Third Guardian of the Baha'i Faith
Donald Alphonse Harvey was appointed by Charles Mason Remey, the Second Guardian of the Baha'i Faith, to be the third Guardian. Mason wrote in his own hand:
"In the Most Holy name of El-Baha, I the Second Guardian of the Baha'i Faith hereby appoint Donald Harvey at my death to be my successor the third Guardian of the Faith. Mason Remey
May 23, 1967
P.S. May the Spirit of El-Baha protect this line of Spiritual descent from Abdu'l-Baha the Center of the Covenant of El-Baha. C.M.R.
In making this appointment he fulfilled the law of succession in Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament. The question may be asked why did Mason choose Donald Harvey? When we visited Mason's beautiful and unique grave in 1982, we received the answer. Pepe told us, in the years before Mason's death; Donald came many times and sat at Mason's feet, drinking in all that Mason would tell him. His loyalty and devotion and humility inspired Mason as well as Pepe, Mason's adopted son. While those who pledged loyalty to Mason in the beginning of his guardianship were gradually slipping away because they listened to false rumors about him, and were conditioned by their failure to understand properly the reason for his directives, Donald remained loyal and faithful. He understood that Mason was trying to teach those who supported his guardianship the importance of "living the life" and of teaching the Faith. In a letter sent to Mrs. Mabelle Timmerman, Mason explained, "The reason that I announced Donald Harvey to be my successor was to discourage those who were hoping to become Guardian of the Faith and who were intent on building themselves up to fill this position." And, "The reason that I chose Donald was because he is selfless. He is intent upon teaching the Faith without any thought of what he may get out of it for himself."
We found that to be the most perfect description of Donald. In 1977 he sent these words to a loyal believer, "If we are deprived of books in order to 'teach', it is certainly because the true Baha'i teacher should become a 'living book' such as the Master, Abdul-Baha was, rather than a believer handing a book to a contact of his. Each and all must live his Faith." This single teaching was to become the theme of his Guardianship.
It is not generally known, that the French National Spiritual Assembly in 1960 voted to accept Mason Remey's Guardianship. Their decision was overturned by Haifa. Donald, as well as Jacques Soghomonian were members of this assembly at that time.
In May 1972 before Mason's death, Donald wrote these words that certainly illustrate his purity and sincerity. "People have been speaking of a 'Third Guardian', a topic absolutely no one is qualified to discuss since Mr. Remey is living on earth as Guardian. Even should he no longer communicate with people, even should he be stricken down. A great shake up is now in the offering and God is certainly able to raise another people to illuminate the surface of the Earth, when people of empty promise were found not to respect their part of the Alliance." From this statement anyone can tell he was not in a hurry to become Guardian.
When Mason Remey passed into the Abha Kingdom in 1974, Donald Harvey quietly ascended into the position of the Third Guardian His supporters began sending him money which he transferred to the building project that Mr. Joseph Pepe Remey was undertaking to beautify Mason's last resting place. To the Friends in Iran he wrote, "It is a great blessing for each one of us to contribute. You must be aware that there was a great injustice committed, which sped the death of Mason Remey who had hoped to be on earth to witness with us the hundredth anniversary of the Ascension of Baha'u'llah. One hundred full years from that event will lead us to the 29th of May, 1993 A.D. and from that
day onward great events, particularly in the material plane, but all of a spiritual significance are slated to happen. Baha'u'llah granted one hundred years for mankind to seize this wondrous Revelation, and the Beloved knows that peoples wanted and still want to build something else which is not of God. At least such accomplishments outside of His Explicit Teachings and Laws will serve to show and 'exemplify' the very things that are not to be done, for future peoples."
In an August 1975 letter to Friends in Iran the Third Guardian again wrote about living the life. "Each of us must work on the assumption that millions of the misled believers will return to the True Cause and thereby discredit the organization that attempted to substitute itself for the True Covenant. This certainly will happen sooner or later. It behooves each pro-guardian to be irreproachable in his way of life, and his manners, and on that count alone he is forbidden from laying judgement upon other peoples. The calling of each true Believer in Baha'u'llah is so high and so excels any other calling that whoever will thus follow God, he will become a center of attraction for thousands of people and the cause of them finding truth and the true Pathway. This should be our personal objective, and none of us should concern ourselves with what peoples of human-created organizations are doing and thinking. Baha'u'llah came for one and all and our purpose is to help disintoxicate the whole atmosphere that others will also partake of God's bounties, thus we should concern ourselves with our personal betterment and that of loved ones and of whoever we attract, and leave all doors open for any strayed sheep returning to the true fold."
On September 2, 1975, Donald wrote to this writer these words, "Your quoting from the Divine Art of Living, 'Man is, so to speak unripe; the heat of the fire of suffering will mature him", is very timely and to the point, and somehow, man has chosen this way of emancipating himself. We all should know that Baha'u'llah and after Him, His son ,
Abdu'l-Baha did everything to provide all men on earth with the means to slow, gradual emancipation and maturing. The Kings, Emperors and highly placed personages could have done tremendously to enable people under them to proceed to the divine emancipation. Somehow they were as their Subjects, insensitive to the Divine Summons, and hence they must instead mature in the fire they determined for themselves, the fire of suffering."
The Third Guardian wrote to world leaders: President Carter, President Reagan Edmund Muskee, Senator Steavens and others advising them of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah and of the Kingdom of God. President Carter was warned not to start military action against Iran: "It would be ill-advised to attack Iran under any circumstances." (Nov. 23, 1979)
President Reagan was told: "Mr. President, should you ever give in and push that button commanding nuclear bombs to fall upon Moscow, the adverse side is certainly capable to retaliate upon the United States of America and the United States would still be able to respond in kind. All this would inevitably lead in the general diffusion of deathly radiation all over Planet Earth, itself becoming in a relatively short time a Dead Planet." (Jan.2, 1985)
Donald Harvey was the eldest child of Count Harvey and Madame Leone Aubry. His parents had married in Aisy, France in 1919, following the First World War. Mr. Harvey was an American Lieutenant in the U.S. Engineer's Corps, stationed in Aisy during the war. Following the marriage, he moved his bride to America. Donald was born in Quincy, Illinois Feb. 26, 1923.
Two daughters were also born of this union. Aline was born in Detroit, MI, in 1926 and Jeanine also in Detroit in 1929. Jeanine was a sickly child and that fact plus the home¬sickness of the young war-bride caused Leone to insist on going home to France.
Count obliged her and in 1930 he took them all back to Aisy France. He returned to his Structural Engineer Job in America, returning for visits to them in 1931 and 1933, all the while sending monetary support to them. Donald's elementary education was obtained in Aisy.
Then in 1939 Count went to France to warn his family of the imminent danger they were soon to be in, with World War 11 rising upon the horizon. He wanted to scoop them all up and take them back to America. At that time his home was Denver, Colorado.
Donald writes of that time. "With some reluctance from Mother, we sailed Sept.1, 1939 on the Ile de France in the very nick of time--war had been already declared by France and Britain against Nazi Germany and the liner was delayed at the port of Le Havre nearly 30 hours."
Donald's little sister, Jeanine was left behind. The 10 year old girl was again very sick and not able to travel. Her grandmother had insisted on keeping the child with her.
In Denver, Donald attended Regis High School, a Catholic school which is operated by the Jesuit Fathers. In 1941 he enrolled in the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Leone was very unhappy about the separation from her daughter. She obtained a divorce from Count and in the Fall of 1941 returned to France.
"My Father in his distress, moved from Denver to Detroit with Aline, while I remained in Boulder. In Detroit father met Pearl (Ward) and through her he learned about the Revelation of Baha'u'llah which proved to be the great compensation for the spiritual and moral distress he went through. He accepted the Faith and married Pearl in 1942."
It wasn't until 1944 that Donald first met his new step-mother and half-sister, Mary, then one year of age, in Louisville, Kentucky. At that time his sister, Aline, brought him books on the "Faith of Baha'u'llah and was instrumental in laying the basis for my accepting the Cause later on."
Donald eventually moved to Kansas City, Mo. and in December 1946 he asked the local Spiritual Assembly there to receive his declaration of Faith in Baha'u'llah, which they did.
The following year 1947, Donald received word his Mother and sister Jeanine, now 18 years old were in New York City and that he should go there to Meet them. He did this and found work at a local radio station. he also assisted Jeanine with a book she was writing about her experiences in occupied France during World War 11.
Then came that fateful day in 1949 when Jeanine was found wandering in the Bronx, not knowing who she was or where she was going. She evidently was suffering from amnesia. The authorities traced her to her brother through the Baha'i program she had in her purse. She was admitted to Belview hospital and was given the electrical shock treatment which was at that time a cure all for most mental problems. She was never the same afterwards. After about a year there she was transferred to Rockland where she stayed for five years.
In 1955, Donald and his mother decided to remove Jeanine from the hospital and take her back to France. From that time on Jeanine was a constant worry to Donald and his mother. She could not do anything by herself. When I met her in 1981, she reminded me of a three year old child, determined to have her own way all the time and needing constant watching. Madame Aubry, as we called her had her hands full.
Donald was working in Paris at Compague Radio Maritime, a position he held since 1966. On weekends he took the train to his home in Rougemont. (The house was willed to him by his maternal grandfather.) There he operated Radio Center Rougemont on Saturday afternoon, making recordings of these transcriptions and sending them to Friends around the world. The broadcasts explained the laws and teachings of the Kingdom of God, The Revelation of Baha'u'llah and the importance of the Institution of the Guardianship in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.
With the death of Madame Aubry July 11, 1987 the full responsibility of Jeanine's care rested on Donald's shoulders. He had promised his mother he would care for Jeanine at home and he fully intended to keep this promise to her He also intended to keep his promise to Mason Remey. It was difficult for him to juggle the care of Jeanine with his guardianship duties: keeping up his letter writing to the Friends and other. But Donald was a promise keeper. It was only after he fell and compressed his back while running after Jeanine that he had to put her in a nursing home. At this time he could no longer walk. It was an impossible situation, one he could not help.
His humbleness and integrity were always there for all to see. These are qualities of the pure in heart. People everywhere need to know about his spiritual qualities and the story of his caring for his sister emphasize these qualities. It also explains why he did not marry. How could he bring a woman into a home with such suffering?
Donald's health continued to decline. He was in and out of the hospital many times. Finally Jacques Soghomonian had him moved to a hospital in Marseille, France where he lives and there he passed into the Abha Kingdom Oct. 19, 1991. He was 68 years old.
If only the whole Baha'i World could have known him and served him. They missed knowing a most wonderful soul. A man who not only constantly advised others to "Live the life" but did so himself.
With his passing, Jacques Soghomonian became the 4th Guardian Donald had willed the position of Guardian to him November 17, 1984 &D.
In loving memory,
Jean Miller, a Believer in the Kingdom of God and Baha'u'llah