As promised then, here are answers culled from "the horses' mouth" - the ex-Amish themselves. Some may surprise you.
- Male - it may be because of the non-stop rules to conform . . . or be shunned by the community. For me it was because of a disagreement about doctrine. I was asked to take a hike, but not all were in agreement about that, I found out later.
- From one who was Old Order, then New Order, and finally Beachy Order before leaving - I hope I can say this without sounding rude, because I don't mean to
be. But, it's not a "choice" for them. 90% believe in Heaven and
Hell. 90% also believe that they will go to hell if they leave. Because
that's what they have been taught. For GENERATIONS. It’s bred into them.
Preached into them. Beat into them. It’s a CULTURE. The ones who leave,
make a CHOICE. The ones who stay? Not in my opinion. Less than 10% are
there because they wanna be, they just don't wanna mess up their
"hoping to make it to heaven" plan. Anybody that's been born and
bred Amish, or anything close to it, knows what I'm talking about. Mehl sin in hofa. (We are hoping.)
- Female who left the Old Order Amish – I left many years ago because
my husband wanted to. However, looking back and knowing what I know now
about God and His love for humanity, I know that Christianity is about
freedom and being the person God created you to be. The Amish religion is
all about control. I can't imagine not allowing my child to go to high
school or college. There is no room for choice when one is Amish.
- Female: - left because of too
much friction in the church . . . being Amish was miserable in my opinion . . . not allowed
to do almost nothing.
- Male: - Amish are known to be nosy and to
gossip endlessly. They seem to have leaders like any other cult does who
dominate, and these so called leaders may pick and pick on certain
members. One's status may determine how much one can get by with.
- Male: - I know family members who seem to start a rumor and the gossip just escalates.
- Female: Religious freedom, to be free from
manmade laws, to be able to have an open relationship with Christ Jesus.
- Female: - I know of some rapes that happen and the grandchildren are told "oh
just be good to grandpa because grandma isn't feeling well right
now." Or even the bishop says "I can't say anything about it
because I am guilty of doing the same with my girls."
- Female: - gossip. Very restrictive as in not very willing to maintain enough challenge for me to flex knowledge muscle (can't go back to school, can't practice many things I learned via books due to lack of money along with very little support from community).
- Female: - Also they don't want you to read the Bible on your own. Listen to the preachers. They will tell you what they want you to know and how you should believe. If anyone becomes a true believer they are told they have a "strange belief" and it can't be tolerated in the Amish church. "I see you've been reading on your own", they say. They pick and choose what scriptures to use.
- Male from Old Order Amish - If you were told that living their lifestyle is the only way to heaven, would you stay? And if you'd talk about Jesus and be told you have to stop, would you stay? Everybody's story is different, but that's mine.
|Emma (former Amish) & me at one of my speaking engagements|
- Female - For me personally, I felt like I was in bondage and could not get away from it. I love what I learned in the culture and I love my family. They treat me the same as the rest of the family most of the time. I started to be shunned from the Amish youth group for wanting to attend a Bible study. I tried to keep going back and no one would want to talk to me anymore. I don't like to put the Amish in a bad light. Most of them do not grasp the full concept of salvation by grace. It is a whole group of people that needs ministry.
- English Female who joined the Amish then left: - I do agree with what most other people have said; A. it's not always as rosy as it looks from the outside, and B. as people grow spiritually or psychologically the narrow doctrine can become a bondage needed to be broken out from. * from a girl who joined the Amish from the outside but left after 15 yrs
(C)Copyright, 2015. Brenda Nixon