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Orthodox Bahai Faith

The Orthodox Bahá'í Faith is a movement which started within the Baha'i Faith, though now independent of it, with a total membership estimated at up to a few thousand. Although the beliefs of the main division and the Orthodox Bahá'ís are for the most part identical, they differ on the issue of ongoing leadership.

Between the years 1957 and 1960, the Bahá'í Faith underwent a severe test of succession. The majority of Bahá'ís, under the Hands of the Cause of God (a group of Bahá'ís that included Mason Remey, and that was appointed by Shoghi Effendi according to the provisions of `Abdu’l-Bahá's Will and Testament) followed the Hands' leadership of the Faith.

During that time Mason Remey attempted to change the plan of his fellow Hands who had determined to elect the Universal House of Justice mentioned by both Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha. Mason believed that, according to the Writings, the Universal House of Justice was to have a living Guardian as its head. The plan set up by the Hands specifically eliminated the possibility of a future Guardian. The belief as to whether there was a living Guardian, and whether the Universal House of Justice could properly function without a living Guardian was the basis for the division which followed.

Mason Remey remained silent to the general Bahá'í community until 1960 when he stated that unity could not be preserved at the cost of the guardianship. It had also become apparent to him that he would not be able to convince the Hands that a living Guardian was indispensable, according to his interpretations of the Writings of the Faith.

In 1960 he proclaimed to the Bahá'ís that Shoghi Effendi had appointed him Second Guardian of the Bahá'í World Faith, and outlined the means by which the late Guardian had appointed him. According to Mason's Proclamation Shoghi Effendi appointed Mason Remey as the Head of the First International Bahai Council. The Council was named by Shoghi Effendi "the embryonic Universal House of Justice", but it was never activated by the Guardian. According to Mason's Proclamation, only a Guardian can be the President of an activated Universal House of Justice; that in 1957, with the passing of Shoghi Effendi, this embryonic institution automatically became the administrative body over the National and Local Assemblies per the instructions of the late Guardian; and that Mason Remey - as President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice - became the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.

While the majority of Bahá'ís followed the Hands, and the Hands declared Mason Remey to be a Covenant-Breaker, others followed Mason Remey. These became known as Orthodox Bahá'ís. The Orthodox Bahá'ís refer to the main group as sans-Guardian Bahá'ís.

Joel Bray Marangella became Guardian of the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith based on the activation by Mason Remey of the Second International Bahai Council with Joel as its appointed President in 1966, and by Mason's earlier written appointment of him as Guardian. Orthodox Bahá'ís now reside in over 70 localities throughout the world.

SEE ALSO RELATED ARTICLE ON Bábís

External Links

For further information on the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith: http://www.rt66.com/~obfusa/council.htm



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