected and they never did occupy themselves in the important services in the work of the Guardian.
[RK:] [Interrupting] The Custodians did exactly thatwe carried out the work of the Guardian.
[TC:] But at the time when the Guardian was doing his work, in his lifetime, the Custodians were not assisting the Guardian in his work?
[RK:] No. The Custodians did not exist in his lifetime.
[TC:] And, now knowing that Shoghi Effendi had indeed appointed Mason Remey as his successor, it is true, is it not, that the Hands had no authority whatsoever to veto Shoghi's choice, but had a duty to assent to the Guardian's choice?
[TC:] And it was your testimony, was it not, that Mason Remey was not appointed in accordance with the Will and Testament, but it is true, is it not, that he indeed was?
[TC:] And in your testimony, you stated that the Custodian's authority came from Shoghi Effendi's characterization of the Hands as "Chief Stewards"?
[RK:] Yes, we were carrying out his policies on his behalf for the remainder of the Ten Year Crusade.
[TC:] We will get to that in a moment, but for right now, I would like to stick to the authority of the Custodians. The appellation of Chief Stewards, your mandate that is the only authority from Shoghi Effendi you have?
[TC:] What is a steward?
[RK:] What do you mean?
[TC:] A steward, do you know what it is?
[CW:] Objection! Mr. Chase is simply badgering the witness.
[TC:] Your honor, Madame Rabbanis testimony is that the authority of the Custodians to reign over the Bahá'í world arises out of Shoghi Effendis use of the term "stewards" with reference to the Hands therefore it is appropriate for me to explore the validity of that claim further.
[LG:] Overruled. Madame Rabbani, you may answer the question.
[RK:] A steward is a servant.
[TC:] And to appoint someone as your servant is not to give authority to that person, is it?
[RK:] Well, ordinarily not. A servant is not in a position of authority. But the Master Himself was a servant.
[TC:] Are you equating the authority of the Master with the authority of the Hands?
[TC:] So then by describing the Hands in a station of servitude, it would not be reasonable to assume that Shoghi Effendi meant by his reference to the Hands as "Chief Stewards" that it was his intention to pass on to the Hands all his functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith as stated in your proclamation?
[TC:] And yet that is exactly the authority the Custodians assumed as a sort of collective Guardianship?
[RK:] Only until the Universal House of Justice was elected and assumed authority.
[TC:] You stated earlier that besides receiving authority from Shoghi Effendi, the Custodians had. received authority from others, namely, their acceptance by the Bahá'í world as the head of the Faith.
[RK:] [Interrupting] Yes, all of the National Assemblies, all of the communities worldwide accepted us.
[TC:] They did so only after the Custodians demanded all of the National Assemblies sign a loyalty oath recognizing them as "the supreme body in the Cause".... didn't they?
[RK] You could call it that, but our attorney---
[TC:] [Interrupting] And I quote: "We pledge our full support, faith and allegiance to the body of the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith elected by the Hands of the Cause." That was the oath, wasn't it.? They were also to accept that the Custodians were elected even though it was not true.
[RK:] Our lawyer said we should get it.
[TC:] And there is no authority anywhere in the Writings for the Hands to demand the National Assemblies pledge allegiance to them, is there?
[RK:] [Reluctantly] No. But we were carrying out the work of Shoghi Effendi. Disloyalty to us was disloyalty to Shoghi Effendi
[TC:] But in reality, you had no right to demand loyalty. Did not your lawyer say you should get these expressions of loyalty, because he knew you had no authority?
[CW:] Objection, your honor, the advice of counsel is attorney-client privileged information and the defense has not raised it your honor. It is beyond the scope of the direct exam.
[LG:] Sustained. Next question, counsel.
[TC:] But it is true that you knew you had no authority?
[RK:] I don't know what you mean.
[TC:] Let me direct your attention to this passage from the Ministry of Custodians, right here... can you please read this to the Court?
[RK] [Reading] "Aside from the thought that we were now the only ones to direct the Bahá'ís of the world, to protect and guide them and to win the Crusade of our beloved Guardian, we were faced with problems of inconceivable magnitude. How to assume the reins of authority, with no document to support us, other than the general theological statements about the Hands? "
[TC:] It sounds like you knew you were on shaky ground.
[RK:] I have already explained our situation to you. We did not know what else to do. People were looking to us to lead the Faith. Our duty was to complete the Ten Year Crusade and to establish the Universal House of Justice to lead us after that.
[TC:] We will certainly get to the establishment of your House of Justice. But first, I want to learn more about your claim that the Custodians were doing nothing more than simply completing the Ten Year Crusade, carrying out the work of the first Guardian.
[RK:] All of the Hands were intent on carrying out the wishes of Shoghi Effendi all of the Hands remained in his service after his death, and we did just that, all the way up to the election of the House of Justice. There was nothing else for us to do.
[TC:] That really is why you believe the Custodians were justified in taking over the Faith because they were merely following the first Guardian's wishes?
[RK:] Yes, that is what I have been saying all along. Correct. We were the Chief Stewards. It was our job to carry the Faith through these uncertain times. To faithfully complete what Shoghi Effendi had started, and to erect the Universal House of Justice so that it could carry the Faith into the future.
[TC:] Let us take a look at the goals for the Ten Year Crusade. I am referring to Shoghi Effendi's cablegram of October 8, 1952. Let me have you read this passage here.
[RK:] Before I do that, allow me to read another passage from that cablegram.
[TC:] All right.
[RK:] [Reading] "The broad outlines of the world-encircling plan were divinely revealed. Its course was charted by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's infallible Pen. Its shining goals have been set. The requisite administrative machinery has been created. Signal has been given by the Author of the Plan, its Supreme Commander. The Lord of Hosts, the King of Kings has pledged unfailing aid to every crusader battling for His Cause. Invisible battalions are mustered, rank upon rank, ready to pour forth reinforcements from on high. Bahá'u'lláh's army of light is standing on the threshold of the Holy Year. Let them, as they enter it, vow with one voice, one heart, one soul, never to turn back in the entire course of the fateful decade ahead until each and every one will have contributed his share in laying on a world-wide scale an unassailable administrative foundation for Bahá'u'lláh's Christ-promised Kingdom on earth..."
[TC:] [Interrupting] I don't see what this has to do with our discussion.
[RK:] Shoghi Effendi is clearly stating his wish that all of us, not just the Hands, but all of us, are never to turn back no matter what happens during the fateful decade ahead. He seemed to almost know that he was going to pass away, and he wanted us to know how important it was for the Crusade to be victorious, and that we must not hold back from achieving those goals. That is exactly what we set out to do, no matter how much you want to twist that.
[TC:] I am not twisting anything. And I agree with you that Shoghi Effendi seemed to know he was not going to survive the Ten Year Crusade, and I intend to get to that shortly. But for right now, lets take a look at some of those goals. Now this was a very ambitious plan, wasn't it?
[RK:] It certainly was. Shoghi had a vision of the Faith spreading throughout the world in just one decade. There were 12 national plans. He even called for the functions of the Hands to expand.
[TC:] I believe he called for the "development" of the functions of the Hands, not its expansion.
[RK:] I don't think there is any difference. The point was that Shoghi's vision was for a global and universal expansion of the Cause like we had never seen. Unfortunately, events prevented us from doing it all.
[TC:] Now didn't you just read me a passage of that cablegram, implying Shoghi Effendi's apparent foreknowledge of his death, and that he did not want anything that might occur to deter the believers from achieving the goals?
[RK:] We did everything we could to achieve Shoghi's goals.
[TC:] But not all of them. Did you accomplish this goal [reading]: Establishment of six national Bahá'í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East -- Tihran, Cairo, Baghdad, New Delhi, Karachi, Kabul." Did the Custodians even work on that goal?
[RK:] That was out of the question. It was impossible.
[TC:] Apparently, Shoghi believed it was possible. What about this? [Reading]: "The establishment of a Bahá'í Court in the Holy Land, preliminary to the emergence of the Universal House of Justice."
[RK:] Obviously, if there were no national Courts, we could not establish one in the World Center. What would have been the point?
[TC:] The point is, were you working on the agenda of Shoghi Effendi, or were you working on your own agenda?
[RK:] Just because we could not achieve every goal did not mean we were working on our own agenda.
[TC:] Well, it seems to me that you just conveniently ignored Shoghi Effendi's wishes when it came to the development of the International Bahá'í Council during the Ten Year Plan. Perhaps if you had focused on Shoghi's wishes for that, you would not be appearing on trial today.
[RK:] I don't know what you are getting at. That cablegram does not even mention the IBC.
[TC:] Perhaps it does. You recall when Shoghi established the IBC?.
[RK:] Not that again. How many times is that going to be brought up?
[TC:] As often as necessary [laughter in the courtroom] .
[RK:] [Impatiently] I know, the stages of development.
[TC:] Exactly, you know the stages?
[RK:] Yes, nobody will let me forget [laughter in the courtroom]. First, its embryonic stage, then we would create a Court.
[TC:] Not exactly. Perhaps you will read it for this Court [pointing to paper]
[RK:] [Reading]: "its development into officially recognized Bahá'í Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice...
[TC:] Thank you, you can stop right there. Isn't it fair to say that Shoghi had envisioned that, by the end of the Crusade, the IBC would be functioning as the World Court in Haifa, and that the ten National Courts in the East, would have been brought about by the development of the National Spiritual Assemblies of those countries into functioning National Courts under the jurisdiction of this International Bahá'í Court?
[RK:] He did not say that in the cablegram, did he?
[TC:] Not in so many words, but you just read Shoghi's plan for the IBC: developing, transforming, and efflorescing. He never proposed a court system separate from the IBC and the National Assemblies?
[TC:] And you recall Shoghi's cablegram of April 25, 1951?
[TC:] Here it is. Will you read this passage [pointing].
[RK] [reading]: "Process of the unfoldment of the ever-advancing Administrative Order accelerated by the formation of the International Bahá'í Council designed to assist in the erection of the superstructure of the Báb's Sepulcher, cement ties uniting the budding World Administrative Center with the recently established state, and pave the way for the formation of the Bahá'í Court, essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice."
[TC:] So then why did the Custodians not allow the IBC to develop into the Bahá'í Court that Shoghi envisioned and called an essential prelude to the UHJ, if you so were intent upon carrying out his wishes?
[RK:] Because the IBC was not functioning. It had very narrow functions, just as that cable says. The Custodians were in charge of the entire Bahá'í World. We had the responsibility.
[TC:] That's my point exactly. The Custodians took that responsibility away from where it belonged and placed it upon their own shoulders. Why?
[RK:] I told you, it was not possible to establish those courts.
[TC:] So you are saying Shoghi Effendi was wrong? Isn't it true that the only reason you did not allow the IBC to develop was because Mason Remey was its head, and you did not want him to become the Chief Judge because you knew what that would mean?
[RK:] Preposterous. You are just reading in more importance to the IBC than it deserved. It was only the liaison with the State of Israel.
[TC:] It seems to me that the problem here is not my reading things in, but that you are reading things out. It was Shoghi Effendi himself who said the IBC would develop, transform, and effloresce. It was he who said a court was a necessary prelude. Why do you ignore it? Shoghi himself told you that Mason Remey would be Chief Judge, didn't he?
[RK:] What are you saying? He did not.
[TC:] It was November, 1952, you may recall.
[RK indignantly:] I do not.
[TC:] Allow me to refresh your memory. Joel B Marangella and his wife, Irene, were on pilgrimage. I assume that you know who is Joel Marangella?
[RK:] Of course. He was the President of the French NSA and an Auxiliary Board Member of the Hands in Europe at the time of Mason's proclamation. [Laughter in the Courtroom]
[TC:] Yes, he was. But that is not all, is it [more laughter]?
[RK reluctantly:] Yes, he claims to have become the Guardian, after Mason.
[TC:] Do you recall his pilgrimage?
[RK:] Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. When my mother May Maxwell died in Buenos Aires in 1940 where she was pioneering for the Faith, Joel sent Shoghi Effendi a poem honoring her memory which I kept in my prayer book all of the years afterwards and told him about this when he and Irene arrived on pilgrimage in 1952.
[TC:] Joel also sent you a letter during Ridvan 1988, a copy of which I have seen, in which he reminded you about a particularly poignant incident that took place during his and Irenes pilgrimage when you, Mason Remey and four other members of the Council were seated around the dinner table one night, November 30, 1952 to be exact, in the presence of Shoghi Effendi.
[TC:] And Shoghi Effendi said something that made you very upset. Do you recall bursting into tears and leaving the dinner table?
[RK:] Oh yes, I recall.
[FADE OUT TO DINNER SCENE AT HAIFA. Shoghi Effendi, Mason Remey, Rúhíyyih Khánum, Leroy Ioas, Sylvia Ioas,, Ethel and Jessie Revell, Joel and Irene Marangella are eating and talking and the scene fades in with Shoghi Effendi in mid-sentence ]
[Shoghi Effendi:] .... it was towards the end of his life, when `Abdu'l-Bahá was so busy with His duties and responsibilities. There were so many of the friends writing to Him back and forth that his correspondence became a heavy burden to him. He could hardly handle it anymore before He passed away [pause as Shoghi Effendi returns to eating his food]
[SE:] Now my own correspondence is becoming more than I can handle.
[RK jumps up from the table, bursting into tears and runs from the room.]
[THE AUDIO OF THE DINNER TABLE SCENE FADES OUT AS THEY CONTINUE TO TALK AND EAT AND THE LIGHTS GO BACK UP ON THE TRIAL SCENE.]
[TC:] Do you recall why you left the table?
[RK:] It was very extremely upsetting to hear Shoghi predict that he was about to pass away. I could not bear to hear such foreknowledge of his death.
[TC:] Its no wonder that Shoghi obscured the appointment of Mason Remey as his successor, in the way that he did. If he had not done so, considering how old Mason was at the time, it would have been clear to the believers that Shoghi Effendis passing was imminent.
[CW:] Objection, your honor. Is there a question for the witness?
[TC:] Thats alright. I will move on. Do you recall who was present at the time of this discussion?
[RK:] It was Shoghi and myself, Joel and Irene Marangella, Mason Remey Leroy Ioas and the Revell sisters, all members of the IBC, residing permanently in Haifa or five members of the Council, including myself, Sylvia not becoming a member until 1955.
[TC:] So, in effect, there was a quorum of the IBC present at the dinner table?
[RK:] You might say that, yes.
[TC:] Can you recall what else Shoghi Effendi said next?
[RK:] I was gone for a short time, but managed to compose myself. When I got back, they were talking about the IBC.
FADE BACK IN TO DINNER TABLE SCENE IN HAIFA] (Rúhíyyih Kanum is returning to the table)
[SE:] The Bahai Court to be established in Haifa will operate initially only for the Eastern world where religious law is recognized. The present President of the International Bahá'í Council will then become the Judge. [turning to Mason] Mason, are you ready to become a Judge?
[Mason nods while there is laughter around the table]
[RK:] When the Council becomes a Court, would all of the women get off ?
[SE:] No, not even in the next stage when the Council becomes an elected body but only when the International House of Justice is formed.
[DINNER TABLE SCENE FADES AND COURTROOM SCENE RESUMES]
[TC:] So you admit that Shoghi Effendi told you that Mason was to become the Chief Judge.
[TC:] So it follows logically, does it not, that if Mason's presidency of the IBC was to continue in the second stage of its development as the Chief Judge of the Court, that it was Shoghi Effendis obvious intention that he should continue to remain the head of the IBC as it evolved through its subsequent stages until attaining its maturity and efflorescence as the Universal House of Justice?
[RK:] It does, although Shoghi did not specifically say that.
[TC:] But if you knew that Mason was to be the Chief Judge, why then did you work to prevent this from happening? Why did you and your fellow-Custodian Hands call for the election of a false Universal House of Justice in place of the IBC with Mason Remey at its head?
[RK:] I have already answered this. You know why. It was impossible to create the courts. We had to elect a Universal House of Justice. We had no choice.
[TC:] Why do you suppose you were designated as the "chosen liaison" between Shoghi Effendi and the Council? After all, as all of its members residing in Haifa dined with Shoghi every night, why couldn't he speak with them directly?
[RK:] I never really thought about it.
[TC:] Could it be that he was trying to make clear that the IBC was not functioning, that it was still in its inactive embryonic stage? Perhaps he was making it clear that he, as the Guardian, had no direct relationship with the IBC?
[RK:] I don't know what he was trying to do.
[TC:] Are you familiar with `Abdu'l-Bahá's teachings on embryos?
[RK:] I suppose....well, I am not sure.
[TC:] I am referring to this [reading] "The embryo possesses from the first all perfections...all the powers - but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees."
[RK:] Oh yes, I am familiar with that. But I have no idea what you are getting at.
[TC:] I am trying to suggest that the IBC was the embryonic UHJ, and that it was to evolve through different stages. That the IBC and the UHJ were one and the same institution.
[RK:] I understand. It clearly was.
[TC:] Why then, did you tell the believers to cling to the Hands instead of to the IBC?
[RK:] I never said that.
[TC] I am reading from your cable to the Bahá'ís telling them of Shoghi's passing. And I quote: "SHOGHI EFFENDI BELOVED OF ALL HEARTS SACRED TRUST GIVEN BELIEVERS BY MASTER PASSED AWAY SUDDEN HEART ATTACK IN SLEEP FOLLOWING ASIATIC FLU. URGE BELIEVERS REMAIN STEADFAST CLING INSTITUTION HANDS LOVINGLY REARED RECENTLY REINFORCED EMPHASIZED BELOVED GUARDIAN."
[RK:] I can't tell you why I said that. I wasn't thinking. I did not know. I assumed there would be no more Guardians. We had no children.
[TC:] Do you deny that Shoghi Effendi anticipated future Guardians?
[RK:] He could not predict the future.
[TC:] Can you identify this document for me [handing paper to witness]?
[RK:] [Pausing}... I wrote this. It is titled: "Twenty Five Years of the Guardianship."
[TC:] You wrote this in 1948?
[TC:] Can you read this passage to the Court?
[RK:] [Sighing] Oh all right. [reading]: "for the first time in history, a religion has been given to men which cannot be split up into sects, for the two Wills - those of Bahá'u'lláh and the Master are so strongly constructed and so authentic beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is impossible to divorce the body of the teachings from their provisions. The principle of successorship, [as found in the Guardianship] endowed with the right of Divine interpretation, is the very hub of the Cause into which its Doctrines and Laws fit like the spokes of a wheeltear out the hub and you have to throw away the whole thing."
[TC:] I take it, you no longer agree with that?
[RK:] My understanding had grown after that.
[TC:] Let me read you a passage from God Passes By, written by Shoghi Effendi and published in 1944. He describes Bahá'u'lláh's Revelation quoting phrases from Bahá'u'lláh. [reading] " 'This,' He furthermore declares, 'is the king of days,' the 'Day of God Himself,' the 'Day which shall never be followed by night,' the 'Springtime which autumn will never overtake,' " Do you know whether Shoghi Effendi ever commented on the meaning of Baháullåhs Words that "this is the Day that shall never be followed by night?"
[RK:] He has; I do not recall where. But I am sure you will tell me.. [laughter in courtroom]
[TC:] Please read this passage [pointing and handing paper to witness]
[RK:] [Reading]: "Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece, a human being, a Prophet, infallible and unerring, it is only a logical projection of that acceptance to also accept the station of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Guardians." Yes I believe I wrote this.
[TC:] You wrote this on Shoghi Effendi's behalf, did you not? He approved it?
[TC:] Please go on. Please read the rest of the passage.
[RK:] [Reading] "The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world, and of needing one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e. the Guardians), guided directly by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by 'this is the day which will not be followed by night'. In this dispensation, divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet's ascension, through, first the Master, and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Bahá'u'lláh's function, it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith."
[TC:] Thank you.
[RK:] But the Guardian could not have known at that time. It was written in 1948. He did not know what the future held for the Faith. He was not a prophet.
[TC:] You are saying that the first Guardian's interpretation of the Holy Texts was incorrect?
[RK:] No, of course not. Circumstances changed. He could not have known.
[TC:] To the best of your knowledge, did he ever retract that statement?
[TC:] Before I wrap up, I want to explore one more thing I am curious about. Let me direct your attention to the time when the Custodians called for the election of your so-called UHJ.
[TC:] And to make it easy, I will call it "your UHJ" so everybody knows what I am talking about.
[TC:] It was April 21, 1963, when the NSAs elected your UHJ, correct?
[TC:] And at the time you believed this body to be the Supreme Universal House of Justice of Bahá'u'lláh's World Commonwealth, is that correct?
[RK:] Yes, that would be true.
[TC:] And yet the Custodians continued to operate for some time after that, right?
[RK:] Of course, there was a transition period. It took some time before the UHJ could get organized, and for the members to situate themselves.
[TC:] All right, that is reasonable. But I am curious about a letter your UHJ sent to the Custodians on June 7, 1963. Actually, would you mind reading this for me?
[RK:] [Reading] "Beloved Friends, Pursuant to the several discussions which we have had with you relevant to the transfer of the 'functions, rights and powers' vested in the Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith by virtue of the Declaration of the Hands of the Cause of God made at Bahjí on November 25th, 1957, please be advised that the Universal House of Justice has decided that the office of Custodians of the Bahá'í World Faith ceases to exist upon your receipt of this communication."
[TC:] That is really a remarkable communication, isn't it?
[RK:] I don't know what you mean, why?
[TC:] The Declaration your UHJ is referring to is the one in which the Custodians, were first appointed by the body of the Hands and assumed, (and I quote)"all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, His Eminence the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, as are necessary to serve the interests of the Bahá'í World Faith."
[RK:] Yes, so?
[TC:] Well it seems to me that your UHJ is admitting that it has usurped the powers of the Guardian.
[RK:] I disagree. It was merely assuming control over the Faith from the Custodians.
[TC:] Another thing that seems strange: your UHJ stated that the Custodians would cease to exist as of the date of that communication, June 7, 1963, but then the Custodians now a supposedly non-existent entity wrote to this body seven days later on June 14th.
[RK:] The Hands in the Holy Land still existed. We were letting our fellow Hands know what was happening at the time. We were no longer in control of anything
[TC:] My point is that you still continued to sign correspondence in the same way you had previously done as the Custodians, even though that body had supposedly ceased to exist. But I am still puzzled that, notwithstanding the fact that this Supreme UHJ, or at least that body that you contended had come into existence on April 21, 1963, the Custodians continued to act as the head of the Faith until June 7, 1963.
[RK:] I already said. The UHJ was getting organized. There was a transition.
[TC:] How could there be two supreme entities, two heads of the Faith existing at the same time?
[RK:] There was not, well. [flustered]..... I don't see what this has to do with anything.
[TC:] You will recall that when the Custodians first took over, you had the National Assemblies all over the world write to you to acknowledge the Custodians as "the supreme body in the Cause...elected by the Hands."
[TC:] But in your declaration dated June 7, 1963, sent with your communication of June 14th-- a full 7 days after your body ceased to existyour declaration admits finally that the Custodians were appointed and not elected. And in this correspondence these Custodians retain some of the authority over the Hands. My question to you is, if the Custodians ceased to exist, and if all of the powers of the Guardian previously exercised by the Custodians had now been transferred to your UHJ, why then did the Custodians continue to coordinate the work of the Hands?
[RK:] I don't understand. Of course the Hands continued to function after the election of the UHJ.
[TC:] But control over the Hands is a function of the Guardian, is it not, and those functions had already been transferred by the Custodians to your UHJ?
[RK:] You are just twisting words, now.
[TC:] I think not. It seems to me that the Custodians were the ones twisting words, and they did so to such an extent that even they were confused about the continuing powers, if any, they were exercising.
[CW:] Objection, your honor. Mr. Chase is badgering the witness.
[TC:] Thats all right. No further questions.
[LG:] Mr. Wolcott, do you have anything else?
[CW:] Nothing further.
ACT 3, SCENE 1 ORAL ARGUMENT
[LG:] This Court has reviewed the testimony of the witnesses and the documents submitted into evidence. Now each side will be given an opportunity to argue their respective positions. Please be brief and offer insight to this Court as to how it should rule. The Prosecution will begin. Mr Chase?
[TC:] Thank you, your honor. The prosecution has established un-controvertible evidence that the Hands have violated the Covenant. It has been established that there is an unbroken line from Bahá'u'lláh to `Abdu'l-Bahá, to Shoghi Effendi, and to Mason Remey and the International Bahá'í Council. The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá was divinely conceived, the provisions of which are immutable, and this Document is in the words of Shoghi Effendi the "Child of the Covenant - the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God" and thus it represents the Will of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá.
[Justice Martha Root:] Is there expressed any authority for the proposition that the Will should be considered to be the Will of both Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá?
[TC thumbing through his papers:]: Yes, as a matter of fact . Shoghi Effendi expressly stated this when he wrote: "For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously labored all their lives." [underlining added for emphasis] The word "Their" was referring, of course, to Bahá'u'lláh and`Abdu'l-Bahá. That was from The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, at page 22.
[Justice Root:] Thank you. Please go on.
[TC:] The evidence presented has shown that it was incumbent upon Shoghi Effendi, according to that Will, to appoint his successor in his own life time, meaning that the appointment had to be made while Shoghi was alive and not by way of a testamentary document.
[Justice Martha Root interrupting:] The entire Bahá'í world at the time of Shoghi's death was expecting to find a Will left behind by Shoghi Effendi. By what authority do you now proclaim that a testamentary document was not to be the vehicle for appointing a successor?
[TC:] Thank you, let me explain further. The Will and Testament says "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."
[Justice Root:] Certainly, differences did arise after his passing. It appears that Shoghi Effendi may have failed to comply. But isn't a Will written during the life of the testator and therefore a Will could be the vehicle for appointment?
[TC:] That interpretation would not make sense. As you know, under the law a Will has no legal effect whatsoever until the death of the testator. Prior to the death of the testator, no person has any claim under the Will, and the testator is free to change it. Upon the death of the testator, it becomes final and valid and takes effect. Thus, an appointment in the Will is not effective during the life time of the testator. It takes effect only after the testator's life time. Of course, the testator cannot write the Will after he is dead. A Will must be written during the testator's life time. But if `Abdu'l-Bahá intended for the appointment to occur in a Will, it would have been redundant for `Abdu'l-Bahá to say it was incumbent upon the Guardian to appoint his successor during his life time, since that would be the only time a Will could be written. Moreover, the phrase "that differences may not arise after his passing" seems to suggest that by effecting the appointment in a Will there is the risk that persons would argue over the validity of the appointment, as heirs often contest a Will after the passing of the testator. By requiring the appointment during the life time of the Guardian, all will be aware of the Guardian's choice while he is still alive to make his wishes known to all.
[Justice Root:] Thank you; I understand what you are saying. But it is true that differences did arise. It seems that Shoghi Effendi was not clear enough or explicit in his appointment.
[TC:] Indeed it does appear that way. The prosecution respectfully submits to this Court, that Shoghi Effendi's chosen method of appointing his successor was his choice to make, as long as he remained within the confines of what the Will and Testament obligated him to do.
[Justice John Esslemont:] I think what Mr. Chase is saying here is that as long as Shoghi Effendi complied with the Will and Testament, it is not relevant that he carried out the appointment in a manner that caused the vast majority of Bahá'ís to be unaware the appointment had been made.
[Justice Root:] But differences did arise after his passing. The purpose of this court is to adjudge the reasonableness of the defendants actions, and the manner of Mr. Remey's appointment certainly is relevant to that. Why didn't Shoghi Effendi come out and say that Mason Remey was to be the second Guardian?
[TC:] Shoghi Effendi is not the one on trial here. We don't know the reasons why he chose the approach he did. Consider the fact that if he had announced to the Bahai World clearly that Mason Remey was his chosen successor, who at the time was some 23 years his senior and yet destined to outlive him, would not that have, in effect, predicted his own early demise, a shocking prospect, which Shoghi Effendi would have wanted to conceal from the believers? If the Hands had permitted the IBC to assume its rightful role in the direction of the NSAs as Shoghi Effendi had projected in his message of 23 Novermber 1951, then Mason Remey, presiding as he would have been over the Çouncil, may have then been recognized as the second Guardian of the Faith. The point is it was incumbent upon Shoghi Effendi to appoint his successor "in his own life time," and he complied. He appointed Mason Remey as the President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice the embryonic head of the embryonic Central Body and that head under the express terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, can only be the Guardian of the Faith. I should point out that Shoghi Effendi was not exactly silent on this point, even though it appears the Bahá'í world apparently did not hear him. As you know, Shoghi Effendi sent his proclamation of January 9, 1951 to the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world. He described his decision as epoch-making, and "the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order" since the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá. He described the stages this body would go through; explicitly saying it would ultimately effloresce into the Universal House of Justice. I will also point out that Shoghi Effendi clearly identified the IBC as the Universal House of Justice and its head as the Guardian in other communications. For example, at the end of that same year as his proclamation, 1951, to be exact November 23, 1951, a letter published by the NSA of the United States under the title: World Order Unfolds, Shoghi Effendi unambiguously refers to the IBC as the Central Body and stated that it would be directing the National Assemblies during the course of the 10 Year Crusade that was to be completed in 1963. Shoghi Effendi quite explicitly was identifying the IBC as the future House of Justice in the Bahá'í world after his passing. Even prior to the establishment of the IBC, Shoghi Effendi stated explicitly that the head of the International Bahá'í Council and the Guardian were one and the same person.
[Justice Dorothy Baker:] You have a quotation from Shoghi Effendi that says this?
[TC:] Yes, your honor. And I quote: "The passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá marked the termination of the first and Heroic Age of the Bahá'í Faith and signalized the opening of the Formative Age destined to witness the gradual emergence of its Administrative Order, whose establishment had been foretold by the Báb, whose laws were revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, whose outlines were delineated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, and whose foundations are now being laid by national and local councils which are elected by the professed adherents of the Faith, and which are paving the way for the constitution of the World Council, to be designated as the Universal House of Justice, which in conjunction with me, as its appointed Head and the authorized interpreter of the Bahá'í teachings, must coordinate and direct the affairs of the Bahá'í community, and whose seat will be permanently established in the Holy Land, in close proximity to its world spiritual center, the resting-places of its Founders." That was from a statement submitted by Shoghi Effendi to the United Nations Special Palestine Committee in July of 1947.
[Justice George Townshend:] But, as the head of the UHJ can only be the Guardian, then why didnt Shoghi Effendi assume the presidency?
[TC:] In not assuming the presidency himself, and by retaining the International Bahá'í Council in an inactive embryonic state, Shoghi Effendi was able to use it as an instrument to appoint its embryonic head who would become his successor, when the Council was born into life, as an actively functioning administrative body, following his passing, That is why he appointed Rúhíyyih Khánum as his "chosen liaison" to this embryonic body an umbilical cord relationship as it werethat precluded any semblance of his assumption of the presidency himself.
[Justice Townshend:] Assuming for a moment that you are correct, then what about this argument that the Hands did not give their assent to Mr. Remey's appointment?
[TC:] As you know, there were no Hands in existence at the time when Shoghi Effendi created the IBC and appointed Mason Remey as its president.
[Justice Townshend:] So isn't that an argument similar to the one made by the defendants, that portions of the Will and Testament were not operative?
[TC:] Certainly not. We are not suggesting that the Will ever was inoperative. At the time of Shoghi Effendi's ministry the Institutions of the Faith were coming into being and evolving. Indeed his ministry consisted of erecting the Institutions of the Bahá'í Commonwealth as set forth in the Master's Will and Testament. The IBC, the embryonic UHJ, was, as he stated the "the first embryonic International Institution" created by him prior to the others. The first contingent of the Hands was not appointed until a year later. In fact, the Faith had never evolved to the point under Shoghi Effendi's ministry where he had required the services of nine Hands to be serving under his direction in the Holy Land, as set forth in the Will and Testament.
[Justice Roy Wilhelm:] So you are saying that the requirement for these nine Hands to vote their assent to the appointment of his successor was not necessary?
[TC:] I am not saying it was unnecessary, but only that it was not yet possible. It is entirely reasonable to expect that, had Shoghi Effendi lived a longer life, there would have been nine Hands in the Holy Land and Shoghi Effendi would have had them assent to his appointment. Of course, Shoghi Effendi's untimely death prevented this from coming to pass.
[Justice Keith Ransom-Keller interrupting:] It should be noted of course, that Shoghi Effendi already clearly interpreted that passage in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá to mean that the Hands had no authority to veto the Guardian's choice. Their assent was a wise safeguard against any fraudulent claim to the Guardianship in the future by requiring nine highly reputable and incorruptible witnesses to attest by secret ballot to the unquestionable authenticity of the Guardians appointment of his successor.
[TC:] Agreed. The statements by Shoghi Effendi to this effect are clear. I will quote from a letter by Shoghi Effendi, published in Bahá'í News, February, 1955: "The statement in the Will of 'Abdu'l-Bahá does not imply that the [nine] Hands of the Cause of God have been given the authority to overrule the Guardian." There is no evidence to suggest that because there were not nine Hands serving in the Holy Land to assent to Shoghi appointment that the appointment was ineffective or invalid. The Guardian made his publicly announced and undeniably clear choice and it was incumbent upon all faithful believers, including the Hands, to accept his choice and to obey.
[LG:] Time is running short. Perhaps you could conclude your remarks.
[TC:] Certainly, your honor. The prosecution's evidence clearly shows that Shoghi Effendi fully complied with the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and that the Will and Testament was immutable and obligatory and there is no excuse for anyone to question or doubt the validity of the continuing Guardianship. Now the reasonableness and validity of what the Hands did upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi is the ultimate question for this Court to decide. Allow me to comment for just a few moments on this issue. It is easy for us to look in hindsight on this and see it very clearly for what it is. The prosecution sympathizes to a certain extent with the Hands at the time of Shoghi Effendi's death. It was a tremendous shock both to them and to all Bahá'ís and completely unexpected. Many believers, in their consternation, were turning to the Hands for direction, and they were in shock and in mourning and they obviously were not thinking straight. Perhaps we should therefore give the Hands the benefit of the doubt during their initial conclave at which time they decided that the Guardianship had ended. After all, they did not reveal this decision outside of the Hands, and it was a hasty decision arrived at without careful thought or thorough study. Even Mason Remey, the second Guardian at the time, did not fully comprehend the situation---
[Justice Baker Interrupting:] So what are you saying? That the Hands did not violate the Covenant?
[TC:] There is some doubt at the beginning, which is all I am conceding. If I may continue. There was plenty of opportunity for the Hands to reconsider, reflect and study this question and to have arrived at the correct conclusion. I submit that had the defendants not been caught up in the spirit of violation, and had they taken the time to re-examine the "historic" and "epoch-making" messages of Shoghi Effendi sent to the Bahai World during the concluding years of his ministry, it would have become readily apparent to them that the International Baháí Council with Mason Remey at its head, was the rightful body to lead the Faith, and not the Hands and consequently there been no need to establish the illegitimate body of the Custodian Hands and subsequently call for the election of a premature, headless and illegitimate UHJ in 1963. Had they come to the realization that Shoghi Effendi had carefully erected all of the Institutions necessary for the Faith to carry out its mission into the future in accordance with the Will and Testament and had retained an unwavering faith in the Covenant, the Hands would have readily discovered that Shoghi's successor was right in their midst.
[Justice Baker:] But the bottom line is that the defendants willfully violated the Covenant?
[TC:] Exactly. The evidence is clear. Mason Remey repeatedly and patiently explained to them that their course of conduct was a violation of the Covenant, yet they persisted. They refused to acknowledge Mason's authority and the authority of the International Bahá'í Council. Ultimately they disbanded the IBC, expelled the second Guardian of the Faith, disbanded the only faithful NSA, and called for the election of an illegitimate headless House of Justice in place of the Divine Institutions delineated in the Will and Testament.
[LG:] Thank you, Mr. Chase. The Court recognizes Mr. Wolcott. Your comments?
[CW:] Thank you, your honor. The defendants have acknowledged to this Court that Mason Remey was in fact the second Guardian. This acknowledgment was derived from the benefit of hindsight. We ask the Court, however, to try to understand the situation the Hands found themselves after the beloved Guardian's passing.
[TC:] Objection,your honor. The defense's characterization of Shoghi Effendi as "the beloved Guardian" implies there is only one.
[LG:] Sustained. Please go on.
[CW:] What I was saying is that after the first Guardian passed away, the Hands were in a very difficult position. They did not have the benefit of hindsight as this Court now has. The Hands were in the thick of it. The defendants suggest to this Court that they acted reasonably under the circumstances and that they did not violate the Covenant. Rather, they were merely mistaken.
[Justice Townshend:] You are trying to tell this Court that the evidence shows they were only mistaken? What about all of the evidence of Mason Remey's efforts to explain that to them? How can they say they did not know?
[CW:] Of course, I am not suggesting the defendants were unaware of Mr. Remey's arguments. I am saying at the time they were acting reasonably. The Bahá'í world was in the middle of "The Ten Year Global Crusade," and they took seriously their role as the Chief Stewards. They were completing the 10 year plan in accordance with Shoghi Effendi's wishes, the best they could anyway. Their plan was to have the Bahá'ís elect the Universal House of Justice, because they knew they did not have the authority to make any decisions after that. Once the Guardian's plan was completed, they understood the need for an infallible decision-maker.
[Justice Townshend:] Stop right there. I am having serious trouble with this line of reasoning. How can their Universal House of Justice be an infallible decision-maker? It wasn't a Divine Institution.
[CW:] The Universal House of Justice was established by Bahá'u'lláh and the Hands brought about the election of that Body.
[Justice Townshend:] I beg to differ. Shoghi Effendi had already created that Divine Institution. With no Guardian at its head, your organization, whatever it was it was not the Universal House of Justice.
[CW:] The Hands believed there was no way to appoint a Guardian. Since this was an issue that was not addressed in the Holy Text, it was up to the UHJ to legislate on this issue, and they did legislate and made their finding that there was no way for Shoghi to appoint a Guardian and therefore the Universal House of Justice had to operate without a Guardian just as the Guardian had operated without a UHJ as....
[Justice Baker interrupting:] Just a moment here. You expect this Court to believe that the Hands had the authority to simply create an institution of their own design, call it the Universal House of Justice, and then invest it with the authority to interpret the Writings?
[CW:] No, the UHJ has no power to interpret, but only to legislate.
[Justice Baker:] And according to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha, and I quote, "It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text." Your finding that Shoghi Effendi could not appoint his successor in accordance with the Will and Testament is not an ordinance or regulation. Is it not an interpretation? How can you call that legislation?
[CW:] The Writings were silent on the question of how to appoint a successor to Shoghi Effendi, and the House of Justice needed to legislate.
[Justice Baker angrily interrupting:] You are insulting the intelligence of these justices. This is not acceptable. An interpretation amounts to an explanation of what something means. To legislate is to pass laws. Shoghi Effendi carefully explained the distinction. [Picking up her glasses and beginning to read:] This is from The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh: "Nor is this Order identified with the name of Bahá'u'lláh to be confused with any system of purely aristocratic government in view of the fact that it upholds, on the one hand, the hereditary principle and entrusts the Guardian of the Faith with the obligation of interpreting its teachings, and provides, on the other, for the free and direct election from among the mass of the faithful of the body that constitutes its highest legislative organ." Now my understanding of this passage is that the appointed Guardians are to keep the organization faithful to the Holy Texts by infallibly interpreting the Writings and applying them to the questions of the day. The people elect members of the Universal House of Justice to decide on issues that Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá have left to the people. Whatever subject or issue that is not addressed in the Holy Texts is for the people to decide, or at least those who were elected by the people. But you are trying to turn this on its head. Your UHJ was explaining its version of the meaning of the Will and Testament. That is interpretation and you have already admitted they had no power to interpret anything.
[CW:] Nevertheless, the Hands believed this at the time. It seemed like a reasonable course of action. The UHJ ruled that Shoghi Effendi could not and did not appoint a successor because there was no one qualified to appoint, based on their belief that the Guardian must be a descendant of Bahá'u'lláh.
[Justice Wilhelm:] So they were interpreting the word "branch" as it appears in the Will and Testament?
[CW:] This is not an interpretation. The word "Branch" refers to a member of the Holy Family.
[Justice Wilhelm:] That IS an interpretation. You are interpreting it now; you are telling me what the word means. Or are you legislating? [Laughter in the courtroom]
[CW:] All Bahá'ís had known that the word "Branch" described the descendants of Bahá'u'lláh. There was nobody left for Shoghi to appoint, and thus the Guardianship became inoperative, or so they thought. The Hands were relying upon the UHJ.
[Justice Wilhelm:] How were the Hands relying upon the UHJ?. Their UHJ was not created until 1963. The Hands made their decision that the Guardianship was Badah in 1957.
[CW:] I cannot deny that the Hands did take that vote. However, they knew this decision must be made by the UHJ. That is why they did not announce their decision to the Baháí World, but instead worked to elect the UHJ in 1963.
[Justice Baker:] This is a circular argument. The Hands make a decision on this question, but knowing they have no authority to make such a decision, they proceed to create a body, in a manner of their own choosing, so that they could pose the question to this illegitimate body. What do you suppose would have happened if this UHJ had decided that Mason Remey was the Guardian and the IBC was the true UHJ?
[CW:] Then I suppose we would not be in this courtroom today. [Laughter in the courtroom]
[Justice Baker:] Or perhaps the Hands would have declared the members of their own UHJ as Covenant-breakers and proceeded to carry out the election of a new one until they obtained the answer they were looking for.
[Justice Townshend:] Lets get back to this question of the "Branch." You say the Bahá'ís all knew this meant a member of the Holy Family. Of course, that too is a circular argument. You say that the Bahá'ís all knew that, so therefore no interpretation was necessary. But not everyone knew that. So isn't that what a Guardian is for?
[CW:] Yes, but we submit to you that it was not open to interpretation. `Abdu'l-Bahá made it clear that a "Branch" was to be appointed.
[Justice Townshend:] Now, I have searched the Bahá'í Writings to see how the word "Branch," is used when referring to Bahá'u'lláh's family. In Bahá'í World Faith on page 394, the Master refers to Himself as a "Branch." Of course, Bahá'u'lláh refers to the Master as the "Greatest Branch" in several Tablets. I can cite you a number of references in which Bahá'u'lláh refers to His sons as Branches. Shoghi Effendi, too, uses the word "Branch" to describe Bahá'u'lláh's sons and in his English translation of these writings, the word "Branch" is capitalized. But there are literally hundreds of uses of the word "branch" in the sacred Writings and in the English translations, where the word "branch" is not capitalized. The use of the word "branch" is often used, within the context of many phrases, to refer to humanity, such as the leaves and branches of humanity. For example, there is this quote from the Master: "The contingent beings are the branches of the tree of life while the Messenger of God is the root of that tree. The branches, leaves and fruit are dependent for their existence upon the root of the tree of life." That is from Bahá'í World Faith, page 364. In "The Master's Last Tablet to America" He says, and I quote: "Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it, a branch from another tree. He both separates and unites" He goes on to say: "The brothers of the Blessed Beauty detached themselves from Him, and the Blessed Beauty never met them. He said: This is an eternal separation between you and Me. All this was not because the Blessed Beauty was despotic; but because these persons, through their own actions and words deprived themselves from the bounties and bestowals of the Blessed Beauty." It seems to me that `Abdu'l-Bahá is addressing this very issue. How do you reconcile this?
[CW:] I am not certain I am following, or understanding your question.
[Justice Townshend:] I agree that this entire question appears to be about as clear as mud to most, if not all of the believers, and I think that's my point exactly. [Laughter in courtroom] You are telling me that everybody knows the answer, but obviously no one knows anything. [Laughter again]
[CW:] The Master, in His Will and Testament, uses the word "branch" when He states that if the Guardian's lineage is not spiritual, then he must "choose another branch to succeed him"
[Justice Townshend:] Yes, yes. And in the English translation of that passage the lower case "b" is used in the word "branch."
[CW:] But capitalization does not exist in the original language of Farsi.
[Justice Townshend:] I understand that, but it was Shoghi Effendi who made the translation of the Will and Testament. He undoubtedly purposely used a lower case "b."
[CW:] I do not think that this amounted to a clear statement of interpretation. The defendants could not have known.
[Justice Townshend interrupting:] I am not saying that. What I am saying is that in Shoghi Effendi's interpretations and translations, when the word "branch" has been used with reference to a lineage of persons, not involving the Sons of Bahaullah, he has invariably used a lower case "b," but when he has referred to Bahá'u'lláh's Sons, he has used the upper case. Furthermore, I have not found any place in the Writings where male members of the Holy Family have been referred to as "Branches," (spelled with a capital "B") with the exception of Bahá'u'lláh's Sons. The reason this is important is that `Abdu'l-Bahá does not state that the Guardians must be an Aghsán. Indeed, He knew there were no Aghsán remaining loyal and obedient. It was for that reason he turned to Shoghi Effendi. The Master does say the Guardian should choose from his lineage, provided the requisite spiritual criteria are met. But it is not an absolute requirement. It explicitly says another "branch" can be appointed. That is, another male believer whom the Guardian feels is worthy, and, as we believe that the Guardian is divinely guided in the choice of his successor, fidelity to the Covenant requires nothing less than unquestioned acceptance of and complete loyalty to his chosen successor.
[CW:] Your honor, that is now apparent. It was not at the time.
[Justice Townshend:] But did not Mason Remey fully explain this to them? They were not listening.
[LG:] I do not consider that the prolongation of this discussion is necessary or productive. Please conclude your remarks.
[CW:] Thank you, your honor. The detailed legal discussion and analysis in this trial underscores the dilemma the Hands faced following the passing of the first Guardian. Even Mason Remey was not aware at first of his appointment. For the Hands to have figured out that Mason Remey was the Guardian would have required them to undergo a reexamination of the pertinent provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and a detailed and careful review of Shoghi Effendis writings, acts, and pronouncements. It was not obvious. Therefore, it is considered unjust for this Court to hold them to a standard so high. Rather, the Court should consider their actions in light of the confusion and emotions prevailing at the time and find that the defendants at all times acted in good faith, reasonably, and with the best interests of the Faith at heart, and that only they were mistaken in the course of the conduct they pursued. Thank you.
[LG:] Thank you, Mr Wolcott. Mr. Chase, do you have anything else to add?
[TC:] Your honor, Mr. Wolcott is blaming the confusion and lack of understanding at the time, for the action of the Hands and I have no doubt that they were factors. The question is whether or not that they were legitimate justification for the actions taken by the Hands. We should bear in mind that the Hands had been elevated to high spiritual rank by the first Guardian. They were, in essence, the spiritual leaders of the community they could be thought of as a replacement for clergy in this religion. Accordingly, they should never have wavered in their faith in the Covenant and in the certainty that Shoghi Effendi had remained completely faithful to the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá whose provisions, he had declared to be a part of the explicit Holy Text and consequently immutable. Therefore, he would have unquestionably appointed his successor but had done so in a manner that had not been anticipated or discerned at the time, which they would have inevitably discovered had they performed the proper research.
[LG:] Yes, of course. What is your point?
[TC:] My point is that the actions of the Hands violated a number of the basic verities of the Bahá'í Faith, as outlined by Shoghi Effendi in the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, his spiritual testament. As Hands of the Cause, these defendants were aware of these verities and they certainly cannot claim now that they were not aware of them.
[CW:] Objection, your honor. Mr. Chase seems to be testifying now and casting aspersions. We are talking about specific charges against the Hands. Now he is talking about verities. What verities is he referring to?
[LG:] I think we should indulge him for a moment. Please go on. Lets discuss the verities of the Cause that the defendants may have violated. You will have a chance to respond.
[TC:] Thank, you. As you know, Shoghi Effendi attempted to outline the verities of the Cause in this document. Shoghi Effendi says at the beginning of the document: "My chief concern at this challenging period of Bahá'í history is rather to call the attention of those who are destined to be the champion-builders of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh to certain fundamental verities the elucidation of which must tremendously assist them in the effective prosecution of their mighty enterprise. "
[LG:] Alright. Go on. What verities are you talking about?
[TC:] In the third paragraph of the Dispensation, he says that the Will and Testament is a vital link that will forever connect the Heroic Age to the later stages or ages. In other words, he is saying the Will and Testament is to be effective through to the Golden Age. The Hands and their false UHJ say that the Will was inoperative. At paragraph 93, he says that the Will and Testament was the perpetual, indissoluble link between the three ages, which are the Heroic, Formative and Golden Age of the Cause. Shoghi Effendi could not be clearer that the Will and Testament was immortal.
[CW:] Your honor, I object. He is twisting the words of Shoghi Effendi. There is no evidence that Shoghi Effendi knew what was to occur. He wrote that in 1934.
[LG:] Overruled. Go on.
[TC:] At paragraph 94, the first Guardian says the Will is the "Charter of the New World Order" and identifies it with the "glory and promise" of the Bahá'í Dispensation. It is not something that can be disregarded. He goes on to say in that paragraph that the Will and Testament cannot be divorced from Bahá'u'lláh. In other words that it is undeniably Bahá'u'lláh's Will, as well.
[CW:] Objection. He does not use those words. He does not say it was Bahá'u'lláh's Will.
[LG:] Overruled. Please, go on.
[TC:] Thank you. Paragraph 103, the Twin Pillars, meaning the Guardianship and the House of Justice are divine in origin. They are not manmade. Further, these Twin Pillars must insure the continuity of the Guardianship.
[CW:] [Exasperated] Your honor! It doesn't say that.
[TC:] And I quote: "Their common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings." Clearly, the Twin Pillars exist to carry the divine authority into the future. They are to exist throughout the Dispensation.
[LG:] Overruled. Go on.
[TC:] In the next paragraph, Shoghi Effendi seems to envision the future when he says that if the Guardianship were to be divorced from the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh it would be mutilated, permanently deprived of its hereditary principle.
[CW:] [Interrupting] You see, one of the verities of the Cause is that the Guardianship is hereditary.
[TC:] Your honor, I have the floor. Mr. Wolcott should not interrupt me. Let me point out that Shoghi Effendi uses the words "hereditary principle" meaning the idea or concept of being hereditary. He does not say that the Guardians must be of the same biological family. In that paragraph, Shoghi Effendi goes on to say that without the Guardianship, the Faith's integrity would be imperiled, its stability gravely endangered, its prestige would suffer, it would lack a multi-generational long and uninterrupted view, and the guidance needed to define the legislative sphere would be lost. All of these, verities of the Cause have been thrown out by the defendants.
[LG:] Anything more?
[TC:] At paragraph 106, your honor, Shoghi Effendi quotes from the Will and Testament, as a verity, that the Faith will remain impregnable and safe through obedience to the Guardian. All of these verities were ignored or subverted by the defendant Hands. That is all.
[LG:] Thank you. Mr. Wolcott. Anything else to add?
[CW:] I would point out that paragraph 106 specifically asserts as a verity that after Shoghi Effendi "will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants."
[LG:] Thank you. If there is nothing further, this Court will go into a short recess and we will come back to render our verdict.
[Bailiff:] All rise! This honorable Court is in recess.
ACT THREE SCENE 2 THE VERDICT
[LG:] (Reading the verdict of the Court]
This Supreme Court of the Abhá Kingdom renders its verdict. In the name of the Lord, the God of great glory. Verily, Thou art the Potent, the Bountiful. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Gracious.
The Cause of God, the very Mission of Bahá'u'lláh in establishing the Bahá'í Faith, is to establish a Divine System of World Commonwealththe Kingdom of God upon Earth as it is in Heaven.
In the words of the Master, `Abdu'l-Bahá:
"One of the great events which is to occur in the Day of the manifestation of that incomparable Branch is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations. By this is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself."
The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh's government over the planet is to rise from out of the chaos and distress of world events caused by humanity's rejection of the Message of this Most Great Cause of God. The peoples of the world must choose the Order of Bahá'u'lláh as the obvious and clear choice for ordering world affairs after all other solutions have been tried and failed by a distressed humanity.
The first Guardian of the Cause, Shoghi Effendi, in his clear and explicit interpretation of the Holy Texts, binding upon all, had the following to say about the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá:
"The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá'u'lláh, permeating and evolving within the mind of `Abdu'l-Bahá, have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant--the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God--the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it. Bahá'u'lláh's inscrutable purpose, we must ever bear in mind, has been so thoroughly infused into the conduct of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and their motives have been so closely wedded together, that the mere attempt to dissociate the teachings of the former from any system which the ideal Exemplar of those same teachings has established would amount to a repudiation of one of the most sacred and basic truths of the Faith."
The defendant Hands in fact did repudiate this most sacred and basic truth of the Faith, in their attempt to alter, or to ignore, the basic tenets of the Will and Testament, and to arrogantly assume that any of its provisions could be rendered inoperable or ineffective. The Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá and the Most Holy Book of Bahá'u'lláh-the Kitáb-i-Aqdas- should be considered, in the words of Shoghi Effendi as "complementary" and to "mutually confirm one another" and must be regarded as "inseparable parts of one complete unit." Therefore, 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament is a part of the explicit Holy Text whose immutable and immortal laws and provisions are destined to remain unaltered and inviolate for at least a full thousand years.
This Court finds that the so-called Universal House of Justice elected in 1963 at the instigation of the defendant Hands is completely illegitimate. It simply is not the House of Justice called for by the Will and Testament. The rise of this illicitly formed UHJ has prolonged the suffering of humanity by offering up a false promise as the pattern for world society, even while it remains a fallible and human institution in the absence of the Guardian at its " sacred head."
The illicitly established UHJ is therefore an abomination. [Pause during commotion in the Courtroom, and then repeating] This false UHJ is therefore an abomination. To offer support and assistance to this imposter itself constitutes a betrayal of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, and a heinous crime against humanity.
The defendant Hands created this humanly conceived headless UHJ without any authority whatsoever and attempted to clothe themselves with authority to do so by declaring, in effect, a collective successorship to the powers and rights of the Guardianship. Their pretense, that they were merely carrying out the wishes of the first Guardian until such time as this patently false UHJ could absorb and assume authority as an illicitly substituted "Center of the Cause," was inadequate to mask the perfidiousness of their behavior.
How misguided and woefully tragic was the program carried out by the defendant Hands in their subversion of the Cause of God by substituting themselves, the illicit body of the Custodians, and their sans-Guardian UHJ for the true Universal House of Justice established in its embryonic form by Shoghi Effendi as the International Bahá'í Council. The Hands staged an inexcusable coup, removing and excommunicating the Guardian and those few believers firm in the Covenant who had remained steadfast in their obedience to him. The defendant Hands subverted and destroyed the true Universal House of Justice and the Institution of the Guardianship, the Twin Pillars of the divinely-conceived Baháí Administrative Order, delineated by Abdul-Bahá and replaced them with false institutions of their own making.
`Abdu'l-Bahá, the Center of the Covenant, states in His Will and Testament: "The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to him who is the Guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the Guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His Word and will become a manifestation of the Center of Sedition"
In these words He expressed a clear warning and admonition to all, that the Covenant was not to be subverted by anyone at all, including specifically the Hands of the Cause of God.
The defendant Hands have further mustered up the audacity to put forth before this Court the circular argument that their reliance upon the judgments and edicts of this false institution calling itself the Universal House of Justice somehow justified or excused their clear violation.
This Court finds otherwise. This Court finds that the second Guardian, Mason Remey, during a period of years extending from the date of Shoghi Effendi's death until the formation of the illicitly established UHJ, brilliantly and patiently fulfilled his duty in forcefully and clearly presenting conclusive arguments to the Hands as to why their plan to elect a sans-Guardian and hence illegitimate UHJ constituted a subversion of the Cause of God. The Court further finds that Mason Remey's recording of events in his Daily Observations, and his appeals and proclamations, have not been refuted, and thus do the defendant Hands stand condemned thereby. The Hands expelled the Guardian and disbanded the only faithful National Spiritual Assemblythat is the NSA of Francewith no authority whatsoever to do so. The actions by the Hands were fully informed, and constituted a deliberate and intentional defiance and betrayal of the "Center of the Cause," the consequences for which the defendant Hands are and shall remain responsible, to their everlasting shame.
This Court further finds that the Persian Hands were the instigators of this satanic conspiracy to abandon the Guardianship and to perpetrate the Greatest Violation of the Covenant in the history of the Faith. Their arrogance and prejudice lead them to reject Mason Remey as being unqualified to lead them, and thereby they rejected Shoghi Effendi's authority to choose his successor. Rúhíyyih Khánum played an integral role in advancing the ill-conceived and reprehensible plot hatched by the Persian Hands to put an end to the Guardianship and gain its endorsement by all but one of the remaining Hands. She would have this Court excuse her behavior on the basis that she was blinded by her love for Shoghi Effendi. While this Court has no reason to doubt her love for Shoghi Effendi, we find this an unacceptable excuse. While this love no doubt played a role in her decision, the motives suggested in Mason Remey's diaries, and her apparent pursuit of personal power and privilege belies her innocence and underscores the fact that she apparently justified, in her own mind, her outright betrayal of Shoghi Effendi and the Cause of God, because of a blind love for him that did not permit her to accept anyone as his successor. As for the remaining defendant Hands, the Court finds that, on the basis of the ample evidence presented before this Court today, all of the defendant Hands have been culpable of participating in a conspiracy to commit an egregious violation of the Covenant, and that each and every one of them collaborated in the further advancement of that conspiracy to its fateful and tragic conclusion.
Therefore, it is the finding of this Court that each and every one of the defendant Hands standing before this Court are inexcusably GUILTY of the crimes alleged against them. [bringing down gavel] [the Courtroom erupts into crying, talking and shouting and the scene fades as Chief Judge Gregory keeps banging his gavel and seeking order]
ACT THREE, Scene 3 The Apology
[Scene opens in the parlor of the celestial residence of Shoghi Effendi. The Defendants are all gathered in the room waiting for an audience with Shoghi Effendi]
[RK pointing her finger towards the Persian Hands:] This is all your fault. I cannot believe you got me into this. Now I have to face Shoghi and apologize to him. How humiliating this is. How shameful.
[Ali Akbar Furutan:] I don't see why you are blaming us. You were with us the whole time. It seems to me the reason why the Court sentenced us to make this apology is for us to finally accept responsibility for our actionsfor our complete failure as Hands of the Cause.
[RK:] You! You were the one [pointing to Dr Mohajer] with that Badah nonsense. How was I supposed to know anything about Badah. You got us into this.
[Dr. Rahmatu'llah Mohajer:] You know as well as I do that Badah was just an excuse. If we had not come up with that explanation, we would have come up with something else. Wasn't it you who said that we were the Chief Stewards and therefore had the power to take charge of the Faith?
[RK angrily, crying:] You didn't argue with me, did you? None of you did. And now I am the one who has to face Shoghi Effendi.
[Mr. Furutan:] All of us have to face him. This is not easy for any of us.
[Shouting and argument erupts between the Hands]
[Zikrullah Khadem:] I don't think bickering about this is going to solve anything. What are we going to say to him?
[Shouting and arguments continue]
[William Sears:] I agree. Somebody has to take charge of this. Lets have order. Order please. Be quiet. Order!
[RK:] And who put Bill Sears in charge?
[Mr. Sears:] Who put you in charge? Thats been the problem all along. We have been taking our orders from you, and now look where this has led us. I am going to lead this group right now. Anybody have a problem with that?
[Mr. Sears:] Fine. Mr. Khadem, please speak, you have the floor.
[Mr. Khadem:] As I was saying, we need to figure out what we are going to say. We have no excuse. We have been found guilty. It is an inescapable fact. We are guilty of violation of the Covenant. We have betrayed Shoghi Effendi. We threw Mason Remey out of the Faith, and his followers too! We labeled them Covenant-breakers. May God have mercy on our souls. We misled so many!
[Shouting and argument erupts]
[Mr. Sears:] Order, please. We must become unified. I think Mr. Khadem is right. We need to face up to this and figure out where we go from here. Yes, Mr. Furutan.
[Mr. Furutan:] Yes, I think we need to do some soul-searching. We have committed horrific crimes. If only we had allowed the IBC to function as the beloved Guardian had intended. If only we had recognized Mason Remey. I cannot imagine how much progress would have been made in the Faith. We were so arrogant to believe that we knew better. Think of all those sincere believers who listened to us and were led astray from the Covenant. Think of the misery and suffering caused. Imagine our arrogance in excommunicating those few believers who were spiritual enough to perceive our error. They were faithful in the face of overwhelming opposition and we led that opposition. Its horrifying!
[Mr. Sears:] Yes, Dr. Mohajer.
[Dr. Mohajer:] How do you think I feel? I will go down in history as the one who declared the end of the Guardianship. What shame! It is torture.
[Mr Sears:] All of us share your shame, Dr. Mohajer. You gave voice to what all of us were doing. You have no more responsibility than any of us. Yes, Mr. Olinga
[Enoch Olinga:] Thank you, Mr. Sears. I would like to add to what Mr. Furutan was saying. I believe the essential problem, our essential failing was a spiritual.....
[Mason Remey- coming out of Shoghi Effendi's room:] Excuse me for interrupting. I just wanted to let you know that Shoghi Effendi is not yet here at his residence. We are still waiting for him to arrive home. It will be just a few more minutes.
[Mr. Sears:] Mr Remey, thank you. May we have a word with you for a moment?
[Mr. Sears:] Let me say on behalf of all of us, how sorry we are for what we put you through. Words really cannot express our sorrow. How guilty we feel. We wish we could wind back time and serve you as the second Guardian. What fools we were.
[Voices of many of the Hands in agreement]
[MR:] Mr. Sears, I certainly appreciate that, and I accept your apologies. But you really need to reserve your expressions of regret for Shoghi Effendi. What you destroyed was everything that he had labored so tirelessly to create during the 36 years of his ministry. Indeed, you have much to say to him.!
[The Hands sit in stunned silence]
[Mr. Sears after a few moments in a quiet voice:] Well Mason is right, of course. We have betrayed Shoghi Effendi. Yes, Rúhíyyih?
[RK:] I see now that my love for Shoghi was no excuse to reject Mason. I was being selfish. I guess I loved being the wife of the Guardian more than anything else. Following his passing, I was afraid that my prestige and power would be diminished. How foolish. I gave up everything for such petty reasons. How could I have been so stupid? Now I must somehow explain to Shoghi why I endorsed the decision to end the Guardianship and took a leading role in persuading the vast majority of the Bahá'ís to accede to the dismantlement and destruction of the Divinely appointed Institutions he worked all of us life to faithfully establish in complete accordance with the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá [bursting into tears]
[Corinne True:] Oh dear, we must certainly understand that the Faith will triumph in the end and the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and His Cause will be victorious.
[RK:] How can you be so sure?
[Mr. Olinga:] Ms. True is correct. We continue to be so arrogant as to believe that our actions have destroyed the Divine Institutions of the Faith. It was never within our power to destroy God's Cause. Yes, we caused a setback. Yes, we led many astray! We caused much damage and suffering. But it was never within our power to stop the ultimate progress of the Faith! That is the lesson we must learn from this.
[Mr. Sears:] Mr Olinga. I think you are on to something here. Please go on.
[Mr. Olinga:] Covenant-breaking is a spiritual disease. It stems from faithlessness. And we were the Covenant-breakers. Don't you see? We found it so useful to employ the accusation of Covenant- breaking to destroy those who opposed us and consolidate our power; we lost sight of the fact that it is something very real. It truly is a disease and we caught it. We actually lost our faith in the Covenant!
[Shouting and commotion breaks out]
[Mr. Sears:] Order please. Of course, he is absolutely correct. We are the ones who have just been found guilty of Covenant-breaking. It is time for us to face up to this fact and accept it.
[Mr. Olinga:] Covenant-breakers don't believe the promises in the Holy Texts. They give lip service to the Faith, but they don't really believe it. They have their own personal reasons for rejecting some aspect of the Teachings, and they follow their own interpretations. That is why Bahá'u'lláh established His Covenant: so that our limited or false interpretations would not get in the way of the Divine Truth. The Guardianship, as established by Abdul-Baha in His Will and Testament, protects the Faith from believers who have become just like us; believers who have little faith and who try to change the Faith in a manner that suits them,
[Ms True, excited:] Exactly! We cannot change the Faith. We exceeded our station. We thought we knew better what was to be done and we substituted our own judgments for God's Will. We were arrogant fools, and now we must pay the price. The Cause of God belongs to God. It cannot be changed by humanity. The Administrative Order comes from God, and our duty is to follow it and obey it, and not to change it according to our own whims. That is the lesson to be learned from this great violation for generations to come.
[Mr. Sears:] Yes! The lesson learned is to be faithful and true to the Cause and to the Covenant of Baháulláh no matter what. We must.....
[MR interrupting:] Excuse me. Shoghi Effendi will see you now.
[The Hands sadly and slowly walk out of the parlor and into Shoghi Effendis room as the scene fades out]