The ex-Amish community

Why do people leave the Amish?

Charles Hurst and David McConnell identify two main reasons in An Amish Paradox, their study of the Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.  According to the authors, these are “the desire for fewer lifestyle restrictions”, and “the desire for a more intense religious experience.”

Ex-Amish have created a number of venues which provide support to former members.

The Former Amish Reunion (FAR), a support group run by an ex-Amish woman, holds a twice-yearly picnic.  The group “tends to attract ex-Amish who are sympathetic to the theology of born-again Christians,” explain Hurst and McConnell.

Former Amish have an internet presence, with a number of web sites providing forums for contact and discussion.  Other organizations, such as Mission to Amish People (MAP), or Lancaster County-based Charity Christian Fellowship, act as spiritual and practical stepping stones out of Amish society.  Some organizations are controversial among Amish, who feel that they use aggressive methods to recruit individuals away from the Amish church.

Former Amish cluster in communities in which they find cultural familiarity and practical support.  The Columbia, Missouri ex-Amish community featured in the National Geographic special “Out of the Order” is one example.

In the new clip below (removed), Columbia ex-Amish mentor Mose Gingerich explains how individuals make the transition from Amish society.  He also makes a return visit to his Wisconsin community. “One Amish community’s pretty much the same as the next,” says Mose, comparing settlements in Wisconsin to one in Missouri.

But as Hurst and McConnell document in An Amish Paradox, Amish communities can in fact be quite different–in everything from technology to beliefs about salvation to how they approach shunning.

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    1. Angelic

      How to support

      I wanted to know what can I do to help people who leave to get on their feet. I don’t think religion should ever be used to control people but actually set them free through the Love of Christ.

    2. help for selfhelp

      we are building a worldneedhelp
      for poor countries and want to have the help from amish knowhow.
      In greece, creta we have much of mountains and we want to give ex-amish-people a chance to live their.
      Now we stay in germany and like to have contact to you.
      thank you,
      god bless you

      1. Robert Clyne

        Using Amish low resource skills for Africa

        I would love to talk with ex Amish about working as technical advisors for various projects in Africa.

        We are looking to build steam turbines using fresnel lens, rammed earth homes, solar cookers, electric cargo motorcycles. We want to do aquaculture, home gardens, hydroponics, and other money making enterprises available to grassroots entrepreneurs.

        We need people who are durable, and highly resourceful under low resource conditions, and who can work hard and serve as role models for Africans who may want to think about alternative lifestyles that are ethical and practical.

        It would be good for Africans to understand Christianity is anti-materialistic. A lesson lost on most of them.

        Robert Clyne

    3. louie

      I would be very willing to relocate to any us city where I could help anyone that is amish that wants to better themselves. Just i don’t know how :/ or where to go….

    4. Tammy Mossbrucker

      Rebecca from Breaking Omish

      I have just finished viewing the pre-views of next weeks Breking Omish finally and am so concerned with how Rebecca was just abandoned by her family and now that it is out that she has been married and possibly her “yes” to Abe’s proposal she will have no one to help her. I understand the show is not in real time so this has already occured but I will not sleep well until I know she has been helped by someone who will love and suppport her. If anyone knows anything please let me know and if she needs help in anyway I would do anything to support her.

      1. Tammy Mossbrucker

        I will reply to my own comment!!! Do not want to take up too much space on a honest needed site but wish TLC would have not pulled the wool over America’s eye’s!!!!! I guess both Abe and Rebecca have been together for sometime and even have a child that was left to do the show and are fine because they have been away from the omish for years. Using technology, tannin by pools, driving nice pick ups and all the English things the Omish despise. Thanks TLC for causing pain and sorrow with lies and thanks Rebecca and Abe for allowing $$$$$$ to cloud your integrity. Oh and by the way, leaving a child and not acknoledging her for the sake of ratings…..was it worth it??? I will pray for you and your family that is what it seems you need now.

    5. georgia


      Can everyone become amish because im very into becoming amish and do you know anyone i can talk to about it?

      1. Amish Wannabe?

        You really want to become Amish? First, I’d encourage you to educate yourself on this complex culture. Second, begin now living without electricity, running water, technology, and wear plain clothing. Third, read accurate, real information on Amish at http://www.BrendaNixonOnAmish.blogspot.com. Best wishes on your goals.

      2. Rudy Hostetler

        Yes! Anyone can be Amish.

        Vee Bich’d!? Vas iss lettz mitt du? Bich du Deitch/English?
        Fa vas vitt du join? Sell is schaffa nett tzeit fa speille. Hoch du booglevae? You will after about a week or two being Amish!

        Hi there. You asked if anyone can be Amish. The answer is YES. I’m from Sugar Creek, Ohio and I left the Old Order Amish a few years back. Anyhow, there’s a lot you would have to do. Just remember that being Amish is a life style. You can be a good person and a Christian even without being Amish. So if you want to be Amish because you think you’d be a lot happier and you want to live your life that way you’re going to make adjustments.

        1. No electricity. You can still have your cell phone. You just have to charge it on a gas powered generator or somewhere else. You’ll get your “cat eyes” before long so don’t worry about not seeing in the dark. Also, gas and oil lamps can light up a room just as well as a light bulb.

        2. No musical instruments at all. Not even in church. I have a friend that wants to leave the church because he can’t play guitar.

        3. Plain clothes and traveling by horse and buggy (or foot powered scooter).

        4. Pennsylvania Deitch schvetza. If you don’t understand what schvetza means, you got a lot of work to do. It’ll take a while to learn the language called Penn Dutch. It’s hard to teach someone the language because it’s just passed down from one generation to the next. There are probably no books worth reading on the subject.

        5. If you’re hoping to marry an Amish person and you were not born Amish, it’s just not done but you could be the one to change all that. There’s a lot of reasons Amish don’t marry outside the church and the elders have introduced a way to legitimately prevent just that from happening. You can not be married until you join the church. To do that you must be baptized. After baptism you are expected to follow the Ordnung of your district (your particular community’s church rules). Likewise, nobody could marry you except another baptized member of the church. Marrying a nonamish person after baptism will get you shunned! (kicked out)

        Still want to be Amish? Go for it man! You won’t be accepted by a few people here and there. The ones that will eventually accept you as a member of the church will do so because rejecting you would be against the teachings of Jesus. On the other hand, you’ll be given every chance in the world to opt out of your decision to join up with the nearest Amish community.

        I left because of my own personal reasons and a disagreement over a business deal but this isn’t about me. Best of luck.

        I recommend moving to Holmes County if you’re really sincere about being Amish. Look out for the Schwartzies! They’re the strictest.

    6. Looking for Experienced Employees

      Hi, my husband and I have a family owned business that has been around for over 40yrs. We do residental roofing and siding, we are currently looking for 3 shinglers and 2 labourers. I have placed many ads with different papers etc but can not find suitable employees. We run a drug and alcohol FREE work place. We do high end quality work ONLY. As soon as we ask a potentential new employee to produce a police clearence certificate and sign a subsance abuse test paperwork, they no longer show up for work?
      This ad is being placed on the off chance that there is some people in your community looking for work?
      I think everyone knows how hard and serious Amish/Mennonite people are about working and suporting their families, not to mention having pride and integrity. Pay ranges on exp $15-$24 per hour. Only serious inquires only Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada based shop

    7. Bill

      Helping ex-amish

      I have many years of experience with young people and would like to start a project in Sweden for ex-amish offering skills they may not have and education in the sciences they may not have. Is anyone interested in taking part ??? Low cost, good lodgings.

    8. Finding some one decent to marry

      In life you only meet one rose and a lot of weeds. I have a good income but it is hard to find a decent women to marry. I’m tiered of the on line dating and the type of females on there. I had an out of body experience and now that I died and come back life and church is not the same any more. It has left me feeling empty in side. I’m about to leave this country I once gave my life for just to find someone to share my life with. It is nice to see all the rich preachers that have fancy suits and cars and million dollar homes but I long for a wife with morals and a family and the funny thing is if I do find that one girl and she can’t have children or don’t want any that is ok to just to have someone in my life to share this empty house with that could make it a home. If you think you know someone and can’t get a hold of me on line TXT me at 1 520 400 3723

      1. Eléonore

        Finding some one decent to marry

        Hello, I’ve read now your 2014 post and I thought it was so honest and romantic, it catched my eyes and heart. I would love to know what happened. Have you met “her”?

    9. The ex-Amish community

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    10. Donna

      Looking for someone to marry


      I would like to marry a man that has simple values who is in the 50 to early 60 year old range. Possibly heis an ex-Amish man. If he is out there then feel free to email me at 558855@mail.com.

      God bless,


    11. Laura


      Hello I’m Laura
      I’m 19 years young and i go to school in Switzerland. We are doing a project about different religions. I have the Amish. Know I need a interview. Is someone willing to do an interview with me?
      Thanks for your answer
      Kind regards Laura

    12. Michael Foster

      Is it possible to date ex amish women

    13. Jason Aull

      Ex fundamentalist Christian looking for conservative leaning ranching farming community

      Hi my name is Jason Aull. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar and high functioning Autism. I was a fundamentalist Christian until I started listening to Rabbi Tovia Singer and read On the historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier. Although I am a mythicist, I am still very socially conservative and believe in the soul so I am not exactly an atheist. I can’t become an Orthodox Jew because I am not sure if what they believe is true. I know what it is like to fear eternal Hell. I took 3 years of German in high school so I can speak and understand some of what the Amish say, but not entirely. Farming and ranching interest me but I just cannot honestly say I believe what the amish would want me to believe. The community of the Amish and mennonite interest me though. I wonder if there is a ranching farming community for ex amish and maybe ex Christian that is socially conservative leaning. I looked for it on the internet and could not find it. I wonder if it even exists. If not maybe someone could create it IDK. Anyway, I don’t like money and I don’t like to barter. It comes from my Christian roots of not serving 2 masters. If anyone does know of a ranching farming community I can belong to please email me at Snowflakeblue256 at protonmail dot com. Thank you.

      Jason Aull

    14. Paul Stauffer

      Ex- Amish and lonely

      Hi, I am Paul. After leaving the Amish my wife and I split. I am looking for a good woman to be blunt. A good friend to spend time with. Anybody out there that might talk to an ex-Amish? I don’t have very good connections anymore. Text me who knows what is in the future. 937 403 3032

    15. Cheryl

      Want live in F for PT cooking and clean up, Ex Amish welcime

      We are a family of 3 disabled seniors in a nice large, safe pet-free home in a Phila., PA suburb and prefer a woman but man also considered. We offer room and utilities in exchange for part time cooking and kitchen work. Maybe help shopping also. Can help to learn to drive. Must get govt income and medicare unless 9ther income is available but we can contribute some to food and incidentals.

    16. Steven schoenauer

      Just curious

      My last name is schoenauer. Is there any folks in your community with this name that you know of?