Raised Amish, headed to Med school

I quite liked this story on a Sugarcreek, Ohio man who was raised Amish and is now planning to attend medical school at Ohio State (no longer online).  Obviously, it’s not typical for someone who only went through eight grades to have such high educational goals.  In fact, Andy Yoder completed his GED and is now finishing his final semester at Goshen College in Indiana.

The first reason that I found this article appealing was that the family involved seems to have a healthy approach to the idea of their children not being members of the Amish church.  As Andy points out, in some communities people who leave the Amish are shunned…though here it is unclear whether Andy was baptized or not, which would make the difference.  The unbaptized, Amish-raised person is not subject to shunning.

Certain Amish churches in the diverse Holmes County, Ohio community are more permissive regarding shunning, while others are more strict.  In practice, certain families having both children that are members of the Amish church and ones that are not may consciously or unconsciously treat them differently.

Amish handle shunning differently in different places (more on the varying approaches to shunning).

On the other hand, shunning is one of the main reasons the Amish have been growing at such a fast pace.  If the Amish begin to ignore the practice, it would likely result in decreased growth.  Shunning has been a major point of contention since the Amish group was led away from the Mennonites by Jakob Amman over 300 years ago.  And it remains a point of contention today between different Amish groups.

The other reason that I liked the story was learning of Andy’s plans–to study oncology and return to serve the Amish community.  While you may occasionally meet the home-grown Amish chiropractor or herbalist, the Amish depend on services of the modern medical community just like any other Americans.  Having someone that is fluent in their first language and familiar with their culture can only be a plus.

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    7 Comments

    1. Matthew

      Very interesting article, Erik…

      Did you see my comment in the New Years review? Please e-mail me when you have a moment. Thanks!

      Matthew

    2. Dave Carrig

      I wonder – If this guy wasn’t baptised, went off to college, and came back to the community and then was baptised – if he would still be allowed to practice medicine.

    3. How awesome that he wants to come back and help the amish coimmunity but I too wonder if he could ever be baptised into the amish community.

    4. Jeff Heilman

      I must admit I was a bit taken aback by: the home-grown Amish chiropractor… phraseology. I myself am a chiropractor and some of my most consciencious patients are Amish. They can think outside the box, because they live outside the box. They do not cowtow to the “modern medical” as the one and only source of truth about life and health. Also… I use recently developed scientific methods, as let us hope do all of the medical doctors treating the Amish. I see no need to characterize chiropractic as home-grown when it is a licensed profession just as is the medical doctor or the physical therapist.

    5. Amish chiropractors formal training

      Hi Jeff, thanks for reading, I think I might not have been as clear as I could have been and the meaning might have been mistaken here, the ‘home-grown’ phrase was not by any means referring to your profession or intended to disparage your profession, which I respect.

      It was simply meant to reflect the fact that the Amish might have someone that to some degree practices the chiropractic trade among them, that is of their own, ie ‘home-grown’, meaning specifically an Amish person, rather than someone from the outside.

      I assume the one or two Amish ‘chiropractors’ I’ve come across, and I use that term loosely, (as I do not know offhand to what degree they were trained) had some sort of formal training, though I don’t know if they would have been licensed by an official board.

    6. Michelle and Dave, you both raise an interesting question. I do not know. I am curious myself. I will try to remember to ask when I’m in Lancaster next month.

      Matthew, sounds great, I just wrote you on that entry that I did not get an email address from you, I don’t think it shows it, but I’m

    7. Pingback: Odds and ends and another great photo | Amish America