Mason Remey’s False Claim that his Appointment as President of the International Baha’i Council Constituted his Appointment as Shoghi Effendi’s Successor Guardian – by Brent Poirier

In the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Baha, the Guardian of the Cause was established as the “sacred head” of the Universal House of Justice
In His Will and Testament, Abdu’l-Baha wrote that the Guardian of the Cause would serve as the “sacred head and distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice. (p. 14, paragraph 25) As explained here, during the lifetime of Shoghi Effendi the Universal House of Justice could not be brought into being, so Shoghi Effendi could not serve as the “sacred head” of that body. As explained in that same posting, during his lifetime Shoghi Effendi was unable to appoint a successor Guardian in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha. 

Shoghi Effendi created the temporary institution of the International Baha’i Council and appointed Mason Remey as its President
In the course of developing the institutions of the Baha’i Faith at its World Centre, in 1951 Shoghi Effendi created the temporary institution of the International Baha’i Council, and appointed its members and its officers. Among these was Mason Remey, whom he appointed as its President. That the International Council was temporary in nature is shown by the concluding words of this letter written on Shoghi Effendi’s behalf.

Later, Mr. Remey tried to parlay this appointment into something far greater than Shoghi Effendi intended. Some two years after Shoghi Effendi’s passing, Mason Remey made the astonishing claim that Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of him as President of the International Baha’i Council amounted to designating him–an American with no familial connection whatever to the Manifestation of God–as his successor to the hereditary office of the Guardianship. The requirements of the hereditary institution of the Guardianship are addressed here and here.

The Purpose of this Posting
This present posting demonstrates the falsity of Mr. Remey’s claims that the International Baha’i Council was in essence the Universal House of Justice, and that his position as President of the International Baha’i Council amounted to the same position as the sacred head of the Universal House of Justice, i.e. the Guardian of the Cause.  The statements of Shoghi Effendi emphasizing the significance of the International Baha’i Council in no way amounted to his designation of Mason Remey as successor to the office of the Guardianship.

Mason Remey’s Claim
(First, a note:  Though we must strictly avoid reading the writings of Covenant-breakers, if the head of the Faith quotes one of them, we can be confident that it is for our spiritual protection and immunization.)

Three years after Shoghi Effendi’s passing, in 1960, the Hands of the Cause of God, for the protection of the Baha’i community, wrote to the Baha’is of the world about Mason Remey’s claims.  The Hands quoted a statement Mr. Remey had widely distributed through the Baha’i world earlier that same year.  Mr. Remey said:

“He who is President of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith for he who is the Guardian of the Faith is President of the Universal House of Justice. These two offices are one and the same.”
(Mason Remey, quoted in a letter from the Hands of the Cause to all National Spiritual Assemblies dated October 15, 1960, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 232)

Hints and Signs
Mason Remey claimed that his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as President of the International Baha’i Council constituted a hint or a sign that Shoghi Effendi also intended this as his appointment of his successor Guardian.  As explained here, the Baha’i Covenant of Successorship is always written and explicit, not a matter of hints.

Creation of the International Baha’i Council
In 1951 Shoghi Effendi brought the International Baha’i Council into being.  He viewed this as a matter of great significance, as shown by the following cable he sent to the Baha’i 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 Center of Faith already established in twin cities of ‘Akká and Haifa. Fulfillment of prophecies uttered by Founder of Faith and Center 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 Báb’s Sepulcher on Mount Carmel, the present adequate maturity of nine vigorously functioning national administrative institutions throughout Bahá’í World, combine to induce me to arrive at this historic decision marking most significant milestone in evolution of Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’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 in erection of mighty superstructure of the Báb’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, marking its development into officially recognized Bahá’í Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines. Hail with thankful, joyous heart at long last the constitution of International Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding luster 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-Bahá’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. Advise publicize announcement through Public Relations Committee.
Shoghi
(Cablegram dated January 9, 1951, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 7)

This was the first organized international body at the Baha’i World Centre in the Holy Land.  For the first time, one could see a glimpse of the outline of how the Administrative Order designed by Abdu’l-Baha would look. The International Baha’i Council, initially with five appointed members, and eventually raised by Shoghi Effendi to nine members, foreshadowed the Institution of the Universal House of Justice, and was described by Shoghi Effendi as its “forerunner.”

Among the members, Shoghi Effendi appointed his wife, Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum as his liaison to that body, and Charles Mason Remey as its President. A decade later Mason Remey made the preposterous claim that his appointment as President of this body amounted to Shoghi Effendi appointing him as his successor Guardian, as explained here in quotations from the Hands of the Cause of God. In essence, Mr. Remey’s tortured logic was that the International Baha’i Council and the Universal House of Justice were one and the same; and that since Shoghi Effendi appointed Mr. Remey as President of the International Council, this was the same as making him the head of the Universal House of Justice; and since the head of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi was naming Mr. Remey as Guardian.

It is therefore important that we first clearly see that the International Baha’i Council was not the Universal House of Justice, to show that there is no merit to Mr. Remey’s claim.

The institution of the House of Justice was established by Baha’u’llah, who promised that its members would be guided by God. As Shoghi Effendi wrote, the members of the Universal House of Justice

“ . . . are to follow, in a prayerful attitude, the dictates and promptings of their conscience. They may, indeed they must, acquaint themselves with the conditions prevailing among the community, must weigh dispassionately in their minds the merits of any case presented for their consideration, but must reserve for themselves the right of an unfettered decision. “God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth,” is Bahá’u’lláh’s incontrovertible assurance. They, and not the body of those who either directly or indirectly elect them, have thus been made the recipients of the divine guidance which is at once the life-blood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation.”
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 153)

Baha’u’llah provided that this divinely-guided body, the Universal House of Justice, would supplement and apply His revealed laws.

The significance of the International Baha’i Council
That the Guardian viewed the establishment of the International Baha’i Council as of great importance, is clear from the text of his above-quoted cablegram. He describes its establishment as “epoch-making” and “historic,” as the “most significant milestone” in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith, and as the “greatest event” in the second epoch of the Formative Age, “surpassing any enterprise” since the passing of Abdu’l-Baha.

However, he makes no reference to the successorship, and to view this body he appointed as identical with the Universal House of Justice, and to view his appointment of Mr. Remey as President, as his appointment of his successor Guardian is demonstrably wrong, for a number of reasons shown in the Baha’i Writings.

1. As provided by Abdu’l-Baha, the Universal House of Justice comes into being when it has been elected by the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world, whereas the International Baha’i Council was created by Shoghi Effendi and its members were appointed by him.  The difference in the manner of creation of these two institutions demonstrates that they are distinct in essence from one another.

In His Will, Abdu’l-Baha specified the manner in which the Universal House of Justice was to be established:

“And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the Guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him.” (The Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 14)

This is the only manner of bringing the Universal House of Justice into being–election by the Secondary Houses of Justice, now known as National Spiritual Assemblies.  A body brought into being in any other way is simply not the Universal House of Justice.  There is no other valid way of bringing the House of Justice into being, which Abdu’l-Baha explicitly confirmed in the following Tablet (and in light of Mr. Remey’s claim, the first words of the Tablet are also relevant):

     “My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. There will be no grounds for difference… Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated.
      “The Supreme House of Justice should be elected according to the system followed in the election of the parliaments of Europe. And when the countries would be guided, the Houses of Justice of the various countries would elect the Supreme House of Justice.
      “At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme House of Justice.
      “The establishment of that House is not dependent upon the conversion of all the nations of the world. For example, if conditions were favourable and no disturbances would be caused, the friends in Persia would elect their representatives, and likewise the friends in America, in India, and other areas would also elect their representatives, and these would elect a House of Justice. That House of Justice would be the Supreme House of Justice. That is all.”
(Abdu’l-Baha, Quoted in “Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986,” Paragraphs 23.11-23.14)

2. The Universal House of Justice is promised infallible divine guidance, in Tablets by Baha’u’llah and in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, a point emphasized repeatedly by Shoghi Effendi; yet he makes no reference to the International Baha’i Council being the recipient of divine guidance, the distinguishing feature of the Universal House of Justice.

In the Master’s Will, p. 11, He states that the Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as “the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and established,” will be guided by the Bab and Baha’u’llah.  He then states that all must turn to them, and that turning away from them is turning away from God.  This is an inherent part of the institution of the Universal House of Justice — its infallible divine guidance, and its sovereignty over the believers.  If the International Baha’i Council had been the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have referred to both of these characteristics, and he did not.  Without these traits, it is not the Universal House of Justice. It is perhaps comparable to Abdu’l-Baha’s explanation that the creation always existed, because the title “Creator” carries with it the implication of a creation:

It is as though man should conceive of a king without country, army, treasury and all that constitutes sovereignty or kingdom. Is it possible to conceive of such a sovereign? A king must be possessed of a dominion, an army and all that appertains to sovereignty in order that his sovereignty may be a reality.
(Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 377)

In like manner, the International Baha’i Council was not the Universal House of Justice, because it lacked the essential quality of sovereignty over the believers.  In contrast, from the moment of the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963, it received God’s infallible guidance, and pursuant to the authority granted to it in the Master’s Will and Testament, “all must turn” to it.

3. If the International Baha’i Council was in essence the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have said so.

Shoghi Effendi stated that the International Baha’i Council was the “forerunner” of the Universal House of Justice, but then it would “develop” into a Baha’i Court and “transform” into an elected Baha’i Council and finally “effloresce” into the Universal House of Justice (Messages to the Baha’i World, pp. 7-8).

The elected International Baha’i Council. For more information see here.
 

These intermediate steps show how far the International Baha’i Council was, from being the Universal House of Justice. For purposes of comparison, please observe the emphatic language Shoghi Effendi uses in demonstrating the identity of today’s “Spiritual Assemblies” with the future local “Houses of Justice”:

“That the Spiritual Assemblies of today will be replaced in time by the Houses of Justice, and are to all intents and purposes identical and not separate bodies, is abundantly confirmed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself. He has in fact in a Tablet addressed to the members of the first Chicago Spiritual Assembly, the first elected Bahá’í body instituted in the United States, referred to them as the members of the “House of Justice” for that city, and has thus with His own pen established beyond any doubt the identity of the present Bahá’í Spiritual Assemblies with the Houses of Justice referred to by Bahá’u’lláh. For reasons which are not difficult to discover, it has been found advisable to bestow upon the elected representatives of Bahá’í communities throughout the world the temporary appellation of Spiritual Assemblies, a term which, as the position and aims of the Bahá’í Faith are better understood and more fully recognized, will gradually be superseded by the permanent and more appropriate designation of House of Justice. Not only will the present-day Spiritual Assemblies be styled differently in future, but they will be enabled also to add to their present functions those powers, duties, and prerogatives necessitated by the recognition of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh…”
(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 6)

This contrast between the language Shoghi Effendi used when he wished to convey the identity of two Baha’i institutions, and the language he used to describe the International Baha’i Council, shows that it was not identical with, or in essence the same as, the Universal House of Justice.  As more fully explained here  this completely undermines Mason Remey’s preposterous claim that when Shoghi Effendi announced the coming into being of the temporary institution of the International Baha’i Council, and its temporary officers, this was also his designation of his successor Guardian.

4.  If the International Baha’i Council was the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have said that it was the Body specifically called for in the Most Holy Book and in Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament.

It will help to understand this point if we compare the language Shoghi Effendi used, when he appointed the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God, an institution also provided for in Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament:

“Hour now ripe to take long inevitably deferred step in conformity with provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament in conjunction with six above-mentioned steps through appointment of first contingent of Hands of Cause of God…”
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World, p. 20)

Here, Shoghi Effendi stated that the institution of the Hands of the Cause of God was one of the sacred institutions called for in the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, and was established “in conformity” with the Will.  Likewise, the Universal House of Justice is named in Abdu’l-Baha’s Will as one of His twin successors.  It is very telling that the Guardian does not write that the International Baha’i Council was established in conformity with the provisions of Abdu’l-Baha’s Will, in any of his messages concerning that body.  In fact, Shoghi Effendi himself created this institution, which served as a subsidiary organ of the Guardianship, and entirely lacked the independent nature of the Universal House of Justice.  He refers to it as “newly created” rather than as created by the Will and Testament.

5. If the International Council was in essence the Universal House of Justice, then Shoghi Effendi would not have continued to say that the Universal House of Justice had not yet been brought into being.  

Following his creation of the International Baha’i Council early in 1951, Shoghi Effendi many times stated that the Universal House of Justice will come into being in the future. For example, in May, 1953 Shoghi Effendi wrote of the “eventual emergence” of the Universal House of Justice:

“The International Bahá’í Council, comprising eight members, charged with assisting in the manifold activities attendant upon the rise of the World Administrative Center of the Faith, which must pave the way for the formation of a Bahá’í International Court and the eventual emergence of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme legislative body of the future Bahá’í Commonwealth, has been established, enlarged, and the functions of its members defined.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha’i World – 1950-1957, p. 149)

In 1957 he writes in two letters to the National Spiritual Assembly of New Zealand, here and here, of “the future Universal House of Justice.” (P. 71, Arohanui)  There are many other such examples.

6. According to the Baha’i Writings the membership of the Universal House of Justice is confined to men, for a reason that will become apparent in the future; Shoghi Effendi appointed several distinguished women to the International Baha’i Council.

In a Tablet found here, Abdu’l-Baha revealed:

“The House of Justice, however, according to the explicit text of the Law of God, is confined to men; this for a wisdom of the Lord God’s, which will erelong be made manifest as clearly as the sun at high noon.” 

Shoghi Effendi appointed several women to the International Baha’i Council over a period of years, including his wife Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Amelia Collins, Sylvia Ioas, Jesse Revell, Ethel Revell, and Gladys Weeden.  All of them rendered important services–some of them, extraordinarily important services—to the Baha’i Faith, and two of them were Hands of the Cause of God. (You can read more about the Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins here.) Since Shoghi Effendi himself had confirmed that the membership of the Universal House of Justice was confined to men, he viewed the International Baha’i Council as a distinct institution, as the last sentence of this letter written on his behalf clearly states:

     “As regards your question concerning the membership of the Universal House of Justice, there is a Tablet from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in which He definitely states that the membership of the Universal House is confined to men and that the wisdom of it will be fully revealed in the future. In the local, as well as the National Houses of Justice, however, women have the full right of membership. It is therefore, only to the International House that they cannot be elected. The Bahá’ís should accept this statement of the Master in a spirit of deep faith, confident that there is a divine guidance and wisdom behind it, which will be gradually unfolded to the eyes of the world.”
     “Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on the International House of Justice, would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this.
     “At present there are women on the International Council, and this will continue as long as it exists, but when the International House of Justice is elected, there will only be men on it, as this is the law of the Aqdas.”
(From a letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi dated July 28, 1936; Directives from the Guardian, p. 79, #211)

This last sentence of the Guardian’s letter also demonstrates that the institution of the International Council was temporary in nature, and by implication, its members and its officers were therefore also temporary and not permanent.

7. The Guardian of the Cause was, according to the Will, to serve as the irremovable member and sacred head of the Universal House of Justice; Shoghi Effendi was not a member of the International Baha’i Council, and if the Council was in essence the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have been a member of that body and would have served as its sacred head.

As discussed above, in the Will, the Master had written of the Universal House of Justice, that“the Guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.”

There are two points made in this passage of the Will: That the Guardian is a member for life of the Universal House of Justice, and that he is its sacred head. As the Hands of the Cause explained, in refutation of Mr. Remey’s claim:

“If the President of the International Bahá’í Council is ipso facto the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, then the beloved Guardian, himself, Shoghi Effendi would have had to be the President of this first International Bahá’í Council.”
(Excerpt from a letter dated October 15, 1960 from the Hands of the Cause to all National Spiritual Assemblies, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 234)

The Hands of the Cause here refute Mason Remey’s claim that since he was the President of the International Baha’i Council, and since, he claimed, the Council was the Universal House of Justice, then ipso facto, his position as its President was the same as Guardian of the Faith.  What escaped Mr. Remey’s faulty logic was that if the Council had been the House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have been its Head.

In addition, if the Council was in reality the Universal House of Justice, Shoghi Effendi would have been a member, and he was not.  This is a second fact that demonstrates that the International Council was not the House of Justice.

Furthermore, there is no indication that Mason Remey’s position as President of the Council was permanent, in contrast to the position of the Guardian of the Faith on the Universal House of Justice. As Abdu’l-Baha writes in His Will, the Guardian of the Cause is the “distinguished member for life of that body.”  (Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 14, paragraph 25) Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum has commented on this verse:

“The sentence in question reads, referring to the Universal House of Justice, ‘the guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished member for life of that body.’ Shoghi Effendi said the actual word, for which he substituted the milder ‘member for life’, was‘irremovable’.”
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl, pp. 203-204) 

The Guardian of the Cause was to be the irremovable member of the Universal House of Justice. As the Hands of the Faith pointed out, during the planned transition from the appointed to the elected International Baha’i Council specified by Shoghi Effendi to take place in the future, there is no indication that the members or officers would be the same:

     “If the presidency of the first International Bahá’í Council, which was not an elected body but appointed by Shoghi Effendi was a permanent thing, why did the beloved Guardian himself call for an elected International Bahá’í Council in the future as part of the evolution of this institution and its eventual efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice?
    “We have not even an intimation in any writing of Shoghi Effendi that the officers of the first appointed International Bahá’í Council would be carried forward into the elected International Bahá’í Council.
    “There is nothing to indicate anywhere in the Teachings that the officers of the elected International Bahá’í Council would not be elected according to the pattern of election of every other Bahá’í elected body.”
(Excerpt from a letter from the Hands of the Cause to all National Spiritual Assemblies dated October 15, 1960, Ministry of the Custodians, p. 234)

Conclusion
The foregoing is sufficient to disprove the fantastic notion that Shoghi Effendi’s creation of the International Baha’i Council, and his appointment of Mason Remey as its President, was his appointment of Mr. Remey to the hereditary office of the Guardianship after Shoghi Effendi’s own passing.  Mr. Remey had himself, as demonstrated here, acknowledged in writing that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and that no one was eligible to be appointed to that office.

This explanation will, of course, not stop Covenant-breakers from bringing forth their claims.  Their insatiable ambition, their passionate love of leadership overcomes all restraint, all logic and proof. But to any fair-minded reader it should now be apparent that in the International Baha’i Council Shoghi Effendi was creating a different institution—different in nature, in composition, in manner of creation and in purpose—from the Universal House of Justice. The Council entirely lacked its own independent divine guidance, and Shoghi Effendi never identified it as in essence being the Universal House of Justice.  Mr. Remey’s preposterous claim that Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of him to a temporary position in a transitional institution amounted to his appointment of him as second Guardian of the Faith, was one more sad attempt to assert leadership of the Baha’i Faith, in contravention of the unmistakably clear Covenant of `Abdu’l-Baha.

8. Shoghi Effendi did not seek the assent of the nine Hands of the Cause, and this demonstrates that he had no thought of appointing Mason Remey as his successor Guardian when he named him as the President of the International Baha’i Council.

As discussed here, in His Will and Testament, Abdu’l-Baha directed the nine Hands of the Cause most closely occupied with the important services in the work of the Guardian, to give their assent to Shoghi Effendi’s choice of successor.  As explained here, Shoghi Effendi could only designate as the next Guardian one of the male descendants of Baha’u’llah, and none of them was eligible.  Had Shoghi Effendi been able to designate a successor Guardian, he would have, during his lifetime, as required by the Master’s Will, directed the Hands of the Cause to choose nine of their number, and asked them to vote on this appointment.  In my personal opinion, no work of these nine Hands of the Cause would have been more important than giving their assent to the choice of successor Guardian; and because Shoghi Effendi could not appoint a successor, he did not direct the body of the Hands of the Cause to elect these nine who would be involved in his “important services.”  Since he did not do so, and since he did not identify his successor to these Hands of the Cause and seek their assent, there is no foundation to the specious claim that appointing Mason Remey as President of the International Baha’i Council was tantamount to appointing him as the next Guardian.
 

“Copyright Brent Poirier, used with permission” bahai-covenant.blogspot.com