On-Camera Interview with Amishman Joseph Yoder (Part 1)

Joseph Yoder is an Amishman who works in the furniture industry in the community at Arthur, Illinois. Local news station WCIA had the chance to do an on-camera interview with Joseph. They’ve released it in two parts.

Joseph of course had to consent to do the interview on camera.  Not too typical, but it sounds like he might wish to further public education about his people with something like this. The station has been doing a series of stories from the Illinois Amish Heritage Center. So this would be in keeping with the educational aspect of the center.

In part 1 here, Joseph discusses topics including schooling, how relations with non-Amish have changed in his area over time, and what got him to join the church as a young man.

Image: WCIA

“I don’t know any different, so I don’t think this life is very difficult, because I’ve never lived another lifestyle,” Joseph explains.

He also talks about the Amish practice of formal education through eighth grade, and the belief that they’ve learned the essentials at that point. “It is way better if we can give them a hands-on [education] after that.” However he does note that the community permits individuals getting GEDs.

He also notes that traditions were much stricter when he was growing up. “There was not a lot of communication with the outside world when I was a boy growing up. It was much more reserved. We were encouraged as children growing up not to talk to strangers, not to talk to English people…That I think has drastically changed in this area where we’re at today.”

He also shares what he loves about being Amish, how he liked his experience of the outside world during Rumspringa…and what brought him back to join the church.

An on-camera interview with an Amish person is rare, but not unheard of. Nice to see Joseph being able to share this with us.

Definitely worth a watch. Check out part 1 here. I’ll be posting part 2 later.

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    1. Joe

      Arthur, IL, does seem rather progressive

      We spent several days in the area. I have posted this before, but some may have missed it.

      We stayed at a state park campground a few miles south of Arthur. While there we met not one, but two, Amish families staying in trailers for vacation. Both were not rented, but owned by other family members. One was owned by the man’s father-in-law. One was owned by two of the man’s sons. All were still in the Amish church. Both trailers were hauled to the site by English friends. Both were hooked up to electricity, but solely to keep the trailers’ batteries charged up, as the batteries would be depleted in a day or so if not kept charged. I did notice that the family on our loop still generally cooked over the fire pit rather than using the propane stove in the trailer, but many English campers do the same. Even though it was hot, I never heard them running the air conditioner. So, they really weren’t using the AC power for anything other than battery charging, similar to how they might use their diesel generator at home.

      1. Dale

        Arthur, IL

        Interesting interview! My wife and I bought an Amish property from Amish who were letting a young Amish couple stay there. They moved to another property nearby, which we later bought from the Amish owner. They were planning to leave the area as there was a problem in the community and most of the community was leaving or had left. We didn’t have the heart to make them move so soon again, so we allowed them to stay several months until they were ready to leave. We got to know them quite well and have maintained the friendship despite them moving away. We eventually sold those 2 properties when we had the chance to buy a much nicer property from my Amish friend’s in-laws. From what I learned, in Wisconsin the Amish don’t have Rumspringa. The ones I know don’t use bicycles or solar panels and my friend used only air powered tools (gasoline powered compressor), but bought battery operated tools once he moved to a new community. I’ve found the Amish in WI to be quite friendly and always wave! I’ve met a few in other communities and recently met an old order Mennonite family (recommended by an Amish friend when I was looking for a wood cookstove) who has electric and propane but horse and buggy rather than automobile. A bit different than the Mennonite gentleman my father used to work for many years ago. I have great admiration for Amish and Mennonites for their self sufficiency, simple lifestyle, love for family and community, and knowledge of things my grandparents knew but I am now trying to learn. But my friend told me some things (knowledge) are being lost in their culture as farming becomes too hard to make a living on and more get jobs and do construction. When asked what the Amish would do if society goes cashless and a digital currency is forced on us, he thought they’d have to find another way such as barter…they will not participate in such a system.

    2. Denise S.


      Thanks for the video, that was very interesting to hear his side of growing up. Can’t wait to watch the 2nd part.

    3. Diane P

      On camera review

      Enjoyed Joseph story. He’s right about hands on after 8th grade. I think junior high and high school was a waste of time. Your basics are till 8th grade. But in order to become a doctor, dentist, police officer it’s required to grad from high school. As farmers I think not necessary to complete school. The Amish are smart knowing how to live without not depending on stuff like English do. I would love to hear more part 2. Thank you for sharing his story. So glad they can communicate with the English for better understanding of their way of life.

    4. Missy

      Unable to watch

      No matter where I click I can not get the video to open. It’s like the links weren’t added. It says “here” but it’s not highlighted or clickable. Any hints?

    5. Gary


      Background music on part 1 Amish video very irratating.
      Rest of video very good.