Lots of folks are curious about our family’s adoption of the Quaker faith (Religious Society of Friends) after we stopped attending the Mormon church, so I thought I’d write a bit about that tradition and what draws us to it.
First of all, it’s important to note that there is a huge spectrum of Quaker beliefs and practices. There are evangelical Christian Quakers and there are atheist Quakers, and everything in between. The common threads that tie this groups together are the SPICES testimonies:
Quakers tend to worship in Silence. This means that rather than having a church service with music, sermon, rituals, and prayers, Friends sit in a circle in silence together (although there are “programmed” traditions within Quakerism that do have some of these elements). Occasionally an individual will break the silence to share their thoughts with the group. Some of my friends who’ve attended Quaker Meeting with us have found this mode of worship rather disconcerting.
If you would like to learn more about the Quaker tradition, my best suggestion is for you to find a local Meeting to attend–many have an “Intro to Quakerism” class for those who want to learn more. There are also many online resources about Quakerism and I can recommend some books that you’ll find informative: Friends for 350 Years and Plain Living: a Quaker Path to Simplicity. Those with Mormon background might find Heidi Hart’s account of her journey to Quakerism to be good reading: Grace Notes
I’ve spent time with Quakers in Boston, Logan, Pasadena, Salt Lake City, San Diego, and Orange County. What typically stands out to me is the strength of the older women in the Meetings and the simplicity of the surroundings in which Friends worship. Our family has been warmly welcomed in each Meeting that we’ve attended. Recently, John posted some thought-provoking excerpts of an interview with our children about their transition from Mormon to Friend.
And, FYI, just so you know that Quakers do have a sense of humor.
Photo: Me standing in the historic Friends’ Meetinghouse in Beacon Hill. John and I stayed in a room at the Meetinghouse during our last visit to Boston (our room overlooked the garden courtyard–lucky us!)