The Association was formed to foster the interests of Unitarians and their congregations, but was not intended to adopt a supervisory or controlling role. The emphasis was on spreading Unitarian ideas and expanding and preserving the rights of individuals. The Wesleyan Methodists are not a number of isolated and independent societies or churches, but of societies united in one body; and from their commencement they have existed under one common system of government. Every person who chooses to unite himself to these societies is bound, as the condition of his fellowship, to abstain from violating the laws of the union, to live peaceably, and by all the means in his power to promote the piety, prosperity, and establishment of the community. Caroline Stephen describes the tight-knit, multi-layered structure of the Society of Friends, similar in many respects to Presbyterianism. She expounds the distinctive manner of reaching decisions by trying to discern the will of God.