Friends believe in simple living. This has historically meant simple dress, plain speech, and unadorned meeting houses for worship. Through the simplicity testimony, Friends encourage one another to look beyond the outward and to the inward.
In contemporary terms, Friends try to live lives in which activities and possessions do not get in the way of open and unencumbered communication with others and with one’s own spirituality. A person’s spiritual life and character are more important than the quantity of goods he possesses or his monetary worth. Clearing away the clutter makes it easier to hear the “still small voice” within. Friends also believe that one should use one’s resources, including money and time, deliberately in ways that are most likely to make life truly better for oneself and others. The word testimony describes the way that Friends testify or bear witness to their beliefs in their everyday life. A testimony is therefore not a belief, but is committed action arising out of Friends’ religious experience.
In recent decades Friends have given the Testimony an ecological dimension: that Friends should not use more than their fair share of the Earth’s limited resources.
– Thomas Kelley, 1941
Life is meant to be lived from a Center, a divine Center—a life of unhurried peace and power. It is simple. It is serene. It takes no time but occupies all our time.
– Robert Lawrence Smith, 1999
Simplicity . . . has little to do with how many things you own and everything to do with not letting your possessions own you.