OVER THE WALL OF OPPRESSION
PART II, THE BOOK OF REVELATION
By Dr. Leland Jensen
THE SEVEN CHURCHES
The seven churches of the book of Revelation chapters two and three, are symbolic of seven groups calling themselves “Baha'i,” only one of which is the true Baha'i faith. Shoghi Effendi provided only one criterion in order to determine who was and who was not a true Baha'i: “Regarding the very delicate and complex question of ascertaining the qualifications of a true believer.… [I only state]... the principal factors that must be taken into consideration before deciding whether a person may be regarded a true believer or not: Full recognition of the station of the Forerunner, the Author, and the True Exemplar of the Baha'i Cause, as set forth in 'Abdu'l-Baha’s Testament; unreserved acceptance of, and submission to, whatsoever has been revealed by their Pen; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will; and close association with the spirit as well as the form of the present-day Baha'i administration throughout the world--these I conceive to be the fundamental and primary considerations that must be... ascertained before reaching such a vital decision.” These criteria were used as the Baha'i faith membership card in the days of Shoghi Effendi. A true believer was someone who had loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha. An administration that does not incorporate all the elements of that Will and Testament cannot be said to embody “loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will.” Such an administration is not composed of true believers and thus is not the true Baha'i faith.
Six of the seven churches described in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation are not in accordance with every clause of 'Abdu'l-Baha’s Will and Testament, and thus are false claimants to the name “Baha'i.” Five of these six false groups came into existence after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, when the Baha'is were scattered by the inaugural Covenant-breaking of the Hands of the Cause. The sixth one is a dissident group, which broke off later from the true Baha'i faith.
The principal factor at issue in Covenant-breaking is always the matter of successorship. At the passing of Baha'u'llah some did not want to accept His successor 'Abdu'l-Baha. At the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, some did not want to accept his successor Shoghi Effendi. At the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the entire Baha'i world was in the dark concerning his successor, and to this day, some do not comprehend that he even had a successor.
The successor to Shoghi Effendi was his lineal descendent, the first International Baha'i Council (IBC). This IBC was the embryonic stage of the Universal House of Justice (UHJ), and thus it was the same entity as the UHJ, just as is the case with the stages of growth of human beings and other life forms. The membership of this council was directly appointed by Shoghi Effendi, thus it is his “lineal” descendant, coming from him in a straight line. Shoghi Effendi’s successor was alive and in the world six years prior to when Shoghi Effendi died in 1957.
At the head of this council Shoghi Effendi placed, as the president and member for life, Charles Mason Remey. This, and the fact that Mason was 'Abdu'l-Baha’s adopted son, qualify Mason as a guardian. This is in accordance with the clause on page 12 of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha – that the succeeding guardian must be a son and he must be appointed by the preceding guardian, during his lifetime. Page 14 of the Will and Testament gives us the clause that the Guardian of the Cause of God is the head of the UHJ.
Shoghi Effendi’s interpretation of his unique station was that even though he was the Guardian of the Cause of God, he was not a member, and he was not the president/head of the IBC/UHJ. This is because the very last page of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha Part Three, provided that Shoghi Effendi was the “Center of the Cause.” The Center of the Cause is a station in addition to being the Guardian of the Cause. The Center of the Cause provision places Shoghi Effendi in the position to infallibly guide and rule the Baha'i faith by himself, without assistance from any other individual or administrative body. As the infallible Center of the Baha'i faith, Shoghi Effendi was restricted from membership on that IBC, as well as from membership on any of the stages of that Universal House of Justice, including the final stage. This is due to the fact that 'Abdu'l-Baha stated in Some Answered Questions that no single member of the UHJ has infallibility, but only the general body has conferred infallibility. Thus, the head or president, the member for life, does not have infallibility, and therefore Shoghi Effendi could never be the head or even a member of that institution, as it was not possible for him to abdicate his station of infallibility as the Center of the Cause.
Therefore, Shoghi Effendi’s placement of Mason as a guardian who fulfills the role of the president of the UHJ, does not give Mason or any succeeding guardian a station like that of Shoghi Effendi, as Shoghi Effendi’s station began and ended with Shoghi Effendi in the same way that 'Abdu'l-Baha’s station began and ended with 'Abdu'l-Baha. Only the entire body of the IBC/UHJ has a similar position of being the center of authority, the center that wards off differences, as provided on pages 11, 14, and 20 of the Will and Testament. The institution of guardianship, now restricted to being the presidency of the UHJ, remains the “Sign of God” on earth, meaning that whatever Baha'i administration has this sign from God, the guardian, at its head, that is the true Baha'i administration.
Only one of the seven churches adheres to the true institution of the guardianship, and to every clause of the Will and Testament. The other six have broken off from the guardianship to varying degrees, and their status is determined according to their theology about the institution of the guardianship, and their adherence to the true guardianship.
Four of these groups are identified in the Covenant-breaking publication Bibliography of English-Language Works on the Babi and Baha'i faiths, by William P. Collins, George Ronald Press; and Encyclopedia of American Religions, 3rd Edition.
The messages to each of the seven churches in the book of Revelation cite what counts in their favor, and what counts against them. At the end of each message is a general announcement: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches,” referring to those “who conquer.” I will just quote the passages specific to each church, thereby identifying it.
In the book of Revelation, events are not always recorded in chronological sequence. In order to address the churches chronologically as they emerged in time, we depart from the order in which they are recorded in the book of Revelation. The six false groups:
Church of Thyatira
The church of Thyatira are those who followed the Hands. Today they accept the illegitimate UHJ, and constitute the “mainstream” Covenant-breakers who call themselves the “Baha'i World Faith.” This largest group is divided into two parts. The first part of the message is to those who accept the lies of the Hands of the Cause and their illegitimate UHJ, and who have no love for the truth. The second part of the message to Thyatira is for those who will come out of them, the 144,000.
Rev. 2:19-23: “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”
The latter works that exceed the first means the works of the 144,000 exceed the works of those people among the Covenant-breakers who were in the faith before 1957. These 144,000 will have to re-establish the Faith in all the countries of the world as in the Ten Year World Spiritual Crusade.
But the main body of Covenant-breakers adore the Jezebel, Ruhiyyih Khanum. Historically, Jezebel was the wife King Ahab of Israel in the Northern Kingdom. She instituted paganism among the ten northern tribes who had split off from the Kings of David. This is descriptive of Ruhiyyih, the wife of the guardian, who instituted false teachings among the part of modern-day Israel (Israel means “those who strive by the word of God”) that split off from the Kingship of David, or the guardianship.
Jezebel had the prophets of Israel put to death. Ruhiyyih has put to death the spirit of the faith among the group that follows her. In history, eventually Elijah rose against Jezebel’s pagan priests, putting them to death at the foot of Mount Carmel. Jezebel was put to death with trampling by chariots, and then her body was thrown outside the city and consumed by dogs. The “body” of Ruhiyyih Khanum is the body of that false UHJ, and the dogs (infidels) that consume this body are the followers of that body. They are outside the city of the Covenant and outside the faith. The Nicolaitans were a sect that brought paganism into Christianity. They were identified as those who ate food sacrificed to idols. The mainstream Covenant-breakers are the Nicolaitans. Revelation 2:6 says God hates their works. The eating of the food sacrificed to idols is their taking part in that false administration (idol) fashioned by their own “Hands,” seeking spiritual sustenance from it rather than from the Revelation, and expecting that their salvation is found in being members of it.
Those who follow Jezebel are those who commit adultery, which is symbolic for idolatry. This is connected with Revelation 18:7. Ruhiyyih Khanum, Jezebel, is like the adulterous harlot of Rev. 18 who says: “A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see.”
The sickbed of Jezebel indicates that spiritual disease of Covenant-breaking, which is a blood-borne disease, such as AIDS, which they contract from intercourse with the harlot, as blood in scripture is a symbol of the Covenant. Her child is the false UHJ she created and its followers are “struck dead” spiritually by accepting her false teachings.
Rev. 2:24-28: “But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; only hold fast what you have, until I come. He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; and I will give him the morning star.”
For those who disown this false group, great things are in store. They have “power over the nations,” meaning they will be among the 144,000 who will teach the nations, bringing them into the Kingdom. These nations shall elect the body of the UHJ, which is the iron rod, and the UHJ shall rule over the nations. This UHJ breaks up the earthen pots of the man-made governments, including the man-made UHJ of the “Hands.”
The city of Thyatira was different from the others in that it was populated by a large mixture of races. The mainstream Covenant-breakers, unlike any of the other groups, are from all the different races and nationalities, from all over the planet.
It is written that if the Baha'is should deviate from the Covenant, there would arise in a short period of time where there would be many opposing “Baha'i” sects. The result of the violation of the Hands was that it initiated the birth of other “Baha'i” sects, all of which is divisive and confusing. The group following the Hands and their illegitimate UHJ is itself, in essence, divided up into thousands of sects, as each person has their own interpretation of what it means to be a “ Baha'i.” They say: “I’m a Christian Baha'i,” or “I’m a Buddhist Baha'i,” or even, “I’m a pagan Baha'i.” They do not have the understanding that the Baha'i faith is not a social movement, such as Secular Humanism or other philosophies. It is the religion of God and when you enter the religion of God, you leave your past ways behind. The veil has not been removed for these people.
At the council of Badasht, Tahirih appeared in public without her veil, her face exposed to all eyes. This demonstrated graphically to the Babis that they were no longer Muslims, that there was no such thing as a “Muslim Babi.” You were either a Babi or something else, but not both. Likewise, you are either a Baha'i who accepts absolutely the Covenant, or you are something else. You cannot, in your heart, be a member of another religion and be a Baha'i also. Baha'u'llah said in the Persian Hidden Words (#26, #27), that we should cast the stranger out of our hearts so that the Friend might abide there.
The question comes up repeatedly: Why did this happen? In 1961, Dr. Leland Jensen visited the guardian, Mason Remey, in Washington D.C. This question came up amongst the believers assembled there. Mason explained that this was a test, that iniquities must come as it says in the Bible, and this is to test the believers. Doesn’t it warn in the Qu’ran that if you claim you are a believer, you will be put to the test?
Either the Baha'is knew the Covenant and were pure in heart, and therefore they passed the test; or they didn’t know the Covenant (as was the case with the majority of the believers), or they didn’t have a pure heart (as was the case with the Hands), so they failed the test. Mason explained that those gathered had already passed this first test on whether or not the guardianship would continue. Then he told them that the next test would be that the Baha'is would not know who the next guardian was. After stating this, Mason Remey proceeded, over the course of several years, to appoint several different persons to be the guardian. For instance, he appointed an IBC, naming the different members of it “vice-president number one,” “vice-president number two,” and so forth, with the implication that the highest one up on the list would have the first shot at being the next guardian upon his death. Then he appointed elders with the same program. In addition, he wrote a letter to Joel Marangella.
Finally, all the believers fell away, following after different guardians, even before Mason was dead. But none of these supposed guardians were adopted by Mason Remey as his son, with the exception of Joseph Pepe. Mason said they wouldn’t know who was the guardian, and this was because they didn’t know the Covenant. In the Will and Testament, it gives the criteria for recognizing the guardian: that he should be a son, and he should be appointed by the previous guardian. Instead of going by this criteria, the followers of these ones looked at the personal qualities of the candidates for guardianship, thinking they could judge by how “spiritual” they were. This was the test: whether or not they would follow the Covenant in trying to discern who the guardian was. Despite their knowledge of the violation of the Hands, these Baha'is still hadn’t learned to follow the Covenant.
Since then, these followers have split off into different groups as follows.
Church of Laodicea
Those who followed “the Man,” Jamshid Ma’ani, who claimed an independent prophethood. The group was organized around John Carre, and called itself the “Faith of God,” the “House of Mankind,” and the “Universal Palace of Order.” Rev. 3:15-17: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are luke-warm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”
This church hasn’t even a semblance of the Baha'i administration. They centered on the “Man,” who claimed independent prophethood and threw out the teachings of 'Abdu'l-Baha. They are lukewarm because they no longer care about the guardianship or the Baha'i faith and are no longer active (listed as “defunct” in Encyclopedia of Religions). They have their own plan, which may or may not include a guardian. The guardianship is not of any particular importance in their teachings.
Church of Ephesus
The church of Ephesus are those who followed Joel Marangella, organized as the “Orthodox Baha'i Faith,” and the “Mother Baha'i Council.”
Rev. 2:2-6: “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” At the urging of Rex King, Joel Marangella claimed the guardianship, abandoning Mason Remey while he was still alive. This is the meaning of, “you have abandoned the love you had at first,” meaning this group is not firm in the Covenant. Still, they teach and accept that Mason was the guardian of the Faith, so they have not fallen as far as four of the other churches have. They are also very active against the mainstream Covenant-breakers (Nicolaitans).
Church of Pergamum
The church of Pergamum are those who followed Rex King as the regent guardian, who are now organized as the “Orthodox Baha'i Faith Under the Regency.” Rev. 2:13: “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is....”
Rex King tried to usurp the guardianship from Mason Remey, wanting Mason to name him as a regent guardian. Mason Remey designated him the Satan of this period. Rex King split a large group of believers away from Mason in the Marangella group, then he split off from Marangella, thus forming his own private sect. Like Satan of old, he turned the people away from the true faith. Today, this group rejects the fact that Mason was a guardian. They also reject the administration as set up by Shoghi Effendi. Instead, they have a council of regent guardians that they plan to follow until such time as a descendent of Baha'u'llah appears and assumes the guardianship.
Church of Smyrna
The church of Smyrna are those who accepted Donald Harvey as guardian after Mason Remey’s death. They are loosely affiliated in the “Charles Mason Remey Society” of Francis C. Spataro.
Rev. 2:9-11: “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Donald Harvey did not arise to claim the guardianship until after Mason’s death when Joseph Pepe Remey, Mason’s adopted son, directed the people to follow Harvey. Pepe had convinced Mason to write a letter making Harvey the guardian. Thus, his followers are “rich,” they believe in the guardianship, but they are also “poor,” being they don’t actually have a guardian. Francis C. Spataro was the one who endured the slander of the synagogue of Satan when he was rejected by the Rex King group. Today they follow Jacques Soghomonian as the guardian.
Church of Sardis
Dissidents to the Lamb and the Covenant
The church of Sardis are those who believed in Dr. Leland Jensen as the return of Jesus the High Priest based on his proofs, but broke off from him to form a loose-knit group having individual interpretations of the meaning of the Covenant, and became united only in their opposition to Jesus on his return. At first, they accepted the guardianship of Joseph Pepe Remey, but since then some of them have signed a document declaring allegiance to Jacques Soghomonian. They organized through “The Friends Newsletter.”
This newsletter contains the editorial statement: “The Friends Newsletter is a way for Baha'is to stay in touch and become unified in the Revelation, and still feel free to express their thoughts, whatever they may be;” Also, “It [the newsletter] strives to foster unity....” Comparing this with the Writings, we find this motto to be in conflict with the Writings: “To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction” (Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha).
This group continues to use unity as their excuse. ”...with Divine Unity for his excuse deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others” (Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha).
Rev. 3: 1-5: “I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead. Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.”
This group claimed to be the true Baha'is, having the “true spirituality,” and the true understanding of the Covenant. This is the “name of being alive.” But they are spiritually dead because they knew more of the truth than the other groups did, and they turned against it. What they “received and heard” is the proofs of name, date, address, and mission. None of the other groups go by proofs.
The “few names” are those who were poisoned by the twisted thinking and doctrine of Sardis, and because of that, they left the BUPC. But they don’t swallow the lies of Sardis either, and aren’t actively attacking the Baha'i faith, thus they have not “soiled their garments.” This is like the story of Snow White. The evil queen gave her a poison apple that was supposed to kill her, but it got caught in her throat, and she didn’t swallow it. But the poison made her fall into a deep deep sleep, until a prince (knight on a white horse) came along and, giving her a kiss (voicing the teachings), revives her.
Then it says, “I will not blot his name out of the book of life.” The only names written into the Lamb’s book of life are the names of those who accepted the return of Jesus the Lamb. Having a name blotted out means that name was written in the book to start with, and then had to be erased. This clearly identifies the dissident group, as they are the only group who originally accepted the Lamb, and then turned against him. Thus they are under the threat of having their name blotted out, unless they repent. None of the other groups accepted the Lamb and then rejected him. Most have yet to discover him.
The seventh church is the true one, continuing the Baha'i faith as revealed by Baha'u'llah, interpreted and delineated by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and first instituted by Shoghi Effendi.
Church of Philadelphia ─ The City of Brotherly Love
The church of Philadelphia is made up of those Baha'is who follow the Lamb wherever he goes.
Rev. 3:7-11: “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.” I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie─ behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth. I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
This is the only group that knows the meaning of the word “Christ,” and the true meaning of the guardianship, the Christ of the Baha'i World Order. Thus, the “key of David” is mentioned. Because of this knowledge, they know that the other groups are false. The term “Christ” designates a male-sperm descendant of David.
The “key of David” is the meaning of the word “Christ.” Baha'u'llah came from this genealogy and so did His son 'Abdu'l-Baha, who adopted Mason Remey. Mason Remey became the next Davidic King after 'Abdu'l-Baha. Shoghi Effendi then appointed Mason as the president/head of the IBC/UHJ, making him the next guardian, thus the Davidic Kingship continues on in the institution of guardianship. There are two criteria for a claim to the guardianship: the first is that the claimant must be, physically or legally, a son; the second is that he must be appointed by the previous guardian.
Who “opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens,” refers to the doors of interpretation.
“Having but little power” refers to the power of the large numbers of people, which we do not have. This is because God wants the people to know it is by His power that the Kingdom will be established.
The “synagogue of Satan” is the Rex King group. When Dr. Jensen was released from Deer Lodge Prison, he traveled around the country amongst the different Baha'i groups, hoping to educate them. After he had visited the Rex King group, they asked one of their followers, Francis Spataro, to write a refutation of Dr. Jensen’s claim. Instead of doing that, this person wrote a refutation of the Rex King group! The Rex King group threw him out for that and afterwards he started the “Mason Remey Society,” uniting the loosely affiliated Donald Harvey group through a newsletter. In the early 90s he became an Episcopalian minister, but in his last newsletter he declared that Dr. Jensen was the Knight and the true establisher of the Baha'i faith, and that the true line of guardianship was just as Dr. Jensen had said, going from Mason to Pepe Remey, and not from Mason to Donald Harvey, then to Jacques Soghomonian.
Philadelphia is the only church of which nothing negative is said. Unlike the other groups, it hasn’t gone against God in any way whatsoever.