Quaker Peace Garden, Bristol. Used by Permission of Bristol Friends.

Integrity and Truth

The importance of truth and integrity was a distinguishing feature of Friends in the early days. In fact, the original name of the group was the "Religious Society of Friends of the Truth." George Fox held the truth to be "more holy than the Book [Bible] to me."

One consequence of this belief is that many Friends refuse to swear oaths in court, etc., believing that taking an oath to tell the truth at a particular time implies that we might not be taking the obligation of honesty as seriously at other times. Instead, Friends will "solemnly affirm" that they are telling the truth, and these days affirmations are accepted for legal purposes.

The honesty and integrity that Friends try to practice is perhaps best illustrated by a historical anecdote: in order to deal fairly and honestly with everyone, Friends were the first shop owners to set fixed prices for their goods, rather than haggling. They decided that it was dishonest to ask more for a commodity than they truly believed it to be worth.