Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Answering Questions Part 2

At our lake house we see the Amish boys playing in the water fully clothed. But the girls just stand on the shore and laugh and clap. Are the women not allowed to go in the water?

Different Amish communities are different. In the area where we grew up women did not go into the water. There were a few that waded a bit never more than knee deep but even that was considered scandalous. There are many other communities that when their young people go to the beach there is nothing about them that you would know they are Amish.

Do different churches, like Lancaster, Schwartzentruber, Troyer, Nebraska, etc. intermarry? Is it assumed the couple will be members of the husband's church from then on?

I am not very well acquainted with these groups other than Lancaster. So I asked my friend Katie Troyer if she would be willing to answer this question. She kindly agreed to do it for me.

I know for certain that the Schwartzentruber and Nebraska intermarry, for their gene pool has narrowed down to being related to everyone, first and second cousins. These couples remain Schwartzentruber or Nebraska, depending on where they live after marriage. Each couple has to decide where they will live after marriage. The bride doesn't always move to his group. Most from the Troyer group (young men)that don't marry within their own, leave the Amish altogether and marry outsiders. Their few groups have oodles of single ladies that never marry, simply because there are not enough men to reach around.

Lancaster Amish are so vastly different from other Amish groups that it is almost impossible for their marriage partner to adjust to their way of life. Most of the Lancaster couples that intermarry outside their specific culture have met in Sarasota Florida as wild Amish youth. Although I don't know of any Lancaster girl that is married to a boy from Ohio or Indiana, or what Lancaster call the "Western Amish". It is usually the Lancaster boy that marries outside a bride from another Amish community like Ohio or Indiana. These marriages have problems all their own, for you can get a guy to move out of Lancaster but you can't get Lancaster out of a guy. The same is with the bride, she can move to Lancaster but she will never be a Lancaster woman. Their best solution is to leave the Amish altogether and remain in Florida.

I have cousins in Lancaster and Lancaster daughter settlements and have to agree. They are definitely different from other Amish.

I would be interested to know what books you would recommend to learn true facts about the Amish.

You can write for a free catalog from an Amish bookstore

Pathway Bookstore
2580 N 250 W
LaGrange IN 46761

Do New Order Amish evangelise? If they believe in salvation by grace rather than works, what is the main reason for New Order Amish to leave?

Some New Order Amish try to do their own brand of evangelising. When all is said and done they still have a very hard time not dwelling on works salvation.

What is the quintessential Amish cookbook?

There are many Amish cookbooks. One of the basics is called simply "Amish Cooking" and can be purchased at the bookstore mentioned above.

Do Amish women wear canning aprons outside of the home?

Amish women always wear an apron, no matter where they are. Most communities don't allow full or bib aprons. They occasionally wear another apron on top of the one they are already wearing if they are doing especially dirty work.

What do you think of the movie Silent Witness, realistic or not?

I have never seen this movie so I really can't tell you. Other than unless the Amish actually produced it, it probably is inaccurate.

I have always heard Amish don't want their faces shown in photos, but I noticed you post photos of faces. So is this no longer true?

Amish do not pose for pictures because of the commandment"thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image......" Strange as it may sound they are delighted to find pictures of themselves or friends in newspapers. Most Amish families have an album with clippings of pictures of their friends and family members. The "sin" is in posing, not in having the picture that was taken without their permission.

This is one area that we do not share their convictions.

I'm wondering if you or the Amish would have any questions for us? I suppose we are called the English? On our ways of life.

Maybe someday I can have a post with questions for all of you to answer.

I also seen a documentary a few years back about the Amish in Ohio. They said that when the Amish turn 18 or 16 they go to the dentist and have all of their teeth pulled. Is that true and I just didn't understand that.

I have heard about that story already. And please don't feel bad for Amish teens. Their teeth are quite safe when they turn 16 or 18. They don't normally visit the dentist unless they have a tooth that is bothering them and certainly never to have them pulled as a weird rite of passage or something.

Do any of the Amish go on to college to become doctors?

No, Amish do not go to college. If any Amish person would want to become a doctor they would have to leave the Amish to do so. There are quite a few Amish communities that have "braucha" or as called among non Amish "pow-wow doctors" Now that is some seriously creepy stuff! I might share about some of my experiences with "braucha" sometime.

I am wondering what religion you practice now and how your family (especially your parents) responded to you making a different choice?

My parents were devastated when we left the Amish. They have still not accepted it so that part is hard, but it was one of the things we knew would happen if we make this decision so I'm not angry or bitter because of it. I still love them both so much! My husbands parents accepted it much better and will have us over occasionally and my mother-in-law is always happy to baby-sit on the rare occasion that we need a place for the children to stay.

Are marriages arranged or chosen by parents or is everyone allowed to marry whom ever?

You are allowed to marry whom ever, though it is expected that you first ask for your parents approval and blessing.

What do the Amish do about the great commission left by Jesus about spreading the Gospel to the whole world as in the last of Matthew?

The vast majority totally ignore that. They think somehow their clothes and style of life is the only witnessing they need to do.


  1. I noticed you did not answer which type church you now attend. Was that intentional, or a slip?

    I very much enjoyed both of these post. Being a photographer, I was glad to see your answer to photographs of the people.

    Leedra’s Photos For Fun

    Leedra’s Greeting Cards

    Photography By Leedra

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer each of these questions...I have enjoyed it so very much. :)

  3. I read questions part 1 and 2. Fascinating stuff.

    I cannot wait to hear your whole story.

    I am wondering if Amish women use birth control?

    and on a totally different note

    I am wondering what kind of celebrations the Amish have? Do they celebrate Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth and if so how traditional is it? Thanksgiving?

  4. Thanks so much for answering my questions! I really would have thought that there would be some Amish men that would go on to college to become doctors for the Amish. I guess I was wrong!

    God Bless!

  5. Thank you! What an amazing lady you are to take the time to address so many questions for us.
    God Bless!

  6. Thank you for all the info. It's so amazing.

  7. You answered a few questions I have pondered too. Thank-you.

  8. Interesting to hear the differences between the Lancaster folks and everyone else. I had a family member who married a widow from Indiana and had a tough time of it, but they did manage okay. You could hear the differences in the Dutch language when they were together, the midwestern vs. the Lancaster accents.

  9. This has been so fascinating and so far removed from my experience growing up. I'm sure there are many things that do not make everything idyllic in the Amish world. It probably only seems that way. EVERYONE is born with a sin nature and it doesn't take a holiday because of where or when you're born. But it does make us gaze in admiringly for sweet and simple times. Thank you for the insight and I can't wait to go back now and read the first part. I have such a hard time keeping up with everybody I want to read!!!

  10. I think your answers to these questions is a wonderful thing..and you are truly blessed in your life..I can feel the joy in your writing..thanks for open with all of us in our curiosity..God Bless...hugs from Ora in KY

  11. Great questions & answers!!! Your so awesome to share.

  12. Your parents' inability to accept your decision must be very difficult, especially since it's obvious from your posts that you love and respect them. I hope they change their minds someday.

  13. It is so interesting to read this.

    I'm surprised about the question regarding that movie silent witness because I never thought for one minute that it was true, but just for movie sake. I mean isn't that why they have extras and costumes?

  14. Fascinating! Thanks for answering these questions. I enjoy reading your blog very much.


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.