My Experience

I converted from Catholicism at age 13.  Since getting to college, I've had a hard time keeping up with the Quaker community, and I've been feeling a little disconnected from my faith at large due to the lack of a Quaker group on campus.
yossarianlives54 yossarianlives54
18-21, F
3 Responses Apr 8, 2007

I go to a Quaker school and now call myself a Quaker. However, it was never forced upon me at school and you have to be 16 to officially be a quaker- this allows the individual to make up there own mind instead of being indoctrinated when you were little.<br />
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I have also been to many quaker events up and down the country and have never heard a definition of a quaker. Quakerism isn't anything definate because it doesn't pretend to know the answers. i.e All Quakers don't universally believe in God or heaven and hell but some do.<br />
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It's about finding the answers for one self during silent meetings and if you think you have discovered something useful you tell it to the rest of the meeting. Quaker welcome views different to their own as it allows them to see things from a different perspective and possibly improve their own idea.<br />
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There are some underlying factors which all quakers hold, although again they are open to interpretation. They are: Peace, Truth, Equality, Simplicity and Stewardship.

It's hard to sum Quakerism up in one neat, succinct paragraph since there are actually many sects, but there are a few unifying spiritual beliefs. The concept of the Inner Light is soemthing that's prevalent throughout. It's basically the idea of the soul and the God within oneself. Also the ideas of simplicity, equality, and truth are very important. This means that all members of the Quaker community have an ability to connect with God, so there is no need for ministers or religious rites. In fact, every Quaker is considered to be a minister, in a sense. Unprogrammed meetings for worship are usually silent, sometimes with a reading or song at the beginning of meeting. Programmed meetings are more apt to use the Bible or other Christian writings, though many Quakers don't consider the Bible or Jesus to be divine. The name could come from two different places. One: During silent meeting, if a participant feels moved to speak they may, but breaking the silence can often cause people to "quake" with nervousness, anticipation, passion, etc. Two: George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, once told a judge that he should "quake in the presence of the Lord" and the judge called him a "Quaker" in return. The Society of Friends is also a peace church, and Quakers are pacifists, often refusing to enlist in the army or even pay taxes that support war efforts. The wikipedia page on Quakers gives a good overview as well as links to other helpful websites. :)

Without you taking any offence. Can I ask what exactly a quaker is? I've heard the term before but never really heard anything about their beliefs or way of life. I'm just curious