The Bahá’í Faith, under the Guardianship, is distinguished by the acceptance of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Son of the Founder of the Faith, as a divinely-conceived, sacred, immutable and immortal Document which delineates the essential Institutions of an unique Administrative Order which, together with the application of the Laws and Principles revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, constitutes the basis for the establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh and a future World Civilization.
This Order was established in embryonic form by Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith during a 36 year ministry. He had been appointed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will and Testament, a Document which also provided for the continuity of this Institution as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endured through a succession of Guardians of the Faith each appointed by his predecessor "in his own lifetime." Sole interpretative authority of Bahá’í Holy Writ has been vested by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the Guardians who also serve as the "sacred head and the distinguished member for life" of the Universal House of Justice, the highest legislative organ of the Administrative Order and in this capacity provide "the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action" of this institution and insure that such subsidiary laws as are enacted by this body are in conformity with the immutable Laws revealed by Bahá’u’lláh in His Most Holy Book. Shoghi Effendi stated that the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice "supplement each other’s authority and functions" are inseparable and are "the twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structure."
Unlike sans-Guardian Bahá’ís who believe that the Guardianship ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Bahá’ís under the living Guardian believe that Shoghi Effendi appointed his successor, Mason Remey, in faithful compliance with the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and that only complete acceptance of him as the second Guardian and the "Center of the Cause"and, in turn, his appointed successor, constitutes fidelity to the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh.