Many Quakers today are convinced Friends. That means they were not raised in Quaker families and they may or may not bring with them beliefs which were formed in their childhoods. It is not necessary for everyone worshipping together in silent worship to agree on the nature of the divine, but the defining Quaker revelation that there is that of God in everyone – often referred to as the inner light – has an important consequence: everyone has direct access to the divine.
This simple insight leads to other guiding principles Quakers call Testimonies: equality, peace, integrity, simplicity and community. Practice is as important as faith is to Quakers and the two are linked. Like many yearly meetings, Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association has written a booklet to describe our Faith & Practice. It is a work in progress and is kept up-to-date through on-going discernment in community.
So being a Quaker is not so much about finding out what Quakers believe, but about finding out what you believe. Quakers value being open to leadings of the spirit, but at the same time they are willing to trust those leadings to the discernment of the meeting community.