Meeting between
the Auxiliary Board Member Suzanne Maloney Lebensold and
Martin Lavallée about the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith

The meeting occurred in the Café sur la Rue, a coffee shop owned by l'Itinéraire.

Suzanne recites a prayer by Bahá'u'lláh for unity.

O my God!  O my God!  Unite the hearts of Thy servants, and reveal to them Thy great purpose.  May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law.  Help them, O God, in their endeavor, and grant them strength to serve Thee.  O God! Leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge, and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.

She begins reading parts of Baha'u'llah's Book of Covenant. Then some excerpts from the Will and  Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. She then pointed to some  passages of the Proclamation of the Hands of the Cause and asserts that there would not be another guardian.   She concluded by some statements by the illegitimate Universal House of Justice on this theme.

The quotes are:

4 O ye that dwell on earth! The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity or dissension

 7 It is incumbent upon everyone to aid those daysprings of authority  and sources of command who are adorned with the ornament of equity and  justice. Blessed are the rulers and the learned among the people of Bahá. They are My trustees among My servants and the manifestations of My commandments amidst My people. Upon them rest My glory, My blessings and My grace which have pervaded the world of being. In this  connection the utterances revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas are such that  from the horizon of  their words the light of divine grace shineth luminous and resplendent.

KITAB-I-AHD

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10 And now, one of the greatest and most fundamental principles of the Cause of God is to shun and avoid entirely the Covenant-breakers, for they will utterly destroy the Cause of God, exterminate His Law and render of no account all efforts exerted in the past.

13 My purpose is, however, to show that it is incumbent upon the friends that are fast and firm in the Covenant and Testament to be ever wakeful lest after this wronged one is gone this alert and active worker of mischief may cause disruption, privily sow the seeds of doubt and sedition and utterly root out the Cause of God. A thousand times shun his company. Take heed and be on your guard. Watch and examine; should anyone, openly or privily, have the least connection with him, cast him out from your midst, for he will surely cause disruption and mischief.
 

13 Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá'u'lláh) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular  conviction. All must seek guidance and turn unto the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever  else is indeed in grievous error.

The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá

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"Bahá'u'lláh and the Master in many places and very emphatically have told us to shun entirely all Covenant breakers  as they are afflicted with what we might try and define as a  contagious spiritual disease; they have also told us, however, to pray for them.  These souls are not lost forever.  In the Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh says that God will forgive Mirza Yahya if  he repents.  It follows, therefore, that God will forgive any soul

If the leaders can be forgiven it goes without saying that their followers can also be forgiven...  "Also, it has nothing to do with unity in the Cause; if a man cuts a cancer out of his body to preserve his health and very life, no one would suggest that for the sake of unity it should be reintroduced into the otherwise healthy organism.  On the contrary, what was once a part of him has so radically changed as to have become a poison."

Shoghi Effendi

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Finally, we should clarify the question of believers' reading the writings of Covenant-breakers. This is not forbidden -- indeed certain believers have the unpleasant duty of having to read such works in the course of their duty to protect the Faith -- but the friends are warned, in the strongest terms, of the danger of reading such  literature. Unless one is very well informed of the history of the Faith and is deeply confirmed in one's belief, the calumnies and  distortions of truth contained in such literature can undermine one's faith. Personal relations with Covenant-breakers, however, such as personal contact or entering into correspondence with one is strictly forbidden.

Universal House of Justice, 29th of October 1974

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I reply quoting the Writings:

In the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, there is a clause for the appointment "of another branch";

The Guardian is the member "for life" of the Universal House of Justice.

The Guardian must appoint his successor "in his own  lifetime".

Arash contemplates the quotes.

The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh explains in length the relationships between the institution of the Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice.

She then asserted that Shoghi Effendi did not appoint his successor and that both Marangella and Remey would have proclaimed their own guardianship.

Shoghi Effendi did created an Institution: the International Bahá'í Council, the "forerunner" of the Universal House of Justice, its embryo. The Guardian is the Head of the Universal House of Justice, its president; the President of the first International Bahá'í Council is Mason Remey, appointed by Shoghi Effendi himself.

The Bahá'ís did not have the opportunity to read by themselves the Proclamation of Mason Remey, the some exceptions like the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of France. This Assembly gave it to the Bahá'ís of France, and they were able to choose freely.

She asserts I have a spiritual poison. I answer I have faith in the Institution Shoghi Effendi himself created on the basis of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. She begins to raise her voice.

She says The Hands had the responsibility to protect the Faith. It is written in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.

They could if they find somebody opposing the guardian of the Faith. The Orthodox Bahá'ís are not opposing the guardian: they instead promote him! By the way, nobody except the Guardian could expel anybody from the Bahá'í Faith, as Shoghi Effendi never gave this right to anyone.

She qualifies the Orthodox Bahá'ís as a small handful of some hundreds trying to get the title of Guardian.

My experience with Orthodox Bahá'ís is that I feel from them a great spirituality. I refuse to be cut from, ergo gratia, Ross Campbell, who has a very deep knowledge of the Bible and the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh.

Elsewhere in the meeting she repeats the argument. I reply that I prefer to be with them able to think by myself.

They asserts I am propagating the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith. I answer I am able to discuss about many other things with Bahá'ís, like the equality of men and women or the elimination of prejudice. Arash mentions my links in my personal webpage as helping people find wrong things. I answer people are capable to face the truth and discern by themselves.

Do you know more than the Hands? she asks.

I can only search by myself and try to learn the best as I can.

Would you accept to deepen more on the Writings about the Covenant?

Yes, if the Bahá'í Administration let me free to have relationships with Orthodox Bahá'ís.

The Auxiliary Board Member then points to a quote about avoiding Covenant Breakers and asks if it is true. I answer yes.

Interruption of the meeting. The Café is now closed.

Outside, she asserts I am not welcome anymore in Bahá'í gatherings.

The only way to change that is to renounce my belief in the Center of the Cause, or to submit all to the guardian.

Arash asks: If the Universal House of Justice is not the Center of the Cause, then what is it?

The Center of the Cause is the Guardian, Joel Bray Marangella.

He asks How do you define yourself?

As a follower of Bahá'u'lláh, an Orthodox Bahá'í.

Where in the Writings there is a mention of an Orthodox Bahá'í Faith?

Orthodox means the right law. Shoghi Effendi pointed out that in the spiritual realm, men "have reached the point where God could leave, in human hands (i.e., the Guardians') guided directly by the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh, as the Master states in His Will, the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by 'this is the day which will not be followed by night.'" With a continuing line of living Guardians of the Faith, the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh will be safeguarded and protected...against differences and schisms, making it impossible for any one to create a new sect or faction of belief. This is the Covenant for those who are Orthodox Bahá'ís.

The word "Orthodox" is a compound word made up of two Greek words: "orthos" and "doxa." "Othos" means straight or true, a reference to the fact that the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith has maintained and preserved the truth of the Bahá'í Faith free from error and distortion. The word "doxa", means glory or worship. Together, the "Orthodox" means literally "the true faith".

On the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith:

http://www.bahai-guardian.com/

http://www.rt66.com/~obfusa/council.htm