A pamphlet under the title of "WORLD ORDER UNFOLDS" compiled by the "National Spiritual Assembly of the United States" and published by the "Bahá’í Publishing Committee, Wilmette, Illinois" in 1952 contains: "Excerpts from Messages of SHOGHI EFFENDI." This publication is now undoubtedly out of print.

In reviewing this publication again after the passage of many years I noted a message from Shoghi Effendi, dated November 23, 1951, titled: "The Last and Irretrievable Chance of Setting the Seal of Triumph Upon a Momentous Undertaking" that included, to my great surprise, a statement of momentous import that had previously escaped my attention, when first read many years ago as it must have, as well, escaped the attention of all the believers who read this message at the time. Even more critically, the significance of this statement was tragically overlooked or ignored by the Hands of the Cause some six years later, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, with tragic results for the future of the Faith. No doubt, in view of the import of the statement contained in this message, the tremendous significance of which, if had been then discerned by the believers, would have caused widespread shock, consternation and unbelief, Shoghi Effendi had obviously purposely chosen to obscure its significance. He accomplished this by applying an unfamiliar term to the International Institution mentioned in his message and one he had but recently established in the Holy Land. On the other hand, it is doubtful that he had anticipated that his reference to this International Institution and its projected preeminent future active role would be so completely overlooked and disregarded upon his passing, particularly by the Hands of the Cause, who, at their first conclave in ‘Akká, in their unseemly haste to declare the Guardianship of the Faith ended, had taken no time to review and consider the import and the implications of, not only this message but the other historic messages that he had penned as his ministry drew to a close, including most importantly his Proclamation of 9 January 1951.

Inexplicably, and surprisingly I found that this message had been omitted from the well known book titled: MESSAGES TO THE BAHA’I WORLD 1950-1957 by Shoghi Effendi which it had always been my impression contained all of the important messages written in English that had been dispatched to the Bahá’í world by Shoghi Effendi during the seven closing years of his ministry.

The term in Shoghi Effendi’s message of November 23,1951 referring to the International Institution and the statement that carries such import with respect to its projected role, is found in the excerpt quoted below. In order to assess their import and significance properly they must be considered, in the light of the Ten Year Global Crusade (1953-1963), upon which the Bahá’í world was soon to embark. Let us examine, therefore, the indirect and veiled manner in which Shoghi Effendi foretold his imminent passing and at the same time further confirmed the identity of his appointed successor in the following excerpt from his message of November 23, 1951 which I have underlined.

"For unlike the first and second Seven Year Plan, [2nd ‘46-53] inaugurated by the American Bahá’í Community, the scope of the third Seven Year Plan [later superseded by the Ten Year Global Crusade, 1953-1963], the termination of which will mark the conclusion of the first Epoch in the evolution of the Master Plan designed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will embrace all the continents of the earth and will bring the Central Body directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Bahá’í world, which, in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as prophesised by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel,—a consummation that, God willing, will be befittingly celebrated on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the formal assumption by Bahá’u’lláh of His Prophetic Office."

It should be noted that this message is the first time in which Shoghi Effendi had made reference to an institution of the Bahá’í Administrative Order as "the Central Body" that would be "directing these widely ramified operations" of the subordinate National Spiritual Assemblies as they endeavored to achieve the projected goals that had been assigned to them during the Ten Year Global Crusade commencing in 1953. As Shoghi Effendi has pointed out in the above quoted message, it would be during the course of this Crusade that this "Central Body" would be brought into "direct contact with all of the National Assemblies of the Bahá’í world."

Who, then, is this "Central Body" that Shoghi Effendi refers to? It clearly can be no other body but the International Bahá’í Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—that Shoghi Effendi had appointed some eleven months prior to the issuance of this message, whose distinguished membership included, as outlined in his subsequent message of 8 March 1952, Mason Remey as President, Amelia Collins as Vice President, Leroy Ioas as Secretary-General, Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum as the"chosen liaison" between himself and the Council and Ugo Giachery, all five of whom would also later be named Hands of the Cause, together with Jessie Revell, Ethel Revell and Lotfullah Hakim, serving as Treasurer, Western and Eastern Secretaries respectively and the addition later of Sylvia Ioas as its ninth member.

Had Shoghi Effendi not hailed, in unprecedented terms and significantly in the one and only Proclamation issued during his ministry on 9 January 1951, the formation of this International Council in the Holy Land—"this first embryonic International Institution"—as an "epoch-making decision. . . . marking the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh" and "as the greatest event shedding lustre upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation." And had he not, in his message of 30 June 1952, confirmed the importance attached to the creation of this Central Body—the International Bahá'í Council—some seven months earlier when he stated: "At the World Center of the Faith, where at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected, and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are in their embryonic form, unfolding . . . .?" The other highest institution to which he refers in this message is that of the Hands of the Cause, the first contingent of which was twelve Hands appointed in December 1951 and the second contingent of seven Hands two months later.

And did not this International Council—this "first embryonic International Institution" created by Shoghi Effendi—have both a Head and Body and is it not obvious that the Head remains with the body, as it does with all embryos, through the subsequent stages of its development? And is not this embryonic creation a complete organizm at its very inception? For as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated: "the embryo possesses from the first all perfections. . .in one word all the powers . . . "

In his Proclamation establishing the Council, Shoghi Effendi had initially assigned limited functions that pertained to making contacts with the authorities of the State of Israel and assisting him in matters involved in the construction of the Báb’s Holy Shrine while pointing out that additional functions would be added "in the course of its evolution" through the several stages he outlined. As reported by Mason Remey, its distinguished appointed President, he had never been directed by Shoghi Effendi during the remaining years of his ministry to convene the International Council into an actively functioning body under his Presidency, the reason for which was not perceived then, but had only assigned tasks to individual members during that period. Shoghi Effendi had moreover appointed Rúhíyyih Khánum as his "chosen liaison" with the Council so as to further preclude any semblance of assuming the Presidency himself, the reason for which was also not perceived then, but is now glaringly obvious. For the "sacred head " of the Universal House of Justice, under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the Guardian of the Faith. The head of this International Council which had been carefully retained by Shoghi Effendi in its unborn embryonic state awaiting birth, was Mason Remey, and thus once the Council became an active body he would then become the Guardian of the Faith. As Shoghi Effendi had indicated, in the message quoted above, that this "Central Body"—the International Bahá’í Council—would be assuming, if not initially, at least some time during the World Crusade starting in 1953, an active role in "directing these widely ramified operations" of the National Assemblies throughout the world as they endeavored to accomplish the respective goals that had been assigned to them by him, it was crystal clear that, upon the assumption of this active role at some time during the Crusade, Mason Remey, as the President of this now active supreme Administrative Body of the Faith would automatically become the second Guardian of the Faith.

As the assumption of an active role by the International Council could only take place with Shoghi Effendi’s demise, he had therefore unquestionably predicted in this ingeniously veiled and indirect way that he would be leaving us at some time during the Ten Year Global Crusade and, in fulfillment of this prediction, his passing actually took place in November 1957 at the mid-point of the Crusade. He had thus veiled from us what was to be an undreamt of tragedy for all of the believers and, as he had correctly surmised, the imminence of his passing had remained unperceived by all the believers during the few remaining years of his ministry. In this manner, Shoghi Effendi had preserved the Guardianship of the Faith in faithful compliance with the sacred Mandate of the Master and had made provision for his appointed successor to succeed him without a moment’s break in the continuity of the Guardianship.

It is obvious that neither the Hands of the Cause, much less the believers throughout the world, at any time, perceived the tremendous implications that were to be found in the above quoted excerpt of Shoghi Effendi’s message, as it pertained to the imminence of his passing, understandably perhaps, because such a prospect was unthinkable and the farthest thing from their minds. What was inexcusable, however, was the failure of the Hands, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, to perceive that Shoghi Effendi had provided absolute and incontestable proof in the aforementioned message, as well as in other messages, (e.g. his message of 30 June 1952) that it was this "Central Body""this first International Institution" established under the initial name of the International Bahá’í Council—that he had intended should assume direction of the subordinate National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world as the Ten Year Crusade progressed. But, tragically enough, they ignored or completely overlooked Shoghi Effendi’s Proclamation, as well as the significant messages quoted above and others, not to mention his writings on the Administrative Order with the result that they did not permit the International Council to assume the role intended for it by Shoghi Effendi. Meeting in their first conclave in ‘Akká some three weeks following his passing (incidentally, a conclave not required under the provisions of the Master’s Will), they thoughtlessly seized upon the appellation used by Shoghi Effendi in his last message to the Bahá’í world, in which they had been referred to as the "Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth" as conveying upon them an authority that was not theirs and issued an "Unanimous Proclamation" on November 25, 1957 in which they declared themselves the "Supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community." They then shamelessly stated in this Proclamation that this body of the Hands would assume the "functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardianship of the Bahá’í Faith" And were not one of these rights of the Guardian, according to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the sole right of interpretation of Bahá’í Holy Writ? And whether intended, or not, were not the Hands saying in their Proclamation that they would be exercising this right, for their statement makes no exceptions? And, left unanswered is the question who would be exercising this right as well as the other "functions rights and powers" of the Guardianship that they had now arrogated unto themselves, once they had all died out and there were no further Hands in their sans-Guardian Faith? As they believed the Guardianship had ended and as it is only the Guardian who can appoint Hands of the Cause there would be no Hands in the future to assume these "functions, rights and powers." Or, was it their unstated intention to transfer to the sans-Guardian and hence headless and illegitimate so-called Universal House of Justice that they planned to elect at Ridván 1963 these same functions, rights and powers that they had assumed, but which are solely assigned to the Guardian of the Faith under the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a Document that had been equated by Shoghi Effendi in its sacredness and immutability with the Most Holy Book of Bahá’u’lláh—the Kitáb-í-Aqdas—whose provisions have been promised to endure for at least a full thousand years?

In their same "Unanimous Proclamation" of November 25, 1957 the Hands appointed a body of nine from their number to act on their behalf, at the World Administrative Center, pretending that this body of nine Hands was the body of nine Hands that the Will and Testament requires to be elected to serve directly under the Guardian at the World Center which had never been brought into existence during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi as the development of the Faith had not yet reached the stage where he needed that body, although he did have as many as five Hands serving there near the close of his ministry that included certain members of the IBC. They titled this body of nine Hands, the "Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith." These Custodians—an illegitimate body created outside of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—in a letter, under date of December 2, 1957, addressed to all National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world, dispatched less than a month following the "Unanimous Proclamation" issued by all of the Hands, requested that these National Assemblies address a letter to them in which they would recognize them as the "supreme body in the Cause." As, obviously, there could not be two supreme bodies in the Cause existing simultaneously, the request the Custodian Hands had now placed upon the Assemblies, in effect, deposed the remaining body of their fellow-Hands of their own previously declared position as the "Supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community." The Custodians did this, irrespective of the fact that the life-span of their Custodial body would be short-lived and would coming to an end according to the plans of their fellow-Hands some six years later with the projected election of their sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice at Ridván 1963 which was, also, referred to by the Hands as that "Supreme Body" in their second "Proclamation" issued on the same date of November 25, 1957.

If a different scenario had taken place and the Hands of the Cause, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, had permitted this "Central Body"—the International Bahá’í Council— to exercise the role of the supreme administrative body of the Faith that had been envisaged by Shoghi Effendi and the Hands had continued to confine themselves to the performance of the spiritual functions assigned them under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, they would certainly have come to the realization that the President of the now actively functioning International Bahá’í Council could be none other than the living Guardian of the Cause and Shoghi Effendi’s rightful successor. They then would have embraced the second Guardian and rejoiced, together with the world-wide Bahá’í Community, in the fact that Shoghi Effendi, in complete fidelity to the sacred and immortal provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—the "Child of the Covenant"—had faithfully provided for the continuity of the Guardianship. Having joyfully recognized the continuance of the Guardianship, they would then have realized, too, that the Hands in their embryonic status as "Chief Stewards of Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth" would continue to exist as Chief Stewards of that Commowealth as it developed and attained its maturity and efflorescence in the years that lay ahead.

Joel Bray Marangella
Australia 2002


Upon receipt in 1952 of Shoghi Effendi’s invitation, my wife, Irene, and I had the great privilege of making our glorious and unforgettable pilgrimage to the Holy Land during the period 28 November to 7 December 1952. Years afterwards, when the majority of the believers in the Bahá’í world had been persuaded by the Hands of the Cause and particularly by the widow of Shoghi Effendi, Rúhíyyih Khánum that the Guardianship of the Faith had forever ended, I felt moved to write to her and remind her of two very highly significant statements that Shoghi Effendi had made at the dinner table one evening that she had obviously forgotten, to my surprise, as they had caused such a profoundly emotional reaction on her part at the time and which had such a significant bearing on the future of the Guardianship. The significant statements he made on that memorable evening in Haifa were recorded in my Haifa Notes and it may be noted that the quotations taken from these notes and used in my letter to Rúhíyyih Khánum strongly confirm the prediction of the imminence of his passing found in the message quoted above. Additionally, these notes also emphasize the fact that Shoghi Effendi had intended that Mason Remey remain the irremovable Head of the International Bahá’í Council as it evolved through its future projected stages, the second stage of which he spoke that evening at the dinner table, being the International Bahá’í Court that he had mentioned in his Proclamation of 9 January 1951. The following passages are extracted from my first letter sent to Rúhíyyih Khánum at Ridván 1988:

"To return to the purpose of this letter. It was on the third day of our pilgrimage that we gathered as usual at the dinner table in the presence of Shoghi Effendi. The group seated at the table that evening consisted, in addition to yourself, of five other members of the International Bahá’í Council, including its President, Mason, and its Secretary General, Leroy (Ugo and Amelia being absent), Sylvia, yet to be appointed) and Irene and myself as the only pilgrims present.

"Shoghi Effendi prefaced the startling, completely unexpected, and highly disconcerting statement that he was about to make by relating the tremendous burden under which the Master had labored, as His ascension neared, in keeping up with His voluminous correspondence. Then he dropped a verbal bombshell by saying words to the effect:

"Now my correspondence is becoming more than I can handle."

"You must certainly remember that, no sooner had he made this remark, you jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the room, only to return when you had composed yourself. Shoghi Effendi then said some comforting words to us which served to calm our emotions and allay our fears that such an unthinkable event was imminent.

"Shoghi Effendi must certainly have had a purpose in alluding so clearly to his passing in what could only be construed as the near future. Why had he taken this occasion and chosen this particular audience to do so? And why had Irene and I been chosen to be privy to this startling and highly disturbing intimation? Had he made such an allusion to others? It would appear that he had not for, had he done so, the news would have spread like wildfire throughout the Bahá’í world. And, if given credence, it would have caused such consternation as to seriously impede the accomplishment of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade upon which the world-wide Bahá’í Community was soon to embark."

* * * * * * * * *

"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 Judge. (The Guardian, in an aside to Mason and with a smile asked: 'Mason are you ready to become a Judge?') Rúhíyyih Khánum then asked whether when the Council became the Court, all the women would get off? The Guardian said, no—not even when the Court became elective, but only when the International House of Justice was formed."