33 responses to A Review of “The Amish: Shunned”
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    Katie Troyer
    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 08:25)

    In reading this post and seeing the video clip, I look forward to watching The Amish: Shunned”.

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    Robert Gschwind
    Comment on Been Waiting (January 30th, 2014 at 08:28)

    Been Waiting

    I’ll be looking forward to it!

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    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 08:48)

    Thanks for the interesting review. You, of all people, would understand both sides of the issue. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be another “Reality” nightmare or if it was something we’d all get something from. I look forward to seeing this, as PBS seems to do pretty well overall with their productions. I hope we can (as a website family) discuss this at a later point.

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      Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 08:51)

      As an outsider I don’t know that I can understand both sides more than in an abstract way, but I appreciate the comment Galen. The film is very professionally done and definitely not “reality” in the pejorative sense. And yes I think we’ll have another post which will give a chance to comment after people have seen it.

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    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 08:59)

    Im looking forward to seeing both of these shows..

    If anyone else can not find a listing for the show, try doing a search for “American Experience”. This is how it is listed on U-Verse here in NE Ohio.

    That is how I finally was able to find it in my TV listings and set to record it.

    It had listings for both “The Amish” shows.. so I’m recording both so I can have myself a nice tv watching day.

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      Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 09:03)

      Here’s a link to the first film, viewable in full on PBS’s website (may or may not be viewable outside the US):


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        Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 09:35)

        Unfortunately not viewable in Belgium, so I’m guessing also in other countries outside the US.
        After reading the review above, I’m curious and want to watch it though (both). I’ll have to look for it when I have the time and hope I can find a way to watch it.

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        Leon Moyer
        Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 16:17)

        Thanks for posting that link, Erik. It is an educational and thought provoking documentary of the Amish.

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        Leon Moyer
        Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 16:19)

        Thanks for posting that link, Erik. It is an educational and thought provoking documentary of the Amish, two hours l

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    Debbie H
    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 10:24)

    I am very interested to watch this show. After researching and reading about the Amish culture and beliefs I changed my opinion of their practice of shunning. Unfortunately many people who see this will focus on the seemingly negative stories and not take the time to research and understand yet another way of life different from their own. Or, to realize that each persons experience of the same and/or interpretation of a doctrine is different. I look forward to the discussion of this program.

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    Comment on what The bible say about shunning (January 30th, 2014 at 10:47)

    what The bible say about shunning

    Please read http://www.openbible.info/topics/shunning

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    Melissa H
    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 30th, 2014 at 12:08)

    The American Experience–The Amish was just on 2 nights ago, and my children (11, 9, 8, 5) asked if they could watch it (we have strict rules on what they can and cannot watched). After giving my consent, they rushed into the living room and turned the TV on. They were completely fascinated by the show. Whenever words would pop up on the screen, my oldest would quickly read it for the youngest, so she could follow along. I’m planning to DVR The Amish–Shunned, watch it then let my children see it if they want too.

    Thanks for the review Erik!

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    Marijane Grassie
    Comment on The Amish Shunned (January 30th, 2014 at 14:15)

    The Amish Shunned

    I always look forward to programs on the Amish, I look forward to this one as well.

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    Comment on WOW! (January 30th, 2014 at 17:28)


    Thanks for sharing this Erik. I can’t wait to see it. The story of the family who joined the Amish, to leave later, will be of special interest to my family. But I must say, the closing story of this clip resonates with me, and reminds me of what Ed saw in the lives of the Amish. Family life, simple and the way God meant it to be lived (though in a fallen world) seems to be what they will show in an artful and beautiful way. Can’t wait to see it, thanks again!

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    Comment on Related Book (January 30th, 2014 at 20:33)

    Related Book

    For those of you who watch the documentary and become interested to find out more about the experiences of one of the women who is featured: you can read Saloma Miller Furlong’s story in Bonnet Strings: An Amish Woman’s Ties to Two Worlds. The book is available here: http://store.mennomedia.org/Bonnet-Strings-P4179.aspx.

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      Mary McGeechan
      Comment on The book you mentioned (February 7th, 2014 at 13:26)

      The book you mentioned

      I want to thank you very much for telling us about the book! I just watched the second show this morning and felt a little let down. I shall look for this book now! As for the show itself (both) I was wary of watching at first as I have been totally upset over some recent reality shows and was worried that this would be the same! I am glad now that I got to watch them as I feel they were much more respectful in these shows. There is so much good in the Amish lifestyle and I’ve been unhappy about the other shows! PBS did a wonderful job overall and I’m now happy to find that book you mentioned to read more! In closing, another very respectful book I have treasured over the years is titled
      “Roseanna Of The Amish” it is based on a true story! The gentleman who wrote it is her son or grandson so it’s true! There was a sequel to it years ago which I also read but have since lost sad to say as it’s not in print anymore! Thank you again!

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        Comment on Roseanna of the Amish (February 7th, 2014 at 13:47)

        Roseanna of the Amish

        here are quite a few copies on Ebay if you are interested…

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    Comment on Show (January 31st, 2014 at 00:13)


    When is the show on?

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    Comment on Shunning seems like bullying (January 31st, 2014 at 07:29)

    Shunning seems like bullying

    I’m looking forward to this program, but right now, let me just say this: we have a grandson with autism. His school is trying to mainstream him as much as possible, but he is ignored by the other kids because he is different. To put it another way, he is being shunned. His grandfather saw this at once for what it is: he said, this is bullying.

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      Comment on to forsythia (January 31st, 2014 at 07:41)

      to forsythia

      I was a special person in school if you know what I mean
      I was just a bad kid not want to learn after that No kids would talk to me and just stared at me One kid told me that the teacher told them I was to Dum to be with other. I THINK THE REASON the kids didn’t want to talk to me is they don’t want others to make fun of them. Yes I was SHUNN

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        Comment on For Guy (February 3rd, 2014 at 17:28)

        For Guy

        Kids can be mean, and I am sorry kids were mean to you. I think you’re right about the reason–they didn’t want to be made fun of too, so they kept their distance from you. Sometimes there’s a kid with the strong personality who does not go along with the others and refuses to be mean to anyone. I wish there was a way to encourage more kids to be brave like that. I am sorry for your suffering.

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      Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (January 31st, 2014 at 08:11)

      I’m sorry for your grandson’s suffering, but please understand that many children are probably not trying to hurt or shun him. Young children have a hard time playing with one another under the best of circumstances at sometimes, for them, trying to play with a non neuro-typical child can be scary. Perhaps their school can do more to teach their students what autism is and how to interact in a good way with autistic children. My own children have come home with what they explain as “scary” stories about what autistic children have done in their classrooms. We talk about these and how they can be kind and interact with their autistic classmates, but because I don’t know these children, or where they are on the spectrum, the best I can help them with is basic kindness. I hope your grandson will find friends who love him and understand him, but pegging all children as “bullies” because they haven’t been able to to negotiate and engage with a child who may interact very differently (because, perhaps, of fear) is not necessarily intentional cruelty.

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        Comment on To Annette (February 3rd, 2014 at 17:35)

        To Annette

        Thank you for your kinds words. My grandson’s public school is a good school, with a program for kids on the autism spectrum who come from the northern part of the county. His “team” is trying to address the problem and I have to give them credit for that. One contributing factor could be that he is the only one from the autism homeroom who is more or less mainstreamed in the 5th grade math, science, social studies and language arts classes. This sets him apart, as he comes in from his homeroom and returns there at the end of the day. He has only gradually this year worked up to staying in the mainstream classes for most of the hour. Last year, he could tolerate only about 20 minutes per class, so he is making progress.

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      KJV Conservative
      Comment on There Is a Difference (February 2nd, 2014 at 15:27)

      There Is a Difference


      I must say that other children deliberately avoiding your grandson is bullying, and should NOT be tolerated. However, this is not religous shunning.
      The Bible talks on shunning: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” Romans 16:17-18
      This helps to minimize strife in church (and thus community) life.

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        Comment on To KJV Conservative (February 3rd, 2014 at 17:44)

        To KJV Conservative

        Thanks for pointing out the difference between bullying and religious shunning. I hadn’t thought of that. Years ago, Mom became friends with an Old Order Amish woman who cleaned her house once a week. The woman’s husband had smoked since youth. The day came when Mom’s friend was told by the man/men in authority that she should shun her husband by refusing to eat with him during meals. Mom’s friend said, “I am not shunning anybody.” After the family moved to Indiana, they became New Order Amish. When Mom was 99 and very near the end of her life, her old friend–who had traveled a great distance to attend a wedding–went out of her way to pay Mom a visit. SHe had her Mennonite friends drop her off at our house, where Mom now lived. “E” rang the doorbell at 8 AM. She spent an hour with Mom, talking over old times. I will always remember “E” for her kindness.

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    Brad of the Brethren
    Comment on Shunned (January 31st, 2014 at 10:46)


    Thanks for the post Erik, looking forward to seeing the broadcast. Even more interesting will be the discussions after the show and how each of us interpreted what we saw. Keep up the good work Erik, I always look forward to your posts !

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      Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (February 1st, 2014 at 15:53)

      Glad to hear this Brad and everyone else who commented. We’ll have another post up that day for comments from those who’ve viewed it and want to share thoughts. Also, here is an interview from yesterday’s Plain Dealer with Don Kraybill with some comments on shunning in general & other topics.


      One of the questions he was asked:

      How do we know that there’s truth in the often-cited figure that 90 percent of the Amish don’t leave the church?

      Church records. In Geauga alone, there is a 600-page directory of families that includes members and those who left. The number that stays Amish fluctuates by group. In one group it could be 60 percent; in another, 95 percent. Ninety percent is the gross national average. The Swartzentrubers have the higher retention, and, ironically, they’re the most conservative. The “new order” in Holmes has a lower retention rate. The closer you are to the outside world, the easier it is to step over the line.

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    Trish in Indiana
    Comment on One question about pre-baptized kids . . . (February 5th, 2014 at 19:10)

    One question about pre-baptized kids . . .

    I live in the heart of Indiana’s Amish country, but like most of the “English” I have no Amish friends. Certainly I have interacted with the Amish, and have had professional relationships with people who grew up in an Amish family but have not lived an Amish life in many years. In that kind of environment, some things one just picks up by osmosis, but I don’t always know how accurate such ideas are.

    Can someone tell me if this is correct: I am under the impression that if a young person chooses to leave Amish life BEFORE being baptized, that person is not shunned, and can have relatively normal, if somewhat awkward, relationships with their family; they never were Amish, technically, so they have not “left” the church. The problem is if they leave after baptism. Is that correct, or perhaps correct for some communities and not others?

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      Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (February 7th, 2014 at 15:42)

      Trish what you describe is how it is supposed to work, though it’s my understanding that sometimes relationships may be more awkward than in others. I guess we have one example of that in this film with Levi, who was actually not baptized as Callie shared in the Q and A. http://amishamerica.com/callie-wiser-on-the-amish-shunned/

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    Anita B
    Comment on Amish Shunning (February 11th, 2014 at 12:07)

    Amish Shunning

    Just like there are English and there are English, and there is a wide spectrum of ways between them, so are the Amish. You cannot compare the Swartzentruber ways with the New Order ways because they are so varied. I do wish that when people did videos and wrote articles about the Amish that they would distinguish them as being a particular Amish and not lump them all together. I have been witness to Amish whose District has relaxed the shunning rules, and yet viewing the shunning video one would believe that all shunned Amish were treated as many of those in the video and never brought back to family life again.

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    Comment on A Review of “The Amish: Shunned” (December 17th, 2014 at 21:51)

    I just watched this. I need to process my thoughts so that I don’t sound rude or insensitive to anyone involved (I believe Saloma reads and replies to Amish America, for instance) or anyone who has a similar situation.

    I just wanted to tell you that I did sit down and watched this film.

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