Rumspringa & Amish Youth (Myths & Realities)

What is Rumspringa?

amish rumspringaRumspringa is the term used to describe the period of adolescence Amish young people go through starting at age 16. Rumspringa has been depicted in books and films, to varying degrees of accuracy.

There are numerous misconceptions about Rumspringa, a formative time for Amish youth. Let’s have a look at what happens during Rumspringa, its purpose, and answer some common questions about this important period of Amish life.

Jump to:
What does Rumspringa mean?
Rumspringa Myths
Purpose of Rumspringa
Amish Youth Groups
Amish Dating
Amish Drug Bust (1998)
An Amish father’s words on Rumspringa
When does Rumspringa end?
Rumspringa FAQ

Rumspringa Meaning

Rumspringa literally means “running around” in the Pennsylvania Dutch language spoken by Amish. When speaking of the period in English, Amish are more apt to describe their youth as “running around” rather than, say, “being in Rumspringa” or some similar description.

Amish young men repairing a black buggy in a driveway

Common myths about Rumspringa

The following are all common misconceptions about the Amish & Rumspringa. While there are always exceptions and individual examples, these ideas are for the most part incorrect.

  • Amish youth leave home to live in the city – Most Amish live at home while adolescents.
  • Amish parents encourage their youth to “break the rules” – Amish parents, like any other, want their children to behave morally.
  • Rumspringa is “time out” from being Amish – Most Amish youth live at home and attend church during Rumspringa, and are subject to community influences. However they may bend and break church norms found within the Ordnung (“Amish rules”) as they are not yet church members.
  • Rumspringa is typically a time of experimentation with sex and drugs – Some portrayals of Rumspringa have depicted the time as one of wild partying, though this is the exception rather than the norm.

Rumspringa misconceptions

Rumspringa has been portrayed as time of experimentation and decision. While Amish youth will mull the decision to join the church at this time, one Amishman who has studied the subject extensively contends that this decision is typically already made in the mind of many youth.

The Rumspringa period serves other purposes besides deciding whether to join the church, detailed here and below. One of those purposes is to enter into a more formalized social world and peer interaction, which occurs when joining a youth group.

The Purpose of Rumspringa

Rumspringa, according to one Amishman who has studied numerous outside portrayals of the adolescent period, is a time when an Amish youth enters into a more formalized social world. During this period, an Amish young person will interact with others in his or her age group, in a variety of settings.

amish rumspringa youth group
Amish youth play volleyball at Sunday singings

Rather than an angst-filled period of existential choice, it is primarily “a time to find a marriage partner”. As opposed to a sinful exploration of the world, typical Rumspringa activities are much tamer. They may include attending church singings, participating in games and activities with the Amish call a “buddy bunch” or “gang” (Amish-used terms for youth group) and of course, dating.

Contrary to belief, Amish parents do not “encourage” their youth to leave home and experiment with sinful behaviors—nor do they condone it. At the same time, there must be at least a semblance of free choice in the decision to become Amish.

Amish parents may disapprove of their teens’ behaviors. But they do not necessarily exercise authority to prevent some of those behaviors. It should also be noted that some Amish parents will be more permissive than others, especially those who themselves behaved wildly during their own time “running around”.

Amish Youth Groups

Amish youth groups vary in their character—some “plainer” or slower groups are tamer, and even adult-supervised, while other “faster” groups are less conservative in expectations and rules. Youth groups typically meet on weekends. In the case of the faster groups, this may mean parties or “band hops”, while with the slower, or “singing” groups as they are called in some communities, meet on Sunday at the home where church service took place for games of volleyball and group singing. The larger Amish communities can have dozens of youth groups, varying in degree of plainness.

rumspringa amish youth
Rumspringa is a time of increased social activity for Amish youth

Contrary to portrayals, most Amish do not participate in heavy partying, drug use, premarital sex, or other illicit behaviors—though these are not unheard of, particularly among wilder youth groups. Some Amish boys may acquire a driver’s license and a vehicle during this time. In some cases they might park their vehicles at their parents’ home.

Some Amish will fit out their buggies with onboard stereo systems with large speakers. The vast majority of Amish youth, however, do not leave home for the city or even for their own dwelling place within the community, but remain under their parents’ roof until marriage.

Amish Dating

Traditional dating among the Amish follows a common formula. A young man will invite a young woman to drive her home in his buggy after a Sunday singing. A dating couple may exchange letters and will see each other mainly on Sunday. A couple may date for a year or longer before a young man may ask for marriage. He will also seek out the blessing of her parents.

rumspringa amish dating
A key purpose of Rumspringa is finding a marriage partner

If all goes to plan, the couple will inform the deacon, who then “publishes” their intent to marry, or in other words, their plans will be announced to the church. Preparations for a wedding will ensue. Though it is not common, some Amish  may date non-Amish, which can present complications (Amish do not marry non-Amish, as both partners must be baptized in the Amish church).

Amish drug bust: Rumspringa taken too far?

The 1998 drug bust of two young Lancaster County Amish men for selling cocaine did much to fuel the idea of Rumspringa as a hedonistic, hypocritical period for Amish youth. Two young Amish men pled guilty to conspiracy to sell cocaine, which they had been acquiring from the Pagans motorcycle gang, and selling to other young Amish people as teens. As one would expect, the incident deeply troubled the Amish. The response included anti-drug classes as well as more parental involvement in youth groups, including the formation of some “slower” groups.

Drug use is generally not widely seen among Amish youth (though not unheard of). Nonetheless, the perception of the youth period as a hedonistic time, driven by national coverage of this story as well as by the follow-up 2002 documentary The Devil’s Playground, has stuck. Later media such as the “Breaking Amish” TV series has only further entrenched this perception.

Amish man standing behind a team of horses in a field

An Amish father’s view of Rumspringa

The following was written by an Amish father. We include it here to give one direct Amish perspective on this important period of Amish life. This Amishman lives in Pennsylvania and is the father of six children.

And now turning to Rumspringa. I’ll try to recap what Rumspringa is and what it is not. What is mythical and what is reality. The reality is at the age of 16 the young begin attending youth gatherings. The purpose of these is to socialize with peers and to find a marriage partner. Once married this period of life is over. The myths are that Rumspringa is the time to decide whether you want to be Amish or not.

That choice is made sometimes earlier than 16 but not acted on until later in the teenage years, or sometimes when one fails to find a marriage partner that person gradually drifts away to another way of life. Then also sometimes the choice to leave the Amish is a result of a mid-life crisis of some sort–happening even after baptism and marriage.

The idea that parents encourage the youth to sample the world with the hope that this inoculates them against the world is very much a myth.

Amish parents like any other parents are very concerned about their children’s behavior and do everything they can to help the young make good choices. The youth are not encouraged to sow their wild oats. When a young person decides to be rowdy and engage in deviant behavior they are making a choice of their own. Certainly not at their parents’ behest or suggestion.

Although the degrees of parental resistance and correction vary some, poor choices and deviant behavior by the youth cause all parents anxiety.

Rumspringa is not a period of temporary freedom. Some of the young are baptized members of the church and as such are accountable for their behavior to the body of believers. This doesn’t mean their behavior is always perfect and always in the Ordnung but nonetheless they are responsible for their actions. Other youth are unbaptized and are not members of the church and as such are not accountable to the church. However they are the children of concerned parents and since the unbaptized are usually in their early to mid teens they are therefore still the responsibility of their parents, who are doing the very best they can to be good parents.

The youth are also learning about peer pressure, some of which is positive, such as that produced by girls seeking decent guys!!  And then also some peer pressure as any American teenager knows is not so positive.

In spite of parents’ best efforts it seems the young everywhere sometimes only learn the hard way.

When does Rumspringa end?

Participating in certain social activities as well as the use of unsanctioned technologies ends for many Amish youth at baptism, and at the latest at marriage in the Amish church. Following joining the church, Amish may continue to spend time with their youth group, largely for the purpose of finding a spouse.

Baptism and membership in the church is required of prospective Amish mates, a decision which Amish youth typically take around ages 18-22. Baptism may occur sooner or later, however. Amish girls typically choose to be baptized at a slightly earlier age than boys. Amish youth often maintain close ties with their Rumspringa friends, which may last a lifetime.

Johnny Detweiler Amish youth TikTok account
Some Amish youth use social media, such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook (@johnnydetweiler from the Return to Amish program)

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find some of the most commonly-asked questions about the Amish & Rumspringa.

  1. What is the purpose of Rumspringa?
  2. Are Amish youth encouraged to behave badly during Rumspringa?
  3. Do youth have to follow the rules during Rumspringa?
  4. Why is Rumspringa important?
  5. Do Amish youth leave home during Rumspringa?
  6. Why do Amish have youth groups?
  7. What is a “Buddy Bunch”?
  8. What happens at an Amish youth singing?
  9. Do Amish youth own smartphones?
  10. Do Amish get into trouble during Rumspringa?
  11. What do Amish do on dates?
  12. What is bundling?

Running Around Youth

Why do Amish have Rumspringa?

In the words of one Amish father of six boys, “at the age of 16 the young begin attending youth gatherings. The purpose of these is to socialize with peers and to find a marriage partner. Once married this period of life is over.”

It does not explicitly mean a time to “get wild”, “sow oats”, or “taste the world” (even though that is what some Amish youth end up doing). It’s a period in which Amish youth engage in increased social activity, and in most cases it ends with joining the church, marriage, and settling down.

Do Amish encourage youth to be wild during Rumspringa?

No. This is a myth. Amish parents accept that their Rumspringa-age children may test boundaries before deciding to join church. However they do not “encourage” their young to sow wild oats or engage in sinful behavior (not unlike how most non-Amish parents raise their children).

Amish youth often customize their vehicles with reflectors.

As one Amishman says, “When a young person decides to be rowdy and engage in deviant behavior they are making a choice of their own. Certainly not at their parents’ behest or suggestion.”

Do Amish have to “follow the rules” during Rumspringa?

Technically not church members but not completely under the influence of their parents, Amish youth do have leeway to push boundaries.

They do so in various ways. These can include wearing non-Amish clothes and hairstyles, participating in parties and “English” activities, using alcohol and other substances, and even acquiring a driver’s license and vehicle.

It’s important to note that not all Amish youth participate in such ways however, and many if not most Rumspringa experiences are tamer–much tamer–than that depicted in much of the media. Participation in youth and singing groups, sports activities, and taking trips with friends are more common and more acceptable youth behaviors.

Why is Rumspringa important?

Rumspringa is often understood as a time when Amish youth are deciding whether or not to be baptized as Amish church members, a lifelong commitment with tangible implications if broken.

However, as the longstanding trend is that a majority of Amish youth do eventually choose to join the church, this probably overstates the existential nature of this period of life. An Amish father states that, in fact, “that choice is made sometimes earlier than 16 but not acted on until later in the teenage years, or sometimes when one fails to find a marriage partner that person gradually drifts away to another way of life.”

It’s clear that the Rumspringa period is important as a time to find a potential spouse. Since the Amish church requires baptism before marriage can occur, when couples are seriously dating, baptism can in most cases be considered a foregone conclusion.

A Change Within is a pre-baptismal journal for youth as they prepare to join church. It contains the Dordrecht Confession, selections from Scripture, and the Rules of a Godly Life devotional

Do Amish youth leave home during Rumspringa?

This is uncommon, despite portrayals to the contrary in the media. Rumspringa-age youth typically live at home until after joining the church and then getting married and moving into their own homes.

Why do Amish have youth groups?

Youth groups offer Amish adolescents a formal peer group with which to socialize on a regular basis (usually weekly) following church service. The way Amish youth socialize in their groups varies widely though, depending on how “fast” or “slow” their particular group is.

Slower groups revolve around the Sunday evening singing, which is often adult-supervised. Faster groups may engage in parties with live or recorded popular music, alcohol and even drugs. Youth groups may have creative names, such as Lancaster County groups called “Parakeets”, “Cherokees”, and the “Quakers” (see Richard Stevick’s Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years, p. 117-118 for a discussion of the Quakers gang).

Amish parents have encouraged adult-supervised and morally upright activities for their youth, especially following highly-publicized incidents involving Amish youth and drugs. One such initiative among concerned Amish parents in Holmes County, Ohio is known as the “Midway” movement (see An Amish Paradox, p. 74-77).

What is a “Buddy Bunch”?

In some places including the Lancaster County settlement, a Buddy Bunch describes a peer group within a youth group or “gang” as it is known in some places. Donald Kraybill describes the term in The Riddle of Amish Culture as “the cohort of twelve to twenty youth that join a gang in a particular year.” Furthermore, as “the primary peer groups for teens, Buddy Bunches often continue meeting throughout their lives” (see p. 146-147).

What happens at an Amish youth singing?

Youth gather in the afternoon, typically at the home of the family which held church that day. Volleyball games may be played at various nets set up at the property. Dinner is provided, and in the evening a group singing commences, typically lasting around 2 hours.

Youth typically play volleyball before the Sunday singing.

Amish parents and other family may attend, particularly in so-called “supervised” groups. Songs are sung from various hymnbooks, in German and in some cases in English. Participants pass around water and snacks for refreshment during the singing. Following the singing, Amish youth socialize and couples may pair off to leave on dates. Read an outsider’s account of attending an Amish youth singing.

Do Amish use social media?

Some Amish do use smart phones, particularly in more progressive communities. Smartphone use is most common among youth, but adults also use them (or simpler cell phones), particularly business people who find them useful as a tool for management and customer contact.

Since many phones are internet-enabled, some Amish do go online. Some Amish youth do have Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media accounts. See Richard Stevick’s work Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years for a current account of smartphone and internet use among Amish youth.

Do Amish get into trouble during Rumspringa?

Like other adolescents, some do. Occasionally, bad behavior by Amish youth makes the media. These are typically stories involving parties, underage alcohol possession, and sometimes DUI arrests.

What do Amish do on dates?

Amish dating practices vary by groups. A typical first date is arranged when a young man asks a young lady if he can give her a ride home following a Sunday singing.

Amish teenage boys get their first buggies at a similar time as American males get their first cars – on turning 16. In contrast, young Amish females rarely have their own buggies. Some Amish youth may go on dates in a more “English” style, including going out to eat or attending concerts.

What is “bundling”?

“Bundling” or bed courtship is practiced by some Amish in the plainer communities. Bundling is a colonial-era custom which was historically practiced not only in Amish culture but among non-Amish as well. It is known in the PA Dutch dialect as Uneheliche beischlof.

The practice involves a dating couple laying together on a bed, fully clothed, where they are expected to talk together into the wee hours but abstain from sexual activity. Human nature being what it is, that is not always the case.

Bed courtship is a minority custom with which many Amish will have no experience. Amish may even be embarrassed to be associated with the practice. See Growing Up Amish, p. 229-230 for a more in-depth discussion of bundling.


  • Stevick, Richard A. Growing Up Amish: The Rumspringa Years. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014.
  • Hurst, Charles E, and David L. McConnell. An Amish Paradox: Diversity & Change in the World’s Largest Amish Community. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.
  • Kraybill, Donald B. The Riddle of Amish Culture. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
  • “Amish buggy driver charged with DUI.” Associated Press. The Patriot-News/Penn Live, 8 Dec. 2009. Web. Accessed 27 Mar. 2015.

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    1. Kate

      Thanks for clearing up myths! People hear about 1 or 2 youth doing drugs or partying and assume every Amish teen is that way. Our community and others around our area do not practice Rumschpringa at all. The reason our district was formed was from parents growing up in Indiana (where its highly practiced) didn’t want their children participating in that. So it’s frustrating that people assume “All Amish…(dangerous words! haha)” practice it. Thanks for clearning up some common myths!

      1. HoliathRumspringa-er

        Rumspringa is too important. How did you get on the Internet if you truly Amish

        1. Lance

          TOO important? You have got to be kidding me. This is one of the Amish’s most destructive behaviors.

          If Amish children in Rumspringa went to all the churches in their area to learn and to test their faith and the Amish way, I might agree that Rumspringa has some importance. I have never heard of that happening even once. From everything I have heard or read, all Rumspringa activity takes place in the Devil’s playground to verying degrees depending on the participant.

          I would love to be pointed out as wrong, but only by those that truly know. I was very glad the group I was with completely forbade Rumspringa.

      2. Required

        Myths indeed, but from this webpage, not mainstream sources. What is meant by myth is ‘tip of the iceberg.’ The great and diverse body of Amish I know, are more dystopic than the non-Amish. Orgy, adultery, drugs, alcoholism – this article is a psyop to protect the dystopia. No wonders.

      3. Your mom

        your mom

        i like your mom 😀

    2. Henry Troyer

      Yes, like Kate, I am so pleased to see that some of these myths about Runspringa are set straight on this website. The 2002 documentary (if you can call it that) The Devil’s Playground was a travesty. It showed the worst of the worst. When I was an Amish youth in Ohio, I participated in Rumspringa. Some of my best Amish buddies are now Amish ministers and bishops, and I can freely go back to Ohio to visit them. At one point, I withdrew from the Amish young people, and began exploring ways to exit and join the Mennonites. Parents of Rumspringa-age young people vary greatly in the degree to which they try to impose limits. My parents were quite strict, and there were serious consequences for breaking Ordnung rules even though I was not yet a church member. Other parents of the same community, were more permissive. A few — mighty few perhaps — who might even encourage their youths to leave the Amish community, although none would ever encourage their youths to engage in wholesale hedonistic activities as depicted in The Devel’s Playground.

    3. Paul Hitchiner

      Yes, I can see that parents and church want their teenagers to choose to follow the Amish way rather than have it imposed upon them. This accepts the free-will that God has given us. Without Rumspringa then teenagers would be taken into the Amish way whether they want it or not. There is a weakness here that Amish teenagers would choose the Amish way without choosing to follow God, or to become ‘Born Again’.

    4. iluvhanssolo

      they have stuff like this once in a while on a certain channel. Dont remember which one it was but the show was called “The Devils Playground” or something similar.

    5. Camila

      Thanks for clearing up the myths guys! I hear even in communities in which it is practiced, some youth choose not to even partake at all, and the ones that do definitely don’t all participate in drugs, sex, drinking like that Nat Geo show would have you believe. It sad for the ones that do though, because from my understanding they might not have as much knowledge about the dangers and effects of certain drugs even with a one time use.

      I respect the Amish, especially for their peaceful ways, but I just read a great book called Amish Snow by Roger Rheinheimer (You can get it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble) that shows some of the dark sides that aren’t talked about. It follows a boy named Ezra as he leaves his abusive father (I’m sure it’s not common, but it can happen anywhere) and him trying to make it in the city in Philly on his own. He never once falls into the trap of drugs or drinking either at Rumspringa or from the city folks. It has a lot of twists and turns. It’s quite the dramatic book and it was hard to put down! I recommend it to anyone.

      1. Felicia R Agnew

        I’m enjoying reading info.on this web site.curreently writing a book& one of my characters is Amish teenaget.His family just moved to the city,Athens Georgia.Looking for create my characters.

    6. K Clark

      I appreciate this information! I’ve seen The Devil’s Playground and am from the area, which was even more interesting. It may be that most Amish do not participate in wild behavior during Rumspringa but it is my experience that many do. When I was in High School I hung out with many Amish boys. This would have been around 2003-2004. Although we lived closer to the Swiss Amish, I hung out with boys from Nappanee which is the community featured in The Devil’s Playground. The particular group must have been, “fast,” because they were wild. More wild than my group of English friends by far. They all drove motorcycles and nice cars and they would chug whiskey right from the bottle. So you can understand my hesitance in believing this partying doesn’t happen. I could fill a book with all my Rumspringa friend memories. And I can guarantee it would make even my English parents upset to know what we were out doing.

      1. lev


        Hello K – my name is Lev Gorn. I found your post very interesting and informative. I am writing a screenplay with an Amish narrative and would love to chat with you about your experiences. If you would be so kind to drop me a line I would very much appreciate it!


    7. Jeannie


      My husband works as a reserve sheriff’s deputy in northern Indiana, where we have many Amish and Mennonite people. It has been his experience (and other officers) that most of the huge and wild parties they bust for underage drinking/drug use are Amish parties of hundreds of teens who come from all over the country. I must admit, I am pleased to read that the common understanding of the purpose of Rumspringa is not what most of us hear in our community, but seems like it is for a noble reason and a good time of courtship and fun. I think all teens need that. However, I would say that, at least in our area of the country, a lot of Amish teens on their Rumspringa do participate in wild drinking parties.

      1. Lev Gorn

        doing research on Rumspringa

        Hello Jeannie – my name is Lev Gorn. I found your post very interesting indeed. I am writing a screenplay with an Amish narrative and would love to chat with you about your experiences. One of the main characters is a Sheriff. If you would be so kind as to drop me a line I would very much appreciate it!


    8. I Love Seth Green

      Rumspringa WOO!

      I was watching the movie Sex Drive, and Ezekiel, an Amish guy played by Seth Green.
      He said it was an Amish tradition, and when you turn 16 you have a drinking party.
      Alright laters.

      1. Anon Nymus

        What up English? Let me put it in your butt

    9. Tom G

      Running Around....

      I had to laugh when I read the part that says….”Rumspringa ends at marriage.” Isn’t that really the truth for both Amish and non Amish people? =)

      1. Jayamila

        Tom G

        not really normally if you fall out of love you can get a divorce thats not an option for the amish

        1. Julian Malem

          OKay Proffesor Shrimp

    10. Jack

      OH, really?

      I lived in Ashland Co, Oh, 20 years ago, and I was told by some common garden variety Mennonites that the Amish youth had a lot of drug trouble.

      For that matter, they didn’t seem to have too much respect for them generally.

    11. T. L.

      What's Next?

      Thanks for the info on Rumspringa. Now I want to know – what happens to a young person who decides not to be baptized into the Amish religion? Where do they go and how do they make it on their own in a world they know little about? Thanks.

      1. Tom G

        What's Next?

        I am not an expert on this subject, but I know there are a number of Ex-Amish that have went to Columbia, MO to start a new life. You can Google “Ex Amish” and find out more about it.

        From what I understand, the Ex Amish limited schooling is a real detractor from getting a great job but the Amish upbringing of being a hard worker is a big plus.

      2. Daryl

        T.L. a young person who does not join the church, i.e. becomes baptized, remains in a state that sociologist would refer to as pre-adult. Thus, while they would not be supervised or repremanded like children, they would not be allowed to participate in community life like an adult. Only through joining the church would one be allowed adult responsibilities and participation.
        Till then one lives in a world somewere between childhood and adulthood and the older one gets, the more uncomfortable this twilight world becomes, thus forcing one to be baptized or to leave.

        If one leaves, life is no different than it would be for any other kid raised in a conservative rural family that leaves home young. Sure there are things that other teenagers know, but how long does it take to learn how to use the TV remote or the ATM card. To tune in a radio station, switch on a light, use the microwave timer, ipod, computer, dishwasher, etc. The Amish runaway is ignorant not retarded.

        The hardest part is not in learning how to live in the english world, thats easy, but in having no knowledge of things such as sports teams, the rules and who the players are, or of famous people, or of musical stuff like instruments, popstars, hit songs, etc. One is like a cultural foreigner, always having to ask questions.

        People don’t mind teaching you how to drive a car or how to open a savings account or even help you find a place to sleep and the younger you are or look, the more willing people are to help. But when you don’t know who Michael Jackson is and have never heard of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Heidi Klime(sp), etc, or invite you to share a giggle twig and you go with thinking that share sounds good till you discover what a giggle twig is. This makes people laugh, shake their heads and look at you like you are retarded.

        Like last year, the first time I saw a flat screen TV up close, mounted on the wall at work. I asked my work college where the box was with the rest of it, you know the working parts. I thought it was like a desk top computer, with screen and workng parts separate. Boy was I surprised to find out that those big bulky TV’s had become squashed flat. Amazed actually.

        One learns to laugh with people when ones ignorance shows, if not one will soon develop a persecution complex.

        The hardest thing at first about living in the english world is how selfish and uncaring most everybody is, also how angry and aggressive people are. Not to mention false and deceptive. Seems they can’t understand that a lie, irrespective of its color, is still a lie and that a promise is a promise and not an optional statement.

        But it is what it is and one just learns to live with it.
        And the reward is freedom, freedom to come and go as one pleases, to do/dress/watch what one wants, when one wants, how one wants and with whom one wants. (of cos within the bounds of the law)
        and what I wanted yesterday may have changed by today and I am free to follow my new wants, today tomorrow forever, guilt free. (well almost)

        Such freedom does not exist the church world where everything is regulated and prescribed.
        In the secular world one molds the world to oneself. In the church world, one moulds oneself to the church discipline.
        In both worlds, those that succeed remain. Failures in the secular world become dropouts and in the church world, shunned.

        The only question is if one wants to mould or be moulded, both ways have their unique challenges and rewards.

        Another strange difference is that in the secular world I have freedom of action but not of speech, whereas in the church world I have freedom of speech but not of action.
        For example, In the secular world if I said I gambled, no protest, however if I said that gambling should be legal for children people would protest. In the church world I could say that gambling should be legal for chldren, no comment, yet if I said I went gambling, there would be an uproar.
        In the secular world people are more concerned about whether ones speech is offensive or not and not if it is true or false, whereas in the church world people are more concerned about whether ones speech is true or false and not if it is offensive. That comes second.

        Two different worlds with two different mindsets. However, it is much, much harder to join the church world than to join the secular world, gaining freedom is easier to bear than losing freedom. Difficulty in ajusting is not what keeps the Amish in the church and out of the secular world, it is faith that the Amish way of life is the correct way. A fact most runaways will admit to as well. It is lust for freedom and worldly things that keeps them in the world. I openly confess it.

        1. T. L.


          Thank you so much for your thoughtful explanation. I can see that you must have really pondered whether or not to leave and join the English world.
          I wish you well in the big, wide, wonderful world. And, I hope that you will find a good place there.

        2. kc

          many need to take to heart everything you said.
          I had friends (amish), growing up and loved their friendships dearly. No one life is right, what’s right is the way you choose to live YOUR life. I hope you make the best of your life and find your happiness.

          1. Daryl

            Thanks for your kind words TL and KC. Much appreciated.

            1. Lance

              a couple of questions

              Hey Daryl,

              1. Do many Amish kids go to other churches during their rumspringa? I have never heard of it even once, although the church I was with suppressed rumspringa, so I have a limited knowledge of this.

              2. Are you going to church, since you left? Do you still believe in Jesus Christ? Or are you like Mose Gingerich, thinking because you left, you are going to hell, so why bother?

              1. Daryl

                Hi Lance
                I hope my answers will suffice and do justice to your questions.

                1. There is I think a misunderstanding somewhat about ruimspringa. While one has more freedom during these years in the sense of liberty to leave the home more freely and return later in the evening and miss supper, one still behaves and does the right things in front of ones parents. It is behind ones parents backs that one gets up to mischief. The stuff you hear some kids getting up to they would never do in front of their parents or any another adult who would tell on them. As my father always said – you are never to old for a klap (smack)
                The kids have an unwritten code that they will not tat on each other, unless it is something really bad or life threatning. When the parents seem horrified when their kids are caught doing something bad, its a genuine emotion, at home those kids no doubt acted like little angels.
                There are things I did in my youth I would never tell my parents, even now, they would be just as horrified as if I had done it yesterday. Some things only those present at the time should know about and will hopefully go to their graves without talking. Shame has no respect for the years that have flowed by.

                As to going to other churches, some would go if they have religious outside engels friends who invite them. Generally it would be to a Sunday night youth service. The morning service in broad daylight is far too exposed. But most youth during ruimspringa are not looking to find God, but rather the delights of the outside world (the naughty ones) or a boy/girlfriend (the good ones) mostly its just a chance to hang out free from adult supervision. I went once with a friend to a Pentecostal mega-church as support. At that time I did not know those words. He had been invited by some girl he had met and asked me to go with him. Being curious I agreed. It was shocking what I saw, it is possible it still gives me nightmares. Firstly the set up with many large screen TV’s and so big, like a sports stadium. It did not feel like church and if we had not been driven there in a car for over an hour, I may well have walked home before the service started. During the service I saw people rolling around on the floor screaming and crying and laughing like mad people. I thought they would attack me and rip me apart, boy was I scared. Generally most of the people were jumping around and carrying on most strangely during the service. The music played by their rock and roll band sounded like secular radio and not at all worshipful. What I saw there that night was an image from hell. Like I said, I’m sure it still haunts my dreams. Guess when you come back to the youth with stories about the madness, foreigness and strangeness of other churches, their desire to visit is diminished. It sure cured my curiousity. Till this day I will not go anywhere near a church that calls itself Pentecostal or Charismatic. God forbid.

                2. Truth be told it is hard to go to a regular church, everything is different. The women don’t cover, they wear pants and jewelry and the service seems more like hollywood entertainment than serious worship of God. One could go to a conservative Mennonite church, but one might as well stay with the Amish, the only real difference is that the one uses electricity and cars and the other does not.

                I certainly do believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior, more so now than before. Before it was in ignorance, now its with knowledge thanks to exposure to Baptist churches, their doctrine is good, but their practice is worldly. They claim to be believers yet live like the unbelievers. Go figure.

                Unlike Mose, I separated what was biblical from what the elders taught. In my mind there are four levels. The first is biblical and binding upon all Christians such as head coverings. The second is from the early elders of the first church who have added to head coverings such as its for all Christian women, baptised or not and to be worn all the time, not just when praying or prophesising. The third is the founding elders of the various modern groups who added that all women in their group should wear the same style and color head covering. And forthly our current elders who will make rules applicable for this generation. As a Christian I am bound to follow the Bible and the elders under whose authority I fall, for they have the power to bind or lose, but only in relation to the sheep of their own fold and not another’s fold. Rom. 14:4. If I am not under their authority, I have no obligation to obey them.

                The Bible does not mention electricity, to use it or not is a ruling of the elders, if I joined a church that forbade it I would be obligated to be obedient to the ruling of the elders, to rebel against them is to rebel against God. Rather choose another church and other elders to be bound by.

                As to salvation, I do not know if I am saved or not, this Christ will reveal to me on Judgement day. This is the only teaching that makes sense. People claim one can know they are saved now, but when I see who is claming this I have my doubts, they don’t even look like Christians or obey the Bible, yet they claim to be born again and have salvation. I don’t think so. Grace does not mean that one can continue living a worldly lifestyle like the heathen.

                So tell Mose, if he has removed himself officially from under the oversight of the elders he has no obligation to obey their rules, their rules do not provide salvation only a saveguard against worldliness, however he still has an obligation to obey Gods word as it is written in the Bible and this one can do privately. Its just hard and lonely to do it alone without the support of the brethren. But history is full of stories of the faithful who were in the same boat of being believers far away from any assembly and having to fellowship alone or only with their nuclear family.

                If however he is not being obedient to Gods Word, then yes he should be fulled with fear. For death stalks all of us and it has a 100% catch rate.

                Well Lance this seems a bit long, so I will stop now.
                Be blessed

                1. Stacy

                  According to the Bible, we can know for sure we are going to heaven!

                  Thank you for sharing with us what must have been one of the most difficult things you have ever faced. 
                  I appreciate what you said about man’s guidelines  versus God’s guidelines. I, for one, want to follow only God’s guidelines because He is the One we will all stand before one day to be judged! (Hebrews 4:13)
                  Though, according to I John, it is possible to know without a doubt of your eternal destiny, I completely understand what you are saying about folks that are confident they have salvation, and yet they live ungodly life styles because, after all, we are all “under grace” now. 
                  They seem to forget that living under grace, however, does not mean we have more freedoms, it should actually cause us to live more seriously and biblically minded and aware of God’s commands. (Romans 6 says it much better than I can :))

                  You may already know some of this, but in Matthew 5, Jesus Christ is preaching and shares the differences in one’s life style now that we are under grace verses the life style under the law:
                  Under the law, it was an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; but now under grace, a Christian should turn the other cheek when someone hits him! God is merciful to us; we should in turn be merciful to others. Now, under grace and no longer the law, just a carnal look from a man to a women is equivalent to committing adultery in his heart. It sounds pretty tough! But it is not if God is your Father and if you ask Him to help you live this new and wonderful way. 

                  Now that we are under grace, obtaining salvation is much easier; it is no longer dependent upon us bringing a perfect lamb or goat to sacrifice and receive pardon for our sins for one year, as it was in the Old Testament. We do not have to live under the law anymore, and attempt to work for salvation. Under grace, it is dependent upon our acceptance of Jesus’ blood for our sins, once and for all! I am sure you know all this. 🙂 

                  Daryl, I am so sorry that the lifestyles of these people have caused you to question things. Shame on them! Search the absolute truths of the Scriptures, and try to get your eyes off these distracting people. (John 5:39, Acts 17:11) They will stand before God, too, and give an account for they way they have lived. (Romans 14:12)

                  Now, to my real point! 🙂 The lifestyles of these people aside, and with an open Bible in front of you, it is indeed possible to know that we are going to heaven when we die, according to the book of First John. Toward the end of this book, (I John 5:13) John writes “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 
                  God wants us to rest in this fact, knowing with a calm assurance that we are indeed His children! Earthly fathers know who their children are, and vice versa. The children look like their dads, and often walk, talk, and act like their dads, many times sharing similar hobbies, likes and dislikes. It is the same way with our Heavenly Father. 
                  Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [He is the Great I Am; all-powerful etc], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
                  I would encourage you and anyone who is searching for Truth, to diligently seek God, remind Him of this promise He made in His Word, and ask Him to give you guidance and knowledge about your salvation so you can know without a doubt that He is indeed your Father. Just as you would want your son to know you are his dad, God wants you to be confident that He is your Father. 🙂 
                  When I was a child, I came to the knowledge through God’s Word that I was not good enough to get into heaven; I could never be! Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” But Jesus Christ was good enough, and one day long ago, He died on a cross for my sins. His blood paid my penalty! (Romans 6:23) I accepted His payment, and now I am His child. Believe in His Word. Have faith that Jesus’ atoning work on the cross was enough to get each of us into heaven. I am so thankful for what God has done for me! 

                  1. Amoni

                    This is AWESOME!

                    I LOVE some of the things you have said here in your post Stacy. I will be sharing some of this with the youth at my church as the Lord allows me to. 🙂 May God bless your life abundantly in ALL His grace and overflow of truth!

                2. Patty Neil


                  Thank you for the comments Daryl, I hope you found happiness in your journey.

        3. rosie

          thanks for an honest and insightful explanation of what rumspringa really means to an Amish youth and the choice you were faced with. I too wish you God’s guidance in living in the vast, knowledge filled world and the wisdom to continue living by the morals already given to you by your life with your family.

        4. Surchr

          Fascinating, Daryl! :)

          Daryl, this post of yours is riveting: you really ought to write a book about your life amongst the Amish and then “outside” in the world. Wishing you absolutely the best and lots of blessings in your new “journey”!


        5. required

          Freedom. Freedom from rationality. The global society is engineered by the media, which is an arm of the global cartel (identified under the recent name Bilderberg among others), which has centuries ago undertaken a program of social engineering to consolidate power into a global dictatorship. Sex and economy were weaponized to eliminate the family. The individual was dependent upon and accountable to the family, but is now dependent upon and accountable to the state. Power is thereby transferred from the family to the state. This was begun with the industrial revolution, and finalized with the technological revolution. The views of this society must be historically contextualized to separate its perversion by media, which twists fundamental assertions.

    12. Paul

      Informed consent

      Is there a group of young people of rumspringa age who would attend a school designed to give them a balanced view of the non-Amish world and some basic skills to enable them to enter it? My impression is that the education Amish children receive does not equip them to make an informed decision about whether to enter the church. The church’s all or nothing strategy (shunning) seems to me to make this choice a sham. But if a school of this sort existed it might create a core and a support group from which young Amish who want a real education could emerge.

    13. Lance

      Amish children are brought up to be Amish, and nothing else. The concept of training them to become anything other than Amish is not going to happen anywhere. Even non-Amish religions do not raise their children to be something else, so the Amish are not being oppressive here in any special way.

      If the Amish were a diminishing group with failure at business being common, one would have to conclude that their educational system was a failure. It appears that the opposite is happening, the Amish are having success rates that the world can only greatly envy (just read our fearless leader, Erik’s book!), while the english world appears to be economically falling apart.

      It is true that Amish children are not prepared to exist well outside of the community, but what would be the point of training them for that? Training your children to be something other than what you believe is not wise and just does not happen.

      1. AlmaPhillips


        You are right on. If the Amish wanted to educate their children
        to understand modern culture they could send them to public school.
        Not going to happen.

    14. Paul

      Well, sure, that’s the official line, but it is not generally true within secular society. I am interested in the few who may think that Amish religion, or religion in general for that matter, is nonsense. There are such people in every religion. The Constitution protects those people. I want them to be able to have an informed choice. Obviously such a school would need to be created and staffed by non-Amish, since there are, by definnition, few Amish who are educated in the sense that secular people mean the word.

    15. Lance

      Feel free to create such a school. Go ask Mose Gingerich what he would think of it. He is a lot more familiar with ex-Amish, being one himself. I think he actually is trying to create some sort of counseling center for those that leave. The Amish are intentionally separated from the english or ‘secular’ world as God has commanded in Romans 12 and 2 Cor 6. They are not concerned with what secular society does, nor do they closely monitor what those that leave the faith do. If you wish to do something for them, I am sure you can try, but do not expect the Amish to help you and maybe some of the institutions friendly to them will also refuse to help you. Try your school, but make sure it can survive economically first, as there is a lot of risk involved and there may not be a lot people looking for what you want to do.

      You are right though, the Amish are not ‘educated’ in the modern sense of the word. Their schools do not teach anti-religious left wing dogma as truth while flunking children with Christian or conservative views. They do not teach things that science claims is right but which contradicts the Bible. In many secular schools, those things are happening, even in places one would not think it possible. Amish schools don’t even teach the Amish religion in the classroom, that is left to parents and the church. Amish children are prepared to live a Amish life, that is the point of school. To prepare one for life with the skills of reading writing and arithmetic. Amish children are trained to become adults ready for life in the adult world of work. I highly question whether modern schools are training adults, or indoctrinating politically minded lifelong children. Study where the hippies from the 1960s and 70s went and you will get the answer. They did not choose a Godly path. Except maybe Nancy Honeytree or Denny Kenaston, but they are exceptions.

      1. Paul


        Helpful, thoughtful response, Lance.

        You may not believe it, but there are many people who are generally good without being in any sense Godly. To many of us in the secular world “God” means about the same as “tooth fairy” or “great pumpkin.” Still we seek to be loving, helpful, productive, all those things that go into the word “good.”There are reasons for doing the right thing in ones dealings with the world and other people other than the fear of punishment or disapproval by an unseen higher being.

        And there are many people who profess religion who are generally evil, by any standard. Pedophile priests, for example. Beard-cutting Amish bullies, maybe? Ethics, the study of what is right and what is wrong action, goes way beyond religion.

        The key to a liberal, secular education is not content, but process: learning to think independently and to find and evaluate evidence of what is true. And this requires constantly re-examining ones beliefs and assumptions. Independent thinkers are pretty much immune to dogma and propaganda, right or left wing, red, green or pink.

        1. Surchr


          “this requires constantly re-examining ones beliefs and assumptions. Independent thinkers are pretty much immune to dogma and propaganda, right or left wing, red, green or pink.” Except of course the dogma and axiom that one has to constantly re-examine ones [sic] beliefs and assumptions.

          Believe it or not, there are actually some Absolutes in this universe, and they NEVER change, no matter how much secularists want them to. Ignoring them invariably ultimately creates Bed-of-Procrustes monstrosities (cf. abominations like Communism, Nazism, KoolAid Camp, Koresh Camp, etc.).

      2. Surchr

        Bravo, Lance!

        It always gets me that there are secularists who’re just as zealous in their secular fundamentalism as the religious fundamentalists whose rights they want to destroy: Leftism and secularism are just as much a faith as Christianity, Islam or Hinduism. The difference is that secularism is a stealth faith: it doesn’t admit to its true nature, hiding behind the costume of politics or “science” (in reality, scientism).

        I salute the Amish in their wisdom, their ways and their courage! It is their constitutional right to rear their offspring as they see fit, not to mention that the Amish ways are a whole lot more wholesome and healthy than those of secular society.

        Go, Amish! {cheers and applause}

        1. AlmaPhillips

          Amish educated

          Right on, Surchr,
          The leaders are educated enough to know they
          do not want Obama Care so they got a group together
          & went to the white house & got exempted long before it
          became a law. They take care of their own from
          birth to the end of life. They are self sufficent.

    16. Good Post

      I will go out on the limb and say that Erik knows more about the Amish than the Amish themselves, it is his connection to all the different communities that make a big difference. Most people respond to what is in front of their eyes, (or community) and there are definitely huge differences between areas even within the same community.

      Daryl – Your responses were really good and right on

      Lance – Talking about schools, right on there, the Amish have a responsibility of operating their School System so they are not a burden to Society

      Paul – Dead on in your middle paragraph, of course the Pedophile issue is sickening and truly has happened under the Amish, however there has been on going awareness assistance in the communities.

    17. Jainie Barbosa

      Thanks you guys!

      Darryl and Lance thanks for all the information. I went to PA to the Amish community in Lancaster and I was very amazed about all the things that I saw and I had a lot of questions. After my visit I start looking for information about the Amish and I thank you both because you answered a lot of my questions and now I do understand where you come from.

      God keep blessing you both!

    18. Melissa

      Fabulous Comments

      Strange. I have always had a love and respect of the Amish. I’ve often wanted to be Amish. However, since I am a divorced, single mom, I guess that I wouldn’t be greeted with open arms. How sad shunning is.

      Does anyone ever convert to Amish? How would/could that work coming from “the world”.

      1. Jessica


        It’s rare for people to convert to being Amish, but it definitely does happen. (There are some posts on this website that talk more about this, so I’d recommend checking them out.) I can’t speak for all Amish communities, but at least for many, they’d let you convert even if you had a divorce in the past.

        I wish you luck in your journey, and hope you find the right path for you. 😀

        1. AlmaPhillips


          Not even close. Not only would they NOT allow someone to join
          that is divorced they would put a member out of the church if
          they got a divorce

      2. Derek

        Fabulous Comments: Really, a single mom?

        Hello Melissa,
        Since you are divorced single mom and I am a divorced single God fearing and following father of four, maybe we can sit, chat, and become friends through social media. What do you think?


    19. Mabella

      Do not the Amish and Mennonite peoples believe in the bible, the old and the new testament? I believe that the 10 commandments cover behavior. I know that in the Pagan religion they have a time that is similar to Rumspringa although it is not practiced by Christians.

    20. Erik Wesner

      Sounds like your comment may be based on popular depictions of Rumspringa.

    21. Sadie

      And did you know, there’s a new sequel or season starting I think in July, “Breaking Amish: Los Angeles.”

      I’m not so sure I understand these kids and young adults wanting what to me seems like a spiritual “journey” captured on cameras and broadcast to millions — but people will be people, I suppose! *grins*

    22. Surchr

      In reference to the "documentary" made on rumspringa

      The media moguls have cynical roots; they can’t ***stand*** the fact that there actually are communities who take Jesus and clean living seriously, and who to boot actually do as good a job as is humanly possible of it. The MM’s have to dig around and ferret out something—even if it’s not truly representative—to sully the reputation of the wholesome Amish. Amish goodness and purity eat away at the innards of the MM’s, who themselves are corrupt past contempt. Like the Pharisees (who’re their spiritual progenitors) did with Jesus, the Incarnation of Perfection, the MM’s gnash their teeth at followers of Jesus who genuinely want to reflect their Savior. At bottom, it is the knowledge of the reprobate that his paths are scummy, indeed, it’s a form of jealousy (way down, subconsciously). “You are far superior to me, Jesus follower, so I hate you and will seek to destroy you and your communities.”

      Remember, darkness hates light, and mud hates detergent.

      God preserve the Amish. You folks are a bright city on a hill. Keep on fighting the good fight!

    23. Jessica

      school project

      Hi i am Jessica and i am doin a school project about the amish in texas. I am doing a work cited page and i was needing to know an editors name (first and last) for the what is rumspringa article article. If you could get back to me on that as soon as possible that would be great.
      Thanks, Jessica 🙂

    24. Jessica

      school project

      Hi i am Jessica and i am doin a school project about the amish in texas. I am doing a work cited page and i was needing to know an editors name
      Thanks, Jessica 🙂

      1. Osiah Horst

        What is Rumspringa

        Hello, Jessica: The author/editor/owner of Amish America is Eric Wesner. He presents a very balanced and reasonable assessment of Rumspringa in this post. Some of the posts preceding yours are made by people with knowledge of one specific group of Amish young people. Eric is presenting a view that looks at many Amish groups. The posts by Daryl and Lance are based on personal experience and as such are of course factual for one particular group but still do represent what would have been experienced in many groups. As Eric points out in the beginning, there are many myths surrounding Rumspringa.

        1. Bill Rushby

          Osiah Horst

          Thanks for your comments, Osiah!

    25. Jon


      I was talking to a guy a few years ago who lived near Kokomo, Indiana who was telling me about having friends tell him about Schwartzenruber (I think) youth gathering in the area from all over the midwest at least once a year to have a as much sex as they wanted, of whatever kind they thought about, with anyone they wanted to have sex with of either sex, and do anything else they wanted to do together. It was to learn what to do and how to do it and to get experience before they got married later. He seemed very conflicted on thinking the youth were terrible hypocrites and crazy, and being jealous that they were encouraged to have sex with other youth they had never even met before and doing whatever else they felt like doing.

      1. Lance

        Nonsense. Honestly, just how gullible are you? or is it just pure meanness?

        Erik, please delete that bogus waste of bandwidth.

        1. Rumspringa Rumors

          Lance, I very nearly did that–however I figured people are going to find that sort of information online anyway, and I think I would rather have them find it here and see it refuted right off the bat.

          And then also provide some sources of better information for those people, as I did in my response to Jon (see below).

          I’m usually reluctant to delete comments but yes I almost did delete this one 🙂 …believe me there are a lot of other things I’d prefer doing on Sunday, but I think it’s better to take the time to address it.

      2. What's the point?

        For anyone who reads the above comment from Jon, keep in mind how it begins:

        “I was talking to a guy a few years ago who lived near Kokomo, Indiana who was telling me about having friends tell him about Schwartzenruber (I think)…”

        It might be fun to share a juicy story, but you’re not doing anyone a service by coming online and spreading something like that based on something you heard from a guy who heard it from someone else etc etc…

        Sure, some Amish youth behave badly in ways non-Amish adolescents do, but this is how myths perpetuate and Rumspringa becomes a thing about Amish youth being “encouraged to have sex” and related fantasies.

        For those interested, there is more accurate and reliable information out there than that in Jon’s comment.

        Books like Growing Up Amish: The Teenage Years (Rich Stevick) and The Amish (Kraybill/Johnson-Weiner/Nolt) will give more dependable information.

        You can also read what one Amish parent wrote about Rumspringa:

      3. Surchr

        Not very wise if true

        If that stuff (re Kokomo) is true, then the Amish will soon have a flood of AIDS and all the rest of the 30+ STD’s that didn’t exist prior to the Sexual Devolution (aka Sexual “Revolution”). I hope and pray the anecdote is nothing but an urban legend.

        1. Well, maybe I should have deleted it after all…please read the comment I wrote just above yours.

    26. Jon

      What I was told

      See, what I don’t know now is whether the guy said that he knew and was friends with someone involved or if it was something someone told him about it. I -thought- he said he knew at least one person involved in it. Pretty shocking. But also that it happened every year. You can delete my posts if you want. It won’t bother me. I just needed to tell someone about it is all.

      1. Dirk

        Hi Jon, as with everything in life, one must apply logic.
        In our modern world, sex sells, if thousands of youth were gathering yearly for a sex-fest, the national news media would be all over it and it would be national headlines.
        Millions of other youth would flock to the area in the hope of joining in. Kokomo would look like Fort Lauderdale on summer break.

        As neither of the above are happening, it is an urban legend.

        The Amish are more narrow minded about sex than your great grandparents were. Sex is only for procreation, the fact that there is some pleasure in it, is a gift from God to ensure that people will do it, as we are not regulated by hormonal scents like animals are.

        As far as ‘getting experience’ before marriage goes, research done on people married 10 years or longer show that people who did not get experience before hand, but married as virgins, have lower divorce rates and report higher marital satisfaction, than those who got ‘experience’ before marriage.

        Why? Because multiple sexual partners does not give one experience, it just gives one multiple ex-performances to judge the current partner by. A sure recipe for dissatisfaction, like when you try to get your current partner to do something because some ex did it once. But for virgins, they learn together what each other likes and what they both like, no ex-partners are messing with their heads during sex. They are truly united as one.

        Thus, logically – on a news front, a religious front and on a psychological front, that guy who told you this story, played you, and if he is on this site, he is most likely wetting himself with laughter that you actually believed him.

        Remember Jon, Google is your friend, before you go public with something someone told you, check to see if it is true or not.

        1. Surchr


          Dirk, kudos for an EXCELLENT comment! Only tweaking I would do is: they’re not “narrow-minded” but “design-minded”! God didn’t design us to be open to a million sex partners! 😉 In fact, the ones who’re truly “narrow”-minded (as in “tunnel vision”) are those whose whole focus is always and only on the that very “narrow” nether area!

          1. Surchr


            Not “the that”, just “that” of course…

    27. Jon

      welllll.... maybe...

      Since I don’t make things up to tell people, I tend to believe what people tell me and have been fooled before by certain people. But this guy seemed sincere, that is, that he thought it was true.

      1. Dirk

        he was sincere, sincerely wrong.

    28. Jon

      I would like someone to speculate about this, and then have it deleted. I am all curiosity, I am not trying to make anyone sound bad.

      Would it make any more sense that another similar-sounding group could have been mistaken, like Schwarzenau Brethren (rather than Swartzenruber Amish)? I looked that up on Wikipedia
      and under “Divisions within progressives” it says
      “In 1939 the “Progressive” Brethren Church experienced another schism,” blah blah blah “since renamed Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), commonly called the Grace Brethren Church, headquartered in Winona Lake, Indiana.”
      That is not too terribly far from Kokomo, Indiana. It says nothing much about their beliefs or practices.
      See, I am trying to find an explanation for what the guy sincerely seemed to believe.
      After this and you speculating then I will drop the whole subject. And you can delete all my posts that would be better deleted than posted here.

      1. Dirk

        Jon, no doubt you are an atheist with little if any insight into conservative and ultra conservative Christian religious groups.
        If you had just a small insight, you would have laughed when being told this story, realizing then that you were being made a fool of, but instead you have now made public that you were the brunt of a joke.

        Worse yet, is that you do not even realize that you are the brunt of a joke as you desperately scramble to find some shred of evidence to support your claim, sadly no such evidence exists, because your friend’s story is a lie, a falsehood, a make-believe, a joke.

        Accept this and move on, stop digging an even deeper and more embarrassing hole by acting like a village idiot who cannot accept that the Moon is not made of cheese, or some such other make believe tale like that of ultra conservative Christian youth engaging in sex orgies like some ancient pagan nation with the consent of their parents and elders no less.

        Although on a positive note, I see you did use Google and found some other similar groups, well done. Now take it one step further and read about the conservative and ultra conservative’s attitudes towards sex, and them consider the odds of them permitting or supporting their children to engage in sexual orgies.

        And that dear Jon is the secret of not being taken for a fool, by considering the odds. The less likely something is true based on the odds of probability being against it, the more likely it is false. Perhaps a self study correspondence module on the Theory of Probability from your local College would be of benefit to you?

        1. Lance

          I guess I’ll jump in and beat on the dead horse a little too.

          No one can see into another’s heart so calling others names solves nothing.

          As for whether or not Amish youth have parties, I suggest you watch the movie “Devil’s Playground” where it is well documented that they do have massive parties, with lots of alcohol, drugs, music bands, and sex. These parties also attract a lot of outsiders, who claim the Amish parties are the wildest. Amish youth come from all over the country to these parties and the word gets out. Local sheriffs are no longer turning a blind eye due to the enormous risk of injury, death and property damage these highly intoxicated youth present to the community around them.

          In my first post, I mentioned that I thought the original post was nonsense, and as posted, I still think that. One has to understand the Swartzentrubers to understand why I write that. Organizing anything is so far beyond many of them, the idea of Swartzie’s having a sex party in Kokomo is just plain silly. Other, higher Amish youth in Rumspringa with cell phones and computers, not so hard to see. Go meet some Swartzentrubers and find out just how they think, act and behave, and you will see that this kind of organized event is not within their abilities.

          God Bless

    29. Dirk

      Hi Erik, I think it is good that you did not delete Jon’s query, it is not the first time I am hearing this, or that Amish have more than one wife.

      I think some people are under the impression that ruimspringa means no restrictions, that the youth can behave as if they were free from any religious constraints.
      And I guess based on the unrestrained sexual actions of youth who leave ultra religious communities, it is not a far stretch to imagine how a whole bunch of them would behave without any restrictions.

      The reason that ex-religious youth from ultra conservative religious communities appear less inhibited about having sex, is that they have a different concept about sex compared to the secular world.

      Secular people are under the impression that sex equals love and are thus more likely to have less casual hook ups with random people with whom they have no feelings of love or the possibility of love resulting.

      Ultra religious youth have been brought up to believe that sex is merely there for procreation and that love is defined by charity, by giving and caring for another, and not sex.
      Thus for these ex-religious youth, sex for the most part once religious restrictions are removed, is just an act of pleasure and not of love. Their lust for this pleasure earns them the title of being wild or lose. Think of the rumors attributed to Catholic school girls.

      Its a case of 1+1=2. Ruimspringa if understood as: religious youth with no religious restrictions + the freedom to do as they want = orgies. This is what the world expects to happen based on the behavior of ex-religious youth.

      People need to bear in mind, that youth during their ruimspringa years are essentially still religious in their actions and outlook to life, they have not abandoned religion.
      The youth who abandon religion also abandon their family, they leave the community and therefore do not participate in ruimspringa.
      The ruimspringa youth gather for sing-a-longs, volleyball, komzits, etc. The non-ruimspringa ex-youth, gather at nightclubs, bars and who knows where else.

      The few instances of ruimspringa youth going a bit too far with their freedoms, was generally kept in-house and did not involve non-Amish youth. This they thought made their actions ok and sadly too many parents thought so as well.
      Perhaps these actions are a sign of things to come, as Amish become more urbanized, the way ruimspringa is practiced is bound to change. Where disco replaces sing-a-longs, permitted so long as only Amish youth attend and the words used in the disco songs are of a religious nature in Platedeitch.

      Examples with Chassidim here:

      I like to look at how the Chassidim live, they represent a possible example of what to expect in a future urban Amish lifestyle.

      1. Rumspringa Amish Sex Stories

        I would agree with Lance that we don’t know Jon’s background and I’d rather address his statements rather than go after him as an individual. We don’t have any information that he is an atheist and even if he were to me it’s not relevant–I’d like to try to accommodate anyone who comes here in good faith with questions regardless of their background and knowledge.

        On that point, at first I felt Jon was just trying to stir the pot, now I think he heard what seemed to him a believable story and is now more likely digging in where it may have been better to walk away or do a little research then return. But Jon since you have come back a few times and say you are curious, I will take that at face value, and besides the reading recommendations I gave originally I will try to address it a little more.

        Lance’s point is one I suggested above, there is definitely seed for these stories to grow from, including media like the Devil’s Playground film, the recent reality series featuring nominally Amish characters behaving badly, and not to mention actual stories of Amish youth behaving badly which pop up in the news from time to time.

        Also I think the formula you suggest Dirk comes into play here, a lot of casual observers think of Rumspringa as a no-holds barred free-for-all which must naturally only lead to the wildest of conclusions.

        But as you say it’s not as if Amish youth in Rumspringa are suddenly areligious and have abandoned principles they’ve lived within for 16 or 18 or 20 years. They’re still within the community, most live at home, attend church, participate in community-sanctioned activities, and would probably be offended and disgusted by the idea of these types of gatherings.

        The juicier the story the easier it passes along. It also helps when the other group is mysterious to the teller. Since the people sharing these things typically have only superficial knowledge of the Amish, to them it just *might* be true.

        The Amish are especially attractive for this due to their perception as devoutly religious. It’s just a better story with Amish involved. Also some people want to believe the story that takes them down a notch, because they don’t like the Amish for whatever reason or maybe want to feel better about their own lives.

        Stories about Amish behaving wildly grow more extravagant in the retelling until it becomes an institutionalized ritual which is “encouraged”. Has every group of Amish youth behaved perfectly since the dawn of time? Certainly not, however talking about it being a regularly occurring event where Amish learn about the birds and the bees firsthand in an anything-goes manner, based on hearsay of hearsay is where this goes off the rails.

        Jon I’d recommend approaching these too-wild-to-be-true-sounding stories with a little more skepticism, and if you’re really interested in the issue, take a little time to do some research before spreading it–you’ll at least have more knowledge of Amish life and belief to judge the veracity of these stories against.

        If we are all wrong and your acquaintance has in fact stumbled upon an annual anything-goes Amish sex orgy then I suppose the TV networks will be happy to learn of this as fodder for their next series. Again, it’s not like Amish youth (or adults for that matter) are all angels, some do leave the fold, there are definitely parties as Lance notes, and some get into things their parents wouldn’t be proud of. I’ve heard a fair share of stories myself about Amish individuals dealing with issues that other humans deal with and which most probably deeply regret later. But since Amish people are 100% human too that shouldn’t really be a surprise.

        However I think it’s better to be careful about spreading the wildest-sounding info really without solid basis, which to a drive-by reader then becomes the standard for what Amish youth do because they saw it on an Amish website once.

        All in all I am actually glad this issue was raised as hopefully others will find and read this information and perhaps be a bit more skeptical about what they hear.

    30. Dirk

      Sorry Jon if I incorrectly labeled you as an atheist and you are not.

      Sorry Lance/Erik, I did not refer to Jon as an atheist as a slur, but rather as someone who has no knowledge of God or religion.

      Personally I think atheism is our natural human state, if it were not for the Bible, what would any of us know about God, Jesus or religion?
      It is not as if we are born with such knowledge about God and religion, if that were so, we would all have the same religion.

      1. Is atheism our natural state?

        That’s okay Dirk. Just to throw in my two cents on the atheism question you raise, I don’t know if that’s the case or not.

        I tend to think there is a human craving for devotion to something larger than ourselves which may very well be innate to our being. If people do not find that in religion or worship of a higher power in the conventional sense, I think many satisfy it or try to satisfy it by devotion to a larger cause or entity, though not necessarily a traditional higher power as in a religious setting.

        I grew up playing soccer and I enjoy watching games from time to time. My watching is largely casual but for some I think following the sport at least mimics a religion (in fact it has been called “religion” before, see link below, ostensibly tongue-in-cheek but if you see the passion and devotion some fans possess you can understand the comparison) or occupies the place religion otherwise would have 50 or 100 years ago. This is just considering the world’s most popular sport, but you could put a number of other things up as an example here.

        1. Surchr

          re: surrogate religions

          YYYYYYYES, Dirk, spot ON!

          When Jesus says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” He isn’t just saying that man’s soul needs the Manna of His truth in the same way the body needs food. The implication is that if we do not feed on the true Manna, we will seek out various junk-food substitutes, because we were WIRED for spiritual life.

          I have long told my family and friends that the 2 major modern religions are Communism and Nazism (altho here in the States, it’s the stealth religion of Secularism). They camouflage themselves as political movements, but they are every bit as zealous and mission-oriented as Torquemada and Co. Every governmental system has an implicit or explicit cosmology (theological presuppositions). Man’s life with man is ultimately a spiritual issue. Man is primarily a spiritual “animal,” not a political one.

          1. Surchr


            Erik, sorry I confused you with Dirk. Time for my nap. 🙁

        2. Well Put...

          Erik, as a pastor with years of experience (and a few Bible/seminary degrees) in the field, I largely agree with your take on this question.

          There is an innate element within us — exhibited in various degrees by various people — that is inclined and even driven to go against God. This might be called a practical atheism, I suppose. So in that sense I could agree with Dirk that atheism could be considered our natural state.

          Alternately, some might look at the question a bit more (hyper-)logically and say that in practice a person has to have some item that is more important to them than other things. For some that would be soccer or other sports; for theists, that would be God (in theory, even if not in daily practice). Grief, I have a friend that more-or-less refuses to put one thing above another, but insists on keeping them all in balance…, and in doing so has in fact made balance itself the most important thing. In this approach one’s theism/atheism is more-or-less determined by what he puts first in his life. (A bit of a cart-before-the-horse approach in my opinion.)

          But I think you are on to something in your perspective. As we can easily see in watching most any child, we naturally look for a validation of self and for a reason to value self; and by definition this must come from someone that we look up to and trust to make an honest and valid call. There is thus an inner need for someone that can fill that role. And One who is able to be all that such a role requires is certainly worthy of our admiration.

          Or as one preacher of yesteryear put it, there is a God-shaped vacuum within each of us. Obviously some will attempt to fill that void with another person, a hobby, work, SELF, or a host of other things. But since all of these have flaws we eventually discover that they are not worthy of trusting as the source for our value and validation. So we either settle for a dysfunctional structure, or we search until we find the One that fills the role and the void.

          Naturally there is more to our relationship with and need for God than that — much more. But I think this does show where we are innately.

    31. Jon

      Making cheese sandwiches

      Well, Dirk, you have an appropriate name. If I bring over the Moon cheese and loaf of bread, I am sure you will be able to cut them for our sandwiches using nothing but your tongue, and they will already be grilled.
      For whatever reason, an old saying came to mind as I read through all this that was posted, and that you may or may not have heard before. “God speaks and men cry; men speak and God laughs.”
      If God is laughing, then why would I care if you are also?
      On the positive side, my postings have motivated people to express themselves, which I guess seems like a good thing, even if it is to ridicule me and put me down. I can eat grilled cheese sandwiches that way even if I had not planned to do so. I guess I found out what I need to about Amish and Rumspringa and do not need to ask any more.

    32. Lana

      Just a question

      I have read several times that some amish communities or parents do not allow Rumspringa to young people. It is right? Which ones exactly?

      Thanks for answering.

      1. Mark - Holmes Co.

        Lana, there are hundreds of Amish communities and numerous Amish groups and there may be more than one group within a community. The whole Rumspringa thing has really been exaggerated. Even the communities with a reputation for it have another side to the story. In some of those cases it is not so much that it is allowed or encouraged so much as it happens. I mean teenagers are going to be teenagers, right? I would guess there are some non-Amish teens who might do things their parents do not approve of or support.
        Until a person is baptized, they really are not bound to the church standards, or not officially. The ones who do go way out are the ones that get the attention, but don’t forget about the ones who do respect their parents & church and choose not to get into things they might later regret.
        Some communities (generally smaller ones) do a better job of maintaining decent standards and some groups (like New Order Amish) put much more emphasis on youth standards, so it gets to be a very big and complicated issue.
        We have teenagers and I can tell you they have done things that have grieved or concerned us, but we have certainly not encouraged it and as far as I’m concerned, Rumspringa would be better called “those difficult teenage years.”

        1. Lana

          Mark, first of all, thanks for your rapid answer.

          I totally agree that from outsiders´point of view Rumspringa has been exaggerated, if not absolutely misunderstood. Of course amish parents are concerned about the influences their kids could receive, and the vast majority of amish boys and girls will choose a right path. We agree this point.

          Sometimes it is a bit difficult to find the right information in the net. So, I am glad to have found this site. As an outsider, I thought about Rumspringa not behaving ´in a bad way` but as a ´fixed ritual`, a RULE. So, I felt confused and surprised when in many websites – I do not know if very reliable ones – I read sentences like this: ´Some parents allow young people to spend some period known as Rumspringa. Another parents do not allow their children to participate in Rumspringa. This varies among communities` (This extract is found in Spanish Wikipedia article ´Amish` in the ´Rumspringa`paragraph):

          As I can see in your comment, Rumspringa seems a concept, an idea rather than a ritual, doesn´t it?
          Thanks for your reply.

    33. Lana


      Is it right?* Sorry.


      What is Rumspringa?

      Ultrasound is simply a sound wave that is out oof the human audible listening to vary.
      The most typical use of ultrasound that individuals find out about is wth our baby scans, which means
      we already belief ultrasound in our medical system.

    35. Tony

      Thank You

      I found this site after a pop-culture show made reference to rumspringa and I wanted to learn more. Thank you everyone who has shared their stories over the years giving people like me a peek at a very noble and wise culture.

    36. Gavin LaFayette

      It's me, Noah!

      If you found this Noah, hi!

    37. Gavin LaFayette

      It's me, Noah!

      If you found this Noah, hello!

    38. Hello

      Say hello if you see this comment

    39. Hello everyone

      Say hello if you see this comment.