Amish: Out of Order (new Nat Geo series)

National Geographic has developed Amish: Out of the Order (you may remember this program from late 2010, featuring ex-Amishman Mose Gingerich) into a full-fledged series.  It will air in 10 parts this spring and is named, nearly identically, Amish: Out of Order.

I found the original program interesting but wonder if they’ll be able to get enough mileage out of the concept for a full series.  I’ve watched a number of the clips available on the Nat Geo site. It seems to have more of a “reality show” feel vs. the documentary/interview style of the original program.

What I mean by “reality show feel” is that it feels a bit more scripted. Though I guess for a full series it is simply necessary to do it that way–to develop a story and flesh out the characters to hold an audience’s attention over a season.

The show premieres tonight on National Geographic at 10pm ET.  Here is a description of tonight’s program:

Chris Yoder and his older brother Reuben, both ex-Amish, go to pick up their Amish friend Michael who wants to leave the sect. The brothers learn that for some, leaving the Amish isn’t as easy as it was for them. Other ex-Amish with hopes, dreams, passions and inclinations that weren’t satisfied within the confines of their Amish upbringing and culture are introduced. Abe Shetler, who after five years is quite a fan of NASCAR, girls and beer, but still yearns to return to his Amish family.

In the first clip below, Mose Gingerich shares photos he took using a camera he owned while Amish, and talks about rejection from his family: (videos removed)

In the next clip, “Hoss”, an English man from Macon, Missouri, talks about how he and his wife Peggy have helped former Amish, with commentary from some of the boys (plus a visit to a bowling alley):

What do you think?  Will you be watching NatGeo’s Amish: Out of Order?

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    1. linda

      Amish out of Order

      I checked on my satelitte at 10 p.m et on NAT and I do not see it listed. Disappointed

    2. Donna Godfrey

      I found it interesting and I will watch it. I think the struggle these young people go through is honest and some do go back home. Since I have had friends that came out of the Old Order Amish I know what they went through. Giving up family is more than some can take.

    3. BethR

      It would interesting if they’d do something (and possibly they will) about the different types of Amish. When people say, “Do Amish do ____?” or “How do the Amish ____?” There are so many answers depending on where they’re from, what type of Amish they are, etc. I’ve got my DVR set and plan on watching it. I thought their last special was well done, so I’m hopeful. 🙂

    4. Anne

      I hope they’ll present something that shows the situation from both sides. I know there are now “English” who are joining the Amish, as American culture becomes more and more disordered. My son has several friends who all joined as he did and have stayed, married, and been very happy as a result of their choice. It’s typical of our media and culture to hype “individual freedom” (the great idolatry of our age in my view) and I truly wish the Amish had more of that. But we’ve lost a great deal in our “English” culture, in not having a sense of community connectedness and responsibility. Being “Hemmed in” has some good sides we all too often discount.

    5. Elizabeth Snoke

      I hope the series will feature more about the more exact reasons why the boys left. What about girl/women Amish who leave and their reasons. Are these fellows ones who joined the church and left and thus are shunned OR did they go while still of rumspringa age. What religious activities/interests do they have? Are they seeking education and a career/trade? What about a look at those who leave and yet have reasonably good relations with their families? What about a look at those who leave, experience “English” life for a time–even years–and then return to Amish life? I hope this will not be too narrow a look at things. I know there are those who seek the education way and moving on into life while keeping basic ideas/tenets of the old faith in another religious group such as the Mennonites.

      In recent years, there has been much attention paid (and rightly so) to Mormon polygamy groups and what goes on there–especial things like young girls being forced to marry older men who control the various groups while young boys reaching manhood are literally thrown out.

      I hope that this new series on those who leave the Amish will be looking at both sides NOT trying to make another point at the expense of these young men and?women? I was glad to see how they are being helped in some ways. I hope there is something in the education part about how they achieve more education and are helped in doing so.

      1. Different ex-Amish experiences

        Good points Elizabeth. Mose Gingerich is a strong personality, and I am assuming will be the star of the series. But he seems to have had a pretty difficult and traumatic leaving experience, and does not seem to have much of a relationship with his home community (I’m basing this on what was presented in the original program). I wonder to what degree his experience will color the series.

        1. Beth

          Mesmerizing Show!

          I have this show set to record every week. I feel that I know the community in Missouri. Being a resident of Ohio and in a farming community, I frequently am around the Amish at auctions, flea markets, etc. I believe there to be a huge difference between Old Order and New Order, sometimes called “high” & “low” Amish. Mose is from the “old Order” very strct sects, as are most of the Ex-Amish in this series. I found it interesting that at Cephus’ funeral, his Amish community foretold of his eternal damnation with no hope for salvation. I respect the Amish for their way of life, but ANY religion, Christian or otherwise, that believes that their doctrine is the only true message and everyone else is going to hell is a good reason to NOT convert! As for the girl who WANTS to become Amish, they needed to explore her reasonings further and there needed to be a whole lot more discussion of religion.

    6. Debbie Welsh

      I’m looking forward to watching it as I’m very interested in their culture and in general love all things Amish . However, even though I understand their rules and some of the reasons for them, I can’t for the life of me comprehend how – not only as parents but also as Christians – they can totally shun their own children if they decide to leave the community. It’s the only part of their culture that I don’t like and can’t get my head around.

      1. Lattice

        The thing to remember is that, according to the Amish, when someone chooses to live in the “world” rather than as part of the Amish Church, that person has chosen Satan over God. To the Amish, that is the worst thing someone can do.

        As a comparison, imagine the most heinous thing/act that you can, and then imagine that your child not only did it, but does it day in and day out and refuses to renounce the lifestyle (or act). This is how an Amish person feels when their child chooses the world over the Amish Church.

        I realize that the Amish have been taught some misconceptions about how everyone in the world lives, still, for those who really hold to the Amish ways and believe in them, living in the world is simply choosing eternal Hell over the hope for Heaven.

        Additionally, those who choose to leave the Amish know (loud and clear and from the “get go”) what the response of their friends and family will be.

        It’s not that I approve of it, but I am baffled when the ex-Amish seem surprised by it. The true Amish always choose Church (God) over family, just like the Bible says to do.

        1. OldKat

          Very interesting analogy Lattice; I had never thought about it that way before. Thanks!

        2. Amish parents' attitudes to non-Amish children

          Lattice that may be the view of some Amish but I don’t know that it would be true for all or even the majority of Amish, at least not stated in those terms. Certainly most Amish would like their children to join the church and may exert pressure, subtle and not-so-subtle, to enable that to happen.

          But those who leave after baptism are not necessarily in the Bann forever, in a number of communities that state can end after joining another acceptable non-Amish but Christian church.

          And of course choosing not to be baptized is also a choice not to be in the Amish church. Though the relationships between parents and their non-baptized children may not be as close by definition–they don’t have the same church community and fellowship experience–those children are still loved and I don’t think most Amish parents would feel they have chosen Satan over God (all the usual statements about exceptions apply here of course).

          I also don’t think it’s a particularly healthy view to think of not being in the Amish church as choosing Satan, and I think a lot of Amish would agree–they don’t consider non-Amish Christians in that way, for starters. Unfortunately you are probably right about some people looking at it that way though.

      2. Nancy Hostetler


        I left the amish 14 years ago, my community shunned me as i was baptised in the church but, my parents still considered me as their daughter, my dad passed away a couple of years ago, and he held on until he talked to me one on one and made sure i forgave him for some of the things that occured in my childhood.. not even 1 day later he passed peacefully in his sleep.. i moved to pa. but my mother writes and calls me and still calls me her daughter.. my youngest sister Fannie and brother Enos moved to Ill.and we all stay in touch what everyone else thinks dosent matter to me as long as my immedant family still commucates with me i am ok.

        1. I appreciate you sharing this Nancy.

    7. Forest

      No, I think I’ll pass on this one….

    8. Eugenia

      Amish:Out of Order

      For those of those who do not have cable, please let us know when it can be seen on-line. Not sure yet if I will watch it – but may. Thanks.

    9. Jane Reeves

      I will try to watch this. I think it will be very interesting. I enjoy reading about the Amish.

    10. Another reality show. Get real. Its another fifteen minutes of fame. I’m thankful I don’t have cable or otherwise.
      Comments of Lattice says it all.
      Amish out of order is just that-sinners out of touch!

      1. Linda that is kind of a big-blanket statement. I replied to Lattice on this above.

        1. Lattice

          Certainly did not intend to be offensive, just to offer insight to those that think, “How can they (the Amish) turn their backs on their loved ones (the ex-Amish).

          I realize that many more liberal Amish communities today are much less likely to adhere to the “strict” ban, but many still do. Also there are variations in adherence of the ban between families, according to whether they embrace that teaching, or only tolerate it. Just like there is between what some refer to as “Good Catholics” and those who simply still call themselves Catholic, but do not embrace the teachings.

          Again, my purpose was to offer an understandable explanation for those people who simply cannot fathom how the Amish can stand to break ties with their own ex-Amish children. Nothing that I said above was “out of order.” I have personally heard Amish use the words “choosing Satan’s world.” After all, the Bible says it belongs to Satan.

          I agree that even the strictest Amish do not hold outsiders to the same standards that they hold their own children who have been taught the Amish way. Perhaps similar to the Jews and Gentiles? I don’t know.

          1. The Amish way or the highway?

            Hi Lattice, thanks for sharing that, I certainly wasn’t offended. I think that the personal Amish experience people have can influence the way they view the Amish, understandably (true for Amish, ex-Amish, and English alike). I am guilty of that myself at times, as I spend more time with what we might call ‘mainstream’ Amish for lack of a better word.

            I don’t doubt some Amish present that viewpoint and maintain that way of thinking, but I just think it’s worth noting that not all do and if they did it seems it would preclude relationships with unbaptized children and English to say the least. The Amish church is important and so is maintaining boundaries, but I think most Amish understand that being Amish isn’t for everybody, and that those people can be good and Godly as well. Either way I do appreciate you bringing that view to the table.

    11. Charles Oliver


      From what I have read my understanding of the practice of shunning is that it is done out of love. Some may call this “tough love” in our culture. Their interpretation of scripture is such that if someone commits to the church (baptism) and then violates what they have agreed to there is a number of steps to try to lovingly draw them back to the church. I am pretty sure shunning is the last resort and everyone hope it doesn’t have to go that far. However, they see it as a loving and necessary thing to do in order to bring the individual back to repentance. And it is highly effective too according to things I have read by Donald Kraybill. I can’t remember the exact statistic but there are far more people who return to the church after being shunned than those who do not. I used to see it as a harsh and unreasonable thing, but the more I learn about it I think it works great within their system. It would not work so well in an “English” church because we have so many neighbors, friends, and family outside of our local church that we would not feel the same sense of isolation that an Amish person would. Just my two cents 🙂

      1. Lisa


        I was not raised Amish but lived in an Amish settlement as a young adult for 3 years. I wish I had stayed. Yes, shunning is the very last resort. Imagine how heart-breaking it would be for any one of us to turn away from our child. The Amish culture is based on love and especially the love of family. I believe that, in most cases, it is harder on the parents to shun their child then for the child to be shunned, but if their suffering might ensure your child’s salvation, they do so willingly just like Christ suffered for us.
        It’s a lot easier to live a life pleasing to God if you are living and dressing Amish. You have much more time to think about your faith, because there is no TV to turn on or no car to jump into to go spend money on things you don’t need or on entertainment to keep your mind occupied by superfluous things.
        On the whole, I think Amish people are far more content with their lives then we are. They are happier, calmer and at ease with themselves not always struggling with guilt or self-doubt.

      2. Anne

        You are exactly right Oliver. Erik your words were helpful too. Shunning is meant to be the equivalent of “tough love”. The purpose is restorative and it often works very well. In a fallen world, these things can go wrong, and I’m sure there are different views on this in different communities. When I’ve discussed this with my son, he said his community will not practice shunning except for clear Biblical violations (adultery, theft, out of control behavior). If someone wants to leave the community, there is great sorrow, but that person is still loved and welcomed whenever they want to visit.

        Nancy, thank you for sharing what you did…

      3. Amishman's comments on shunning

        Charles a while back we had an interview with an Amishman who spoke about the shunning topic, you might find it relevant. Here’s a snippet:

        “Shunning is never pleasant business both for the church and for the shunned individual and it would be easiest and most convenient to not practice it.

        But feeling bound to the Scripture and knowing of no better way other than to try and use Christian Discretion and moderation, the practice continues in varying degrees. Some almost totally ignore it, especially in private settings, while others are more rigorous. It is important to remember there is no sacramental value on the ban to the point a banned one is considered as going to hell. The Lord is still the final judge.”

        The rest is here:

        1. Charles Oliver

          Wow thanks for that article! That was so cool! It is so great that your friend was willing to speak so openly and personally in that interview. Thanks for sharing the link.

    12. Valerie

      Anne, I appreciate what you shared-I agree with what your son’s community practices and fear that shunning for extra or outside of Biblical violations may bring judgement on themselves for this.
      I pray that type of shunning practice changes, and am blessed to hear of your son’s community practice. At the same time, alot of our churches on the outside are turning a blind eye to disciplining that is Biblical so there is a need for this to change as well, so that the church will glorify God.

    13. Eric, they filmed in my home and in Pinecraft for a week and flew my son and I to Missouri for the final episode. I originally agreed to cook for them on camera (Thanksgiving day) but ultimately became a principle cast member for episodes 9 and 10. There is a distinct storyline here.

      1. Sherry, I remember this now. I don’t think I knew you became a cast member though. I’ll be looking forward to episodes 9 and 10.

    14. By the way, we don’t have television in our home but I will see it after it airs (to prevent uploading online ahead of airtime) on the DVD’s they are sending us.

    15. Dave Fuller

      Love the Amish

      I think the Amish are the most interesting people in this United States. I think it is interesting that they have the faith in their beliefs to allow the young Amish to venture out into the world. Not too many other faiths that I am aware of allow that sort of unbridled freedom. Whether they stay with the faith or choose to live outside of it, I think they are some of the morally strongest members of our society.

    16. Shannon B

      I really enjoyed this first show and am looking forward to next week. As someone that works with the Amish (and tourists in) Lancaster every day, we see the difficulty that young people face when making the decision to leave. I love that Mose and his wife have built such a support system for these boys. It may not be their own family, but it is probably better than Mose had when he left. It struck me as so sad, though, to hear that these boys don’t fit in with the Amish or the English. I wonder if this support system will eventually become another subculture in the Columbia, Missouri area.

    17. Anne

      Valerie, I really appreciated your comments. It’s interesting that in my son’s community they also do not practice Rumspringa. They feel it puts too much pressure on the young person to make a decision when they are not yet mature enough: a position I totally agree with. I cannot say, though, how they deal with a young person who does not desire to join the church…something I’ll ask him about!

      And your view about the lack of accountability in the American church is exactly right, and is one reason my son found the Amish to be a better alternative. He thinks their approach more Biblical and again, I agree.

    18. Camille

      I’m watching this show and find it interesting. I live in an area with lots of Amish and Mennonite, and am myself of PA Dutch heritage, tho’ my family is not Amish.
      I was wondering if there is any Mennonites out there in Missouri. The Mennonites sects here are many and varied…everything from dressing very plain like the Amish, to women wearing pants and no head covering…and nearly every “shade” in between.
      I was just thinking this could have been a good compromise, maybe for the girl who wanted to join the Amish, or maybe for those coming out

      1. Camille, try this site. It is written and maintained by Cory Anderson, a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite church, as am I.

    19. Camille

      Sherry, thanks.
      I’m checking it out, tho’ I have a church. I’m a member of a Brethren congregation.
      I’m glad Mose and others are there for these young people who are coming out of their situations, and would love to see them have a faith community to become a part of.

      1. Yes, I would hope they would find that too.

    20. Eli

      It wasn’t until the April 24 show was over that it dawned on me. Through a whole hour of a girl wanting to join the Amish and taking her out and slaughtering a chicken, trying on clothes, and talking to people there was barely a mention of faith or god. One would think that would be one of the first questions.

      1. Eli, I appreciate your response. Be sure and watch episodes 9 and 10. I can’t vouch for those proceeding them (I don’t have television in my home) but I addressed both issues in these two. The crew working behind the scenes did a fantastic job in their accurate portrayals.

    21. Debbie Wang

      There was a young man named Cephas who was featured in the second episode. I was so impressed by his desire to succeed in the English world. He even bought a house at 19 years of age! What English young person do you know who was able to do that. After the episode finished I went online to see if there were further news on him and I was directed to Mose Gingrich blog. Cephas was killed in an automobile accident last October. HIs funeral took place at his parents’ home in the Amish community. Let us pray for him and his family.

      1. Jeremy


        I watched every episode of this show. After Cephas was killed in that auto crash, I watched the all over again. Cephas died pretty much at his own hands. According to a later episode, he was not wearing his seatbelt. He lost control of his car because he was either driving too fast or was trying to avoid something in the road. Because he was not wearing his seatbelt, he was ejected from his car. Had he worn his belt, he most likely would have survived the wreck. Ditto Jonas. After getting his new driver’s license, he drove “solo” for the first time. He took a turn way too fast and flipped his car. He was also not wearing his belt and was nearly killed. As a matter of fact when he was being driven to the testing facility,neither he nor that older gentleman, ( I forgot his name)who was driving him were belted. I also noticed other driving scenes were the ex Amish in this show were not belted. This is an issue that needs to be impressed more on them. You have to wear your seatbelt.

    22. Glen Linscheid

      Amish beliefs under attack?

      When I see the programs about “Leaving the Amish” etc. I wonder if this is the edge of the sword so to speak. I believe all Christians will suffer persecution in the days to come, and am wondering if the cowardly media is attacking the “easy targets” first?

      For background, my wife and I are Bible believers in Jesus the Christ and Savior. We don’t follow any denomination but regularly attend fellowship(Church), and daily bible reading/study. We believe denominationalism is evidence of the existence of false doctrine, people supporting “Their” side instead of God’s Word, though I would not want to offend anyone.
      We are to rejoice when we are persecuted. (Matt 5:12)

    23. Jennifer

      Ok-why not just join a more liberal Amish sect?

      If one is Amish, andn baptised in the Church, why not just move to a less strict sect of Amish? That way one can still have their way of life preserved while still having a more liberal religous experience. I grew up around the Amish of La Grange County Indiana and my father’s Mother was descended from Old Order Amish of Morgantown, PA. I also experienced the Amish of Millerburg, Ohio. All have identifiable differences in the buggies they drive, the style of prayer caps, the women wear,and the way they dress is often slightly different. There are so MANY sects that surely the Ex-Amish could find a group to join. I know they would have to explain their situations to the Bishop, but I wonder if any of these kids who so miss their families and way of life have tried this route.

    24. Jennifer

      Cephas Yoder

      I too was stunned to read that Cephas had died. I read Mose Blog the same day that I saw the first episode with Cephas. I was impressed by his fearless ambition. I was so hoping to see what he would do with his life. Mose also sad that Cephas’s family considered him lost and that surely he would be in hell now. A very sad ending to such a promising young man. His family is indeed in my prayers as well as his Amish community.

    25. Andrea

      I also was shocked to learn about the death of Cephas Yoder-I just found out while watching last night’s episode and I had a very heavy heart for a young man I did not even know. I enjoy the series and the different perspectives on the Amish that I was not aware of before.

    26. Donna Godfrey

      Amish Out of Order

      I too have enjoyed this series. I came from a Mennonite family in Lancaster County that has Amish roots. To watch Mose grow in his own Christian walk and come from a place of bitterness and rejection from his own parents to peace and to see him reaching out even more has just made me see he is a work in progress just like each of us.
      I really look forward to this show and how it can help each of us grow in our walk with the Lord.
      I love the Missouri community!

    27. Don Curtis

      Mark's opinion

      I asked Mark what he thought about all of this. He said that as he has experienced it ex-Amish relate to the Amish from a perspective that is very difficult to bridge. For example, Mose looks at the Amish as judgmental. The Amish look at him as disobedient. Mose feels the Amish have rejected him and his family. The Amish view it that Mose rejected them and left. They didn’t throw him out. He left of his own free will. They would accept him back if he would repent and obey the church rules. Mose desires acceptance by his family. His family probably is leery of his influence on the younger Amish in the family. Mose looks at the Amish as close-minded and insular. The Amish view Mose as having embraced the “World” with all that that entails. Mark says that some Amish families do try to have limited contact with family members that have left the Amish. There are others that basically don’t want anything more to do with them. Some have had chldren leave the Amish and join “car churches.” Then go on extended travel vacations with them. Others have had children leave and join “car churches” and have basically told them not to come back because of their example and influence on younger brothers and sisters. I guess there’s no hard and fast rule about it.