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The Call For Honesty Lies At The Heart Of Quakerism

Updated: Mar 8

The call for honesty lies at the heart of Quakerism. It is a testimony rooted in the Quaker respect for truthfulness. . . . Respect for this kind of integrity calls for a correspondence between what one professes and how one translates that into action in real life.

Wilmer Cooper, 1990

The call for honesty lies at the heart of Quakerism. It is a testimony rooted in the Quaker respect for truthfulness. . . . Respect for this kind of integrity calls for a correspondence between what one professes and how one translates that into action in real life.

Wilmer Cooper, 1990


Ever since Friends embraced Jesus’ challenge to “Be ye perfect,” the basis of our personal living has been laid deeper than mere respectability, deeper than the observance of some moral minimum based on the old law of “Thou shalt not.” Friends are called to live with integrity … A simplicity of purpose arises to live in the present in the Truth and order one’s life so as to help bring about the realization of God’s kingdom of heaven here on earth.

Southeastern Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice

4th Edition, 2013


word scrabble spells "Speak truth, own your words, own your error"

Integrity is the third of the Quaker Testimonies following the acronym of SPICES (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, Stewardship of the Earth).


What does Integrity mean?


Definitions of integrity:

1. moral soundness

2. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

3. an unreduced or unbroken completeness or totality


Synonyms related to Integrity:

wholeness, honesty, reliability, truthfulness, trustworthiness, credibility, purity, authenticity, dignity, fairness, uprightness, fidelity, professionalism, impartiality, dependability, decency, sincerity, transparency, ethics, and forthrightness.


The early Quakers established new standards of Integrity in the conduct of business, by being truthful and honest. For many centuries, and even still today in some places and cultures, it was common for merchants and customers to haggle over the prices of merchandise. Often a merchant would raise the price of an item if the customer was well dressed, or spoke in a higher dialect. They would try to get the highest price they could from any customer. There were no price tags on items. But Friends who ran businesses decided that they would simply calculate reasonable rates for their goods and services and set a fixed value that their customers could recognize as fair, and every customer was treated equally. Because people came to know that they could trust a Quaker merchant not to gouge them with exorbitant prices, these Quaker merchants attracted more and more customers. This became such a popular practice that other businesses were forced to take it up as well, and today, in most of the world, people expect to see a price tag on every item in every store – making it fair for everyone. By putting the testimony of Integrity into practice, Quakers changed the way business is done today. When people realized they could trust Quakers with their money, it led to the rapid growth of Quaker banks such as Barclays and Lloyds in the 18th century.



dont say yes if you mean no, if you say yes keep your promise.

There are other ways to practice integrity within your financial transactions. Many Friends strive to observe social responsibility in their purchases, with a preference for “free trade” goods or items that have not been produced through exploitative labor practices. Some take things even further by minimizing their use of credit cards, or rejecting them entirely, believing it dishonest to spend money they don’t actually have.


Have you heard that Quakers refuse to take oaths? That they won’t even “swear to tell the truth” as a witnesses in court? Early Friends embraced Jesus’s command: “I say unto you, swear not at all… let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:34,37).They reasoned that if one swears an oath to tell the truth in one circumstance, it implies that it would be okay not to tell the truth in other situations.



you can speak your mind and still be kind

Living in integrity means being true to yourself, accepting accountability for your actions, and repenting when you have done harm to others or made errors. It means honoring “that of God” in all people, treating everyone with dignity—and with an open mind. You may not always agree with someone, but you can disagree, no matter how firmly, with respect.


Is it easy being vigilant with yourself and living with Integrity to the best of your ability? I should say not! But when you get into the habit of examining your thoughts and actions, and judging them against the ruler of Integrity, it does get easier as time goes by, and it is very rewarding to your Soul.



be true to yourself live honestly with integrity

presented by John Palozzi

The Palm Beach Quaker Meeting invites you to share Silent The Silence with us in a Spirit-filled space that has welcomed worshippers since 1958, regardless of race, gender identity, or nationality.


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email: pbquakers@gmail.com


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