41 responses to 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers
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    Comment on Becoming Amish Or Mennonite (May 22nd, 2018 at 09:15)

    Becoming Amish Or Mennonite

    I think those questions are a good starting point for anyone to ponder not just those looking to become Amish or Mennonite.
    The Amish group that attacked and shaved off beards and hair
    of fellow Amish, didn’t seem to be following anything but hate . Maybe they should have read through that list as well.

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    Comment on 17 Questions (May 22nd, 2018 at 09:30)

    17 Questions

    That is a good list of questions. Erik, would it be acceptable to share the list on the MennoNet Forum? We get many seekers on the forum. It seems that a high percentage of seekers that join Amish or other plain churches leave again, which results in hurts for those leaving as well as for those who had interacted with them.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 22nd, 2018 at 11:06)

      Osiah I think that’s fine, I would just also share the link to Nicci Price’s article where these originally came from, and mention they came from her. I would think that having these questions out there for those interested in joining Plain Anabaptist faiths would only be helpful, for just the reason you describe.

      http://mennoworld.org/2018/05/22/the-world-together/seek-ye-first-the-kingdom-of-god-not-the-amish-romance/

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        Comment on 17 Questions (May 22nd, 2018 at 15:04)

        17 Questions

        Thanks, Erik. I shared a link to Nicci’s post as well as to this site.

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      Nicci
      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 24th, 2018 at 22:28)

      Yes, feel free to use it. I’m not sure how it ended up on this blog but I’m completely open to people using the list.

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        Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 28th, 2018 at 11:13)

        Nicci, thanks for your thought-provoking article and questions. I linked back to your article in the post above. I thought it really fit some of the topics and discussions we’ve had on this blog regarding joining the Amish, etc.

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    Jim
    Comment on A solid list IMHO (May 22nd, 2018 at 09:59)

    A solid list IMHO

    This list is a good one for MOST so called Christians in todays world. Myself, the Anabaptist belief system is the one that I try to follow in my daily life, tho I do not have community where I live. I also have no “fantasy” about running away from the worldly lifestyle and joining the Amish, or Hutterites, or any of the what I consider full on faiths where a total life style change is more than a suggestion.

    I love this site & the emails for just this reason, and a huge Thank You for all the hard work that goes into it!

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 22nd, 2018 at 11:26)

      Thanks Jim, very kind of you. It’s interesting what you say – I have always thought it would be more challenging to live Anabaptist beliefs without a community, though clearly not impossible. I wish you well in that journey.

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    Barb Zimmerman
    Comment on Good Starting Point (May 22nd, 2018 at 11:16)

    Good Starting Point

    I would add a few more: Can you sit quietly and attentively through several hours of sermons without a cellphone to play with? Can you accept male-dominated leadership, not only of the church, but of your everyday life? These are hard for Anabaptists to accept and won’t be any easier for those not raised to believe this.

    It’s a great list. Brings back many memories.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 23rd, 2018 at 05:25)

      Nice additions Barb, here’s another from a reader on Facebook:

      Hermano Carlos Another question: do you understand what nonconformity to the world in outward appearance means, and why?

      https://web.facebook.com/amishamerica/posts/1719313574795748?comment_id=1719389058121533&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R1%22%7D

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    Debbie H
    Comment on becoming amish (May 22nd, 2018 at 11:34)

    becoming amish

    Great list for any Christian wanting to join a church.

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    Joan Sheldon
    Comment on a few more thoughts (May 22nd, 2018 at 13:35)

    a few more thoughts

    All the above thoughts are very good. I would add also about giving up technology, your TV, cell phone, electricity, your car. The community that I was close to in Unity, ME was Old Order Amish. They did have solar panels to charge batteries for lights and phone sheds many feet from the house that did have answering machines. Very cold and inconvenient in winter. They use bicycles or buggies to get to town, and did hire drivers to get to doctors and big stores. I follow many of their religious beliefs but am not willing to give up my car or electricity.

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      Comment on 17 Questions (May 22nd, 2018 at 15:07)

      17 Questions

      There are many car driving plain groups as well among the Amish, Mennonites, and Brethern. Nicci drives a car herself. The questions apply equally to all plain groups.

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        Nicci
        Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 24th, 2018 at 22:26)

        Hi there,
        I’m wondering how you know I drive a car or not?

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          Comment on 17 Questions (May 25th, 2018 at 07:45)

          17 Questions

          I was sure I remembered reading this in one of your blog posts. Am I wrong?

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            Nicci
            Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 25th, 2018 at 07:53)

            I do I just was wondering how you knew. Yes, it is possible I wrote about my car on a blog of Facebook. On a funny note, I’m five seconds from giving up my car and switching to horse and buggy with all the trouble it’s giving me lately.

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              Comment on giving up the car (May 28th, 2018 at 16:48)

              giving up the car

              Nicci, then you would really be in trouble. They smell, they misbehave, they need to be fed whether they run or not. Better stick to what you know!

              But then I grew up with horses and never was very fond of them. I felt sorry for my horse so I wasn’t too hard on him. But then when we got home, he would run away instead of heading for the barn. Then I would need to go chase him to bring him back in. Not funny, but the next time I drove him I felt sorry for him again.

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    Maureen
    Comment on Questions 1 and 14 (May 22nd, 2018 at 14:03)

    Questions 1 and 14

    Oh good heavens, I’d have trouble with the first question! But never in violation of the 6th.

    And ironically several of us were debating recently the commandment that “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” as under the guise of “foul language”. Others say “foul language” is just not a sin at all and should not be confused with the sixth commandment that is a basic tenant of most religions.

    Many feel foul language is a terrible habit and one used primarily in description, or out of frustration; it’s very disrespectful but not a sin. Using your God’s name in vain is blasphemy and a sin as described in scripture.

    Question #14 is easy for me personally to abide, but is surprisingly controversial and greatly debated among the Yankees in the Christian Farm community, where a capped sleeve on a housedress, a hem just under the knee, sandals in summer with no socks/stockings in public, are ways to combat the heat and are not in any way immodest. Also the choice for women not to “cover” their hair is argued not to be wrong. The English debate among themselves on this issue, and quote from scripture that is clear to some and not quite to others.

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      Comment on 17 Questions (May 22nd, 2018 at 15:09)

      17 Questions

      I am not going to condemn your speech but your choice of words – the first three – would be a bit of an issue already for some.

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        MagEchrain
        Comment on 17 Questions (May 23rd, 2018 at 07:11)

        17 Questions

        Osiah,

        Not a “speech” — just my contribution of experiences and thoughts on the topic.

        My three words as you state; “being a bit of an issue already for some” is just that. And I make no apology to the “some”.

        “Condemn”? What exactly would deserve condemnation?

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          Comment on Speech (May 25th, 2018 at 07:51)

          Speech

          I was only trying to say that “oh good heavens” might already be unacceptable language to some but I was not condemning you for saying that.

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            Comment on Minced oaths & etc. (May 28th, 2018 at 11:11)

            Minced oaths & etc.

            Yes, I will add to what Osiah said – I’m not sure if this is exactly the same category, but it was pointed out to me that some phrases that I have used in my life that seemed innocent – “oh gosh” for instance – are not seen as acceptable by some Christians (this is an example of a “minced oath” – more here, but language warning at the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minced_oath)

            I think “oh gosh” or “good heavens” are considerably better than some alternatives, but I was glad to become aware of this.

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    Alice Mary
    Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 22nd, 2018 at 16:12)

    I know I could not answer many of those questions in a way that would open the doors to an Amish or other “Plain” lifestyle. But I do admire the “general” Amish lifestyle, especially their sense of community. There always seems to be “many hands” to help throughout life—from birth to child rearing, farming (or other job, like working in an RV factory, that brings in money to live on), sewing, teaching school, funerals, various “frolics” (canning food, quilting, etc.). How many of us in the English world can say the same (well, I do remember the nuns who taught me (late 1950’s through 1970) in Catholic school for 12 years lived somewhat similarly, in convents, in religious “community”). Amish “simplicity” is attractive. Perhaps if brought up in such a “community” atmosphere, I might be able to survive. But that’s not the common “English” lifestyle.That alone makes the Amish attractive to me., and I’m sure, to many others. But I know I could never “become” Amish!

    I could not bear giving up air conditioning during hot, humid summers! So that pretty much leaves me out, anyway!

    Very thought provoking post AND comments!

    Alice Mary

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      Maureen
      Comment on Anabaptist Seekers (May 23rd, 2018 at 06:39)

      Anabaptist Seekers

      Alice Mary,

      Your post has me relating! Went to Catholic school straight through college! Dominican Nuns, Christian and Jesuit Brothers! The virtue of “cleanliness” was stressed in our elementary school, and there were stiff punishments if one didn’t come to school perfectly attired and immaculate. To this day, this virtue has me ironed and starched in my rather uniform style, modest attired

      The Anabatist lifestyle does indeed practice their religious tenants profoundly. And as you say, the “Amish ‘simplicity’ is attractive” to us English. Yet, the Anabaptists are up againist many complicated issues within their families, their Anabaptist communities, and the Yankees, as well as the struggle to make a living and beyond. So for me as a Yankee, and in working closely with the Anabaptists, the preconceived notion of “simplicity” faded fast.

      For me the air condition is such a luxury; harder to deal with is the outhouse vs. the bathroom!

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    Terry from Wisc
    Comment on #18 (May 23rd, 2018 at 06:56)

    #18

    Guten tag Erik, What about learning the languages? PA Dutch and German might put a person into a frenzi! Our friends who are ex Amish didn’t understand the German spoken in church until age 12! Listening to gobly gook as they put it, for 3 hours would certainly be a challenge!

    Safe in Christ,
    Terry

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 23rd, 2018 at 08:29)

      The German use is not the same in all churches or communities. In our community the preaching is in the same PA Dutch we talk all the time.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 28th, 2018 at 11:25)

      Good question, language is one of the hurdles…conventional wisdom says that the younger a person is the easier it is to pick up a new language. On the other hand some just have a knack for languages while others have knacks for other things 🙂

      Yoder in Ohio could comment better on this but I believe recited prayer and Bible readings are what tend to be most consistently in High German across churches. I have been to Amish church probably a dozen+ times in several communities and preaching has always been in PA Dutch, except for the occasions when a preacher slid in a bit of English (probably due to my presence).

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        Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 28th, 2018 at 12:11)

        I’d say you’re right Erik. In most Amish services I have been to the preaching is in PA Dutch as they call it while the recited prayers & scripture readings are in High German, though I often hear the man reading scriptures lay it out in PA Dutch, too. And you are probably right about English being put in for your benefit. At the same time we do hear more and more English in sermons because some things do not translate easily or have been memorized or learned in English.

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    AJ
    Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 23rd, 2018 at 23:51)

    It’s easy to join some “plain Anabaptist” denominations if you include Mennonite denominations, German Baptists, and Beachy groups. I had the chance to join one such group, but was never truly interested. There are different kinds of Anabaptists groups. Even among the German Baptists there are Old Order horse and buggy types… which you could join. Among the Amish you will not really find such a group to join. The same can be said for many Old Order Mennonite groups. That is not to say you can’t join the Amish, but that they won’t seek you out or change their ways for you to conform to their group.
    It rarely happens that an Amish person welcomes you to their church service (especially more than once) and they offer to baptism intot their church and acceptance into their community. The few stories you read about are anomalies. The majority of non-Amish who join the Amish church tend to convert after finding someone within the community to marry. Your best bet of joining the Amish would be to find someone to marry who is Amish, but of course that person would also have to be interested in you first (obviously). You would then have to adopt to their way or life and culture.

    If you are looking for a modest “plain Anabaptist” lifestyle without going full blown Amish, there are churches. There are other branches of plain Anabaptist… of course they won’t have the same kind of things traditional and normal to the Amish and other old orders, especially the community aspect will be different.

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    Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 25th, 2018 at 14:53)

    Probably the fact of a chance that one (or more) of your own children, who was so close to your side for years, could choose to leave the Amish and their family. That would be more than I could bear. There would never be anymore close communication with them. I have a very close Amish widow friend that raised her children by herself. Her youngest son decided to leave the Amish about 6 years ago, at age 17. To this day, his bedroom remains identical to the day he left. I know deep down in her heart (of gold), it’s been devastating for her and the family. She has only seen him once, and that was at a funeral.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 26th, 2018 at 07:15)

      I’m glad it’s not like that every where or in every church! One of our children is not Amish but lives at home with us.

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    Nicholas
    Comment on Surprised to see my friend on Amish America! (May 26th, 2018 at 09:07)

    Surprised to see my friend on Amish America!

    I was surprised to see my good friend and former teaching colleague being featured on Amish America! This list is something that was discussed a good bit when we taught together with number 13 being suggested as a probable cause for many seekers. Both of use have been contacted by seekers (Nicci more so) and I distinctly remember one person having no knowledge of the Two-Kingdom Doctrine that lies at the heart of Anabaptism. Much of how the plain Anabaptists live is becoming popular or trendy today, such as simple living, gardening, and in the case of horse-and-buggy groups, living off-grid (usually). But as has been pointed out before, for example in the post on the Maine Amish community, the plain Anabaptist views on things like same-sex marriage are not popular right now.

    Another bit of the discussions that didn’t make the list is the unique situation that seekers find themselves in when dealing with family and friends who may not be all that familiar with the new restrictions on lifestyle and entertainment that have been willingly chosen and how to deal with them.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 28th, 2018 at 11:30)

      Neat to hear that Nicholas, I like when people bump into people they know here 🙂

      Nice additional points. It’s true certain of the “lifestyle” aspects of Amish and other plain Anabaptist life which you point out are more popular today…I wonder if this has led to an increase in seekers searching for a community driven by attraction to these more superficial aspects. Not sure how one would tell such a thing as there haven’t been too many studies on seekers to the Amish/plain Anabaptists.

      As you point out though the relative unpopularity of views like traditional Anabaptist beliefs on same-sex relationships would seem to push things in the opposite direction.

      Just curious, are you also a convert to a plain church?

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        Nicholas
        Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (May 30th, 2018 at 15:15)

        Yes, Erik, I am a convert to the Old German Baptist Brethren Church-New Conference, the same as Nicci. I joined in March 2012, and she actually joined later that year. I live in Indiana and Nicci joined out in Kansas, so we didn’t meet until several years later and then taught at the same school for a year. I keep hoping that the Overholt brothers who do the Anabaptist Identity Conference will ask someone to study out the seekers more, but it hasn’t happened yet. This year they talked a lot about non-resistance and the historical instances where that generated persecution. One talk was on divorce and remarriage, another sticky subject. An older brother from my district commented that the defining marriage issue is much more likely to affect the plain churches in the near future than non-resistance. It will likely affect the conservative Mennonites and German Baptists more at first as we seem to receive more seekers into our midst. I have several ideas as to why, including less social distance from conservative Evangelicalism and the ever-difficult language barrier (as of this writing, I believe I am one of 7 German Baptists between the 2 main groups who has a working knowledge of German, and 3 of those have Amish background and 2 are from Germany.).

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    Kimberly McKay
    Comment on a seeking 9 year old daughter... (June 13th, 2018 at 16:13)

    a seeking 9 year old daughter...

    This is probably an unexpected question for those in this forum, as I am asking about my 9 year old daughter, who has wanted to join an Amish community since she first learned about the Amish and Old Order Mennonites in our area several years ago. I thought it might be a passing novelty of hers, but she seems more and more determined that God is calling her in this direction. We currently attend a Baptist fellowship and she is very strong in her faith. I have ordered Amish home school curriculum for her that is from Pennsylvania in order to learn about Amish culture(she is being home schooled), we are watching videos to learn Pennsylvania Dutch, and she already chooses to dress as modestly as possible. We live in the country ourselves, and I am trying my best to equip her with skills she will need if she indeed does continue on this path. She has even started saving for a farm for herself with money from chores – and has an amazing work ethic. My question is, how do I best support her in this path even though I am not Amish myself? I would like her to get to know people in the local Amish community so she can understand it better and see if this is truly what she wants. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

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      Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (June 13th, 2018 at 16:23)

      Hi there,
      That is a unique question, one my parents found themselves asking when I was that age. Beyond wanting to be Amish I’d strongly suggest that you support her in getting to know the Lord. Continue to teach her what modesty is and what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. The Amish really have a lot of variety but I’d caution you against building up Her dream of becoming Amish. You can support her by taking her to Biblically sound Mennonite,German Baptist,or Dunkard Brethren fellowships to give her a tastes of anabaptist culture and fellowship.
      For fun you can cost cutesy Amish shops or towns but I’d strongly recommend continuing to give her a strong bible based upbringing.

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        Kimberly McKay
        Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (June 13th, 2018 at 17:09)

        Hello Nancy,
        Thank you so much for responding to my post. I wholeheartedly agree that the Lord comes first always (Jesus. Others. You.) We have fantastic resources through our church on every topic, and I am just about to a home-study unit with her looking at modestly more deeply. I have purchased the complete works of Menno Simons for myself to read, so I may understand the history of the Anabaptist movement better.
        We do study the bible together daily, as well as pray together.
        I will try and find out where the nearest plain Mennonite church is near us, and start taking her there as per your advice. Have a wonderful day!

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          Nancy ( nicci)Price
          Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (June 13th, 2018 at 17:23)

          Where are you located? I can help you out.

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            Kimberly McKay
            Comment on 17 Questions For Anabaptist Seekers (June 13th, 2018 at 17:53)

            We are located in Annan, Ontario, Canada. The nearest ‘city’ is Owen Sound.

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              Comment on Mennonites near Owen Sound (June 13th, 2018 at 19:48)

              Mennonites near Owen Sound

              There is a car driving group of Mennonites near Tara just south of Owen Sound. I have a brother and several sisters living between Chesley and Paisley – they are members of a horse and buggy Mennonite group with several meeting houses in that area. Feel free to contact me if you would like more specific details.

              There are also several different groups of Amish in that same area.

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    Kimberly
    Comment on Mennonites near Owen Sound (June 15th, 2018 at 20:17)

    Mennonites near Owen Sound

    Hello Osiah,
    Thank you so much for responding to my post. I would very much appreciate some guidance from you regarding who to reach out to locally. I will post my email here as I am unsure of how to message through this site. My email is: knbradford72@gmail.com. If there is another way to message you that I am to use, I would appreciate direction on how to do so. I look forward to your reply.

    Sincerely, Kimberly

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