If you “left the English”, what would you gain?

When I first met the Amish, I spent a warm fuzzy period admiring and even idealizing Amish society.  This was in the summer of 2004, and I was selling a set of books called the Family Bible Library to Amish families.  I had spent a fruitful few weeks in the Arthur, Illinois community before traveling to Indiana.

I remember one day in the Daviess County, Indiana Amish settlement thinking to myself, wow, wouldn’t it be neat to be a part of this culture.  I even remember who I’d been speaking to at the time.

It was a particularly sunny young farmer (late-20s, with some small kids) on the western side of the settlement.  For some reason the topic of joining the Amish had come up.  We’d been discussing another member of his community–let’s call him Mike.

Mike was unlike most Amishmen–he had actually joined the church from the outside, marrying an Amish girl and starting a family and a small home business.  “He’s doing okay so far!” the born-and-bred Amishman told me, striking a note of hope and optimism about the convert’s chances of making it.

I had actually previously met Mike, and though I didn’t think to ask him much about his experience at the time, he provided a concrete example of someone who had actually done it.  What if..?

amish buggy sun

However, the allure of joining the Amish quickly wore off, as I describe in this piece about romanticizing the Amish.  I came to see the Amish as similar to us (i.e., human), learned to appreciate the positive aspects of Amish life, and recognized that for various reasons there was no way I’d ever cut it in a pair of broadfall trousers.

I think everyone who comes to know the Amish on some level has the thought at least cross their mind, though.

It’s not for nothing that the all-time most-commented post on this blog is “So you want to join the Amish“.  I can understand a lot of the sentiment expressed in the comments of that post, even if I think a lot of people are approaching the idea without fully thinking through the implications.

But for a few, I think joining the Amish is a dead-end road.  Well, maybe not a dead-end road–that’s too negative.  I’m sure that people that fail to be Amish take something important away from their experiences.

In any case, there are numerous examples of people who have tried to join but failed, either deciding against baptism or leaving some time after becoming a church member.

The sacrifices are great, and Amish themselves say that it is really hard to do unless you have been raised in the culture.  On this point, I found Lance’s comments on “So you want to join the Amish” interesting:

When I tried to go Amish, I made the decision that it was pointless to long after things the Amish did not allow. I could not have them and that was that. So it was not a difficult burden to leave them behind. It took as long as it took to drive somewhere and there was no point to getting upset that a car could go faster. I never even thought of phone, TV, radio or computer.

I did miss running water for a shower, and, in hot weather, no fan to move the air made nights much more miserable.

What was problematic was the language barrier and the illogical/irrational rules. You must learn the language or you will just be left out at times. English speakers do not adapt easily to Germanic languages and you really need to learn both PA Deitsch and High German to understand at all times. It is not easy and some Amish do not learn the High German well.

Amish make changes to their rules by consensus of the church and if you were not there at the time the rule was made, it can be very hard to understand those rules. Without being born Amish and living in the system since young, you have a hard time adapting to, believing in and trusting it. It is the trust in the system or lack thereof that makes being Amish easy or hard. Our modern school systems teach critical thinking and that goes against Amish thought. They value a high level of yielding to the church in all things the church makes a stand. We have not been taught that and it is not easy to develop.

Though people’s experiences vary, I think Lance’s frank comments reflect a lot of the challenges of becoming Amish.

Yet even with the unlikelihood that that will ever happen, I still occasionally catch myself thinking what it would be like to live as an Amish person.

The well-known positive sides of Amish culture–a strong faith community, an arguably simpler lifestyle, family focus–have timeless appeal.  When you’re stuck in traffic, breathing polluted air, anonymous in a big city, Amish grass can start to look pretty green.

I’m curious if you’ve ever pondered it too.

And so I’m wondering–if you “left the English”, why would you do it–and what is the greatest thing you think you’d gain?

Photo credit: whatatravisty

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  1. Annette

    I wanted to join the Amish 20 years ago; long before Amish were seen as trendy and cool and the perfect Christians. I would have missed my education and world travel. Those mostly. I had an acquaintance/friend of mine join the Amish. Then, she married an Amish man, had 3 children and a nervous breakdown, and left. We haven’t talked in a number of years, but I know part of the difficulty was learning the language and finding help for her illness, or actually having people believe she was ill, I think.

  2. Annette

    Ooh, I thought I’d gain more of a community, a less hectic life, and a more intimate walk with God.

  3. Beth

    Interesting post, Erik. I’m curious to read peoples experiences on this.

  4. Kevin Lindsey

    A very good post. I do think there would be much to gain, but beyond the fact that I am Catholic (and plan to stay that way!) I think personally the biggest problem for me would be the language barrier, as “foreign languages” were never one of my strong points. As Lance had said, without that youre an outsider. So, instead of trying to join them, I value the friendship I have with those who are Amish, and incorporate some of their attitudes and values into my own life. It is interesting how much we do have in common. Fianlly, along those same lines, one of our Amish friends said to us once that he thought it would be just as hard for them to join the English as it would be for us to join the Amish, as the cultures are so diffent!

  5. Richard


    I admire the Amish lifestyle from a far, but to join the Amish now especially with the life experience that i have at my age would be a mistake. I may have given the thought of joining the Amish a quick glance as a child maybe, but that didn’t last long. But my interest continues with the Amish even though I’ve never been further from joining the Amish. So i moved to the Lancaster area because i always thought it was beautiful place to live, and i think the Amish deserve credit for the added beauty with their farms and the quaint buggies that add to the charm of the country side. Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish community.

  6. kristin jager

    Leaving the "English World"

    I loved this article Erik. Have I ever thought about leaving the “English” world ? Yes, I would have to admit at times I have thought about it, wondered what it would be like. Why would I consider this? I am in awe of their Faith. That they live each day to serve God. They place Him first in their lives. I also love their strong and deep commitment to their family and friends–Love Thy Neighbor!! In our present day English world I would want to escape the evil that seems to surround me–The clothing, the poor language, the foul music , the drugs…..It seems to get worse and worse. The Amish Way seems so appealing when comparing it to these awful things that surround me (and all of us).
    I think the greatest thing I would gain if I did so call “jump the fence” to the Amish Way of life would be to find a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord. And to have a closer relationship with my family and not having the outside peer pressure influence my family life.

    Would I actually leave my world? No, I feel I can serve the Lord just as well here. Actually, He needs us to spread His Word here, in the “English” world. My relationship with Him strengthens each and every day–it does not have to happen in the Amish World. As for the deeper and more meaningful relationship with my family…I work on that everyday. I struggle with the outside peer pressures, but I think the Amish must do this as well. They are human just like we are. No one person is perfect–Amish or English….Only God.

  7. The Spokesrider

    Trust in the system

    “trust in the system or lack thereof”

    Now there is some food for thought that I haven’t had before! Thanks.

  8. Magdalena

    Plain But Not Amish

    We live a Plain life as Anglicans; yes, we had thought of joining th Amish, but there are barriers we cannot supercede. Language would not be a difficult one for me, but would have been for my husband. I speak several languages now,which makes it easier to learn another one. Church discipline is also something we already experience, and its occasional irrationality.

    When Nicholas had the stroke, we would have been better off if we had been Amish. We would have had a community experienced in supporting people struck with a sudden tragedy, and there would have been a place for us within that community. The Englisch world fails to provide for the “least of these” in ways that allow reintegration. We had to leave our home community and shelter with another Anglican minister (and what a blessing to have a friend who takes the Gospel so seriously)until we could work out the complicated paperwork to obtain Nicholas’s pension. We would become Amish if it were possible. We already, in many ways, live that life, but without the underlying community.

    Kevin, there are Plain Catholic communities. You can look them up online, I hear from them occasionally.

  9. Annmarie

    I have “daydreamed” about joining the Amish culture. I say daydream b/c it is something that would never happen for me purely based on where I am in my life. There is no way I could pick up five kids and a husband and have them all integrate into that lifestyle. It would be in a word “selfish”….since I am the only one who is in such “awe” of their culture. With that being said, if it were ever possible, I think I would gain that deep sense of community, their integrity that is so inspiring and just their sense that this life is just a pilgrimage to “our” final destination-HEAVEN(hopefully). Upon immersing myself into all things Amish…I came to conclude while we may never live among them we certainly can SIMPLIFY, we certainly can have our own sense of community(which I finally realized that I am blessed to have) and we certainly can walk deep in FAITH as well.
    Not a day goes by that the Amish does not cross my mind, but now I see that the Lord is not asking me to join their community however, I am prompted to try to incorporate their ways amongst our “English” ways…hence we might just have the best of both worlds:)

  10. Alice Aber


    What a good question Erik!! I have often thought about living amongst the Amish rather than trying to join them completely. First I would never be accepted as I have been divorced. I do try to simplify my life, live a spirit filled life that is as dedicated to Christ as I can.

    The big thing I think I would gain if I joined the Amish would be the community. There is no sense of community even in the church I attend locally. Learning the languages would not be difficult for me either. I seem to pick up languages pretty quickly. Leaving behind all the conveniences of the modern world would not be difficult for me.

    You might think it would by the amount of time I currently spend on the computer but I have left the computer before and not given it another thought. When my time is filled up with other things who needs it? I gave up TV years ago. The only reason there is one here now is because of Frank.

    The other difficult thing to change would be total acceptance of the ordnung as I was raised different. However, I think I could even adjust to that in time. It would be nice to have a real leader in my life instead of me always having to take the lead in order to survive. (long story there folks, LOL)

    I think for me, living amongst them would do a lot for my spirit and dedication. As someone else posted sometimes peer pressure in the English world is too much. I personally would rather live alone but to have good influences around me.

    Many things the Amish do we can do on our own without “joining” but that sense of community is hard to achieve in the outside world. Its not what it used to be.

    Blessings, Alice

  11. Elin

    I would not be deterred from becoming Amish because of the language, I already speak some German and I understand it quite well. I also speak Swedish which is another Germanic langugage so I think learning Penn Dutch would be manageble. However, I wouldn’t want to become Amish. All the good things of the Amish I can get, I think and I can choose things I want from my world as well. What would I gain? Very little but perhaps less stress and a simpler life. What would I miss? Computers, cell phones, some electric cooking tools, education, critical thinking, rights for me as a woman, thinking and expressing myself freely, wearing patterned dresses… and so on, and so on. I like learning about the Amish and be imspired by their choices but I am happy in my non-Amish world.

  12. Stephen B.

    Hi. I can’t put much time into this because work call, but I have to ask, must one join the Amish in order to find a simpler, more satisfying life, doing God’s work?

    I work in residential treatment with teenage boys, mainly from the city, yet our school and residence is on a 165 acre rural farm and forest spread. I have to put up with the bad clothes, bad music (it’s really mean, angry, and violent – even more than a casual listener might think, and getting worse), bad language, and gross materialism. Believe me, on one level, I’d love to leave all that in a heartbeat for living in an in-depth, religious community.

    Still, I have to do what I have to do to make a difference where I am, and even if I *could* adapt to the different languages and give up all the modern communication tools completely by joining the Amish, I would feel as if I was running away from important work that needs to be done.

    We English can still toss much of the technology if we want in order to get closer to what life is really about. The Amish don’t have a monopoly on bikes and buggies, simpler occupations, close church communities, or plain dress either. One problem is, however, who wants to be the first in our English communities to pick up this life (style) outside? Peer pressure is a tough thing, in English communities especially. Somehow, however, I think we English need to start creating our own smaller, loving, more purposed communities or the English world of ours, as it is now, is going to collapse.

  13. Ed

    The Amish give me hope. By their mere existence, we see how a community can survive — indeed thrive — very much outside the ‘system’. So many things we take as “necessities” — health insurance, cars, college education, electricity — the Amish show us we can do without. The Amish inspire me to be more creative in how I live and to focus on what is really important.

    I’ve also thought many times that it is not by coincidence that the Amish have thrived in America and not someplace else. There are few other countries that would tolerate a pacifist people who keep to themselves and speak their own language. But aren’t we Americans all the better for having the Amish among us?

    One could also argue that groups such as the Amish are proverbial “canaries in a coal mine” for matters of personal freedom. Were the day ever to arrive when Amish had to depart America to practice their beliefs, then I shudder to think what would be in store for the rest of us.

  14. Lucy http://annabaptist.wordpress.com/

    I was brought up akin to the Amish so if I was go become Amish it would not be that different (In my church TV was not permitted, radio frowned upon, non-conformity with the world stressed, services were held in peoples’ homes & barns, women were to wear skirts and baptism full immersion & for adults only).As an adult I find I am uncomfortable like films and wearing trousers.

  15. Christina

    The community would be a huge gain for me. Out here in the English world, we just don’t have a tight-knit community. I have great neighbors and we do help each other out now and again, but it’s nothing like living in an Amish community.

    I’d also finally gain the horse that I’ve always wanted! LOL!

    I don’t think the language would be too much of a problem once around it so much. I already understand some of the PA German on account that it’s a similar dialect to my mom’s Donauschwaben dialect and I’ve been hearing it from relatives all my life.

    That being said, I still don’t think I’d actually want to join the Amish. I can be plain(er) and Episcopal and still live a simple life and love the Lord out here in the English world. (I can also buy a horse when we build our dream house and have some acerage!)


  16. Matthew

    Yes, I’ve given much serious thought to it… and even took some steps toward that direction some years back.

    I think for many, they fall in love with the culture without understanding the implications of the religion attached to it, or love the religion without fully understanding the culture. Its one thing to think about these things, or even write about these things, but its another to live it 24/7. As Americans we live in a highly individualized society. We get to choose nearly every aspect of our lives: where we worship, where we live, where we work, how we school our children, etc. But in Amish society, by and large, these things are chosen for you – and that’s a radical adjustment to make. The ethos of Amish life is ultimately one of submission: Submission to the church leaders, submission to the ordnung, submission of wives to their husbands, and submission of children to their parents. With that submission comes grave responsibility – another word that too many Americans don’t care for.

    For me personally, I simply realized I had certain talents which are incompatible with Amish life that I would need to cast off in order to fully submit to the leadership. It is especially difficult since I earn my livelihood through these talents. I must admit that certain times I still am very much torn about leaving the pathway toward the Amish. Depending on the group one considers, there is much so much to gain. But alas, it was a trade-off I was unwilling to make at the time.

  17. Magdalena

    Christina, my (Anglican) friend Sarah calls us “Plainesque.”.

  18. Bob Rosier

    The Amish and their simple peaceful lifestyle is an inspiration for me. They set a wonderful example for the rest of the world. Being a Quaker, I have many similar views. Most Quakers are pacifist, our “meetings” (our church gatherings) are either held in a simple building or sometimes in each others homes. We do, however, get more into the world, and Quakers have actually won a Nobel Peace Prize.

    An Amish man was once asked if outsiders could join the Amish community. His reply was “you do not have to move here to adopt a lifestyle of simplicity and discipleship. You can begin wherever you are.” Another Amish man wrote a note in Small Farm Journal in 1993. He proposed “An Amish Challenge” as follows:

    If you admire our faith, strengthen yours
    If you admire our sense of commitment, deepen yours
    If you admire our community spirit, build your own
    If you admire our simple life, cut back
    If you admire deep character and enduring values, live them yourself

  19. TomK

    Years ago I thought about joining, read all I could about them, asked the ones I live around questions and then decided against it only because I was not them and knew I could not become them and that slight separation is a big difference.

    During my research I came across a article where one Amish writer responded this way, to the question about joining quoted in Small Farm Journal (Summer, 1993):

    “If you admire our faith — strengthen yours. If you admire our sense of commitment — deepen yours. If you admire our community spirit — build your own. If you admire the simple life — cut back. If you admire deep character and enduring values — live them yourself.”

    So now I do as the man suggested with a compromise here and there –

    Most of my clothes I wear now-a-days at least for everyday purposes are either blue or black jeans and gray or black t-shirts/sweatshirts. Most of my short trips up town I either walk or cycle. I have a home business. I actually go out and talk to neighbors, help them with things and sit on my front porch not the back deck, which seems like the tend now-a-days. I grow some veggies, but I have done an alternate way of doing that which actually helps the community, I got a freezer and veggies that can be washed and froze I buy from local farmers markets or road side stands, helps them with income and gives me time to do other things beside gardening. I also do the same with side of beef.

    As for faith and values I have adopted many different things and combined them into what is comfortable and feels right for me…

  20. Mona

    Nope, you can count me out….would not want to join the Amish….like it like it is….I can do what I want , when I want, like my running water, tv, computer, phones, car,washer & dryer, Microwave…..I can be just as happy as I am , I don’t need to be Amish and rough it……that is not for me……love the Amish, love to visit their stores, etc. but that’s as far as I would go….wouldn’t want the head of the church telling me what I could do and could not do……no way…..just sayin………………….

  21. Father Andre Leveille CSC

    Coming Back to your own ENRICHED by Amish.

    An interesting question. No, I have never felt to become Amish, eventhough I feel very close to them and visit once a week. I like the country and their lifestyle. A wise Professor of mine at Notre Dame, Fr. John Dunne, CSC encouraged us in a class to cross over into another faith culture different than our own, LEARN FROM IT and RETURN TO OUR OWN ENRICHED. This is what I have done for over 30 years. I had an Amish Bishop (now deceased) who was my friend and we would meet regularly to discuss a scripture passage and tell how we would preach on it. We both learned a lot. For me the Amish live the monastic life in the family. In many ways their faith community is very much like my own…except that I am celibate. Their lives silently proclaim the gospel to me. They are a big part of my life and have enriched my teaching and preaching over the years. God bless them. Fr. Andre

  22. PW

    I think there would be a lot to gain if I joined the Amish. When I watch programs with the Amish I am shocked by how innocent they are. They are well-mannered with absolutely no sarcasm. It would be VERY nice to not have to deal with the terrorism, illegal immigration etc. etc. etc that plagues modern society. I also agree with a lot of their theories about how rock music, television and media corrupts your mind.

    Actually, I think a lot of Americans forget that this is what Americans were like before 1920. I was fortunate enough to know my great-grandmother and she was exactly like the Amish. For a person born in 1901, she thought the generations after 1920 were very strange. She hated vanity, never wore make-up, always wore her hair in a plaited bun, never wanted a television, got her water from a well, and in the 60’s when she was in her 60’s had a pet deer(!!!) that she called Mary Doe. Actually, the deer’s parents had been killed and some people brought it to Granny, she raised it and in the daytime it would stay within her fence and when Granny went to bed, it would jump the fence and wander around town.lol.

    On the other hand, I don’t think I have enough discipline for the lifestyle. I don’t believe that we have to follow a lot of the old testament laws after Jesus’ death. And I do have some objections with them covering up abuse in the community, although I realize that this happens in every community.

  23. Shawn

    I want to join the Amish!

    I want to join the Amish. I really do. I have been reading about them for over a year, and I used to live near them. What would I gain? Well, satisfaction. I can’t stand society and the government the way it is. It is all so corrupt. I have been trying to live out my life according to the Bible for many years now, and it simply does not work in a secular society. I’ve been doing battle with the government and society for years now and I’m just tired of battles, every day. Plus, I feel like I’m fighting it alone. I figure that I may be embraced by the Amish due to my Biblical beliefs and even though I also see that the Amish still have challenges as far as government intrusion, regulation, etc…I have a hunch that if I were to go to bat for the Amish, at least I would be appreciated and supported!

  24. Kate


    I wanted to pipe in here. To those of you who said you admire the Amish faith and wish you could have it that way too. You can! The Amish will be the first people to tell you that life doesn’t come without challenges whether you’re english or Amish. It’s up to us whether we have a good and in-tune relationship with the Lord! Having a great relationship with Jesus Christ doesn’t come from the Amish style of dress, buggies or even church. It comes from you giving up self and loving Him with all your heart. Pray that God would strength your relationship with Him. I am sure there are Amish people out there who *don’t* have a good relationship with God just as there are ‘english’ church-goers who don’t. Please don’t think you must be Amish to have a deep relationship with Jesus. There are people who are *so* strong in their faith yet they are the only Christians in their towns. There are people literally dying for the sake of Christ and they are also without a community…”Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened…”

    Shawn, I don’t think the Amish want to be used as an ‘escape’. I totally understand where you’re coming from as I too am just sick of the ‘world’ but the Amish won’t shield you from that. They know that there are wars, abortions, gay publicity etc. They aren’t hidden. Yes they are more ‘away’ to some degree but that is a choice. They choose not to participate in government things but yet still activly pray for our government and leaders. I would suggest you really try praying and asking God to help you ignore the thigns of the ‘world’ and focus on Him and Him alone. I have learned that lesson myself. Instead of getting upset at the world or situations, I pray about them. I pray for our leaders when I feel they’ve made wrong choices and I pray for those who spend their time hating America etc. Prayer is a powerful thing!

    Anyways I’ve said enough 🙂 I feel I am following God’s plan for me as I take the step to join the Amish this July but that is a personal choice & not something that is “for everyone”. God bless each of you!

  25. Kevin Lindsey

    Magdelana- thanks for the comment. I am aware of plain catholic online communities, and I belong to some of those. I am not aware of any one that is a “real” community per se. So we just try to live our plain and simple life where we are now. We do have a wonderful parish community! By the way I appreciate your blog, and want to thank you for it.

    Tom K. thanks for the quote from the Amish farmers journal. That is exactly how I see it.

    Fr. Andre- you have said succintly what I was trying to get at: Learn from it and return to our own enriched! Studying the amish and the other plain people helps enrich my faith life!

  26. Al in Ky.

    I would gain a stronger sense of community, mutual aid and
    resistance to wordly non-Christian values. But, I don’t think
    I’ve ever thought about trying to become Amish, because I realize
    I wouldn’t be able to do it. So much of what it means to be
    Amish is learned from words, example, and socialization from the
    time an Amish person is born until they join the church — and
    then they continue learning more about what it means to yield to God and each other. If I tried to become Amish as an adult, I’d have too many years of catching up to do!

    However, there have been several times I have thought, “I wish I’d been born Amish”. I also have thought about becoming something like Beachy Amish, but I wonder if the Beachy Amish have as strong sense of community, simplicity, resistance to the world, etc., as the Old Order and New Order Amish do. For now I need to learn more about living in my own context as a person who lives what the Amish call Gelassenheit — yielding myself to God and others in my faith community.

  27. Christina


    Magdalena…LOVE IT! Please tell your friend that is an excellent description!

    I probably become more plain every year in some aspect of my life. It’s a process and it’s happening slowly.


  28. Magdalena

    For some of us, the transition is almost overnight – my husband encouraged it in me, and within a month all my worldly clothes were gone, and I was in Plain dress and kapp. At the same time, we worked toward becoming self-reliant and moved away from worldly entertainment and interests, which has become the longer journey. If you are interested in reading more about our life as Plain Anglicans, I have a blog – http://magdalenaperks.wordpress.com.

  29. Lamar

    Who are "the English"

    While I agree with the article and have thought about joining the Amish, I’ve thought more often about joining a monastic community. Only I’m married and I’d require my wife to be welcome as well. 🙂 The varieties of cultures and practices in American life are many. I’ve found that my quality of life has improved making changes in the atmosphere of my home that might look more Amish. Less multitasking. Mindful approaches to simple things like cooking and household chores. Silence in the background. Less TV. Watching only TV I really like. Reading. Eating simple, home cooked food. Making work choices that emphasize quality of life rather than a paycheck (if you have such choices) You don’t need to be Amish to reduce the stress and strain of modern life.

  30. David

    Al in Ky.

    Perhaps this site will answer some of your questions.


  31. Some great responses so far. I like what Father Andre says about returning to your own faith heritage enriched. Father I bet your Amish Bishop friend was enriched by the experience too.

    One of my Amish friends likes to say ‘bloom where you’re planted’. No telling where you might find fertilizer, though.

  32. On keeping it simple

    Sounds like most of us realize the unlikelihood of becoming Amish, but nice to hear some of these examples of living simply like Lamar and Tom shared above. I guess some of us live simply/plainly by choice and others by default.

    It’s harder to do the former but–and I think Stephen B hit on this above–I’ve always thought that who and what you surround yourself with can make things easier or tougher when it comes to living simply/plainly.

    I have a fairly simple lifestyle compared to some but I’m sure it would seem fancy to others. But I find the simpler I keep things-especially with limiting purchases that eventually just weigh you down–the happier I am.

    The Amish have the advantage in that most people they have contact with on a day-to-day basis are already on the same page.

  33. Debbie Welsh

    So many great comments here! I, too, have wondered what it would be like to live amongst the Amish. And it stems from a desire to have a simpler, less stressful life that’s centered around more important things like God, family, and friends. And also, to have more of a connection with the earth and it’s creatures. I think in our fast paced, modern society we’ve come to lose so many vital and important things like that, and we admire and grow wishful of the Amish because they still have it.

  34. Lance

    I forgot to mention in the comment Erik quoted that it is not any easier for a person raised Amish to remain Amish if they don’t believe in the system. If you don’t truly believe in the Amish way, it becomes that much harder to be at peace there. I was told that one family moved 17 times in 21 years. Obviously those people could not find the peace they were seeking!

    I notice that people mention things that they would not give up to be Amish. When I was interested in the Amish but had not yet tried it, I often thought of this Bible verse: Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” This verse nagged at me until I said that there was not one thing that I would not give up for God. It was also a factor in not being upset at giving up the technology that most people take for granted but that the Amish have decided to not adopt.

    What you give up in technology is more than replaced by community, friendships, peace, godliness, and a sense of security that no insurance policy or gov’t program can even come close to providing. Gelassenheit is the enabler to this type of peace and security. Without that, you struggle mightily.

  35. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Plainly elsewhere, on the English, and me joining the Amish

    Lamar; you might want to look into something called the Quaker Monastery. Apparently their group wears plain, and works communally on a farm environment.
    Their link is thus:

    To try and answer “Who are the English”, the simple answer is anyone who isn’t Amish or another similar group. I do not have an English last name by any stretch (I’m not divulging) but they could refer to me as English because I am not a member. Erik is a friend of many Amish people and he understands the language a bit, but he can be lumped as English. I think to the scene in the film “Witness” when Book questions the blonde man (Mortensen) whose name I forget, on why sometimes he says “English” and sometimes he says “Yankee” and the Amish character bluntly replies “Same thing.”.
    I figure it dates back to when the Amish may have been less settled and more migratory than they are today, it would have just been as easy to say “I do not trust the English, even if he runs the general store” or “I have to buy land from that English, is it a fair deal” to avoid getting to know a person it remains easier to say English. I’d rather be referred as “that English guy” than “that sinner” myself.

    Myself, I try to emulate the Amish in small ways, my clothing choices (no logos, images on etc), in my daily life. I try my best to be patient and forgiving. I strive to curb my anger and avoid violence in all it’s forms, and quietly, I pray for guidance now more than I used to. I could not join the Amish church, but I try to behave as though I had. I do watch TV and use the internet and such, but I try to limit it, myself. I describe myself as being influenced by both the Amish and the Quakers. In Quaker terminology I identify myself as an Isolated Friend (a Friend without, nor not near a Meeting House for Worship).

  36. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    I forgot the link

    I forgot the link to Quaker Monastery:


  37. Bob Rosier

    Thanks for the link Slightly-handled-Order-man. Although I am Quaker, I never knew about this group. Very interesting.

    Also, I wanted to say that this is really a fine group of friends with many similar views. I believe in general we all have the right idea of simplifying our lives and following the teachings of Jesus.

    I would like to share a Quaker saying:

    We seek a world free of war and the threat of war.
    We seek a society with equity and justice for all.
    We seek a community where every person’s potential may be fulfilled. We seek an earth restored.

  38. 2whls3spds


    Unfortunately in the secular world “community” has become a rare occurrence. Perhaps it is because we have too many of them? Church, sports, school, neighborhoods, clubs, etc.


  39. Matthew


    Great comment. When I wrote about things I would not be willing to “give up” in order to become Amish, I was not referring specifically to the use of technology, but rather a philosophical difference in what many would call a “talent” but Amish culture would call pride. In my case, I am a professionally trained classical musician. I’ve put in decades of hard work into this, no less (and possibly more) than an Amish woodworker puts into learning the art of building fine furniture. This is the primary way I support my family. But more importantly, I see this as a talent given to me from God, yet it is a talent which is irreconcilable with Amish (and most plain) culture.

    So its not so much if I’m willing to give up the “world’s ways” and join the Amish, but rather a philosophical disagreement on what EXACTLY are the “world’s ways” and being “worldly.”

  40. Kate

    Slightly… When you said “I’d rather be called that English than that sinner” were those your words or the websites? I just thought I’d mention that I would be appalled to hear an Amish person (or any Christian) say that. I have *NEVER* heard any Amish person refer to someone not of their church as sinners. They do not look at everyone else as sinners or hell-bound (some churches do I guess but not most as far as I know). The Amish I’ve talked to have specifically said they believe and know that you don’t have to live Amish to get to Heaven. It’s about accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior that gets you there. I just thougth I would mention that lest people get thinking that the Amish people see others as sinners. Thanks,

  41. Erin

    I really respect the decision the Amish have made to accept or reject modern technologies as they see fit. They consider the impact of any modernization on the entire community and don’t feel the need to justify or explain anything to the outside world. I wish that sense of commitment to ones community, and that all for one and one for all attitude was more prevalent in “the outside world”. The world changes so fast and the Amish don’t refuse to change. They just insist on changing at their own pace and on their own terms. That is what I would hope to gain. The ability to take the world by the reigns, take it down from a full tilt gallop, to a manageable trot.

  42. Jessica

    Count me in... SORTA!

    I have thought for years how much I would love to join the Amish. But when I actually read about them, there are some things that keep me away. Part of my attraction, I think, is my love for American history and the pioneer spirit. The Amish reflect that in modern day society. What would I gain if I joined? Well, I would want to join because of the community. Because of the seemingly (even if naive) safety of it with less crime, etc. I love the country and that would put me there. I would love to be able to open my closet and not have to think about what I am going to wear each day or worry because my clothes don’t match or this has a stain or that doesn’t fit right or that is out of style, etc. I love the simplicity.

    Being a single woman I find living in the English world to be especially difficult. I never wanted a career, but because I am single, I am forced into one, just as I was also forced into college. While many englishers might find the male/female rolls a hindrance, I find them fulfilling. I’d have loved to have attended a one-room school where the basics and community are emphasized instead of all the chaos of trying to prepare oneself for college and career. There is a lot of pressure on women who have not married to make a career for themselves and be self-sufficient, and I don’t think that’s what God intended. Also, with the Amish you have a community caring for you in times of sickness or crises. You know that if something happens, there are people who care about you who have your back and will support you. I also like the idea of attending church with believers with share the same values as you. Finding a husband who shares my ideals and values would be nice too and I bet more likely among the Amish than what I am seeing in the english world.

    One thing that has kept me from going Amish (actually, there are a number of things) is that in order to do so I would have to turn my back on some of the things I feel Jesus commanded his people to do.

  43. Jessica

    Just wanted to add...

    Just wanted to add that I am looking into a Beachy group in the area. Haven’t actually attended yet… still trying to work up the nerve. 🙂

  44. Bob Rosier


    You bring up an interesting point. Having played several musical instruments myself, I soon learned that my music abilities were limited. There seems to be a God given talent to many who are truly professionals. I’m not saying there isn’t a lot of work evolved too. Young ladies who excel in Amish schools often become school teachers in later life. But if farming and woodworking are the only options for most Amish, are they letting some inborn talent go to waste? Or, does it really matter in the grand scheme of things?

    And Kate, I agree that the Amish I know have never said anything about others being sinners. That is another reason why I like and respect their way of life. It appears to me, however, that there are many new form of Fundamental religion out there which is associated with too much negativity. All religions are supposed to be based on love and forgiveness, yet many of the fundamentalists I know and even some family members seem critical of anyone with a different view.

    The test of true religion is simple. If people’s beliefs, secular or religious, make them belligerent, intolerant, and unkind about other people’s faith or beliefs, they fail the test. If their convictions impel them to act compassionately and to honor others views, they are good, helpful and sound.

  45. Valerie McMaster

    Have Thought of Being Amish Before

    My good friend was Amish. And I have several former Amish. Listening to the strengths of community living is the most appealing to me. It is one area, I feel the Church in America falls short in, mainly because we allow too much to crowd our lives, to leave room to be there for one another. That is something I pray changes in churches non-Amish. What would I gain?
    Satisfying my curious wonder, of if it really would be a life I could live. Have been a Christian so long, that I find it would seem like an “escape to an easier life” in the ways of being used of God on the outside. That is the one thing, that kept making me feel that though appealing, it would feel selfish-“for me”. Just because I know so many hurting and unbelieving that God has put in my path that I can’t turn my back to try to live a simpler life, though more difficult in the things that take longer than they should. I’d gain, though, some skills and values I didn’t grow up with and always desired. And QUIET! And, I love the children!

    Bob Rosier, you have left some interesting quotes. I am not sure, Jesus would agree with your view of religion, in that we were called to reach the lost, since He said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me” John 14:6.
    Would you say, this makes him intolerant and belligerent by conveying the way of Salvation, One Way, through Him? So if we cnvey this to others, is tht not love? Not sure what Quakers then believe.

    James 5:19,20: Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a sould from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

    Seems to me the Bible’s way of compassion is pointing people to the truth, if they are in error.

  46. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Sinning for effect. Quaker Monastery, Stepping Stones

    Hi Kate, No one, especially not a member of the Amish community, ever called me a sinner. Honestly I used the word for dramatic effect, to point out that from my view-point that there are worse things to be called than English. I should have been clearer.
    Thank you for bringing up the point that an Amish won’t call me a sinner (I’m personalizing for effect again), it’s good to know, and you do bring up good points on their ideas on faithful acceptance of Christ.

    Bob Rosier, you’re welcome on the QM website. It seems that it may have connection with a Meeting where they seem to strictly practice Silent Waiting Worship and encourage it’s membership to be modestly dressed in Michigan. There is other websites that I’ve seen that seem to also be connected to these two organizations.

    I’ve secretly been of the opinion that if one wanted to move toward an Amish lifestyle, perhaps a person ought to try Quaker plainness, although, as strict, one doesn’t always have to learn a new language, though I do read that some people use Thee and Thou a bit, but it’s a personal choice. I’d suggest starting there and then moving on. If it is the Lord’s will then it will happen. I suggest treating it like it was a gradual stepping stone type of progression.

  47. Lindsay

    Hmmm…in some ways I’m coming from a different place. I am a non-believer, and I like having short hair and wearing shorts and tank tops and running marathons as my hobby. However, like others I do long to learn some of the home arts that have nearly died out these days, and I think it’s worth is extremely important and needs to be preserved.

    I think life is what you make of it. If you don’t feel like you have a sense in this world, create it. Even if the world looks dire there are still lots of good people out there if you seek them. I have a close friend who moved to another city several years ago, but she integrated herself into the community by doing volunteer work, working in a communal garden and taking children on nature hikes through a local park. I did the same when I moved from Nebraska to Chicago…I joined a running club, encouraged my husband to make friends with other British expats who in turn have become part of my community etc. It is easier to join an already established club or church, but if that isn’t available you sometimes have to develop your own community in other ways.

  48. Shawn

    If I had the chance, I would....

    If I had the chance to become Amish, I would. I’m just so sick and tired of the secular world. I just can’t stand it anymore. If I knew of a way to join the Amish, I would take it. I’m sure I would enjoy it and never grow tired of it. I’ve always wanted to make my own soap, can food, drink raw milk, sew my own clothes, etc….The secular world is just too complicated. I have too many problems, too many worries, and I am not happy. I would love the opportunity to become Amish.

  49. Jitka Grossová

    I found interesting tendency in these answers – a lot of men have no problem with an idea of giving up technology – while some woman (especially those with children) value washing machines, refrigerators and indoor plumbing. And this is exactly why I dont think of joining the Amish. Havin three small children gives me enough focus on family wihout having to trot to outhouse during winter nights or canning day and night during summer (speaking of personal experience).

  50. Jitka interesting observation. Maybe there is something to that. Men are rougher, or simply have less contact with these day to day tasks that are made easier by basic technologies.

    I was guessing by your last name that you might be Czech or Slovak. I’ve actually been asking Poles here in Krakow if they’d find Amish life appealing. So far, no takers!