Lived, Left, Shunned, and Sharing about Amish life

Meet Harvey A., (not our son-in-law but, another Harvey)  I don't reveal his last name to respect his Amish family or those who may be affected by his decision to leave.

Harvey grew up in Kentucky as Swartzentruber Amish. His order split over the bed courtship practiced by Swartzentrubers. His differing order became known as Abe Order.

Now, you're probably scratching your head and thinking I never heard of that order! Ya, there are several different Amish orders, each with their own Ordnung, Bishop, and behaviors.


You Might be Ex-Amish if . . .

Ready for a laugh?

Most of my former Amish pals have a sense of humor. Quick witted. Get a gag. Love to banter. Some have a biting playfulness.

I often remind Josh that I love his witticisms. After all he's gone through so far, he still sees whimsy in life.

Several months ago, Rosa put out a challenge to members of my former Amish group, "You might be ex-Amish if . . ." Many were too eager to complete this sentence.


Inquiring Minds about the Amish

Happy New Year!

Curious readers, researchers, and "reality" TV producers ask me tons of questions about the Amish. I'm no expert - nobody is - but my daily experiences afford personal, unique insights. A special understanding.

I'm grateful for my fun and funny Amish pals, and former-Amish friends and family! I've been inside Swartzentruber Amish homes, English homes occupied by Swartzentruber Amish, and with those in and out of that life - or society. Or "system" as some formers refer to it. From them and my own observations, I learn volumes about this complex American sub-culture.

Below are three questions I was recently asked:

Ken asked, "Do Amish have locks on their doors?"


2014 Highlights

2014's Most Popular Post:
  • Wow, first I thought February's Amish Shunning, What's It All About? - with 1,482 readers - was the most popular.
  • Then, a new one blew that out of the water. Within a day, Divided Home - Harvey's shocking story - attracted nearly 2,000 readers! I think because of the story's rarity.
Most Comments:
Other Remarkable - unexpected - Highlights . . . 


Christmas the Amish Way

Last December, I posted about an Amish Christmas. Because new readers didn't see it, or might not search my blog for holiday-themed posts, I'm republishing it now.

Remember each order recognizes Christmas differently. In this post, you can visit the stricter Amish orders and learn how they observe the day.

Book Fun Magazine nominated me for 2014 BLOG OF THE YEAR Help me? Click, tick, Vote.

I hope you and your family soak in the true meaning of Christmas while enjoying friends and family.

Return next week for a fascinating and surprising 2014 recap of this blog!
(c)Copyright, 2014, Brenda Nixon.


Gay Amish

She emailed a few months ago with questions. I answered. Recently she emailed more.

"To be officially shunned you have to be a member of the church, right?" she asked.
  • TRUE. But, while the Church may shun, the family might not. Read about Harvey in my last post. Then - with some - the Church may not but the family shuns their "wayward" child who left. That's been the case with many of my young former-Amish friends and family.
Then I reminded her of my February post on shunning - and it's complexities. "Read it," I advised. 

My inquisitive emailer posed a hypothetical situation, "Suppose a young Swartzentruber person who hadn't joined the church yet did something the community considered really bad? Can they still be shunned?"


Divided Home: He's English, She's Amish

Swartzentruber Amish Harvey
This picture is verboten.

Swartzentruber Amish do not allow nor take photos as it's considered a graven image. Against the rules. A sin!

So why am I publishing a picture of Harvey D. (another Harvey, not our son-in-law)?

He took it himself! Posted it on a public forum. Gave me permission to use it.

You may remember I penned a post on teaching an Amish to drive a car. That was Harvey D.  Back when I couldn't release his name. Read the post. At the time, he was unsure of his destiny - would he leave or remain Amish? The inner conflict broke his spirit.

He was nearly driven to suicide as the two worlds played tug of war with his mind.


Amish Stud

    We went to the small town of Yoder, Kansas, an Amish town, and visited the Amish hardware store, the Amish furniture store … and so on.   
My friend said something that I found hard to believe and I told her that I was going to ask you about this and see what you said.
    My friend was told that a man claimed he is an “Amish stud,” i.e. he helps Amish women get pregnant because there is so much intermarrying (cousins and such) that there is a real problem with birth defects in the Amish community.
    Brenda, I found this so, so hard to believe — but I’ve been surprised by some of the things I’ve read in your blog. I still find it truly hard to believe that the Amish community would do this.
So, can you clear this up for me and my friend? Any truth to this statement?

Whoa! Glad she asked me in her search for truth. I emailed her my reply, then promised to take it a step further by asking some of my former Amish pals.

First, read my reply . . . 


The Amish: Inside and Out

I am an adult services librarian who plans programs, and would like to know more about your speaking on the Amish. The information on your blog is fascinating.

Please let me know whether you are located within range of Twinsburg...and if so, of your availability this fall and your fee. Thank you, Karen

Last month I traveled to Twinsburg, Ohio to speak about my experiences with the Amish; those who are and those who left.

As I unpacked the clothes and hung them on hangers, a lady asked, "How'd you get all these clothes?"

"My son-in-law's Amish mother gave them back to him," I replied then challenged, "But can you guess what's wrong with what I'm doing?"


Marvin - Knocked Down but Not Out, Part II

If you haven't read Marvin, Part I from last week. Read it first as today I'm continuing the amazing, unbelievable story about his life outside the Amish.

A year after his near-death auto accident, Marvin returned to independent life, regained his strength, and found work building and delivering those cute, little outdoor sheds for yard equipment.

Then the second of life's hard knocks took him down.


Marvin - Knocked Down but Not Out, Part I

You might have seen him on PBS's documentary, The Amish: Shunned.

Soft-spoken, pensive, responsive, adventuresome, grateful, and gentle.

We'd first met Marvin the week he'd left his Old Order Amish settlement in PA. He walked into our home, accompanied by Uriah. The duo had come to our home on a Sunday morning to attend church with us. At 18, Marvin looked young, innocent, unsullied by life's hard knocks.

But life had many hard knocks waiting for this young lad!