Twenty-six of the twenty-seven living Hands of the Cause of God appointed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry, assembled at ‘Akká in their first conclave following his passing some nine days after his internment in London, England, where he had passed away on November 4, 1957. They were understandably still in a profound state of shock, bewilderment and consternation, as his passing had been so sudden, unexpected and without any apparent forewarning whatsoever to the Bahá’í World, although he had so clearly alluded to its imminence during the undersigned's pilgrimage in November 1952 at dinner table one evening that Rúhíyyih Khánum jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room an event about which I was to remind her in a letter sent to her many years later. And he had also provided two other definite indications that his ministry would soon come to an end but, although they had been given in writing, they had been stated purposely in such an indirect and veiled manner that his predicted passing before the termination of the Ten Year Global Crusade, upon which the believers were about to embark at the time, would remain concealed from the Bahá’í World during the remaining period of his ministry. However, he certainly had anticipated that both the Hands of the Cause and the believers would, following his passing, retain an unwavering faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the inviolability of its sacred and divinely-conceived "Child " – the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – and not fail to perceive and understand why it had been necessary for him to obscure from them, in the way that he had, what would have been, an unthinkable and overwhelmingly distressing prospect for them to bear, if he had openly forewarned them of his impending passing in the near future, and, as a result, they had been faced with a prospect too awful to contemplate and one that would have unquestionably seriously interfered with their future labors for the promotion of the Faith. In view of all that he had stated in his copious writings on the divinely-conceived genesis of the Bahá’í Administrative Order and the future essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, certainly the last thing he would have anticipated, following his passing, would be that the Hands of the Cause would decide to terminate the Guardianship and, in turn, influence the mass of the believers to likewise abandon the Guardianship.

Surprisingly, it apparently never occurred to the Hands of the Cause, following Shoghi Effendi’s passing, that the convening of a conclave in ‘Akká, for the purpose of determining who Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor, should be necessary even though the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá do not prescribe or require the convocation of such a conclave by the Hands of the Cause upon the passing of a Guardian, for according to the explicit provisions of that Document, his successor must be appointed by him, "in his own life-time" and, therefore, his identity should be known prior to his passing in order "that differences may not arise after his passing." The Hands had. obviously forgotten this provision of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as attested by the fact that, on the first day of their conclave, they chose a body of the Hands to perform a search of Shoghi Effendi’s papers in anticipation of discovering a will left by him which, understandably, he had not made in the light of the above quoted provision to which Shoghi Effendi would have scrupulously adhered.

Tragically, however, the Hands upon not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi immediately came to the hasty conclusion that the Guardianship had come to an untimely end thirty-six-years after the inception of the Bahá’í Administrative Order in spite of all that he had written on the divinely-conceived genesis of the Bahá’í Administrative Order in which he had repeatedly emphasized the future essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. Certainly, the last thing Shoghi Effendi would have anticipated, following his passing, would be that the Hands of the Cause would decide that the Guardianship had ended and, in turn, influence the mass of the believers to abandon the Guardianship.

This, however is what they actually did in the proclamation they issued on November 25, 1957 that provides clear evidence that they had not only erroneously anticipated finding a will left by Shoghi Effendi but had not even taken the time to make a cursory review of Shoghi Effendi’s acts or writings to determine if in some way, other than by a testamentary document, Shoghi Effendi had appointed a successor during his "own life-time" whom they had failed to recognize.

For they obviously never questioned the validity of their interpretation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that only an Aghsán could inherit the Guardianship, a term which they erroneously applied to all the blood line relatives of Bahá’u’lláh, which differed markedly from Shoghi Effendi’s statement found in God Passes By wherein he applies this appellation only to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh who had died well before the termination of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry.

For, in their proclamation the Hands stated:

The following account recorded in the Diary of one who was present at this first conclave of the Hands, of which no official record was maintained, confirms conclusively the unseemly haste with which the Hands of the Cause reached their tragic conclusion that the Guardianship had forever come to an end:

"Twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Faith assembled in conclave in the great pillared hall of the Mansion of Bahjí at ‘Akká in the early afternoon. After the reading of prayers, [they] read the report of those of us who had searched in the Guardian’s rooms and found no will and testament among his papers. Such in a few words was our report. Upon Rúhíyyih Khánum’s the widow of Shoghi Effendi insistence, no minutes or written records were kept of the proceedings of the conclave. To me this seemed to be unwise; I felt that a record should be kept of this most important meeting of the Hands of the Faith, but as no one made any objection to this procedure and as I myself was quite conditioned through my years of residence in Haifa to accept and to follow without question everything that Rúhíyyih Khánum told us to do–I therefore refrained from saying anything about this subject. No one objected to her insistence in this matter so no records were taken. There followed, as I remember, some talk upon the parts of a number of our members about inconsequential things and then the meeting was adjourned until the following morning.

"Several of us, including myself, returned to Haifa for the night while the rest, consisting of all of the Persian Hands, remained the night at Bahjí where we who had gone to Haifa for the night met with them on the following morning.

"Following prayers and some mention of the Guardianship to the effect that no will or testament had been found in the safe or in the desk of Shoghi Effendi, Dr. Muhájir, the youngest of the Persian Hands, sprang to his feet proposing that the Will and Testament of the Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá be pronounced BADAH and that the Guardianship be ended forever and closed forever. This was immediately seconded and carried enthusiastically and supported by all the Persian Hands who spoke to the point supporting this putting aside for a thousand years (until the coming of the next Manifestation) the Institution of the Guardianship–allowing that this next coming Manifestation might then possibly see fit to re-establish the Guardianship if he thought best in a thousand years from this present date–but as far as this Dispensation was concerned that there should be no more Guardianship.

"Each of the Persian Hands spoke supporting this motion–each repeating practically verbatim the same argument so one could understand at first thought that they had talked it up and decided it all beforehand. This entire matter was so quickly done and its passage pressed and accomplished so quickly, that it was very apparent that at some time during those night hours these Persian Hands at Bahjí had consulted together and made a covenant amongst themselves and had made this arrangement to pronounce the Guardianship BADAH and thus railroad the matter through and carry the day. Furthermore, Rúhíyyih Khánum concurred with this majority so their point was carried by the majority."

It is evident from the above account that the Hands of the Cause hastily reached the incredulous conclusion that the Guardianship had come to an end on the very first day of their deliberations during this conclave and, in spite of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which, as explained by Shoghi Effendi, had been divinely-conceived in a mystic intercourse between the minds of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and accordingly had actually become "their Will," they had, nevertheless come to the unbelievable conclusion that God had changed His mind about the establishment of the Institutions of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh as delineated in that Will and Testament. In reaching this conclusion they would destroy, at the same time, all of the international institutions of the Faith as they would automatically remove the "sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice and the future Institution of the Hands of the Cause, as well, who, under the terms of that sacred Document, could only be appointed by future Guardians of the Faith. The Hands of the Cause were ,therefore, as a result of this conclusion, in effect, declaring the major provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament null and void, blatantly ignoring the fact that Shoghi Effendi had equated the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in its sacredness, immutability and immortality with Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book–the Kitáb-í-Aqdas–and had declared that Will a part of the explicit Holy Text whose laws and provisions were, therefore, destined to remain inviolate, unchanged and operable as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, itself, endured.

Let us consider an alternative scenario that would have transpired if the Hands, upon not finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, had retained an unshakeable faith in the inviolability and indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the immutability of every clause of the sacred and divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – "the Child of the Covenant" and the "Charter of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh" and accordingly had instead of rushing headlong into their decision that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi decided to review again the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pertaining to the matter of succession. They would have then certainly concluded that Shoghi Effendi, unquestionably faithful to every clause of the sacred, divinely-conceived and immutable Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had appointed a successor "in his own life-time" although, for some valid reason (which they would later come to understand) he had obviously made this appointment in such a way that the identity of his successor had been so obscured, that he had not been recognized, as yet, either by them or by the believers throughout the world. Therefore, in order to discover the identity of his successor and when and in what manner he had made this appointment it would be essential for them to take the time to re-examine carefully and systematically those communications that Shoghi Effendi had dispatched to the Bahá’í World as well as other acts and pronouncements he had made during his ministry that would lead to this discovery and also determine why his successor had not now made known to them his accession to the Guardianship. They, then, certainly would have determined that the most likely period in which to undertake this search, initially at least, would be during the last seven years of Shoghi Effendi’s ministry when, as the crowning achievement of his long labors to erect the institutions of the Administrative Order in complete accordance with the provisions delineated in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he had finally established the International Institutions of the Faith at its World Administrative Center. For it was during this period that he had dispatched a series of historic and epoch-making cablegrams to the Bahá’í World, whose tremendous import and implications they may have failed to take into account and had possibly overlooked, such as, his cablegram of 25 April 1951 in which he had pointed out that "the establishment of the International Bahá’í Council and the construction of the superstructure of the Báb’s Selpulcher" had constituted "the initial major evidences of "the rise and consolidation of the Administrative Center of the World Faith of Bahá’u’lláh" and his cablegram of 24 December 1951 wherein he had recalled with "feelings of profound thankfulness and joy . . . the chain of historic events heralding the long anticipated rise and establishment of the World Administrative Center of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh." They would have noted that his cablegram of 30 June 1952 had particular significance wherein he had hailed the erection "at long last of the machinery of its highest institutions . . . and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order are in their embryonic form, unfolding."

Even more importantly they would have taken note of a cablegram dispatched by Shoghi Effendi of even greater potential significance than those from which excerpts have been quoted above as it was the only one that had opened with the word "Proclaim" which actually made this cablegram, dispatched on 9 January 1951, a Proclamation that highlighted the importance of an historic and epoch-making decision of such significance and magnitude that Shoghi Effendi had proclaimed the significance of this decision in the following unprecedented terms:

". . . this historic decision marking the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in the course of the last thirty years" (i.e. since his assumption of the Guardianship upon the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá).

". . . the greatest event shedding luster upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation [an epoch that had commenced in 1946] potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order on the morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Ascension"

These highly significant phrases: "weighty epoch-making decision," this "historic decision," this "most significant milestone," this "greatest event," were included in a cablegram which opened with the phrase: "Proclaim to National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of the formation of the first International Bahá’í Council," a Council that he identified in subsequent passages as: "this first embryonic International Institution" that he indicated would evolve through two intermediary stages, the first of which would be the International "Bahá’í Court," a stage that he subsequently emphasized in his cablegram of 25 April 1951 would be an "essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice." (incidentally, this International Court was never permitted by the Hands to function as such).

The Hands may have then further noted that Shoghi Effendi had stated that one of the major considerations that had induced him to make this "historic decision" was "the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions" (that is, National Spiritual Assemblies) and they would now understand that this was the reason why he had addressed his cablegram specifically to the National Spiritual Assemblies and not to the believers, as had normally been the case in most of his cablegrams. And they may then have further realized that the reason why Shoghi Effendi had hailed "with thankful, joyous heart at long last the constitution of the International Council" and had used such laudatory terms in his cablegram proclaiming the formation of this "first International Institution" – this "Nascent Institution" – was due to the fact that he was proclaiming, "at long last," the establishment of none other than the Universal House of Justice, albeit in embryonic form.

The President and four other Hands who were also members of this International Council and in attendance at the Bahjí conclave could have attested to the fact that the Council, under the Presidency of Mason Remey , had never become an actively functioning body during Shoghi Effendi’s ministry but he had assigned tasks only to individual members. In fact, he had additionally insured the retention of the Council in an inactive status by appointing and announcing that Rúhhíyih Khánum was the "chosen liaison " between himself and the Council. Could the Hands then have considered this International Council at variance in its composition from the Universal House of Justice or anything less than the Institution described by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will when Shoghi Effendi had referred to it as: "This first International Institution" – "this Nascent Institution?" And if they had researched the Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to learn what He had stated about the EMBRYO they would have come to understand that the composition of this Institution in its originally conceived embryonic form would remain the same and unchanged throughout all of its subsequent stages as it evolved towards maturity and ultimately attained the plenitude of its powers, for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated: "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers" (BWF p.313) and, therefore, this International Council – this embryonic Universal House of Justice – this newly created embryonic Institution, composed of an irremovable HEAD – its President – appointed by Shoghi Effendi and a BODY of eight other members (initially appointed but becoming an "elected body" in its third stage, as outlined by Shoghi Effendi) was unquestionably a complete organism from its very inception to which nothing would be added, discarded or removed in its composition as it developed. although, of necessity the original functions assigned to it by Shoghi Effendi would be progressively enlarged, as he had pointed out, there would "be added further functions in the course of the evolution of this first embryonic International Institution" until finally achieving "its efflorescence" as the fully matured and functioning Universal House of Justice well into the future, as envisaged by Shoghi Effendi, when at least a number of National Houses of Justice would coexist. The plans of Shoghi Effendi clearly had not projected this final stage of development taking place so prematurely and inappropriately as planned by the Hands for 1963. Most importantly, therefore, the Hands would have come to understand that the embryonic Head of this Universal House of Justice appointed by Shoghi Effendi would remain its permanent and "sacred head" throughout all the stages of its development (as long as he lived). Upon attaining this understanding, the Hands would have been startled by the sudden realization that the appointed and hence permanent and irremovable HEAD of this embryonic organism – THE PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ’Í COUNCIL – Mason Remey, who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi to this office could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith who had been awaiting recognition by both them and the believers throughout the world.

How surprised and elated the Hands of the Cause would have been to discover that Shoghi Effendi’s appointed successor was from their own number and in their very midst, and that his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as his successor had initially remained unrecognized due to the indirect manner of his accession to the Guardianship through his appointment as the President of the International Bahá’í Council. They would have found it even more surprising that Shoghi Effendi’s successor was an individual whom they had least expected to be the second Guardian of the Faith as he certainly did not meet the criteria that they would have undoubtedly previously established in their own minds due to their preconceived ideas and their erroneously held belief that only an Aghsán, whom they had misinterpreted as applying to all descendants from the blood line of Bahá’u’lláh, could inherit the Guardianship under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (but, according to Shoghi Effendi, a term that applied solely to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh). For the second Guardian was not of the blood line of Bahá’u’lláh or even a Persian. He was not from the Orient but from the Occident. He was not a young man but almost twenty-five years older than Shoghi Effendi and he neither wrote nor spoke Farsi or Arabic (although this is not one of the qualifications for appointment to the Guardianship delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will). Nevertheless, perhaps, upon reflection, they would have had to admit that he was unquestionably the most distinguished male believer in the Faith having become a believer at the turn of the century while a young student of architecture at the Beaux Arts in Paris and among his achievements on behalf of the Faith had published several of the earliest books about the Faith, had travelled around the world several times as he visited numerous countries for the purpose of promoting the Faith, had been the architect of several Bahá’í Temples already constructed, had been chosen by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to be the architect of the Temple to be constructed in the future on Mount Carmel and by Shoghi Effendi for the Temple to be built in Tihrán, and had been the architect of the magnificent International Archives building constructed on Mount Carmel and the existing Western Pilgrim House at the foot of that mountain. He had been eulogized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in numerous Tablets for his devotion to the Covenant, his exemplary services to the Faith, the purity of his motives and the nature of his character, eulogies that may be found in several issues of the publication: Star of the West in one of which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá refers to him as "that luminous person and heavenly man . . . who does not breathe but to raise the call to the Kingdom of God." His distinguished period of service to the Faith had endured for more than half a century. Certainly, no male believer possessed higher Bahá’í credentials or had acquired more experience in the Faith or had performed greater service to the Faith than Mason Remey. How much less qualified to inherit the Guardianship would have been, for example, a son of Shoghi Effendi whom many believers had speculated had been secretly conceived and hidden away from them during all of the thirty-six years of his ministry and who would suddenly appear upon Shoghi Effendi’s passing and be able to function effectively as the Guardian of the Faith, although he had experienced no direct association with any of the believers during these long years, performed any service for the Faith and who would have possessed, at best, a very limited knowledge of the activities of the believers and the developments within the Faith during this period including the actions, and the formidable works and undertakings of Shoghi Effendi during his ministry.

It is highly doubtful that any of the Hands would have been aware of the fact that in appointing Mason Remey his successor, Shoghi Effendi had brought into realization the promise that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had made to him almost a half century earlier in a Tablet, dated May 3, 1906 wherein He stated: "Ere long, thy Lord shall make thee a sign of guidance among mankind." (Star of the West, Vol.V, No.19).

Moreover, the Hands would now have understood why Shoghi Effendi had resorted to an indirect method in appointing his successor which had been necessary to obscure the fact from the believers that his passing was imminent. For the appointment of Mason Remey, a man so much older than himself, who, nevertheless, was obviously destined to outlive him was a clear indication of his anticipation that his ministry would soon be coming to an end.

If the Hands would have now embraced Mason Remey as the second Guardian of the Faith they would have been engaged under his direction in the functions assigned to them in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while the International Bahá’í Council would now have become an active body with the Guardian presiding as its "sacred head" in this initial stage, as well as in successive stages until attaining ultimately its efflorescence as the Universal House of Justice. This Council would now have exercized rightful administrative jurisdiction over the subordinate National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world which would themselves ultimately and progressively, to the extent feasible, become, in parallel stages of development to the Council, subordinate National Houses of Justice.

Alas, the Hands of the Cause did not follow the scenario traced above with the result that they did not discover that Shoghi Effendi had faithfully discharged his responsibility under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and had appointed his successor. Instead, they reached their inexcusable and hasty conclusion that the Guardianship of the Cause of God had forever ended and, in so doing, in effect, not only declared the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sacred and divinely conceived Will and Testament pertaining to the matter of succession null and void but actually, however unwittingly, repudiated, as well, almost everything that Shoghi Effendi had written concerning the divine genesis, foundation, principles, character and institutions of the Bahá’í Administrative Order.

Following this shameful display by the Hands of their lack of faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the immortality of the divinely-conceived, sacred and immortal "Child of the Covenant"–the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá–these Hands were now convinced that they had become, as they stated: "the supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community" and accordingly referred to themselves as the: "Chief Stewards of the Bahá’í World Faith" on the basis that Shoghi Effendi had referred to them in his last cablegram to the Bahá’í World before his passing as "the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth" blindly unmindful of the significant difference in these two appellations and ignoring the implications and important promise contained in the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had used in referring to them, as opposed to the appellation they gave themselves – a monumental difference which will be subsequently discussed in some detail.

The Hands now proceeded to announce in their proclamation of 25 November 1957 the establishment, outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a body composed of nine members appointed from their own number which they named: "Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith" with its seat in Haifa. They stated that this body would "exercise – subject to such directions and decisions as may be given from time to time by us as the Chief Stewards of the Bahá’í World Faith – all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith" thus creating, as it were, a substitute collegiate guardianship of the Faith. Notwithstanding this ill-conceived and pseudo-guardianship illicitly conferred on this body by the entire body of the Hands, its tenure was, oddly enough, destined, according to their plans, to be short-lived as they further announced that this body would only continue to exist "until such time as the Universal House of Justice, upon being duly established and elected in conformity with the Sacred Writings and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá may otherwise determine." What was surprising in the above quoted statement was that even though the Universal House of Justice they were planing to elect in 1963 would be illegitimate without the Guardian presiding as its "sacred head" they untruthfully stated that it was being established "in conformity with the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá." Their plans to carry out the election of this body, at Ridván 1963, was but further evidence that they were unaware that Shoghi Effendi had already established this body in its embryonic form, in the temporary name of the International Bahá’í Council, and that they had been guilty of not permitting it to become an actively functioning body in the capacity that Shoghi Effendi had intended thus preventing that body from exercising any authority whatsoever over subordinate national administrative bodies, how much less permitting it to become a "Bahá’í Court" in the second stage of its development as had been projected by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951, a stage, he had later emphasized in his cablegram of 25 April 1951, that would be an "essential prelude" to its further development. At this stage it would have necessarily been required to exercise Supreme Court jurisdiction over the "six national Bahá’í Courts in the chief cities of the Islamic East, Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, New Delhi, Karachi and Kabul," cited in his cablegram of 8 October 1952, where the believers residing in those countries, of which the above named cities are the capitals, would then become subject to the Laws of the Aqdas after receiving prior approval and recognition of the authority of these courts from the respective governments concerned. Furthermore, Shoghi Effendi had in outlining the objectives of the Ten Year Global Crusade, set the goal of establishing by 1963 both the International Bahá’í Court (the second stage of the Council’s development) as well as the National Bahá’í Courts mentioned above. Therefore, it is clear that the plans of the Hands to establish their sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice in 1963 (subsequently accomplished) was not only extremely premature but not in accordance with Shoghi Effendi’s plans. In sharp contrast, Shoghi Effendi’s plan as outlined in his Proclamation envisaged that the International Council would become an International Bahá’í Court during its second stage of development in its relationship to the six national Bahá’í Courts, mentioned above. This stage in the Council’s development would obviously be an active stage in which only a Guardian of the Faith could properly preside as the Chief Judge of this Court, as it were, and, as this Judge would be the same individual that Shoghi Effendi had appointed as the irremovable President of the Council. Therefore, the goal announced by Shoghi Effendi to establish this International Court by 1963, was but further proof, had the Hands been able to perceive it, that Mason Remey was destined to become this Judge – the appointed second Guardian of the Faith – no later than Ridván 1963 and thereby a further clear prediction by Shoghi Effendi that his ministry would come to an end with his passing some time before or not later than 1963, a prediction that was to come true at the mid-point of the Crusade in 1957.

In confirmation of the foregoing discussion about the International Bahá’í Court, it is pertinent to mention highly significant remarks made by Shoghi Effendi at the dinner table in Haifa one evening during the pilgrimage of the undersigned during the period 28 November to 7 December 1952. Seated around the table that evening (30 Nov.) in addition to my wife and myself were Rúhíyyih Khánum, and six other members of the International Bahá’í Council including its President, Mason Remey and Secretary General Leroy Ioas. My Haifa Notes reflect that in discussing the development of the International Bahá’í Council, he made the following remarks about the second projected stage of its development as the International Bahá’í Court that pertained to Mason Remey’s future role on this Court, the tremendous implications of which obviously were not perceived by any of us, at the time, including even Mason, himself.

"The Bahá’í 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 [Chief] Judge (the guardian in an aside to Mason [Remey] and with a smile asked ‘Mason are you ready to become a Judge?’")

Many years later I reminded Rúhíyyih Khánum in a letter to her of the above quoted remarks of Shoghi Effendi, among other statements he had made, as evidence of Shoghi Effendi’s intention that Mason Remey remain the irremovable Head of the International Bahá’í Council as it developed through successive stages and the consequent tremendous implications that were to be perceived therefrom, to which she never replied.

In a cablegram that Shoghi Effendi dispatched to the Bahá’í World in October 1957, a month before his passing, he once again provided a sure promise of the continuing Guardianship in the years to come, as I have briefly referred to above. Again, as he had done in identifying his successor, he made this promise in such an indirect way that the Hands of the Cause, blinded as they were by their conviction that the Guardianship had ended, failed to perceive it, and, in stead, ironically misconstrued the appellation he used in referring to the Hands of the Cause, the last contingent of which had been announced in this same cablegram, as conferring upon them a station, and an authority that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His divinely-conceived, immortal and sacred Will and Testament bestowed solely upon the Guardian of the Faith. As cited earlier, the Hands of the Faith referred to themselves in their Proclamation issued at the conclusion of their conclave on November 25, 1957 as "the supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community" now that they had terminated the Guardianship and, additionally assumed the appellation of "Chief Stewards of the Bahá’í World Faith" on the basis that Shoghi Effendi had referred to them in his last cablegram to the Bahá’í World as "the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth." What they completely failed to recognize was that there was a tremendously important difference between the appellation used by Shoghi Effendi, quoted above, and the one they used. For in the appellation Shoghi Effendi’s used in referring to them as "the Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth" he included the key word "embryonic" which, by its very use, had brilliantly provided a promise of the continuance of the Guardianship. As previously discussed, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . in one word, all the powers" and therefore it is clear that everything that exists in an organism in its embryonic state – in this case, the Chief Stewards – is to be found in its fully developed state. If one considers this explanation as it applies to the organism of the embryonic World Commonwealth, it becomes clear that every institution that exists in this embryonic World Commonwealth, including the Hands of the Cause – the "Chief Stewards" – (these two terms being synonymous) must necessarily continue to exist in all the stages of its development and these Institutions remain when it has achieved its stage of efflorescence and reached the plenitude of its powers as the future World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh. It should therefore be clear that this future World Commonwealth, will include all of the Institutions with which it had been originally endowed at its inception and therefore will unquestionably include these "Chief Stewards" – the Hands of the Cause – as expressly mentioned by Shoghi Effendi in his last cablegram to the Bahá’í World as one of its Institutions. And, it therefore follows that as there will be Hands of the Cause in that future World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh there has to be, at the same time, a living Guardian of the Faith in that future Commonwealth to appoint them. Could any clearer promise than this have been provided by Shoghi Effendi of the continuance of the Guardianship?

In the light of the foregoing, it should now be understood that it was only after Shoghi Effendi had "at long last" erected all of the local and international institutions of the Faith, as delineated in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, and as his ministry drew to a close, that he was able, for the first time, to appropriately make reference in his communications to the Bahá’í World to the embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá’u’lláh which had only then, with the erection of these institutions, finally come into existence.

In summation, it is evident that if only the Hands of the Cause had taken the time following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, when upon not finding a will and testament left by him, to re-examine the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá concerned with the matter of succession and the writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Administrative Order with an open, unbiased and inquiring mind freed from pre-conceived ideas, false interpretations and expectations, they may happily have discovered the following:

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

Australia, 2001