Full interview with Elam Fisher

Last week we discussed Amish excommunicated from the Parke County, Indiana community. In the video clips posted we viewed a few snippets from an interview with Elam Fisher, imprisoned for driving without a license.

In the full interview video below (removed), Elam explains why he thinks he shouldn’t be in prison, his experience among the other inmates, and what guides him.

The driver’s license requirement is something we accept and take for granted, so it is interesting to listen to someone who challenges that basic assumption, even if you do not necessarily agree.  Unsurprisingly, Elam seems guided by a deep conviction.

What do you think?

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    1. Lattice

      Only had time for the first five minutes or so. Looking forward to viewing the interview in its entirety.

      From what I gathered so far, Elam chose not to obtain a license so he would not be part of the “system” and thereby receive the “mark of the beast.” I can’t completely wrap my brain around that idea. I’m pretty sure I read the same Bible as he.

      Curious what others think of that notion.

    2. Andrea

      Hi this video clip has not come up on my webpage? Would of liked to chatched this 🙁 .

      1. You may need to refresh your page Andrea. If that doesn’t work here’s the link: http://www.wthitv.com/generic/news/Living-the-Amish-Life#.UJLj72ceq4I

        1. Andrea

          Thanks Erik, will go to website and watch. 🙂

    3. Margaret

      Well, it might be his God-given right to ride a horse — God created horses, so if he wants to use one for travel, that is great.

      But, a vehicle is made by “man” — and “Man” is required to do certain things for the privilege of driving one.

      I may be thinking to simply, but these are my thoughts…. 🙂

    4. Elam's reasoning

      Elam is not (as I understand him) basing his “right” to drive a vehicle without a state-issued driver license on some Biblical idea that he can just disobey civil authorities on a whim. He appears to have been influenced by the sovereign citizen movement (google it …) which makes claims that the federal government as we usually think of it is a fraud and illegal according to the Constitution. Since the federal government (and some state laws) are actually a fraud in their eyes, they feel they are not obligated to obey them …
      So the biblical argument of “obeying the government” runs off him like water off a duck’s back because they are convinced that much of the civil government is actually a fraud being pushed over people.
      It would be like your neighbor walking up to you and telling you that you have to get a driver’s license from him to drive legally, since he is now your governor. Most of us would say, “You’re a joke! I dont have to get a license from YOU! You are a fraud!”
      I am not saying I agree with sovereign citizen arguments (I am NOT a lawyer, thank God!), but that is how they think.

    5. Alice Mary

      Logic vs faith?

      As he stated, he (“they”,I believe he said: does this mean only his family or other families as well?) left the Amish about 8 years ago. It was a choice he made. Yes, he clearly seems to believe God has set him on this path, again, admitting that his “prison ministry” (my words) wouldn’t have happened had he not been arrested & imprisoned. (I truly believe “things happen for a reason”, whether by Divine guidance or not is an unknown to me. I can only hope it’s “for better” and not worse.) He feels he (they) need to be able to up and travel (as he stated) pretty much at will–whenever and wherever they feel necessary. It’s not easy or cheap to get a driver (as the Amish do) at the drop of a hat. Not knowing how long they’ll be away (or where they’ll stay) is also a big consideration. Again, that part (freedom to up and go) is a choice.

      Since he’s not “Amish”, but seems to be more of a “hybrid” Christian, I feel he shouldn’t be surprised that he was arrested for driving without a license. If he’s moving “into” the world, it’s a given that “the world” will butt in with its own rules/laws/requirements.

      I truly wish him well. His evangelizing (that’s what it sounds like to me) seems to be having positive effects on the prison population. But I think he needs to go back to the bible and read about “rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…”

      Something tells me there’ll be a way around his problems—he/his group may still need a license(and I’m guessing insurance?) which perhaps he’ll accept as being a “user’s fee” for the freedom he “needs” to get places in a HURRY (which certainly seems like something that’s VERY worldly, and headed even further into the “world” and all its’ evils.) 😉

      I guess I’d like to remind him that God doesn’t always allow us to get our ways, no matter how noble they seem. As he admits, God had a plan for him to go to prison! 🙂

      Alice Mary

      1. It sounded to me like he’s ready to start driving again…If I’m remembering the previous videos correctly I believe uncle Levi is still driving sans license. Conceivably this could have turned into a look the other way situation after he got out, but probably not now that they’ve been on the news.

    6. Andrea

      Found Elam very interesting, i feel as a christian he had every right not to get rolled into the government system. But i do feel that he also would not have driving insurance, thats what we need in the UK, i have to say that i myself do not drive a car and do choose not to for environment reasons. You can clearly see that God has called Elam into the prison so that he can wittneses for God’s kingdom, and sound like he’s doing a great job for are Lord. Great interview and totally agree with Elam’s views on the things of this world and how we should be a great wittiness for are God and king in all are circumstances of everyday living.

    7. Don Curtis

      Mark's opinion

      I called Mark up and read to him about this Elam Fisher and why he’s in jail. How do I put this? Let us just say that Mark was hightly unsympathetic. Mark said that he just couldn’t understand how a supposed Christian could totally ignore all of the Scripture that exhorts Believers to be submissive and obedient to those in authority both in the church and in civil matters, as well. In Mark’s view this Elam Fisher has put himself above the Scriptures, the Church, the Ministry, and even the civil government. Elam knows better because he’s Elam, evidentally. Anyway, Mark wasn’t impressed at all. Mark feels that he is in severe Scriptural error and that this man needs prayer that he can repent.

    8. Forest

      I’d agree with Mark.

    9. Mary

      You don't get to pick and choose...

      When you leave one culture for another you do not get to pick and choose which rules of the new culture to abide by. It’s an all or nothing proposition.

    10. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Mister Fisher is thought provoking at very least. I think my thoughts are summed up by what Erik said in the post, “Unsurprisingly, Elam seems guided by a deep conviction”

      What is the likelihood of Elam running and winning a Indiana public office, if he where lead to go that way in the future?

      1. Probably not very likely, at least if he remains anti-driver’s license 😉

    11. Lattice

      Well, I finally got to finish viewing the interview. Elam appears genuine, and, gee…who couldn’t like the guy? I hope he’s honestly making a point (albeit misguided) and not just trying to gain attention, and that sort of thing.

      PC made the comment that he was “influenced.” I agree that he has been influenced. His skepticism and mistrust of the government I can appreciate on some level, but feeding those concerns with notions of an evil Department of Motor Vehicles, whose next step is forceable implantation of tracking numbers, seems a little farfetched. But who am I to say that it’s not plausible?

      One observation that I wanted to point out is something that I frequently notice in many of my Amish friends. It’s a tendency to readily accept the extraordinary, or the fantastic. I’m talking about faith healers, natural cures, and conspiracies. They just seem more likely to buy into ideas that should (in my judgement) call for a little more discernment.

      1. Interesting observations Lattice. I have sometimes noticed similar acceptance of things that might otherwise seem far-fetched. I think there may be undue faith placed in people from the English side who seem to know what they are talking about and speak convincingly.

        That cuts the other way though. Sometimes there is high skepticism of people you’d think would be trustworthy. I’m recalling the black walnut extract/dentist story of a few months back: https://amishamerica.com/black-walnut-miracle-extract/

        The tracking numbers fear sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi novel, though I appreciate the sentiment.

      2. Linda

        Do some plain people tend to be gullible? Perhaps if a person grows up knowing only truthfulness and honesty, they would expect everyone else to be that way. At one time, I believed everything I read in print. Sometimes it’s good to think.

        Fisher’s story reminds me just a little of 2 Tim. 4:3, “shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears,” or having teachers who tell them what their ears want to hear. They probably do the best that they know to do, and seem to be sincere.

        This also makes me think of a man that was born Amish, and became a rather well-to-do Mennonite man. Through others, he learned how he could avoid paying taxes. Lo and behold, the IRS came after him, and he served some jail time. He found out he was sincerely wrong! Later, when his relative started an Amish furniture store, he gave this advice: “Whatever you do, pay your taxes!”

    12. Ed

      Didn’t have time to listen to the whole interview but got the jist in the first minute or two.

      There is a very fine line between genius and insanity. No doubt in 20 or 100 years we will look back and marvel that in our time we actually sent people to prison for decades for things like smoking marijuana.

      Of all the issues and causes one could protest today, and be willing to go to jail for, the requirement to have a driver’s license to drive a car would WAY down on my list of priorities. But still, I have a soft spot in my heart for iconoclasts and nonconfirmists of various stripes. He isn’t harming anyone; he has an interesting life story to share. Hopefully eventually, he will find his calling, and hopefully we all can be in a better place for it.

      Thank you Erik for sharing this interview.

      1. Well said Ed…I think “soft spot” captures my feelings here, though I can see Mark Curtis’ point of view as well. It’s a very un-Amish position to take (at least for most Amish)…as Mike (PC) touches on above he sounds more like he’s making a sovereign citizen argument than a religious one.

    13. Mahlon