Within the Religious Society of Friends, the clearness committee represents a process for discernment. Clearness committees are often used when a member of the meeting seeks to reach clarity on how to respond to a concern or dilemma. Because Friends believe that every person has within him or her that of God, sometimes called the inner light, the process is one of aiding the person seeking clearness in finding the answer within rather than seeking outside advice or guidance. A clearness committee can be requested by anyone for any reason and will usually be appointed by one of the standing committees of the meeting.
In addition to committees requested by individuals, clearness committees are appointed by most meetings when a person applies for membership and when a couple seeks marriage under the care of the meeting. In these cases, the committee serves the dual purpose of helping the person or couple find clearness that this is the proper step and ensuring that the meeting is ready to take the member or couple under their care.
A key rule for clearness committees is that committee members are forbidden to speak to the focus person in any way except to ask honest, open questions. No advice should be given nor amateur psychoanalysis.