Trouble in Amish Paradise

amish buggy

I found this documentary (originally linked by Little Jenny Wren) fascinating.  It tells the story of two Amish families who begin to read the Bible for themselves and what happens to them as a result.

This is especially interesting to me because of the way I grew up.  My mom had an intense fascination with and admiration of “plain people”—the Amish and Mennonites.  Both my parents valued simplicity and hard work, characteristics that would have no doubt been part of our lives no matter what.  But there was also a sense of wanting the utopian lifestyle that’s portrayed by those who tell about the Amish.  My mom incorporated a lot of that lifestyle into our upbringing.  We wore homemade cotton dresses with aprons, used a Mennonite school curriculum, and had a lot of Amish and Mennonite pen pals.  On one hand there were some very nice things about it (skills learned, for example), but the downside is that it was quite isolating since we were not in a community that shared this way of living.

At one point we did indeed spend a few years in a group that had some similar external markers, but as one might expect, conformity comes with a high price—extreme authoritarianism.

Ultimately, as we matured, we children found fulfillment in the same things Ephraim and Jesse (the guys in the movie) did.  Although there are things to admire about various lifestyles…churches, historical eras, whatever… fulfillment ultimately came from a personal relationship with Jesus.  Check the movie out.  It’s very interesting, no matter what your spiritual persuasion.


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