Critique of ITC Study on Guardianship and UHJ – Part Six

Posted on April 9, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Six of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

 WHO ARE THE REAL STIRRERS OF SEDITION?

  ITC Position:

Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. (45)

Can the Universal House of Justice create new institutions?

5. Making elucidations

. . . regarding the nature and scope of the Universal Court of Arbitration, this and other similar matters will have to be explained and elucidated by the Universal House of Justice, to which, according to the Master’s explicit instructions, all important and fundamental questions must be referred. (46)

6. Safeguarding the well-being of peoples

We exhort the men of the House of Justice and command them to ensure the protection and safeguarding of men, women and children. It is incumbent upon them to have the utmost regard for the interests of the people at all times and under all conditions. (47)

Among the powers and duties with which the Universal House of Justice has been invested are . . . to safeguard the personal rights, freedom and initiative of individuals; and to give attention to the preservation of human honour, to the development of countries and the stability of states. . . (48)

7. Launching and directing the global Plans of the Faith

On the success of this enterprise, unprecedented in its scope, unique in its character and immense in its spiritual potentialities, must depend the initiation, at a later period in the Formative Age of the Faith, of undertakings embracing within their range all National Assemblies functioning throughout the Bahá’í world, undertakings constituting in themselves a prelude to the launching of world-wide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same Age, by the Universal House of Justice, that will symbolise the unity and coordinate and unify the activities of these National Assemblies. (49)

8. Safeguarding religion

Religion bestoweth upon man the most precious of all gifts, offereth the cup of prosperity, imparteth eternal life, and showereth imperishable benefits upon mankind. It behoveth the chiefs and rulers of the world, and in particular the Trustees of God’s House of Justice, to endeavour to the utmost of their power to safeguard its position, promote its interests and exalt its station in the eyes of the world. (50)

In a letter dated 1924 from Shoghi Effendi to the believers in the East and the West, Shoghi Effendi foresaw the stage when the Universal House of Justice would be established and assume its full responsibilities: When the Universal House of Justice shall have stepped forth from the realm of hope into that of visible fulfillment and its fame be established in every corner and clime of the world, then that august body-solidly grounded and founded on the firm and unshakable foundation of the entire Bahá’í community of East and West, and the recipient of the bounties of God and His inspiration-will proceed to devise and carry out important undertakings, world-wide activities and the establishment of glorious institutions. (51)

Does the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice depend on the presence of the Guardian?

Soon after the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, it clarified a number of issues related to its relationship with the institution of the Guardianship. One such question relates to the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice in the absence of a Guardian:

The 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. Although in the realm of interpretation the Guardian’s pronouncements are always binding, in the area of the Guardian’s participation in legislation it is always the decision of the House itself which must prevail. This is supported by the words of the Guardian:

The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgment on such laws and ordinances as Bahá’u’lláh has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever,infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.

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 Baha’u’llah’s revealed utterances. (52)

Critique:

How much more clear can it be? The living guardian will always have the last word in any of their deliberations, although neither will infringe upon the other’s area of responsibility. It should be noted that only the guardian, residing as head of the UHJ, has the instruction from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to ensure that their deliberations comply with the intent of the Holy Writings. If the guardian feels that they should reconsider their actions,he will ask them to before finalizing any activity. He has the right to do this “until the cows come home” if he deems it necessary. Thus, through the Guardian’s insistence,their deliberations will always follow the Will of God.

ITC Position:

In the absence of the Guardian, is the Universal House of Justice in danger of straying outside its proper sphere and thus falling into error? Given that no one other than the Guardian has the authority to state whether a matter is already covered by the Sacred Texts and therefore whether it is within the authority of the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon it, the above question might arise. The House of Justice has addressed this question:
Critique:

. . . we must remember three things: First, Shoghi Effendi, during the thirty-six years of his Guardianship, has already made innumerable such definitions, supplementing those made by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and by Bahá’u’lláh Himself. As already announced to the friends, a careful study of the Writings and interpretations on any subject on which the House of Justice proposes to legislate always precedes its act of legislation. Second, the Universal House of Justice, itself assured of Divine guidance, is well aware of the absence of the Guardian and will approach all matters of legislation only when certain of its sphere of jurisdiction, a sphere which the Guardian has confidently described as “clearly defined.” Third, we must not forget the Guardian’s written statement about these two institutions: “Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other.” (53)

Give me a break here! That last sentence is a statement of words composed of letters. It is no more than that and should not be seen as something magic that has some sort of supra-natural power to keep bad things from happening simply because it was crafted.

Gosh! Life should be so simple. The only reason that sentence can be relied upon as fact is because certain checks and balances were built into the framework of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Following all the conditions of that framework will make it so. Alter the framework one iota, say, such as casually omitting the Institution of the Guardianship from the checks and balances might, just might, mean that it will not work as Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá intended. Think about it…

The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh is destined to remain in effect for upwards of 1,000 years. How, pray tell, did Shoghi Effendi’s instructions include all the nuts and bolts of handling the problems of future generations? Science and medicine have already introduced such things as stem-cell and Nano technologies. He mentioned neither of them. And I daresay that after the wonders of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation is fully manifest, the problems of our Age will appear to be as ancient to humans living in the future as the activities of the cave men appear to us. Every fixed star has its planets, and every planet its creatures. Did Shoghi Effendi’s writings encompass inter-galaxy activities?

ITC Position:

Are the twin institutions of the Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship still inseparable?

The Guardian states that the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh cannot be “divorced”, either from the institution of the Guardianship, or from the institution of the Universal House of Justice. He describes these twin institutions as “inseparable” (54) and states that they are “permanently and fundamentally united in their aims”. (55)
Critique:

Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. (56)

This paragraph is frequently used by Covenant-breakers, false claimants to the Guardianship. They mistake the Guardian’s intention to have been a warning of the World Order functioning without a living Guardian. However, it can be seen from the very next paragraph which Shoghi Effendi wrote-at a time when the Universal House of Justice would not be brought into being for more than 30 years-that he was simply stating that these twin institutions are inter-related, and are both part of Bahá’u’lláh’s
design:

Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice this same System of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances. (57)

Weak. A pitifully weak summation for a group who professes to have God’s authority to handle the problems of today’s world, and on and on into the future. Where is the fire of ownership in their stance? Where is the spirit and confidence? Where is the resolve necessary for the effective operation of their organization? Where is the cloak of Spirituality surrounding their discussions? There is none, and they have done nothing to disprove that in this paper, nor will they be able to do so in the future. We have fifty years of examples of the *future* that was to come after the short period since the death of the First Guardian. One only has to look at the events of the world since 1957 to see wonders of materialism as never before imagined. Yet, during the same period, there has been no parallel growth of spirituality. We have seen the horrors of borderless wars, the insatiable greed of politicians, the out-of-control murder of countless embryos performed by *good people* who simply did not want to be bothered by the inconvenience of parental obligations. In the past fifty years we have seen the basest of base qualities overtake the goodness of the individual. For fifty years now, the bogus Universal House of Justice has had its go of things without the major Institutions of the Faith in play, and conditions will merely become worse, not better so long as human egos rule the day. The only answer for the problems pending in the future is to have in place a system envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. That system must not be altered one whit. Their instructions must be followed explicitly.

There is an elephant in the room with the ITC and the bogus UHJ each and every time they try to justify their existence or their actions. The Institution of the Guardianship casts a pall over them every time someone asks about the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. If the organization of the bogus Universal House of Justice and any of its committees, such as the International Teaching Centre, resided within the full umbrella of the Writings and the Will and Testament, they could hold their heads high, and not have to find qualifiers for arguing away every instance of the mention of the guardianship within the total scope of the Writings of the Three Central Figures of the Faith and the first guardian, Shoghi Effendi.

After all the discussion and the twisting and turning is done, there remains the postulate that there is no Bahá’í Faith without all of its Institutions in place; the Institution of the Guardianship, the Institution of the Universal House of Justice (with a living guardian at its head) and the Institution of the Hands of the Cause.

And those Institutions must follow the lineage of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament through successively appointed guardians precisely as determined in the Will. There is no allowance for deviations of any sort. The so-called Universal House of Justice now residing in Haifa lacks any genuine connection with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament. Any organization calling itself Bahá’í must have a spiritual hereditary lineage with the Covenant of God. That Spiritual Covenant governing humans began with the beginning that has no beginning, through the Manifestations of old, through His Holiness the Báb, through Bahá’u’lláh, through the Center of the Covenant ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and finally through the Institution of the Guardianship as defined in the Will and Testament. That very same Covenant will provide its efficacy through a continuing line of living guardians, as deemed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and will endure long past any memory of this Age or the next. It is a link, a spiritual lineage that connects humans with the worlds of God, whether the bogus Universal House of Justice likes it or not.

Every Clause of the Will and Testament is Sacred, and thus infused with the potency necessary to finally bring the ultimate glorious essence of God’s Kingdom to this earth. Any attempts by anyone, either now or later in this Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, to circumvent that document or bypass one whit or iota of any of its Sacred Clauses will
ultimately be met with a destructive failure.

This is the Sixth and concluding part of the Critique.

This is part Sixof a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell (authored in March 2009) of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

References used by the International teaching Committee in their document:

  1. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh: Selected Letters (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1991; 2004 printing), pp. 19-20
  2. ibid., p. 147
  3. Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, c1944; 2002 printing), p. 11
  4. ibid.
  5. Letter dated 9 March 1987 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer
  6. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974; 2004 printing), page 328
  7. Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 11
  8. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 147
  9. ibid., p. 153
  10. Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 12
  11. Shoghi Effendi, cited in Lights of Guidance: a Bahá’í Reference File (New Delhi: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 4th rev. ed., 1996; 2001 printing), page 472, #1548
  12. Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1st rev. ed., 1976), pp. 81-82
  13. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá p. 12
  14. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted in Wellspring of Guidance, p. 47
  15. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 12
  16. Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, p. 82
  17. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 12
  18. ibid.
  19. ibid.
  20. Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963 to 1986: the Third Epoch of the Formative Age (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, c1996), pp. 50-51
  21. ibid., p. 14
  22. Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968 to 1973 (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, c1976), pp. 40-41
  23. Bahá’u’lláh, The Kit.b-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1st pocket-size ed.,5th printing, 1993; 2005 printing), p. 36, _42
  24. Bahá’u’lláh, The Kit.b-i-Aqdas, p. 197 n. 66
  25. Universal House of Justice, Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1968 to 1973, p. 41
  26. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1st pocket-size ed., 6th printing, 1988; 2005 printing), p. 68
  27. ibid., p. 128
  28. ibid., p. 129
  29. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 14
  30. ibid., p. 20
  31. ibid.
  32. ibid., p. 26
  33. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 145
  34. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas , p. 68
  35. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 11
  36. ibid., pp. 19-20
  37. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 84-85
  38. ibid., pp. 47-48
  39. Universal House of Justice, The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice (Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre, 1972), pp. 3-4
  40. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 20
  41. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in Wellspring of Guidance, p. 84
  42. ibid., pp. 85-86
  43. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 20
  44. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1st pocketsize ed., 1996), p. 225
  45. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in Wellspring of Guidance, p. 47
  46. Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932 (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974; 1998 printing), p. 47
  47. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas , pp. 69-70
  48. Universal House of Justice, The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice, p. 5
  49. Shoghi Effendi, The Unfolding Destiny of the British Bahá’í Community: the Messages from the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith to the Bah.’Ìs of the British Isles (London: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981), p. 261
  50. Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas , p. 130
  51. Shoghi Effendi, cited in The Establishment of the Universal House of Justice (England: The Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1984 ([1986] printing), compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice of the Bahá’í World Centre, p. 17
  52. Universal House of Justice, Wellspring of Guidance, pp. 82-83
  53. ibid., p.83-84
  54. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. p. 148; Citadel of Faith: Citadel of Faith, Messages to America 1947-1957 (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 6th printing, c1965; 1999 printing), page 76
  55. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh. p. 148
  56. ibid.
  57. ibid.
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Critique of ITC Study on Guardianship and UHJ – Part Five

Posted on April 7, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Five of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 6

IS THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE AUTHORIZED OR NOT?

ITC Position:

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
What is the source of authority for the institution of the Universal House of Justice? It was Bahá’u’lláh Himself who ordained the Universal House of Justice to ensure that the Cause of God will continue to be divinely guided and that those things which have not been revealed in the Writings can be provided for. He entrusted the affairs of mankind into the hands of the members of the Universal House of Justice and made them the Trustees of God and the symbols of His authority:

It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together and to enforce that which is agreeable to them. (26)

The men of God’s House of Justice have been charged with the affairs of the people. They, in truth, are the Trustees of God among His servants and the daysprings of authority in His countries. (27)

In another instance Bahá’u’lláh explains that as the world develops, its requirements will also change and therefore the needs of the day will be provided for by the House of Justice: Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the House of Justice that the members thereof may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. (28)

Likewise, in several places in His Will and Testament, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly affirmed the authority of the Universal House of Justice, and set out its functions and responsibilities: And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error . . . Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body. (29)

Critique:

The very audacity of the ITC is emphasized here in that they quote that the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body! “…is its sacred head…” How may any entity prevail without its head, let alone its sacred head? The idea that guidance is symbolically spiritual, and may be continued from the next world, is equally audacious. In His infinite wisdom, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá prevented that likelihood by defining certain requirements that the guardian would administer in his conduct of the activities of the UHJ by (1) requiring that he appoint another to represent him in his absence, and (2) that he may call for a reconsideration of them if he felt that they had not followed the scope and intent of the Holy Writings.

Those requirements, among many others, preclude any thought of there being other than a living guardian as head of the UHJ. For a period of years the sans-guardian believers promoted the belief that Shoghi Effendi continued his role of guardian from the next world. As audacious as that seems, it worked. We now find in more recent edicts from the bogus Universal House of Justice that the emphasis on Shoghi Effendi being the guardian has diminished, along with a diminished role for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Writings.

ITC Position:

Whatsoever they [members of the Universal House of Justice] decide has the same effect as the Text itself. (30)

. . . this House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book and bear upon daily transactions, so also it hath power to repeal the same. (31)

Later on in His Will and Testament ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called on the believers in strong language to obey His twin Successors: All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause [the Guardian] and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error. (32)

Critique:

There. They said it. But do they really believe it? The guardian is the Center of the Cause. Are they relying on Shoghi Effendi from the next world to satisfy this primarily-ofthis-world-station? They relate that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called upon the believers in strong language to obey His twin Successors. If ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in their estimation, used strong language in admonishing them to obey the Institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, have they not set up an impossible task for their followers?

The bogus UHJ expects the believers to follow their guidance, guidance they percolate from their *interpretations* of policy established by a person who expected that another would fulfill his earthly station upon his becoming deceased. Imagine his surprise when they countermanded his own instructions and was re-instated as their guardian. Could it be any more confusing? Have they not forgotten that the deceased stressed to them that his station was whence he spoke, and not he himself as a human. It’s the station of the Institution of the Guardianship that we need to be concerned with, not the deceased person Shoghi Effendi. I would remind you that Bahá’u’lláh is the primary force behind the Institutions. Hmm. What’s Bahá’u’lláh’s take on this unexpected development?

Can a newly-defined and vital force in the lives of humans for countless years to come operate under the banner of a deceased person from the next world?

That is not to say that Shoghi Effendi the man should not be regarded as an exalted human being, for it was he who was the First Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, a Faith that will endure far beyond any comprehension we can now imagine. One of the reasons it will so endure is that Shoghi Effendi labored diligently for 36 years as the First Guardian. His energies were channeled in a manner befitting his role as the conduit providing an education for humans to lead them from the expectations they had come to understand during the various Holy Manifestations of the Adamic Cycle. The Adamic Cycle is history. It is gone. Shoghi Effendi was the first human called upon to be the leader educator of humans in their grasping for the ABC’s of the newly-minted Bahá’í Cycle, a Cycle destined to last for some 5,000 centuries; 500,000 years.

While its true that the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh provided the Manifested Crescendo of the Blast announcing the path to the Kingdom, and it was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His special role as The Master who showed us how we could align ourselves within the bounds of that glorious path, it was Shoghi Effendi who was the first (non-Central Figure) mortal charged with the responsibility of guiding the day-to-day activities of his contemporaries within this unique and wondrous system, the like of which mortal eyes had never witnessed. And he performed splendidly. He elucidated the Institutions and named his successor. That was all that was expected of him, and that’s what he did. Splendidly.

The thing he did not do was take the mantle of guardianship to the next world with him. The believers who have that expectation should be ashamed of themselves. He should be left in peace in the next world, as is his due, and be allowed to continue onward in the worlds of God. There is no doubt a continued opportunity of service and lofty expectations available for those who have manned the Institution of the Guardianship while here. Any human who loves and admires the work performed by the First Guardian should pray for his progress in the next world, and allow, with thanksgiving in their hearts, that he accomplish the lofty goals available there.

Lets get back to that 500,000 year thing for a moment. Can we even begin to fathom that? I can’t; it’s too vast to grasp. But that’s how big this is. That is precisely why the issue of the Institutions is so vital. The battle began by others in 1957, ongoing some 52 years later, is about the survival of the Institutions of the Faith, and the Faith itself. The Holy Institutions must endure precisely as they were formulated by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Should humans deviate one iota from the commands of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s strong language, the Plan will continue in abeyance, and humans will suffer more and more until their pain is so intense that this very world will shudder and groan as it reels in search of a new path in the heavens while it adjusts its earthly physical composure.

ITC Position:

Shoghi Effendi described the Universal House of Justice as “the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.” (33) Thus the House of Justice is empowered not only to enact laws where the Text is silent-that is, to “supplement” -but it is also empowered to “apply” the laws already expressly revealed by Bahá’u’lláh. The scope of authority of the Universal House of Justice is therefore comprehensive.

Critique:

Shoghi Effendi described the UHJ as “the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances” Lets go to the book they cite, “The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh” to read the actual quote: “It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Bahá’u’lláh has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances.”
— Shoghi Effendi, “The World Order of Baha’u’llah” page 145

This sentence doesn’t actually say “Universal House of Justice” but implies and is actually discussing a legitimate UHJ. The manner in which the bogus UHJ paragraph is written implies that Shoghi Effendi is speaking of himself when he says that the body will supplement and apply His legislative ordinances, when it actually says something quite different. Shoghi Effendi is referring to both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and not himself. You will note that the word *His* is capitalized and therefore does not infer Shoghi Effendi the man at all.

It should be remembered that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament announced the Institution of the Guardianship, and that each time Shoghi Effendi refers to his authority he is referring to his station as the embodiment of the Institution of the Guardianship, and not as his role as Shoghi Effendi the man. The Institution of the Guardianship is destined to continue for at least this 1,000 year Dispensation. It will be embodied by many humans during that time. Each will bring the Spirit of God to the UHJ in its deliberations and actions, thusly providing it the capability to follow God’s Will.

Lacking the living guardian as its head, the UHJ is a hollow and corrupted institution. It must be emphasized again that the guardian is the Center of the Cause, and provides the only avenue in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament to have any direct connection with the Manifestation Bahá’u’lláh, and thus with God Himself. The Will leads to a Universal House of Justice composed of eight elected and one appointed member, its president. Thus, only the Guardian has direct Holy-linkage with God, and is, as it president, the Center of the Cause, the only member of any UHJ to have infallible composure.

Since the bogus Universal House of Justice is composed of nine elected members, is that not yet another anomaly with reality? Particularly so when considering that Shoghi Effendi from the next world provides guidance for them. Is that not ten rather than nine?

ITC Position:

What are the promises of divine guidance given to the Universal House of Justice?

There are many examples in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which promise divine inspiration, guidance, and protection to the Universal House of Justice. Below are some of these passages:

God will verily inspire them [the Trustees of the House of Justice] with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient. (34)

The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. (35)

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. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. By this House is meant that Universal House of Justice . . . . (36)

Let it not be imagined that the House of Justice will take any decision according to its own concepts and opinions. God forbid! The Supreme House of Justice will take decisions and establish laws through the inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, because it is in the safekeeping and under the shelter and protection of the Ancient Beauty, and obedience to its decisions is a bounden and essential duty and an absolute obligation, and there is no escape for anyone. Say, O People: Verily the Supreme House of Justice is under the wings of your Lord, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful, that is, under His protection, His care, and His shelter; for He has commanded the firm believers to obey that blessed, sanctified and all-subduing body, whose sovereignty is divinely ordained and of the Kingdom of Heaven and whose laws are inspired and spiritual. (37)

Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance, and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated. (38)

What are some of the main powers of the Universal House of Justice?

In the Declaration of Trust of its Constitution, which summarizes the responsibilities of the Universal House of Justice, it states:

Bahá’u’lláh, the Revealer of God’s Word in this Day, the Source of Authority, the Fountainhead of Justice, the Creator of a new World Order, the Establisher of the Most Great Peace, the Inspirer and Founder of a world civilization, the Judge, the Lawgiver, the Unifier and Redeemer of all mankind, has proclaimed the advent of God’s Kingdom on earth, has formulated its laws and ordinances, enunciated its principles, and ordained its institutions. To direct and canalize the forces released by His Revelation He instituted His Covenant, whose power has preserved the integrity of His Faith, maintained its unity and stimulated its world-wide expansion throughout the successive ministries of ‘Abdu’l- Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. It continues to fulfill its life-giving purpose through the agency of the Universal House of Justice whose fundamental object, as one of the twin successors of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, is to ensure the continuity of that divinely appointed authority which flows from the Source of the Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers, and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. (39)

Critique:

Lets wait a minute here. The above is crafted to indicate that there are twin successors to Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and that one of them is the Universal House of Justice. By naming both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá immediately after the phrase twin successors, one may quickly read this sentence and be inclined to see two names following *twin successors* and forget that the other of the successors named in the Will is the Institution of the (living) Guardianship. Yes, there’s that pesky guardian again.

ITC Position:

Among the powers and duties of the Universal House of Justice as the Head of the Faith are the following:

1. Creating new laws

. . . this House of Justice hath power to enact laws that are not expressly recorded in the Book . . .(40)

Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly. (41)

2. Making deductions from the Writings

Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority, unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the worldwide Bahá’í community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the Word would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken. (42)

3. Resolving problems and questions that are obscure

It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice) to gather in a certain place and deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself. 43

4. Preventing differences and resolving problems

Praise be to God, all such doors are closed in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh for a special authoritative Centre hath been appointed-a Centre that solveth all difficulties and wardeth off all differences. The Universal House of Justice, likewise, wardeth off all differences and whatever it prescribeth must be accepted and he who transgresseth is rejected. But this Universal House of Justice which is the Legislature hath not yet been instituted. (44)

Critique:

Look closely at the above statement. The ITC, quoting from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, states that there is an authoritative Center that solves problems, and then relates that the UHJ, likewise, is capable of doing the same things. They use a pocket-sized (1996, page 225) edition of the book “Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá” for reference. Why is not the original book, page 215, more appropriate for a reference?

It is well-known that many of the original Bahá’í books have been modified to some degree by the UHJ. In this case, the quote they use appears to be exactly the same in both editions, yet the newer edition quote appears on page 226, whereas the original appeared on page 215. It makes one wonder why there are an additional ten pages in this edition? Yet, there remains a broader question: Why has it become necessary to modify *any* of the Bahá’í books containing Shoghi Effendi’s interpretations from the original text? Should not a guardian’s edition be of more efficacy than a modification by another entity that is not a guardian? And what did ‘Abdu’l-Bahá say about the Center of the Cause from His perspective as the Center of the Covenant? The closing words of the Will and Testament shed some light on that:

For he is, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error. The Glory of Glories rest upon you!
— Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá pages 25-26

The Institution of the Guardianship is the successor of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and thus, the intention is that there will always be on earth a living Center of the Cause in order that “…this is the Day that will not be followed by night…” The above also reiterates that the Universal House of Justice and the Center of the Cause are two separate entities.

Without a living guardian, there is no Bahá’í Faith!

This concludes Part Five of the Critique.

This is part Five of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 6

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Critique of ITC Study on Guardianship and UHJ – Part Four

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Four of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

WAS THERE REALLY NO WAY TO APPOINT A SUCCESSOR?

ITC Position:

Soon after it was established, the Universal House of Justice clarified the issue in a message dated 6 October 1963 to all National Spiritual Assemblies: 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. (21)

Critique:

The bogus Universal House of Justice nailed this one. There is no way that they could appoint or legislate a guardian; only a guardian can do that.

ITC Position:

Was it anticipated that there would be no future Guardians?
Writing on the question of future Guardians, the Universal House of Justice has explained that there was no guarantee of the continuation of the line of Guardians: Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; onthe contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken.

Critique:

Irrelevance, irrelevance, irrelevance. This paragraph is irrelevant to the issue at hand. True to form, the bogus UHJ uses bits and pieces of unrelated snips from various writings to justify their stance. They say there was a hinted-at possibility that the guardianship would not last forever. That may be true, the guardianship may not last forever. However, they say nothing about the issue at hand, the 1,000 year Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’. The Institution of the Guardianship will endure with a succession of living guardians for the remainder of this Dispensation.

ITC Position:

Yet, in spite of this, there is a repeated insistence in the Writings on the indestructibility of the Covenant and the immutability of God’s Purpose for this Day. (22)

Indeed in the Most Holy Book, Bahá’u’lláh’ reveals the following passage which anticipated precisely what actually occurred regarding the successorship of the authority of the Cause of God:

Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice-should it be established in the world by then-that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Places which have been exalted in this Cause,and for whatsoever hath been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the God of might and power. Otherwise, the endowments shall revert to the people of Bahá who speak not except by His leave and judge not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this Tablet-lo, they are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth-that they may use them in the manner that hath been laid down in the Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful. (23)

In the explanatory notes to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, it is pointed out that this passage “has particular implications . . . For the succession of authority following the passing of Bahá’u’lláh. . . and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” (24) In connection with this section of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas the House of Justice has also written: The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsán ended before the House of Justice had been elected. (25)

Critique:

The ITC, and in fact most heterodox Baha’is, insist that the lineage of the Aghsán plays a significant part in guardian successorship. As shown in the above two paragraphs, it is inferred that at one time the Aghsán were available for appointment to the guardianship.

Laying aside what the ITC and the UHJ have to say about Aghsán, let us examine the thoughts of both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. (It goes without saying that In a Court of Law, both of their opinions would be viewed as expert testimony, well beyond that of the contemporary ITC and UHJ individual membership.)

Shoghi Effendi identified the Aghsán as the sons of Bahá’u’lláh (“God Passes By” page 239) and therefore the contemporaries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They would never have lived beyond the ministry of Shoghi Effendi and been eligible, even if loyal, for appointment as his successor. Aside from this fact, it may be noted that whereas in Part One of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (p.11 of the edition, “Issued by National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, 1944, from text received at 104 Wall Street, New York, February 25, 1922, addressed by the Guardian to ‘The beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the United States of America and Canada,'”) it states: “It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Çause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God…”

In Part Three of the Will (p.25), written at a later date, it states: “For he [Shoghi Effendi] is after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him.” It may be noted that significantly the Aghsán have been conspicuously omitted in this subsequent part of the Will as they obviously had already by that time become disloyal.

Yet, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Hands in their proclamation of November 25, 1957, (as recorded in the book “The Ministry of the Custodians”) claimed as the single reason why “no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him” was because “The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant.” As this disloyalty had occurred prior to the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, and if it were true, as they erroneously claim, that their disloyalty had now precluded his naming a successor, they should have been asked why then would Shoghi Effendi, certainly aware of this, have still written all that he did so copiously about the Guardianship and its continuance and its essentiality to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh in his writings and messages?

Beyond those significant and “deal-closing” facts, I must admit that I have never understood the logic of the bogus UHJ using the Endowments Dedicated to Charity and the Huqúq’u’lláh to justify their position as being the central authority of the Bahá’í Faith.They use the Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, to give credence to their twisted intent. Yes, the line of the Aghsán had ended, but that had no direct impact upon the formation of a Universal House of Justice. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had already anticipated and taken care of that in His Will. The Will and Testament has many facets, one of which describes what could happen if an Aghsán was not available for succession to the guardianship. (Could it not be that is precisely why ‘Abdu’l-Bahá included that in His Will? Although it is so very obvious now, He knew the likelihood of the availability of the Aghsán was to be either a non-issue or not very likely?) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá further discusses that another branch may be chosen under certain circumstances, not that the UHJ may be formed first, and then afterwards anoint itself to be the center of authority. The Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stipulates in great detail the manner in which a proper UHJ must be structured in order for it to be the Universal House of Justice envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh. It clearly tells of the essentiality of the guardian of the Cause of God to provide the proper conduct of its responsibilities. Nowhere in any of the Holy Writings does it discuss that a UHJ may exist absent a living guardian. Quite the contrary, the Institution of the Guardianship is such an elemental factor in the activities of the Administrative Order that should there be a time that there is no living guardian, the wheels will immediately fall off, and the carcass of the Faith will turn to dust.

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas refers to endowments dedicated to charity as well as Huqúq’u’lláh, the fixed money offering (the right of God.) However, it discusses them in two separate categories. The Huqúq’u’lláh is the right of God, to be managed within the offices of the guardian of the Cause, while endowments dedicated to charity is in the responsibility of the UHJ. They comprise two separate categories, yet the bogus UHJ manages them both and apparently combines them into one category.

The Huqúq’u’lláh was not intended to be involved in guardianship succession. I am reminded of an obnoxious slogan used by a noted politician in the United States during his successful presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Unfortunately, I find parallels of that within the approach the bogus UHJ uses in the justification of their House of Justice. Any aspect of the handling of monetary issues smacks of materialism; money is the fuel of materialism. Materialism is the antithesis of spirituality. Spirituality is the foundation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It is no accident that monetary issues, Huqúq’u’lláh and the endowments dedicated to charity are discussed within the Holy pages of the book of laws. How else will humans learn to overcome their materialistic bent?

The bogus Universal House of Justice uses the spiritually charged Kitáb-i-Aqdas, with its mantle of spirituality, to give credence to their use of its words to justify their existence.

The problem with that is that the instruction they cling to was intended for the handling of monetary matters; materialism. I daresay that protection from an avenue that can lead to the peril and decay that materialism has brought to our present society definitely has a place in the Aqdas. It is the pinnacle of irony that the bogus UHJ has to resort to a matter of discussion dealing with materialistic overtones and twist its intent, for the foundation of their supposedly spiritual Universal House of Justice.

The primary element that is missing in all the activities of the bogus Universal House of Justice is the element of connectivity with the Holy Spirit, the Divine Linkage with God.

God’s Covenant with humans has always been in the forefront of any religious thought and authenticity. The Ark of the Covenant is often emphasized in the hereditary lineage of the religion. In any case, it is a given that a proper lineage is necessary in order that an effective adherence to God’s Law may be realized. History tells us that this is the one element of any revelation that becomes almost immediately flawed with the passing of the Prophet, and thus has led to murky or corrupted lines of succession.

The most distinguishing feature of the Bahá’í Faith is that for the first time, humans were left with a clearly defined path to follow in order that the hereditary lineage to the All Knowing would be ensured. It logically follows that the avenue of the lineage must follow certain tests in order to be valid. The Will and Testament provides the touchstone for that to happen. If every Sacred Clause of the Will is not satisfied, there is most certainly error involved in whatever results are generated.

Do you follow every Sacred Clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament? One of the conditions of the Will is that a guardian must appoint his successor during his lifetime. Shoghi Effendi did that. In fact, every action performed by Shoghi Effendi was in compliance with the Will. Since the connection with the Holy Spirit flows through that Institution, it is absolutely necessary for the guardian’s pronouncements to be followed.

One of the requirements that Shoghi Effendi called an essential prelude to the establishment of the House of Justice was that a system of six national Bahá’í Courts be established in the chief Islámic Eastern cities of Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, New Delhi, Karachi, and Kabul. In discussing the activities of the duties of the members of his International Bahá’í Council, he related: “…To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Bahá’í Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines.”  — Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950-1957 pages 7, 8

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.  — Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950-1957 page 13

It has been argued more than once by sans-guardian Baha’is on the newsgroup, talk religion bahai, that it had been impossible to establish a Bahá’í Court system then since conditions were not amenable. Excuse me? That is the lamest of lame excuses. That is like saying that God knew less about the establishment of the UHJ than they did. They had no authority to by-pass one of the essential preludes to the establishment of a UHJ simply because they pre-judged that it was too difficult. There was no pre-ordained timeline for the development of that Court System other than in the minds of the Hands.Had the Shoghi Effendi-appointed International Bahá’í Council convened, the Bahá’í Court System would have been accomplished and its growing stature would have led to the formation of a Universal House of Justice with a guardian at its head.

This concludes Part Four of the Critique.

This is part Four of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

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Critique of ITC Study on Guardianship and UHJ – Part Three

Posted on April 1, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Three of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

HIDING BEHIND THE CLAMOR OF THE DISCUSSION ABOUT NINE HANDS

ITC Position:

3. Must be appointed by Shoghi Effendi

The Master made it explicitly clear that any future guardian must be appointed by Shoghi Effendi. He wrote:

It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own lifetime him that shall become his successor . . . .(13)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá emphasised this particular condition by categorically excluding the possibility of anyone claiming the Guardianship: My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. (14)

4. Nine Hands of the Cause of God elected from amongst all the Hands must give
assent to the choice

The requirement that the Hands of the Cause of God must give assent to the Guardian’s
choice was for the protection of the Cause and after the passing of Shoghi Effendi enabled them to ward off the attempt to usurp the position of the Guardian. Abdu’l-Bahá stated in His Will and Testament: 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. The election of these nine must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the Hands 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.(15)

Critique:

Since this critical issue is not understood by the sans-guardian Bahá’í’s, it must be emphasized that the purpose of this clause is to ensure that nine Hands must (MUST) give their assent to the one chosen by their current guardian, within his lifetime, in order that they may testify to all the believers after his passing as to the appointment’s validity. The Hands have no choice in the matter; they MUST assent to the guardian’s choice. And beyond that, Shoghi Effendi had not yet appointed a contingent of Hands at the time of his appointment of Mason Remey as the President of the first International Bahá’í Council on March 2, 1951.

Shoghi Effendi’s first contingent of 12 Hands was appointed on December 24, 1951. He specifically defined each Hand’s area of responsibility by Continent, with three of them to reside in the Holy Land; Amelia Collins, Sutherland Maxwell, and Mason Remey. Of the seven additional Hands he appointed February 2, 1952, none of them were assigned to that location either. In fact, Shoghi Effendi never directed nine Hands to meet together in the Holy Land. There was no need within the unique circumstances of appointing the Second Guardian for Hands to validate at any time his appointment. He had announced that appointment in “Messages to the Bahá’í World.” In that manner, all the world’s believers had access to the appointee information. The purpose of validation is to ensure to the believers the authenticity of a particular appointment.

Another point to be made is that even though a provision was made in the Will for confirmation of the appointee, that was not necessary within the unique circumstances Shoghi Effendi found himself. He had announced his successor in “Messages to the Bahá’í World” in the only Proclamation he ever issued. When push came to shove after the death of the First Guardian, one of the hang-ups the Hands allowed themselves to become captive to was centered around the issue that Nine Hands had not approved the appointment. This has to rank right up there at the top of the all-time examples of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after it hit the iceberg. By having spent time arguing about the Nine Hands issue, they were self-satisfied that they had addressed the primary problem, solved it, and that they could move on.

ITC Position:

The principle is referred to in a letter of the House of Justice in connection with the decision of all the Hands of the Cause after the passing of Shoghi Effendi: The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian’s choice. In 1957 the entire body of the Hands, after fully investigating the matter, announced that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and left no will. This is documented and established. (16)

Critique:

As explained above, it was premature, unwarranted and ridiculous for a body to convene and announce the non-appointment of a successor. There will never be an instance in the 1,000 year Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh when Hands will truthfully announce that. Their only option will be to announce the newly designated guardian. You either believe ‘Abdu’l-Bahá or you don’t. Since He had commanded that a guardian must appoint his successor in his own lifetime, it was a given that Shoghi Effendi had appointed a successor. It was up to the Hands to find that appointee. And as to them collectively announcing that he did not leave a Will, that is a true statement. But so what? The Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá says nothing about a guardian having to announce his successor in a (secular) will. The Will states only that he must appoint his successor in his own lifetime. (Emphasis added) The only qualification required is that of timing, during his own lifetime (before he becomes deceased.) Shoghi Effendi clearly did that in “Messages to the Bahá’í World.” There are other requirements in the Will, essentially spiritual in nature, but they have nothing to do with timing.

And speaking of timing, it should be noted that Rúhíyyih Khánum was appointed as liaison between Shoghi Effendi and the International Bahá’í Council some two months before she was named a Hand, on February 29, 1952, to replace her recently deceased father, Hand of the Cause Sutherland Maxwell. The sequence is Mason Remey being appointed President of the IBC, and later as a Hand. Later still, Rúhíyyih Khánum was appointed liaison between the First Guardian and the IBC prior to becoming a Hand.

Yet, it was Rúhíyyih Khánum who became the Hand’s de facto anointed leader during their meetings after Shoghi Effendi’s death. Appropriate leadership should have been by
the President of the IBC, Mason Remey, but the majority of them did not want that. In reading Shoghi Effendi’s instructions, it is clear that Mason Remey was the only one who had been given authority to convene the International Bahá’í Council, yet that was never allowed to happen. The Hands dissolved Shoghi Effendi’s IBC and *elected* one of their own, which had no God-given authority whatsoever. This signaled the beginning of the end, when they finally removed the invisible thread of Infallibility from their midst. Shoghi Effendi’s instructions were never followed, and it was eventually Mason Remey who was belittled and banished by them. Upon leaving, Mason Remey took the invisible thread of Infallibility with him, leaving them naked. Up until then, they had that unacknowledged and hidden invisible thread in their midst; but now it was gone.

And another thing. The Hands that Shoghi Effendi appointed were accepted without question, while his International Bahá’í Council, the first stage of the unfolding embryo of the Universal House of Justice, was completely ignored. This signals an early success in their finding a process that the believers would accept; they were then emboldened  to continue to pick-and-chose among the Writings. That solidified a pattern that allows today’s bogus UHJ to justify its nefarious deeds from their seat of power in Haifa.

Additionally, it is clear that the Hands were aware of the contents of “Messages to the Bahá’í World 1950-1957,” but for reasons known only to themselves did not want to recognize many more of those instructions than their own appointments.

ITC Position:

5. Must possess a “goodly character”
Regarding the stipulation that the noble heritage of the successor to the Guardian must be “matched with a goodly character, (17) the Master stated:

He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, mustbe the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom andlearning. (18)

What happened to the successorship of Shoghi Effendi after his passing?
In His Will and Testament, the Master stated that “It is incumbent upon the guardian ofthe Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing.” (19) In light of this statement it may be asked why it was that Shoghi Effendi did not appoint a successor and why the line of the Guardians came to an end.

The Universal House of Justice has explained: At the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi’s death it was evident, from the circumstances and from the explicit requirements of the Holy Texts, that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. This situation, in which the Guardian died without being able to appoint a successor, presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text, and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice. The friends should clearly understand that before the election of the Universal House of Justice there was no knowledge that there would be no Guardian.nor the International Bahá’í Council, nor any other existing body could make a decision upon this all-important matter. Only the House of Justice had authority to pronounce upon it. (20)
There could not have been any such foreknowledge, whatever opinions individual believers may have held. Neither the Hands of the Cause of God,

Critique:

Nor the International Bahá’í Council.” My God! Would you please go back and read those last two sentences? I missed it upon first reading and caught it later. This is a prime example of how misleading their statements can be. Even though it was in bold text, it does not stand out as being particularly more in error than most other things they discuss. Those two sentences may be the nadir of their ego-infested position. Fact: The International Bahá’í Council was the only, the only body that was authorized to lead the search for the next guardian! That is precisely what Shoghi Effendi had in mind when he formed the First International Bahá’í Council! That body provided his means of naming his successor. The announcements authorizing, and the formation of that body provided the avenue for instructing the believers that Mason Remey was the Second Guardian! Yet the Hands ignored and, in essence, ridiculed that body from the outset of their meetings. They not only refused to allow Mason Remey to convene the IBC that Shoghi Effendi named, but later dissolved it, *electing* an IBC of their own. The only power their IBC was invested with was their own. The IBC they destroyed, the one named by Shoghi Effendi, was the only one fueled by the power of the Covenant. They ousted the power of the Covenant and installed the power of the Hands. It has occurred to me that perhaps some of the Hands did *get it* and that is why they were so adamant about not allowing Mason Remey to have his say. From its actions, the ITC infers that both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá did not know what they were doing, and that Shoghi Effendi was not the First Guardian! Why did the believers accept Shoghi Effendi’s station before he died, and then almost immediately thereafter refuse to accept his actions as First Guardian, when he had named his successor and established the beginning stages of the International House of Justice?

As cold as it seems, that is the result. The Hands began selectively believing Shoghi Effendi immediately upon his death, after he spent his 36 year ministry clarifying and developing the administrative order in compliance with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, going so far as to announce to the Bahá’í World in 1951 that he was presenting to them the beginnings of the Universal House of Justice in embryonic form, and then naming his successor, Mason Remey. Later that year, he announced his first contingency of Hands of the Cause of God. The Hand’s appointments were accepted; that of the next guardian was not. Is this selectivity 101.1 or 101.17? Who knows; do they know? How many iterations of 101 are there?

The denial of Shoghi Effendi’s choice for the second guardian, Mason Remey, by the Hands and the believers, was the greatest act of arrogance by humans that could be imagined. Not only were they denying Bahá’u’lláh’s Command, they were actually denying all the prior Manifestations and God Himself.

The Message of God has been progressively developing for centuries, and will continue to develop for many centuries more, whether humans are ready or not. The only problem is that humans will suffer in not following His Will. God’s Will will eventually be fulfilled in the manner He Willed it from the beginning that had no beginning.

The ITC statement above that there were no prior conclusions made before they announced that the guardianship was ended is of itself questionable. It takes only a quick reading of the book “Ministry of the Custodians,” which has Rúhíyyih Khánum’s fingerprints all over it, to determine that the decision to end the guardianship was made,
if not immediately after Shoghi Effendi’s passing, then within mere weeks later.

All that the Hands had to do to find the second guardian was to accept and follow Shoghi Effendi’s copious writings about the Institutions of the Faith. “The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh,” with its section “The Dispensation,” includes the basic guidance they needed. “Messages to the Bahá’í World, 1950-1957” contains his specific actions and appointments. And to this very day, the present bogus Universal House of Justice could peruse those same documents, as originally written, and announce to the Bahá’í World that they had finally “found” both the second and third guardians, Charles Mason Remey and Joel B. Marangella.

Conclusion of Part Three of the Critique.

This is part Three of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

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Critique of ITC Study of Guardianship & UHJ – Part Two

Posted on April 1, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Two of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

HOW AUTHORITATIVE IS YOUR INTERPRETER?

ITC Position:

Individual interpretations based on a person’s understanding of the Teachings constitute the fruit of man’s rational power and may well contribute to a more complete understanding of the Faith. Such views, however, lack authority. The believers are, therefore, free to accept or disregard them. Further, the manner in which an individual presents his interpretation is important. For example, he must at no time deny or contend with the authoritative interpretation, but rather offer his idea as a contribution to knowledge, making it clear that his views are merely his own. (5)

Critique:

Preposterous! The reader will note that in the first sentence of the above paragraph, the word *Teachings* is capitalized. It is customary in the Bahá’í Faith that any time capitalization is used in describing the Writings, that particular passage is recognized to be from the pen of one the Three Central Figures. While the ITC says that “...Such views (of the believers), however, lack authority,” they encourage the believers to continue doing so. Now, why should the believers be encouraged to read and perhaps question the Holy Writings and retain those ideas rather than to be encouraged to search the Writings further for additional enlightenment that may lead to a correct understanding of issues? A truly enlightened Bahá’í knows that Holy Writ is simply that, and may never be questioned. However, she is entitled to present her question to the one authorized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to correctly answer the question. When a passage in the Writings seems perplexing, that believer should be entitled to have the auspices of the Institution of the Guardianship to correctly answer the question. The audacity of the bogus UHJ to deny their believers that right smacks of denial of the Faith itself, since those Writings are Holy Writ and carry the direction of God Himself! Only a guardian who is alive on this earth may interpret those Writings. Only a legitimate Universal House of Justice with a living-breathing guardian residing as its head may in any manner establish policy on any of those Writings.

What the bogus Universal House of Justice is promoting is that their authority transcends the authority of Bahá’u’lláh, and thus, God Himself!

No wonder there is confusion among the heterodox Bahá’ís who reject the Institution of the Guardianship as the Center of the Cause in this day. The bogus UHJinvites them to accept whatever each individual decides the Writings say to them, but they may not promote those ideas as “gospel” truth. After an individual comes to his/her own conclusion, they must ultimately turn to the bogus UHJ for the “final word” about the Teachings. It appears that the UHJ must continually fabricate some reason or other as to why they have no living guardian. With effort being consumed for merely justifying their position one wonders whether any time is available for promoting the Faith?

How much simpler the Orthodox Baha’is have it. Everything they read from the Holy Writings fits perfectly with everything else they read. They never have to ask about perceived differences among the Holy Books. They read for themselves, and turn to the Guardian for guidance only when they read something that they are not clear about. They never have to argue away anything. The living Guardian is their ultimate one-and-only- God-inspired authority. The Guardian considers each facet of any Holy Writing within the context of all the other Holy Writings for the basis of his pronouncements.

While the Guardian relies upon the entire context and scope of the available information,the bogus UHJ has to pick and choose among available segments for whatever they
believe will justify their position on any issue at any particular time. The process that the bogus UHJ demands of their believers, and it is my understanding that demand is the correct word, smacks in the face of one of the basic principles of the Faith, *the independent investigation of truth.* Humans are commanded by Bahá’u’lláh to search Holy Writ themselves (such Writings as written by the Three Central Figures of the Faith) to become educated in the ways and precepts of their Faith. Gleaning from the fount of knowledge of Holy Writ, being continually in its presentation and acting in conformance with that is the only manner in which a mature civilization may optimally function. How confusing to a believer it must be when an answer she receives may not fit with what she reads from the Writings the very next day. Is that not like being taught that two plus two equals five, then finding information in the Writings that postulates, just as you suspected, that two plus two equals four, rather than five?

The primary reason for there not being clergy in the Bahá’í Faith is that humans must now learn for themselves from the Holy Writings, and then apply that knowledge accordingly. The beauty of the Faith is that a means to reach pure understanding is always available to them. This is an essential blessing of these Teachings. Have not the sans-guardian believers elevated the members of their bogus House of Justice to the station of clergy, even though they do not classify them as such?

ITC Position:
What conditions did ‘Abdu’l-Bahá set for the appointment of the Guardian after Shoghi Effendi?

1. Must be hereditary
In His Will and Testament the Master “establishes the institution of the Guardianship as a hereditary office” (6) He does so with these words: [A]fter him will succeed the firstborn of his lineal descendants. (7)

In numerous instances, Shoghi Effendi states categorically that the Guardianship is a hereditary office. Below are two such examples: [I]n the explanation which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in one of His Tablets, has given to, and the emphasis He has placed upon, the hereditary principle and the law of primogeniture as having been upheld by the Prophets of the past-in these we can discern the faint glimmerings and discover the earliest intimation of the nature and working of the Administrative Order which the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was at a later time destined to proclaim and formally establish. (8)

Moreover, he who symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author . . . .(9)

Critique:

It is interesting that the ITC mentions that the hereditary principle is symbolized by the guardian, (and not the other way around.) While the statement they cite is absolutely true as written, the bogus UHJ has *interpreted* it to mean otherwise. Those words from the “World order of Bahá’u’lláh” page 153, are so clear as to not be open for interpretation. Had there been some other *hidden* meaning, no doubt the author of that statement, the First Guardian, would have told us so. He did not. It states that the guardian symbolizes the hereditary principle, but mentions nothing about it being a part of the authorization process for becoming guardian in the first place. Various conditions outlined in the Will are intended for that. After satisfying the check-list in the Will, then and only then, does the new guardian become the symbol of the hereditary principle.

ITC Position:
2. Must be a male descendant of Bahá’u’lláh

In accordance with the hereditary principle, the Will and Testament of the Masterstipulates that the Guardian must be a lineal descendent of Bahá’u’lláh.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote:

Thus, should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words:-“The child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he, (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him. (10)

The terms “first-born of the Guardian” and “another branch” [In Arabic Ghusn meaning “branch” is the singular form of Aghsán which means “branches”] show that Shoghi Effendi was directed to appoint either his eldest son or, if he was unqualified, another male descendant of Bahá’u’lláh This is consistent with Shoghi Effendi’s statement that the term Aghsán “refers to Bahá’u’lláh’s descendants.” (11)

However, Shoghi Effendi had no children and by the time he had passed away “all the surviving Aghsán had broken the Covenant.” (12)

Critique:

The International Teaching Centre uses a paragraph obviously written by someone other than Shoghi Effendi, from a book of his authorship (the phraseology used is not in conformance with that typically found in Shoghi Effendi’s writings.) Additionally, the statement is in conflict with one that Shoghi Effendi obviously wrote at another time. The statement they use is from (reference 11) The Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Lights of Guidance, 4th rev. 1996, 2001 printing page 472, #1548. Read it for yourself:

ITC Position:

25 September 1934

Dear Dr. Mühlschlegel,

I am directed by the Guardian to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated August 29th, and to express his appreciation of your highly-valued efforts for the translation of the “Kitáb-i-‘Ahd” into German. He hopes that copies of this precious tablet will soon be made available to all the friends, and that through its study their knowledge of the Teachings will be deepened, and their zeal for their spread stimulated and sustained.

The term “afnán” means literally small branch, and refers to the relatives of the Báb,both men and women. As the Báb’s only son died while in infancy, the former had no direct descendants. The “afnán” are, therefore, all indirectly related to the Báb. As to “aghsán”, it also means branch. But it is a bigger branch than “afnán”. It refers to Bahá’u’lláh’s descendants.

The “Kitáb-i-‘Ahd” is, as you know, Bahá’u’lláh’s “Book of Covenant”. It is entirely written in His own handwriting.

And in the light of the objections raised by some of the believers concerning the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, it is highly significant to note that this Book of Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh bears neither signature, nor seal, nor any date. It was shown to the believers, and was read in their presence nine days after Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension. The manuscript was in the possession of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá all through His ministry, and after His passing it was found enclosed in His own will. These two precious documents, namely the book of Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have both been carefully preserved and are now in the possession of the Guardian….

[From the Guardian:]

Dear and valued co-worker:

I greatly value these fresh evidences of your continued, your intelligent and most helpful labours for a better understanding and a wider diffusion of the essentials and fundamentals of our beloved Faith.

You are indeed a pillar of the Administrative Order, which, despite the storms and tests of recent years, is rearing its head in the heart of your beloved and promising country.

Persevere, be happy and confident. I will continue to pray for you from the depths of  my heart.

Your true and grateful brother,

Shoghi

— Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance (Volume 1)

Critique:

Upon reading the above segment, clearly written by two different individuals, please direct your attention to the following from Shoghi Effendi’s book, “God Passes By,” page 239, wherein he clearly describes the Aghsán as the sons of Baha’u’llah:

“…and directs, in particular, the Aghsán (His sons) to ponder the “mighty force and the consummate power that lieth concealed in the world of being.” He bids them, moreover, together with the Afnán (the Báb’s kindred) and His own relatives, to “turn, one and all, unto the Most Great Branch (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)”; identifies Him with “the One Whom God hath purposed,” “Who hath branched from this pre-existent Root,” referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas; ordains the station of the “Greater Branch” (Mírzá Muhammad-‘Alí) to be beneath that of the “Most Great Branch” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá); exhorts the believers to treat the Aghsán with consideration and affection; counsels them to respect His family and relatives, as well as the kindred of the Báb; denies His sons “any right to the property of others”; enjoins on them, on His kindred and on that of the Báb to “fear God, to do that which is meet and seemly” and to follow the things that will “exalt” their station; warns all men not to allow “the means of order to be made the cause of confusion, and the instrument of union an occasion for discord”; and concludes with an exhortation calling upon the faithful to “serve all nations,” and to strive for the “betterment of the world.”

While it is true, technically, that the sons of Bahá’u’lláh are included in His descendants, why does the bogus UHJ rank as more important a statement made by one of Shoghi Effendi’s assistants, rather than one made by Shoghi Effendi himself? Particularly when Shoghi Effendi’s statement is more definitive than the one used by the bogus UHJ?

This concludes Part Two of the Critique.

This is part Two of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

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Critique of ITC study of Guardianship & UHJ – Part One

Posted on March 23, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part One of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 2 | Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

HOW DARE THEY ALTER THE MEANINGS OF PASSAGES IN BAHÁ’Í BOOKS THAT WERE COMPILED PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE FIRST GUARDIAN

Part One of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).

Preface

The Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Joel. B. Marangella, asked me as Hand of the Cause of God to review this document prepared in March 2006 by the International Teaching Centre of the sans-guardian Bahá’ís in Haifa. He suggested that I comment on various of the statements and arguments contained in the study. In doing so I used the statements of the ITC, and have differentiated their passages from my own critique by the use of either — ITC Position or —Critique as a preface throughout, in order to separate my comments from theirs. The study was prepared by the International Teaching Centre for the use of Auxiliary Board Members and has no doubt been used extensively for their justification of not including a living guardian in their administrative order, even though Bahá’í Holy Writ ensures a continuous line of living guardians enduring the entire span of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, lasting at least 1,000 years.

A red flag, an enormous red flag appears at the very outset of this enterprise when one considers that this document was prepared for Auxiliary Board Members. Pray tell why a teaching center has to tell ABMs what to believe and discuss about the most basic of the foundational elements of the Faith. Is it that complicated? No, it is not. Did the Three Central Figures use a means of explaining things that required extra direction? No, they did not. In all due respects, should not anyone who is an ABM be well-enough versed in the original writings to understand for herself the information that she acquired while involved in the independent investigation of truth before she became a Bahá’í?
However, along with countless other changes in the Faith since the death of the First Guardian, it appears that independent investigation of truth has been downplayed, particularly after one signs a declaration card, as if independent investigation of truth applies only to the initial seeker, and immediately ceases upon declaration. A recent visitor to the Temple in Wilmette noted that the independent investigation of truth is no longer listed among the primary elements in the study of the Teachings.

Now I agree that an International Teaching Center is a necessary focal point within the structure of any world-wide religious organization. But would it not be more timely and productive to emphasize such matters pertaining to the spiritual growth of its followers through their independent investigation rather than recreating the wheel as regards the basics of the Faith? Basics that the Three Central Figures and the First Guardian precisely defined? Seems to me that was their job, and that the ITC should believe every word and utterance they espoused, and go on from there.
Shoghi Effendi did a magnificent job of transferring the original Writings into very clear and authoritative English language. In hind-sight, that was one of his primary functions as First Guardian and he excelled at it. In my view, the utterances of the bogus UHJ and its ITC dilute and neutralize the power of the original Writings. It appears to me that the further we get from the history of the 1950s, a less-potent output of information is available for the mainstream Baha’is.

Another key issue for Baha’is is that a contributing factor to the neutralizing of the Faith by the bogus UHJ is their pattern of not only ignoring the original Writings in their activities, but actually changing key passage in many of the Bahá’í books. It should be understood by all Bahá’ís that its Publishing Trust has published books that contains text modified from the original of some of the books available from them since the passing of the First Guardian. Additionally, when perusing the listing of references immediately following the ITC study, many of those references cite the writings of the present Universal House of Justice for the justification of their existence. The reason for them doing so comes into question when in every instance they could have used topical Writings penned by the Three Central Figures of the Faith, Writings that are considered Holy Writ and the very foundational elements of the Bahá’í Faith. As a result, Orthodox Baha’is, and others who are concerned with authenticity should rely only on those books copyrighted and printed prior to 1957. In all cases of such modification, the author’s original intent has been compromised. I will cite one such example of modification from “Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era,” by J.E. Esslemont, a book that Shoghi Effendi said was one of the three most important for teaching the Bahá’í seeker.

My reference is a paperback copy of that book, copyright 1980. Text under the heading Bahá’í Covenant has been modified. The next to last paragraph of the bogus UHJ version, page 129, in reference to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, contains capitalized letters in each instance (Him, His, etc.) whereas an earlier edition does not. This change appears to appropriately correct an oversight by Esslemont. However, in reading the next paragraph on that page, a major, major modification provides erroneous information.

The first half of the original paragraph, which discusses successive guardians, is no longer there; the last paragraph on that page begins:

“…Bahá’u’lláh further arranged that an International House of Justice, representative of all the Bahá’ís throughout the world, should be elected to take charge of the affairs of the Cause, control and coordinate all its activities, prevent divisions and schisms, elucidate obscure matters, and preserve the teachings from corruption and misrepresentation…”

The bogus UHJ statement makes no mention that it was ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’u’lláh’s chosen successor, who provided specific instructions for the election and functions of the Universal House of Justice within the pages of His Will and Testament. Bahá’u’lláh left no specific instructions for that activity. `Abdu’l-Bahá‘s Will clearly defined the role of a living guardian at the head of any Universal House of Justice. The bogus UHJ version has the audacity to refer to Shoghi Effendi as the guardian, as if he were still with us. It further admonishes the believers to follow the words of Bahá’u’lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá, the guardian, and the decisions of the International House of Justice. It concludes with “…Anyone contravening these (UHJ) injunctions is considered a Covenant-Breaker.”

Following are Esslemont‘s original words, words that Shoghi Effendi was well aware of:

“The spiritual or Providential character of the Faith, furthermore, is further exemplified in the continuance, after `Abdu’l-Bahá, of the office of interpreter of the Sacred Writings in the person of the successive Guardians provided in `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament. The Faith, therefore, throughout its era will never suffer the disintegrating influence of schisms resulting from differences of interpretation, nor the deterioration which follows when generally prevalent materialism substitutes lower values for those revealed by the Founder. In relation to the needs of social progress, Bahá’u’lláh provided for the formation of an international House of Justice, whose election and functions are more specifically revealed in the Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The fact that this supreme administrative body, the chairman of which will be the successive Guardians, can not only initiate legislation on all matters not defined in the Book, but also annul its own enactments when new conditions require different measures, assures for the Faith the vital continuity of a living organism. Established on universal truths, it is endowed with capacity to adapt to the conditions and requirements of each generation and age.”

“Since acceptance of Bahá’u’lláh involves acceptance of the social teachings and the social institutions He revealed and provided, or which have been instituted by `Abdu’l-Bahá, no Bahá’í can found a separate school or sect, nor justify any other basis for schism. The essential purpose of this Dispensation is to gather the races, peoples and nations into one Faith and one order.”

J.E. Esslemont, “Baha’u’llah and the New Era,” 1956 edition, pages 160-161

The bogus UHJ‘s elimination of the Institution of the Guardianship from that topical discussion, and the installation of themselves as successor to the guardian, speaks for itself and permeates the overall theme of the International Teaching Center‘s document.

David Maxwell

***********************************************************************************************

Following begins the presentation of the International Teaching Centre

INTRODUCTION (TO THE INTERNATIONAL TEACHING CENTER PAPER)

The Universal House of Justice and the Guardianship are the twin Successors to Bahá’u’lláh and `Abdu’l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi wrote that Bahá’u’lláh and the Master have “in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors.”

(1) In His Will and Testament, `Abdu’l-Bahá perpetuated the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh by appointing the Guardian of the Cause and confirmed the authority of the Universal House of Justice, promising that they will be infallibly guided by the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh.

He promised blessings to those who turn to them, and warned those who would turnagainst them. This brief two-part study, structured in the form of questions and answers, explores passages in the Writings that establish the authority and functions of theinstitutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, and reviews their relationship.

Critique:

One has to wonder whether the implication of the above two paragraphs is to allude that Bahá’u’lláh was succeeded by The Universal House of Justice, and that `Abdu’l-Bahá was succeeded by the Guardianship. This concept would help them to rationalize that since Shoghi Effendi “could not appoint a successor” that the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá are no longer potent, and would justify a position that since the guardianship is ended, that `Abdu’l-Bahá no longer needs to be as prominent in the structure of their organization. Among other things, this counters the concept that God reveals His knowledge to humans through progressively unfolding Truth. In the Bahá’í Revelation that concept is magnified and clearly delineated, describing the spiritually charged hereditary lineage of the Covenant of God through but one individual at a time.

Bahá’u’lláh appointed His successor, `Abdu’l-Bahá. In turn, `Abdu’l-Bahá appointed His successor to be the Institution of the (living) Guardianship. It should be kept in mind that `Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament was a collaborative effort of both He and Bahá’u’lláh, and that every Sacred Clause of the Will and Testament will ultimately be fulfilled.

ITC Position:

THE INSTITUTION OF THE GUARDIANSHIP
What is the source of authority for the institution of the Guardianship? Shoghi Effendiwrites that certain verses in Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Holy Book by implication “clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship.” (2) But it was `Abdu’l-Bahá who explicitly established the institution of the Guardianship, naming Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause of God, and directing the friends to turn towards him. He wrote: After the passing away of this wronged one . . . turn unto Shoghi Effendi . . . as he is the sign of God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God . . . (3)

Critique:

While it is true that `Abdu’l-Bahá asked the believers to turn unto Shoghi Effendi, the authors of this document stress that fact rather than the more important part of the command that `Abdu’l-Bahá actually appointed the Institution of the Guardianship as His successor, and that secondarily, Shoghi Effendi was the First Guardian.

ITC Position:

The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty, under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One (may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God. (4)

What is the difference between authoritative and personal interpretation?
In light of Shoghi Effendi’s function as the authorised interpreter of the Bahá’í Teachings, one might ask if there is any room for personal understanding by individuals.

This question has been answered by the House of Justice:
The interpretations of `Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardian are divinely-guided statements ofwhat the Word of God means and as such these interpretations are binding on thefriends. However, the existence of authoritative interpretations in no way precludes the individual from engaging in his own study of the Teachings and thereby arriving at his own interpretation or understanding. Indeed, Bahá’u’lláh invites the believers to “immerse” themselves in the “ocean” of His “words”, that they “may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths…”

Critique:

The bogus UHJ encourages the friends to investigate the Teachings and arrive at their own conclusions, in spite of divinely-guided statements that are binding on the friends. I daresay that Bahá’u’lláh did not intend that the conclusions of independent study by the  friends would preclude any binding statements in the Holy Writings. Indeed, the above quote from Bahá’u’lláh asks the believers to immerse themselves in the ocean of His (Bahá’u’lláh’s) words, not to immerse themselves in the bogus UHJ’s interpretations of His words. This concept clearly is not being followed by the bogus UHJ as shown by their all-too-frequent passion to tell the believers what a particularly passage in the Writings means, when in most cases the Writings themselves are self-evident. They explain that a living guardian will be available throughout the entire 1,000 year Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh to interpret the meaning of the Writings, not to re-write them.

Holy Writ may never be changed. The position that the bogus UHJ now finds itself in is to have to continually justify or explain away why there is no living guardian in their camp, notwithstanding that a process for providing a living guardian is commanded in the Will, and Shoghi Effendi often made reference to a line of guardians.

Additionally, there was no option, none whatsoever, contained within the pages of the Will and Testament for there not being a successor living guardian at any time during this Dispensation. In addition to that, Shoghi Effendi never discussed, nor wrote about, there not being any guardians after him. Quite the contrary, the only option provided was that there would be additional guardians. So for the 29 year tenure of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and the 36 year period of Shoghi Effendi, 65 years of intensive Holy Foundation building, the only avenue for the continuance of the Faith required the Institution of the Guardianship precisely in the manner explained by them both. Putting it that way, the only option for the Hands during their conclaves after the passing of Shoghi Effendi was to find the successor that the First Guardian had named.

A careful reading of the above sentence perhaps will allow the Hands a little slack for their erroneous ways, but not much. They were indeed looking for a successor named by Shoghi Effendi (the man), whereas in hind-sight we now know they should have been looking within the spiritual bounds of the Institution of the Guardianship. They should have realized that Shoghi Effendi could name his successor only when he was wearing his spiritual mantle, that of the First Guardian, and the appointment would have to be couched within some sort of spiritual vehicle or terms. And that is precisely what Shoghi Effendi did. He named his successor when he penned the only Proclamation he ever wrote during the 36 years he spent as the First Guardian.

I will digress here and re-emphasize that the Bahá’í Faith is about matters of the Spirit. Spirituality is the only reason for its being. Thus, humans are at this time in their history being forced from their comfortable zone of the materialism that has permeated their being for thousands of years. It is time for a spiritual maturity to pervade mankind in order that humans may evolve from the false glamour of materialism and begin to think within terms of the spirit. It simply has got to happen in order for the shackles of depravity to be released from their lives in order that the onset of the Kingdom of God may be allowed to accelerate and mitigate some of the damage that has been done by this corrupt society. The Hands apparently failed to see that, and little progress has been made in the intervening years. The spirit must become a catalyst for elimination of materialistic bounds in order that human existence may reach for the next level.

The resultant mess of the misdirection and misapplication of purpose we find ourselves in as a society becomes even more curious when one considers that the bogus UHJ requires “unity above all else” as their mantra for the believers, with no permissible deviation at all from their definition of unity, that of complete submission to their Universal House of Justice. Spiritual growth for humans will ultimately evolve from a unity within the Divine Principles that Bahá’u’lláh provided. But, sadly, the difference between unity and Divine Unity has not yet been perceived by the masses, nor the bogus Universal House of Justice. At the very least, a concept has to come about that every Sacred Clause of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament must be believed, promoted and then fervently upheld. Through that one activity, the beginnings of a Divine Unity wil evolve and humans will find themselves in a much more beautiful place than now. Quite clearly, the trail outlined in the Holy Writings passes from Bahá’u’lláh to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His Will and Testament, and then to the Institution of the Guardianship. If one believes the words of the Will and Testament, he must in this day look within the lineage of the first three guardians to find the continuation of the thread of Holiness, Bahá’u’lláh.

While the Will talks of a Universal House of Justice, its Holy Writ defining the UHJ contains the essential requirement of a living guardian as its head. When a living guardian resides in the residency and the presidency of the UHJ, those two Holy Institutions then comprise the elements necessary for Holy fulfillment of all the Words uttered by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and remain the only avenue to Holy efficacy in the deliberations of a Universal House of Justice.

This concludes Part One of the Critique.

This is part One of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 2 | Part 3| Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6

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