Mosie's dad gave it to him.
Josh and Harvey each got one from their parents.
Sarah received hers a few weeks ago. Her brother Monroe (who lives with us) came home and threw it in my lap.
What am I talking about?
The "Letter." A warning letter (or a paraphrased version) desperate Amish parents give their wayward children who leave for the "outside" life.
The first time I read Mosie's (our "adopted" ex-Amish son) letter I thought it was so ominous, so callous, so negative and devoid of any mention of love. I don't know how Mosie withstood the forlorn words of condemnation and shame. While he didn't express his feelings, I perceived Mosie's self-doubt, pain, and confusion. His letter told of those who left the Amish to face the "dangerous path" and how miserable their choice made the parents and how they broke the parents' hearts.
By "disobeying parents," the child was on his path to hell! Only obedience to parents and returning to Amish gives one a hope of Heaven.
Then I learned, from others at that time, the
letter wasn't original. What Mosie received from his dad was a common
attempt to scare "wayward children" back into the Amish life. When my husband and I studied Mosie's letter, we
saw cut and pasted and blacked out sections. To us it suggested
his father attempted to personalize a letter template.
think what you are doing, just THINK, to put that electricity in the
house. Oh, I'd be afraid to have such in my house. Really, I would be
afraid to have it. What would God say?" warned one Amish mother in the letter to her daughter.
Another gal's letter from her father said, "If only you could have died
when you fell out of the upstairs window.” She explained, “I had so disgraced them by leaving the Amish that my
death was preferable to my life.”
Monroe heard from his married Amish brother that his parents put it in their will no English children (wayward ones) are allowed to come to their death wake. Here's an excerpt of the Letter Monroe received;
"Dear children. Please do not miss treat your parents and make them so betrubt [grieved, sad]. Now please do not keep them so awake during the night of fear that you children may go to hell. . . . think about it that it may be our last day to live."
Below are other ex-Amish words about their letter:
soon as we were cut off from the Amish I wrote them a letter to let
them know what we believe, they wrote back, warning us n also send an
old budget clipping along with the story of something horrible that
happened to a lady that left the Amish." ~ Emma
"The only letter i got was from my dad saying that i owe him from the time i left until i was 21 yrs old." ~ Danny [Amish children come of age at 21 y/o; until then all earned income goes to the father.]
got more letters when I was thinking about leaving than any other time
in my life. Yes, after I left I got a letter warning me that they will
be excommunicating me, . . . " ~ Sarah
got it but not from my parents... It was from a 'concerned' friend.
There were letters and even books I "should read" to change my mind. . ." ~ Lisa
got quite a few of those letters. From both sides of the family,
meaning in-laws, I forgot most of them, but most was about what happened
to Amish or Mennonite people when they left, and then something bad
happened. They either ( repented and came back) or died a long suffering
death." ~ Savilla
Why am I revealing this tidbit of Amish practice? Because the curious public want to knows about the Amish; watching TV shows, reading books, asking questions, visiting Amish tourists spots, buying Amish furniture and products, without really knowing practices within the culture and what those who leave face.
As a mom, I can understand these desperate Amish parents' attempts to do what they think is their duty. What's the problem? No mention of love or affection for the child, which Amish do not show. In parenting, our goal is a balance of rules and relationship.
What do YOU think? Have you received a warning letter sometime in your life from your concerned parent? Do you agree with these Amish parents who are trying to persuade their children to return?