"Every morning I think about that Quaker idea of the "Inner Light." When I drop my little guy off, I see these hundred little lights running past me, and they all glow. I see it in the older kids, too."
A Quaker testimony is a belief that stems from our fundamental understanding of religious truth. It is a corporately held belief about how we should individually act. In practicing them, we witness to our understanding of the very nature of God’s spirit of love and truth.
Jonathan Dale, English Quaker, 1996
At Westtown, we know the testimonies as SPICES.
Simplicity: Historically, Quakers used plain speech and wore plain dress to demonstrate simplicity. Today, simplicity is reflected by using restraint in daily life by moderation, remaining unencumbered by that which is not essential and by shunning excess.
Peace: Since Quakers believe that there is that of God within each person and that we are all children of God, we are called to respect all people and seek the Light in each. This is lived out through working for peace, endeavoring to eliminate the conflicts that lead to violence and war, as well as actively opposing all forms of violence.
Integrity: “…swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay be nay.” (James 5:12) Quakers strive for consistency and truth in all interactions: say what you mean and mean what you say. Thus, Friends will not take oaths or “swear on the Bible”; the truth is to be spoken at all times.
Community: The individual and the community are inextricably linked and as such Quakers believe that the betterment of community, participating in fellowship and social action are duties and privileges.
Equality: In affirming the Light in each individual, Quakers practice and support equality regardless of race, gender, faith, class, or age.
Stewardship: Quakers believe strongly in the responsiblity of stewardship of the earth: conservation of resources, protection of environment and taking care of the things around us are duties given us by our citizenship.
Because of these basic principles and testimonies, Quakers were (and still are) champions of social movements: pacifism, abolitionism, the equality of men and women, humane treatment for prisoners and the mentally ill, the eradication of poverty—and, education.