Dubious Amish content lists continue to pop up online. They must really be generating traffic for these sites!
I debated whether to even post about this one, but I couldn’t resist.
You’ll have to Google this one, because following their example I’m not going to link it here, as they don’t seem to link – or even cite – any of their sources… 🙂
Since there are 25 of these (the Amish with so many “secrets”!), rather than go through all of them, I simply picked out some that jumped out to me (I excerpted sections from the original article in italics).
Not all 25 are completely wrong, or even that off. Most are in the ballpark of reality.
I’m not sure how “secret” these are, but I’m going to leave that discussion alone. Many are just presented in a weird, funny, or incomplete way. Such as…
#25 WEDDING NIGHTS ARE BORING
Most of us think about the wedding night as a chance for the bride and groom to spend some quality time together after a long day with family members. However, in the Amish community, the new couple spends the night at the bride’s house.
They spend the entire night talking with the family in the hope of fostering a better bond between everyone.
Certainly Amish weddings are not as wild as alcohol-fueled, live music English weddings. And while I can’t comment on all goings-on through the evening, Amish weddings can include some lively happenings.
Richard Stevick, in his book Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years, describes the tradition of Amish wedding pranks in some communities:
Pranksters have hoisted the groom’s carriage onto the roof of an outbuilding or have powered up their chainsaws outside of the couple’s bedroom window after they have retired. Sometimes they have scattered cornstarch, pepper, flour, and even doughnuts between the sheets. Some have set the alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night. Many pranks center on hiding or disassembling things–the horse’s harness, the bedroom door, or even the bed. Some new couples have left the wedding festivities, only to find their bed in the middle of the cornfield or assembled on the top of the house. As a final touch, some pranksters even included a kerosene nightlight on a nightstand next to the purloined bed. (p. 267)
Fair enough that the bride and groom are not involved in driving these pranks, but it does show another side of (some) Amish.
Naturally not all Amish support this practice and some have spoken against it. In any case, practical jokes seemed to be a thing in my youth, but are something you see less and less of. I think we just have too many other sources of entertainment nowadays.
#22 THEY WELCOME IN NEW PEOPLE
While they certainly do shun most outsiders, that doesn’t change the fact that they are always looking for new recruits that are willing to join the Amish way of life.
Ehhh…I would hardly say the Amish are “always looking for new recruits.” While some are more open than others, it’s more like the opposite.
Amish don’t actively recruit, though some of them have a more evangelical disposition than others. That doesn’t mean the Amish are going to reject someone, and it is possible to join. But the growth of the Amish is 99%+ driven by natural growth.
#19 THEY MAKE LESS BARNS THAN YOU’D THINK
One of the stereotypical hobbies of the Amish community is raising a barn. They believe that this is something that brings the community together and forces people to get along.
We can only imagine how many people have been dragged along to raise a barn together, only to get to the end and have a sense of accomplishment that bonds them for life.
I almost laughed at the wording here…”how many people have been dragged along to raise a barn…”. Putting up a barn sounds terrible!
But with fewer people farming than years ago, fewer barns are going up, at least as a % of the Amish as a whole.
#18 THEY LOVE WEAPONS JUST AS MUCH AS EVERYONE ELSE!
A lot of people consider the Amish to be a peace-loving people, and they would be right to think that, but it doesn’t change the fact that they love their weapons as well.
To us, this is quite possibly the most surprising secret in this list, as we can’t understand how a group that would want peace would also want to bring weapons into their community!
I also nearly laughed at this one, with its exclamation point. To address the author’s disbelief, weapons (guns) are there for mainly two reasons: 1) hunting and 2) clearing up varmints on the farm.
Well there are more uses for them than that, but violence towards other people is not one of them. The author seems to suggest that peace and weapons can’t co-exist.
Do Amish “love” their weapons? I suppose hunters probably appreciate their rifles…”love” feels a bit much though.
#15 WOMEN CAN’T WEAR CERTAIN THINGS…
While everyone lives under fairly strict rules within the Amish community, it is the women that have to monitor what they’re wearing more than anyone else.
They are expected to wear bland clothing and are forbidden from wearing any form of makeup or jewelry, presumably as this is seen as an excess of the modern world that is far from godliness.
Do Amish women really “have to monitor what they’re wearing more than anyone else”? I think both sexes have standards of dress they must maintain.
Not sure I get that one, unless not wearing makeup or jewelry really means “monitoring more.” Men however have the whole facial hair thing to “monitor.”
#9 PUPPY MILLS ARE A STANDARD PART OF THEIR LIFE
Yes, believe it or not, but the Amish will often create puppy mills to make money out of those outside of their society. When the dogs are no longer capable of breeding, they will be humanely dealt with.
Puppy mills being a loaded term (is every Amish dog breeder a “puppy miller”?) and calling them a “standard part of their life” makes both eyebrows go up on this one.
A friend in the Amish recently shared with me that he felt attitudes towards animals are changing in some Amish communities – seeing a dog more as a pet, rather than simply another animal.
While he says that there are cases when animals are being abused, he feels that it is rare, and there have even been instances when the church has intervened.
Doesn’t mean the Amish are perfect – there have been cases of Amish dog breeders running truly awful operations. That doesn’t mean that is the “standard”.
#6 THEY WILL USE UBER!
While most Amish people refuse to use cars, that doesn’t mean they’re not willing to be driven around in cars!
When they need to get somewhere quickly, they will happily use services like Uber, where they can be driven to their destination much faster than if they were on the back of a horse!
Clicks vs. good info
For the record, I don’t intend these rebuttals to be mean-spirited, and I hope they don’t sound too much that way. But I am not above poking a little fun at drive-by pieces about the Amish, in the name of promoting better info online. And also, writing rebuttals makes me feel slightly less annoyed by these articles, so there’s that 🙂
Thethings.com ranks fairly highly in the Alexa rankings, so they’ve probably had thousands, or even tens of thousands of people read that article in the past week – and come away with an at-best patchy mix of ideas on the Amish.
There have been worse articles out there, but this wasn’t a good one for several reasons. It’d be one thing if they were touching on topics, and then suggesting sources for further reading…but it seems their “Amish Secrets” article is about one thing only. Clicks!