Join my Amish Learning Curve

Mosie & his Amish brother
I admit it; until three years ago, I knew little of  the Amish. I neither romanticized nor criticized this culture even though I live in Ohio, home to the largest number of Amish settlements nationwide.

Then, by divine ordinance, Mosie, Uria, Andy, Dan, Harvey, Levi, and Jonas came into our home. By mutual adoption, our "son" Mosie became a daily and valued family member.

Then Harvey - who grew up Amish and left - married our daughter. Marvin, Uriah, and John were brief relationships. Jonas (who prefers Josh) moved into our hearts and is a permanent family member now. And there's sweet Mary, Sarah, Martha, Noah, my pals in the Amish & Beyond group, and more via Twitter. I'm on a vertical learning curve about this society; those both inside and outside. I'll have stories and fascinating details in coming weeks. So follow by email (see right column) to stay informed.

Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, give suggestions. After all, the great minds are always learning, right?   ~ Brenda

(C)Copyright 2012, Brenda Nixon.
9/17/14 Update - Thanks for reading this blog. What is 200,000? The number of readers worldwide who come to learn accurate details or entertaining stories about the Swartzentruber (and sometimes Old Order) Amish.
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  1. I had no idea of your connection. I can't wait to hear/learn more.

  2. Thanks Pam. I plan to explain our relationship more; I've invited several Ex-Amish to read and comment too because my integrity demands that I'm accurate and don't mislead or misinform readers.

  3. With lots of Amish in our area, I'm looking forward to someone finally presenting the truth about what they believe, especially about the Bible and the Gospel. I, for one, avoid Amish fiction because the lifestyle is romanticized and publishers are simply stoking people's desire for a simpler life.

  4. Wow, Michele, you've expressed a loaded interest. Amish (I know) attend church every-other Sunday at a home. (In my book, I'll explain more.) Homes are rotated & the church service is about 3-hrs long! Except for the higher (more progressive) orders, the service is entirely in German; singing, readings, preaching, etc. The people sit on wooden benches, no backs, with men on one side and women on the opposite.

  5. I also am intrigued by the Amish and yearn for their simple lifestyle. Your book will reveal the truth. There's simplicity and there's legalism and there's false beliefs. Looking forward to learning more.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Thanks Elaine! I think it's the appearance of "simple lifestyle" that attract us busy, techno English. And I do appreciate their highly self-sustaining life.
    When I chat with my Ex-Amish (New English) pals, my son-in-law, Josh, or Mosie they tell me it's anything but simple. Consider rising daily at dawn to dress in a wood-heated home, with little or no carpeting, to milk cows by hand - the use of electric milking equipment is forbidden in many of the Orders - or gather eggs before breakfast and knowing you must work until dark because "sweat of the brow" is one way to earn God's favor. Your clothes - including underwear - are prescribed and you're constantly under scrutiny to insure you don't break one of the many rules. You pump your water from a well, use an outhouse or corner of the barn, huddle in a buggy to clip-clop from one place to another, light lanterns when it's dark, follow numerous unexplained rules, suppress emotions & individuality, try to appear stoic, don't question rules, don't celebrate birthdays, fast Easter and Christmas day, and are publicly disciplined in church when you break a rule. To me, it sounds oppressive. I understand why some yearn to leave even for an outside culture they've been warned to avoid and often it takes years to work up the nerve.
    My experiences are with Old and Swartzie Orders. If you talk to more progressive orders or those living in the touristy areas, you might hear different descriptions. Bear in mind; when you talk to an Amish you'll hear the "we're happy" report and a reinforcement of the image they want to project.

  7. I grew up Amish. We had chores before and after school. (never hurt us a bit). We had running water and bathrooms, we celebrated holidays and birthdays,we purchased underwear at our local department stores just like you guys do, we took sightseeing trips,ate at restaurants... we had play time as well, and we did not park ourselves in front of the tv or play video games. We played outside till dark and board games inside after dark. We never felt deprived.

  8. You're right there, yoder, chores never hurt anyone and I encourage parents to assign chores to their children. With running water, indoor bathrooms, etc., you must be from a higher order unlike Harvey, Mosie and the others ones I know. You just made my point that there are many different Orders.
    Ah, yes, I remember being a young child and playing outside till dark. I'm curious, yoder, if you're still Amish or chose to leave? If you left, it'd be interesting to my readers to know why, if you have a relationship with your parents now, and what type work you do as English.

  9. As a reviewer, it's often troubled me how some publishers make the Amish belief system appear to be in sync with evangelical doctrine...when it's quite different. I'm so thankful Brenda that you are focusing on all aspects of Amish life...I know we can all learn some important truths here.

  10. in sync with evangelical doctrine... Most of the Amish writings, Their Hymn books and prayer books are strongly evangelical. The problem is that most of the Amish have trouble understanding the Old German and thus can easily substitute meanings that were not originally present. For many of the Amish sects, reading a non-German bible is strictly forbidden, "Ordnung" replaces theology, and all sorts of foolishness is easily invented at the whims of their bishops and leaders.

    An Amish woman once told my dad that she did not want to study the Bible as that then required a higher level of accountability. "I go to church and hear the ministers and that is all I need."

  11. Hi. I am from glasgow ky. My daughters father is ex amish. I Noticed one of the guys in the picture. He is a good guy.

  12. Thank you, Anonymous, for your insight contribution. You are helping readers get a handle on the Amish way of thinking.
    Brittany, which guy are you talking about? Mosie, the one on the left, is our "adopted" son. Yes he is a good guy! (that's my "mom" heart bragging on him) His brother, who is still Amish, is on the right and his name is Jacob.

  13. Oh the one on the left looked like harvey. Hes an amish guy from glasgow. He left amish a while ago but he went back. The two in the picture look very familiar. Where are they from?

  14. I recently stumbled on your blog after a piece was written in knoxpages.com - after reading and reading, I'm hooked on your wonderful stories and encounters. then I was completely shocked to learn you're from the same county I am! This is SO COOL this is all so close to home to me! Keep the stories coming!!

    1. Welcome Anonymous and thanks for reading. Ya, Marty is now including my blog posts on her Knoxpages. She enjoyed learning about the Amish from my posts & asked if she could include them. Already several have read it there, then hopped over to my blog. You have 2-years' worth of posts & accuracy to catch up on - haha Hopefully, my book will be coming out early next year.