Indiana Volcano erupting,.... but where's the magma chamber?

There is about 150 years behind this particular eruption. Thus far pastoral Friends who like to call themselves "Orthodox", and Hicksite/Beanite Friends (wisely) have steered clear of this embarrassing feud.

I'm now 67, and a majority of Orthodox Friends sincerely believe I will burn in hell, so what's to lose ?

I used to visit widely among YM's,  I learned a great deal listening to various pastors talking among themselves about others. I avidly everything Quaker published in the last 350 years, and created that Family tree that hangs on so many meeting house walls.

As I worked two years ago to finish the "350 Years of the Society of Friends" tree,  not only was it obvious that among Orthodox Friends have there now been more than 40 schisms, but there is a long, well orchastrated effort to dismember the FUM.

A schism occurs generationally : every 25 to 35 years. The surface issues are all different, but the underlying source is the same: interpretations of the Bible which differ from Ohio's version. Ohio will not compromise on its interpretation of The Word of God .There's an exciting "who done it"  book here. 

An historical, thumb-nail sketch, as it appears on the family tree chart, is as follows:

1860's- First paid ministers (without ym approval) in Ohio (Damascus)ym

1875 - Iowa ym becomes first ym to allow for paid ministers.

1878 -  Ohio repudiates the doctrine of the Inward Light as "false, unsound, and unscriptural". (see Barclay's Apology prop. 2)

1882 - David Updegraff, minister in Ohio  baptized at Berean Baptist church in Philadelphia

1885 - Ohio (Damascus) votes to allow water baptism 198 yo 183..

1887 - Richmond (Indiana) conference, precipitated by Ohio's un-Orthodox position on baptism, approves the "Richmond Declaration of Faith". This document was written largely by delegates from London and Philadelphia. Interestingly, neither ym joined the FYM.

1895 - Ohio responds to the Richmond Declaration with mass water baptisms at Updegraff's funeral. 

1902 - Five Years Meeting (FYM - now FUM) formed in an effort to maintain some uniformity of belief among the newly evangelical "Orthodox" yms. Ohio refuses to join.

1909 - Ohio articulates its refusal to join the FYM/FUM because FYM "has no adequate statement of faith based on the Word of God (see Barclay's apology, prop. # 3)

1927 - Oregon ym withdraws from FYM

1937 - Kansas leaves in part because of FYM's participation in the communist tainted  

1957 -Rocky Mountain leaves, in part because doctrinal uniformity s not requires of missionaries.

Earlham School of Religion was formed in part to counter the effect the Malone College (Ohio Damascus) grads were having on FUM meetings. Unfortunately for the FUM, this looks to have been too late.

1995 - California leaves FYM/FUM

And now a volcano in Indiana out of nowhere ?"Gimmie a break". Anyone who really believes it's the issue of marriage equality needs to take a closer look. 

Ohio has had it in for the FUM since the beginning.  As goes Indiana, so go the rest of the pastoral yms. The only real question is when.

Views: 1071

Comment by Howard Brod on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 7:02am
I would be interested in your opinion as to why the Hicksites/Beanites have had relatively few schisms, if any?

By the way, I love your "family tree" chart. Where can I purchase your latest version for the meetinghouse library?
Comment by Jim Wilson on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 11:20am

Good Morning:

Your post and chart uncover something that is counterintuitive: that the liberal range of Quaker Faith and Practice is far less prone to schism and breakup than the more evangelically aligned.  I think that is worth pondering, in the manner Quakers do, slowly and with some tenderness.

One point I would add; Protestantism in general is highly prone to schism.  I like to joke that if you have 30 Protestants in a room you have two churches and a schism in the making.  Although in some ways the Quaker tradition is unique, the protestant reformation underlies many of the views of the Quaker tradition.  And perhaps Quakers have inherited, or at least some Quakers have inherited, this tendency towards schism.  Just a thought.

Thanks for posting this,

Thy Friend Jim

Comment by Doug Bennett on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 3:25pm

The paradox is deep indeed.  It is striking how quickly the evangelical insistence on the primacy of the Bible also laid the foundation for the many schisms among evangelicals.  Evangelicals were convinced that insistence on the Bible as the only true source would create unity.  But it proved to have just the opposite effect.  The Bible quickly turned out to support many alternative readings, and yet each group insisted that its reading was the only true one. 

In 1529, to take one example, evangelical leaders were called together at Marburg to consider the sacrament of Holy Communion.  What does Jesus mean when He says “Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26)?  Are the bread and wine really changed into the actual body and blood of Christ?  Zwingli, Luther and Calvin, gave strikingly different answers from one another (and from Roman Catholic teaching), each grounded in a reflection on the words in the Bible.  The Anabaptist Balthasar Hubmaier had yet another answer, but he had been martyred the year before.  Just twelve years after Luther's 95 Theses, schisms were separating the new evangelicals.  And the schisms fueled religious wars, not only between Protestants and Catholics, but also among Protestants.

Comment by geoffrey kaiser on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 4:51pm

To reply to Howard Brod, and Jim Wilson about why the Hicksite/Beanites have had so few schisms. First, the let me apologize for the various missing words etc. in my submission: I wrote it late (for me) last night. 

junk first: thee can get the chart from me at 365 Gemma circle, Santa Rosa, CA 95404. $13  with postage & box by mail. $7.00 is the box & postage, $6.00/per chart enclosed. I can add as many as 6 in each mailing box. Many hang it on the back of the bathroom door. One meeting claims to have a Quaker Stall in its men's room where it hangsas an accessory.

Why so few schisms ?

Other than the tiny Progressives at the same time as the Socialist revolutions in Europe.(1843 - 53) there really have been none of note. 

Some have said its "because they, the Hicksite/Beranites don't believe any thing, they're just a bunch of atheists, queers, & witches"....and indeed if one reads Barclay's Apology,  they would be included in the True Church of Christ.

The lack of schism in Hicksite/Beanite branchmay well be in part to the persistence of  Barclay's description of "The True Church of Christ", not so much through academic endeavor, as osmosis.

Barclay's Apology has 15 propositions, which outline: how the Inward Light works and what it’s been doing since “the foundation of the world.”  It was the theological centerpiece (Orthodoxy) for all of Quakerism up until the 1800’s.  It is often the un-noticed underpinnings for that wing of Friends who did not adopt 19th century evangelicalism. 

The Apology's uniqueness is that it is about the Light and how it works within people everywhere -- whether they know it or not.  To understand what the fuss over the past 300 years (yes, 300; see Keithians 1691) has been all about, one should, at very least, be familiar with Barclay’s 15 propositions at the beginning of Freiday’s 1967 edition.  People can and have come to very different conclusions about its Christology, but about the universality of the Light, there can be no question.  Barclay is quite clear about this.

 Exactly how much is necessary for an individual to believe of what is usually understood to be basic Christianity in order to be a “real Christian” is a major bone of contention among pastoral Friends.  Barclay says none of it: “… the mere outward declaration of the gospel is sometimes considered to be the gospel…. The gospel is the inward power … that has been preached … to every creature under heaven.” “There may be members of this catholic [universal] Church not only among the several sorts of Christians, but also pagans, Turks, and Jews… The Church invisible has existed in all generations … and has never lacked faithful witnesses.”     Read: Barclay’s Apology, Props 2, 3, 5 and 6. Is it any wonder traditional Quakerism and 19th century Evangelicalism colided so disasterously ?   

     Although Barclay affirms his own belief in the divinity of Jesus, etc., he points out that the scriptures say Jesus died for “all people in all times,” whether they knew about him or not.  When once asked by a Presbyterian if that meant the true church also included cannibals, Barclay is said to have answered, “And some Presbyterians too.” What ever branch of "Friends"(sic.) you belong to,it may be a spiritual challenge to be as liberal as Barclay, and include members of the other branch.

As radical then as it is now, Barclayan Quakerism gives us a description of how the Universal Light works and how it changes us when we engage it favorably in our lives whether we believe it or not. Early Quakerism -- like Humpty Dumpty -- sat on the wall between orthodox Christianity and universalism.  It was shattered in the 19th century.  Like Humpty, it doesn’t appear likely anyone will put it back together again. 

The Light has been here to teach,lead & enlighten those who would open themselves to it since before the human species had language, and the Light (God) will still be here, and available after our civilization falls. If I might quote that well known line from the G.F. song, " the book it will perish, and the steeples will fall, but the Light will be here at the end of it all"

  When I was a kid, Eliza Foulke at Gwynedd Meeting more than once said,"Quakerism can be summed up in three words..."mind the Light".  So what's changed?

Comment by Bill Samuel on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 8:31pm

Like the Bible, the Apology is read selectively in order to try to support a given theological predisposition. Here Geoff does this with the Apology. But in fact, neither the Bible nor the Apology really fit the common paradigms if read carefully in whole. Geoff is trying to make the liberal case. As is typically done, he cites the language about the church universal, but ignores the language about being a member of a particular church. in Proposition 10, section 4, these 2 are outlined in subsequent paragraphs making it clear they are part of a whole. "To be a member of a particular church of Christ, as this inward work is indispensable necessary, so is also the outward profession of, and belief in Jesus Christ and those holy truths delivered by his Spirit in the Scriptures..."

Different groups of Quakers quote selectively different portions of the Apology and other early Quaker writings. But it is only when the favorite quotes of different factions are put together that we experience the real genius and revelation of the early Friends.

Comment by Ken Baxter on 9th mo. 19, 2012 at 9:03pm

I have come to the Light late in life and intend not to let go. I am doing my best to soak up the incredibly rich history and thought by Quakers. I apologize if my question is hugely simple-minded or obvious but riddle me this: Why would a meeting want to set dogma or parameters to exclude anyone seeking the Light? 

Comment by Alastair Reid on 9th mo. 20, 2012 at 8:52am

1937 - Kansas leaves in part because of FYM's participation in the communist tainted .....

What organisation was tainted?

Comment by geoffrey kaiser on 9th mo. 20, 2012 at 11:31am
Hi Aliater: oops.....The council of churches
Comment by geoffrey kaiser on 9th mo. 20, 2012 at 6:29pm


Perhaps the idea that forgiveness is somehow instant for the asking: that we don't need to be responsible for what we do..In the Light, I take full responsibility for my actions...Or maybe its the hope that there will be another coming that will fix everything. Or maybe they like the idea that when they're dead, they'll be catapulted right into heaven. I think too many people spend too much time making plans for what they're going to do when they're dead. The main purpose of faith is Revelation (not salvation), says Barclay, always has been, always should remain so.

I'm sure there are many varied reasons folks prefer a god who was born 200o yrs ago, had his chosen purple kill him so we wouldn't be responsible for what we do. In the Light I have found fellowship with those who dwelt in dens and desolate places as time began. I just can't bring myself to lessen the wonder and beauty of the Light to being just another go in the Greek pantheon.

I'm not a Barclayan or a Biblical fundamentalist: there are sections of both books I have crossed out as being just plain stupid. I find myself in near agreement with many of our spiritual forbearers that placing a book or an ism above or before the Light usurps the throne of  the real God. 


Comment by Howard Brod on 9th mo. 20, 2012 at 8:36pm

Geoffrey, you've summed up why I was so drawn to liberal Quakers, even though I was raised in a very Biblically oriented way.  The open spiritual environment and unprogrammed worship provides optimum opportunities to bask in the Light from whatever source triggers it within me.

At my meeting, I recently suggested to our committee that oversees worship and adult spiritual nurturing, that each Sunday before worship we might take a verse from the Bible that early Friends were drawn to, and discuss it for 30 minutes.  After several discussions about this idea, the committee discerned that such a concentration each week on one spiritual work (the Bible) could inadvertently turn it into an idol and even influence (program) our worship.  They decided that the idea of a weekly discussion would be helpful, but it should include material from many different inspirational works - not just the Bible.

I so appreciate the wisdom of their discernment on this.  I am glad that the committee takes its responsibility seriously - in order to keep our meeting an open environment for the Light to shine from whence it chooses.


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