Joining the Amish

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

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,…

|

Part 2 of The Amish Way interview and 10-book giveaway

“Brimming with many children,” write the authors of The Amish Way, “most Amish homes produce eight or more sets of dirty dishes three times a day.  That means at least twenty-four glasses, dozens of plates, and countless pieces of silverware, not to mention pots, pans, mixing bowls, platters, and serving utensils.” Yet you won’t find an automatic dishwasher in any Amish home. For the Amish,…

Union Grove and Yanceyville, NC Amish settlements

Union Grove and Yanceyville, NC Amish settlements

North Carolina is my home state, and not one known for having a large Amish population.  Amish have attempted to settle NC in the past, however, and today one settlement does exist, at Union Grove, a hamlet lying some miles west of Winston-Salem. Union Grove, which began in 1985 as a spinoff of the Guthrie, Kentucky community, is considered a New Order settlement.  Like its…

|

Seeking the Amish-for the wrong reasons

Outsiders sometimes express a desire to join the Amish.  As an Amish authority explains in Richard Stevick's Growing up Amish: The Teenage Years, seekers often come with misguided notions: "When seekers from the outside come to us wanting to be Amish," explained a bishop, "they are often attracted for the wrong reasons.  They could have fallen in love with one of our Youngie.  Or they…

|

‘Joining’ the Amish: Russell Maniaci and the Amish mission movement

Outsiders often express an interest in joining the Amish.  The Amish traditionally do not seek out converts.  In one example related by John Hostetler in Amish Society, a particularly zealous outsider–though never actually formally joining an Amish congregation–did much to stir up Amish circles in the 1950s.  As Hostetler writes: When outsiders join, or attempt to join, the Amish church, issues may arise that polarize…

|

Part Two: An Amish America Q-and-A with a Lancaster County Amishman

In this second part of an interview with an anonymous Lancaster County Amishman, we look at the phenomenon of outsiders joining the Amish, using the Amish name to market and sell products to the public, Amish participation in the recent presidential election, and the meaning and purpose of shunning. (And if you missed the first part, here it is: An Amish America Q-and-A with a…

|

Unusual Amish names

Millers, Yoders, Schrocks, Stoltzfuses.  These names are a dime a dozen in Amish America. Meet enough Amish people, and once in a while you’ll come across an unusual name, one that may sound non-Germanic or even a Germanic-sounding name that is simply uncommon. The Amish have welcomed a fair share of converts to the faith over the years.  Last names such as Jones, Jess, Chupp…

|

Trading a pilot’s license for a buggy: an Amish convert’s story

Kudos to Matthew for the link to a story about a Geauga County, Ohio man who joined the Amish in 2000. David Rapinz adopted the lifestyle around a decade ago.  He met an Amish woman, Martha, who ‘took a chance on him before his baptism’, and later married her.  Rapinz found beards, horses, and the Pennsylvania Dutch language all a bit unwieldy at first, but…

So you want to join the Amish

So you want to join the Amish

One thing that sets the Amish apart from many Mennonite groups, and for that matter most other religious bodies:  they don’t recruit. Amish typically neither condemn nor encourage attempts to join.  They may seem a bit discouraging towards the idea.  If the subject comes up, usually you hear something like ‘if you don’t grow up Amish, it’s really hard to do it.’ Occasionally, you run…