The Convincement of John L. of Michigan's Crossroads Friends

John shares the story of his family's journey to Friends. They are members of Crossroads Friends Worship Group, a group of Christian Friends in Michigan, USA, under the care of Ohio Yearly Meeting (Conservative). Recorded 6/21/09 at the Conservative Friends Gathering in Lancaster County, Pa.

Note from Martin: my apologies about the quality here: the sun's glare made the screen almost invisible and I didn't realize I was videoing my neck for part of the interview!

Originally I was born LDS, into the Mormon church. My parents were there but they fell away from it about the time I time I was eight, right before the time I would have been baptized. We spent some time in a First Christian church but quit going. I had a friend at school who asked if I would be interested in going back [to the Mormon church] right after I got my license at 16 so I started doing that. After a period in there I found Christ and was baptized. I was attached to a very small portion of their doctrine, but the basic way I lived my life matched what they said for the most part. Then my wife converted... well, before she was my wife, I converted her, got married, had five children then quit going for no particular reason.

We homeschool and try to eat right. We did a lot of research on the schooling and on the eating and on a lot of other things we do in our life and we realized we had never actually done any research on our religion. We had seen Quaker Jane and some other people primarily due to my daughter looking for modest dresses. They were very hard to find anyplace. After a period of time my wife decided we should really start researching the church we belong to. The more we researched it the more we realized it didn't match our beliefs.

We started to actively looking for a group that did match our beliefs and started going back to some of the Quaker websites. After a period of time we found that truly was the path we were being led on by God. We became "anonymous" Quakers. We had no meeting, we didn't know any other Quakers. We just started dressing plain and effectively became Quaker. I was transferring from my job in California to my job in Michigan and we got here we decided to find a Quaker meeting that was Christ-centered and un-programmed. There aren't a whole lot of them out there. It just so happens that when we moved to Michigan we were an hour and a half of a worship group that was un-programmed and Christ-centered. After another year and a half we became members--that was just a few weeks ago.

Luckily we moved right by it, as far as the distances I'm used to traveling. We've been attending there regularly now and are very happy with the choice and the children are doing very well.


Photos from the Conservative Gathering
(tagged conservative2009)

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Comment by Diane on 9th mo. 16, 2009 at 11:20pm
PS. I have studied the culture of the older Christians and find that there is a lot in their social attitudes that I think many Friends would reject, such as denying women the right to teach, refusing divorce, requiring all money to be given to the church, and hatred of all Jews. It seems to me we should not look back, but accept that as the spirit lives, so it takes us forward, step by step towards a way that is in many ways better than it was in the 1st century. However, that is a personal view, not a statement of creed, of course.
Comment by Diane on 9th mo. 16, 2009 at 11:16pm
Apart from respecting the books of John Fox, I do not quite understand the difference between Conservative, Bible-centred quakerism, and American fundamentalist Christianity. I would be glad if you could explain it from your own point of view: I mean apart from externals clothing styles and food. Do you see the Society of Friends as a voluntary group of religious people, or as a church with doctrines that have to be kept to?
Comment by Alice Yaxley on 6th mo. 23, 2009 at 4:51am
Thanks for sharing your story with us, John. Glad to be connected with you. Thanks for doing the interview, Martin.

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