Shoghi Effendi: The Guardian of the Cause of God
Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957) was the grandson of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Upon the death of 'Abdu'l-Baha in 1921 he became the Guardian of the Faith until his death in 1957.
It was Shoghi Effendi (show-gee ef-den-dee), the great-grandson of Baha'u'llah, who said to various Baha'is that "Joseph Smith was a Seer, not a Prophet minor or otherwise." (Haifa Notes of Ramona Brown)
A "Seer" in Baha'i terms is an ordinary "sinful" human being, with a human soul, who has true visions. They are considered vastly inferior to "Prophets" (Manifestations of God) and "Chosen Ones".
Shoghi Effendi was not a Prophet (Manifestation of God) nor a Chosen One, but he was probably a Seer. He prophesied of the "Holocaust" (by that term) years before it occurred, and he prophesied of the Internet decades before the Web became a reality. He died in London in 1957.
In 1936 Shoghi Effendi wrote:"A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect regularity." (The World Order of Bahaullah, page 20)
The Internet (World Wide Web) did not appear until 1977, and did not become known to the public until the mid and late 1990s.
In May of 1941 Shoghi Effendi wrote:"The persecution of world Jewry, the rapid deterioration of Christian institutions, the intestine division and disorders of Islam, are but manifestations of the fear and trembling that has seized humanity in its hour of unprecedented turmoil and peril. On the high seas, in the air, on land, in the forefront of battle, in the palaces of kings, and the cottages of peasants, in the most hallowed sanctuaries, whether secular or religious, the evidences of God's retributive act and mysterious discipline are manifest. Its heavy toll is steadily mounting--a holocaust sparing neither prince nor peasant, neither man nor woman, neither young nor old." (Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed to the Bahá'ís of North America 1932-1946, Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, p. 46)
The "Holocaust" did not begin until late 1943, and it was not called the "Holocaust" until after the War ended in 1945.
The letters of Shoghi Effendi are called his "Directives" and they are considered "authoritative" (not infallible but "binding" upon all Baha'is). The book Lights of Guidance contains excerpts from most of his Directives on hundreds upon hundreds of subjects. Baha'is use Lights of Guidance like Mormons used to use the book Mormon Doctrine by Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie (a book banned by Mormon leaders in 2008).
In 1954, a Baha'i woman on Pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel, asked Shoghi Effendi if Joseph Smith was a Prophet. Shoghi is purported to have replied:"Joseph Smith was a Seer, not a Prophet minor or otherwise." (Haifa Notes of Ramona Brown, p.5)
Baha'is are not obligated to accept anything Shoghi Effendi "said" (i.e."Pilgrim's Notes"). They must only accept whatever Shoghi Effendi "wrote" (i.e. "Directives").
In Baha'i terms, a "Prophet" is a Manifestation of God: a sinless and infallible Perfect Man, but a "Seer" is an ordinary human being, capable of sin, with a "human" soul, male or female, who has true supernatural visions. Prophets and Chosen Ones do not have "human" souls. Their Souls are the Names/Attributes of ALLAH.
A Baha'i who goes on Pilgrimage to the Holy Shrines in Haifa and Bahji, Israel, are called "Baha'i Pilgrims". Their "Pilgrim's Notes" are not considered "authoritative"; not "binding" upon Baha'is to believe and accept, because, after all, they are "second-hand" and not Shoghi's written Directives.
Shoghi Effendi also said some interesting things to say to Baha'i Pilgrims who visited him in Haifa in the 1950s:
*Skyscrapers of of which Americans are so proud will fall like houses of cards. The greatest danger is New York. (Pilgrims Notes of Margaret R. Sears, p.3)
*The Towers of Babel today of today are the sky-scrapers. These will be destroyed. the people of the tower of Babel were haughty, proud, filled with vain-glory; they had turned away from God and were arrogant and God punished them. This will happen again for the same reason. The world is in the same condition today. (Haifa Notes of Gayle Woolson, p.4)
*The Adam that appeared 6,000 years ago was the last of many Adams. (Pilgrim Notes of Marguerite R. Sears)
*The early Bábís (baw-bees i.e. followers of The Báb) believed in reincarnation. Mulla Husayn Bushru'i* in Fort Tabarsi was longing to be martyred and then return. (Sears)
Note: Mulla Husayn Bushru'i (Moo-law Hoo-sein Boosh-roo-ee) was the 1st Letter of the Living, the first disciple of The Báb (Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi). He was told by The Báb that he was the "return" of the Soul of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Báb taught that the Souls of the Prophets and Chosen Ones "return" in every Dispensation. Mulla Husayn Bushru'i was martyred in the Battle of Fort Tabarsi, in 1849. This is explained further in the section below titled "Reincarnation".
*White people have done a great deal of harm, and will suffer. (Haifa Notes of Clara Edge, p.5)
*A new race of men will appear after the Cataclysm*. (Edge, p.6)
Note: The Cataclysm is a Baha'i term meaning a time when a third of humanity will be destroyed, after which the New World Order will be established for "several generations" and after that the New World Order be replaced by the World Order of Baha'u'llah (Baha'i World State). Some think the Cataclysm will be nuclear war, others believe it will be a natural catastrophy.
*The Jews will inherit all of Palestine* because the Arabs will make trouble and the Jews will drive them out. (Haifa Notes of Ramona Brown, pp.4-5)
Note: When Shoghi Effendi said this, in 1954, Jews controlled only about 40% of Palestine. It was the 1967 War where the Israelis captured East Jerusalem and took control of all Palestinian territories West of the Jordan River.
*Joseph Smith was a Seer, not a major or minor prophet. (Brown, p. 5)
William Allison (an African-American professor and a Baha'i Pilgrim) spoke with Shoghi Effendi shortly before his death, in 1957, telling Shoghi about plans for twin towers in New York City, which would be (at that time) the tallest buildings in the world. Allison writes:"With a glint of sarcasm in his voice, he denounced the so-called American security of giant skyscrapers...With a swift movement of his hand, he demonstrated how quickly those institutions could be swept away in seconds." (Haifa Notes of William Allison, 1957)
Baha'is are free to accept (believe), or reject (disbelieve), anything in a Pilgrim's Note. They are not "binding" upon Believers in Baha'u'llah. Only the signed letters ("Directives") of Shoghi Effendi are "binding" and "authoritative"; things which Baha'is must believe, and must follow.
Shoghi Effendi seems to have predicted the following events years or decades before these events became reality:
*Jews taking control of all of Palestine
*The Twin Towers falling on 9/11/2001
These Pilgrim's Notes are not "recollections" (people remembering things) but "notes" which were written down at the time they were said, copies of which were made and stored in Haifa at the Baha'i International Archives. Shoghi Effendi said these things. But, of course, atheists and agnostics will dismiss them out of hand as "lucky guesses". They think this way: "Since there is no God, there can be no Seers, since there are no Seers, then Shoghi Effendi could NOT have seen the future!"
Shoghi Effendi dies in London, England, in 1957,and is buried there. He was succeeded by the Universal House of Justice (an elected council of 9 men) in 1963. The "House" is not a building, but an elected council of 9 men who govern the Faith worldwide, from the Baha'i World Centre, in Haifa, Israel.
Some Teachings and Predictions by Mormon Leaders (i.e. "The Brethren")?
Mormon leaders did make a number of predictions over the years. Here is a list of some predictions and teachings of Mormon Presidents and Apostles over the last 160 years:
*Adam was born of a woman just like everybody else (Joseph F. Smith)
*Adam was made of literal clay and not born of a woman (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie)
*There were pre-Adamic humans (Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, James Talmage, John Widstoe)
*The story of Eve being made from one of Adam's ribs is figurative (Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Spencer W. Kimball)
*The story of Eve being made from one of Adam's ribs is literal (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie)
*There were NO pre-Adamic humans (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie)
*The Flood was local and did not cover the entire Earth (John Widstoe, James Talmage)
*The Flood was worldwide and killed all except those on the Ark (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie)
*God the Father begot Jesus in the same way as any mortal man begets a Son (Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, Bruce R. McConkie)
*God the Father begot Jesus in a supernatural way and Mary was a literal virgin (Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee) *Some of those living in 1832 will still be living when the Savior appears (Lyman Wight, 1832)
*The South will have a war against the Northern States over the question of slavery (Joseph Smith, 1832)
*The Coming of the Lord would be in 1891 (Joseph Smith, 1835)
*The Son of Man will appear in 1891, in red apparel (Joseph Smith, 1843)
*There are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death before Christ returns (Joseph Smith, 1843)
*The Civil War will not free the Negroes (Brigham Young, 1861)
*If the Church gives the Negro the Priesthood, the LORD will take the Priesthood from the Earth (Brigham Young, 1852)
*The Lord Jesus will visit the Salt Lake Temple before most of those living in 1898 have died (Wilford Woodruff, 1898)
*The Jewish Mormons in Germany and Austria have nothing to fear from Hitler and the Nazis (J. Reuben Clark, 1933-1941)
*Negroes will not receive the Priesthood until sometime after the Millennium is over (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, 1930-1978)
*The generation living in 1832 will not all die out before the Second Coming of Christ (Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, 1930-1985)
*Men will never walk on the Moon (Joseph Fielding Smith, 1961)
Note: Joseph Smith (d. 1844), Joseph F. Smith (d.1926) and Joseph Fielding Smith (d.1969) are three different men.
Church President Spencer W. Kimball (d. 1985) did not make predictions, but he commanded that all Mormons store "a year's supply" of food and water, beginning in 1975. Many Mormons of his generation were raised to believe that Jesus Christ would return at the beginning of the "7th Thousand Years" of Earth's temporal existence (i.e. the Earth became "temporal" when Adam and Eve ate a forbidden fig about 4,000 B.C. and Jesus must return at the beginning of the 7th Thousand Years of the Earth's "temporal" existence: 4000 B.C. + 6,000 years = 2000 A.D.). Many Mormons expected Jesus to return, sitting or standing upon a cloud in the sky, around the year 2000 A.D., and there would be "Great Tribulation" (earthquakes, wars and rumors of wars, etc.) at this time, and thus the "need" for stored food and water. But, Jesus was a "no show" and the thousands of tons of food that Mormons "stored" from 1975 to 2005 all went bad and was eventually thrown away.
Joseph Morris, a Mormon who claimed to be a "Seer" who was killed by a Mormon Sheriff in 1862, said that Christ would reveal Himself in the year 1863.
James Brighouse, who claimed to be a Seer, published The Voice of the Seventh-Angel in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1889, proclaimed that Christ would appear in the year 1891.
Xorol R. Oliver also made predictions, which you may read about in the online book with her name in the title, linked at the bottom of PART TWO of this webpage.
You can read about the prophecies of Baha'u'llah, and their fulfillment in history, in the book The Challenge of Baha'u'llah by Gary L. Matthews: available at the Salt Lake Baha'i Center.
The official title of Shoghi Effendi was "Guardian of the Cause of God". He was probably also a "Seer" because he did predict future events, although he was not a "Prophet" in the Baha'i sense of the word "Prophet".
Prophets versus Seers
In Mormonism, the words "Prophet" and "Seer" are basically the same. However, in Islam, and in Baha'i terms, the word "Prophet" and "Seer" are very, very different. In Baha'i terms, a "Prophet" is a sinless and infallible Manifestation of God on Earth. But in Baha'i terms, a "Seer" is just an ordinary "sinful" human being, who has true visions.
In the Bible, Moses is a Prophet, but Iddo is called a "Seer". The Bible mentions a book called "The Visions of Iddo the Seer". That book is now lost, but, the Bible accepts Iddo as a "Seer" or the Bible would not have mentioned him.
John the Baptist is called a "Prophet" but the father of John the Baptist, who was Zacharias, saw the Angel of the LORD in the Jewish Temple, and the Angel of the LORD told him to name his son "John". Even though Zacharias had a "true vision" he was not a Prophet, but a Seer.
In the Gospels, one can read of a man named Simeon, and "Anna" who worshipped in the Jewish Temple daily, and they were promised by God that they would see the face of the Messiah. They both saw Jesus as a little baby. They were not "Prophets" but "Seers".
Mary the mother of Jesus is not a "Prophet" yet she had a true vision of the Angel Gabriel. Therefore, she is a Seer. Prophets must be male, but Seers can be mail or female.
The Apostle Paul was not a Prophet, but a Seer. He "saw" Jesus on the road to Damascus. The Apostle John had a vision given to him by the Angel of Jesus, on the island of Patmos, which is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and also the "Apocalyse" (Greek: "Unveiling").
Two Shi'ite Muslim "Seers" prepared the way for the coming of The Bab and Baha'u'llah. They were Shaykh Ahmad-i-Asa'i of Behrain (d. 1827) and Siyyid Kazim Rashti of Iran (d. 1843). They both claimed to have supernatural visions, and to have visited the Unseen World in their "subtle" (astral) bodies. They were not Prophets, but Seers.
Shoghi Effendi called Joseph Smith "a Seer; not a prophet minor or otherwise" (Haifa Notes of Ramona Brown). He did not mandate that the Baha'is had to agree with him on this point, or he would have wrote that in a signed letter ("Directives"). Baha'is only must follow the signed letters ("Directives") of Shoghi Effendi. Everything he "said" is not "binding" upon the Baha'is. Only what he wrote and "signed" is "binding". All else is optional. Thus, Baha'is may accept, or reject, Joseph Smith as a Seer. The same is true regarding Xorol R. Oliver.