Publication details [#55814]

Molina-Markham, Elizabeth. 2012. Lives that preach: The cultural dimensions of telling one's “spiritual journey“ among Quakers. Narrative Inquiry 22 (1) : 3–23.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


While certain branches of Quakerism are well known for the silence of their worship, such branches also practice highly valued speech events. This article explores one such speech event, the telling of one's “spiritual journey“ by members of a Quaker meeting. From an ethnography of communication perspective, drawing on cultural communication and cultural discourse theory, this article examines the cultural premises that underlie this practice of narrative telling, informing both the story told and the situated narrative performance. This analysis reveals the way in which the interactional event of telling journeys among Friends serves as a model of practicing Quakerism for others and is central to the process of community formation. In addition, it is suggested that the same premises that inform the telling of “spiritual journeys“ also underlie engagement in silent worship and a distinctive style for conducting Quaker administrative meetings.