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Maat: Do we have any Quakers that you know of?

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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-09-06 08:37 AM
Original message
Maat: Do we have any Quakers that you know of?
I'm trying to find information on the Quakers at the time of the Civil War.

I have never studied the Quakers and need to know where to start. I need a history and also what the belief system is. And information on the structure of the churches.

A good friend of mine does geneology and just discovered that her family on her mother's side were Quakers in Indiana. But her great great whatever grandfather was disavowed by the Quakers when he married a German Lutheran who was a slaveholder.

Interesting stuff.
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u4ic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 01:57 AM
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1. I know of 2
Quakerfriend and Old Broad. I think there may be a few more.

You can often find those two in the Astrology/Spirituality forum. :hi:
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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 09:59 AM
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2. Thanks
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-12-06 10:40 PM
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3. Sorry ... I haven't been looking here lately.
I'm glad someone thought of a few names; I couldn't think of any.

I hope everything is going well, Leftyladyfrommo!
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 04:09 AM
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4. Quaker here...
Edited on Thu Jul-13-06 04:10 AM by TreasonousBastard
I'm what's called a "convinced Quaker"-- one who wasn't born into a Quaker family but joined later in life. "Birthright Quakers" are born into it. Birthright Quakers leaving or getting thrown out and convinced Quakers joining seem to be balancing each out lately.

But I until I moved too far from my meeting to be there regularly, I was extremely active, holding clerkships, editing the newsletter, and other stuff.

The first place to go for Quaker info is It's probably the most complete site out there and most of what you want to know is pretty well laid out-- nothing fancy, but lots of info. I've gotten into some email arguments with Russ Nelson over his economic theories, but he's done a great job putting this site together. covers pretty much the entire spectrum of Quaker belief and practice, which is VERY wide, although I don't remember if he spends much time on the Evangelicals in Africa and other things not that relevant to us here.

FGC Quakers (my kind) have a large center in Philadelphia and the two sites to look for there are and

The two major organizations are the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation

OK, that's more than enough to get you started, but your eyes are guaranteed to glaze over in record time. So here's the history in a nutshell...

George Fox was a precocious English kid, the son of an unidentified preacher who may or may not have been a Puritan, and he had a revelation while on Pendle Hill during the Cromwell years. He realized that the teachings of the established churches were a crock and went about trying restore what he thought was the primitive Christianity of the first few centuries. Needless to say, he got into a lot of trouble for his trouble.

Over the past 360 years Quakers, actually The Religious Society of Friends, have split into several factions. Most of us have no creeds or doctrines, but consider a relationship with God to personal. We don't even bother to define God, as being, almost by definition, undefinable. What we do accept is that "there is that of God in all of us" and there is this thing we call The Light, which is God's temporal conduit.

Because we have no creeds or doctrines, belief does range very widely from Christocentric Quakers to the occasional atheist. Each meeting has its own belief set, largely evolved through the members interacting and coming up with a "sense of the meeting."

In order to help things from getting completely out of hand, there are Yearly Meetings that put out "Faith and Practice" and "Advices and Queries" advisories. These are advisories and not doctrine that must be obeyed. They usually are, though, because they come from the consensus of the meetings.

Back to the Civil War. Quakers did own slaves at one point. Not all Quakers, but there was no real Quaker question about it until the mid 18th century. Many, if not most, were extreme abolitionists by the time the Constitution was written, and tried to get it abolished, but many of the few remaining Quaker slaveowners weren't thrown out over it.

By the mid 19th Century, Quakers were universally against it and many were instrumental in running the Underground Railroad. A larger issue in many meetings was the occasional Quaker who would ignore the Peace Testimony and go off to war to kill off slavery, or for some other reason thought to be a greater evil than violence. You could be disowned for a lot of things back then.

I've rambled on here for more than I intended at first, and I'm still a bit groggy after a bout with the flu, so there might be a few flaws in what I wrote, thanks to a not quite unfevered brain. If you need some more specifics, feel free to let me know and I can look up the details.

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leftyladyfrommo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 07:29 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thank you so much.
We live in an interesting area here in Kansas and Missouri - especially right before and during the Civil War. Lots of Quakers came in here because Kansas was a free state. There seem to also have been a lot of Quakers in Indiana.

I have always thought the Quakers were interesting but haven't had much time to devote to figuring them out. They seem to be so progressive in just about all areas.

How about women's rights?
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-13-06 08:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Would the Quaker Susan B. Anthony do...
for a start? And the Quaker Elizabeth Mott was the best friend and closest associate of of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Jane Addams was greatly influenced and inspired to fight on by British quakers she met on a visit there.

There is a large list of Quakers, male and female, who fought for women's rights, and particularly property rights and the vote, from the earliest days in England. The humiliation of that slavery thing aside, it is fundamental to Quaker belief that all humans are equal in the eyes of God and therefore can be no less equal in our eyes-- it has to do with the "that of God in all of us" thing. There was a time when men and women were segregated at meetings for worship, but that had more to do with the reigning social mores of the time and the idea that there should be no chance of distraction or playing footsie during a worship event.

To most modern Quakers, trivializing women's concerns is inconceivable and, aside from some biological necessities and minor social niceties, there is absolutely no difference in the treatment or respect given to men and women.

(Did you know that Bonnie Raitt and Joan Baez are Quakers?)

Out where you are, most Quakers are FUM or Evangelical, and they don't always think that highly of us FGC types. Some even subscribe to the Richmond Declaration (that's Richmond, Indiana) that reads more like the Apostle's Creed than a Quaker work. They often have actual churches and ministers and services that wouldn't be foreign to a Presbyterian. We have "unprogrammed worship" where we sit around in silence for an hour, and don't have what Fox called "hireling priests."

But, we all pretty much take the Testimonies seriously, and the Light leads us all in pretty much the same direction-- most of what would be considered "progressive" causes are simply what we see as the right thing to do.

btw-- you can also thank BMUS for pointing me to this thread. I don't come this way very often.

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