Because Quakers believe that Divine truth may be revealed to any of us at any time or place, we do not profess a set creed. Since the founding of Quakerism, however, a small number of testimonies, outward expressions of deep spiritual values held by most Quakers, have been set down. These testimonies are fluid; they may be revised as necessary to reflect our developing understanding of our spiritual life and its practice in our daily lives. The following testimonies are common to many Friends meetings.
We detach as best we can from our possessions, worldly aspirations and self-appointed tasks that distract us from listening for God’s will for us and from acting upon it.
Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a Divine Center – a life of unhurried pace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It takes no time, but it occupies all our time.
Thomas R. Kelly
Peace begins within each of us and flows outwardly to our family, community, nation and world. We search for and attempt to eliminate the “seeds of war” in our own lives, preferring to create the conditions of freedom, justice, cooperation, and right sharing of the world’s resources.
All bloody principles and practices, we…do utterly deny, with all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever.
Declaration to Charles II of England, 1660
We attempt to be truthful in every aspect of our lives. We strive for honesty and fairness in all business dealings, eschewing any attempt to gain more, or give less, than fair value for time, labor, goods and services.
Let what you say be simply “yes” or “no”; anything more than this comes from evil.
Living and worshiping together in our Quaker community strengthens us to meet challenges in our daily lives with others and with God. Clearness committees are available to help individuals discern their best path for resolution of particularly difficult problems.
Our life is love, and peace, and tenderness; and bearing one with another, and forgiving one another, and not laying accusations against another; but praying for one another and helping one another up with a tender hand.
Isaac Penington, 1667
We believe all men and women are born with the Divine Light within themselves, no matter how difficult it may be to recognize. We recognize the gifts and talents of everyone and work to allow the full expression of those qualities for the benefit of all. We strive to relieve discriminations based on gender, faith, race, sexual orientation, abilities, ethnicity, wealth or class.
Guided by the Light of God within us and recognizing that of God in others, we can all learn to value our differences in age, gender, physique, sexual orientation, race and culture. This enables mutual respect and self-respect to develop, and it becomes possible for everyone to love one another as God loves us.
Meg Maslan, 1990, Britain Faith and Practice, 23.33
We try to be careful stewards of our health, our relationships and our finances. We recognize the finiteness of the earth’s resources and attempt to consume no more than necessary, protecting those resources for use by those less well-off and our heirs.
The produce of the earth is a gift from our gracious creator to the inhabitants, and to impoverish the earth now to support outward greatness appears to be an injury to the succeeding age.
John Woolman, 1772