Although Clearness Committees have come become associated with modern Friends, the form as we know it is actually a very recent development. Clearness Committes are now used to help Friends become clear about everything from Marriage to Membership to the truth of a leading. Nontheless, Quakers have always sought to discern and act upon the will of God. Certain actions, like Membership in Meeting or Marriage under the care of Meeting, necessitate Clearness Committees. Others depend upon then needs of individuals. Clearness Committees usually meet for only one or a few sessions, but continue until a sense of clearness has been achieved. That clearness is not always what was expected or intended; Clearness may open paths that could never have been considered before.
The format for a Clearness Committee is relatively simple. Most are composed of 4-6 questioners, and and the meeting usually lasts about two hours. Like all Meetings of Friends, Clearness Committees begins in silent worship. After the silence, the convener of the Committee explains the process of clearness, and the person seeking clearness explains where clarity is sought. Remaining in worship the entire time, Friends ask questions out of the silence that the person seeking Clearness may answer. Questions that are asked often sound as weighty as messages given in worship as they both come from same deep well within. Clearness is achieved not by listening to the loundest voice, but by listening for the small still voice of the teacher within.
Anyone who desisres a Clearness Committee should speak to a member of Ministry and Counsel.