The Amish: Shunned and Misunderstood


Amish People
An Amish family
Amish teenager
An Amish Teenager
Amish Community Holds Its Annual "Mud Sale"
The Amish Community Holds its Annual “Mud Sale” GORDONVILLE, PA – MARCH 12: Amish bidders watch the auction during the Annual Mud Sale to support the Fire Department March 12, 2011 in Gordonville, Pennsylvania. The auctions are held in the spring by the Amish community to raise money for the community. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

Amish Women

Amish Women in a Buggy
Amish women in a horse-drawn buggy.

The Amish Bride

The Amish - a farming community
The Amish – a peace-loving farming community.
The Amish and the Plain People of Lancaster
The Amish and the Plain People of Lancaster.
Map of the Amish living in the USA.
“The Amish – Shunned”

The Amish (/ˈɑːmɪʃ/; Pennsylvania Dutch: Amisch, German: Amische) are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships, closely related to but distinct from Mennonite churches, with whom they share Swiss Anabaptist origins.


The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.




What do Amish people believe in?

Shunning is a form of excommunication. If they partake of the “worldly” things, they are shunned by the church people. The Amish believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He is the way to salvation.


What is the religion of the Amish?

There is no consensus on exactly where the Amish fit within Christianity: Some consider them conservative Protestants. J Gordon Melton, head of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, classifies them as part of the European Free-Church Family along with Mennonites, Brethren Quakers and other denominations.


The Amish are closest to the Anabaptists: Protestant Christians who believe in adult baptism, pacifism, the separation of church and state and the importance of the community to faith. The denomination is closely related to the Mennonites.


Do the Amish use buttons?

The common theme amongst all Amish clothing is plainness; clothing should not call attention to the wearer by cut, color, or any other feature. Hook-and-eye closures or straight pins are used as fasteners on dress clothing rather than buttons, zippers, or Velcro.


When was the Amish founded?

The beliefs and practices of the Amish were based on the writings of the founder of the Mennonite faith, Menno Simons (1496-1561), and on the1632 Mennonite Dordrecht Confession of Faith. The Amish who split from Mennonites generally lived in Switzerland and in the southern Rhine river region.


What is the Amish lifestyle like?

Amish women wear modest, solid-colored dresses, usually with long sleeves and a full skirt, a cape and apron. The clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps. Hair is never cut and is worn in a bun on the back of the head, concealed by a prayer covering.


What language do Amish people speak?

Regardless of where they live, the Amish speak the Pennsylvania German dialect (popularly known as Pennsylvania Dutch), except in a few communities where they speak a Swiss dialect. English, typically learned in school, is their second language.





Who are the Amish and what are their Beliefs?


Question: “Who are the Amish, and what are their beliefs?”

Answer: The Amish are a group of people who follow the teachings of Jacob Ammann, a 17th-century citizen of Switzerland. It is a Protestant denomination, closely related to the Mennonites. The Amish, most of whom live in the United States, follow simple customs and refuse to take oaths, vote, or perform military service. They shun modern technology and conveniences. Transportation for the Amish is by horse and buggy. They do not have electricity or telephones in their homes. The men usually wear beards and pants with buttons instead of zippers. The women wear white head coverings and plain dresses, usually without buttons—they use straight pins to fasten the clothing.
The Amish believe that James 1:27 “…and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” means to stay away from things the “world” does—like driving autos, having a TV, going to movies, wearing make-up, and the enjoying the conveniences of electricity and phones. They often use generators to create power to run their equipment and use horses, instead of tractors, to do farm work. The bishop (leader) of an Amish community (district) sets up the rules of conduct allowed for his district. Some bishops are more lenient than others. The Amish have church services in their own homes, taking turns hosting on Sundays, and do not have church buildings. They usually only go to a formal school until age 15.
The Amish groups have problems, just like anyone else. Most of these church groups try to keep their problems concealed from the outside world. The youth are given the opportunity to taste of “the world” in their late teens to determine if they want to join the church. Many young Amish people get involved in drugs, alcohol, sex, and other vices during this time period while they are allowed to own a motor vehicle, but a large number then do give up the vehicle and join the church. Others determine they will not join the church and attempt to fit into the secular world.
Spiritually speaking, the Amish are very similar to the traditional Jews that keep the Old Testament Law. They have a long list of do’s and don’ts. If they fail to keep the list, they are in trouble with the church and are in danger of being shunned. Shunning is a form of excommunication. If they partake of the “worldly” things, they are shunned by the church people.
The Amish believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that He died for their sins, and that He is the way to salvation. However, many Amish also practice a works-based relationship with God. They view their good works as earning favor with God. If their good works outweigh the bad works, they feel God will allow them into heaven. The Amish are basically good, hard-working people, who have to make sure they stay on the right path, so they get final rewards in heaven when life is over. They say “Amish is a lifestyle,” not a religion. They choose to keep the simple life so they can focus more time on family and home, rather than the things that require advanced modern technology.
As a group, the Amish do not believe in the security of salvation. They believe a person can lose his/her salvation if he/she strays from the path, or falls from grace. They do not believe in infant baptism, but do “sprinkle” for adult baptism, rather than immerse in water.
Thankfully, some (or many) members of the Amish church do believe that Jesus paid the full price for their sins, and have truly received the grace so freely given by God. Sadly, others cling to the “works-based” philosophy, believing their salvation is based on their “right” actions. The Amish set a powerful example by literally trying to “keep themselves unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). At the same time, the Bible does not call us to completely separate ourselves from the world. We are called to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20;Acts 1:8). We are not to withdraw and separate ourselves from those who most need to hear the gospel message.
There is much for which the Amish are to be commended. The powerful example of unconditional forgiveness the Amish showed after the 2006 Amish school shooting was a demonstration of the love and grace of God. The Amish are kind, respectful, hard-working, and God-loving people. At the same time, the legalism and works-based faith that is evident in some Amish communities is not to be followed.




What Drives The Amish Culture?


The Amish Culture is driven by the Amish religion which teaches that they must be separate from worldly sin to receive salvation. Everything Amish people do is pointed toward the goal of maintaining this separate way of life.

To help you get a better insight into the Amish Tradition, imagine that you are Amish.

The Ordnung

Your Amish history dates back to 1693 when your forefathers split from the Mennonites. From that time forward, Amish men and Amish women have had their roles in the church and community dictated to them by the Ordnung, a set of unwritten rules that are based in Scripture.

Since agreement with the Ordnung is voted on yearly by the members of each individual congregation, there are variations from church to church.

The Church

In the Amish culture, the word “church” doesn’t refer to a building, but to the people in the congregation. Since in most sects there is no church building, services are held in individual homes on a rotating basis. This limits the size of the church district to the number of members that can fit in a home, usually thirty to forty households.

Your church services are held every other Sunday. The “off” Sundays are spent visiting or taking it easy. You look forward to these social times along with the occasional wedding, barn raising or other frolics.

The actual service usually lasts around three hours. Afterward lunch is served to the entire congregation in shifts, while those not eating socialize. After their parents depart, young adults stay for the Sunday night singing.

This is a time when they look to pair off with dating partners. Amish dating begins at age sixteen, conforming with the Ordnung.

Conforming for salvation

In the Amish Culture your road to heaven is paved with conformity. The outside world is full of pressures to succeed and stand out from the crowd. But to the Amish, standing out is a sure sign of pride. And pride paves the road to a much hotter place.

You on the other hand, are not pressured with decisions on how to conform and get to heaven. No, your decisions are already made by the Amish Culture. Everything is laid out for you so you know exactly what to do and how to live.

The Ordnung specifies such details as…

  • what clothes are acceptable
  • the color and length of a woman’s dress
  • submission to the will of God
  • education of children
  • use of modern technology
  • no use of insurance
  • transportation

…to list just a few.

The Icon

Everybody knows that the horse and buggy is the icon of the Amish Culture though it has been a symbol of separation for only about the last century.

Prior to that time, driving a buggy was the preferred modern mode of personal transportation. Old order sects all use buggies while some others such as the Beachy sect own cars.

In fact you, also, might have owned a car in the past, before you joined the church and were yoked to the Ordnung.


According to your Amish beliefs, no one can be baptized until they can make an informed decision to join the church. The young Amish teenagers need some way to become informed of the outside world.

So between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one, comes a period known as rumspringa or running around.

This custom, which might include owning a car and partying, lets the young people experience the outside world. Maybe you will find that it isn’t as great out there as you thought. It might actually act as a vaccination against future temptation. At least it allows you to make an educated decision on whether or not to join the church.

The Decision

This educated decision is important because once you join the church, it is for life. If after joining, you decide to leave the church, you will be subjected to shunning. This is usually enough to keep you in the church. It also creates a tightly knitted society.

So should you decide you want to live the modern life, it’s far better to not be baptized. Then, you won’t be shunned because you aren’t a member of the church. You are just a wayward child who might eventually see the light and come back to the open arms of the church where you belong.

Coming back is not such a rare thing.

Leaving the Amish

Imagine for a moment, leaving your Amish community.

You’re on your own. You have only an eighth grade education. And you have lost the support system that you have relied on for your entire life. After a year or two on your own you’ve had your fill of TV and working at dead-end jobs. The future is beginning to look pretty pitiful.

Face it. The modern world doesn’t appear as rosy as it did before you had to make your own way in it. You don’t know who you are or where you’re going. The old security and support systems are starting to look pretty darn good.

So you rush back to the welcoming arms of the Amish community.

The church provides security from cradle to grave for all the members of the congregation. If sickness strikes, church support is there with labor and financial help. Or if calamity hits the farm with a lightning strike and a barn is destroyed, the community is there with a barn raising. The Amish culture provides sense of security that is very hard to give up just to drive a car and have electricity.

Surviving and Thriving

The feeling of belonging, knowing exactly who you are and what is expected of you gives you an inner peace. This contentment probably accounts for the fact that 80 to 90 percent of the children who grow up in the Amish Culture stay and join the church.

The Amish population in has doubled to nearly 230,000 in the last 17 years. These people who seem to give up so much in this modern world, are thriving and will most likely continue to do so in the future.

This brief look gives you a better understanding of the Amish Culture. You can see that the reason for their strange (to us) behavior is to remain separate from the world so that they can go to heaven. They also seek to maintain their tightly knitted communities by making sure that their children grow up to join the church.

The Amish culture is a way of life that the Amish people have been born and bred to live. Most would struggle with the loss of this ingrained identity if they left the church. So they stay. They are a people who know who they are and why they are here. Not a bad place to be in this world of confusion and chaos.


Inside The Amish Family

The Amish family is the foundation of the Amish way of life. The family structure and traditions that seem to be taken from a page out of history, have remained an integral part of the Amish culture.

This is not by accident. They have an unwritten blueprint for Amish living called the Ordnung that guides them through all the details of everyday life.

To us, these rules might seem extremely legalistic. But the Amish consider the Ordnung to be a sacred trust that separates them from the outside world.

It binds them together in their quest for eternal salvation and creates a desire for unity and conformity. When its members live together, work together, worship together and socialize together, the Amish family is made stronger.

The Marriage Relationship

The Amish family is traditionally farming based. As leader of the family, the man makes all the major decisions in regard to the family, farm, and household. The Amish marriage ceremony directs the bride to be submissive to her husband.

Of course marriage is a partnership so the degree to which the husband includes his wife in the decision making process varies from family to family. As with any human relationship, the attitude of the each partner probably determines how much weight the husband gives to his wife’s input.

The man is the primary breadwinner of the Amish family.

In the past the Amish family income was produced on the farm. For nearly 300 years the Amish man has tilled the soil to produce crops and livestock for a living. Most Amish still prefer this lifestyle today.

But in recent decades, the scarcity of affordable farmland has forced many Amish men to seek alternative means of producing income. In some areas, less than half the men farm for a living.

The best alternative to farming is a cottage industry that allows the man to work at home. Businesses such as:

  • Bakery
  • Cabinet shop
  • Furniture manufacturing shop
  • Engine repair shop
  • Greenhouse Bookstore
  • Dry goods store
  • Harness and leather goods shop
  • Clock and watch repair shop
  • Sawmill


A home business keeps the father close to the home. The traditional Amish family depends on having both the parents available to supervise and train the children.

Every family member is indoctrinated into the Amish lifestyle beginning at the earliest age. The home shop, like the farm, becomes a learning laboratory where the children can observe and learn while helping to produce income for the family.

Other possible occupations include the trades. Working in the building industry is a popular choice for many. Carpentry, plumbing, roofing and other trades where the man can work for himself, are considered compatible with the Amish culture.

Working in a factory is the least desirable form of occupation. It is considered a threat to the Amish family. So the church encourages farming or home business whenever possible.

The mother is in charge of running the household.

The Amish woman must be an excellent manager. The efficiency of an Amish family depends upon the skill of the mother in many areas.

She is the head cook and seamstress. The garden is also the mother’s realm. A productive garden is a great asset to the family since Amish food is home grown, when possible.

Mom oversees child care, cleaning, yard work, laundry and food preservation. She might make crafts to sell at a roadside stand. In addition to all that, she often helps with barn chores and harvesting.

She will have help from the older girls. A young Amish girl is expected to hone her skills at running the household so she will be fully prepared when her time comes to run a household of her own.

Amish women make most of the clothing in for the family. Clothes are very plain and of usually solid colors, which is why the Amish are often referred to as plain people. Even Amish wedding dresses are handmade.

Grandparents remain a vital part of the family.

When the grandparents pass the farm down to one of their children, they usually continue to live on the farm in a house that is attached to the main house or in a nearby separate house.

Though retired, the grandparents continue help with chores and contribute to the family in many ways. They might tend a roadside stand to sell food or crafts produced by the family.

The wisdom of the grandparents is a treasured asset to the family. Their advice is often sought and followed.

Contrary to popular belief, the farm is not always inherited by the oldest child. Usually, the parents are not ready to retire until after their entire family has been raised. Then the empty nest is ready to be occupied by a new family. By this time, the older children might have families of their own and be well established elsewhere.

Since there are many children and there is only one farm to inherit, many Amish homes do not include three generations.

Children are also seen as a valuable asset to the Amish family.

There is an average of six children per household. Very young Amish children are pampered as much as children in the outside world. Until about the age of two, the toddler gets away with some behavior that won’t go uncorrected later. After the age of two, Amish children can expect to be spanked for their lapses in good judgment.

For the most part, their very early years are spent playing and interacting with their siblings. Amish toys are very simple and of course, non-electrical.

By the age of five, Amish children are performing simple chores in the house or around the barn. Their workload is increased as they develop the required strength and skills.

The Amish family needs the additional labor of its children. Working on a farm the children get a feeling of accomplishment and actually see the important contribution they are making to their family. They are instilled with the work ethic that prepares them for their life in the Amish community.

Having a large family is also valued by the church because growth comes almost entirely from within. There are very few converts to the Amish religion because outsiders are not equipped to cope with the psychological and physical rigors of Amish life.

Down time

The Amish family works every day. On Sunday, they milk and feed the livestock and any other chores that must be done daily. They then go to church services which are held on alternating Sundays. A light lunch is served after the service. Then the afternoon is spent socializing.

On the “off” Sundays, they visit other families or just stay home and rest. The Amish observe Christmas, Thanksgiving, Pentecost Easter and Ascension Day as a part of their Amish culture and traditions.

The Amish enjoy gathering at occasions such as weddings and auctions. They also enjoy getting together to help their neighbors on occasions like a barn-raising which they might refer to as a frolic.

When a family settles in a new home…

…they usually stay there for life. This is especially true if they settle close to their extended families. If you include both sets of parents and six married siblings with families, there might be eighty to one hundred immediate relatives nearby.

When you add aunts and uncles all with their own extended families, the number of relatives balloons out to hundreds. All these close connections to relatives are a tremendous incentive to stay put.

As the couple grows old, their children will be married and produce thirty to fifty grandchildren of their own and the cycle starts over. Once again, this shows why the large Amish family is such a great asset to the community.

Trouble in Paradise

A problem has surfaced over the last couple of decades. It would seem that the large family has become a threat to the Amish way of life. As population increases in and around the Amish settlements, farmland is becoming scarce.

Even if a young Amish family can find an available farm, they will probably find the price of the land beyond their reach. This poses a potentially devastating problem for the Amish family. Faced with this threat to its very survival, this society must look beyond its traditional farming based culture for other ways to support their Amish life. Many have started cottage industries or become tradesmen.

Others have opted for factory work, a choice that could also threaten the traditional Amish family. Working in the outside world exposes them to the worldly culture.

Working beside non-Amish, often both men and women can influence the Amish man’s point of view. The fact that he can make so much money working only forty hours a week, might tend to make him look at the Amish life in a different, less desirable light.

The father is also away from home during the day and cannot supervise his children. The Amish family is grounded in having the father readily available at home.

Children learn by watching. The father’s absence denies the children a vital role model that teaches the work ethic needed to sustain the rigorous Amish life.

The Amish continue to survive and prosper.

Despite these threats, the Amish population thriving. It continues to almost double every twenty years. As of 2008 there were nearly 230,000 Amish.

The influence of the trend toward a post agricultural lifestyle may eventually change the fundamental identity of the Amish family.

But for now, the Amish family is alive and well.


Amish Clothing Symbolizes
Separation and Identity

Amish clothing provides the plain people with an instant means of separation from the world. From the way Amish dress, you can tell at a glance that they are Amish.

Jakob Ammann, the father of the Amish movement, was a tailor by trade. He observed first hand the influence that clothing had on people. Dress identified a person’s station in life. He saw that success and individual accomplishment were proclaimed by personal appearance.

Ammann’s religion is based upon separation from all that is worldly. So it is only natural that he recognized the need for Amish clothing to be simple and non-conforming to the world.

The Amish uniform would symbolize their separation from the world.

In the 1690’s when Jakob Ammann split from the Mennonites, most of his followers were small farmers that leased their land from large landowners. So the early Amish dress was simple and functional. The Ordnung, which is the Amish culture’s unwritten guideline for living, stressed a very definite dress code of simple clothing that did not conform to the world.

In the 1730’s the Amish began migrating to America along with Mennonites and other groups in search of religious freedom. Along with this freedom came the right to own land. The Amish work ethic, frugality, and farming skills blossomed in this environment and they prospered.

Through the years the Amish have continued to prosper and thrive. They have steadfastly continued their tradition of distinctive Amish Clothes. This has helped them maintain their identity in the ever-changing modern world.

Today in the huge Amish settlements in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, affordable farmland has become scarce. This is forcing the Amish men to find other means of making a living. Factory and construction jobs have forced the Amish to work among outsiders. Amish girls work in restaurants and retail stores. These exposures to the outside world pose a threat to their culture and way of life.

Their Amish dress is a means of separating themselves from the outside world in which they now must work. Amish clothes are considered to be an expression of: 

  • obedience
  • separation
  • humility
  • simplicity
  • non-conformity to the world

Since they do not conform with the world, the Amish must conform with the society in which they live. Plain and simple clothing is a badge of solidarity. When everyone conforms to standard of dress, emphasis is placed on the group instead of the individual. It is a sign of unity.

Most things in the Amish tradition are designed to hold the Church together. The Amish believe that clothing should not be used to distinguish the individual from the group by making that person more “attractive” over others. The person who places emphasis on the individual is much harder to control and more likely to stray from the group. The whole Amish culture is based on placing group over the individual.

It is remarkable that today, Amish clothes remain very consistent across 1700+ local congregations, even though the churches are not connected by any central governing body.

Every year each congregation independently reviews its Ordnung, the unwritten guideline to living Amish. It covers every facet of Amish life including each congregation’s Amish dress code. Still, in any community where they are present their appearance makes it is easy to identify the Amish.

Amish attire has an effect on us outsiders too. In today’s fast paced world, the thought of a culture that isn’t caught up in the rush to personal growth and individual accomplishment is appealing. Whether it is true or not, admirers attribute this trait to the Amish culture. Amish clothes evoke this attitude.

For example, Old Order Mennonites have most of the same conservative beliefs that make the Amish lifestyle so appealing to many outsiders.

Mennonite women might wear dresses made from small print material and though they wear head coverings, they still paint a picture of modern culture when compared to the Amish women in their plain dark homemade Amish attire.

You can test this effect yourself. When you see a small Amish child dressed in miniature adult Amish clothing how do you react? How do the other people around you react to this child? You pass cute kids everyday with maybe a brief smiling glance. But these Amish kids stir a sentimental emotion. Many people react as if they are looking at a living museum piece from our simpler, more peaceful past.

Wearing separate Amish clothing serves an additional purpose of indoctrinating children into the Amish community. When children are dressed like their parents it reinforces the fact that they are different and separate from the outside world. They “feel” Amish. This early influence undoubtedly contributes to the fact that nearly 85 percent of Amish children grow up and join the church.

Amish clothing is a cornerstone of the Amish identity. Jakob Ammann was right. It is one of the glues that holds the Amish culture together and keeps it strong.


Amish Customs Separate and Preserve the Amish Lifestyle

As the Amish constantly battle to keep their identity, they rely on their Amish customs to protect them from worldly influence.

Amish traditions are dictated by the Ordnung, an unwritten set of rules. The U.S. Constitution is sometimes referred to as a living and breathing document. Well, the Ordnung is truly a living and breathing guideline for Amish customs.

Each individual church regularly reviews and if needed, revises their Ordnung to handle changing circumstances. When Amish are faced with advances in technology and lifestyles of the outside world, they must decide how they are to deal with these changes.

How will these changes affect the Amish community? Will these changes threaten their Amish way of life?

For example, there were no rules prohibiting cars or electricity in 1850 because at that time, those things didn’t exist. How can the Amish address the changing world around them?

Why we see different Amish Customs

There is no central governing body for the Amish Church. Therefore, each congregation is left to answer these questions of policy on their own. Inevitably, solutions to identical issues vary from church to church.

Over a long period of time, differences in Amish customs have developed across the whole spectrum of Amish communities and individual congregations.

This explains why you see different types of dress, styles of beards, and different appearance of the horse and buggies as you travel throughout Amish country.

Although customs may differ from church to church they are still easily recognizable as “Amish customs”. Traditions help the Amish preserve their identity and stay separate from the world.

Amish Customs help church growth

The average Amish family has seven children. Birth control is not in the Amish dictionary. They don’t practice it and they don’t want to, thank you very much.

But this alone does not explain the robust growth of the Amish church as a whole. You would think that with all the exposure to the “English” and the outside world, there would be a mass exodus of Amish youth leaving the church.

But wait a minute. Over eight out of ten Amish youth choose to join the church and remain Amish for life. We outsiders wonder how this can be. Well, there are many reasons.

Amish Education prepares youths for the Amish Life

The custom of speaking only their German dialect, commonly referred to as Pennsylvania Dutch, at home creates a strong identity bond among the Amish people. Children are not taught the English language until they start school.

The Amish education begins with the first grade and ends with completion of the eighth grade. The boys then either go into full time farming or apprentice in the trades so that they can work for an Amish shop or business.

Upon finishing school Amish girls work at home or sometimes get outside jobs until they marry and start keeping a home of their own.

Social Amish Customs

Amish social traditions contribute greatly to the retention rate of more than eighty percent. Barn raisings, weddings, and other frolics where the community comes together, provide a feeling of belonging and security that is often absent in the outside world.

After church, on Sunday evening the young people stay for the “Sunday night singing”. This gathering gives the boys and girls a chance to size each other up as candidates for some Amish dating. Choosing an Amish spouse is essential in helping the young Amish decide to join the church.

Many years ago I played in a softball league that included several teams made up of Amish teenagers and young men. They were all driving cars and smoking. This struck me odd behavior for a group of conservative Amish men.

Between games I asked one of the young players how they decided whether or not to join the church. He told me that in many cases, if the girl you wanted to marry was Amish, you joined the church.

Though I hadn’t heard of the term at that time, these Amish guys must have been going through a stage called Rumspringa (Pennsylvania Dutch for “running around”). During Rumspringa young Amish men and women get out and experience the world to see what it is all about before they make their decision to join the church.

Amish Shunning

You had better be able to make an informed decision because when you join the Amish church it is for life. If you join and later decide to leave you will be shunned.

When you are shunned, you are treated as if you total outsider. The Amish Church forbids any member of the Church to give you any social standing.Amish shunning divides families and causes much heartache in the Amish community.

In fact, one of Jakob Ammann’s major issues with the Mennonites was their reluctant use of shunning as discipline for those who disobeyed Church doctrine. This along with several other doctrinal differences caused Ammann to split from the Mennonite church.

Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish Mennonites. Later the “Mennonite” was dropped and the Amish sect was born.

Remaining Separate and Growing

So, how do Amish customs help separate and continue to grow the Amish way of life?

Amish Customs like dressing differently, wearing beards, forbidding the use of electricity, and using the horse and buggy instead of automobiles definitely make a bold statement that the Amish people are different and separate from the world.

Other Amish customs like frolics, where the people gather together in a common cause of helping fellow Amish in need, build a sense of security and identity that is seldom found in the outside world.

The tradition of the Sunday night singing affords the teenage boys and girls an opportunity to pair off with partners for dating. This leads to Amish weddings that add more families to the Amish church.

And last but not least, shunning is one of the most effective of Amish customs for keeping young people in the church once they have joined.

Summing it up

Imagine for a moment that you are an Amish teenager. The time has come for you to make your life decision.

Should you or should you not join the Amish church?

You were raised by Amish parents. You were taught right from wrong according to the Christian and Amish faith. You speak two languages which sets you apart from most people of the outside world.

In the Amish community you feel secure in the knowledge of whom you are and where you belong. You have been dating and plan to marry an Amish partner.

You have gone through Rumspringa and found that the outside world is not all your imagination promised. You’ve had cable TV and the experience of clicking through one hundred channels and finding nothing worthwhile to watch.

You’ve had a car and possibly a job. You have found that your eighth grade education could condemn you to a lifetime of menial labor.

You have been party animal and learned what its like to have a hangover.

When the novelty wears off you’ve discovered that life is not quite as sweet as you expected it to be out in the world. It seems like you don’t fit in.

Those Amish customs that you once thought so constricting don’t look so bad now.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to join the church or not?

For over eighty percent of all Amish youths the answer is a resounding…Yes!!

Combine this high rate of retention with the threat of shunning and it is clear that Amish customs are truly effective tools for protecting and growing the Amish lifestyle.


Make your trip to
Amish Country more fun!

A great trip to Amish country depends on more than just knowing where to go and what to see. To get the most out of your experience, you need to really understand what you’re seeing or you won’t know what you’re missing.

Take a look the rich history and tradition of these plain people. As you explore this site, you will learn why they are here and why they do the odd things they do. You’ll find out why you see different hat styles, clothing styles and even different styles of beards.

You will also discover…

  • Why they will ride in a car but won’t own one
  • Why they use a phone but won’t have them in their house
  • How and where they worship
  • Where they come from
  • How they educate their children
  • How they became known for their excellent farming and craftsmanship

…and much, much more.

So if you want to really upgrade your next trip, I invite you to dive into this site. Learning about the Amish will give you a whole new point of view. You’ll not only know what to look for, but you’ll truly appreciate what you are seeing.

And don’t worry; I’ll also give you the lowdown on where to go and what to see!

Join me now. Our journey begins here.



We live in a war-torn world – a fact that is as sad and tragic, as it is unfortunate. It is a ruthless and cruel world filled with fear, strife, chaos, hatred, bitterness and vengeance that we live in. The current situation has escalated to such a level of violence that the preferred solution is “tit-for-tat” – a vicious circle of events where violence is countered with more violence; where crimes are countered with more heinous crimes. People live their lives in a constant fear for not only their own lives but for the lives of their families, friends and loved ones. In their prayers, at night, most people pray for Peace on Earth and the Brotherhood of Mankind.



We were born free – why can’t we live free and stay free, for that matter? Is it asking for too much? Is it really so difficult? The solution lies in a simple but long-forgotten philosophy of “Live and let Live.” It is a thought-process, that when translated into action, reflects on the ways of non-interference, non-intervention and non-violence. This philosophy works at most timesexcept in situations where individuals & nations decide to take the law into their own hands and device a crude form of justice of their very own. Many soldiers, of contemporary times, have become like insensitive robots – they have become “like boys, with toys” – the toys, in question, being guns, ammunition and other weapons of warfare. They experience a vicarious thrill in the act of killing and if the situation carries on as such, there will be no end in sight to the untold violence and havoc that is being wreaked in the world.



Here, we are talking of the world at large but the real philosophy of “live and let live” begins at home and in our daily lives. It is a way of stating in an unspoken language – “I’d like to lead my life the way that I want to and you lead yours in the way that suits you best. We will each go our different ways and we will lead parallel lives, with the least interference possible from each other.” This attitude calls for peace, happiness, harmony and brotherhood in no small measure and is not to be taken lightly. It is also a very good idea to remember that “curiosity killed the cat.”



You must be wondering why this author has chosen to write about the Amish Culture – it is simply to demonstrate that even though some people are different and lead their lives according to certain norms dictated by their particular culture, it does not make them ‘strange’ nor are they to be treated like ‘freaks.’ Others never stop their meanness and cruelty towards people who they deem as being different to themselves – however, we all know that this need not be the case.



What is to be said further? Just lead your life and let other people lead theirs in peace – end of story!

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