Friends’ testimonies are descriptions of actions and behaviors that have characteristically sprung from the very foundation of shared Quaker beliefs. They are neither proscriptive nor prescriptive, but descriptive of Friends’ lives.
Dear Editor: Thank you for reminding us of the traditional Quaker testimony on abstinence from alcohol. It is dismaying to see it increasingly forgotten in our meetings. It is one thing to recognize that outlawing alcohol and drugs leads to violent crime and mass incarceration. It is another to conclude that the use of chemical substances is desirable or even benign.
Friends have expressed strong concerns about the use and abuse of alcohol for more than three hundred years. . . Yet many contemporary Friends find such [concerns] anachronistic at best. . . Early Quakers found excessive drinking especially pernicious because it interfered with one’s ability to discern the divine will. . .