In her latest column “Being Amish during a pandemic“, Amish Cook Gloria Yoder addresses the contention that “many Amish” are not wearing masks:

I gaze out the window of our little office, wondering what tidbits to share with you all. My mind turns to the letters and notes I received from those of you who kindly alerted me that, sadly, many Amish seem to be naive to the need to wear face masks throughout these pandemic-filled times.

Oh my, I wish I could make it all right for you. There seems to be more differing opinions and ways of living an Amish lifestyle than I could ever tell.

Gloria is rightly noting that there are few one-size-fits-all descriptions of “the Amish” (even though by necessity we often speak in terms of “the Amish this” and “the Amish that”). To me she sounds a bit frustrated by the conflict that can sometimes but generated by these differences – but also includes this note of tolerance:

At any rate, there is always a way of respecting others and valuing their ideas, no matter where we are or what denomination we may be a part of. Doesn’t it all come back to loving others more than ourselves?

Now what does Gloria have to say about Amish not wearing masks? Is this accurate? And if so, why is this the case?

Now, for targeting the stark reality that in numerous Amish communities, masks are not readily seen. I’m guessing you are correct; even though I do not personally know many Amish folks in larger communities or even know all of their living standards, my guess would be that most of those not wearing masks maybe for two or more three reasons.

The three reasons:

I am suspecting that most Amish folks are known to use various natural home remedies. Thus they are not as concerned about sicknesses, thinking that they can get better soon enough with things they have relied on over the years.

Second, I know Amish who have been watching other death rates decrease as corona numbers climb and have observed natural deaths be labeled with corona, raising questions about what may or may not be accurate.

Perhaps the third thing many of them hang on is the idea that though the virus is transferred by the air we breathe, the germ is ‘thin or light’ enough to go through the fabric or any substance used to make masks.

How does Gloria’s family approach this topic? Do they feel it is important to wear masks?

Here I am, only a little Amish housewife; while I cannot change all people with the given sticker, “Amish,” I do want to do my part in masking up. As a community, we wear masks when we go to town (as we call our grocery shopping). Regardless of what belief system any one of us may have adapted, in my mind, I wonder if it doesn’t all come back to loving and respecting others above ourselves.

Our children love masks. I made sunshiny yellow masks for each of them, with quotes on them like, “Jesus and me, He holds us tight in his arms, and He keeps His promises.” They love wearing their matching masks, which makes them feel quite grown-up.

If you read her columns, you know that Gloria is unfailingly positive, and a person of strong faith:

The pandemic had been a pull for all of us in so many different ways, may we all learn to pull together through it all, instead of ascending on our ideas, and stepping right on other’s perspectives in the process, only to both come crashing down again.

It was nice to get this perspective from an Amish person on this topic. Amish are used to being under the spotlight in normal times.

In these unusual times, they’ve again found themselves under the spotlight – but I would say, on balance, more often for negative reasons. But it doesn’t surprise me that Gloria and her family have an accepting or positive view of masks, given her background as a member of a New Order church.



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