A History of Pennsylvania Quakers
Historical Information & Other Projects
     The Book of Discipline consists of twelve queries, each of which is read and discussed on the first Sunday of its respective month. The First Query is read at meeting on the first Sunday of January, the Second Query on the first Sunday of February, etc. Over the years, however, the wording has changed and the order rearranged, adapting to modern times. In this manner, the spirit of the Book of Discipline has been preserved by keeping the discussion current and the members engaged. Provided here, for their historic value, are the Queries from four Books of Discipline, covering a time frame of over 100 years.

1860 1902 1950 1988

First Query

Are all meetings, for Worship and Discipline, duly attended? Do Friends avoid unbecoming behavior therein? And is the hour of meeting observed?
Have all our meetings been duly attended? Do Friends maintain a reverent and orderly deportment therein, and are they punctual in assembling at the appointed hour?
Do you attend Meetings for Worship in a spirit of willing service and of prayerful desire to make them profitable to each individual and to the assembled group? Are you careful not to disturb the spirit of the Meeting by late arrival? Is suitable opportunity afforded for silent communion with God?
Are meetings for worship held in expectant waiting for Divine guidance? Are Friends encouraged to share spiritual insights? Are special gifts of ministry recognized and encouraged?

Do you come to meeting with heart and mind prepared? Are you careful not to disturb the spirit of the meeting by late arrival or in other ways?

Second Query

Do Friends maintain love towards each other, becoming our Christian profession? Are tale-bearing and detraction discouraged; and when differences arise, are endeavors used speedily to end them?
Do Friends maintain love toward each other becoming our Christian profession? Are tale-bearing and detraction discouraged? And when differences arise, are endeavors used speedily to end them?
Do you endeavor so to order your daily lives that opportunity is provided for meditation and close communion with the Divine Spirit for guidance and strength?
Are meetings for business held in a spirit of worship, understanding and forbearance? When direction seems lacking, is this seen as a challenge to a more prayerful search for truth? Do we humbly set aside our own preconceived notions as to proper action, seeking instead Divine guidance as to the right course? Is the Meeting aware that it speaks not only through its actions but also through its failure to act?

Do you participate regularly in meetings for business, discharge faithfully your committee responsibilities, and assume your share of financial support of the Meeting?

Third Query

Do Friends endeavor, by example and precept, to educate their children, and those under their care, in plainness of speech, deportment, and apparel? Do they guard them against reading pernicious books, and from the corrupt conversation of the world? And are they encouraged, frequently to read the Holy Scriptures?
Do Friends observe simplicity and utility in their apparel, and do they advise their children and others under their influence to observe the same care? Are they thoughtful to encourage plain and honest speech and kindness and gentle dignity in deportment? Do they guard against corrupting conversation and frivolous or pernicious literature, supplying that which is profitable in its stead? Do they encourage the frequent reading of the Scriptures of Truth?
Are love and unity fostered among you? Are you exerting your influence that talebearing and detraction shall be avoided, and that individual disagreements among you may be prevented? When differences arise, do you endeavor to settle them speedily and in a spirit of meekness and love? Are members whose conduct or manner of living give reasonable ground for concern seasonably advised with for their preservation and recovery?
Are love and harmony within the Meeting community fostered by a spirit of open sharing? Do you endeavor to widen your circle of friendships within the Meeting, seeking to know persons of all ages and at all stages of the spiritual journey? Does the Meeting provide for the spiritual refreshment of all members and attenders? Do Friends provide spiritual and practical care for the elderly, the lonely, and others with special needs?

Fourth Query

Is our testimony against distilled spirituous liquors, maintained, agreeably, to our Discipline? Do Friends avoid frequenting taverns, or attending places of diversion? And do they observe moderation and temperance, on all occasions?
Are Friends clear of giving aid in any way to the manufacture, sale and use of intoxicating liquors as a beverage or in the preparation of food, and are they diligent in discouraging the same? Do they avoid places where such liquors are sold, and all places of a demoralizing tendency? Are the cultivation, use and sale of tobacco and all other narcotics discouraged?
Do you live in sincerity and simplicity? Are you careful to live within the bounds of your circumstances? Do you observe moderation in proper things and abstain from those that are harmful? Do you advise your children and those under your influence to observe the same care? Does your meeting take care of such of your members as need aid, and assist them when possible, to become self-supporting?
Do you make time for meditation, prayer and worship? Do you read the Bible, the writings of Friends, and other inspirational works, seeking new light? Do you regularly seek God's guidance? Are you open to guidance and support and do you give thanks for them? Do you share your spiritual insights with others and willingly receive from them in turn?

Fifth Query

Are the neccessities of the poor, and the circumstances of those who may appear likely to require aid, inspected and relieved? Are they advised and assisted, in such employments as they are capable of? And is due care taken, to provide for the school education of their children?
Are the circumstances of those of our members who appear likely to require aid inspected, and is relief afforded?
Are you careful to use your influence against the manufacture, sale, and use of alcoholic liquors as a drink and for culinary purposes, and to discourage their use as a medicine? What has your meeting done during the past year to promote education regarding the value of clean living and the harmful effects that result from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics?
Do you live in accordance with your spiritual convictions? Do you seek employment consistent with your beliefs and in service to society? Do you practice simplicity in speech, dress and manner of living, avoiding wasteful consumption? Are you watchful that your possessions do not rule you? Do you strive to be truthful at all times, avoiding judicial oaths?

Do you strive to develop you physical, emotional and mental capacities toward reaching your Divinely given potential? Do you cultivate healthful and moderate habits, avoiding the hazards of drugs, intoxicants, and over-indulgence generally? Do you try to direct such emotions as anger and fear in creative ways?

Sixth Query

Do Friends maintain a faithful testimony, against a hireling ministry, oaths, military services, clandestine trade, prize-goods, and lotteries?
Do Friends maintain a faithful testimony in favor of a free Gospel ministry, resting upon Divine qualification for its authority?
Do you maintain a high ideal of family life? Do you tech your children the value and power of spiritual forces? Do you encourage the frequent reverent reading of the Bible and do you exert an influence for good reading and wholesome diversions?
Do you make your home a place of affection where God's presence is felt? Do you practice family prayer? Do you share your deepest beliefs and interests with all in the family? Do you grow together through sharing prosperity and adversity? Can you keep a sense of humor and avoid taking yourself too seriously? Do you establish family standards including the mutual obligations of children and adults?

Are you as children learning to be accountable for your own actions? Do you as parents help your children to grow in independence and responsibility? Do you consider the needs of grandparents and older members of the family circle?

Seventh Query

Are Friends careful to live within the bounds of their circumstances, and to avoid involving themselves in business beyond their ability to manage? Are they just in their dealings, and punctual in complying with their engagements? And where any give reasonable grounds for fear in these respects, is due care extended to them?
Are Friends careful to live within their income, and to avoid involving themselves in business beyond their ability to manage? Are they just in their dealings, punctual in complying with their promises, and prompt in fulfilling their obligations, and when reasonable grounds for fear in these respects are given, is due care extended?
Do you fulfill the responsibility of membership in your religious Society by regular attendance and support of its meetings? What are you doing to strengthen the spiritual life of the Meeting and to invite others to share in its fellowship? Are you active in advancing the principles of your Society and in working for the spread of righteousness in the world?
Do you respect that of God in every person? Do you search yourself for and strive to eliminate prejudices such as those related to race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and economic condition? In what ways do you accept and appreciate differences among your friends and associates? Do you avoid exploiting or manipulating others to accomplish ends, however worthy?

Eighth Query

Are Friends careful to bear a testimony against slavery? Are those of the African race under their direction, suitably provided for? And are they instructed in useful learning?
Do Friends maintain a faithful testimony in favor of peace and arbitration and against war and the preparations for it and incitements to it? And do they avoid and discourage oaths, gambling, bribery and all forms of oppression?
Are you actively interested in the promotion of education? What part does your meeting take in its advance? Has your meeting made inquiries respecting the education of the children of the membership? What advice or opportunity for further progress has been extended to them during the year? What has your meeting done during the past year for the religious development of its young people, and for the understanding of the principles of our society?
Do you, as the way opens, share Friends' principles with non-Friends? Do you witness to your Quaker faith by letting your life speak? Do you make non-Friends welcome in you meetings for worship? Do you find ways to encourage their continued attendance?

Ninth Query

Is care taken to deal with offenders, seasonably and impartially, and to evince to those who will not be reclaimed, the spirit of meekness and love, before they are disowned?
Do Friends exercise a care that First-day Schools and Young Friends Associations are organized within the limits of the Monthly Meeting, for the purpose of promoting interest in our Society and disseminating its principles? Is the Meeting actively engaged in organized philanthropic labor?
Do you endeavor to follow the principles of human equality and brotherhood in your relations with all mankind? What is your meeting doing for social improvement in your community and to better the conditions under which men, women and children live and labor? What is your meeting doing to encourage its members to engage in voluntary social work at home and abroad?
Do you promote social justice and make your life a testimony to fair dealing? Do you seek to understand and appreciate differing cultures and social values? Do you support fair treatment of all regardless of race, gender, age and other differences? Are you concerned for those in our society who are disadvantaged? Do you take your full share of civic responsibility by voting and giving service? Do you oppose the use of land, labor, technology and capital for human exploitation or in ways destructive to other living things?

Tenth Query

What ministers and elders deceased, and when?
Is due care taken to keep a regular record of births, deaths and membership? What gain or loss has been made in membership during the year, and from what cause?
Do you endeavor to conduct your business in accordance with our religious principles? Are you punctual to promises, and just in the payment of debts? What is your meeting doing to secure better understanding of the problems of industry and to foster upright practice in business relations?
Do you endeavor to live "in virtue of that life and power which takes away the occasion of all wars"? Do you work to make your peace testimony a reality in your life and in your world? Do you weigh your day-to-day activities for their effect on peace-keeping, conflict resolution and the elimination of violence? Are you working toward eliminating aggression at all levels, from the personal to the international?

Eleventh Query

What new meetings have been settled?
What meetings have been established or discontinued in the past year, and what changes have been made in the time or place of holding any of them?
Do you fulfill the obligations of citizenship? What is your meeting doing to develop a community spirit, to promote civic righteousness, to discourage gambling, to further prison reform, to foster proper care of dependent and delinquent children, and to cooperate in providing wholesome public recreation?
Do you provide religious education, including study of the Bible and of Friends' history and practices, in you Meeting? Do you ensure that schools under the care of Friends exemplify Friends' principles? Do you support and strive to improve the public schools?

Twelfth Query

Are Friends careful, as far as practicable, to place their children for tuition, under the charge of suitable teachers, in membership with us?
Do Friends endeavor to place their children for tuition under the charge of suitable teachers in membership with us?
Do you individually maintain a spirit of good-will toward all races and nations and do you labor for a just and generous policy toward them? What has your meeting done during the past year, through its own efforts or in cooperation with other agencies, to promote peaceful methods of settling international differences, to remove the causes of war, and to increase understanding between nations?
Are you concerned for responsible use of natural resources and their nurture for future generations? Do you try to avoid wasteful consumption and pollution? Do you seek to preserve the beauty and balance of God's world?