Five Quaker Testimonies

Peace/Nonviolence. Quakers are perhaps most famous for the peace testimony, and the Nobel Peace Prize that was received for their work feeding starving German children in Europe after World War I. Believing that there is “that of God in everyone" Friends are called to respect and care for all and to "see what love can do" in response to violence. Although historically Quakers have refused to fight, they have not been passive. Quakers have actively worked in conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation, disarmament, social and economic justice, and in giving aid to all sides of a conflict.

Simplicity. In trying to build God's beloved community here on earth, Friends have sought the essential, knowing that excessive material possessions divide people from each other and from a spiritual life. A simple life is one that can focus on what is truly important. Some express it as "living simply so that others may simply live."

Equality and Social Justice. All are God's beloved children. Despite the way each may be measured by human society, every person is valuable and has gifts that are meant to be used. Quakers have been active in civil rights, feeling that each person needs to be free of oppression to use their God-given gifts. Friends have stood against slavery, for voting rights for all, and continue to be active in movements designed to bring peace and justice.

Integrity. Telling the truth to ourselves and to others is considered key to spiritual growth. In order to truly hear and follow the leadings of the spirit, we must be willing to hear and act on the truth as it is known to us. This also involves being who we really are, and stripping away those things that are artificial; making our actions consistent with inner values.

Community and Stewardship of the Earth. Friends believe that "the spirit that takes away the occasion of war" is found in peace, love and unity. Even in making business decisions, Quakers don't vote. Voting, even when done politely, is taking sides. Quakers try to listen to everyone and, following the Light Within, find unity. But Quakers also believe that community extends beyond their own meetinghouses. It includes all the people in the world, as well as care for the earth itself.

Many yearly meetings publish their own Faith and Practice. This document contains the testimonies but also contains queries that encourage Friends to ask themselves questions important to their spiritual growth.

Special thanks to Melissa Meyer for her help with this section.  Lighting Candles in the Dark • Study Guide 3