George Gorman sent out this Advance Notice along with a Summary statement about TQVOS to the public media ten days before publication. This Summary succinctly portrays the group's understanding of its history and its intentions.
HSC Quaker Group on Homosexuality records, Friends House, London.
TOWARDS A QUAKER VIEW OF SEX
An essay by a group of Friends
74 Pages, Price 3s.6d.
On Monday, 18th February, 1963, we are publishing the above pamphlet by an unofficial group of Friends setting out their views on sexual morality.
On Sunday, 17th February, two of the contributors will discuss this pamphlet in the B.B.C.s MEETING POINT programme.
Due to unforeseen delays in the final completion of the text we shall not be able to send you a review copy until the middle of next week. In the meantime we are enclosing a note on the origin and scope of the essay.
Please note that the views expressed in the essay of those of the individual Friends who contributed to it: the pamphlet is not a policy statement by the Society of Friends.
George H. Gorman
TOWARDS QUAKER VIEW OF SEX
An essay by a group of Friends to be published by the Friends Home Service Committee, Friends House, Euston Road, N.W.1. 74 Pages, Price 3s.6d.
PUBLICATION DATE MONDAY 18th FEBRUARY 1963,
Please note that the views expressed in this essay are those of the individual Friends who contributed to it. The pamphlet is not an official policy statement by the Religious Society of Friends.
This essay has been written by a group of 11 members of the Society of Friends, of whom all except one are married and parents, three of them being grandparents. Professionally their training ranges from psychiatry to the law and two of them are headmasters. This unofficial group came together first in 1957 as a result of being confronted by the problems of young Quaker students who were facing homosexual difficulties. They wanted to help but found themselves ill-equipped in knowledge and doubtful whether the Christian church's traditional view, in Quaker phrase, spoke to the condition of those in sexual trouble. What is written here is the fruit of many discussions over the past five years within the group and by consultation with others. Every meeting of the group, without exception, began with a long period of silent worship, after the manner of the Society of Friends. The essay is written by a group of Quakers for Quakers but it is hoped that it may be of service far outside the bounds of the Society of Friends. It is an attempt to find what the Quaker faith has to say to those in distress, some of whom are the victims of blackmail, and to the young who find themselves in a world where ethical and religious codes are being questioned all the time.
The group soon found that the study of homosexuality and its moral problems could not be divorced from a survey of the whole field of sexual activity, so that after an account of the basic assumptions on which the exercise of the group was founded, the essay describes normal sexual development before proceeding in Chapter III to deal with the specific problem of homosexuality which brought the group together. Sources of professional help, the origins of sexual behavior, and some sexual deviations are considered in three appendices, which are followed by a book list and a glossary of technical terms. After setting out the facts as carefully as they know how, the group in Chapter IV examines the need for a new morality.
There are certain historical characteristics of the Society of Friends that out to lead to a clear understanding of the significance of the sex relationship,, especially its testimony to the quality of the sexes. Not less important is the attitude towards authority. For Friends, God's will for man can never be circumscribed by any statement, however inspired; the last word has never yet been spoken on the implications of Christianity, and every religious expression is open to critical examination. Quakerism involves a continuous search for truth. Lastly, it is equally important to remember that Quakerism has never accepted a distinction between sacred and secular.