Saturday, October 18, 2008


Since His childhood Abdu'l-Baha had recognized His father's station and was His closest companion and protector. From the time of His youth He actively participated in His father's ministry by assisting with correspondence, writing religious commentaries, and meeting with religious leaders.Throughout His life Abdu'l-Baha was known for His courteous and gracious manner, His kindness, His love for children, His generosity and His care for the poor and suffering. He was knighted by the British for the part he played in alleviating the suffering of the people of the Holy Land during the 1914-18 war, a title he accepted, but never used.Like His father, Abdu'l-Baha suffered persecution and was held a prisoner in Akka for 40 years. Still He continued spreading the Baha'i Faith. He was finally freed from governmental arrest in 1908. In 1911 and 1912 He traveled to Europe and the United States, teaching the Faith at the request of interested western inquirers and early believers. He, too, wrote many books and letters and had talks transcribed which today make up part of the scriptural resources available to Baha'is. Before Abdu'l-Baha died in 1921, He provided for the continued spiritual leadership of the Faith by establishing the Institution of the Guardianship.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


On September 30, John Mandes, a long-time
member of the Tarbiyat Baha’i Community, passed
away after over 12 years of cancer. He was at
home when he passed, with his family around him
at the time.
John became a member of our community in 1972,
while touring the country with Up With People and
meeting some of our community members and
friends backstage after a perfromance in Santa
Fe. John was clear from the beginning about the
message of Baha’u’llah, and about the importance
of the Guardianship. He declared on the spot and
never waivered in his dedication to the Cause.
Over the course of the years John moved from place to place, and eventually found his calling
in teaching. His last position was at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs, CA. He loved his
work, and his students loved him. His classes always filled up first when registrations opened.
He was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, and had surgery to remove it. The surgery
was successful, but the cancer later reappeared elsewhere. His attitude was that it was simply a
condition of life, and one must deal with those conditions. It wasn’t a battle to be won or lost.
Marny and I went to Pennsylvania (Hershey) to fulfill John’s request to prepare his body for
burial and oversee the internment services according to Baha’i procedures. I prepared a small
pamphlet (which I e-mailed to the Baha’i Community earlier) which included statements about the
body and the spirit, and death, as well as the Prayer for the Departed. These were used in the
service. Jessica King and An Wine were able to drive up and join us for the service as well.
John’s family was very grateful for our presence, and took all of us in as part of their family. It
was clear this was something that completed their own relationship with John, as he was the
only one of six siblings to move away from the area. His family now knows who John’s “other
family” is and how much we loved him. Your prayers for John and his family are appreciated.
John will be deeply missed by all. —Ralph

Monday, October 6, 2008


The death of Shoghi Effendi occurred in London, following a very brief illness, and was a great surprise and shock to everyone. His funeral and burial were conducted immediately in London, in accordance with Baha'i law.
The Hands of the Cause assembled in conclave at the Bahji nine days following the passing. At the time the late Guardian's desk was opened and his papers searched for a will, but none was forthcoming. Hence the Hands appeared to have no direction to follow in the matter of his successor. This lack of specific guidance is the initial source of the grave difficulties to follow that eventually led to the formation of the Tarbiyat Baha'i Faith as a separate entity.
That the Hands expected to find a Will designating a successor is evidenced by an announcement in the Jerusalem Post for November 8, 1957, which said in part: "A successor to the Guardianship of the Baha'i Faith was nominated by the late Shoghi Effendi Rabbani in his will, and the name will be announced by the elders of the faith when they meet here (Haifa) within a few weeks..." However, the same paper on November 28 reports: "The 27 Hands of the Cause of the Baha'i Faith, who assembled at the world centre of the faith here, today announced that they have elected nine of their members to conduct and protect the affairs of the faith from the Centre ..." The nine hands were listed, and included Charles Mason Remey and Ruhiyyih Khanum Rabbani, the widow of Shoghi Effendi.
According to a report by Mason Remey, at the suggestion of Ruhiyyih Khanum and with no objection voiced by the other Hands in the assembly, no minutes were taken and no record kept of the deliberations at this Bahji Conclave. It would appear that three alternative scenarios are possible in the attempt to reconstruct events at and following the Conclave: 1) It is possible that Shoghi Effendi died intestate. On the evidence of his character and his strict adherence to the precepts and commands of Abdu'l-Baha and of Baha'u'llah, it seems highly improbable that Shoghi Effendi would have neglected such an important duty. 2) It is possible that Shoghi Effendi did in fact write a Will, but that it had been lost or destroyed prior to the search of his papers during the conclave. We have no evidence on this point, save to point out that he was meticulously careful about business details. 3) The only other alternative is the unpleasant one of assuming that a Will was indeed among his papers, but that it was suppressed, either secreted or intentionally destroyed, by those Hands who were conducting the search.
So the Hands of the Cause were faced with a dilemma. According to the Will and Testament, they can only exist as a body under the direction of the Guardian of the Cause of God, under his shadow and obeying his command. But there was no Guardian! By the nearly unanimous decision of the Hands present (24 out of 25), it was decided to declare the office of Guardian not only vacant, but badah. Mason Remey has explained that the Persians used the word badah to signify the failure of the promise of the Word of God as given by a Manifestation or Prophet. They say that even God changes His plan and intent at times and that we must accept this and act accordingly.
As Mason Remey has pointed out, the great danger in the doctrine of badah is that we humans, desiring to do something contrary to the Sacred Writings, may declare that the pertinent statements are badah, even though they are actually still valid. Indeed, on the face of it, badah is impossible if we accept the premise that the Word of God can only be promulgated to the world by one of God's Divine Manifestations. Hence anything contradicting the plan outlined by Baha'u'llah and filled out in detail by Abdu'l-Baha must be in error, at least until another Manifestation shall appear, which Baha'u'llah has assured us will not take place for a full thousand years.
Thus one must conclude that the institution of the Guardianship is still mandatory, and is only temporarily vacant. According to this view, the Guardianship is "in occultation",


The Baha'i Faith is a world religion Which calls for a renewal of the common spiritual teachings found in all religions and sets forth a dynamic body of social teachings specifically designed to lead humanity into a new world civilization and an era of peace based upon the Faith's twin teachings of unity and justice.


Belief in The Manifestation"The first duty prescribed by God for His servants is the recognition of Him Who is the Day spring of His Revelation and the Fountain of His laws." (Gleanings, p. 330)