On another site, a Friend has posted a thoughtful and seemingly thorough response to an inquiry from someone asking about orthodoxy, the Bible, and leadership among Quakers especially as it relates to worship and spoken ministry.
I wanted to gently point out that what has been written applies to a segment of the unprogrammed Quaker world (in which waiting, or silent worship is practiced), but not to all of it.
As it turns out, I was unable to successfully post a comment at that site, and so here are my thoughts. I post here much more than I would have on another's site.
In my experience among Conservative Friends, there is a different understanding (than offered at the above mentioned site, as well as others) about what makes a Friend a Friend and what occurs during worship, and that information can be found online and through the Tract Association of Friends literature (online and in print) and other sources.
Better still, contact can be made with real, live Conservative Friends (through quakerquaker, for example). Sharing one to one can be just as helpful as reading posts and literature, and can be even more helpful, depending upon what one seeks.
The reason I felt moved to respond, though indirectly, is that when I hear statements that begin with something like, "Quakers believe, " "Quakers don't believe, " "Quakers do, " "Quakers don't do, " I sense that the writer has limited acquaintance among Friends. The answer is, to the writer, full and complete. But as it turns out, it misses the mark due to the omission of references to the faith and practice of those outside their acquaintance.
Of course I haven't met all the different kinds of Friends in the world! And when I respond to questions about Friends, I first explain my own experience, the Yearly Meeting to which I belong, and work to be careful to state only what I know, and how I know it. If I am speaking of personal spiritual experience, I indicate that. If I share what has been explained by other Friends I indicate that, and so on.
My hope is that careful speech will avoid confusion. I cannot explain how every Yearly Meeting addresses pastoral or spiritual concerns, but I can explain what I have seen our Yearly Meeting members do. Inquirers who wish to know more about different groups need to contact those different groups and find out from those living in the community how they work.