A Friend emailed me this morning to say that the article Quaker History
on wikipedia seems rather flawed. This is a separate article from the one on Quakerism
I have consulted more often. A passage my Friend quoted goes as follows:
Then in the early 1700's something happened that was just about the undoing of the whole thing. The next generation of Quakers began to say things that should never have been said. "Let's major on the minors." There were certain things that Friends did that many other Protestants did not do and those things took on way too much importance. For example, George Fox would sometimes spend an hour in silent prayer and then he would preach for two or three hours. These second generation Quakers opted to forget the sermon and concentrated on silent prayer. That's where the whole idea of Quakers sitting in silence got started.
Well, once the message of Christ was diluted a whole bunch of Quakers turned inward and the dynamic of the Friends movement died. Many of the stereotypes people have of Quakers comes from this period. One historian stated that friends "settled down into a peaceable, respectful sect proud of their past and content to preserve their distinctive. Pleasure, music and art were taboo; dress was painfully plain and speech was Biblical...They gained few new converts and lost many old members.
Another oddity I noted further on were the listing of "SOME NOT VERY IMPORTANT BUT INTERESTING TIDBITS". Incuded in this category was the "tidbit" of John Woolman's testimony against slavery.
Are there any Friends out there with the time and energy to edit and correct this wikipedia article? We'd be well served not just by contrary opinions but by solid research (quoting early Friends on silent worship etc.