Pendle Hill Pamphlet 264, 1985
Leading and Being Led BookedPDF
Paul A. Lacey

Paul Lacey, professor of English Literature at Earlham College, is a convinced Friend and civil activist. This pamphlet is a companion to Quakers and the Use of Power, #241 which is highly recommended. Paul examines the nature of religious leadings and where we should be looking for such leadings today.

"To be a Quaker is not simply to subscribe to doctrines but to be convinced that one has known an ultimate reality which authenticates doctrine. It is to know oneself capable of being taught now by the living Spirit of Truth..." Using the examples of Fox, Penn, Barclay, and especially Woolman, Lacey discusses how these Quakers received their leadings as an introduction to his own experiences.

That examination is itself an introduction to a more extensive presentation on the difficulty of leadings. "The private leading must be tested against the experience and collective leading of the worshipping community, not only to check the excesses of the willful or the mistaken, but also to give the support and strength of the religious community to what might otherwise be a lonely, ineffective witness."

Such tests are fundamental to resolving the conflict among different Quaker testimonies. How, for instance, can Paul be "open to a leading on abortion?" This pamphlet answers.