Saturday, April 19, 2008

Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'u'lláh The Báb · `Abdu'l-Bahá
The Hidden Words Some Answered Questions
Administrative Order The Guardianship Universal House of Justice Spiritual Assemblies Bahá'í history · TimelineBahá'í divisions Bábís · Shaykh Ahmad
Shoghi Effendi Martha Root · Táhirih Badí' · Apostles Hands of the Cause
Symbols · Laws Teachings · Literature Calendar · DivisionsBahá'í divisions Pilgrimage The Bahá'í Faith has had challenges to leadership at the death of every head of the religion. The vast majority of Bahá'ís have followed a line of authority from Bahá'u'lláh to `Abdu'l-Bahá to Shoghi Effendi to the Custodians to the Universal House of Justice. Sects diverging from this line of leadership have had relatively little success and have failed to attract a sizeable following.
A separate entry discusses the Bahá'í/Bábí split.

`Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry

Shoghi Effendi as Guardian
At 24, Shoghi Effendi was particularly young when he assumed leadership of the religion in 1921, as provided for by `Abdu'l-Bahá in his Will and Testament. He had received a Western education at the American University of Beirut and later at Balliol College, Oxford.
Muhammad-`Alí took the opportunity to revive his claim to leadership of the Bahá'í community. He forcibly seized the keys of the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh at the mansion of Bahjí, expelled its keeper, and demanded that he be recognized by the authorities as the legal custodian of that property. But the Palestine authorities, after investigations, instructed the British officer in `Akká to deliver the keys into the hands of the keeper loyal to Shoghi Effendi.


Main article: Covenant-breaking in Shoghi Effendi's immediate family Family Members Expelled
After the death of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Ruth White questioned the Will's authenticity as early as 1926,

American Disputes

The founding of the Universal House of Justice

Main article: Shoghi Effendi Passing of Shoghi Effendi

Main article: Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá Criteria for Guardianship
The Will established the institution of the Guardianship, making it an appointed hereditary executive position, in conjunction with the Universal House of Justice, mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh as an elected legislative body. Their roles are complimentary, the former providing authoritative interpretation,

Relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice

Main article: Hands of the Cause Role of the Hands of the Cause

Main article: Mason Remey Charles Mason Remey

Main article: Universal House of Justice A break in the line of Guardians
Among the Bahá'ís who accepted Mason Remey as the second Guardian, several further divisions have occurred. All those that profess belief in Mason Remey as the second Guardian do not accept the Universal House of Justice established in 1963, but amongst themselves have a variety of opinions on legitimacy and the proper succession of authority.

Further development of Remey's followers
Orthodox Bahá'ís accept Joel Marangella as the Third Guardian and successor of Charles Mason Remey.
Marangella was serving as chair of the National Spiritual Assembly of France in 1961, which was the only NSA to accept Remey as the Second Guardian. When this happened, the Custodians declared five members of the NSA of France to be covenant-breakers, and dissolved the Assembly. The Custodians were able to gain control of the National Bahá'í Center; including the funds and mailing lists, and the great majority of French Bahá'ís sided with the Custodians. Donald Harvey and Jacques Soghomonian were among the members of the NSA of France declared as covenant-breakers by the Hands of the Cause.
After Mason Remey made his proclamation he appointed a second International Bahá'í Council; with Marangella as President, and 8 vice presidents. Remey insisted that these members not meet in the same city, nor be on the same airplane, at the same time; for fear that if something happened the line of Guardians would cease. In 1962 Remey gave Marangella a sealed envelope, with instructions to open it when the time was right. In 1965 Mason Remey called for the Council to become active. Marangella then opened the sealed letter, which was a hand-written note by Mason appointing Marangella as his successor. Marangella looks upon that time as the time of his official appointment. Remey then changed his mind and deactivated the International Bahá'í Council. Remey's behavior became very disjointed after that time; with some of his followers (including Marangella) concluding that Remey was suffering from dementia.
In 1967 Remey appointed Donald Harvey as his successor without excommunicating Marangella. Marangella proclaimed himself the Third Guardian in 1969; saying that Remey was no longer mentally able to function as Guardian. He also claimed that when Remey activated the Council he ceased to be the Guardian at that moment, since, Marangella claimed, there couldn't be two Guardians alive at the same time. Remey did not relinquish his title as Guardian, but he did not "declare" Marangella a covenant-breaker either.
The Orthodox Bahá'í Community under Marangella's leadership continues. Membership data is scarce. One source estimated them at no more than 100 members in 1988.

Orthodox Bahá'í Faith

Main article: Bahá'ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant Bahá'ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant
The Orthodox Bahá'í Faith Under the Regency was founded by Reginald "Rex" King, a very successful Bahá'í teacher. When Remey declared himself the Second Guardian in 1960, King accepted him, and was elected to become the first Secretary of the National Assembly set up by Remey in 1963.
After conflicts with several of Remey's followers, including Marangella, King decided that "neither Mason Remey nor Joel Marangella had in truth ever been guardians... because of the lack of lineal descendancy". King claimed that what Remey had actually been was "a regent Guardian" for the office of Guardian which was in fact in occultation. King further asserted that he himself "was in actuality the Second Regent...." King's argument was that Remey was senile in old age, and didn't know what he was doing. Following his death in 1977, King left leadership of the community to a Council of Regents, who reorganized as the Tarbiyat Bahá'í Community.
The Regency Bahá'ís do not claim the authority to declare Covenant-breakers, so they try to freely associate with other Bahá'ís. The Council of Regents, which consists mostly of King's family, tries to "maintain the integrity of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh until such time as the Second Guardian makes himself known, and claims his rightful office." They also still maintain that "the Faith will never be permanently split into factions or denominations as has happened in all previous religions"; with an emphasis on permanently. Membership figures are not published for the Tarbiyat Bahá'í Community. They appear to be restricted to a single group in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Tarbiyat Bahá'í Community
Francis Spataro of New York City, a supporter of Harvey, independently organized "The Remey Society" after losing favor with Harvey. Spataro published books about Charles Mason Remey , and at one time had a newsletter with about 400 recipients. When Spataro began to preach that Charles Mason Remey was a "Prophet" Harvey cut all ties to Spataro. He then continued to promote the life and works of Charles Mason Remey. In 1995 Francis Spataro became an Old Catholic priest and left the Bahá'í religion altogether. The Remey Society is now extinct.

The Remey Society
The House of Mankind and the Universal Palace of Order followed Jamshid Ma'ani and John Carré, but appear now to be defunct. In the early 1970s a Persian man named Jamshid Ma'ani claimed he was "The Man"; or a new Manifestation of God. He gained a few dozen Iranian Bahá'í followers. John Carré heard of Jamshid, and wrote a book about him; trying to get other Bahá'ís to accept him as a new Manifestation. Carré even invited "The Man" to live in his home in California, but soon concluded, after living with "The Man" for four months, that "The Man" was not at all godly or spiritual and certainly not a Manifestation of God. "The Man" went back to Iran, and Carré ended all association with him. Carré then continued as an "independent Bahá'í" and eventually wrote a book that proclaimed a new Bahá'í Prophet (minor prophet but not a Manifestation) would arise in the year 2001. A Bahá'í from North Carolina named Eric Stetsen wrote an online book in the same style of Bahá'u'lláh; proclaiming (in 2001) that he was that "Prophet". However, Stetson concluded about a year or so later that he was not a "Prophet" and that he had been mistaken about the Bahá'í Faith, and became a born-again Christian . A copy of Carré's book outlining his beliefs is maintained online here [15].

The Man
After Harvey's death in 1991, his followers turned to his chosen successor Jacques Soghomonian. Soghomonian has resisted efforts by his followers to organize or to actively proselytize. Soghomonian claims membership of the mainstream Bahá'í Faith will one day "see the light", and reinstate the Guardianship with himself, or (more likely) one of his successors as Guardian; and thus there is no need for two competing organizations. Soghomonian believes that organization is not important, but what is important is to assure that the Guardianship continues, and thus the living Guardian needs only one follower (to act as successor) to continue the line of Guardians who shall one day, perhaps far in the future, return to head the Bahá'í Faith worldwide.


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