Return to They asked me to write a letter (idea)

They sent an email to the whole [Quaker] community of my college actually, asking about [student] opinions of [Quakerism]. However, they sent it to [me] to which, considering my considerable dissatisfaction with my [religion], inspired me to write this (yes i sent it back):

When I was about thirteen, I [started] to talk to my father, really talk to him, about [Quakerism]. We had been Quaker for maybe six or seven years by then and I knew the basic tenets of [Quakerism] and in a general way [agreed] with them, largely because my parents did. Then my [father] started to talk with me about [George Fox], and the real basic tenets of [Quakerism], and I began to see where the came [from]. It was then that I knew that I had [been] steered onto the right path.

I started going to [Young Friends] and I found [peace] there for a long time. There [were] [people] I [could] [identify] with, people to [whom] I could talk. Not only that, [there] I finally felt free after feeling [caged] in [around] my [other] friends for so long. And it was [there] that I first began to feel the [presence] of the Spirit and to feel the truth I had realized before.

I had [found] a faith in [which] I felt peace, something many people don't find in their lives at all, and I had found people to share it with. For a few brief moments I felt the world working in my [direction].

But then, I began to [notice] other things about [Quakerism], about the practice of the [religion] and the current state of affairs in the PYM [world]. It began slowly, but I was a witness to a [situation] in which the [Quaker] [process] hurt some people very dear to me, people who had put their faith and lives into the [system] only to have it pulled out from [under] them.

Quakerism as a concept is a beautiful [thing] but in practice it has grown [dark;] murky waters [reflecting] the light of [Fox]'s [vision]. When I heard about the [incident] that happened at [Friends Central] (see [The Education of America’s Children] for details) last year, and the [subsequent] [response] of the [Quaker] community to that incident, I lost the [faith] I had in the Quaker [establishment]. How is it [that] the members of a religion devoted to [tolerance] and equality could be so reactive as to expel a child for making an [offhanded] and joking comment out of school time?

Quakerism is about [that] of God in all of us, about the fundamental revelation of the [divine] to each individual. It is about peace and [nonviolence], about love and [simplicity] and of all of these things, but only because of the fundamental [principal] of the divinity of the individual; the concept of simplicity [itself] originated in [Fox's] [unwillingness] to have the rituals and objects of worship, these 'outward forms,' become the focus of one's faith over the concepts that they represent. I [fear] that this has now become the case as Quakers [worry] more about [offending] anyone than about those things that Quakerism started with; if Fox were a [Quaker] today, he would [likely] be [thrown] out of his meeting for rocking the boat.

I now attend meeting only [intermittently], unable to stay away [completely] because of the comfort I feel there, but [unable] to go for any [extended] period of time because of the politics [that] come into play, the many Quakers who don't really know what Quakerism is anymore.

[Quakerism] is about love and peace, but it is a hard won love, full of [troubles], and it is the peace that comes after a long day's work for a just [cause]. To me it will always be these things, and I hope I can one day attain them.