20 thoughts on “Amish For Life: PART I

  1. While I totally agree that being in the military isn’t a lifelong commitment….unless you die while serving, there isn’t a trial period there either. You can’t go up to your superior in boot camp or whatever and say, “Hey, you know what, I was wrong. I wanna go home.” The closest we had to that in boot camp was an attempted suicide. After your 4 years is up, contract is over, can you always go home? Nope. Stop loss. My husband tried to get out after 12 and was told no. Stop loss. At that point, he said fine. I’ll do my 20 and you can pay me for the rest of my life. Did his 20 and they almost stop lossed him again. But yes, he was able to get out and he is a civilian now, but there isn’t a trial period or an easy out.

    1. My apologies. Coming from a family who has no forefathers who have served in our armed forces, I had no right to use the Military as a comparison.
      I suppose it is a dose of humble medicine for me, since I also am strictly going by what I have read in romanticized war movies or literature.
      Thus, I post a blog, trying to educate people who are misinformed about the Amish, because they read about it, but haven’t lived it, and am caught red handed, doing the exact same thing with our Veterans. Go Figure.
      Again, my apologies.

  2. Mose, I live in north central Missouri, not far from Jamesport, and I have heard a lot about how the Amish are and live. Some of what you wrote in “Amish for life: part I” are what I have heard. I enjoy my daily showers too much, to go to only once a week. I wouldn’t be able to give up the freedom I have now. Thank you so much for your blog and God bless.

  3. You were probably a toddler back in the early 1980’s when I became interested in Amish after seeing a few in our Ky community and reading a Christmas story in Guideposts magazine about an Amish Shoo-fly pie. We also rented and saw the Amish themed movie The Witness with Harrison Ford. And yes I romanticized the Amish until I discovered an abundance of books about them in our local Bible College. It was studying these books that opened my eyes by revealing many of the things you have shared in this post. I remember feeling especially bad for the women and the back-breaking labor with no modern conveniences and the children too with such a limited childhood and education!

    Now up to the present day and I live in Ohio now. Recent trip to the Columbus Zoo and a group of Amish families there. Hot day…maybe the weekend bath had been skipped, I don’t know…I don’t mean to be ugly but even my Grand-kids noticed the heavy body odor, when passing the group in the food court. It is hard to explain to those that haven’t lived that life. But for some reason I had always thought they were cleaner…the ladies “look” clean. And you see lots of pictures of Amish laundry. I cannot imagine the back breaking labor of washing all of those clothes only to put them onto a body that is not scrubbed clean and perfumed daily. I am sure they are all used to the smells or so I’ve read, just as our ancestors were.

    The reason I think that so many think that they want to be Amish is because of the abundance of Christian Amish Fiction…which they should always remember is “fiction”. An English person’s point of view, the authors put their own Christian view-point and spin in many of them. Real Amish probably don’t even think or act the way many of these Amish novels depict.

    So far you are the only TV personality that I trust on this subject. I think you have been called to open people’s eyes and to help them understand this “private” culture.

    Bless you and all that you do for others. Also a Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  4. Thank you Mose! I appreciate your straight forward writings on this! I do appreciate some of the simpleness of Amish Living. But NO….I could never live it as an Amish for Life.
    I did grow up in very similar circumstances. Very legalistic/rigid religious laws. I grew up with wringer washers, hauling water, heating it for bathing, coal stove for heat, outhouses, etc.. More because of dysfunctional family one was not allowed any original thought of their own and one certainly did not speak it if you did,,,love was withdrawn immediately until you complied.
    So even though I imagine it was far worse in Amish life….I can relate to much of what you speak.
    It is why I am so interested in your story and information you can share. I know it had to be a hard transition in many ways…and the shunning has to be so painful.
    But Gods Grace….Freedom IN Christ…is so much better. Serving our God out of love rather than trying to appease an angry God. God bless you! And your family.
    I am so please you have a wonderful family. I know your wife must be so supportive.
    Look forward to Part 2. God Bless!

  5. Hi Mose. Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I loved the analogy of thinking of the Swiss Alps as a happy haven full of magical goat milk. When in reality, there are pros and cons of living there, just as anywhere.

    I was reminded of the time when I thought it would be simpler to join a convent. And I wasn’t even Christian, I just wanted to hide from my own problems and join what I thought would be a warm and welcoming community.

    I look forward to part 2!

  6. Mose, you wrote the first part very well. I hope all that write you with thoughts of becoming Amish will be directed to read part 1.

  7. Mose,

    I recently caught several episodes of Amish Out of Order. I have never seen any shows on the Amish before. I’ve only seen commercials for several Amish reality shows and have never been drawn to them as they seemed somehow disrespectful to the Amish. Now, I am not Amish, nor do I know anyone who is, but I am a Christian and ‘smearing’ these people is not what I want to see. Yours is the first and only series on the Amish that I have seen. (I didn’t see your first series as I didn’t have cable/dish back then and didn’t even know about it.) I was so very happy to see how you handled yourself on this series. Clearly, you left for strong personal reasons, but I truly appreciate how graceful you endeavor to be to those people still in those communities and to that culture.

    I confess that I had a little of that ‘romantic’ notion of what an Amish community might be like. I am grateful to you for your graceful honesty about some of the truths about this. You were very gentle and open with Michaela when she was so interested in entering that lifestyle. I have learned a lot from you.

    I hope that you might have an opportunity to do another series. But if that does not happen, I’m glad to have found you on facebook and this blog.

    Thank you.

  8. wonderfully written Mose. enjoyed reading this aspect of Amish life. hopefully any young boy or girl with confusion about where there life is headed will have at least a better understanding of there choice.

  9. Mose,
    I wish to firstly thank you for the informative insight you have provided the community with regarding the typically private Amish community, I also strongly agree with your views on the importance of education and thanks to you numerous individuals will be able to make educated decisions on possibly joining the Amish and removing many misconceptions surrounding the community; not to mention your tireless work with the ex-Amish community. Please excuse my gushing but I wanted to ask about the Amish communities access to health care; you mentioned you had a sickly sister, was she treated solely within the Amish community or could she seek treatment from an ‘English’ Doctor? What would happen if someone required an operation? I recently had an extremely vivid dream in which God told me I was destined to complete my medical degree and to join an Amish community to provide help to people who needed me ( I do not advise anyone to fall asleep to a marathon of Amish: Out of control whilst studying for exams)
    Thank you again

    1. I am no expert, but as a child, my mother worked at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She told me many times of an Amish child who needed medical care and were brought to the hospital. The Amish were always able to pay for the care in cash, due to the community of Amish taking up a collection of some sort to pay, since Amish do not believe in insurance. I was always very impressed by that!

  10. I think you have passed on really accurate info here. I would apply the hygiene issues only to the lower groups, but the rest applies across the board.

    The romaticized view of the Amish has these peace-loving people who avoid problems by living simply. They are always happpy and are uniformly good. The truth is that these are flesh and blood people who have pretty much all the same problems everyone else has and struggle like all humanity does. Like any group, there are some of the best people in the world among them, and there are some who are among the worst. It seems funny, but it seems to help people if you lay that out there because there is this tendency to look at the clothes and the buggies and think these are some higher grade of people. They are people. No more, no less.

    The bottom line is that it is rare for an English person to make the transition to the Amish life. We are conditioned early on to see life a certain way, and being Amish will bring one into conflict with how we have been conditioned. It is so much easier for someone raised in an Amish home to join the church.

    Just one’s education will cause problems. One of the central things education does is to give us critical thinking skills. We are programmed to ask “Why?”. Amish people (the content ones) do not and cannot ask that question when it comes to the rules and practices of the church because the answer is often “Because that’s what the bishop and ministers say” or “Because that’s the way it has always been.” A critical thinker will never be satisfied by that.

    The language is a huge issue. I knew an English family with a Catholic background who tried to convert. They never really mastered the language and could never really assimilate. They have now left the Amish, but are still seeking a plain life.

    The plain and simple life of the Amish is appealing. There are some very good things about it, which I’m sure Mose will do a great job of describing. But there are many hardships, sacrifices, and frustrations for an outsider who wants to get a piece of what they have. If you aren’t born into it, you probably can’t live it – and if you understand the +’s and -‘s, you probably wouldn’t choose it. But to each his own!

    You can be Amish and be a very happy and content person, but seeking happiness and contentment by being Amish is, like Granddad used to say, bassackwards. :)

    1. What an excellent reply. It is why even in my own Faith background I had to find a place to be able to ask questions that deeply concerned me, because in most this was just not allowed. God made us to think. And HE is not offended by it or intimidated by it. HE wishes for us to seek His will for our lives. For it to fit together, make sense.
      Great Post !

  11. That was an interesting post, Mose. I’m sure that many people are so interested in the Amish way of life is how it is portrayed in all of the Christian Amish fiction novels. Everyone is so nice, so clean, so efficient and so helpful to one another. As a woman, 70 though I might be, I could never be that submissive to any man. I find it disturbing that a bishop and the elders could establish the way a woman dresses, wears her hair, etc.My husband could testify that I have my own mind and I don’t hesitate to use it! I live about an hour away from Holmes County, Ohio and I know many of the Amish in that area are very New Order. There are also Amish groups about a half hour north of me in Ashland County. They are very old order and not very sociable or clean. Let me just say that I would not feel comfortable buying their baked products nor would I stop and buy eggs from them. I am not being “snooty” as I feel the same way about any English. My dad took us on drives to the Amish areas before they became “Amish Country”. I love the area there because of the hills and farmland. But now it is so commercialized that it isn’t as much fun anymore. There is one restaurant we frequent in Berlin, Boyd and Wurthman, that has been there “forever” and still seems like a nice Amish restaurant. The “Amish Flea Markets” have too much stuff made in China to suit me. And I can’t even go into how I feel about the puppy mills. I just can’t believe any good Amish person could go into that business with a good conscience. I read Lots of Amish fiction but read it with an open mind and am aware that the story is very romanticized. That sells books. I have read stories about people who have left the Amish and it’s not pretty. Right now I am reading Dale Cramer’s third book on a story of an Amish man who took his family to Mexico in the 1800’s to establish a new settlement their. It is based on a true story of a family in Holmes County. They went because because of their belief in their education system and also to escape child labor laws. Mr. Cramer has based his story on the writing of David Luthy”s book, The Amish in America-Settlements that failed 1840-1960. I do want to read that book.
    I have enjoyed reading your post and look forward to part 2. You are an interesting man, Mose, and I really like reading your point of view. My husband and I are looking forward to seeing what you have to say about the Amish Mafia. We watched in with tongue in cheek, finding it hard to imagine that an “Amish” man would hold court in a barn, have his henchmen “teach lessons”. and collect payment from the Amish businesses to “keep them safe”. It just seems a little farfetched. I’ll look forward to your take on the situation, knowing you already know if there is an Amish mafia! Take care and have a lovely, Merry Christmas with your family.

  12. Hello from Australia Mose! I love your show, your story and the work you are doing. I have just finished watching your Christmas episode with the memorial to Cephas. That was a very moving and beautiful tribute. I was so upset when he died as he was working really hard to make a decent life for himself – just doesn’t seem fair, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes I guess. I really like the fact that you present your story so impartially – the audience really feels the turmoil when you have to make the choice as to whether your decisions or actions may harm the Amish community. I also like the fact that you still have respect for the culture you were brought up in. It has been a very educational journey. I have enjoyed watching your own personal growth ad well as seeing you guide and interact with the others. You have handled Michaela very openly and thoughtfully. I just love Esther, what a beautiful heart…she would fit the romantic version of Amish very well…I am so glad she has family support, it seems to make all the difference. I saw the program was a year behind so I ‘googled’ to see if there was any updates and found your blog. I will check out the site at a layer date but love this Part 1 as a starter…I too fantasised about living in Heidi’s world…whenever I hear wind in pine trees it reminds me of that story! You have a beautiful wife and kids along with your ex Amish family – have a wonderful Christmas.

  13. Mose,
    You nailed it. You told the truth. I have been around the amish for the past six and a half years. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the outside world. It is a rough way of life, some good and some bad. I’m so glad that the younger generation is starting to break the vicious cycle. They want a better way of life and a chance to think for themselves. Instead of being told what to do ,think,wear,buy,build their homes and as you no the list goes on. You have set an example for them. You can live in the world but as you know you don’t have to take up the discusting things that are not good for you. Keep on educating the ones that have no idea as to what kind of a life it is to live the life as an amish person. I have seen it first handed and it breaks my heart to see what they have to go thru. The lack of education is so unfair to the children. Such a disadvantage for them. Especially in this world that we live in.
    You were very kind in your speaking about the Jehovah Wittnesses, yes there are somethings that are similar. But one thing for sure is that we Do Not follow any man. Only our heavenly father and what the bible says. Thank you for your kindness. Alot of people are not educated about us either, only what they have been told which is never accurate.
    Keep up the good work and keep telling the cold hard facts. There’s nothing wrong in telling the truth. That’s the only way to do it. All the lies that have been told to try and hold on to the people is herific. Sure don’t want to be in their shoes. Cause as you know, God hates a lier.
    Looking forward to seeing Part II. I’m sure it will be interesting.
    Take care and keep up the good work that you have been doing. Are you still thinking about some kind of a counciling center for the ones that have left the amish? Hope so. They will need it.

  14. If you are sick of your life, maybe a better approach would be to try and discover what in your life is making you upset. If there is some underlying issue that you are running away from I can promise you that it will follow you wherever you go. Until you can deal with YOU no change of venue will make you happy. Deciding to be Amish is a lot like deciding to enter the convent. I did that. For two years I lived the life of a Franciscan nun and while I was not unhappy, I realized that I was running away from ME. I had a lot of soul searching and healing to do and my decision to suddenly completely change my life from being out in the world to being in the enclosed, restricted world of the convent was not really based on a true vocation but rather just me trying to hide from an overwhelming life. I hope you find your happiness, but please think long and hard about this. You are not going into an episode of “Little House on the Prairie”. You are considering joining a very strict, closed, religious sect that will demand your loyalty, obedience and soul.

  15. I’m an American and my husband was English. He worked in Switzerland for 9 months with me there. The thought of staying there forever was quite scary, so his mother in law said we should move to England in a small town. We did but after a year I didn’t like it. I was there for 8 years. Not being near my family and America was torture. Though they speak English in England, it was still a different culture. Visiting it is good, but living there for life, wasn’t my thing. My husband passed away and I was waiting for him to come to the America. He never made it. I’m so much happier living in America, though I do miss my husband, the times we had and my friends I made.

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