A BIOGRAPHY OF THE PRESENT GUARDIAN OF THE FAITH AND
HIS ENCOUNTER WITH
THE HAIFA GROUP,
THE SO-CALLED UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
I, Enayatollah Sarvestani Yazdani, was born into a Bahá’í family on the second day of the month of Bahá, 103 of the Bahá'í Era (BE), or March 22, 1947, in the village of Sarvestan, 80 km south of Shiraz, Iran. I was the fourth of seven children, four boys and three girls. Badí’u’lláh and Zarangees, my father and mother, respectively, believed in Baha’u’llah. My grandfather, Ghulam Ali, was a Bahá’í, and my great grandfather, Karbelá-i-dhynal, was a Bábi who accepted Bahá’u’lláh as the latest Manifestation of God.
My father was a traditional hatmaker of the Ghashghaie and Lur tribes. The hats were made of mohair, an exceptionally fine wool harvested from Angora goats living in southeast Iran in the Kerman Province. Throughout primary and secondary school, I learned the art of millinery from my father. Our family was not rich and lived on the income derived from making and selling this traditional woolen hat. I can remember a time when the Iranian government was at odds with the chieftains of the Ghashghaie and Lur tribes. One of the methods the government used to harass the people of these tribes, particularly the Ghashghaie tribe, was to forbid them from wearing their traditional hats. The local police enforced the regulation, and if the police found any person wearing the customary hat, they would remove and destroy it. This action caused our family to lose our main source of income, leaving us poor and desperate. My mother was forced to buy lower-quality food from the nearby rice mill or at the grocery store at a cheaper price. Scarcity was not limited to our family. Many families and the Iranian people in general faced poverty in those years. The nationalization of Iran’s main natural resource, oil, did not help the people overcome their impoverishment.
At the age of six or seven, I began elementary school at Astaneh Primary School, opposite the Shrine of Sayed Ala’ddin Hossain, son of the Seventh Imam of the Shi’a branch of Islam. Subsequently, I enrolled at Farah and Khayyam Primary Schools and completed my primary education at the 15th Bahman Primary Schools in Shiraz.
Following completion of primary school, secondary school education began at Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi High School in the Shiraz suburb of Darvázeh Sa’di. A mathematics major, I completed the six-year secondary education in May-June 1967. At the end of secondary school, the required National Service began in mid-September 1967 for eighteen months. For four months, I learned basic military education in the service area of Shiraz, followed by another four months in Isfahan learning artillery education. In Tehran, I served ten months in the Artillery Battalion, Tehran Division, in the Iranian Armed Forces.
I returned to Shiraz in early 1968. After a few years working in the family business, I returned to Tehran in late 1971 and worked at the Irendco Company, an Iranian/British oil
company, for one and a half years prior to my migration to Australia on March 26, 1973. My decision to migrate to Australia in early 1973 was based on the following reasons:
The need for work. Employment for Bahá’ís in Iran during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah was difficult if not impossible to attain. For example, the Iran National Bank refused to employ me due to my affiliation with the Bahá’í Faith.
The strong desire to teach the Bahá’í Faith outside of Iran.
The aspiration to continue education outside of Iran.
The pressure of harassment. Since early childhood, I had faced day-to-day harassment and discrimination at the hands of my fellow citizens, whether at school or other places while growing up.
After arriving in Australia, I worked for various companies in Brisbane and Newcastle. I was self-employed, importing and selling Persian handicrafts such as Persian carpets and traditional clothing prior to the completion of my university studies in 1984 at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales (NSW), where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering.
Prior to completing my engineering degree, I worked for the Department of Public Works, a branch of the NSW government. I continued to work for the government for twenty-three years. Subsequently, I established my own business, Engineering Consultancy, which provided engineering services for various NSW government agencies. In 2014 I retired. During the course of my engineer career, I financed, designed, and constructed several residential buildings in the Newcastle and Sydney areas of NSW; this endeavor better assisted me in providing financial security for myself and my family.
When the Iranian revolution occurred in late 1978 and early 1979, I had already immigrated to Australia. My family, however, still lived in Shiraz and Sarvestan. Prior to the fall of the Shah’s administration in 1979, the Bahá’ís, predictably, were attacked by mobs in various Iranian cities. Homes in Shiraz, where my parents and brothers and sisters lived, were attacked, burnt, and robbed by the mobs. During the violence, my family members were forced to escape to the roof area of their home and from there to safety. Fire completely devastated the family businesses, including the Persian carpet yarn factory in Sarvestan.
After the revolution, in early 1980, I returned to Iran to visit my family. My parents and sisters now lived in a small rental unit in Shiraz; their home had been destroyed prior to the revolutionaries’ victory. During this visit, my wife-to-be, Aghdas Khajehtaheri, and I were introduced. After a courtship that lasted just a few months, we married in Shiraz on June 11, 1980. We returned to Australia as Mr. and Mrs. Yazdani in early September 1980, prior to the start of the Iran-Iraq war. The fruits of our marriage produced three boys: Shahram, Shahriyar, and Shamim, now 40, 38, and 36 years old, respectively. Our children all married, and we now enjoy the pleasant company of our four grandchildren, three boys and a girl.
From the time the Bab established the Bábi Faith in 1844 in Shiraz to the subsequent establishment of the Bahá’í Faith by Bahá’u’lláh, the believers of the Bábi and Bahá’í Faiths have been persecuted by the Muslim people, who were and continue to be agitated and egged on by the religious leaders and the government. Ever since I can remember, my family, like many other Bahá’í families in Iran, has been unable to escape this persecution. In the year I was born, my father’s family home and other Bahá’í homes in Sarvestan were attacked by mobs. This attack resulted in killing one and injuring several believers; their houses were
destroyed. Afterwards, my family migrated to Shiraz and resided several kilometers away from the house of the Báb.
In parallel to civil, or public education, Bahá’í families in Iran send their children to Friday Bahá’í classes, which teach moral virtues as well as the history of the Bábi and Bahá’í Faiths. Like other Bahá’í children, I attended the Friday classes. For a few reasons, I ended up a year behind my education in these classes. As a result, I attended the twelfth year of Friday Bahá’í classes after finishing high school and while serving in the National Service in the Iranian Armed Forces. A few times I was unable to attend Bahá’í school. Mr. Nasr’u’lláh Chehrehnegar, one of the teachers, was an exceedingly pleasant, lenient, and sincere Bahá’í teacher. I recall a dialogue I had with Mr. Chehrehnegar after missing one or two sessions. Our conversation, which follows, affected me deeply:
“What is the reason you have missed my classes?” asked Mr. Chehrehnegar.
“I have only the one day in the week free to visit my family and to attend the class. I did not have time to attend a few sessions,” I replied.
“What do they teach you at the army classes?” asked Mr Chehrehnegar.
“They teach us to be prepared physically and emotionally, and to technically defend ourselves and the country,” I said.
“Do they provide you with a rifle and do they teach you how to use it?” asked Mr.
“Yes, they do,” I said.
“Do you believe you need rifles to kill but not need the means to make people alive?” asked Mr. Chehrehnegar.
I paused for a short time, and I remembered a statement made by His Holiness Christ when he spoke to Peter, saying, “Let the dead bury the dead.” I kept silent. Mr. Chehrehnegar continued his teaching and left me to meditate on what I had heard from this true Bahá’í teacher. Prior to my migration to Australia in early 1973, I continued to visit Mr. Chehrehnegar at his photography gallery in Shiraz. And every time I returned to Iran from Australia, I visited Mr. Chehrehnegar wherever he was.
Another memorable dialogue, a conflicting one, occurred with a fellow classmate when I was in grade four of the Farah Primary School in Shiraz, probably in 1956 or 1957. It affected me for years, leading me to, eventually, investigate the institution of the Guardianship in the Bahá’í Faith. The conversation concerned the number of significant individuals in the Bahá’í and Muslim Faiths.
In the Islamic Faith, there are fourteen significant people: His Holiness Muhammad, the Manifestation of God; Muhammad’s daughter, Fatimah; the eleven Imams; and the anticipated twelfth Imam, who was expected to manifest himself at some time in future. In the Bahá’í Faith in the years 1957–1958, there were four significant characters: the Báb, Baha’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi, the First Guardian. My classmate bragged that Islam contained more significant persons than the Bahá’í Faith. This classmate’s comment never left my mind.
While in Shiraz visiting the House of the Báb, I accidently met a believer in Bahá’u’lláh by the name of Mary Kidd of Roma from Queensland, a state in northeast Australia. Mrs. Kidd encouraged me to migrate to Australia. After she arrived back in her Australian homeland, she arranged a migratory visa for me. After about a year, I left my homeland in early March 1973. I traveled with one of my friends, and after visiting a few Bahá’í centers in Pakistan,
India, Hong-Kong, and the Philippines, I arrived in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, in late March 1973.
After arriving in Australia, I became a member of the Brisbane’s Bahá’í community. In early 1973, I was unaware of the issues surrounding the institution of the Guardianship in the worldwide Bahá’í community. In fact, I heard the name Charles Mason Remey mentioned at one of the Nineteen Day Bahá’í Feasts in 1974. Someone announced that Mr. Remey had died at the age of nearly one hundred years old. Later, I found out that the announcer was a member of the mainstream Bahá’í community, under the direction of a body that was created by the ex-Hands of the Faith, the so-called universal house of justice. I did not pay any attention to the announcement, and I did not realize then the importance of the death of Mr. Remey. My realization of the continuation of the Guardianship throughout the Bahá’í Dispensation and my acceptance of Mr. Remey as the Second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith happened over the course of several events and thought processes, many of which involved Mr. Chehrehnegar and the lasting guidance he has bestowed on me.
In the last years of my stay in Iran, I recall specific visits with Mr. Chehrehnegar at his gallery. From time to time, Mr. Chehrehnegar would quote parts of Shoghi Effendi or ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s writings on matters related to the institution of the Guardianship and the continuation of the line of guardians in the Bahá’í Dispensation. I did not make any comments or respond to Mr. Chehrehnegar—I simply listened and meditated on the quotations I heard.
When I was in India, in early March 1973, I visited the National Bahá’í Centre in New Delhi. In the bookshop, I bought a few copies of “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh” by Shoghi Effendi, which was translated into Persian. “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh” is an essay written by Shoghi Effendi in 1934 describing the stations of The Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and on the Bahá’í Administration. “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh” is found in Shoghi Effendi’s book, The World Order of Baha’u’llah; it was also printed separately. In section four, The Administrative Order, Shoghi Effendi describes the various institutions of Baha’u’lláh’s World Order and their relationship with each other, such as the institution of the Guardianship and the institution of the Universal House of Justice; in addition, Shoghi Effendi delineates the importance of Bahá’u’lláh’s World Order.
I was never informed of or taught the importance of the Covenant in the Bahá’í Faith; neither was I encouraged by the Shiraz community, headed by the Shiraz Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly, to study the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the institutions found within this important document, part of the World Order of Baha’u’lláh. Members of the Shiraz Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly never questioned me about the subject of the Covenant or the Guardianship when I declared and confirmed my belief in the Bahá’í Faith as part of Bahá’í Administration requirements.
During the early years after my arrival in Australia, I studied The World Order of Baha’u’lláh and its related sources discussing the Bahá’í Administration, such as the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá , The Kitáb-i-Ahd, and “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh.” In late 1975 or thereabout, I returned to Iran via London. While in London, I visited the resting place of Shoghi Effendi and said a few prayers there. It was a typical early London morning, cloudy and drizzling, and I felt emotionally affected by the prayers. After I arrived in Iran, I visited friends, Mr. Iraj Mo’tazedian and his wife Nourieh, in Maragheh, a city in northwest Iran. My friends discussed the Faith and the institution of the Guardianship. Once in Shiraz, I made my customary visit to Mr. Chehrehnegar at the gallery. During the visit, we discussed the
Covenant and the Guardianship. In the course of the discussion, Mr. Chehrehnegar informed me that Charles Mason Remey was the Second Guardian of the Faith. After a few questions, I accepted Mr. Remey’s Guardianship without hesitation. On the same day, Mr. Chehrehnegar gave me a stack of writings on Mr. Remey’s Guardianship and the continuation of the institution of the Guardianship, which I studied on the way home. The distance between the gallery and my home takes roughly twenty to thirty minutes. On this occasion, it took me over three hours as I read through the material given to me by my teacher and mentor. The materials all related to the institution of the Guardianship, and I absorbed their contents like dry, cracked clay receiving water on a hot summer day.
Upon returning to Australia, I wrote a short letter dated October 29, 1976, to Mr. Donald A. Harvey, Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, declaring my faith in the continuation of the Guardianship, my acceptance of Mr. Remey as the Second Guardian of the Faith, and my acceptance of Mr. Harvey as the present and Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. Mr. Harvey wrote me a fifteen-page, hand-written reply to my short note, dated December 29, 1976. The original letter is in my possession.
I visited the Guardian several times from 1977 to a few months prior to Mr. Harvey’s death on October 19, 1991. In my 1977 visit to the Third Guardian in France, returning from Paris to Tehran on road; I visited Mr. Pepe in Florence, Italy. During my visit we discussed matters related to the Cause and in respond to one of my question; Mr. Pepe stated that Mason Remey towards his last days being on this world; continuously repeated the expression: “I am the Second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and nothing matters.” Several years later in an open letter of November 17, 1984, Donald Harvey appointed Jacques Soghomonian as his successor in accordance with the directions and requirements found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament. I accepted Jacques Soghomonian as Fourth Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, appointed by Mr. Harvey, and I served the Cause under the Guardianship of Mr. Soghomonian during his tenure.
In 2004, my wife and I visited Jacques Soghomonian in Marseille in the south of France. The Guardian had other visitors at the time, whom we were quite pleased to meet. In April 2006, under the direction of the Guardian, I collected and wrote material for the publication of the first issue of Ridvan, a Bahá’í journal, and publication of this magazine continues today. I consistently visited the Guardian during his Guardianship and attended his funeral on September 12, 2013, in Marseille, France.
In an open letter dated February 10, 2005, Jacques Soghomonian appointed Enayatollah Sarvestani Yazdani to succeed him. Jacques Soghomonian ascended to the spiritual world on September 6, 2013. Following his ascension, I took the station of Fifth Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith in accordance with the clauses found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament. I have had the honor of serving the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in the capacity of Guardian as permitted under the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and other writings of the revealed Word.
My life changed completely in early 1976 when I accepted Mr. Remey as Guardian and the continuation of the Faith’s institution of the Guardianship. On the one hand, I achieved full recognition of the Bahá’í Faith as established by Bahá’u’lláh; on the other hand, I was faced with a new type of psychological persecution by the purported Bahá’í community in Australia. The persecution started when Dr. Peter Khan arrived from the United States to Brisbane, Australia, sometime in or around 1975. I posed several questions to Dr. Khan, and I believe he made assumptions based on these questions and their answers. To Dr. Khan’s way
of thinking, I did not validate the doctrine of the ex-Hands of the Cause, which proclaimed an end to the line of guardians in the Bahá’í Dispensation. It appeared to me that Dr. Khan poisoned the minds of the other believers against me. These events happened quickly, and I soon found myself alone and rejected by the believers. Mainstream Bahá’ís do not distinguish the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh from the man-made covenant created by the ex-Hands of the Faith and forged with the believers. For this reason, the ex-Hands of the Faith succeeded in imposing their doctrine on the believers.
On March 12, 1981, I resigned from the Local Spiritual Assembly (LSA) of Newcastle, a city in NSW. The letter stated, “Please accept my resignation as a member of LSA of Newcastle. The reasons will be presented to you at a convenient time.” On March 18, 1981, the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) sent a note requesting the reason for the resignation. In April 1981, I invited the members of the Newcastle LSA to hear the explanation and reasons for my resignation. Soon after, I met with Dr. Baher Forghani and Mr. Bizhan Vahdat in Newcastle on two occasions in my home. The first meeting lasted for hours, discussing issues related to the institution of Guardianship, but I ended the conversation on the second meeting when Dr. Forghani claimed that the “Universal House of Justice can change the Writings, in the absence of the Guardian of the Faith, related to excommunication.”
In May 1987, I met with Mr. Hugh Chance, a member of the so-called universal house of justice, in Wagga Wagga, NSW. In response to Mr. Chance’s speech on the Covenant, I posted a twelve-page letter to him dated April 8, 1988. Although Mr. Chance acknowledged receipt of the letter and pledged to share it with his colleagues, I never received a reply from the self-styled universal house of justice. Mr. Chance wrote his own reply to the letter dated April 20, 1988, which follows:
I have received your twelve page letter which was posted on April 8, 1988. Obviously I could not read those portions which were written in Persian, but from the English text I perceive that you are stating some of the same arguments about the Guardianship which were advanced by the followers of Charles Mason Remey and others. I therefore felt obliged to share your letter with my colleagues and have left the matter with the Universal House of Justice for its consideration. Sincerely, [signed] Hugh Chance. See Appendix E for copy of this letter. (Persian portions were later translated and included in this copy of the letter.)
Prior to October 22, 1993, Dr. B. Samali, a member of the Hornsby Local or National Spiritual Assembly of Australia, or both, asked me to accept membership on a local committee in the Sydney suburb of Hornsby, but I refused the membership. Later, auxiliary board member Mr. Mehrdad Arjmand and Dr. Samali approached me. Details of this meeting are indicated in Appendix F.
On October 22, 1993, and January 25, 1994, I met with Dr. Kamran Eshraghian and Mrs. Violette Haake, two members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors, a man-made institution created by the false universal house of justice. The Board of Counsellors, established in 1968, replaced the Divinely established institution of the Hands of the Cause delineated by Bahá’u’llah and detailed in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ’s Will and Testament. In the meetings, the counsellors interrogated me, similar to the holy inquisition carried out by the Catholic Church in the dark ages of Europe. I expressed my dissatisfaction that I had not received a response to my letter of April 8, 1988 to Mr. Hugh Chance, then a member of the so called universal house of justice, and soon after I received a threatening letter from them dated May 10, 1994, stating the following:
The Counsellors are forced now to ask for a letter in which you state clearly whether or not you accept the Universal House of Justice, as now established and functioning in the Holy Land, as the Head of the Faith and its central institution to which all Bahá’ís must turn, and acknowledge that there has been no successor to Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Cause of God. We request that the letter be addressed to the Universal House of Justice and sent to the undersigned for onward transmission by 31 May, 1994. You will understand that we cannot continue indefinitely with this process of setting dates which you fail to meet, and so you should understand that your continued membership in the Bahá’í Faith must necessarily be called into question if you fail to meet the 31 May 1994 deadline.
In the same letter, I was tagged by the counsellors as “a source of agitation and unrest in the Bahá’í community.” I continued to ignore them and left the sans guardian Bahá’í community permanently.
I wrote a declaration on June 16, 1994, and kept my distance from the so-called Bahá’í community. On November 4, 2004, I wrote to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and several other National Spiritual Assemblies such as the US and Canada, attaching a copy of the declaration. I also wrote to several individuals and sent a copy to Haifa Group, via Post Office 155, Haifa, Israel. (see Appendix A & D).
On July 25, 2005, around midday, I received a phone call from Mrs. Fereshteh Mansouri, wife of my brother-in-law Mr. Parviz Khajehtaheri, informing me that my wife and I were being excommunicated and expelled from the Bahá’í Faith and the community by the alleged universal house of justice. However, neither the so-called universal house of justice nor Mrs.
V. Haake nor Dr. K. Eshraghian ever sent me or my wife a note or letter confirming Mrs. F. Mansouri’s verbal announcement.
Subsequent to the announcement, I received phone calls from various people in Iran, the United States, and places in Australia advising me of the excommunication announcement. A believer in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia, called, advising me of the following:
a) He attended the feast meeting when the announcement of excommunication was read by the chairperson of the feast, b) he requested a copy of the message from the chairperson but he was denied, and c) he was allowed to copy, by hand, the announcement.
I asked my friend if he would prepare a legal document, an affidavit or a witness statement, expressing the facts as he heard and witnessed them in the meeting. He agreed to prepare and send me a “Statutory Declaration NSW, Oaths Act, 1900.” This is a pro forma where a person or persons fill out and sign the form before a magistrate or Justice of the Peace, ascertaining the statement to be true. After signing and being witnessed, it becomes a legal document acceptable in a court of law.
I received via Australia post the original copy of the completed “Statutory Declaration NSW, Oaths Act, 1900,” prepared by the believer on what he witnessed that night. It was dated August 10, 2005 (see Appendix B).
A similar announcement was made in Iran, Tehran, on 8 Amordad, 1384 AH, the Bahá’í Nineteen Day Feast of Kalimát, 151 BE (see Appendix C).
The present Bahá’í administration in Haifa, the members of the false universal house of justice, acted upon my announcement as stated in the letter dated November 4, 2004, and proclaimed I was a covenant breaker. It is the sole right of the guardians of the Faith to declare a person a violator of the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh. No one else is given that right. However, I had rejected the ex-Hands of the Faith’s doctrine as early as October 1976 when I formally sent a letter of declaration to the living Guardian, then Donald A. Harvey, and accepted the continuation of the Guardianship and recognized Mason Remey and Mr. Harvey as Second and Third Guardians of the Bahá’í Faith, respectively. I left the community a long time before their shameful announcement. The administration in Haifa does not have the power or authority to declare anyone a breaker of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant.
Following the death of Shoghi Effendi in 1957, the ex-Hands of the Faith took over the management of the community of the believers, repudiated the validity of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá ’s Will and Testament, and violated the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh. They followed these actions by replacing the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh with their own ex-Hands-made covenant, which they formed with the believers.
The purpose for writing these notes is to reflect on the violation of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant by the ex-Hands of the Faith and their supporters and the discrimination they carried out against those believers who supported the continuation of the Guardianship.
E S Yazdani,
5th Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith July 2, 2021
The following appendices have been edited and for clarity minor comments were added.
Declaration by Enayatollah S. Yazdani
June 16, 1994
I, Enayatollah S. Yazdani, currently residing at 50 The Esplanade, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120, Australia, hereby make the following declaration. This declaration is to be read in conjunction with my letters dated March 29, 1982, to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and April 8, 1988, to Mr. Hugh Chance, a member of the so-called universal house of justice. This declaration is written as a result of my investigation of The World Order of Baha’u’lláh and the behavior of the present administration, which claims an end to the line of guardians of the Bahá’í Faith. The attention of the reader is also drawn to my statements of October 29, 1993, February 5, 1994, and June 15, 1994 (see Appendices D, E, and F). This declaration is to be considered further confirmation of my faith in the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh as revealed in the Book of the Covenant by Baha’u’lláh, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the interpretations made by the First Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi. I declare the following:
The Báb is the founder of the Bábi Faith and He exercised all the rights of Prophethood, and His Dispensation lasted until Baha’u’lláh declared His mission in 1863.
Bahá’u’lláh is the Promised One, and he is the latest Manifestation of God for this age.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the successor and the Center of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh; I believe in every clause of the Will and Testament, and the Will and Testament is complementary to The Book of Aghdas.
Shoghi Effendi is the appointed First Guardian of the institution of the Guardianship in the Bahá’í World Order.
The First Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, was succeeded by the Second Guardian, Charles Mason Remey. Mr. Remey was appointed as the president of the embryo of the Universal House of Justice by Shoghi Effendi. The embryo possesses all perfection. Because the president of Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith, and the Guardian of the Faith is the President of the Universal House of Justice, Mr. Remey became the Second Guardian of the Faith on November 4, 1957, until his death in February 1974.
Mr. Remey, during his lifetime and by the authority invested in him, appointed Donald A. Harvey to succeed him after his death. Mr. Harvey became the Third Guardian of the Faith upon Mr. Remey’s death on February 2, 1974.
Donald A. Harvey, in accordance with the provision of the Will and Testament and in an open act, appointed Jacques Soghomonian to succeed the Third Guardian. Jacques Soghomonian became the Fourth Guardian of the Faith upon Mr. Harvey’s death on October 19, 1991.
The line of Guardianship will continue to exist, and the legitimate Universal House of Justice will be formed in accordance with the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l- Bahá.
After the death of Shoghi Effendi, the First Guardian, a group of people, then elevated to the station of Hands of the Faith, headed by Mrs. Rabbani, the ringleader,
violated the Will and Testament and denied the Guardianship of Charles Mason Remey; subsequently, the ex-Hands of the Faith took over the management and preached the end of the line of Guardianship. They established a body, the purported universal house of justice, in 1963, in the Holy Land, to deceive the believers. This administration and the so-called universal house of justice in particular are not legitimate. This administration is not representing the Bahá’í Faith. The Bahá’í Faith ceased to exist among the ex-Hands of the Faith and their followers from the time they violated the Will and Testament and claimed the end to the Guardianship of the World Order of Baha’u’lláh.
The claim of Mr. Joel Marangella is baseless. He claimed the station of the Third Guardian of the Faith during the lifetime of the Second Guardian, Charles M. Remey.
This declaration was written in June 1994 at 50 The Esplanade, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120, Australia. I am truly aware of my action and I am ready for its consequences. If I am asked of material means, I have nothing worth mentioning. If I am asked for support of others, I have no one to rely on. But if I am asked of my soul, I am in a lofty position, and the enemies of the Faith, from within and without, are powerless to challenge my steadfastness in the Bahá’í Faith and its mighty Covenant—in particular, the continuation of the Guardianship.
I remain faithful in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. Signed
E. S. Yazdani, June 16, 1994
Statutory Declaration, NSW Oaths Act, 1900
I, . . . , do hereby solemnly declare and affirm that:- [Name of the declarer is removed]
I have attended a periodical gathering, known as the Nineteen Day feast, of the Bahá’ís of Melbourne, (Wantirno) on Sunday 31.07.2005
In the meeting Mrs. Fatimeh Kingston, the chair person, read a letter from National Spiritual Assembly of Australia.
At the meeting I requested Mrs. Fatimeh Kingston to provide me a copy of this letter. Mrs. Fatimeh Kingston refused to do so and said that “I am not allowed to provide a copy”. Or something to that effect.
I requested Mrs. Fatimeh Kingston to let me to copy the letter by hand. I copied and the letter reads:
“In reply please quote Ref. No. OPMKD 19 July 2005
Message to members of the Bahá’í Community From National Spiritual Assembly of Australia Bahá’í Community of 19 day feast
Dear Bahá’í Friend
It is with deeply [illegible], that the N.S.A. had been recently informed by the Universal House of Justice of determination Mr. Enayatollah (Zabi) Yazdani and his wife Mrs. Aghdas Yazdani resident in NSW have broken the Covenant. The following is the determination of the Universal House of Justice. “has expressed openly his support for the spurious claim of Mason Remey, Donald Harvey and J. Soghomonian. He had shown antipathy towards the present day Bahá’í administration order and had denied the legitimacy of the Universal House of Justice. Mrs. Aghdas Yazdani had affirmed ‘that she is aware of her husband views and support them.’ ”
This information is confidential to members of the Bahá’í Community. The National Assembly assures its prayers and love at this difficult time.
N.S.A. of Bahá’ís of Australia, Inc. John Walker
Members of Continental Board of Councillors in Aus Regional Bahá’í Council”
This clause, [details of the declarer], is not quoted here.
And I make this solemn declaration, in accordance with the Oaths Act, 1900, and subject to the punishment by law provided for the making any wilfully false statement in any such declaration.
Declared at Ringwood Victoria This 10th day of August 2005 Before me, (Justice of Peace) Print full name of JP
Margaret Patricia Moore, Justice of Peace, Victoria, 39 kingwood, No 11701”
Announcement in Tehran, Iran -
:مطالب زیر عینا در برنامه ضیافت 8 مرداد 1384 منظور گردد"
:احبای عزیز در مهد امرالله ملاحظه فرمایید
با تحیات اخیرا بیت العدل اعظم الهی طی رقیمه مورخ 14 شهرالرحمۃ 162 برابر جولای 2005 طرد روحانی آقای عنایت الله یزدانی )ذبیح یزدانی( و همسرشان اقدس یزدانی که ساکن استرالیا هستند بعلت نقض میثاق الهی و ارتباط با ناقضین عهد را به ایران اعلان فرمودند ... "
This note, together with the original Statutory Declaration (Appendix B) was sent to me and postmarked August 10, 2005. The originals are in my possession.
Letter of November 4, 2004
National Spiritual Assembly of Australia E. S. Yazdani
Post Office Box 285 P.O. Box 563
Mona Vale, NSW, 2103 Hornsby, NSW, 2077 Australia Australia
November 4, 2004
Dear friend/s in Baha’u’lláh, Allah’u’Abha:
2C Hampden Road, Pennant Hills, NSW, 2120 Australia
It is now exactly 57 years since our beloved First Guardian Shoghi Effendi left this world forever. During his thirty-six years of Guardianship, he directed the affairs of the Faith as he was authorized by the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and other Holy Writings of the Bahá’í Faith. He directed the followers of the Bahá’í Faith from one victory to another. He protected the Faith, and he was the channel through which divine guidance poured. For future protection of the Faith, he established the institutions that were outlined in the Will and Testament, fully explained the duties of each institution, and further added to the interpretations available from the writings of the Center of the Covenant.
For the protection of the Faith and the believers, the First Guardian warned us of the danger awaiting the believers from within. In one passage he writes, “attempts that protrude their ugly face from time to time seem for a while able to create a breach in the ranks of the faithful. . .” (emphasis mine). In another passage, he warned the believers of “present enemies, as well as those whom Providence will, through His mysterious dispensations, raise up from within or from without ... however grievous the ordeal of temporary separation from the heart and nerve-centre of their Faith which future unforeseeable disturbances may impose upon” the believers (emphasis mine). In an article dated March 21, 1930, the Guardian writes, “this infant Faith will have to contend with enemies more powerful and more insidious than the cruellest torture-mongers and the most fanatical clerics who have afflicted it in the past” (emphasis mine). In his native language, First Guardian warns the believers of the formation of a false universal house of justice:
قصر مشید بیت العدل عمومی را علی روس الاشهاد رغما لکل عدو لدود و معاند جسور مرتفع سازند و بر اجرای اعظم نوایای رب عزیز موفق و فایز گردند و هر هییتی که به نظام الهی و بر حسب تعلیمات و اصول و شرایط سماویه که در صحف الهیه مشروحا مثبوت و مسطور است کاملا کما ینبقی و یلیق لهذاالمقام الرفیع والمرکز المنیع انتخاب و تشکیل نشود ان هیبت از اعتبار اصلی و رتبه روحانی ساقط و از حق تشریع و وضع احکام و سنن و قوانین غیر منصوصه ممنوغ واز شرف اسنی و قوه مطلقه علیا محروم
The mighty stronghold of the Universal House of Justice will be erected before the eye of the people despite oppositions by the old adversaries and bold foes of the Faith. When they [the believers] successfully achieve this objective, the greatest wish of our Lord will be fulfilled. Any institution that is not established in accordance with the Divine Order, not in conformity with the principles and the conditions recorded in the Holy Writings, as it is required for this august institution,
consequently such an institution is void of credential, deprived of spiritual station, and forbidden to have any right to legislate and enact laws and ordinances which are not explicitly recorded in the Holy Writings. It also lacks the essential qualities and the Divine confirmation (Shoghi Effendi, extracted from a letter, dated 1925, emphasis mine). Shoghi Effendi, from letter of summer of 1925 to Haifa Spiritual Assembly. (Translation added).
In another potent statement, he writes to the Eastern believers:
وای بر نفسی که از الواح نصیحیه قلم اعلی ونعما و الا این دور امنع ابهی رو بتافت و میثاق غلیظ حی لا یموت را واهی و موهون بشمرد وتطورات و تقلبات لازمه این امر خطیر را میزان بطلان و علامت نقصان و انقراض ابین لایزال ایزد متعال بینداشت . امر عظیم است عظیم وحوادسش بس خطیر و جسیم. صرصر امتحا نش شدید است وصراطش احد از سیف حدید. جز جبال بازخه و اطواد شامخه مقاومت ریح عقیم نتواند و جز اقدام ثابته مستقیمه از این منهج قویم نگزرد. شعله انقلابش شررباراست و صاعقه قهرش اشد از لهیب نار.
1992 از شوقی افندی توقیعات مبارکه چاپ المان
Woe unto anyone who ignores the counsels of the Pen of the Most High, revealed in His Tablets, rejects the blessings and bounties of this glorious dispensation, considers the mighty Covenant of the Ever-Lasting God to be baseless and vain- imagining, degrades the validity of this great Cause and Its inevitable changing stages, and imagines these transitions as signs of imperfection and decline in the fortune of this indestructible Faith of God, the Most Exalted. How great, how very great is the Cause [of God]! How very severe Its crises. The storm of Its tribulation is violent, and Its Path sharper than the cutting edge of a sword. None is able to withstand this destructive wind but the peaks and high mountains. No one's feet will pass through this straight Path save those who have firm steps. The blaze of Its ordeal is intensive, and the thunderbolt of Its wrath emerges swifter than the flame of fire. People will die except the believers; the believers will die except those who are tested; those who are tested will die except those who are purified; and those who are purified will be in great danger. Shoghi Effendi, Tawqí’at-i-Mubárakih, Bahá’í-Verlag, 1992. (Translation added).
Dearly beloved friends in Bahá’u’lláh, since the ascension of Shoghi Effendi, the First Guardian, the Bahá’í Faith has been under attack from within. The present administrations have misled us from the true path. They confess to protect the Covenant, but they have removed the institution of Guardianship from the World Order of Baha’u’lláh and have changed and continue to change the Holy Writings to suit their objectives. The themes of the Covenant are twofold: Divine Guidance and protection of the Words. The actions of this administration are in exact opposition to the expressed themes of the Covenant. They have removed the means for Divine Guidance and have changed the Words. This administration cannot be trusted. We need to deepen our understanding of the World Order of Baha’u’lláh as revealed and interpreted by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. Study the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh,” and other materials related to the World Order and see where the truth lies.
I have attached to this letter the following documents for your judgement, reference, and study of the Institution of the Guardianship:
Letter of March 29,1982, to the National Assembly of Australia, by E. S. Yazdani
Letter of April 8, 1988, to Mr. H. Chance by E. S. Yazdani
Statement of October 29, 1993, by E. S. Yazdani
Statement of February 5, 1994, by E. S. Yazdani
Statement of June 15, 1994, by E. S. Yazdani
Declaration of June 16, 1994, by E. S. Yazdani
If we sincerely investigate the truth, we will see that the Institution of the Guardianship is not over and Charles Mason Remey was, in fact, the Second Guardian of the Faith, and the ex- Hands violated the Will and Testament and created division within the ranks of the faithful ones.
I have brought to your attention certain facts that reinforce that the unity of the Faith is based on the continuation of the Guardianship. Please remember that the Institution of the Guardianship is not over, and Mr. Remey was the Second Guardian of the Faith followed by the Third Guardian, Donald A. Harvey, and the present living Fourth Guardian, J. Soghomonian.
The Covenant is protected IF Divine Guidance continues to pour through the Guardian of the Faith into the channels of the World Order of Baha’u’llah and the Words are protected and not changed, distorted, or misrepresented by the unfaithful ones. The reason we see differences among the believers of Christ is because the heads of churches assumed authority after Peter left this world. The same thing happened in Islam. The Imamat of Ali, the first Imam, was denied and violated by the heads of the tribes of Arabia after Mohammad left this world. The same scenario was repeated by a group of people then elevated to the rank of Hands of the Faith after the First Guardian left this world.
I remain faithful in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh as detailed and explained in the Writings. May God protect you.
With Bahá’í Love,
E. S. Yazdani, November 4, 2004
CC: A number of NSAs included NSA of USA and NSA of Canada, a number of NSAs and a number of individuals.
Letter to Mr. Hugh Chance
Mr. Hugh Chance C/O P.O. Box 155
Posted on April 8, 1988
My dearly beloved friend, Mr. H. Chance, Allah’u’Abha,
It was a great pleasure for me to meet you on the eve of the ninth day of Ridvan in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, in May 1987. It was a great night; we celebrated the anniversary of Baha’u’lláh’s 1863 Public Declaration, made in the garden of Ridvan. I look forward to celebrating this occasion with the people of the world, when Bahá’u’lláh’s message is accepted by the people of planet Earth.
I was transferred to Cootamundra to work at the District Office of the Public Works Department. There I met Mr. Jim Crondal, an employee of the same office. During our conversation, we both discovered that we are Bahá’ís. This made us very happy, for there are only a few believers in this area. Jim invited me to his home where I met his Persian wife, Mrs. Dehghan. Later, he and his wife asked me to travel with them to Wagga Wagga, a city in NSW, to meet you at the Ridvan celebration. I did not want to miss the opportunity to meet you, so I accepted their kind invitation. We drove over 100 km to celebrate Ridvan together.
In the meeting, I promised to send you a letter. This letter was written at 85 Sutton Street, Cootamundra, NSW, in response to your comments made at the Ridvan meeting in Wagga Wagga in May 1987 while I was working at the District Office of the Public Works Department of NSW from April 21 to July 1, 1987. It is a great pleasure to share with you the following thoughts.
From my childhood I remember how I was persecuted by Muslim people in my homeland Iran. I remember how they attacked our family in Sarvestan and forced our family to migrate to Shiraz and settle 1 or 2 km away from the house of the Bab, and sometimes the violence forced my parents to keep me out of one school and enrol me in another. Another time, my head was fractured, and we endured other types of persecutions that you already know are still going on against my family and other innocent people in Iran.
However, one type of hostility from this group deepened my understanding of the beloved Faith and caused me to question the validity of the Faith and its institutions, and I thank them very much for this. As our beloved Guardian states:
Such incidents we should regard as the interposition of Providence, designed to fortify our faith, to clarify our vision and to deepen our understanding of the essentials of His Divine Revelation.
Indeed, if we deepen ourselves and understand the principles and writings of the Guardian and have faith in them, no one can deceive and influence us either by action or by manipulation of words.
However, I would like to touch on some of the points you mentioned in the meeting. You stated that a believer should teach the Faith, read materials written by non-Bahá’ís, pay Huquq’u’llah, and deepen himself or herself in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. You strongly emphasized paying Huquq’u’llah and studying the Covenant, and you mentioned the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. Your statement caused the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi, such as the Book of the Covenant, the Will and Testament, “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh,” and other materials related to the Covenant and the administrative order to pass through my mind. I compared these writings with our thoughts as well as writings published and discussed in the meetings after the death of the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi on November 4, 1957.
We say and encourage the believers to trust that Shoghi Effendi is the first and last guardian of the Faith based on the fact that he did not have a physical son and all the branches were either dead or covenant breakers. Based on this we say Shoghi Effendi could not appoint any other person to succeed him. At the same time, we do not bring to the attention of the believers the contents of the Will and Testament, “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh,” and other materials related to the continuation of the Guardianship mentioned in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi’s writings. Let us review the related verses in connection to the Guardianship; the institution that we have assumed is terminated. We say, “There being no successor to Shoghi Effendi as guardian of the Cause of God . . .” The writings, however, do not support this claim.
As we already know, Bahá’u’lláh is the Promised One of all ages. With his declaration, God fulfilled His promise to all mankind. After Bahá’u’lláh’s passing, the Book of the Covenant was opened, and in it ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was appointed to succeed the Blessed Beauty. ‘Abdu’l- Bahá became the Center of the Covenant and the true interpreter of the words revealed by Bahá’u’lláh.
The institution of the Guardianship foretold by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aghdas was fully described and established in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament. Shoghi Effendi was appointed the Guardian of the Faith and successor to the Center of the Covenant, the sole interpreter of the Revealed words and the recipient of Huquq'u'llah. The Guardian was further directed in the Will and Testament to appoint his successor in his own lifetime. Furthermore, the duties of the guardian were fully outlined in “the Dispensation of Baha’u’llah” by Shoghi Effendi.
In his Will and Testament, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states,
O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing (emphasis mine). He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. 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 (emphasis mine).
Shoghi Effendi was required to appoint in his own lifetime his successor. The appointed guardian had to be his son or “another branch.” Shoghi Effendi had no physical son and in
fact, he had no children. Let us study several verses of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s writings to understand the true meaning of “another branch” and see if “branch” is limited to physical relatives of Baha’u’lláh or if “another branch” refers to all believers in the Bahá’í Faith.
Bahá’u’lláh defines the meaning of “branch” in a Tablet addressed to an individual. He states,
Since the believers and the loved ones [of God] are like unto branches and leaves of this Holy Tree [Bahá’u’lláh] therefore whatever befalls upon the original Stock will also befall upon branches, twigs, and leaves (Bahá’u’lláh, Al'vah-i-moba'rakeh, 343).
In this verse, Bahá’u’lláh states that all believers in him are branches, and “branch” is not limited to blood relatives. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in several tablets leaves no doubt that branch refers to all sincere believers in Bahá’u’lláh. In particular ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains that sonship is divided into two realities: physical and spiritual. The first is made of elements and the latter is of spirit. His words follow:
The line of descendants is divided into two kinds. One is the physical descendants, and the other spiritual. One is born of water and earth, and the other is born of soul and heart (‘Abdu’l-Bah’a, Ma’idiy-i-Asmani, Vol. 5, 161).
Regarding the same subject, the following verses may be meditated upon:
The branches (aghsaan) are not limited to certain individuals, they have succession
(Abdu’l-Bahá, Ma'idiy-i-Asmani, Vol. 2, 76).
Verily, God told Prophet Noah explicitly, “Indeed, he [your son] is not of your family; for his conduct is unrighteous” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá , Maka'tib of Vol. 1, 6–11).
[Prophet Abraham asked God] of my descendants? [God] said, “My covenant does not include the wrongdoers.” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Maka'tib of Vol. 1, 6–11).
Truly, the material elements and the earthly natures are not taken into consideration nor they are related to it [spiritual descendants]. . . . Indeed, it is acknowledged that the importance is goodly character, not [physical] lineage. . . . He [God] brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living "and whosoever sets a limitation for God's grace and His glorious bounties, such a man is in error and transgression” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Maka'tib of Vol. 1, 6–11).
“In truth, God is able to do the extraordinary things and reveal signs and wonders . . . "He selects for His mercy whom He wills (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Maka'tib of Vol. 1, 6–11).
Fear not if this branch be severed from this material world and cast its leaves; nay, the leaves thereof shall flourish, for this branch will grow after it is cut off from this world below, it shall reach the loftiest pinnacles of glory, and it shall bear such fruits as will perfume the world with their fragrance.
The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it, a branch from another tree. He both separates and unites (emphasis mine, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 438).
The brothers of his holiness Christ, came to him and said: “These are your brothers.” He answered that his brothers were those who believed in God, and refused to associate with His own brothers (‘Abdu’l-Baáá, Bahá’í World Faith, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 437).
Likewise Qurratu’l-Ayn. . . when she believed in God and was attracted to the Divine Breaths, she forsook her two eldest sons, although they were her two oldest children, because they did not become believers, and thereafter did not meet them. She said: “All the friends of God are my children, but these two are not. I will have nothing to do with them” (‘Abdu’l- Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 437–8).
Shoghi Effendi, in his translation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, transcribes the term “another branch” using lowercase letters in the English usage of the word “branch” and not a capitalized form of “Branch.” It is true that neither the Arabic nor Persian language contain any capital letters, but there are capital letters in the English language. Shoghi Effendi, whom we all accept as the interpreter of the Holy Writings, left no ambiguity that the term “another branch” does apply to any category of people. To our understanding, the translations of the Holy Writings by the Guardian are indeed a form of interpretation. “Another branch” is not written as a proper noun; it is a common noun, is it not?
Continuation of the Guardianship in the Bahá’í Dispensation is supported by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi in their writings. A study of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá leads to the belief that the line of guardians in the Bahá’í Faith cannot be broken. Shoghi Effendi states:
It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of the Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from the power granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha’u’lláh in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Baha’u’lláh, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions. It enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, and assures the continuity of its labors, without presuming in the slightest to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly-defined sphere of jurisdiction (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, Selected Letters, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974, 8).
Shoghi Effendi directed the believer to build the Seat of the Guardian (house) together with the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and the Seat of the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land a few years before he left this world. In a letter to the Eastern Bahá’ís in relation to the interpretation of the Tablet of Carmel, dated 111 BE, he writes,
The Ark of the laws and its proceeding is referred to the Divine Court of Justice, that in reality, it is the Seat of Legislation [the Universal House of Justice], a division of the Bahá’í World Administrative Center on this Holy Mountain. It will be located in a special building in the vicinity of the International Archives that is now the time for its construction. Near to these two august, high ranking structures, another edifice is the Seat of the Guardianship, which is the Center of interpretation, elucidation, and explanation of the revealed laws [of Bahá’u’lláh]; also, it is an aid, complementary to the Legislative Body, and will gradually be established. Adjacent to these three structures will be added one more building, serving as a Teaching
Center, and specified to be the Seat of the Hands of the Cause of God that in accordance with the explicit text of the Will and Testament are given the duties of the protection and propagation of the Cause of God and safeguarding the unity of Its adherents (Shoghi Effendi, translated from a letter dated 111 BE to Eastern believers, (Shoghi Effendi, Tawqí’at-i-mubárakih, Bahá’í-verlag, 1992, 562).
If the line of guardians was to end, why would Shoghi Effendi ask the believers to build a home for future guardians?
Keeping the following two points in mind, 1) that the line of guardians in the Bahá’í Faith cannot be broken, and 2) “another branch” refers to all believers in Bahá’u’lláh in accordance and harmony with the Holy Writings, let us examine what Shoghi Effendi did in his own lifetime regarding his most important duty, the appointment of his successor.
Shoghi Effendi did not nominate his successor in clear language, but the following facts are found in the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi:
The beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, in a November 1929 letter, announced that the appointment of the Hands of the Cause, the connection of the Bahá’í community to the world communities, the formation of international conferences, etc., all depend on the formation of the Universal House of Justice. These are his words translated from the Persian language:
O ye beloved of the Lord! Appointment of the Hands of the Cause, authorization and enforcement of the sacred revealed laws of the Faith, enactment of the secondary laws which are not explicitly recorded in God's Book [The Kitab-i- Aqdas ], convocation of the International Bahá’í Conference, linking the Bahá’í Community to various societies such as, scientific, cultural, religious, and of human welfare; all are dependent and conditioned by the establishment of the Universal House of Justice in the neighborhood of the sacred Shrines, in the Holy Land. For this exalted body is the source of all activities and execution of the affairs of the Bahá’ís. Also, it is an aid and the focal point that this humble servant [Shoghi Effendi] needs to turn to (Shoghi Effendi, letter of November 27, 1929).
The first group of the Hand of the Cause was appointed on December 24, 1951. As Shoghi Effendi promised, it would be necessary for him to form the Universal House of Justice before the appointment of the Hands.
He did, in fact, on January 9, 1951, before the appointment of the Hands, form the embryo of the Universal House of Justice. On the same day the following cablegram was sent to the Bahá’í world:
Proclaim National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch making decision of formation of first International Bahá’í Council, forerunner of supreme administrative institution destined to emerge in fullness of time within precincts beneath shadow of
World Spiritual Centre of Faith already established in twin cities of ‘Akk’a and Haifa. Fulfilment of prophecies uttered by Founder of Faith and Centre of His Covenant culminating in establishment of Jewish State, signalizing birth after lapse of two thousand years of an independent nation in the Holy Land, the swift unfoldment of historic undertaking associated with construction of superstructure of the Bab’s Sepulchre on Mount Carmel, the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions throughout the Bahá’í
world, combine to induct me to arrive at this historic decision making most significant milestone in evolution of administrative order of the Faith of Baha’u’lláh in course of last thirty years. Nascent Institution now created is invested with threefold function: first, to forge link with authorities of newly emerged State; second, to assist me to discharge responsibilities involved erection of mighty superstructure of the Bab’s Holy Shrine; third, to conduct negotiations related to matters of personal status with civil authorities. To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, making its development into officially recognised 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 Centre destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighbourhood of Twin Holy Shrines. Hail with thankful, joyous heart at long last the constitution of International Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding lustre upon second epoch of Formative Age of Bahá’í Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since inception of Administrative Order of Faith on morrow of ‘Abdu’l-Bah’a’s Ascension, ranking second only to glorious immortal events associated with ministries of the Three Central Figures of Faith in course of First Age of most glorious Dispensation of the five thousand century Bahá’í cycle. Advice publicise announcement through Public Relations Committee (emphasis mine).
On March 2, 1951, the Guardian sent another cablegram to the Bahá’í world. In this cablegram Shoghi Effendi appointed Charles Mason Remey as President of the embryo of the Universal House of Justice. The cablegram reads:
Greatly welcome assistance of the newly formed International Council, particularly its president, Mason Remey, and its Vice President, Amelia Collins, through contact with authorities designed to spread the fame, consolidate the foundation and widen the scope of influence emanating from the twin spiritual, administrative World Centres permanently fixed in the Holy Land constituting the midmost heart of the entire planet (emphasis mine).
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in one of His Tablet writes:
… the embryo possesses from the first all perfection, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste— in one word, all the powers—but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, World Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1976, 313).
The Center of the Covenant in His Will and Testament states:
By this body [Universal House of Justice] all 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.
Let us summarize the facts I have outlined so far:
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his Will and Testament made it the duty of the Guardian to appoint his successor
“another branch” was defined by Baha’u’lláh to refer to all who believe in Him
Shoghi Effendi could appoint any believer to be his successor
Shoghi Effendi in 1929 promised the formation of the Universal House of Justice before the appointment of the Hands of the Cause
On January 9, 1951, the embryo of the Universal House of Justice was formed by Shoghi Effendi. It became “the greatest event . . . since inception of administrative order . . . ranking second only to glorious immortal events associated with Ministries of the Three Central figure of the Faith in Course of First Age of most glorious Dispensation of the five thousand century Bahá’í cycle. . . ”
On March 2, 1951, Charles Mason Remey was appointed President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his Will and Testament states that the Guardian is the Head of the Universal House of Justice, and the head of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian.
In Ridvan 117 BE (April 1960), C. M. Remey sent his proclamation to the Bahá’ís of the United States of America. Based on his appointment as president of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, Mr. Remey in his proclamation states, “…The line of the Guardianship of the Bahá’í Faith is unbroken for I have been the Guardian of the Faith since the death of the Beloved Shoghi Effendi…” (I received some “strange mail” several years ago. In the mail was a copy of the proclamation. I did not send the “strange mail” to the NSA as the believers had been directed to do, without opening it.)
Now! Has Shoghi Effendi appointed his successor in his own lifetime? Or has he left the Ark of the Cause of God on a stormy ocean without a Captain? Has he left this world without the Divine Judge? We now have answers for these questions.
How can we ignore all the above-mentioned verses and at the same time be firm in His Covenant? How?
How can we reject all the above divine verses and yet accept the following statement?
Prior to his passing in 1957 Shoghi Effendi appointed twenty-seven Hands of the Cause of God charged with the propagation and protection of the Faith. Through their efforts with the election of the first Universal House of Justice was called in April 1963. . . in accordance with the provision of Writings of Baha’u’lláh.
We say that we have the infallible Universal House of Justice and that this body is the judge for the people of the world. We also know that the Hands of the Cause are fallible and are subject to human emotion. The salient questions are: How can the fallible Hands of the Cause create an infallible Universal House of Justice? How can the creation be better than its creator? How can the painting be superior to the painter? How? How appropriate this Persian poem is:
ذات نایافته از هستی بخش کی تواند که شود هستی بخش؟
خشک ابری که بود زآب تهی ناید از وی صفت آب دهی
Given unto thee no creative essence!
How can thou become creative in essence?
A dry air which lacks water!
Worthy not of bringing forth water
We have read the writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá regarding the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice. In Some Answered Questions, he explains that there are three kinds of infallibilities (as I understand and/or comprehend it): Supreme infallibility, acquired infallibility, and conferred infallibility. Baha’u’lláh possesses Supreme infallibility. The second form of infallibility refers to Guardians of the Faith and the last refers to the Universal House of Justice. In accordance with the Will and Testament, the Guardian is the permanent head of the Universal House of Justice. Because of this, the Universal House of Justice becomes infallible. Shoghi Effendi left no doubt of this fact. He states in the Persian language:
قصر مشید بیت العدل عمومی را علی رؤس الاشهاد رغما لکل عدو لدود و معاند جسور مرتفع سازند و بر اجرای اعظم نوایای مقدسه رب عزیز موفق و فایز گردند و هر هیا تی ] اشاره به بیت العدل کاذب در حیفا است که مطابق نصوص مبارکه تشکیل نشده است [ که به نظام الهی و بر حسب تعلیمات و اصول و شرایط سماویه که در صحف الهیه مشروحا مثبوت و مسطور است کا ملا کما ینبغی ویلیق لهذا المقا م الرفیع ولمرکز المنیع انتخاب و تشکیل نشود ان هیات از اعتبار اصلی و رتبه روحانی ساقط و از حق تشریع ووضع احکا م و سنن و قوانین غیر منصوصه ممنوع و از شرف اسنی و قوه مطلقه علیا محروم
از توقیع نوامبر 1929 و توقیع تموز 1925 میلادی نوشتهء شوقی افندی
The mighty stronghold of the Universal House of Justice will be erected before the eye of the people despite oppositions by the old adversaries and bold foes of the Faith. When they [the believers] successfully achieve this objective, the greatest wish of our Lord will be fulfilled. Any institution that is not established in accordance with the Divine Order, not in conformity with the principles and the conditions recorded in the Holy Writings, as it is required for this august institution, consequently such an institution is void of credential, deprived of spiritual station, and forbidden to have any right to legislate and enact laws and ordinances which are not explicitly recorded in the Holy Writings. It also lacks the essential qualities and the Divine confirmation (Shoghi Effendi, extracted from a letter, dated 1925, emphasis mine).
Dear Mr. Hugh Chance, if we build up our present administration to absolute perfection, we will have a body without a soul. The Guardian writes:
Should we build up the administrative order to a point of absolute perfection but at the same time allow it to be hampered or disconnected from the Channels within through which channels the Holy Spirit of the Cause pours forth, we would have nothing more than a perfect body out of touch with and cut off from the finer promptings of the soul or spirit. (Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration A compilation, The Broadwater Press Limited, 1963, 1).
Rejecting the continuation of the line of guardians, we have nothing but a body without a soul.
Another point you mentioned in the meeting was the payment of Huquq'u'llah by the believers. In fact, in the last few years the believers have been educated to pay their Huquq'u'llah. The recent booklet in Persian on Huquq'u'llah is a compilation of writings on the subject. Unfortunately, the administration failed to quote an important verse in the Will and Testament that states, “It is to be offered (Huquq'u'llah) through the Guardian of the
Cause of God. . . .” The Guardian according to the Will and Testament is the sole recipient of Huquq'u'llah and nobody else is given the right to receive it.
As the name suggests, Huquq'u'llah is the right of God. It is given to His representative— who is the Guardian. When we assume the termination of Guardianship, how can we change the writing and try to get what does not belong to us? Huquq’u’llah is given solely to the Guardian, and he is given the right to use it as he wishes. When we know Huquq'u'llah is referred to the Guardian of the Cause, how can we change the verse of the Will and Testament to “Further, there devolve upon it (Universal House of Justice) the duties of directing the work of the Hands of the Cause . . . and of providing for the receipt and disbursement of Huquq'u'llah” (emphasis mine)?
My dearly beloved friend Mr. Hugh Chance, you mentioned in the meeting that we should study the Writings and become firm in the Covenant. How can we become firm in the Covenant while we ignore the above firm and inarguable verses? How can we invite the believers to be firm in the Covenant while we say the Guardianship ended with the death of Shoghi Effendi? Were we not told by Shoghi Effendi that a true believer should recognize “the station of the forerunner, the Author and the True Exemplar of the Bahá’í cause, as set in ‘Abdu’l-Bah’a’s Testament, unreserved acceptance of, and submission to, whatsoever has been revealed by their pen; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s Sacred Will. . . .” (emphasis mine)? How can we permit double standards? How? How can we satisfy our conscience?
If we follow the Hands’ version of the Covenant, we are considered firm in the Covenant and everybody pays his or her respects. If someone starts to study the Covenant and learns the contents of the Will and Testament, The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh, and other material related to the Administration Order, they are picked up by the informers in our community. They are reported to the higher levels of the Administration and new types of persecutions start; these are psychological persecutions. The initial step is to discredit their standing in the community and accuse them of being an enemy of the Faith, a covenant breaker, etc. It does not take long before a believer finds themself without relatives and friends to turn to. This type of persecution is carried out against someone who has no realization of what is happening. The person is never given a chance to defend themself; suffering in silence is the result for the victim.
We have declared many believers to be Covenant breakers. We did so without having the slightest right to do so. Shoghi Effendi states it is the sole right of the Guardian of the Faith to declare a person a Covenant Breaker. In Persian he states,
اخراج و طرد افراد از شریعت الهیه ... جزء اختیارات خاصه ولی امرالله یعنی رئیس عالیه جامعه میباشد
نظامات بهائی ص 85
Expulsion and excommunication of the individuals from the Cause of God . . . are part of the authorities of the Guardian, namely the spiritual head of the Bahá’í Community (Neza'mat-e-Bahá’í, 85).
و همچنین ... اعاده نفوس مطروده بجامعه بهائی نیز مختص ولی امرالله است. اخبار امری شماره 106
Reinstatement of the former covenant breakers is also one of the duties of the Guardian of the Faith (Akh'bar-e-Am’ri, No. 106).
How can we be so unjust as to declare a person a violator of the covenant without having the right to do so? How? How can we be so cruel? Is this not the same as the Muslim people do against our dear friends in Iran?
At the present time, the believers in the Bahá’í Faith are divided into two separate groups. One group, which is the majority, follows the Hands’ doctrine that there was no Guardian after Shoghi Effendi. The other group, which is the minority, follows C. M. Remey as their second Guardian. They say the line of guardians is not broken and will continue in the Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh until the next manifestation of God appears after at least one thousand years has elapsed. It seems to me that the Bahá’í Faith is already divided into different sects, and I pray to God He forgives us if we failed to see the truth.
If those who believe in the continuation of the line of guardians are right, and indeed Mr. Remey was the Second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, we have committed an unforgivable mistake. This means that the Hands of the Faith have failed to recognize the truth. They dragged themselves and other believers into waywardness. They have created the foundation for further religious persecution, as the Bahá’í Faith will be divided into different sects and it will not accomplish its main purpose, which is the unity of mankind. New generations will remember us as the most unfaithful ones that have betrayed Baha’u’lláh.
My dear friend, please read the above in the Mansion of Baha’u’lláh and meditate upon it and remember Baha’u’lláh’s statement in the Kitáb-i-Iqan:
It is evident unto thee that the Birds of Heaven and Doves of Eternity speak a twofold language. One language, the outward language, is devoid of allusions, is unconcealed and unveiled; that it may be a guiding lamp and beaconing light whereby wayfarers may attain the heights of holiness, and seekers may advance into the realm of eternal reunion. Such are the unveiled traditions and the evident verses already mentioned. The other language is veiled and concealed, so that whatever lieth hidden in the heart of the malevolent may be made manifest and their innermost being be disclosed. Thus hath S’adiq, son of Muhammad, spoken “God verily will test them and sift them. This is the divine standard; this is the Touchstone of God wherewith He proveth His servants. None apprehendeth the meaning of these utterances except them whose hearts are assured, whose souls have found favour with God, and whose minds are detached from all else but Him. In such utterances, the literal meaning, as generally understood by the people, is not what hath been intended (emphasis mine).
To end this letter, I leave you with these verses from Hidden Words:
O friends that the favour is complete, the argument fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what your endeavours in the path of detachment will reveal . . .
Dear friend, BE JUST. As Baha’u’lláh says, “The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away there from if thou desirest Me . . .”
I hope this letter finds you well and happy. I am looking forward to receiving your reply. With Bahá’í love,
Your very true friend, Signed
[This letter was posted on April 8, 1988. Mr. Chance acknowledged its receipt but did not reply.]
Statement of October 29, 1993
On October 22, 1993, at about 7:30 p.m., I had a strange meeting with members of the so- called Bahá’í Community. The meeting was peculiar in the manner it was arranged and conducted. The following is a record of the events before and during the meeting:
Late September 1993, Dr. Bejan Samali, a member of the Hornsby Community, requested that I prepare a program and chair a meeting. He advised me that Mr. Mehrdad Arjmand, a member of the Auxiliary Board, was going to give a talk on the Three Year Plan for the Persian community. The request was unexpected. The followers of the Haifa Group had ignored me for decades for the views I held on the Guardianship. I mentioned this to my wife and stated that these people were “cooking something up” for me. What it was, I did not know. However, I accepted the request and prepared a short program for the meeting.
Several Persian Community members attended the meeting, and Mr. Arjmand reviewed the plan for the believers. Mr. Arjmand also discussed other subjects such as the behavior of the people he admired, people above him and in the present administration. In particular, he mentioned that the Universal House of Justice had done this and that and was capable of doing this and that. I kept quiet and made no comments. This was the first time I had met Mr. Arjmand.
In early October 1993, Mr. Arjmand called me and requested that I meet the Board of Counsellor representative. He recommended three dates from which to choose. I agreed to October 22, 1993. I asked Mr. Arjmand who I was going to meet, the subject matter of the discussions, and where the venue was. To all of these reasonable questions, he replied, “I do not know.” I insisted, and he agreed to find out and let me know.
Mr. Arjmand called me again on October 18, 1993, at about 9 p.m. He asked for my confirmation of the meeting time of October 22, 1993. I confirmed and asked him the above referenced questions again. Again he said, “I do not know.” I asked why he was being so secretive. What did we have to hide? I further said that in the Bahá’í Faith and among the believers, there should not be any secrets. To all, he said, “I do not know.” I had a particularly good idea about the subject of discussion. My guess was that these people wanted to know my faith in the Guardianship. I told myself if this was the case, the Guardianship was not a matter to argue about. I remembered the contents of a letter from the Lucknow LSA to the Custodian Hands of the Faith. A copy of the letter together with some comments by Charles Mason Remey is attached to this statement for further reference.
On October 21, 1993, Mr. Arjmand called me again and advised me to be at the Artarmon Inn, 472 Pacific Highway, Artarmon, in Sydney. I asked him who I was going to meet. “You will be met in the hotel foyer,” he said. He did not leave a phone number for me to contact in case of emergency or if I had to cancel the meeting. I felt angry. I had every reason not to attend the meeting and completely ignore these arrogant, impolite people for the manner I was being treated.
On October 22, 1993, I left home at about 7 p.m. My wife voiced her concern. I calmed her down and said, “Trust in God. He does whatever He wishes.”
I arrived at the hotel car park at 7:20 p.m. on the arranged date and waited for ten minutes in the car before I went to the foyer and was met by a person who introduced himself as Dr. Eshraghian. It appeared that he knew me. He accompanied me to a room on the second floor. There, I met another person by the name of Mrs. V. Haake (V. Samandari). She advised me that she was related to Mr. T. Samandari, then one of the Hands of the Cause. It appeared to me that the positions in the present Bahá’í administration were hereditary, just like the British political establishment. However, I had never met these people. Normally, talking to believers about the continuation of the Guardianship is done privately and in the absence of the supporters of the present administration in Haifa.
The room was a standard hotel room with a small table with three seats around it. Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake sat on one side of the table and I sat on the other. The setup was arranged for an interrogation: The interrogators sat on one side of the table and the victim on the other.
After reading some prayers, Mrs. Haake stated that they were representing the “Universal House of Justice” and they had some questions to ask me. Her first question asked about my faith concerning the Guardianship. In response to her question, reflecting the manner I had been treated so far, I said something to the effect that it appeared to me they were doing exactly what the priests did in the Dark Ages and the mullahs were doing in Iran at the present time. I continued to state that they had set me up for this meeting, had not advised me in advance of the subject of their discussions with me, had not advised me in advance with whom I was going to meet, and, above all, I had not received a response to my letter of April 8, 1988, to Mr. Chance, a member of the Universal House of Justice. Mrs. Haake continued to ask the same question. I knew their intention, and I was not prepared to give them the satisfaction they were desperately waiting for. I then continued to say that if the line of Guardianship was over, no one could change that, and if the Guardianship was not over, you and the rest of the world could do nothing to prevent it. I then reminded them of the contents of a potent Persian prayer by Bahá’u’lláh, which I had read at the commencement of the meeting. In it, Bahá’u’lláh prays to the Almighty God that His Cause be protected from the various attacks,
سراج امرت را بدهن حکمت برافروختی از اریاح مختلفه حفظش نما سراج از تو و زجاج از تو اسباب آسمان و زمین در قبظهء قدرت تو. امرا را عدل عنایت فرما و علما را انصاف توئی آن مقتدریکه بحرکت قلم مبرمت را نصرت فرمودی و اولیا را راه نمودی توئی مالک قدرت و ملیک اقتدار لاالاالا انت العزیز المختار.
ادعیه حضرت محبوب چاپ آلمان 143 بدیع ص 357
O God! My God!
Thou hath lightenth Thy Cause with the essence of Thy Wisdom. [Then] Protect it from diverse blasts [caused by Thy advisories.] It is Thy Light and Thy Wisdom, the means of the Heaven and the Earth art in Thy firm Power. Grant the commanders with justice and endow the religious leaders with fairness. Thou art Power full who with the movement of Pen; made Thy proven Cause victorious and guided Thy chosen ones. Thou art possessor of Power and holder of Might. There is no God but Thee, Who art admired and Independent. (Bahá’u’lláh, Ad’íyyih-Hadrat-i-Mahbúb, NSA of Germany, 1980)
Following their failure to gain the satisfaction they were looking for, one of my interrogators asked me to send some materials on the Guardianship to the believers in Persia. My reply to this request was no. In fact, to this date, I have not sent any material on the subject of the Guardianship to any Persian believer.
The meeting closed between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. on October 22, 1993.
Before leaving the room, Dr. Eshraghian whispered in my ear not to reveal this meeting and what was discussed with other people. I strongly believe that Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake recorded the discussions. Otherwise, Dr. Eshraghian would not need to whisper in my ear not to reveal these matters with the others. If there was no recording machine in the room, he would have spoken in a normal voice.
The above is generally what was discussed in the meeting.
I found these people to have no faith in the Writings of Baha’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, or the interpretations of the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi. I strongly believe that these people are supporting the false universal house of justice formed by the erring Hands of the Faith. Their actions are against the stated Holy Writings and the interpretation our beloved First Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi. I pray to God that the Cause of Baha’u’lláh be protected from these erring souls.
This document was written at 50 the Esplanade, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120, Australia, on October 29, 1993.
S. Yazdani, October 10, 1993
Statement of February 5, 1994
Following the meeting on October 22, 1993, with Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake’s (refer to October 29, 1993, statement for details), they requested a second meeting on January 25, 1994. The arrangement of the meeting and the outcome of the discussions follow.
I received a letter from Mrs. V. Haake on January 7, 1994, requesting that I meet with her and Dr. Eshraghian again. I acknowledged receipt of their letter, but I did not accept their invitation to meet a second time. After the first meeting, I did not want to meet again. The first meeting, October 22, 1993, was imposed on me by these people. I was set up. The reason I did not want to meet them again was clear to me then. Their aim was to find out from my own lips my commitment on the issue of the Guardianship and to give them an excuse to separate me from my beloved wife and dear children. Neither did I want to say something against my faith in Baha’u’lláh and the Covenant as stated in the Will and Testament and the Book of the Covenant. Further, they had attempted different methods to remove my wife’s support from me. They offered her various positions in their administration and provided other opportunities to create division between her and me. I have not given them any support since March 12, 1981, when I resigned from the Local Spiritual Assembly of Newcastle. Furthermore, I wrote to the Third Guardian of the Faith, Mr. Donald Harvey, and asked him if I was obliged to inform the Haifa Group concerning my faith in the Guardianship. His reply was that the Haifa group and their supporters deserve no consideration.
However, I did discuss this matter with the people I could trust. They thought it better to meet them. I was advised, “Let us see what they have to offer.” Regrettably, I decided to meet them again at the above referenced venue.
In the meeting, the room arrangement was similar to the October 22, 1993, meeting. It was the same normal hotel room with a table and three chairs seated around it. Two seats were on one side of the table and one on the other side of the table. The interrogators, again Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake, sat on one side and I sat on the other.
The meeting commenced with prayers. Then, the same familiar questions were asked and Mrs. Haake handed me the following printed materials:
a cover note dated 24.01.94 from Mrs. Haake; CONTINENTAL BOARD OF COUNSELLORS
For protection & Propagation of the Bahá’í in Australia 24 January 1994
Mr. Enayatullah (Zabih) Yazdani
P. O. Box 563, Hornsby, New South Wales, 2077
Dearly Loved Friend
Enclosed please find a copy of the letter of the Universal House of Justice dated 12 December 1993 addressed to Counsellor Kamran Eshraghian and Violette Haake, along with the material provided by the Supreme Body. I
hope that all your concerns and doubts will be eliminated upon study and meditation on the guidance enclosed.
With Loving Bahá’í Greetings Signed
A copy of a letter from the so called universal house of justice addressed to Kamran Eshraghian and Violette Haake.
A memorandum dated October 24, 1993, together with three chapters of a book by M. Adib Taherzadeh: “The Arch-breaker of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant,” “The Universal House of Justice,” and “The Chief Stewards”
A copy of pages 204 to 207 and 230 to 237 from The Ministry of the Custodians, 1957–1963 (Biddles Ltd, Guildford and King’s Lynn, 1992),
Messages from the so-called Universal House of Justice dated October 6, 1993; March 9, 1965; May 27, 1969; and December 1969.
In addition to the above-mentioned printed material, I was handed an unsigned without letter head note instructing me what to do next. The note was read and explained to me, and they requested that I respond in writing accordingly. The note reads;
To clearly state his position in relation to the Covenant, express his loyalty to it
His rejection of the spurious claim to the Guardianship by Mason Remey
His acceptance of authority of the Universal House of Justice
He is to provide us with a letter addressed to the Universal House of Justice, which expresses his position in writing; within three weeks.
A hand written address; C/o Mrs V. Haake
140 Argyle Way Wantirna South
Victoria 3152 was added to the above referenced instructions.
The meeting was short, and before I left the room Dr. Eshraghian whispered in my ear not to mention this matter with the others and keep it to myself. This did not leave me any doubt that, once again, the room held recording equipment and the discussion had been recorded. I did not expect anything less from these cowardly people. What is more, when I was in the lift going to the ground floor, I met a lady. I did not recognize her, but she seemed familiar. Was she one of the counsellors? If she was one of them, again I was set up.
I reviewed the printed materials and none of them were unfamiliar. I had read these materials before and I did not find any acceptable or logical proof that the line of Guardianship was over and the body without a Guardian as its head was infallible. Their argument was weak and baseless. Propagation of this poisonous material has been afore stated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his writing. It would be appropriate to append a copy of this tablet to this statement (refer to Attachment G). The present administration in Haifa and their supporters have twisted the words to suit their objectives. I do not have an answer much more appropriate than that of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá ’s on the covenant breakers (refer to attachment H.) The Guardian Shoghi Effendi states that “We should feel truly thankful for such futile attempts to undermine our beloved Faith – attempts that protrude their ugly face from time to time, seem for a while able to create a breach in the ranks of the faithful, recede finally into the obscurity of oblivion, and are thought of no more.” (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha’u’llah, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974, 3).
I decided not to comply with these people's requests as they do not deserve any consideration whatsoever.
This statement was written on February 5, 1994, at 50 The Esplanade, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120, Australia.
E. S. Yazdani, February 5, 1994
Statement of June 15, 1994
This statement was prepared following the receipt of Mrs. Haake’s letter dated May 10, 1994, and is a response to that letter. This is the only response provided to Mr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake’s request when they asked me to accept the present administration and proclaim the end to the Guardianship in the Bahá’í Faith, or otherwise. Under a separate heading, my stand is clearly stated in my letter of March 29, 1982, to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia and in my letter to Mr. Chance. Under separate declaration, I will reconfirm my faithfulness in the Bahá’í Faith and the continuation of the institution of the Guardianship.
Further, it is not my intention to post this statement to Mrs. Haake or others at this stage. The reason I am not dispatching this statement is that my family has been taken “hostage” by the Haifa group. My family, then, was not grasping the continuation of the institution of the Guardianship fully. Should the Haifa group decide to blacklist me, my wife and my three children, Shahram, 12, Shahryyar, 10, and Shamim, 8, may lose me. This would not be fair to my family. My family and I need each other very much during this time of difficulties in my spiritual journey in the material world. I will send this statement out at an appropriate time in the future. At this stage, the most appropriate action is to ignore the Haifa group and its supporters, such as Mrs. Haake and Dr. K. Eshraghian.
Following my meeting of January 25, 1994, with Mrs. Haake and Dr. Eshraghian, Mrs. Haake called me a number of times to receive my response to their request, which I did not respond to. As a result, she sent me a letter dated May 29, 1994, with the same request.
On April 21 or 22, a note appeared in my post office box informing me that I had registered mail to collect from the post office. Early in April, I had gone to the post office and was handed a registered letter from Mrs. Haake. I did not accept the mail and instructed the post officer to return it to sender. The post officer wrote on the envelope that the addressee did not accept the mail and it was sent back to the sender, Mrs. Haake.
On May 12, 1994, Mrs. Haake made a phone call to my wife requesting that she go to the post office and collect on my behalf a piece of mail addressed to me. Initially, my wife did not consent to her request. Then Mrs. Haake threatened my wife and told her that if she did not collect the mail, and your husband does not respond to the letter, you and your husband will be excommunicated. She pressured my wife to such a degree that she suffered an asthma attack. Thankfully, my wife had access to her medication, otherwise I could have lost her precious life. My wife consulted my brother-in-law, Mr. K. Mehdizadeh, and he encouraged her to collect the mail. When I came home from work the evening of May12, 1994, my wife handed me an opened envelope containing a letter from Mrs. Haake and advised me what had happened during the day. A copy of the letter dated May 10, 1994, is attached.
I was extremely upset about Mrs. Haake’s shameful and shocking treatment of my wife. I was about to call the local police and report Mrs. Haake’s behavior. I gained control of myself and advised my wife that I in no way will comply with their demand.
Around May 17, 1994, Mrs. Haake called us. My wife answered the phone. I refused to talk to Mrs. Haake. My wife insisted and asked me to talk to her. I was reluctant to do so. Finally, I accepted the call. On that day, I was feeling extremely angry and tired. Angry for the way these people treated us and tired because I had just unloaded paving tiles for our home. On
the phone, Mrs. Haake repeated the same scenario several times. While I was talking on the phone, I raised my voice and complained about her unacceptable treatment of us. She was not concerned about my feelings. The only thing she was interested in was whether I had given in to the demands. I refused to respond to their demand.
Sometime in the latter half of May, I was invited to a meeting arranged by one of our relatives. In the meeting, a few suggestions were made. I did not accept any of them and I advised them that I refuse to comply with Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake’s request. I did not want to give them the satisfaction they were desperately waiting for. These people are like snakes. They do their best to inject their venom into their victim. People should be careful when dealing with these types of people.
I believe it is appropriate to touch on Mrs. Haake’s letter of May 10. The letter is copied as follows:
CONTINENTAL BOARD OF COUNSELLORS
For the Protection & Propagation of the Bahá’í Faith in Australia 10 May 1994
Mr. Enayatullah (Zabih) Yazdani
P. O. Box 563 Hornsby,
New South Wales Dear Bahá’í Friend
Counsellor Kamran Eshraghian and I appreciated the opportunity to meet with you in Sydney on 25 January 1994, and I was glad to be able to talk to you on the telephone on 10 March 1994.
As you are well aware, a basic aim of the Bahá’í faith is the preservation of the unity of the Bahá’í community through adherence to its laws and precepts; this opens the way for the Bahá’í community to act as an agent promoting unity in the larger society. A unique feature of this faith is the provision of a Covenant by which the details of its organization and administration are prescribed in the authoritative Bahá’í Writings, and the followers of Baha’u’lláh are expected to give unqualified adherence to the Administrative Order which has come into beings under the provision of the Covenant. By this means, the Bahá’í Faith is able to avoid the tragic fate which has afflicted the other religions of the world, where the struggles for leadership and control, an arrogant sense of superiority, and adamant insistence on propounding a personal viewpoint, have wreaked such havoc on their unity, harmony and cohesion.
You have been, most regrettably, a source of agitation and unrest in the Bahá’í community, because of your propagation of views you know to be quite contrary to those of the authoritative texts of the religion to which you profess to adhere. Our response as Counsellors has been to offer you as much loving assistance as was possible, providing you with a wealth of clarifying materials and holding lengthy discussions with you on the issues of concern. Following our 25 January 1994 meeting with you, we were confident that your careful study of the documents given to you then would clarify for you the issues concerning you about the Guardianship and about the legitimacy of the present-day administration of the Faith.
At the meeting we informed you that, under the circumstances, the time had come for you to express your position clearly in writing. Specifically you were asked to provide us with a letter, within three weeks of the 25 January meeting, addressed to the Universal House of Justice as Head of the Faith, in which you clearly state your position in relation to the Covenant, categorically set out your attitude to the spurious and unwarranted claim to the Guardianship by Charles Remey. And state precisely whether you accept the authority of the presently constituted Universal House of Justice.
We have awaited patiently your response, and are disappointed that until this time, you have failed to make one. As you can well appreciate, we need this information so that it be determined whether or not you are to be regarded as a member of the Bahá’í Faith; you are, of course, free to believe whatever you wish, but there is a clear set of beliefs and attitudes associated with membership of the Bahá’í Faith, and the Universal House of Justice needs to be informed where you stand on these.
For this reason, the Counsellors are forced now to ask for a letter in which you state clearly whether or not you accept the Universal House of Justice, as now established and functioning in the Holy Land, as the Head of the Faith and its central institution to which all Bahá’ís must turn, and acknowledge that there has been no successor to Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Cause of God. We request that the letter be addressed to the Universal House of Justice and send to the undersigned for onward transmission by 31 May 1994. You will understand that we cannot continue indefinitely with this process of setting dates which you fail to meet, and so you should understand that your continued membership in the Bahá’í Faith must necessarily be called into question if you fail to meet the 31 May 1994 deadline.
Be assured of my prayers for you and your family, as you strive to clarify your attitude to the fundamental principles of the Bahá’í Administrative Order.
With Loving Bahá’í Greetings Signed
I comment in order on these paragraphs:
On Paragraph 1
I confirm the meeting and the phone call, but I do not believe that they were happy to see me. If they were sincere, they would not have done what they did to me and my family for decades. On the surface, they appear to be pure water, but in reality they are nothing but deadly poison. They pretend to be shepherds, but in reality are wolves.
On Paragraph 2
What a twist of words. On the one hand, they preach the unity of the faith, and on the other hand, they claim the end to the institution of the Guardianship. If they want unity, and are sincere in their belief, how can we have unity in the absence of the Guardian as the Head of the Faith? How? The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, states that the Guardian “enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures
the continuity of its labors” (emphasis mine). In another passage, he says, “Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha’u’lláh would be mutilated (emphasis mine) and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God” (emphasis mine). Further, the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh is well-defined in His Book of the Covenant and the Will and Testament. What laws and principles is Mrs. Haake writing about? The contents of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha or the principles stated in “The Dispensation of Baha’u’lláh” by Shoghi Effendi? The theme of the Covenant is twofold; protection of the Words and guarding the unity of the Faith. This administration has violated both. They have changed the Words and they have proclaimed the end to the institution of the Guardianship. If Mrs. Haake is writing about the ex-Hands’ covenant, I do not accept it and I will have nothing to do with it.
On Paragraph 3
Mrs. Haake has called me “a source of agitation.” Why? Is it because I teach the continuation of the Guardianship in the Faith? Or because I do not follow the Haifa group blindly? Or because I have accepted the Holy Writings on the Covenant of Baha’u’lláh? If these are the reasons, I consider them a compliment. If Mrs. Haake considers this as an insult to me, I must state that people like Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake have been around in all the past dispensations. They have shown their true face in different ways. I am not concerned at all.
I have read the “wealth of clarifying material” and I found in it nothing but poisonous material sent by erring Hands and their supporters to mislead the innocent believers in the Faith. This “wealth of clarifying material” has “murdered” thousands of souls that were progressing during the lifetime of the First Guardian of the Faith. I had already read them. These materials are the evidence of the violation of the Will and Testament and the Covenant. The fact is that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has foretold the propagation of these deceptive materials in His own time. The present-day administration is not legitimate. This administration has changed the Words and proclaimed an end to the line of Guardians.
On Paragraph 4
I do not follow this administration and do not take any direction from them, nor do I respond to any threat from anybody. I never promised to respond within three weeks, or more or less. I am responsible to Almighty God only, not to Mrs. Haake. I do not comply with their request.
On Paragraph 5
Again, Mrs. Haake is threatening me. This is the only weapon these people have. I wished they were brave enough to arrange a meeting with me in the presence of other members of the community. Then I would open my mouth and prove to them that the Guardianship is not over and the present body—budded as the so-called universal house of justice—is a false Universal House of Justice. Unfortunately, they arranged to meet with me in complete secrecy.
On Paragraph 6
I do not comply with Mrs. Haake’s request. She deserves no consideration. And the institution she is representing is not found in the Bahá’í Administration and is purely a man-
made institution. This institution is not going to be replaced with the institution of Hands of the Cause. And, as the institution of the Guardianship continues, the divinely established institution of the Hands of the Cause will continue to carry out its twin duties of protection and propagation under the direction of the infallible Guardian of the Faith.
No thanks. I do not need Mrs. Haake’s prayer. Let her keep it to herself. I have decided to ignore Mrs. Haake and Dr. K. Eshraghian’s request. I leave the rest to the Almighty God.
It is now early morning and I must close this statement. I am very tired. I am suffering in silence. I have no support except from a few. My three children, Shahram, Sharyyar, and Shamim, are too young to understand what is going on. May God protect them. I am deeply sorry that my beloved wife must suffer with me. I am sure the tears I am now shedding will have some effect. The Haifa group and their supporters in the last 17 or 18 years have caused me a lot of pain. The only thing that comforts me is my family and remembrance of a sweet dream that I had some time ago. In my dream, I saw myself in the house of Baha’u’lláh in Tehran. There were many people there. All were standing and waiting for someone to arrive. When the door opened, the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, arrived. His first question from the crowd was, “Where is the person that is so dear to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?” The people turned their faces to me and with a beautiful smile they pointed me to Shoghi Effendi. This was only a dream. But a sweet dream.
I close this statement with a quotation from the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi: “This infant Faith will have to contend with enemies more powerful and more insidious than the cruellest torture mongers and the most fanatical clerics who have afflicted it in the past.” I pray to the Almighty God that this wonderful Faith be protected. I believe this is only a temporary separation from the heart and nerve center of the Faith.
At an appropriate time, I will send this statement out. But at this stage it will not be posted.
This statement was written on June 15, 1994, at 50 The Esplanade, Thornleigh, NSW, 2120, Australia, to record the ugly behavior of Dr. Eshraghian and Mrs. Haake, representing the body, the so-called Universal House of Justice, a man-made institution.
I remain faithful in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh.
E. S. Yazdani, June 15, 1994