[1] The scholarship for this paper was chiefly the work of Licia Kuenning. The opinions expressed are shared by the four named authors.

[2] Phebe J. Hall, The Truth for Friends Today (pamphlet, no place or date given, but internal evidence dates it to about 1955. Phebe Hall was a member of Stillwater Monthly Meeting, OYM), p. 38.

[3] The questionnaire asked only about the preceding 5 years, but one Friend wrote, this meeting has not actually disowned a member for any reason in the living memory of octogenarian members.

[4] George Fox, Journal, ed. John L. Nickalls (London: Religious Society of Friends, 1975), p. 298.

[5] George Fox, Works (Philadelphia, 1831), vol. 3, p. 44.

[6] William C. Braithwaite, The Second Period of Quakerism (York, England: William Sessions Ltd. with the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, 1979), p. 30.

[7] Fox, Works 4:271.

[8] Richard T. Vann, The Social Development of English Quakerism: 1655-1755 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), p. 131.

[9] For an extreme example, see George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1962), p. 494.

[10] Thomas Clarkson, a non-Friend who confused disownment with excommunication, felt that Quakers needed to be defended against the charge that their discipline was not punitive enough! He states, People are apt to say, ‘where is the hardship of being disowned? a man, though disowned by the Quakers, may still go to their meetings for worship.’ He goes on to argue that because of the Quakers’ distinctive form of church government individual members had more power than in most churches, and when one of them lost this power through being disowned his self-esteem was bound to suffer. But Clarkson does not seem to realize that Friends themselves did not cite this sort of thing as any part of the purpose of disownment. A Portraiture of Quakerism, vol. 1 (New York: Samuel Stansbury, 1806), pp. 235-237.

[11] William Alexander, Christian Discipline, Public Religious Worship, and Gospel Ministry (York, 1814), p. 20.

[12] Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends Held in New-York, 1810 (reprinted 1830), pp. 6-7. Italics added.

[13] Rules of Discipline of the Yearly Meeting of Friends Held in Philadelphia, 1806, Intro. (italics added). This statement in identical or very similar words appears in the introduction of nearly all 19th-century Disciplines, and in Ohio Yearly Meeting’s Discipline as late as 1922.

[14] George Fox was particularly concerned that every one of the meeting have cleared his or her conscience; that if any thing be upon any further to visit such a transgressor, they may clear themselves, before a disownment was issued. Works 7:339-40.

[15] Matthew 18:15-17, in the form usually quoted by Friends. It was the standard scriptural text for Quaker discipline and usually appeared in the introductory pages of books of discipline. Perhaps the difference between Friends’ concept of disownment and the more punitive practices of other churches reflects a different understanding

of the bottom line: how should heathens and publicans be treated? Can something be learned about this from Christ’s example?

[16] Russell Mortimer, ed., Minute Book of the Men’s Meeting of the Society of Friends in Bristol 1667-1686 (Bristol Record Society, 1971), p. 19, minute dated 20th of 7th month, 1669.

[17] Ezra Michener, A Retrospect of Early Quakerism (Philadelphia: Zell, 1860), p. 178, apparently quoting a minute or epistle of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

[18] Discipline of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1806, p. 35.

[19] Fox wrote concerning gospel-order; though the doctrine of Jesus Christ requireth his people to admonish a brother or sister twice, before they tell the church, yet that limiteth none, so as they shall use no longer forbearance, before they tell the church, but that they shall not less than twice admonish . . . before they tell the church. And it is desired of all, that before they publicly complain, they wait in the power of God to feel, if there is no more required of them to their brother or sister, before they expose him or her to the church (7:339). Since such preliminary admonitions didn’t get into the minute books it is not easy to be sure how well Fox’s advice about this was heeded.

[20] R. W. Tucker, Springfield Meeting: The First 300 Years, 1686-1986 (Springfield-Delco, PA: Springfield Monthly Meeting of Friends, 1986), p. 21. Later in this booklet Tucker writes of the painful labor Springfield Friends had in disowning dozens of Friends for joining the 1827 Hicksite separation. Members of Springfield Meeting, for the next several years, had to call on every member of Providence Meeting, the men visiting the men, the women visiting the women, and try (really, honestly try) to restore them to orthodoxy. It took until 1836 to finish this task (pp. 41-42).

[21] Occasionally a meeting found an acknowledgment unsatisfactory; for more on this see p. , below.

[22] We have found two different doctrines, in Quaker writings, concerning how far such documents should be circulated. Some, including Fox (7:40), state that the publishing should go no further than the offense was known, while others say it should go as far as the offense was known. It can’t always have been possible to meet both these standards simultaneously, but we have not found this inconsistency addressed directly in Friends writings. A Philadelphia Yearly Meeting minute of 1719 states:

when any offender refuseth so to acknowledge and condemn the fault, then the said meeting ought speedily to testify, upon record, against him or her, and the fact, and publish such testimony, so far as shall appear requisite for the clearing of Truth.

But if the offence committed be only against the Church, and not of public scandal . . . the meeting ought, after deliberate dealing and due admonition, to testify against them, . . . and enter the same on their own minutes [without further publication], whereby such persons stand disowned, until they shall repent and give satisfaction. (Michener, pp. 180-181).

London Yearly Meeting in 1675 advised that the Church’s testimonies and judgments against disorderly and scandalous walkers, . . . be recorded in the respective Monthly Meetings, for the clearing of Truth, Friends, and our holy profession, to be produced and published by Friends for that end and purpose, so far only as in God’s heavenly wisdom they shall see needful (Michener, p. 175).

[23] The quarterly meeting is then to refer the same to a solid committee of Friends (omitting those of the monthly meeting from which the appeal comes) and to confirm or reverse the said judgment as, on impartial deliberation, shall appear to be right, taking care to inform the parties of the result (Discipline of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1806, p. 1).

[24] Friends felt so strongly about the select character of meetings for business that they would refuse to proceed with business if any unqualified persons were present and could not be persuaded to leave. An instance involving one refractory attender is found in the Upperside minutes of the 5th of 12th mo., 1683 (Vann, p. 112). Great inconvenience was caused in 1828 when disowned Hicksites refused to leave Orthodox business meetings; the Orthodox would wait them out for days, or find another building to meet in, all business being postponed until a select meeting could be achieved (Joseph Hoag, Journal [Auburn: New York Yearly Meeting of Friends, 1861], pp. 299ff; Thomas Shillitoe, Life, in Friends Library, vol. 3 [Philadelphia, 1839], pp. 428ff).

[25] Jack D. Marietta, The Reformation of American Quakerism, 1748-1783 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984), p. 10. However, minutes in the 17th century (which Marietta is not discussing) were less reticent about the offender’s inward state.

[26] Kenneth S. P. Morse, Baltimore Yearly Meeting 1672-1830 (Barnesville, OH: Author, 1961), pp. 54-55.

[27] Except where the relationship seemed headed toward marriage: here the rule against marrying a non-Friend came into the picture. Young people were at times advised against keeping too close company with worldly people,

which might have included the disowned, but not in any other sense than that they were like other worldly people.

[28] A minute of Baltimore Yearly Meeting, 1802, quoted in Morse, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, p. 31.

[29] Vann, p. 101.

[30] Thomas Lurting is one such example, and the famous band of Indians who came to a frontier meeting with warlike intent and stayed to worship is another.

[31] Vann, p. 103. Braithwaite, pp. 294-295.

[32] The Minute Book of the Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends for the Upperside of Buckinghamshire 1669-1690, transcribed, with Introduction & Notes, by Beatrice Saxon Snell (Buckingham Archeological Society, 1937), p. 54, 1st of 6th mo., 1677.

[33] Quoted in Russell Mortimer, Quakerism in Seventeenth Century Bristol (unpub. master’s thesis, Bristol University, 1946), p. 107, from a Men's Meeting paper dated in 1691. However, there have been rare instances when after repeated, persistent, and noisy disruption of meetings by insane persons or angry persons given to haranguing, Friends have made efforts to keep the individuals out of worship meetings.

[34] David Hall, A Compassionate Call . . . (London, 1747), p. 13.

[35] Marietta, p. 8.

[36] Rules of Discipline of the Yearly-Meeting Held on Rhode-Island for New-England (New-Bedford, 1809), pp. 89-90 (italics added).

[37] Joseph Hoag, Journal, p. 281.

[38] Lydia Marie Child, Isaac T. Hopper: A True Life (Philadelphia: Jenkins, 1881), p. 397. Margaret Hope Bacon also includes this incident in her biography of Hopper.

[39] Minute Book, pp. 194-195 (7th of 9th mo., 1687).

[40] Epistles from the Yearly Meeting of Friends in London . . . to the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings 1675 to 1805 (Baltimore, 1806), p. 97.

[41] Marietta, pp. 8, 10.

[42] Discipline of New-England Yearly Meeting, 1809, p. 40.

[43] In Friends Consultation on Eldering, sponsored by Earlham School of Religion and Quaker Hill Conference Center, 1982.

[44] Phebe J. Hall, The Truth for Friends Today, p. 39.

[45] From Marietta, esp. pp. 6-7.

46 Quoted in John Rutty, Treatise Concerning Church Discipline (1752), pp. 129-131.

47 Ibid., pp. 131-132.

48 Quoted in Howard H. Brinton, Meetinghouse and Farm House, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #185 (1972), p. 29.

49 Quoted in Michener, pp. 189-190.

50 Quoted in Morse, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, pp. 58-59.

51 Ibid., p. 55.

52 Ibid., pp. 60-61.

53 Quoted in Morse, History of Conservative Friends, p. 36.

54 Somerset Monthly Meeting (Ohio Yearly Meeting), Minutes.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid.

58 Upperside Minute Book, p. 198, 1st of 11th mo., 1687/8.

59 Quoted in Ruth M. Pitman, "Structures of Accountability," Quaker Religious Thought #60 (Summer 1985), pp. 34-35.

60 Quoted in Brinton, p. 25.

61 Quoted in Michener, pp. 185-186; also Pitman, p. 35.

62 Quoted in Morse, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, p. 59.

63 Quoted in Pitman, p. 34.

64 Quoted in Michener, pp. 191-192.

65 Quoted in Morse, Baltimore Yearly Meeting, p. 55.

66 Ibid., p. 56.

67 Ibid., p. 56.

68 Ibid.