300+ Answers to your Questions on the Amish

queryQuestion on the Amish? We answer over 300 of them below. Answers based on both academic and Amish sources.

Scroll down for the full list, jump to individual categories, or search all questions in the box below.

Search FAQ Pages:

Loading


Answers based on sources including Amish writings and input, scholarly articles and non-fiction books on the Amish. References and further reading listed at bottom of each page.

Can’t find your question? Ask us in the comments section below.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Amish

Beliefs

  1. Are the Amish Christian?Wooden Crosss
  2. What are basic Amish religious beliefs?
  3. Why don’t Amish fight in wars?
  4. Do Amish think technology is evil?
  5. Why do Amish believe in separation from the world?
  6. When do Amish get baptized?
  7. Do Amish believe in assurance of salvation?
  8. Why do Amish practice shunning?
  9. Do Amish carry insurance?
  10. Why don’t Amish work on Sundays?
  11. Are the Amish hypocrites?

Back to top


The Bible

  1. Are Amish allowed to read the Bible?Corinthians Excerpt
  2. In which language is the Bible Amish use?
  3. Which version of the Bible do Amish use?
  4. Do the Amish use both Old and New Testament?
  5. Which Scriptures do Amish most frequently use?
  6. Do Amish use the Apocrypha?

Back to top


Buggies

  1. Why do Amish refuse to drive cars?Gray Buggies in Lancaster County
  2. How much do Amish buggies cost?
  3. Who makes Amish buggies?
  4. How many buggies do Amish own?
  5. How fast do Amish buggies travel?
  6. How far can a horse-and-buggy go?
  7. What colors are Amish buggies?
  8. Are Amish buggies heated?
  9. What safety features do Amish buggies have?
  10. Why do some Amish refuse to use the buggy safety triangle?

Back to top


Business

  1. Rustic wooden "Open" signWhy are Amish businesses closed on Sunday?
  2. What are typical Amish businesses?
  3. How can I find an Amish business?
  4. Why are small businesses popular among Amish?
  5. How many Amish businesses are there?
  6. Do Amish make a lot of money?
  7. Can Amish women run businesses?
  8. What kinds of auctions do Amish hold?
  9. Do Amish have to pay taxes?

Back to top


Children

  1. Where are Amish children born?Father and son with fishing pole
  2. How large is the average Amish family?
  3. Do Amish ever adopt?
  4. How are Amish children disciplined?
  5. What games do Amish children play?
  6. When do Amish children go to school?

Back to top


Church

  1. Do Amish have church buildings?Amish family on walk to church
  2. What’s a church district?
  3. When do Amish create a new church?
  4. Who are the leaders of the Amish church?
  5. How do Amish select ministers?
  6. When are Amish church services held?
  7. How long is an Amish church service?
  8. What happens at an Amish church service?
  9. When are Amish baptized?
  10. What is Council meeting?
  11. When do Amish have Communion?
  12. What happens at Communion?
  13. Do Amish practice footwashing?
  14. What is the Holy Kiss?
  15. What is the Ausbund?
  16. What songs do Amish sing in church?
  17. What does being “in fellowship” mean?
  18. Do Amish bishops control their people?
  19. What do Amish think about other faiths?
  20. Do Amish proselytize?
  21. Can I go to an Amish church service?
  22. Do people ever join the Amish church?

Back to top


Clothing

  1. Why do the Amish dress plainly?Blue and green dresses drying
  2. Why do Amish women cover their heads?
  3. What is Amish women’s headwear called?
  4. Do Amish women cut their hair?
  5. Why do Amish men wear beards?
  6. Do Amish wear buttons?
  7. Do Amish men wear collars?
  8. What is a mutza suit?
  9. What are broadfall trousers?
  10. Do Amish men wear belts?
  11. Do Amish wear athletic shoes?
  12. Do Amish make their own clothes?
  13. What should I wear if I visit the Amish?

Back to top


Controversies

  1. What conflicts have Amish faced?Black and white profile of carriage
  2. Do Amish run puppy mills?
  3. Do Amish drink alcohol?
  4. Does abuse happen in Amish communities?
  5. Do Amish always report crimes?
  6. Why are Amish targeted by criminals?
  7. What about the beard-cutting group led by Sam Mullet?
  8. How has fracking affected the Amish?
  9. Do Amish follow building codes?
  10. Can I buy raw milk from the Amish?
  11. Do Amish use corporal punishment?
  12. Can Amish people be individuals?

Back to top


Death

  1. Do Amish believe in an afterlife?Simple Gravestone
  2. How do Amish mourn the deceased?
  3. What happens at an Amish funeral?
  4. Are Amish embalmed?
  5. Do Amish use funeral homes?
  6. Where are Amish people buried?
  7. Who makes coffins for the Amish?

Back to top


Diversity

  1. Are Amish all the same?Front door on Swartzentruber home
  2. What does Old Order mean?
  3. How many Amish groups are there?
  4. Why are there so many Amish groups?
  5. Who are the most conservative Amish?
  6. Who are the least conservative Amish?
  7. Are there any non-white Amish?
  8. Do all Amish get along?

Back to top


Education

  1. Why does Amish school end at 8th grade?Two chimneys on an Amish school
  2. Do Amish children go to high school?
  3. What are Amish schools like?
  4. When do Amish children go to school?
  5. Do Amish children attend public schools?
  6. Do Amish homeschool?
  7. Do Amish schools offer special education?
  8. Who teaches Amish children?
  9. Can Amish men be schoolteachers?
  10. Who administers Amish schools?

Back to top


Family

Back to top


Farming

  1. Why do Amish revere farming?Mules pulling a plow
  2. Do all Amish like farming?
  3. Why are fewer Amish farming?
  4. Is Amish-grown food organic?
  5. Do Amish farmers use pesticides?
  6. Are the Amish “green”?
  7. Why do some Amish raise tobacco?

Back to top


Fiction

Back to top


Food

  1. What are popular Amish dishes?Cherry Pie Crust
  2. What are popular Amish desserts?
  3. Do Amish grow all their own food?
  4. How do Amish store food?
  5. How do Amish keep food cold?
  6. Do Amish eat fast food?
  7. Is Amish food fattening?
  8. Where can I find Amish recipes?

Back to top


Furniture

Back to top


Government

  1. Do the Amish pay taxes?Courthouse facade
  2. Do the Amish vote?
  3. Are Amish “Republican” or “Democrat”?
  4. Can Amish run for political office?
  5. What is the Two Kingdoms doctrine?
  6. Do Amish follow the law?
  7. What is the National Amish Steering Committee?

Back to top


Health

  1. Do Amish believe in modern medicine?Doctor's stethoscope
  2. Do Amish visit doctors?
  3. Are the Amish healthier than other Americans?
  4. Do Amish get immunized?
  5. Do Amish carry health insurance?
  6. How do Amish pay hospital bills?
  7. Do Amish practice folk medicine?
  8. Do Amish use alternative medical treatments?
  9. Do Amish travel for medical treatment?

Back to top


History

  1. Where do the Amish come from?Willems Anabaptist martyr
  2. Where does the name “Amish” come from?
  3. Who was Jakob Ammann?
  4. Who was Menno Simons?
  5. Who were the Anabaptists?
  6. Who was Dirk Willems?
  7. When did the Amish come to America?
  8. Which is the oldest Amish community?
  9. When did Amish disappear in Europe?
  10. Do the Amish change over time?

Back to top


Holidays

Back to top


Homes

  1. What are Amish homes like?Second story of Amish home
  2. How do Amish decorate their homes?
  3. How do Amish heat their homes?
  4. How do Amish light their homes?
  5. Do Amish homes have shutters?
  6. Do Amish homes have carpets?
  7. Do Amish homes have bathrooms?
  8. Do Amish kitchens have refrigerators?
  9. How do Amish cook food?
  10. Do Amish have upholstered furniture?
  11. How do Amish wash clothes?
  12. Who builds Amish homes?

Back to top


Joining the Amish

  1. Three Amish huddled on carriageCan outsiders join the Amish?
  2. Why do Amish converts leave the church?
  3. How do you become Amish?
  4. Can you keep in touch with family if you join the Amish?
  5. Where can I read about people who’ve become Amish?
  6. Do the Amish seek converts?
  7. When do Amish youth officially join the church?

Back to top


Language

  1. What language do the Amish speak?Amish children having discussion
  2. Why do Amish people call their dialect “Dutch”?
  3. Is the dialect Amish speak the same everywhere?
  4. When do Amish children learn English?
  5. Do Amish speak High German?
  6. Do Amish speak English with an accent?
  7. How can an outsider learn PA Dutch?

Back to top


Marriage

  1. At what age do Amish marry?Man and wife
  2. Can Amish men have more than one wife?
  3. What’s an Amish wedding like?
  4. When are Amish weddings held?
  5. Do Amish wear wedding rings?
  6. Do Amish couples separate or divorce?
  7. Can Amish remarry after a spouse dies?
  8. Do all Amish marry?
  9. Do Amish husbands control their wives?

Back to top


Mennonites

  1. How are Amish and Mennonites similar?Wheels on Mennonite carriages
  2. How are Amish and Mennonites different?
  3. How many types of Mennonites are there?
  4. Who are the Old Order Mennonites?
  5. Do Amish and Mennonites cooperate?
  6. Where does the name “Mennonite” come from?
  7. Who are the Old Colony Mennonites?
  8. Who are the Beachy Amish?

Back to top


Myths

  1. Do Amish pay taxes?Bar of a blue gate
  2. Does a blue gate outside an Amish home have meaning?
  3. Do Amish marry close relatives?
  4. Do Amish use English men to impregnate their women?
  5. Do Amish speak Old English or mix German into their speech?
  6. Is Amish food “all-natural” and organic?
  7. Do Amish think technology is evil?

Back to top


Old Age

  1. How are older Amish included in the community?Elderly Amish couple walking outside
  2. What is a dawdihaus?
  3. When do Amish retire?
  4. Do elderly Amish go to retirement homes?
  5. Do Amish accept Social Security payments?
  6. How many grandchildren do Amish grandparents have?

Back to top


Outsiders

  1. What do Amish call the rest of us?English person in Amish crowd
  2. Do Amish cooperate with non-Amish?
  3. Can I be friends with the Amish?
  4. Can I visit an Amish community?
  5. Do Amish accept outsiders into the church?

Back to top


Photos

Back to top


Population

  1. Where do Amish live?Amishmen grouped together at auction
  2. Are there any Amish outside America?
  3. How many Amish are there in total?
  4. Are the Amish growing?
  5. How many Amish communities are there?
  6. Which are the largest Amish communities?
  7. Do Amish live in closed colonies?
  8. Why do Amish move to new places?

Back to top


Products


Recreation

Back to top


Rumspringa

  1. What does “Rumspringa” mean?Amish teen riding on buggy back
  2. What is the purpose of Rumspringa?
  3. Are Amish youth encouraged to behave badly during Rumspringa?
  4. Do youth have to follow the rules during Rumspringa?
  5. Why is Rumspringa important?
  6. Do Amish youth leave home during Rumspringa?
  7. Why do Amish have youth groups?
  8. What is a “Buddy Bunch”?
  9. What happens at an Amish youth singing?
  10. Do Amish youth own smartphones?
  11. Do Amish get into trouble during Rumspringa?
  12. What do Amish do on dates?
  13. What is bundling?

Back to top


Sex

  1. honeybeeCan Amish use birth control?
  2. Do Amish accept homosexuality?
  3. Is sex education taught in Amish schools?
  4. Does premarital sex occur among Amish?
  5. Does inbreeding happen in Amish communities?

Back to top


Shunning

  1. What is the Bann?Solo person walking in field
  2. What is shunning?
  3. What is the Ordnung?
  4. Why and how are Amish excommunicated?
  5. Why do the Amish practice shunning?
  6. Who decides whether an Amish church member should be excommunicated?
  7. Who can be shunned?
  8. Are there different types of shunning?
  9. Can former Amish return to the church?
  10. Are the Amish the only religious group that practices shunning?
  11. Isn’t shunning cruel?

Back to top


Technology

  1. Do Amish use technology?Solar panel detail
  2. Why do Amish restrict technology?
  3. Why do Amish prohibit public electricity?
  4. Can Amish talk on the telephone?
  5. Do Amish own smartphones?
  6. Do Amish ever use the internet?
  7. Why can Amish use certain technologies outside the home?
  8. Do Amish use tractors?
  9. Do Amish ever adopt new technologies?
  10. How do Amish adapt technology to their needs?
  11. What is “Amish electricity”?

Back to top


Tourism

Back to top


Travel

  1. How do Amish get around?Insignia on passenger train
  2. How do Amish travel long distances?
  3. Can Amish fly in airplanes?
  4. Why don’t Amish drive cars?
  5. What is an Amish taxi?
  6. Do Amish travel by train and bus?
  7. Do Amish stay in hotels?

Back to top


TV Shows

  1. Is “Amish Mafia” real?Antique television
  2. Is “Breaking Amish” a realistic depiction of Amish youth?
  3. Why are there so many Amish television programs?
  4. Do the Amish ever watch TV?
  5. What programs or films are reliable sources of info on the Amish?

Back to top


Women

  1. What are traditional Amish female roles?White head covering on Amish women
  2. Do Amish women have the same rights as men?
  3. Do Amish women run businesses?
  4. Are Amish women content?
  5. Are Amish women free to choose?

Back to top


Work

Back to top


References

The following are among the primary references used to create this FAQ resource. Specific sources are listed at the bottom of each individual question page. Works listed here can all be considered recommended reading as pertains to the Amish. 

  • 1001 Questions and Answers on the Christian Life. Aylmer, ON: Pathway Publishers, 1992.
  • Family Life. Aylmer, ON: Pathway Publishers. Monthly.
  • Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online (gameo.org)
  • Hostetler, John A. Amish Roots: A Treasury of History, Wisdom, and Lore. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
  • Hostetler, John A. Amish Society. 4th ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993.
  • Hurst, Charles E., and David L. McConnell. An Amish Paradox: Diversity & Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Johnson-Weiner, Karen. Train Up a Child: Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
  • Johnson-Weiner, Karen. New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State. Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2010.
  • The Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies (JAPAS). Online open-source academic journal.
  • Kraybill, Donald B. The Riddle of Amish Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
  • Kraybill, Donald B., ed. The Amish and the State. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003.
  • Kraybill, Donald B, and Marc A. Olshan, eds. The Amish Struggle with Modernity. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1994. Print.
  • Kraybill, Donald B, and Steven M. Nolt. Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  • Kraybill, Donald B., Karen Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt. The Amish. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
  • Kraybill, Donald B, Steven M. Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2007.
  • Kraybill, Donald B., Steven M. Nolt, and David Weaver-Zercher. The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.
  • Nolt, Steven M. A History of the Amish. Intercourse, Pa: Good Books, 1992.
  • Nolt, Steven M., and Thomas J. Meyers. Plain Diversity: Amish Cultures and Identities. Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007
  • Scott, Stephen E. Plain Buggies: Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren Horse-drawn Transportation. Lancaster, Pa.: Good Books, 1998.
  • Scott, Stephen E. and Kenneth Pellman. Living Without Electricity. Intercourse, Pa.: Good Books, 1990.
  • Stevick, Richard A. Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.
  • The Truth in Word and Work. Baltic, Ohio: Amish Brotherhood Publications, 1983.

Amish-made cheese