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.

Although some may disagree with me, my experiences have taught me that the Amish - and their formers - do not negotiate. No compromise. Issues are black and white. They're right. You're wrong. Stubborn. Insistent. (Tweet that)

So disagreement within an Amish settlement is resolved by leaving and starting a new order. And that's what happened to Harvey's family.

The Abe Amish, as Harvey explained to me, is still Swartzentruber only different courtship rules.
"They split off the Old Order Swartzentrubers cause they didn't believe it was the right thing for the youth to go to bed to date. They think there's too many temptations there," he said. 
Yup, I'd say I agree there! And if you want to read a detailed description of Swartzentruber bed courtship, read my upcoming book.

Abe Amish are Swartzentruber in belief and strict rules. In his own words, Harvey came from "Old Order Swartzentruber Amish."

Nonetheless, he joined the Church. Then the unthinkable. He left! Now he's shunned. His family and Church and settlement have nothing to do with him! No fellowship. No contact. They believe he's going to hell.

I met Harvey on Christmas Day - December 25, 2013. He's the cousin to Monroe, Sarah, and Harvey D., and drove through Ohio to visit them. Not only is he a little sweetheart (that's my mom talk), he's extremely polite. "Yes'm. What m'am?" Then there's those dimples. Gotta love a kid like that.

And when he told me he's shunned, my heart broke. He's paying the ultimate price for leaving Amish as a Church member.

Harvey thought about leaving early in his teen years. The pain of leaving behind family and everything he was taught kept him in the fold. Then in 2013, at age 21, he made the "very big decision" to leave.

I invited Harvey to answer some questions for you. He immediately agreed.
What are some good memories of being Amish?
Some "very good memories is when I got to go with my dad to the sale barn. I always liked going to sales, especially watching cattle sell and hoping my dad would buy a baby calf.
Before we would go home he would always stop somewhere and get ice cream or a soda pop.
Another good memory is getting to go with mom to the little grocery store nearby. She'd always let us drive [the buggy]. As a kid that would make us feel good, getting to drive on the highway which we didn't know, at the time but, the horse was probably driving himself more than anything else. He knew his way there and back, we didn't know. We were just kids.
I always liked weddings where you would get to see some of your cousins you hadn't seen for years. As you know it was hard to get back and forth not owning a car.
Why did you leave?
Some of the reasons I wanted to leave was because we weren't supposed to use power tools to do carpenter work. It was supposed to all be done with hand tools, which was hard. Sometimes I didn't obey that rule very well. I couldn't see confessing for something that I didn't see was wrong. Instead of just breaking the rules I left to live the life who I actually am and to quit pretending to be someone I'm not. 
And another rule that I was very disobedient was with hiring a guy to take me to work. I would drive a little ways with horse and buggy then hire a driver with a car and ride the rest of the way, which was against the rules. It was something I didn't see anything wrong with. You could get more work that way cause you could go farther out to work.
What do you miss about your Amish family? 
My mom's cooking and my family, that's the biggest thing I miss.
If there was something you wanted English to know about Amish, what would it be? 
I want people to know just cause they dress different or drive a buggy they're not different than anyone else, they just live a way more laid back and old fashioned. There's good and bad amish people. 
Today Harvey lives in Kentucky, has a girlfriend, and works fulltime with horses. If you enjoyed "meeting" Harvey A., leave him a Comment below.

(c)Copyright, 2015. Brenda Nixon.


  1. It's worth every heartache ,or it has been for me!! Wishing you the very best that God has to offer!

  2. Harvey, Thank you. I hope someday I will meet you in person.

  3. Hi, Harvey! My oldest brother is one of those guys with a car. It's important to live as yourself, even it it costs you some things. If you lose yourself, you have nothing.

  4. Thanks Brenda. Pray that Harvey knows Jesus and can witness for Him. Good to hear of his courage. Bob.

    1. Thanks Bob. Harvey is in a relationship with God and he attends church regularly. Thanks for your interest and prayers on Harvey's behalf.

  5. Neat story. In the final analysis we all have to do what we believe God to say is right -- to live consistent with His way and His expressed will. If that is what this young man has done, then although this pain is very real, we know that God will see him through -- and ultimately bless him with more than he ever had to give up. Godspeed to all who stand by such convictions.

  6. Thanks, Harvey, for sharing your inspiring and touching story. The best part of your story is hearing that you have a relationship with God. May He continually bless you and guide you.