CHARLES MASON REMEYPosted: July 6, 2009
Charles Mason Remey was among the Hands who signed the unanimous proclamations in 1957, acknowledging that Shoghi Effendi had died without having appointed his successor. He was also among the nine Custodians initially elected to serve in the Holy Land as interim head of the religion.
On 8 April, 1960, Remey made a written announcement that he was the second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith and explained his “status for life as commander in chief of Bahá’í affairs of the world” in this proclamation which he requested to be read in front of the annual US convention in Wilmette.
He based his claim on his having been appointed President of the first International Bahá’í Council by Shoghi Effendi in 1951. The appointed council represented the first international Bahá’í body. Remey believed that his appointment as the council’s president meant that he was the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.
Regarding the authority of the Hands of the Cause, Remey wrote in his letter that the Hands “have no authority vested in themselves… save under the direction of the living Guardian of the Faith.” He further commanded the Bahá’ís to abandon plans for establishing the Universal House of Justice.
Remey never addressed the requirement that Guardians should be male-descendants of Bahá’u’lláh, of whom Remey was not. His followers later referred to letters and public statements of `Abdu’l-Bahá calling him “my son” as evidence that he had been implicitly adopted but these claims were almost universally rejected by the body of the Bahá’ís.
In response, and after having made many prior efforts to convince Remey to withdraw his claim, the Custodians took action and sent a cablegram to the National Spiritual Assemblies on 26 July, 1960. Two days later the Custodians sent Mason Remey a letter informing him of their unanimous decision to declare him a Covenant-breaker. They cited the Will and Testament of `Abdul-Bahá, the unanimous joint resolutions of November 25, 1957, and their authority in carrying out the work of the Guardian as their justification. Anyone who accepted Remey’s claim to the Guardianship was also expelled.
Remey maintained his claim to Guardianship, and with a small group of followers went on to establish what came to be known as the Orthodox Bahá’ís Under the Hereditary Guardianship, which later broke into several other divisions based on succession disputes within the groups that followed Remey