5 Reasons People Leave the Amish

In this video I share five reasons people either a) decide not to join the Amish (that is, decide not to be baptized), or b) leave the Amish church after joining.

I call it “leaving” in either case (and explain that at the beginning), even though the consequences are different.

Not everyone who is born Amish decides to be baptized in the faith. And those who do, sometimes decide to not be a member of an Amish church at some point later in life. Sometime that comes relatively soon after joining. For others, it can be decades later.

Actually, I give you six reasons (I include one bonus reason at the end), and there are no doubt more. But these would be among the most common. Runtime: 6:05.

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    1. Love Interest

      Eric, thanks for sharing 5 or 6 reasons people leave the Amish. Maybe, if you haven’t already done so, share a list of reasons why people join the Amish. To your point, I’ve heard the comment that if an English man wants to join the Amish, there’s often an ongoing relationship with a female Amish woman.

      1. Good idea; it vaguely sounds like something I might have done before, let me check! Either way, might be a good companion post.

    2. J.O.B.

      I guess the next question is those who leave, where do they go?

      Ive seen some leave to become Mennonite.

      A more modern lifestyle seems to be a major reason why. Many Mennonite groups can be similar to Amish groups so they may provide some familiarity. Making the step away a little easier. At the same time, allows technology or a more modern lifestyle they may be seeking.

      And there are plenty of Mennonites in the Lancaster area. I wonder if this helps draw(not necessarily intentional) some Amish away. Has the Mennonite numbers increased in that area?

      1. A lot of times yes. Cultural and theological similarities make that an easier fit. Some churches like the Charity churches appeal to dissatisfied Amish people who want a more evangelical approach. In larger communities like Lancaster County and Holmes County there are long established Mennonite; Amish-Mennonite/Beachy churches who absorb a good number of those who leave the Old Order.

    3. David Stear


      The video was quite interesting. I am wondering, if an Amish person wants to get a GED at some point after completing 8th grade and remain in the church, is permission from a bishop necessary? I have never understood how Amish teachers in the Amish schools, albeit their being private schools, are qualified to teach if they don’t have a teaching degree of some sort or the credentials required by whatever state they are located. It would seem to me that those who wish to teach could have a dispensation of some kind to continue their education in high school and a college or university to acquire teaching credentials. If those who want to teach remain unbaptized in order to further their education to teach then become baptized when they do become Amish schoolteachers, I don’t see how that would be a problem unless this would be regarded as a type of threat as someone acquiring higher education might be considered too worldly and proud (??).

      1. Amish teachers

        According to one Amish 14-year-old girl who was planning to become a teacher that fall, the only credentials required of her were that she be able to read, write and do basic math. I asked her if there were many girls or boys her age teaching in Amish schools. She said there were many girls who started teaching at that age, but very few boys if any, who taught. The pay was minimal. The following year I visited her (she also made baskets) and asked her how her teaching job was going for her. She said she had quit after a few months because it was boring and the pay didn’t make it worth her while. She also told me that the Amish kids were not allowed to advance to high school. She didn’t understand why. What she didn’t know was that an educated group of people is more difficult to indoctrinate and control.

        1. David Stear

          Amish teachers

          Although I tend to agree that an educated group of people is more difficult to indoctrinate and control, my thoughts flew to Leninist but especially Stalinist Russia where literacy was rapidly spread throughout the Soviet Union and education was the key to advancement, especially if one wanted to join the Communist Party. The Protestant Reformation emphasized literacy in order to read the Bible for oneself. I suppose the point could be made that the Protestant groups traded one form of Roman Catholic control for another type of religious control. I recall from civics class in junior high school that an educated, literate and well informed public/electorate is the best tool of democracy so I think I’m a little bewildered about the idea of literacy/education and ease of control. I will be so bold as to say that those who found history and English classes in high school to be a “big snooze” might be easier prey for conspiracy theorists.

          1. Amish teachers

            Indeed. However, education the Soviet Union during Stalin’s time was limited to reading, writing, science and math. The government decided what students learned, read or wrote. Advanced education was encouraged in limited fields. The government controlled the media so the people only heard what the government wanted them to hear. The Amish are different in that they learn reading, writing and basic math only, and only through the 8th grade. Advanced education is not permitted because it leads to self-reflection and questions. That limits many Amish’ ability to learn critical thinking skills. It is only through critical thinking skills/an advanced education free of religious and governmental interference, that we are saved from “leaders” who would use and pervert religion and politics for personal gain.

    4. Al in Ky

      I think you’ve pretty well summed up the reasons individual Amish leave the Amish faith. I’ve talked with several former Amish and they mention one or more of the reasons you’ve given.

      Through reading The Budget newspaper for many years, I’ve also occasionally learned about whole Amish churches leaving for another church affiliation, often some other type of plain Anabaptist group. In one church I read about, when their former Amish church left for another affiliation, at least two of the families wanted to remain Amish and joined other Amish churches. Then there are church splits, where part of the church remains Amish and part of the church stays together and joins another affiliation. It seems like most of the churches I’ve read about who change affiliations are New Order Amish.

    5. Linda

      Amish people caring for their animals

      I used to think that the Amish people had a special touch with their horses but I have come to a different conclusion. I have seen some of the horses when they are finished with them. They are in terrible condition. They drive them until they can no longer work and then turn them over to a kill pen. The horses are skinny and their feet look like they have never been trimmed. It is so sad that their life should end like this. It looks as though they use and abuse them and then through them away. Shame on them. Such a group of people thought to be so different.

      1. Amish treatment of animals

        Linda: You are so correct! The treatment too many Amish give their animals is often horrendous! I have rarely seen a healthy-looking Amish dog, cat or horse. I’ve witnessed abuse/neglect on several occasions. The times I spoke up about it to them, they didn’t “understand” my English, or they just walked away. I contacted the authorities about it on a few occasions and was told that wellness checks would be made, but I never saw any real changes. One way the Amish deal with a situation they don’t care to change is to hide where they do it. Around here, the authorities do not like going after the Amish unless there’s a lot of publicity attached to a situation. Over the years, there have been arrests of puppy mill owners and horse abusers. It doesn’t change anything. There is one family that does business at our non-profit that appears to care about their horse. They put a coat on it in the winter. However, that horse never looks to be at a healthy weight. Animal abuse is a huge problem in the whole country. Until the authorities strictly enforce the few laws that benefit animals, domestic or otherwise, and prosecute and convict those they arrest, the abuse and neglect will continue. You can tell a person’s character by the way he/she treats his/her animals.