Chapter 20 » 20.45

Honesty and integrity

The Quaker testimony to truthfulness is central to the practice of its faith by members of the Religious Society of Friends. From the beginning Friends have believed that they could have direct and immediate communication with God which would enable them to discern right ethical choices. They soon experienced common leadings of the Spirit which became formalised into testimonies… Arising from the teaching of Jesus as related in the writings of John and James: ‘Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no’, Quakers perceived that with a conscience illuminated by the Light, life became an integrated whole with honesty as its basis.

From time to time … adherence to factual truth can give rise to profound dilemmas for Quaker Peace & Service workers if they are in possession of information which could be used to endanger people’s lives or give rise to the abuse of fundamental human rights… Some of us are clear that in certain difficult circumstances we may still uphold our testimony to truthfulness while at the same time declining to disclose confidences which we have properly accepted. Such withholding of the whole truth is not an option to be undertaken lightly as a convenient way out of a dilemma. We all accept that ultimately it is up to an individual’s own conscience, held in the Light, to decide how to respond.

Quaker Peace & Service, 1992

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