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I was once told a story about a Hand of the Cause of God who was accompanying the Master. A Baha’i man came up to the Hand of the Cause and began enthusiastically praising him, and thanking him for everything he had done. In response to this, and to the shock of the man giving out the lavish praise, the Hand began to cry. When the Baha’i asked `Abdu’l-Bahá why the Hand had started to sob `Abdu’l-Bahá explained that ego was a huge challenge for the Hand, and that every day he had to take all the praise he received and try very hard to ignore it and maintain humility.

While it was a different, earlier Hand, this story makes me think of Charles Mason Remey. For me Remey is the ultimate tragedy, and I think he is a figure we should remember in our prayers. Remey was the best of Baha’is, he designed the Australian and Ugandan Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs. The Master approved his design for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár in Haifa, and he designed a temple for Tehrán, and the future Shrine of `Abdu’l-Bahá.

`Abdu’l-Bahá
made it very clear how greatly He trusted Remey, and how much He loved him. In fact He called him his son repeatedly, and the Sign of God on Earth, Shoghi Effendi, called him his brother. Remey traveled around the world, and was in constant communication with the Head of the Faith. In Shoghi Effendi’s time Remey lived in Haifa, as President of the International Bahá’í Council and later as a Hand of The Cause of God. His loyalty to Shoghi Effendi Was unceasing, as expressed in his diary after reading the Will and Testament of `Abdu’l-Bahá appointing Shoghi Effendi Guardian

“Never have I read anything which gave me the joy and inspiration that this Holy document produced in my heart. It filled my heart with assurance that the Cause was safely guarded and gave me a fixed direction toward which to turn and a continuous center about which we are all to revolve so long as we are in this world. I rejoice at the Bahá’í standard of excellence which it established…”

Shoghi Effendi gave him a package labeled“Coagulated drops of Bahá’u’lláh‘s All-Sacred Blood and Ringlets of His Most Blessed Locks presented as my most precious possession to `Abdu’l-Bahá‘s “dear son” Mr. Charles Mason Remey as a token of my Bahá’í affection and brotherly love. Shoghi”. Inside the package was a note: “Of all the remnants of Bahá’u’lláh‘s all-Sacred Person, the most hallowed, the most precious, confidently delivered into the hands of my brother and co-worker in the Cause of God, Mr. Remey. Shoghi March 1922″. Covenant-Breakers argue that this proves `Abdu’l-Bahá saw Remey as his son, and I do not disagree, `Abdu’l-Bahá may even have adopted him legally as they argue. Having the blood of Bahá’u’lláhin your possession seems so great an honor as to prevent you from even considering the smallest sin. I have an envelope of roses from The Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, and even those have an unbearable power.

When Shoghi Effendi passed away Remey acted as a Hand of the Cause in agreement with the rest, declaring that Shoghi Effendi had not appointed a successor, and the decision on how to handle the situation lied with the currently non-yet constituted Universal House of Justice. As a Hand, Remey was entrusted with protecting the Faith, and had been given the complete trust of `Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. As the President of the International Bahá’í Council he would lead the Bahá’í Faith until the Universal House of Justice was elected, and he probably would have been the first in the minds of everyone at that election.

Bahá’u’lláh enjoins us to call ourselves to account each night, to consider our actions and ponder their effects and our motives in performing them. The Hand of the Cause who broke into tears in response to lavish praise tried excruciatingly to follow that admonition. Remey must have struggled with this on an everyday basis, he was among the most powerful Bahá’ís, he had achieved so much, and the faith eternally owes an incredible debt of gratitude to this amazing and wonderful man. In the end however, he failed to call himself to account. While I cannot get inside his head, I assume that pride was the largest part of his downfall.

Soon after Shoghi Effendi’s death, and signing documents declaring that only the Universal House of Justice could decide on the course of action as Shoghi Effendi had not left a will, Charles Mason Remey declared himself to be the second Gaurdian of the Bahá’í Faith. The reasons were preposterous and ridiculous, which add all the more to the tragedy of such an intelligent and dedicated man. I won’t get into the reasons here, and I expect at least one comment defending Remey. I don’t hate Remey, or dislike him, I admire him. I want to remember to pray for him, and to learn from his example, the good and the bad.

I don’t know what called for this post, but maybe it is a good one.

O God our Lord! Protect us through Thy grace from whatsoever may be repugnant unto Thee, and vouchsafe unto us that which well beseemeth Thee. Give us more out of Thy bounty, and bless us. Pardon us for the things we have done, and wash away our sins, and forgive us with Thy gracious forgiveness. Verily, Thou art the Most Exalted, the Self-Subsisting.

Thy loving providence hath encompassed all created things in the heavens and on the earth, and Thy forgiveness hath surpassed the whole creation. Thine is sovereignty; in Thy hand are the Kingdoms of Creation and Revelation; in Thy right hand Thou holdest all created things, and within Thy grasp are the assigned measures of forgiveness. Thou forgivest whomsoever among Thy servants Thou pleasest. Verily, Thou art the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Loving. Nothing whatsoever escapeth Thy knowledge, and naught is there which is hidden from Thee.

O God our Lord! Protect us through the potency of Thy might, enable us to enter Thy wondrous surging ocean, and grant us that which well befitteth Thee.

Thou art the Sovereign Ruler, the Mighty Doer, the Exalted, the All-Loving.The Báb

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Cluster Idaho 01 had a meeting yesterday that I was lucky enough to attend. While it had decidedly poor turnout, and I was the only youth there, it was productive and incredible.

As the only youth I was in charge of spearheading the youth side of things. I explained what we have already done, and what we are planning on doing in future, and our Auxiliary Board member emphasized that this is not a time for the youth to have fun, but to work. Now we have a fireside-like meeting with friends, a highway cleanup, a Holy Day, volunteer work, and study circles to plan. Ferris Paisano, our Auxiliary Board member will be coming back down to talk to the youth soon, and explain to us all the importance of our role, and the importance of the institute process.

In addition to youth projects, our B cluster ATC had a secret plan they unveiled. They want us to embark on a practice IPG, or Intensive Program of Growth. This is a systematic approach to spreading the Word of Bahá’u’lláh. Normally IPGs are only performed once a cluster has reached A status, but we want to grow, and we want to practice. We created teaching teams and each of our teams will be teaching in a different way – in constant consultation with the Area Teaching Committee. When us youth have our next meeting I will be explaining the whole thing to the others and trying to get them to participate.

I have decided I want to get through books 2, 4, 5, and 7 this year at the very least. I want to be able to start my own study circle soon. Hopefully I can get into 2 study circles, and do 4 and 5 at once. I am most looking forward to book 4, which teaches about the lives of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh; book 5 however takes precedence, as it allows me to teach Jr. Youth Classes, which are meant to be taught by youth.

I find these meeting so invigorating, seeing the enthusiasm of our ATC and Auxiliary Board member, and the enthusiasm we all have by the end. Our Auxiliary Board member shared a bit of advice that Mr. ‘Alí Nakhjavani shared at a meeting I was blessed with attending earlier this year. Ali explained that each of us must rely solely on ourselves to serve the Faith. This is a social Faith, but we cannot be reliant upon the states or conditions of others for our spiritual progress. He said that when serving the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, we must each imagine ourselves to be Mullá Ḥusayn-i-Bushru’í . Mullá Ḥusayn, after first meeting with the Báb, stepped out onto the streets of Shiraz as the only believer on earth. Alone he held the responsibility of spreading God’s new word to every man and woman on earth, and he did a damn good job.

‘Alí Nakhjavani shared another piece of guidance at that meeting which inspired me deeply. He said that `Abdu’l-Bahá once said to following. (Paraphrased) “If you are asleep, wake up. If you are awake sit up. If you are sitting, stand. If you are standing, walk. If you are walking, march, and if you are marching, run!” (‘Alí yelled that last bit at the meeting.) He explained that this is not a faith to be made by those who sleep, sit, stand, or walk, but by those who march and run. ‘Alí had so much to say that affected me, and much of it ended up being shared at this cluster meeting. I am sure I will share more of it in the future on his blog.

There was one woman who was in attendance at the meeting that I was overjoyed to see. I have barely had a chance to speak to Shari since I have known her, but we both felt a very strong filial connection at first meeting. She had not been doing well, and I was told she was not leaving her house, but she was at the Cluster Meeting. She said she had not planned to go, but in the morning as she was struggling to stand in the shower; something told her to attend this meeting.

After the meeting she asked me to come out to her car and receive a present from her. I expressed how glad I was to see her, and how much I hoped her condition improved. When we reached the car she took our a white envelope stamped “The Mansion Bahji – Acre, Isreal -” and numbered 9. The envelope has a clear segment so you can see its content. Inside are rose petals from the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh in Acre, Isreal. She told me she has had them for years and carries them with her in times of stress, and felt like she should bring them to the meeting for some reason. They are now sitting on top of my photograph of the Master, and I will treasure them forever.

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Mulla Musayn has fascinated me since learning my first bits of Babi history. Firstly he has my favorite name ever, Husayn. Secondly he has the unique privilege of being the Babu’l-Bab; a single mortal man through whom the fulfillment of all human potential was ushered in. And I love the name Husayn.

At Carmel Baha’i school my teacher told us that the Bab referred to Mulla Husayn-i-Bushru’i as the return of Muhammad, and that thus in a mystical way there have perhaps been more than two manifestations in this dispensation. I did not even think to doubt it, the man is a genius, and upon getting home I looked it up and he was right. (Shout out to Dr. Jay)

Consider thou the Revelation of the Point of the Bayan — exalted is His glory. He pronounced the First One [1] to believe in Him to be Muhammad, the Messenger of God. Doth it beseem a man to dispute with Him by saying that this man is from Persia, the Other from Arabia, or this one was called Husayn while the Other bore the name of Muhammad? Nay, I swear by God’s holy Being, the Exalted, the Most Great. Surely no man of intelligence and insight would ever pay attention unto limitations or names, but rather unto that with which Muhammad was invested, which was none other than the Cause of God. Such a man of insight would likewise consider Husayn and the position he occupied in the Cause of God, the Omnipotent, the Exalted, the Knowing, the Wise. And since the First One to believe in God in the Dispensation of the Bayan was invested with command similar to that with which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was invested, therefore the Báb pronounced him to be the latter, namely His return and resurrection. This station is sanctified from every limitation or name, and naught can be seen therein but God, the One, the Peerless, the All-Knowing. [1 Mulla Husayn.] (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 184)

This passage seems at first to say that Mulla Husayn was an independent Manifestation of God, endowed with constancy, and the power of the creative word. This throws the idea of the Twin Manifestations out the window and opens up the door to many questions. However, if we analyze the meaning in context with some other quotations, it begins to make sense on both logical and mystical levels. Now, I don’t claim that the meaning I take from it is the only one or even the right one, just the one that seem apparent to my faulty reasoning. Insha’allah it is somewhere close to the intended truth.

If we examine this statement by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Centre of the Covenant, we can start see what I think Baha’u’llah might have intended us to gather from the above passage.

In confirmation of the exalted rank of the true believer, referred to by Bahá’u’lláh, He reveals the following: “The station which he who hath truly recognized this Revelation will attain is the same as the one ordained for such prophets of the house of Israel as are not regarded as Manifestations ‘endowed with constancy.'” (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 111)

The quote above does not say that we can become Lesser Prophets, it says that we can attain an equal station. Lesser Prophets, nabi are a thing of the previous age, however we have now the oppourtunity, by pure recognition of Baha’u’llah to reach a station that is equal in glory to them, and perhaps this even implies an equal, if different spiritual power – utterly dependent still on the Manifestation of God.

Likewise Baha’u’llah makes it clear elsewhere that the station He holds is supreme among Manifestations, and thus the power wielded by Him is greater than those manifestations of the Adamaic Age. The essence is no different, but the station is far greater, and this applies as well to the manifestations to come in this age. (As I understand it.)

And since the First One to believe in God in the Dispensation of the Bayan was invested with command similar to that with which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, was invested, therefore the Báb pronounced him to be the latter, namely His return and resurrection.

It was pointed out to me that while the return of a Lesser Prophet can well be a Greater Prophet, it cannot be the other way around – nor can a Greater Prophet return as a normal human being, as their essence is that of Manifestation. (Not to say they cannot, (He is, in truth, the exponent of ‘God doeth whatsoever He willeth’.) but it is a different concept than that return Baha’u’llah teaches us about.

However, if the believer in this Age can be exalted to the station of a Lesser Prophet of the previous age, and the Manifestations of this Age wield greater power than the previous ones, why cannot – by the will of the Manifestation of God, a soul endowed with acquired infallibility be given power to wield equal to that wielded by the Manifestations of the previous age?

So I would venture that this passage is not saying that Mulla Husayn is an independent Manifestation of his own right, nor anywhere near the level of Baha’u’llah. It seems to me that it is saying that his station has been exalted such, that he bears power equal to that Muhammad bore, while remaining human in his essence, and that his piety and human attributes are identical, through the power given him by the Bab, and through his very nature to those of Muhammad. Thus he is the same person, and equal to him in all ways but his pre-existent essence. I hope that made some sort of sense.

164 years ago, on this day, the Point of the Bayan ascended from this mortal plane, making way for ‘Him Whom God must needs make manifest’. I would like to offer a written prayer to that Point as a testament to Him and all those exalted souls who gave their lives for His cause, and that I may live.

How numerous the souls raised to life who were exposed to dire humiliation in Thy Path for exalting Thy Word and for glorifying Thy divine Unity! How profuse the blood that hath been shed for the sake of Thy Faith to vindicate the authenticity of Thy divine Mission and to celebrate Thy praise! How vast the possessions that were wrongfully seized in the Path of Thy love in order to affirm the loftiness of Thy sanctity and to extol Thy glorious Name! How many the feet that have trodden upon the dust in order to magnify Thy holy Word and to extol Thy glory! How innumerable the voices that were raised in lamentation, the hearts that were struck with terror, the grievous woes that none other than Thee can reckon, and the adversities and afflictions that remain inscrutable to anyone except Thyself; all this to establish, O my God, the loftiness of Thy sanctity and to demonstrate the transcendent character of Thy glory.

These decrees were ordained by Thee so that all created things might bear witness that they have been brought into being for the sake of naught else but Thee. Thou hast withheld from them the things that bring tranquillity to their hearts, that they might know of a certainty that whatever is associated with Thy holy Being is far superior to and exalted above aught else that would satisfy them; inasmuch as Thine indomitable power pervadeth all things, and nothing can ever frustrate it.

Indeed Thou hast caused these momentous happenings to come to pass that those who are endued with perception may readily recognize that they were ordained by Thee to demonstrate the loftiness of Thy divine Unity and to affirm the exaltation of Thy sanctity.