International Bahá’í Center

This profile was last updated in 2004

History

The Bahá’í s Under the Provisions of the Covenant (BUPC) is an unorganized religion with adherents permeating the communities of every Bahá’í  group of all Baha’i persuasions as well as those who congregate in their own specially designated BUPC groups and teaching centers throughout the world.

The largest two communities and National Teaching Centers of the BUPC are established within the United States and India. The US and India also both have four regional teaching centers. THE BUPC has also been active through Bahá’í  teaching centers on the continents of Europe and Africa, in the countries of England, the UK and Iran [1], as well as in the state of Alaska. While the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance [2] reports the world-wide total global population of the Bahá’í s Under the Provisions of the Covenant at 144,000, the active workers at the Bahá’í  World Center in Montana – those fulfilling Bahá’í  Administrative functions at any given time – have never numbered more than about several hundred.

The International Bahá’í  Council/Universal House of Justice for the BUPC consists of the Chief Justice of the House – entitled the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith – who is appointed by the previous Guardian/President of the UHJ as his son and successor seated upon the throne of King David through Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha: the Executive Branch; and currently an appointed body of 24 Elders (12 apostles of Dr. Leland Jensen and 12 substitutes) who function as its current active judicial and legislative Board of Directors.

It is necessary to distinguish between the the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant and what is commonly considered the Bahá’í faith in general. The discrepancy between the two lies in a disagreement about administrative structure and succession of leadership. According to the Missoula-based group, the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant consider the majority of Bahá’ís to be “covenant-breakers” (someone who is actively undermining the Faith). According to Bahá’í Assemblies around the state, such as the Butte-Silver Bow Bahá’í Assembly, the Bahá’í Community of Helena, the Gallatin County Bahá’ís, and the Livingston Bahá’í Group, the majority of Bahá’ís disregard the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant and neglect to acknowledge them. When pressed, they said they consider the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant to be “covenant breakers.”

The Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant believe that Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith and grandson of Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah, had instated the International Bahá’í Council to be the first stage of a four stage plan culminating with the Universal House of Justice. Mason Remey, who served as a Hand of the Cause under Shoghi Effendi, was said to be the adopted and only son of Abdu’l-Baha. According to the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant, he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 to be the president and executive of the first International Bahá’í Council and therefore fulfilling the requirements to be the next Guardian. When Shoghi Effendi died unexpectedly without appointing a successor, the Hands of the Cause claimed the Guardianship for themselves. As true Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, Remey declared that the Hands of the Cause and all those that followed them were “covenant-breakers.”

In 1991 Dr. Leland Jensen, who is considered by the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant to be the greatest teacher of the faith, announced the formation of the second International Bahá’í Council (sIBC). Because the Hands of the Cause and all who follow them are considered to be “covenant-breakers,” the first International Bahá’í Council (IBC) is faulty and not in line with the covenant. According to the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant, Dr. Leland Jensen’s authority stems from the fulfillment of prophesy as well as being knighted by Baha’u’llah. Jensen is seen as the “establisher” of the Bahá’í faith.

The Bahá’í Internet Education Committee writes, “Dr. Leland Jensen named his 12 apostles to be members of the the second International Bahá’í Council (sIBC). He also named Joseph Pepe Remey, appointed by his father Mason Remey, to be the next Guardian seated upon the throne of King David–the president and executive of the sIBC. The second International Bahá’í Council (sIBC) is located in Missoula, MT. Today Neal Chase, the appointed son (aghsan) of Joseph Pepe Remey, succeeds his father Pepe upon the Davidic throne as the current president of the sIBC. Neal Chase is the great-grandson of ‘Abdu’l-Baha.”

Activities and Schedule

19 Day Feasts

On the first day of each Bahá’í month, which is every 19 days, the local Bahá’ís gather to celebrate the 19 Day Feast. The feast includes “spiritual food” in the form of scripture readings as well as “physical food” in the form of a pot luck dinner. The location is rotated among the private homes of the assembly members. With an emphasis on fellowship, the feasts are similar to an informal party.

Holidays

Traditional holidays are celebrated, such as the Martyrdom of the Bab on July 9, Birth of the Bab on Oct. 20, Birth of Baha’u’llah on Nov.12, and the Ascension of Abdu’l Baha on Nov. 28.

Firesides

Abdu’l-Baha and a number of the believers and friends had the practice of gathering around the fireplace to discuss the Bahá’í faith. In this informal atmosphere Abdu’l-Baha would answer the peoples’ questions and teach them the faith. Since the time of Abdu’l Baha, these “firesides” have developed into a series of classes, taught by members of the faith. The “seeker” is encouraged to ask questions and to “know the truth” with their own intellect. Due to their progressive nature, these classes are offered on a regular basis.

Cable Access Television Show

The Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant have a time slot on MCAT, Missoula Cable Access Television, for Tuesday evenings on Channel 7 in the Missoula area and Channel 13 in the Bitterroot Valley. The Television Program is an effort to educate others and share what they believe. It is also an opportunity to provide the Bahá’ís Under the Provision of the Covenant’s commentary on current events.


[1] See International Centers” http://www.bupc.org and http://www.persian-bupc.doodlekit.com/blog . ↩︎
[2] Robinson, B.A. (2009). The Bahá’í Faith – Controversial matters: Freedom of expression;Internal divisions. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved from http://www.religioustolerance.org/bahai5.htm. ↩︎