The following article is based on excerpts from the publication:
The WILL AND TESTAMENT of `ABDU'L-BAHÁ
Charter of a Divine Civilization
Statement by National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States
In this publication, the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States (NSA) states:
"Here, in brief, is the reason why `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Testament presented the case of the Covenant-breakers so emphatically:-He assured that the believers throughout the world would turn to Shoghi Effendi as the true Center of the Faith, and not Muhammamad-'Ali, the self-revealed rebel against the Manifestation. By grasping this principle, and realizing that faith is no mere pretence of universal tolerance but full obedience to divine laws and commands, the believers today have no difficulty in discerning the disobedience and the rebellion of all who now, or at any later time, repudiate the Guardian and flout the Bahá'í Administrative Order while claiming to be Bahá'ís."
This document does not indicate the date it was published, I would assume, however, it was published prior to the death of Shoghi Effendi in 1957. The words of the above excerpt must now haunt the NSA, who have since failed in a lawsuit to impose an injunction upon the National Bahá'í Council of the Orthodox Bahá'ís of the United States, from calling themselves Bahá'ís. It is apparent that at the time the above document was published, the NSA maintained that it was important for its believers to understand the importance of the Guardianship and comply with the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá in order to consider oneself a "Bahá'í". Today, the NSA no longer has a Guardian as its head,it no longer requires that believers know and understand the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and have altered the text of the Will and Testament. All this is contrary to its statement at one time that "faith is no mere pretence of universal tolerance but full obedience to divine laws and commands..."
The NSA document further states:
"`Abdu'l-Bahá was made by Bahá'u'lláh the touchstone distinguishing believer from non-believer, friend from enemy, His Will and Testament creates a continuance of authority for the Bahá'ís of the entire world, so that none may ever fall victim to the beguilements of personal opinion, nor follow personal influence instead of the true and consecrated guide. The Will and Testament is nothing less than the instrument for the attainment of the oneness of mankind in the outer world of action and fellowship."
However, it was "personal opinion" and "personal influence", not the divine writings, which lead the one-time Hands of the Faith to abandon the Will and Testament and convince the believers there was no longer a Guardianship of the Bahá'í Faith, and then created its own administrative order. I would be dismayed if those who claim to be the leaders of my Faith, were willing to emphasize to the believers the importance of adhering to divine laws and commands to live within the covenants of the Faith on one day, and on the next abandon those divine laws and commands prescribed by `Abdu'l-Bahá himself.
So, if you call yourself a Bahá'í, are you going to fall victim to the beguilements of personal opinion and follow personal influence, or are you going to use independent investigation of the truth to make your own conclusions and follow those divine laws and commands provided to us by `Abdu'l-Bahá?