Penn joined the radical religious group the Society of Friends.
A Life-Changing Decision
Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell is a controversial figure in English history, but one policy change we can applaud is his government’s tolerance of other Christian sects in England during their decade of rule. Apart from Catholics, the Commonwealth allowed people to openly promote other biblical interpretations. This included George Fox, a charismatic speaker and founder of a group later called Quakers. Penn’s decision to join Fox shocked his upper class family. Penn risked his social position, political connections, and financial prospects by choosing this path. Family friend Samuel Pepys wrote that Penn had “become a Quaker, or some such melancoly thing.” Under Charles II, dissenters were persecuted and jailed, but Penn would defend his faith with all his talent and energy for the rest of his life.