Analyzing the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l Baha

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share
This is an extract from the above book written by Ruth White. For the complete book please click here.



Alleged Will of ‘Abdu’l Baha discovered

Baha’i Religion Incorporated

London – On the trail of the Alleged Will

Dr. Ainsworth Mitchell’s Report

Spiritual indications that the Will is spurious

The lawsuit of the NSA

A Modern day Saint


This book contains the report of Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell, the handwriting expert for the British Museum, and editor of THE ANALYST. It is the end of an exciting trail of spiritual adventures and a sequel to my book:



P.O.Box 1471, Beverley Hills, California 1946

“…look not upon each other with the eye of strangeness. Ye are all the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.”
“The earth is one country; and mankind is its citizens.
“… diversify of states is one of the peculiarities and concomitants of the human race.”
” … the Religion which does not walk hand in hand with Science, is itself in the Darkness of Superstition and ignorance.” – ‘Abdu’l Baha





I. Atomic power prophesied by Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha – Spiritual atomics must be cultivated to circumvent the possible destruction of our planet…..
II. An alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha discovered — It is not in accord with the teachings that he gave during his life­time— The Baha’i Cause is a spiritual democracy and not a theocracy.
III. Baha’i Religion incorporated — Acceptance of the alleged will made part of the by-laws — It has never been legally authenticated……….
IV. I sail for London on the trail of the alleged will — Photostated at the British Museum-—Enlarged spec­imen of the alleged will reproduced—Enlarged spec­imens of authentic writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha reproduced.
V. Report of the great handwriting expert of the British Museum, Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell— Indications are that the will   is spurious.
VI.       Spiritual indications are that the will is spurious— It contradicts the teachings given by ‘Abdu’l Baha during his lifetime —— Freedom   of   conscience   suppressed   by Shoghi Effendi — edicts enforced under threat of excommunication.
VII. The law-suit of the National Spiritual Assembly against Mrs.  Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and Ahmad Sohrab. The suit is lost. A violation of the Bill of Rights — Freedom   of conscience   is proclaimed anew by Judge Valante.
VIII. A modern day saint Mrs.  Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and Ahmad Sohrab spread the Baha’i cause without organization, on the nine Baha’i principles – Establish 838 Chapters of The Caravan with 100,000 members.
IX. Excerpts from the writings of ‘Abdu’l Baha — Friendship – Real Fraternity — The Illuminati — Radiant Acqui­escence — Gardeners — Dreams — Intercessory   prayer — Faith — Prayer   and   Life   after   death.


The atomic bomb was prophesied by Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Religion, eighty-one years ago. At that time he also gave the remedy that would circumvent the possible destruction of our planet. This prophecy was repeated by ‘Abdu’l Baha in 1912. He warned that we must speed up spiritual civilization to keep pace with scientific and material progress, otherwise materialism would destroy us.

This book deals with the conditions that have largely prevented their remedial teachings from becoming better appreciated— the Mal-administration of the Baha’i her­itage by Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is,* who claim to derive their authority from the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha. In this book also is printed the analysis of that alleged will, by the great handwriting expert for the British Museum, Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell. The scientific indications are that the will of ‘Abdu’l Baha is not genuine. Also, from the spiritual viewpoint, there are overwhelming indications that it is not genuine, as it contradicts the teachings of both Baha’u’llah and of ‘Abdu’l Baha. But whether the will is genuine or spurious, the actions of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, and of Shoghi Effendi, stand as an Assembly of Baha’is, and of Shoghi Effendi, stand as an historical indictment, recorded for all time against them. Their actions show that they no more represent the Baha’i Religion than the bigots of the dark ages represented Christ’s teachings.


*The two ways of spelling the word “Baha’i” used in this book is due to the fact that during ‘Abdu’l Baha’s lifetime the word was spelled Baha’i.” But Shoghi Effendi insists on the word being spelled “Baha’i.


One of these actions is the trade marking of the name “Baha’i” in 1928. This is the same as if one sect within Christianity had tried to trade mark the name “Chris­tian.” In their application for the trade mark they described themselves as the: “National Spiritual Assem­bly of Baha’is of the United States and Canada, a com­mon-law corporation, organized and operated under declaration of trust and doing business at. . .” This trade mark was later pronounced invalid by the court when the Assembly instituted two law-suits, during 1941, against two well-known Baha’is, to prevent them, or anyone else, from spreading the Baha’i teachings except through their organization. Of course the Assembly lost both suits and they were severely reprimanded by Judge Valente, who reminded them of the Bill of Rights, and pointed out that each one has a right to practice his religion unmolested by others.


The Assembly of Baha’is use the assets that Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha built up by preaching some of their principles from the platform. But in private, after a per­son has joined the Assembly, that person is faced with the alternative of complying with the narrow, bigoted edicts of Shoghi Effendi and the Assembly, or of being excommunicated.


This book is a challenge to them to prove, if they can. Not only whether the will of ‘Abdu’l Baha is genuine, and the authority which they claim to derive from it is legiti­mate, but also whether their administration of their assumed authority is in the spirit of the teachings of Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha.


Each one reading this book should feel a personal responsibility toward this greatest peace movement of modern times. Dr. David Starr Jordan said of one of its founders:

“‘Abdu’l Baha will unite the East and the West, for he travels the Mystic Path with practical feet”


Alleged Will of ‘Abdu’l Baha discovered

The late Professor E. G. Browne of the University of Cambridge, who was the best historian of the Baha’i Cause, states:

“My object in the present essay on the Babis is twofold. . . .


I wish to point out how much still remains to be done to thoroughly elucidate the matter, and to emphasize the fact that every year which passes will render it more and more difficult to fill in certain important details in the history and chronology of this sect. I sincerely hope that some, who have the means and opportunity of assisting in this task, may be induced to do so while it is still possible; . . . Believing as I do that Babism* is destined to leave a permanent mark in the world, I feel very strongly how desirable it is that this work should be accomplished…..”
(Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1889; page 485)


* “Babism” is now known as ‘Baha’ism” or the “Baha’i Cause” which derives its name from Baha’u’llah. “The Bab” meant; ”The Gate.” He heralded the coming Messiah, Baha’u’llah.


It is equally important to chronicle the history of the Baha’i Cause as it has come under my observation from the time that ‘Abdu’l Baha passed from this world,   in November 1921, up to the present writing, 1945.


The earlier chronicles of the Baha’i Revelation dealt with the physical martyrdom of the Babis. This present history deals with the spiritual martyrdom which the Baha’i Revelation has suffered, since ‘Abdu’l Baha passed from this world. For in the hands of Shoghi Effendi, and The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, the great universal Baha’i Cause has been changed into a narrow bigoted sect and many of the tactics of the dark ages have been revived. This is what has happened to the religion that many leading thinkers of the day believe is the remedy for this age.


I have already published in 1929 some history of this matter in my book, “The Baha’i Religion and Its Enemy the Baha’i Organization.” In this book is printed the com­plete set of nine photographs of the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha written in Persian together with the English trans­lation of it consisting of thirty-one pages.” *


But since the publication of this book such appalling conditions have taken place, under the administration of Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, that I feel it necessary to write again upon this matter, and recount the calamitous results of those happenings.


Three  months after Abdul   Baha  passed   from  this world, November 26th, 1921, the following cable was sent to this country to Roy C. Wilhelm of 104 Wall Street, New York City:


‘Copies of this book may be purchased from the author, Mrs. Ruth White, P. O. Box 1471, Beverly Hills, Calif.


“Wilhemite, N. Y.
In Will Shoghi Effendi appointed Guardian of the Cause and Head of House of Justice.
(Signed) Greatest Holy Leaf, Haifa.”


The “Greatest Holy Leaf is the sister of ‘Abdu’l Baha. The appointment of a successor came as a thunderbolt out of a clear sky to everyone. For ‘Abdu’l Baha gave no hint that this was his intention. On the contrary he spoke many times against such a possibility.


A typewritten English translation of the alleged will arrived in New York four weeks later. This document, undated and un-witnessed, was read by Mr. Horace Holley to a gathering of Baha’is at which I was present. No details concerning it and no comments upon it were vouchsafed. Later we heard that it had been buried in the ground, but who found it, and when, and where, has never been revealed so far as I know.


As I listened to Mr. Holley’s reading, my inner admonitor kept up a running comment: “Why had ‘Abdu’l Baha appointed Shoghi Effendi as Guardian when every­thing he said and wrote indicated that he did not mean to appoint any successor?” And as Mr. Holley continued: “… a fixed money offering … is to be offered through the Guardian of the Cause of God . . .,” I thought “This endows Shoghi with more potential power and wealth than a king and pope combined.”


Then Mr. Holley continued, “The Hands of the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone beginning to oppose and protest against the Guardian of the Cause of God, cast him out from the congregation of the people of Baha and in no wise accept any excuses from him. . . .”


Again my inner admonitor reasoned: “That is what is known in law as the “terror clause,” in case a will is disputed. It will prevent those who can be easily fright­ened from investigating, or from even asking questions concerning the will.”


After Mr. Holley had finished reading the document those present filed out of the room shocked into silence.


I kept my thoughts to myself and decided to re-read everything that both Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha had said and written, and find out if I had missed something in my previous readings which would indicate their intention of appointing a hereditary line of successors or guardians.


My husband and I had the privilege of knowing ‘Abdu’l Baha for the last ten years of his life, and we spent over a hundred days in his presence, forty-nine of which were spent at his home in Haifa, Palestine, during two visits there. I had read and re-read all of his published writings as well as hundreds of unpublished Tablets and notes and I now went through the long list again. After months of research I found that neither he nor Baha’u’llah had given the slightest intimation that they intended to appoint a hereditary guardianship. In fact everything that they had said or spoken indicated the opposite intention.


I also did a great deal of recollecting of events that had happened during our two visits to the home of ‘Abdu’l Baha, where I had an opportunity to see him in relation Baha, where I had an opportunity to see him in relation to his family and his “in-laws.” The deductions that I made confirmed what ‘Abdu’l Baha had so often said — that the spiritual relationship was the real kinship, and not the physical. For his family, with the exception of his wife and sister, were the average types with a strong bent toward organized religion, whereas ‘Abdu’l Baha was uni­versal, “super-racial and undogmatic.” The world was his family. His loving care for his universal family was evi­dent throughout his life, but at no time was it more evident than during the First World War and directly after it. He personally supervised vast agricultural projects at Tiberius and Adassieh, and he rationed and distributed the products that he cultivated, thereby saving thousands from starvation. For this service and for his help in fre­quently bringing peace between warring factions in the Holy Land he was knighted by the British Government in April, 1920, at which ceremony we were present.


I also wish to give a few high-lights on Shoghi Effendi, the grandson of ‘Abdu’l Baha, who is now his alleged successor. He had failed in his college course at the age of twenty-four, and he wished to go to Oxford University, in the autumn of 1919. Despite the objec­tions of ‘Abdu’l Baha he went. This act demonstrates that Shoghi Effendi had little consideration for the wishes of his grandfather, who was then seventy-four years of age. It also shows that he was lacking in the spiritual attri­butes which would have enabled him to know that it was of far more value to be with ‘Abdu’l Baha, both spiritually and mentally, during the last two years of his life, than any amount of academic training could possibly be.


For these last two years were filled with intense activities, and spiritual confirmations, as it was just after the first world war, and the war had made people hungry for spir­itual enlightenment. As a result there flocked to the home of ‘Abdu’l Baha a steady stream of pilgrims from all over the earth — the poor, the wealthy, the distin­guished, and also frightened refugees. They came by camel, train, auto, boat, and on foot to imbibe the spirit­ual wisdom of ‘Abdu’l Baha, and each day there dined at his table about forty pilgrims. This personal contact which we were privileged to have was of tremendous importance, not only because of what he said, but because of the emanation of his spirit, which transported those who were receptive into kingdoms of enlightenment and happiness. Yet, Shoghi Effendi chose to be away during the last two years of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s life, and did not return for a full month after he had passed from this world.


Another significant fact to which I wish to call attention is this: If ‘Abdu’l Baha had had any secret intention of appointing Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Baha’i Cause, it does not seem plausible that he would have excluded him from the entourage that accompanied him on his trip through Europe and America during 1912. Shoghi Effendi at that time was eighteen years of age and spoke and wrote English, Persian and Arabic; yet he was not included in this trip. Even after ‘Abdu’l Baha returned to Palestine, instead of choosing Shoghi Effendi as his secretary, he chose Ahmad Sohrab, who had accompanied him to Europe and America, and who continued as his secretary for five succeeding years.


It is important for those who are interested in the Baha’i Religion to free themselves from the idea that the family of ‘Abdu’l Baha is a “Holy Family.” In fact his family, and “in-laws,” with the exception of his wife and sister, were somewhat materialistic, and viewed the reli­gion more or less as a little family affair with a strong bent toward organization. For years they have indoctrin­ated, more or less, the pilgrims who visited the home of ‘Abdu’l Baha, myself included, with this conception of religion. This partly nullified the great universal teachings. The result was that when ‘Abdu’l Baha passed from this world in November, 1921. Some of his family, who had laid the ground-work for organization through these pilgrims while he was alive, hastened to establish it more firmly when he died. All this resulted in making the Baha’i Movement, under the dictatorship of Shoghi Effendi, an organization which for narrowness and bigotry has no parallel in history except in the dark ages.


Remembering these things, together with my months of research, convinced me that neither Baha’u’llah nor ‘Abdu’l Baha had at any time advocated an ‘organization’ of Baha’is, far less an official organization headed by a Guardian who collected ‘dues’ and had the power of excommunication. Among hundreds of quotations that could be given on this subject to show that they had no intention of such an organization the following will suffice:


“The Blessed Perfection” * has uptorn the root of the free of superstition and religious officers. In the past the ambitious leaders of religions have been the cause of the retrogression and ignorance of a nation. In this Cause there are no religious titles, no cere­monies of ordination. One is not respected simply because he wears a peculiar dress or carries a reli­gious title, or has inherited it from the Fathers. No! These are not the marks of distinction. On the other hand, those sanctified souls, the signs of their divine sanctity and spirituality become apparent in the hearts of others. People are unconsciously attracted to them through their pure morality, their justice sacerdotal and theological position makes a clergy­man proud and haughty. But there is one thing in this Cause: some people may become greater than the rest, not through appointment, but through the purity of their hearts, their unselfish deeds, their heroic sacrifices, and their knowledge of God. Such illumined souls, like kind fathers or teachers, will guide and teach those less fortunate. They are the elder brothers of the members of the community. They do not arrogate to themselves any title or posi­tion. You will know them by their humility, their sincerity, their deeds, their severance, their knowl­edge, their spirituality, and their attraction.”

Diary of Ahmad Sohrab, March 21, 1913.

*Baha’u’llah – Spoken by ‘Abdu’l Baha at a Persian meeting and recorded by Mir Ahmad Sohrab, July 19, 1913.


“A gentleman who had spent many years in India asked by what means and what kind of organization ‘Abdu’l Baha intended to spread his teachings. The answer was: ‘Our organization is the love of God, the knowledge of the Almighty, the descent of the breaths of the Holy Spirit, the out­flow of the spiritual life; our capital is good deeds, merciful attributes, heavenly characteristics, and divine ethics.’ “
Diary of Ahmad Sohrab, December 30, 1912.


“Holding to the letter of the law is many times an indication of a desire for leadership. One who assumes to be the enforcer of the law shows an intellectual understanding of the Cause, but that spiritual guidance in him is not yet established.


The alphabet of things is for children, that they may in time use their reasoning powers. ‘Following the spirit’ is guidance by and through the heart the prompter of the spirit. The Pharisees were extremely orthodox, holding strictly to the law. They were the cause of the condemnation and ulti­mate crucifixion of Jesus.”

* * *

“Were not the Revelation of Baha’u’llah one adaptable to the entire world and its diverse nations, itcould not be a unique and universal Revelation, but its elasticity adapts itself to all conditions, and its spirit is one that moulds itself into every vehicle and need for the accomplishment of the divine plan of unity.


But when some follow merely the hard and fixed letter of the law, they deprive it (the Revelation) of its elastic quality — the spirit — and endeavour to convert   it   into   a   hard   instrument   of   inflexible qualities.”
Star of the West, June 24, 1915; pages 43, 44, 45.


“O friends! It is the wish of ‘Abdu’l Baha, that the friends may establish general unity, and not a particular meeting of unity. You must have great consideration for this fact, for during past cycles such events were, in the beginning, a means of har­mony, they became in the end the cause of trouble.”
Tablets Containing Instructions; 1906.


“. . . It is not necessary even to label one’s self. One may call one’s self a Baha’i and in no way live the life; on the other hand one may live the life and never be known as a Baha’i. It is not so much by what name you are called, but what you are in your heart. Are you loving and serving God? Love and service are the greatest requisites of a good life. Endeavor in every possible way to do some favour, some service for someone else; do this daily, no mat­ter how small or trivial the act of kindness may be. Even a smile counts for much.”
From Table Talks of ‘Abdu’l Baha; 1906.


“If we are true Baha’is, speech is not needed. Our actions will help on the world, will spread civili­zation, will help the progress of science, and cause the arts to develop. Without action, nothing in the material world can be accomplished; neither can words unaided advance a man in the Spiritual King­dom. It is not through lip service only, which the Elect of God have attained to holiness, but by patient lives of active service they have brought Light into the World.


Baha’i Religion Incorporated

From the beginning of my contact with ‘Abdu’l Baha I observed a definite cleavage between the universality that he was trying to establish, and a strong tendency on the part of most of his followers toward organization, and I evaded all attempts to be drawn into it. Although I was a “recognized Baha’i” I never belonged to the “Spiritual Assemblies.” During my first visit to the home of ‘Abdu’l Baha, in May, 1920, I decided to ask him if my stand was right. So one morning, when my husband and I were tak­ing early morning tea with him, we found him engulfed in great floods of correspondence, and contrary to his usual custom of praising people he spoke of the dreadful lack of harmony existing among the members of the Baha’i Assemblies in America, and the letters of complaint that they wrote to him one against the other.


“Great God!” he exclaimed, “Can’t they understand that I have nothing to do with such pettiness?”

The thought occurred to me, “Why is he telling me this? I have never belonged to the Assemblies.” I con­cluded that this was an opportune time to ask him if my stand in not becoming a member of them was the right one. His face beamed with happiness as he nodded approval and said:


“The organization that the Baha’is have among themselves has nothing to do with the teachings of Baha’u’llah. The teachings of Baha’u’llah are uni­versal and cannot be confined to a sect.”

These same people who were the leaders in the organization then are the leaders in it today. During the lifetime of ‘Abdu’l Baha the following utterance of his was widely circulated in a blue pamphlet, 9:


“The Baha’i Religion is not an organization. You can never organize the Baha’i Cause. The Baha’i Reli­gion is the Spirit of this age. It is the essence of all the highest ideals of this century. The Baha’i Cause is an inclusive movement; the teachings of all the religions and societies are found here; the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Mohammedans, Zoroastrians, Theosophists, Freemasons, Spiritualists, etc., find their highest aims in this Cause. Even the Socialists and Philosophers find their theories fully developed in this Movement.”


My months of research were in accordance with one of the most important points of the Baha’i Religion — Inde­pendent investigation of truth, as the following by ‘Abdu’l Baha will make plain:


“. . . . know ye that God has created in man the power of reason whereby man is enabled to investigate reality … He has endowed him with mind or the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of   which he is to investigate and discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept. He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each soul must seek intelligently, and independ­ently, arriving at a real conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance, based upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail; from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among man­kind.  .  .  .”


“God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the mes­sage of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the inves­tigations of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God. Therefore depend upon your own reason and judg­ment and adhere to the outcome of your own inves­tigation; otherwise you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all the bounties of God. Turn to God; supplicate humbly at his threshold, seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils that obscure your vision. Then will your eyes be filled with illumina­tion; face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become completely purified from and your heart become completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories and bounties of the kingdom.


“.  . .   It is the duty of everyone to investigate reality, and investigation of reality by another will not do.  . .”

The Promulgation of Universal Truth.
Discourses by ‘Abdu’l Baha; pages 285-287-288.


Not until three years had elapsed after the alleged will had been read in 1922, were copies of it finally dis­tributed, and then only to “old and recognized believers.” I was among those who received a copy. But my stand continued to be one of “watchful waiting.” This stand on my part caused me no embarrassment, inasmuch as I had never been a member of the Baha’i organization, {Spiritual Assembles of- the Baha’is}. I knew that belong­ing to them meant conforming to the group repression and being shorn of the universal attitude which ‘Abdu’l Baha said is the essence of the Baha’i Cause. During these three years, however, my outer as well as my inner life was absorbed with the question of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s alleged will.

In May 1926 the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is incorporated the Baha’i Cause, made the alleged will part of the by-laws, and proclaimed it an article of faith that Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Baha’i Cause must be obeyed in all things. The alleged will had never been examined by handwriting experts.

By the powers granted in the alleged will, the Guard­ian collected large sums of money, and sent out various pleas for this purpose. I made four contributions during 1925 and 1926, in answer to one of these pleas which was printed on the Baha’i Fund receipt and was as follows:


It is the sacred obligation of every conscien­tious servant of Baha’u’llah, who desires to see His Cause advance, to contribute freely and generously for the increase of that Fund.” — Shoghi Effendi.


One division of this BAHA! FUND was to be used in response to Shoghi’s plea that more money was needed at once to buy land around the Tomb of the Bab on Mount Carmel, in order to protect this shrine from the encroach­ment of other people who were also buying land there. In answer to this plea I sent $200 for the Mount Carmel division of the Baha’i Fund. Later I wrote to Shoghi Effendi, and also to the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, asking how much land had been purchased, and the number and size of the lots, and where they were situated. But the only information I could get was that my contribution had been pooled with contributions of others. Who these ‘others’ were I could not find out. Nor was any other information given me for which I had asked.


Now I will jump ahead to 1944 and show that Shoghi Effendi and The National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is have, for the last twenty-one years, continued to disre­gard the question of accounting for money received. Mirza Ahmad Sohrab in his book published in 1944* writes that the Baha’i Movement, under Shoghi Effendi is now an organization, and he makes the following state­ment:

“The movement is an organization run by an administrative body along the lines of laws and by-laws; and to be consistent with this new aspect, the    financial    department    should    be    regulated according to institutionalized custom. … He (Shoghi Effendi! as treasurer, should see to it that a certified accountant give to the members of his community a detailed report on this fund to which they have subscribed… This has not been done up to date, although twenty-one years have elapsed since the departure of the Master (‘Abdu’l Baha)…”


* The Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l Baha, page 67
New History Foundation, 132 East 65th Street, New York, N. Y.


Now to return to my own experience in 1926. I knew that in as much as I had made contributions to the BAHA’I FUND, in answer to Shoghi Effendi’s plea, and could get no financial statement from him or the Assembly, that I had a legal right to demand a photographic copy of the alleged will. I therefore wrote to the Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is part of which letter is as follows:


“I request that you, in your official capacity as one of the officers of this organization, present to me legal evidence that your organization,   in   its acceptance of Shoghi Effendi as the successor of ‘Abdu’l Baha, is founded on a legal claim, by presenting to me, on or before the 19th day of January, 1928, an authentic photographic copy of this docu­ment which purports to be the will of ‘Abdu’l Baha.
Yours in the service of the Cause of God,
Ruth White


Four weeks later, on December 31, I received a reply from Mr. Holley, part of which is as follows:


National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada
Office of the Secretary
129 East Tenth Street, New York City
December 31, 1927.


My Dear Mrs. White:

Although you have indicated several points on which you desire explanation or comment, we feel that your letter raises only one fundamental ques­tion, namely, the validity of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdul-Baha. Since this will appoints a Guardian to administer the administrative affairs of the Cause, and since the Guardian has approved the matters you question, it of course follows that those who really desire to conform to the wishes and instructions of ‘Abdul-Baha will accept His instruc­tions concerning administrative affairs as soon as they know what these instructions are.

We can, therefore, give you full assurance that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdul-Baha, a copy of which was sent you over two years ago, is a docu­ment written by Him in His own hand, the validity of which has been established by a number of well-known Baha’is from different countries who inspected the original at Haifa.

Apart from this entirely convincing proof, it is a matter of interesting historical record that, when the custody of one of the Baha’i tombs at- Haifa was questioned after the departure of ‘Abdul-Baha the final decision lay in the hands of the representative of the British Government administering Palestine under the mandate of the League of Nations, and after full investigation he restored the keys of the Tomb to the Guardian appointed in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdul-Baha.


As no photographic copies of this document exist in this country, we are unable to meet your request for such a copy. In view of the fact that the world-wide Baha’i community naturally most concerned with establishing the completeness and accuracy of ‘Abdul-Baha’s final instruction to His followers, has been satisfied with the verbal accur­acy of His Will and Testament; and in view also of the fact that the highest civil authorities of Pales­tine have also accepted the Guardian as the administrative head of the Baha’i Cause, we know that you may rest assured that- obedience to ‘Abdul-Baha at this time means obedience to the Guardian appointed by Him in all matters pertaining to the Baha’i Cause.”




This answer was wholly unsatisfactory, for the very point of my letter, as well as others that I had previously sent, was that the alleged will is not in accord with the wishes or teachings which ‘Abdu’l Baha expressed during his lifetime. Furthermore Mr., Holley’s so-called proof of the validity of the will, that it is “a document written by him (‘Abdu’l Baha) in his own hand, the validity of which has been established by a number of well-known Baha’is from different countries who inspected the original at Haifa” would be thrown out of any court as worthless. For the “well-known Baha’is” were not handwriting experts, and no one but a handwriting expert is legally qualified to judge the validity of a questioned will. Another reason why the evidence of these “well-known Baha’is” is worthless is that they are not disinterested witnesses. They are leaders in the very organization in the by-laws of which this alleged will was incorporated, and they had made it an article of faith that this will must and they had made it an article of faith that this will must be accepted. Those who even questioned it were to be thrown out of the congregation of the Baha’is.


As for Mr. Holley’s statement: “… in view also of the fact that the highest civil authorities of Palestine have also accepted the Guardian as the administrative head of the Baha’i Cause . . .” it means nothing at all as far as the vital issue is concerned. For there was no prop­erty, either personal or real, bequeathed in the alleged will and as no one ‘contested the right of Shoghi Effendi as successor to the point of insisting upon having the alleged will put to the acid test of handwriting experts, the government’s recognition of him consisted in permit­ting him to be the custodian of the Tombs of the Bab and of Baha’u’llah. This would have been conceded him even without a will, as he is the oldest male descendant of ‘Abdu’l Baha.


As Mr. Mountford Mills was one of the “well known Baha’is” who had gone to Palestine shortly after the passing of ‘Abdu’l Baha, I wrote to him asking him to give me what information he could concerning the alleged will. Mr. Mills, by the way, drew up the by-laws of the Baha’i Cause, than which nothing could be more un-Baha’i. Although he is an exceptionally fine man, that did not interfere with his blindness. Just after he had drawn these by-laws, my husband and I had an interview with him, in which he said that he had recently finished read­ing ‘Christianity Past and Present’ by Charles Guignebert, and that if he had read it before drafting those by-laws the history of the Baha’i Cause would have been different. In other words Mr. Mills deeply regretted his action.


The following is his reply to my letter:

January 19th, 1928.

Dear Mrs. White:

I   have your letter of yesterday and have also received the copies of your earlier letters to the National Spiritual Assembly and to Mr. Holley, all bearing upon the question whether the Will accepted by the National Spiritual Assembly as Abdul’ Baha’s Last Testament is really so. Needless to say, I am glad to give you any information I can relating to the matter.

Answering more specifically the questions in your letter to me, I have seen the Will.

It is written entirely in the Master’s own hand.
It is signed by him.
Its parts written before the Master’s seal was stolen from him in this country are sealed.
It is not dated, but its approximate date appears from its contents.
It has not been probated in the sense that we use the word, as there is no provision under the laws of Islam for such a proceeding. It has, however, been officially recognized by the British Government, the MandatoryPower now governing Palestine.

I hope these answers will satisfy the doubts that have arisen in your mind concerning the authenticity of the Will. Please let me know. I have enjoyed exceptional opportunities to learn the facts about it and do not hesitate to assure you that the document of which copies have been circulated among the Baha’is in this country is the Last Will and Testament of Abdul Baha and embodies his final and most sacred message to his followers.

Sincerely yours,



Then, upon further questioning he wrote again as follows:


January 22nd, 1928.

Dear Mrs. White:

I have your letter of yesterday.

As I wrote in my last letter, the formal stand­ards in executing wills here required by our laws cannot be applied to the Will of ‘Abdu’l Baha. View­ing it- through the eye of our custom so far as pos­sible, however, we should consider its three parts as forming his main Will to which two codicils had been added, all three parts being his Last Will and Testament. This is the view I took when writing you. It also seems beyond question that this was the Master’s own intention. The three parts were filed together in one place by him, with the evident intent that they should be read together as one document.


Answering your specific questions.


All three sections are signed by ‘Abdu’l Baha.
The first two sections are sealed.
All three sections are in the handwriting of ‘Abdu’l Baha.
The Master’s seal was stolen during his visit to this country in 1912.
The first- two sections were thus obviously writ­ten before 1912, the last section after his return to Palestine in 1913. A closer approximation to the exact dates can be drawn from events referred to in the separate sections, but I have not this data with me here. As explained above, following our occiden­tal terminology, there is but one Will with two codicils, the three parts having been written at dif­ferent dates.


The commands of ‘Abdu’l Baha which you quote concerning the identification of letters alleged to have been written by him were given out with spe­cial reference to Orientals who might come to this country and mingle with the Friends with the pur­pose of creating differences among them, and it has always   been   supposed   that   the commands   were given with particular reference to Dr. ______, who, as you know, did come here shortly afterwards. That these instructions could not have been intended to apply in full detail to all of the Master’s writings is clearly shown by the innumerable Tablets sent to us that were almost never written in his own hand beyond the signature. However, I agree with you entirely that he would wish even more strongly that anyone feeling that he had reasonable grounds to doubt the authenticity of so gravely important a document as his Will should take every reasonable precaution to be sure.




Here again in both letters Mr. Mills’ statements: “It is written entirely in the Master’s own hand,” and . . . “All three sections are in the handwriting of ‘Abdu’l Baha” are no proof at all, as only a handwriting expert is legally qualified to judge the authenticity of the handwriting of a questioned will.

In response to other letters that I wrote to the National Spiritual Assembly, reiterating my request for photographs of the alleged will in order to have it exam­ined by handwriting experts, I received a reply from Mr. Holley asking me to meet the members of the Spiritual Assembly. I accepted this invitation and met them on February 25, 1928. The object of the meeting on their part was, apparently, to try and make me feel that I should accept this document on verbal and circumstan­tial evidence. I, on my part, reiterated what I had written in my letters and tried to make them realize that to accept it in this manner was disobedience to the com­mands of ‘Abdu’l Baha.


I asked them how they could possibly believe they were carrying out the wishes of ‘Abdu’l Baha in accepting this alleged will before they had first carried out his wishes regarding the acceptance of any document alleged to be his. I reminded them that he had written:


“Any Persian . . . (who comes to America), even if it is Shoghi Effendi, or Rouhi Effendi (the two grandsons of ‘Abdu’l Baha) the friends must demand of him before anything else, his credential letter, written in my handwriting, or signed with my signature.”

‘Abdu’l Baha Abbas.

From Star of the West, October 16, 1915.


They contended that this referred to a certain relative of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s. I maintained that it referred to anyone, and that it made no difference whether a letter or docu­ment – alleged to be ‘Abdu’l Baha’s was brought or sent to us. He would insist that we should see his own writing or signature before we accepted it. In particular this would



London—on the trail of the Alleged Will

Although everyone whom I had questioned concern­ing the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha had assured me that it had never been photographed, yet about this time I heard that one set of photographs did exist and was owned by a Persian in London.

In order to insure having photo static copies made from these in case the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is failed to secure the photographs they had sent for. Or would not permit me to photograph them in case they came, I sailed with my husband for England on April 25, 1928.


I believed I could secure copies of the set through the help of a prominent Baha’i in London, Mrs. Claudia Coles, because I had rendered her a great service in 1926, through foreknowledge of an event that vitally con­cerned her welfare. The whole story is so extraordinary that I wish I could recount it here, for it demonstrates that those who follow guidance must be willing to follow it for others also, no matter how much work it entailed and how much time and money spent. Lawrence and I had made our trip to London in 1926 solely to help her.


In this particular case the Higher Powers had acted on me in the same way that a novelist acts when, as he plots his novel, he “plants” ahead of time hints of future events. Many times I have been moved in this way to do inexplicable things, the wisdom of which only became known to me later. Happy are we if we can catch a glimpse of the plot of our lives and align ourselves with it.


The events of 1926 gave Mrs. Coles such confidence in me that now, when I suddenly appeared two years later and asked her to secure for me the photographs of the will of ‘Abdu’l Baha, she gladly consented.


The very day after our arrival the photographs were in our hands and together we went to the British Museum and had them Photostatted. Some of the ten sheets were illegible in part, as evidently something had been spilled over the photographs from which they had been repro­duced, or perhaps the plates had been over-exposed. But, needless to say, I was overjoyed at the truly miraculous way in which we had gained possession of them.


After meeting practically all the Baha’is in London and many of those in Germany, we returned to America with the much-coveted document, arriving in New York on May 29th, 1928. On that very day Mr. Holley wrote to me that the photographs of the will were at his office and invited me to inspect them. But I assured him that an inspection at his office would not suffice. Three days later, on June 1st, he wrote to me again and his attitude is typical of that of all the Baha’is in the organization toward the alleged will. He thought that by looking at it, and then looking at the writing, which might or might not be that of ‘Abdu’l Baha. I could judge whether the writing of the will is genuine. They surely must have known that only an expert could determine this after much work with the comparative microscope used by handwriting experts. The following is part of his letter:


My dear Mrs. White:                                                                                         June 1, 1928.

At the time when the National Assembly recorded in its minutes a reference to your joint meeting with us, and our decision to request photo­graphs or Photostats of the Will and Testament, it was not contemplated that you would require more than a careful inspection of these copies of the origi­nal papers at my office. The members felt sure that by comparing the signature and handwriting with copies of original tablets which might be in your possession, you could readily satisfy yourself that the Will and Testament is absolutely genuine.


If I had not surprised him with the information that I had just returned from London with photo static copies of the alleged will, I believe that an inspection at his office is all that would have been granted me. When I asked permission to have his set photo stated as some of the sheets of those I had were partly obliterated, he said he would bring the matter up before the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.


While awaiting their decision I wrote them another letter on June 26th, 1928, saying that it would greatly assist me if they would send me three or four photographs of tablets of ‘Abdu’l Baha, written in his own hand, in order that these might be compared with the alleged will. Although I sent this by registered mail and the return card came back with Mr. Holley’s signature, yet when he mailed the photo stats to me on July 13th no mention was made of my request This despite the fact that there were in the Baha’i archives in New York, as early as 1907, five hundred tablets of ‘Abdu’l Baha.*


*”See Tablets of ‘Abdu’l Baha, Vol. I. Introduction.

In fact the National Spiritual Assembly by refusing to have the original text of the will examined themselves and by their obvious reluctance to assist me in my efforts to have it done, appeared to be unwilling to put the alleged will to the test of handwriting analysis for fear that it might be proved invalid.


My next step was to secure the services of the great­est handwriting expert I could obtain, one whose integrity was above reproach. I finally went to Mr. Albert S. Osborne but for a number of reasons he could not under­take the task. Yet he was greatly interested, very kind, and gave me valuable advice. He said that the document should be examined from three different angles. First, from the spiritual point of view. Does the alleged will agree with the teachings and the intent that the maker held during his lifetime, or does it contradict them? Secondly, from the literary point of view. Is it written in the style of ‘Abdu’l Baha? Thirdly, from the scientific point of view — submit it to the scrutiny of the best handwriting experts. As he lived in Montclair, New Jer­sey. Mr. Osborne kindly procured for me a photograph of the inscription written by ‘Abdu’l Baha on May 12, 1912, in the Bible in the Unitarian Church in that city.


Mr. Osborne emphasized the value of having the original document of the will examined. As this was in the Holy Land he suggested that I take the matter up with the British Analyst in Palestine. But on inquiry I was told there was none there. I therefore wrote to the High Commissioner of Palestine on December 31st. 1928.


I assumed that, inasmuch as the alleged will was an affair of international interest and inasmuch as it had been incorporated, without legal proof of its authenticity, in   the   bylaws of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, and had thereby empowered Shoghi Effendi to collect large sums of money, the High Commissioner might undertake the examination of the document. I felt also that his verdict would carry much more weight than if I personally undertook the work, even if I had had the means to do so.


The following is the reply to my letter:

Secretarial. Government offices, Jerusalem,
6th February, 1929.



I am directed to refer to your letter of the 31st December regarding the Will of Sir ‘Abdu’l Baha Abbas and to inform you that any information which you wish to obtain must be obtained privately and that if you wish to take any steps to examine the Will you would be well advised to employ an advo­cate in Palestine.


The money order which accompanied your letter is returned herewith.
I am, Madam,
Your obedient servant,

E. Mus,
For Chief Secretary.
Mrs. H. Lawrence
White New York City, U. S. A.


This letter from the High Commissioner was such a disappointment that I decided to publish the result of my long and careful study of the material bearing on what Mr.  Osborne called ‘spiritual proof:  does the alleged will agree with or contradict the expressed intent of the alleged maker?

In the autumn of 1929 I published the book to which I have already referred, “The Baha’i Reli­gion and its Enemy, the Baha’i Organization.” This was followed in 1930 by an appendix in which I definitely challenged the authenticity of the will.


For between the publication of this book and the appendix I sailed for England in order to engage the serv­ices of the very best handwriting expert in England, Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell. I felt he was especially qualified as he is the official expert on documents in the British Museum and the editor of THE ANALYST. Equally important was the fact that he is a man above reproach.


I submitted to him specimens of the handwriting of ‘Abdu’l Baha together with Photostat copies of the alleged will. The authentic specimens that I submitted are as follows:


1.         A photographic copy of the inscription which ‘Abdu’l Baha wrote in the Bible of the Unitarian Church at Montclair N. J. in 1912. This was secured for me by Albert S. Osborn and on the upper left margin of the photograph   was   typed:   “Authentic   writing of  ‘Abdu’l Baha written in the book of the Unitarian Church, at Montclair, N.J., U.S.A. 1912”


2.         Writing from the Guest Bible for 1912, City Temple, London. This Photostat copy was made by Donald Macbeth of the Manuscript Division of the British Museum.


3.         Authentic signatures on two letters written to Mrs. J. Stannard and a signature on a very old letter written to Mrs. Devine.


The three photographs herewith reproduced are:

1. Section of the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha.

2. Fac­simile reproduction of the authentic writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha written in the Bible of the Unitarian Church, Montclair, New Jersey in 1912.

3. Facsimile reproduction of the writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha written in the Guest Bible of the City Temple, London, in 1912:


Two of these specimens herewith reproduced are authentic writings of ‘Abdu’l Baha beyond a doubt. The one from the Guest Bible of the City Temple, London, agrees with the writing in the Bible of the Unitarian Church at Montclair, New Jersey. Three men witnessed ‘Abdu’l Baha write with his own hand the inscription in the Bible of the City Temple. They are: John Kelman, Oliver Lodge, and Edwin Brough. Donald Macbeth, of the manuscript department of the British Museum, who pho­tographed it, signed on the back of the photograph to that effect. The following is the translation of this inscription that Abdul! Baha wrote in the Bible of the City Temple, in 1913:


This book is the Holy Book of God, Celestial Inspiration; it is the Bible of Salvation, the noble Gospel. It is the mystery of the Kingdom and its Lights. It is the Divine Bounty, the sign of the Guidance of God.
‘‘Abdu’l Baha’ ‘Abbas

This English translation appears side by side with the Persian writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha.

The following is a translation of the inscription that ‘Abdu’l Baha wrote in the Bible of the Unitarian Church at Montclair, New Jersey, May 12, 1912, on which occa­sion he spoke at that church:


“O Almighty! O Pure God! Thanks be unto Thee that the mountain and desert were traversed, the all surrounding ocean was crossed until we arrived on this continent and now in this country have we loosed our tongue in Thy name and Mention, and in this church like unto Elias have we heralded Thy Kingdom.


O God! Attract the members of this church to Thy Beauty, protect and guard them under Thy Shelter and bless them!
‘Abdu’l Baha Abbas.


The third specimen of handwriting reproduced here is from the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha. A comparison of this enlarged writing with the enlarged writing of the two authentic writings of ‘Abdu’l Baha makes differences perfectly apparent that would not be so apparent without enlargement.


There can be no doubt about the authenticity of this signature to Mrs. Devine’s letter, or of the two signatures in letters to Mrs. Stannard. Dr. Mitchell said that these two undoubted specimens of Abdul 8aha’s writing and the specimen from the Unitarian Church in Montclair, and also that from the City Temple in London, all agree together as the writing of the same person.


After months of analytical work on the handwriting of the alleged will, comparing it with the three undoubted specimens of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s writing, Dr. Mitchell says that specimens of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s writing, Dr, Mitchell says that the writing in the alleged will is not all in the same hand. Furthermore none of ft is in the same handwriting as the specimens submitted. The following chapter is devoted to Dr. Mitchell’s report.




Dr. C. Ainsworth Mitchell’s Report


C. Ainsworth Mitchell, D.Sc. F.I.C.
Tel Victoria 8363.
85. Eccleston Square

London, S.W.I.
June 3rd 1930





I have made a minute examination of the writing in the photographs and photographic enlargements of the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha, and have compared it with the authenticated writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha in a series of photographs and photographic enlargements received from Mrs.  H. Lawrence White.


In the absence of an opportunity to examine the original document, any conclusions to be drawn from an examination of the photographic enlargements must necessarily be of a provisional character contingent upon the accuracy of the photographic records. Moreover, some of the facts which are taken into consideration in the scientific examination of an original document can­not be perfectly studied in a photographic reproduction, such as, for example, the ink, paper, pen strokes, and so on.


Assuming that the authenticated specimens of writ­ing are of approximately the same period as that at which the disputed will is alleged to have been written and signed, the points which can be accurately compared in the photographic enlargements are the mode of formation of the writing, the changes in pressure, the form of individual letters, and the relationship in the size of parts of the letter to the whole.


A fact requiring explanation is the presence of appar­ent erasures on some of the pages of the will, namely in lines 12 and 13 of page 2, and line 13 of page 4. Without a microscopical examination of the original document it is not possible to state whether a chemical agent has been used, but assuming there have been erasures at these points I think it probable that they were done mechanically, not chemically. The apparent erasure on page 5, line 11, may possibly be the result of an imprint from other written matter while the ink was wet.


The photographic reproductions of authenticated specimens of the writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha were the fol­lowing:—

1. Writing from the Book of the Unitarian Church, Montclair, New Jersey.
2. Writing from   the Guest Bible for 1912, City Temple, London.
3. Authenticated signatures on two letters to Mrs. Stannard on a photograph, and a possibly authen­tic signature in the possession of Mrs. Devine.

There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the signature from Mrs. Devine, since it agrees closely with the other signatures.


The Signatures on the Envelope:
A comparison of the four signatures on the envelope of the alleged will with the four authenticated signatures reveals many striking differences in the mode of formation of the characters, as for example:

In the authentic signatures the width of these characters, compared with their height, is much greater than in the signatures on the envelope. The strokes are also much firmer in the envelope signatures than in the authenticated signatures.

In the authenticated signature, the entire char­acter is roughly 2 ¼   times the width of the open space between the uprights; in the disputed signa­tures the corresponding figure is twice as great. In the authentic signatures the cusp is rounded; in the disputed signatures it is pointed. In the authenti­cated signatures the relationship between the depth of the gap and its breadth is as 1: 1.4 to 1.6. Whereas in the disputed signatures it is as 1: 2.3 to 2.6. Thus the ratio is totally different. In my opinion these differences are not consistent with the signa­tures upon the envelope being in the writing of the writer of the authenticated signature.


The Body of the Will:-
A comparison of the forma­tion of the writing on the envelope with that on pages 9 and 10 of the will shows so many points of resemblance that there is no reason to doubt that they were written by the same person.


I have also studied minutely the photographic en­largements of the writing on the other pages of the will, and have formed the following conclusions:—

Page 2, with the exception of the last two lines, agrees with Page 3.

The last two lines of Page 2 agree with Page 4.


The other pages, namely 5, 6, 7 and 8, agree in the characteristics of writing with the writing on Page 4. That is to say, the writing does not agree with the hypothesis that it was all written by one person.


The writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha has certain distinctive features, among which are a sudden change of pressure in some of the strokes, wavering formation of some of the curves, and the formation of sharp angles in some of the characters. These characteristics are sharply indicated in the enlarged photographs of the writing in the City Temple, London, and in the Montclair writing.


A minute comparison of the authenticated writing with the writing on every page of the alleged will, and in particular with the lines 10, 11 and 12 on page 5, has failed to detect in any part of the will the characteristics of the writing of ‘Abdu’l Baha, as shown in the authenticated specimens.


In addition to these differences in writing habits, there are also differences in the shapes of many of the parallel characters in the body of the document compared with the authenticated writing, as in the case of the signatures mentioned above.


* A Photostat copy of Dr. Mitchell’s report is in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.



Dr. Mitchell not only spent months examining the enlarged specimens submitted to him, but he examined minutely every line of the ten photographs of the alleged will, and his conclusion is that it is not written through­out by the same person. This fact, in addition to others, indicates that the will is spurious, especially if we bear in mind that Shoghi Effendi, and the Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, assert that every word of it is written in the hand of ‘Abdu’l Baha. Also if we bear in mind that it is undated, and unwitnessed, and that it contradicts the teachings that both Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha gave during their lifetimes — that the Baha’i Cause is a spiritual democracy and not a theocracy. The appointment of a hereditary guardianship contradicts this.


Dr. Mitchell’s report also shows that none of the handwriting of the alleged will is the same as the authentic specimens of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s handwriting that were submitted to him.


The ratio between the depth of the gap and its breadth. Dr. Mitchell shows, is totally different between the authentic signatures and those in the alleged will. It is as 1:1.4 to 1.6 in the authentic signatures, whereas in the disputed signatures it is as 1:2.3 to 2.6.


Most persons are unaware of the fact that handwriting experts use modern inventions that measure the slants, the spaces, and the tremors of writing so accu­rately that it makes the difference between two specimens of different writing overwhelmingly apparent, when these are enlarged, even though one of the specimens may be so clever a forgery of the other as to appear identical to the naked eye.


Those Baha’is who assert that they are familiar with the handwriting of ‘Abdu’l Baha, and have compared it with the writing of the will, and have found them identical, reveal the fact that they are either totally unaware of the science used by the best handwriting experts, or else fear has prompted them to assert their belief in the authenticity of the will — fear of being excommunicated if they so much as question the document. This science that the best handwriting experts use is so mathematic­ally accurate that any number of experts using these modern inventions will arrive at the same results.


I have already referred to the extreme care that ‘Abdu’l Baha showed in regard to letters purporting to be from him, sent or brought to this country. The following instance shows that he was even more careful to make certain that any Tablet or document of his relating to important public matters was properly translated and authenticated before it was sent out. He wrote a Tablet to the Secretary of the Court for Durable Peace, at The Hague, on December 17, 1919, and he considered it necessary to have four men translate it. These four men were Shoghi Effendi (Rabanni), Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi, Mirza Lotfullah Hakim, and Dr. J. E. Esselmont. This Tablet was signed ‘Abdu’l Baha Abbas, and was published in the Star of the West   (Baha’i Magazine). August 1, 1920, with the four names of the translators and witnesses.


The quadruple witnessing of this Tablet, written two years before ‘Abdu’l Baha passed from this world, makes it evident that he did not consider Shoghi Effendi careful enough, or efficient enough, to translate the Tablet to the Court for Durable Peace without the help of three other men. Is it likely, then, that at this very time an authentic will of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s, of infinitely greater importance than this Tablet to the Hague, should lay hidden in the earth, undated and unwitnessed, in which this same Shoghi Effendi was appointed sole guardian of the Baha’i Cause, with more potential power and wealth than a king and pope combined? And that later this same will was translated by one person only, the beneficiary himself — Shoghi Effendi. Is this in accordance with ‘Abdu’l Baha’s super-carefulness?


Spiritual indications that the will is spurious.

I have tried to show that the authenticity of the alleged will does not stand the test of handwriting analy­sis; that its contents contradict the often expressed intent of Baha’u’llah and of ‘Abdu’l Baha for Baha’is; and that its undated, unwitnessed condition is in direct contradiction to ‘Abdu’l Baha’s habits of extreme, meticu­lous care in regard to everything which he wrote.

I wish now to trace the devastating effect of this alleged will upon the organization which accepted it blindly, and to show by contrast the splendid work which has been done by Baha’is who have acted freely and in accordance with true Baha’i teachings.


‘Abdu’l Baha said that if an angel from heaven comes down and tries to change the teachings of Baha’u’llah, do not believe him. Shoghi Effendi has changed them by pronouncements and actions which are in direct contra­diction to Baha’i teachings—above all he has changed the very character and fundamental principle of the Cause by putting a theocracy, which the founders said it Cause by putting a theocracy, which the founders said it was not, in place of the spiritual democracy which they said, over and over again, it is. The following instances show what acceptance of the alleged will has done to the blind followers of its rules.


Mr. Horace Holley, as spokesman for Shoghi Effendi, made this statement in 1925:
“The individual conscience must be subordinated to the decisions of the elected Spiritual Assembly.” *

*Baha’i Year Book, Vol.1, P. 55


This statement strikes at the very foundation of the Baha’i Cause, as one of its cardinal teachings is that man must have freedom of conscience. Among dozens of instances that could be given of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s statements on this subject is the following:


“… the conscience of man is sacred and to be respected; and that liberty thereof produces widen­ing of ideas, amendment of morals, improvement of conduct, disclosure of the secrets of creation, and manifestation of the hidden verities of the contin­gent world. … So in the world of existence two persons unanimous in all grades (of thought) and alt beliefs cannot be found, ‘The ways unto God are as the number of the breaths of (His) creatures,’ is a mysterious truth.  .  .  . ” *

* Traveller’s Narrative. Translated by Prof.  Edward G. Browne.


Again, about twenty years later, ‘Abdu’l Baha said:

“… Just as in the world of politics there is need for free thought, likewise in the world of reli­gion there should be the right of unrestricted indi­vidual belief. Consider what a vast difference exists between modern democracy and the old forms of despotism. Under an autocratic government the opinions of men are not free, and the development is stifled, whereas in democracy, because thought and speech are not restricted, the greatest progress is witnessed. It is likewise true in the world of reli­gion. When freedom of conscience, liberty of thought and right of speech prevail, that is to say, when every man according to his own idealization may give expression to his beliefs, development and growth are inevitable.” *


* The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Vol.  I. Page 192.


We can see from the foregoing that ‘Abdu’l Baha emphasized the necessity of man’s being able to exercise freedom of conscience, as Baha’u’llah did.

The reason Mr. Holley, as spokesman for Shoghi Effendi, made this incredible statement that

” . . . the individual conscience must be subordinated to the Spirit­ual Assembly, . . .” is that since ‘Abdu’l Baha passed from this world the Baha’i teachings have been garbled in such a way as to lead people to suppose that when Baha’u’llah said that mankind must obey its governments he meant the Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is!


In order to realize how this inversion could have taken place we must understand that Baha’u’llah gave to the world, as one of the cardinal points of his teachings, the necessity for a Supreme Tribunal, composed of the wisest men in each nation, and he used such expressions as “Assembly” and “National Assembly,” in speaking of these anticipated Parliaments of the world. This title, “National Assembly,” was adopted by the Baha’is when they began their activities in America over forty years ago. Whether the leaders of that time did this with the intention of making the writings of Baha’u’llah appear as if they referred to the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is whenever he spoke of the National Assemblies, or Parliaments of the world, I do not know. But I do know that Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is are forcing this interpretation upon the Baha’i world today.


The only valid subordination of the individual con­science is, according to the teachings of Baha’u’llah and of ‘Abdu’l Baha, in civil matters, as for instance in the election of Mr. Roosevelt for president. He won by majority vote, therefore those who had voted for Thomas Dewey had to subordinate their individual conscience, that is their preference, to the wishes of the majority.


During the lifetime of ‘Abdu’l Baha the attempts of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is to organize the Baha’i Religion were held in abeyance, but after he passed from this world, under the dictates of Shoghi Effendi, they swung it into an organization the like of which has not been seen since the dark ages. They tried to exercise the power over the Baha’i world that Baha’u’llah said would be vested in the SUPREME TRIBUNAL of the future world governments. In order to enforce this power they excommunicated those who would not accept their pronouncements, and twice the members of the National Assembly sued at law in order to try and prevent other Baha’is from promulgating the religion which they held in common; but, fortunately, they lost both these suits. Judge Valente, reprimanding them, reminded them of the Bill of Rights, which grants freedom to every man to practice his religion unmolested. All of this the reader can learn in the ensuing pages.


The Tablet that ‘Abdu’l Baha wrote to the Court for Durable Peace at The Hague, referred to in the preceding pages, is one among many instances that could be cited confirming what has here been stated — that when Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha speak of “Assembly,” and “National Assemblies” in relation to world governments, they do not mean the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is. Part of this Tablet of ‘Abdu’l Baha’s follows:



To the Central Organization for Durable Peace
Office of Secretary:
19 Prinsesegracht The Hague, Holland
Executive Committee

“O ye esteemed ones who are the pioneers among the well-wishers of the world of humanity!


“There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day there is no more impor­tant matter in the world than that of Universal Peace. . .  .

“. . . the teachings of His Holiness Baha’u’llah were not limited to the establishment of Universal Peace . . .

“. . . Among these teachings was the inde­pendent investigation of reality.  . .

“.  .  .  the oneness of the world of humanity.  .
“. . . religion must be the cause of fellowship and love.   .  .
“. . . religion must be in conformity with science and reason. .  .  .
“. . . religious, racial, political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of human­ity.  …

“Regarding the economic prejudice, it is appar­ent that whenever the ties between nations become strengthened and the exchange of commodities accelerated, and any economic principle is estab­lished in one country, it will ultimately affect the other countries and universal benefits will result.  …


“As to political prejudice, the policy of God must be followed and it is indisputable that the policy of God is greater than human policy. We must follow the Divine policy and that applies to all indi­viduals. He treats all individuals alike: no distinction is made, and that is the foundation of the Divine Religions.


“And among the teachings of His Holiness Baha’u’llah is the origination of one language that may be spread universally among the people . . . . in order that this universal language may eliminate misunderstandings from among mankind.


“. . – the unity of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally devel­oped can the bird fly.  .  .  .


“. . . voluntary sharing of one’s property with others among mankind. This voluntary sharing is greater than equality . . . But this should not be introduced by coercion so that- it becomes a law and man is compelled to follow it.  Nay, rather, man should voluntarily and of his own choice sacrifice his property and life for others, and spend willingly for the poor.”


“And among the teachings of His Holiness Baha’u’llah is man’s freedom, and through the ideal Power he should be free and emancipated from the captivity of the world of nature;


“And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that religion is a mighty bulwark. If the edifice of reli­gion shakes and totters, commotion and chaos will ensue and the order of things will be utterly upset, for in the world of mankind there are two safe­guards that protect man from wrong doing. One is the law which punishes the criminal; but the (aw prevents only the manifest crime and not the con­cealed sin; whereas the ideal safeguard, namely, the religion of God, prevents both the manifest and the concealed crime, trains man, educates morals, com­pels the adoption of virtues and is the all-inclusive power which guarantees the felicity of the world of mankind. But by religion is meant . . . the foun­dation of Divine Religions and not human imitations.


“And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is that although material civilization is one of the means for the progress of the world of mankind, yet until it becomes combined with Divine civilization the desired result, which is the felicity of mankind will not be attained. . . . Divine civilization is the lamp itself and the glass without the light is dark. Material civilization is like the body. No matter how infinitely graceful, elegant and beautiful it may be, it is dead. Divine civilization is like the spirit, and the body gets its life from the spirit, otherwise it becomes a corpse. It has thus been made evident that the world of mankind is in need of the breaths of the Holy Spirit.  . .  .


“In fine such teachings are numerous. These manifold principles, which constitute the greatest basis for the felicity of mankind and are of the bounties of the Merciful, must be added to the mat­ter of Universal Peace and combined with it, so that results may accrue. Otherwise the realization of Universal Peace (by itself) in the world of mankind is difficult. As the teachings of His Holiness Baha’u’llah are combined with Universal Peace, they are like a fable provided with every kind of fresh and delicious food. Every soul can find, at that fable of Infinite bounty that which he desires. If the ques­tion is restricted to Universal Peace alone, the re­markable results which are expected and desired will not be attained. The scope of Universal Peace must be such that all the communities and religions may find their highest wish realized in it. At pres­ent the teachings of His Holiness Baha’u’llah are such that all the communities of the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient or modern, find in the teachings of Baha’u’llah the expression of their highest wish.


“For example, the question of Universal Peace, about which His Holiness Baha’u’llah says that the SUPREME TRIBUNAL must be established; al­though the LEAGUE OF NATIONS has been brought into existence, yet it is incapable of establishing Universal Peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which Universal Peace. But the Supreme Tribunal which His Holiness has described will fulfil this sacred task with the utmost might and power. And his plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation — that is to say parliaments —should elect two or three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well-informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is, the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so that these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. From among these people the members of the Supreme Tribunal will be elected, and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation.  When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority-rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objections for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this SUPREME TRIBUNAL. Consider what a firm foun­dation this is! But by a limited and restricted LEAGUE the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should. This is the truth about the situation, which has been stated.”



Abdul-Baha Abbas
Haifa, Palestine, December 17, 1919

Published in STAR of the WEST August 1, 1920
Translated by: Shoghi Rabbani   (Effendi)
Dr. Zia M. Bagdadi,
Mirza Lotfullah Hakim,
Dr. J. E. Esslemont.

The reader will note that whenever ‘Abdu’l Baha speaks of “National Assemblies,” he always adds “The Parliaments of the world.”


This Tablet, a resume of some of Baha’u’llah teachings, deals chiefly with the necessity of establishing a SUPREME TRIBUNAL. The United Nations Organization is an embryonic SUPREME TRIBUNAL such as he envisioned eighty years ago, and even though the results of this first attempt may still be far from successful, yet the beginning of the fulfilment of this prophecy is a harbinger of better things to come.


When Baha’u’llah spoke of the necessity for the establishment of the SUPREME TRIBUNAL, he released with those words the leaven of the Spirit to all mankind. Those who were receptive, including people who may never have heard of Baha’u’llah, became animated by this leaven to carry parts of the Baha’i Teachings into action. And this leaven has been working ever since. For eighty years it has worked in many ways —worked through constructive means, such as inspiring those with scientific talents to discover great inventions — air­planes, radio and many others — which united the world physically in preparation for its spiritual unification. This leaven worked even through destructive forces such as the great chastisement of the two world wars. During and after this last world war we have heard it said fre­quently that “there are no atheists in the fox holes.”


‘Abdu’l Baha’s method of conveying the Baha’i Message was largely by way of tests. He gave the universal teachings in three ways — by speech, by deeds, and as Baha’u’llah did, by the leaven of the Spirit. He rarely said, “Do not do this or that.” He never interfered with anybody’s conception of religion. If one could not learn by precept, and example, and the awakening of the Inner Light, one had to learn by the more difficult way of tests and chastisements. The spiritual law of tests is one of the cardinal points of every religion that ever existed; it is Christ’s spiritual law of Cause and Effect — “As a man sows so shall he reap.” It is one aspect of the Buddhist and Hindu Law of Karma. It applies to all of us whether we believe in it or not, and regardless of what religion we belong to, or even if we belong to none at all. The follow­ing, by ‘Abdu’l Baha, on “Tests” embodies this fundamen­tal law of all religions:


In this day everyone must be tested, as the time of the Chosen Ones to prove their worth is indeed very short. The Day of Attainment is drawing to a close for them. The First Fruits must be ripened in Spirit, mellowed in Love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance. None other are acceptable as First Fruits and all that fail to attain to the standard through the tests are relegated to the many who are called.


The more one is severed from the world, from desires, from human affairs and conditions, the more impervious does one become to the tests of God. Tests are a means by which a soul is measured as to its fitness and proven out by its own acts. God knows its fitness beforehand and also its unprepared ness, but man, with an ego, would not believe himself unfit unless proof were given him. Consequently his susceptibility to evil is proven to him when he falls into the tests and the tests are con­tinued until the soul realizes its own unfitness, then remorse and regret tend to root out the weakness.


The same test conies again in a greater degree, until it is shown that a former weakness has become a strength and the power to overcome evil has been established.

* * *

The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the Name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves Friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of Love and Unity are difficult to deal with in this Day. . . .


This last paragraph applies overwhelmingly to the activities of Shoghi Effendi, and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is. They have violated the principles of brotherhood and unity because of their inversions of the Baha’i teachings. These inversions are all the more tragic at this particular time when the world has been made receptive, through much suffering, to the great universal principles of the Baha’i Religion. Two prophecies of Baha’u’llah have been so accurately fulfilled — the discovery of Atomic Power, and the embryonic Supreme Tribunal as manifested in the United Nations Organiza­tion that we would do well to consider the third – the possible destruction of our planet unless we circumvent this threatened fate by a balanced spiritual civilization.

In an interview given to Dr. Getsinger. Part of this is published in Divine Art of Living


The following prophecy of ‘Abdu’l Baha, recorded by Charles Mason Remey in answer to some questions that he asked in 1911, may also be an indirect allusion to atomic power:


What is the significance of the prophecy, ‘Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the thousand, three hundred and five and thirty days (1335)?’ Daniel 12:12.

A. After that date 3 great disturbance — a terrible (material) calamity is to happen in the world.


Q. Is it to be in the form of war and strife, or will it be as an earthquake, such as has happened in Messina and elsewhere?
A. Wars and earthquakes, such as you have mentioned, will happen, but these, compared with this great catastrophe to come, will be as nothing. As in the past whole peoples and civilizations have, through physical changes, been obliterated, so that not a trace has remained, so it will be when this great change shall take place.


Q. In the Bible there is a prophecy: “And it shall come to pass that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die, but the third part shall be left therein” (Zechariah 13:8-9.)

Does this refer to the happening in question?
A. Yes.


Q. Will this take place soon after the date 1917 (which is the date mentioned, 1335 days) or 1335 A.H.   (After Mohammed), or 1917 A.D., or will it happen in the very distant future?
A. It is not so very soon after nor again is it in the so very distant future.


At a later date ‘Abdu’l Baha explained that these 1335 days mean 1335 solar years, from the flight of Mohammed from Medina to Mecca, which is the beginning of the Mohammedan era 622. This date added to 1335 is 1957.

Strangely enough, as I finish this book in February, 1946, a radio commentator flashes the news that a nationwide poll representing a cross section of the United States, revealed the fact that millions of people believe that within the next ten or fifteen years Russia and the United States will be at war. If this happens we know it will be an atomic war. We also know that the prophecy in the Bible, “. . . two parts therein shall be cut off and die but the third shall be left therein,” might then become a reality. Ten or fifteen years from now would bring the date for this cataclysm within the specified time of both this Biblical prophecy and the foregoing prophecy of ‘Abdu’l Baha. However, both Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha show that we can circumvent threatened cataclysms through faith in God and prayer, combined with the practice of the principles of religion. In other words, we can deflect any destructive forces leveled at us if enough people will revivify their faith in God and prayer. Baha’u’llah says on this subject:


“The decrees of God as related to fate and pre­destination are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable; the other is, as termed by men, impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. . . .

The decree that is impending, however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it.”


This matter of freedom of conscience is the most important part of the Baha’i Teachings. God has given man free-will, and no earthly priest craft or dictatorship must interfere with man’s using that free-will in matters of faith and the inner relationship between the soul and God. This is the meaning of the spiritual democracy of which ‘Abdu’l Baha so often speaks — religion percolating through all the affairs of our daily life, and an ideal politi­cal government coming into existence as the result of the change of man’s nature and belief.


Many great evils are caused by leaders who have Tried to control the conscience of man. We have seen this in our day in Russia, where the first canon of communism is atheism. Over the Kremlin is written: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” In Nazi Germany political dictators said: “You must believe in no form of government but mine.” A religious dictator says in substance: “You must not believe in any conception of God except what I tell you to believe.”


This is just the twist that the present leaders of the Baha’i organization have tried to give to the Universal Message of Baha’u’llah.


There are many other wholly un-Baha’i edicts that Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is have issued beside these two that follow:

“… the individual conscience must- be subordinated to the decisions of the Spiritual Assembly,. –  .   and:

“… individual Baha’i effort without due con­sultation is foredoomed to failure.”


Other un-Baha’i edicts that are given from time to time in the secret paper BAHA’I NEWS, and circulated by the National Spiritual Assembly among its members are : *


1. “Recognized  Baha’is of the United States and Canada must not take part in any local, provincial or national election, conducted by political par­ties, where votes are to be cast for one or two or more candidates.”
(This forbids voting for our presi­dents or voting in other government matters.)


2. “Recognized Baha’is must not run for any public office as candidates of any political party, nor take part, directly or indirectly, in the promo­tion of any party or party platform.

3. “Recognized Baha’is must not vote in any election based upon a party system.”


4.”Recognized Baha’is must abstain from association with movements advocating social changes that presume partisan political action.


5. “Recognized Baha’is who speak on   Baha’i platforms must abstain from   making any critical statements about any particular government or national policy.”


6. “Every Local Baha’i Center must be responsible for the carrying out of the above laws by the Baha’is in their respective communities. Local membership must include only the names of those who faithfully obey these regulations.”


7. “Recognized   Baha’is   must   not   retain   or apply for membership in any church or religious group.”


8.     “Baha’is failing to give unreserved obedience   to  the   above  regulations  and   to   numerous others which are constantly legislated, and month after month  spread on the  pages of  the   BAHA’I NEWS by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, are expelled or excommunicated from the Cause, and the Baha’is are not permitted to associate with these expelled or excommunicated ones, regardless of Friendship, no matter of how long standing, nor of the depth of their affection or love.”

* See BROKEN SILENCE, pages 155-6, by Ahmad Sohrab, New History Foundation, 132 East 65th Street, New York, N.Y.

Every one of these edicts are inversions of the Baha’i Teachings, as given to the world by the Founders of the Cause-In saying that recognized Baha’is must not vote in any election based on a party system Shoghi Effendi and his hierarchy have set up what might be considered a govern­ment within each government in every country where there are enough of his followers. Over that government he is supreme dictator. His subjects must pay taxes to him   (tithes)   and he forbids his followers to vote on national and civic affairs. All his edicts no matter how un-patriotic, or how much in violation of the universal principles of the Baha’i Religion, must be obeyed under threat of excommunication.


This revival of excommunication is a horrible inversion of the Baha’i teachings — the Revelation for which Baha’u’llah suffered imprisonment for twenty-five years, and ‘Abdu’l Baha for forty years — the Cause for which twenty thousand martyrs sacrificed their lives to estab­lish freedom of conscience and to unite all mankind regardless of religion, race or country. The idea of excommunication is impossible in the world envisaged by Baha’u’llah.

For those who would like a list of books written by the Founders of the Baha’i Religion, Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha, I refer them to the following:

Hidden Words by Baha’u’llah
Seven Valleys      “      “
Book of Iqan      “      “
Tablets             “      “

Some Answered Questions by ‘Abdu’l Baha
Mysterious Forces of Civilization by ‘Abdu’l Baha
Promulgation of Universal Peace by ‘Abdu’l Baha (Vol. I., II, III.)
Tablets of ‘Abdu’l Baha (Vol. I., II, III.)
Talks by ‘Abdu’l Baha, in London
Talks by ‘Abdu’l Baha, in Paris
Divine Wisdom of ‘Abdu’l Baha.



The Lawsuit of the National Spiritual Assembly

The most shocking act of the Baha’i organization considered from the point of view of the intentions of the Founders of the Cause was the legal prosecution brought by the organization against certain well known Baha’is who were trying to spread the teachings in the universal spirit in which they had been first given to the world. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and Mirza Ahmad Sohrab founded the New History Society in New York in 1929, and The Caravan a year later, with the sincere desire of spreading the Baha’i teachings and spirit. They were so successful that Shoghi Effendi ‘excommunicated’ them, and later, with his sanction, the National Spiritual Assembly brought suit against them in 1941. I quote in full the statement made against them by the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is:


Statement made by plaintiffs:

1. The individual plaintiffs sue, as members of the National Spiritual Assembly and Trustees of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada. The Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is of the City of New York, a religious corporation, is a co-plaintiff.


The complaint alleges that the name Baha’i denotes a religion identified with the name of the founder BAHA.


2. The plaintiffs claim to be the authorized representatives of all the Baha’is of the United States and Canada.


3. They allege that they are publishing books and other publications which teach Baha’i Religion.


4.They charge that the defendants, who were members prior to April 5, 1929, of the Baha’i Con­gregation of the City of New York, have been con­ducting, without the authority of plaintiffs, meet­ings, lectures, classes, social gatherings and other activities, and announcing and advertising the same as Baha’i meetings, lectures, classes, etc.


5.They complain  that the defendants have been giving these meetings, lectures, etc., a Baha’i appearance and atmosphere by teaching, in connection therewith, a religion  described as the  Baha’i Religion and that they have created an erroneous impression that they are connected with and author­ized to represent the Baha’i religion and to solicit contributions therefor.


6.     In addition plaintiffs complain of the opening of a book shop by the defendants under the name of “Baha’i Book Shop” and of the listing of the name of Baha’i Book Shop and of the listing of the shop in the telephone directory under the name, immediately over the name of Baha’i Center” which represents the listing of plaintiffs’ New York office and book shop.


The following is the decision rendered by Supreme Court Justice Louis A. Valente in favor of Mrs. Chanler and Mirza Sohrab:


1. In the Court’s opinion, the complaint fails to state a good cause of action. The plaintiffs have no right to a monopoly of the name of a religion.


2. The defendants, who purport to be mem­bers of the same religion, have an equal right to use the name of the religion in connection with their own meetings, lectures, classes and other activities.


3. No facts are alleged in the complaint to in­dicate that the defendants have been guilty of any act intended or calculated to deceive the public into believing that their meetings, lectures or book shop are identified with or affiliated with the meetings, lectures, etc., and book shop of the plaintiffs.


4. (a)     Defendants have the absolute right to practice Baha’ism, (b) to conduct meetings, (c) to collect funds, (d) to sell literature in connection therewith, and (e) to conduct a book shop under the title of “Baha’i Book Shop.”


Evidently the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is were unable to see that in bringing this lawsuit, they were not only utterly un-Baha’i but also they were asking for something that could not be granted without violating the constitution of the United States. For the Bill of Rights grants freedom of conscience and the right of each citizen to practice his religion without interference.


The Assembly appealed to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court three months later to have the deci­sion of the Supreme Court Justice A. Valente set aside. But again the National Spiritual Assembly lost, and they were put on record for all time as not only trying to violate the constitution of the United States, but also of violating one of the most important teachings of the Baha’i religion, which they purport to represent—free­dom of conscience and the right of every man to practice his religion without interference.


These two lawsuits had the same significance to Baha’is as if the followers of one Christian sect had sued the followers of another sect to prohibit them from call­ing themselves “Christian” or from practicing their religion. For the name BAHA’I means a follower of Baha’u’llah just as the word CHRISTIAN means a follower of Christ.


One more matter, in which the organization of Baha’is under Shoghi Effendi has departed from the original intent and practice of the Founders, is in their attitude toward money: they have organized the Baha’i Cause on a commercial basis. Nothing could be more abhorrent to the true Baha’i spirit than this. They themselves described their organization when they applied to the commissioner of Patents for a copyright on the name ‘Baha’i’ as follows:


“National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of “National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, a common law corporation, organized and operated under a declaration of trust doing business at- . . .”

* * *

National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada.”


Horace Holley.


All of this is utterly un-Baha’i and anti-religious from every point of view. The members of the Assembly insti­tuted a Baha’i Fund, and made subscriptions to this fund an article of faith. In their Baha’i catechism entitled “Twenty lessons in Baha’i Administration” there is this question:

“Why are the contributions to the Baha’i Fund the measure of the faith of a believer?”


Shoghi Effendi’s position and procedure in instituting this Baha’i Fund and in making contributions to it an article of faith, has the same significance as if, after the crucifixion of Christ, a so-called Guardian had arisen and proceeded to commercialize Christ’s teachings, and had instituted a Christ Fund. If Peter had been asked to contribute to this Fund he would have replied:


“But I have no money. Christ told me to go forth without purse or script, and spread his teachings.”


“Never mind what Christ said,” the Guardian replies, “you contribute to this Christ Fund or you are not a be­liever in Christ, and you will be excommunicated.


“Furthermore don’t go out and teach individually, for your efforts will be foredoomed to failure.”


The other disciples would be subjected to this same treatment. Yet despite this they would go forth and spread Christ’s teachings as he told them to. Shortly after, they would be summoned to court on the complaint of this supposed  Guardian   and  his  organization,  who reports to the judge:


“Judge, our organization has trade-marked the name of Christ, and we have incorporated the religion of Christ, and these men who call themselves his disciples have no right to use that name, or to teach without our permission.”


To this the judge replies:
“But Peter and Paul and everyone in the world has an equal right to call themselves “Christians” and to teach Christ’s Cause. You cannot copyright the name of Christ, nor restrain men from spreading His teachings. Religion is free, and every man has a right to practice his religion and to spread it to others.”


And so the Guardian would lose his suit and Christ’s teachings would be placed in the public domain.


This is an exact parallel of the attitude of the Baha’i organization to the universal teachings of Baha’u’llah, and in particular of the Assembly’s insistence upon a money contribution as being the gauge of a believer’s faith.



A Modern-day saint.

To come back to the matter of independent Baha’i effort and the results which it achieves when carried out in a spirit of sincerity. I myself have tried to follow the teachings in my every-day life and I know that I have been guided and used according to my capacity, just as each one everywhere will be if he prays continually to know the will of God, and reads the signs along the way to find out that will.

This is a different age from that of Saint Peter, and the ‘purse and scrip’ that we are counseled to leave behind today in spreading the Baha’i Cause is a different kind — we must not be attached to worldly possessions. One of these disciples of Baha’u’llah, and of ‘Abdu’l Baha, who exemplifies changing civilization, but with no change in fervor of devotion, is Mrs. Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler, against whom the Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is brought suit. Although she had wealth, social position, and education, she armored herself with the necessary equipment for discipleship. She uses her wealth, her time and her talent entirely in spreading the Baha’i teachings. This includes the publication of the magazine, NEW HISTORY, and also THE CARAVAN, which she, together with her late husband, Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler, and Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. Founded in 1933. Her four-story house is used as an office building to carry on the work, and these efforts have been crowned with enormous suc­cess. In the first twelve years of the publication of THE CARAVAN, from 1933 until January 1945, 480 chapters were established in twenty-four countries, with a mem­bership of 80.000. This in spite of a global war which made correspondence difficult and sometimes impossible. At the present writing, January, 1946, there are 838 Chapters — an increase of 435 Chapters in one year and a total of 100,000 members.*

* See THE CARAVAN, January 1946
132 East 65th Street, New York, N.Y.


Each Chapter receives its special charter, with membership pins — a globe flying a green flag with the words, ‘The world is everybody’s home.’ The Chapters work independently on the lines of the ‘Nine Baha’i Principles,’ a compilation of the fundamental Baha’i teachings; and through the Pen Friends’ Guide, thousands of boys and girls in all parts of the world learn to be friends without reference to race, color or creed. The CHILDREN’S CARAVAN has had such a phenomenal success that the NEW HISTORY magazine has been discontinued, (the last issue was January 1946) and a new and larger peri­odical entitled THE CARAVAN, to be issued quarterly, has taken its place.


Now let us see by contrast what happened to Shoghi Effendi’s administration. During ‘Abdu’l Baha’s lifetime, according to the WORLD’S ALMANAC for 1916, there were 2,884 Baha’is in the United States belonging to the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is. But in 1926, after the first five years of Shoghi Effendi’s administration, there were only 1,247 – a decrease of more than half. In 1936 the figures were still below those of 1916.


This shrinkage was due to two reasons. One was that when an alleged will was produced, after the death of ‘Abdu’l Baha, appointing Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause, evidently those with spiritual insight seceded from the Assemblies, because they could not accept an unwitnessed, and undated document, which contradicted what ‘Abdu’l Baha had said during his life­time. A second reason evidently was that when others realized that Shoghi Effendi was substituting inverted principles in place of the teachings of Baha’u’llah, they also seceded.

Again in 1941 and 1942 the National Spiritual As­sembly of Baha’is suffered an enormous loss after their defeat in two lawsuits, and their activities were recounted in that excellent history, BROKEN SILENCE.* It is said that more than half of their assemblies had to close through lack of members.

* By Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, New History Foundation, 132 East 65th Street, New York, N.Y.


I do not wish to imply that the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is are ogres. Not at all. They are highly conventional, highly respectable, and narrow. In fact they are the counter-part of those whom Christ stigmatized as Pharisees. They lack the sympathetic humanitarianism that is the earmark of a Spiritual person. But most of all they lack the faith in what Christ called “The Mysteries,” and ‘Abdu’l Baha calls “The Intuitions of the Holy Spirit.” Lacking this attribute, on which depends the success of the other principles of religion, such as universal peace, they reduce religion to an organization.  And unwittingly they are trying to convert people to Pharaseeism because they really believe   it is   the   religion   itself.   As a   result in their hands they have reduced the great universal Baha’i Teachings to a mediaeval cult. The religion for which 20,000 believers were martyred — for which Baha’u’llah suffered imprisonment for twenty-five years, and ‘Abdu’l Baha forty years. Now the type of persecutor has changed. Shoghi Effendi, who purports to be the “Guardian” of the Baha’i Religion, is the arch persecutor of the religion itself, and of many of the disciples of Baha’u’llah and of ‘Abdu’l Baha. In other words, by his inversion of the teachings of the Founders of this religion, and by his persecution of their disciples, such as we witnessed in the lawsuit, he and the Baha’i Assembly have done more damage to the Baha’i   Cause   than  did  those  who were   its  open   and avowed enemies.

Whether the alleged will of ‘Abdu’l Baha is authentic or spurious, the results of the administration of Shoghi Effendi and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is stand as an historical indictment against them. They no more represent the Baha’i Religion than the bigots of the dark ages represented Christianity.


We had the dark, ages because the bigots of that era got control of Christ’s teachings and tortured all those who did not comply with their interpretation. Shoghi Effendi, and the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is, cannot in this day resort to physical torture to enforce their will, but they have resorted to mental torture by blackmailing with excommunication ail those who do not comply with their inverted teachings.


Despite these distressing conditions that I have felt obliged to record at the cost of much time and money, my life has been strangely happy, successful, and in­tensely interesting. For there is no romance in  life so glorious as that of being willing to follow a spiritual trail and be true to it, whether the work assigned to one is pleasant, or disagreeable and difficult. The things that seem disagreeable and difficult are only apparently so. For the moment we begin to do them in the same spirit as if they were coated with heavenly nectar, we discover that they contain surprising, wonderful and beautiful elements.


Due to the alternating experiences I have had — first a Roman Catholic, then a Protestant, then an agnos­tic, then a near-Communist, and then a Baha’i, I know that the greatest evil that can befall man is the loss of faith in God. When I became a Baha’i there was restored to me not only the best in Christianity, but the best in every religion that ever existed. And because ‘Abdu’l Baha restored to me faith in God I have written this book, hoping that those who read it, even if they have little faith to start with, may realize that this can be increased through prayer.


The universality of the Baha’i Religion enabled me to appreciate and enjoy all religions. Today I can still go to a Roman Catholic Church and, despite the prejudices that I once had against it, pray to the Virgin Mary, and find no contradiction between this and my faith. I could likewise pray in Protestant churches, in a Mosque of Islam, or in a Hindu Temple, and I could pray in all the edifices of all the holy places in the world with deep reverence, knowing that they stand as a testimony of man’s faith, of his effort to contact the vital Spirit of God. I feel a great kinship with all those who are striving for this contact. We need the unity of all the pro-Gods in the world in order to counteract the influence of the rising tide of the anti-Gods, and the Baha’i Religion is the synchronizer of all religions. ‘Abdu’l Baha said:


There are prepared souls in every religion. Today God is working in all the churches instructing many souls in celestial brotherhood. These souls are related by invisible and spiritual ties and are being ripened by the Holy Spirit.


‘Abdu’l Baha warned that if those calling themselves “Baha’i” could not rise to the greatness of the Baha’i prin­ciples, then other individuals and groups would gradually put the principles into practice, even if they remained unaware from whence their inspiration arose. We see evidences of this all over the world today. There is a quickening of the spirit, and a great attempt is being made toward the unification of humanity.


Also there are some individuals who are already endowed with this consciousness of the new era. Since meeting ‘Abdu’l Baha I have come in contact with three of these great intuitives — humanitarians who arrived at their destination through widely different channels. One stemmed his influence from the saints of Islam; one stemmed his influence from the saints within Christian­ity; and the most recent one I have contacted, within the last year, stems his influence from a great Avatar in India. These great intuitives exemplify the point, that those who live in accordance with the fundamental teachings of all religions can attain God consciousness regardless of the religion from which they stem. Those who make this attainment strive for the same goal — the spiritual unification of the race and the unification of man with God.


This is what Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l Baha wish us to do. They did not come to establish a religion of with­drawal from other religions and to form a separate group, but to awaken in us an appreciation of the truths in all religions — to merge with our fellow men, and to come into that consciousness which Baha’u’llah described eighty years ago:


“The foundation of the Palace of Peace is the consciousness of the oneness of mankind.”


Baha’u’llah also indicated that there are as many paths to God as the number of his creatures. For the Baha’i Religion is as wide and as deep as humanity itself and higher than its highest aims.
The magic flute of religion is again being heard in the world. Out of divers cults and reforms and sects people are stepping in tune to this call. Some are stirred to a new awakening, others are made uneasy, others are fright­ened, and others inspired to great achievements, accord­ing to each individual’s capacity. Man is on the march and will never find peace until he finds his way back to God, the mystical fount without which he cannot survive. In the words of ‘Abdu’l Baha:


A new era of divine consciousness is upon us. The world of humanity is going through a process of transformation. A new race is being developed. The thoughts of human brotherhood are permeating all regions. New ideals are stirring the depths of hearts and a new spirit of universal consciousness is hearts and a new spirit of universal consciousness is being profoundly felt by all men.

Please follow and like us:

  • 0
  • Share

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.