Monday, June 23, 2014

Warnings

Amish sermons could often be peppered with dire warnings of what happens to those who choose to leave the Amish, or awful things that happened to rebellious youth. Where these horror stories originated I have no idea, but they did what the preachers wanted them to do, strike fear into anyone that was listening.

There was a family that decided to leave the Amish, as the woman was busy packing boxes she happened to look out the window and noticed something odd in the graveyard across the road. She dropped everything and went to investigate, as she got closer she could see there were flames shooting out of a grave and a woman writhing in torment. She noticed it was the grave of a woman who had left the Amish, and now she was suffering for all eternity. After gazing horrified at the scene she went back to her house and unpacked all the boxes. She didn't want to have the same fate as the woman who no longer had a chance to repent.

Another story, and judging from how often I heard it, apparently a favorite to use as a warning to not allow pride or worldly influence into your life.

There was a rebellious young girl who decided she wants to not live according to the guidelines of the Amish church and went and painted her fingernails bright red. Her mother tearfully pleaded with her to remove the paint, but she flippantly disregarded her pleas. The next day she wanted to do the laundry and as she was filling the motor on the washing machine with gas it caught on fire and badly burned her hands and for the rest of her life she had very ugly hands all because she had chosen to allow pride in her life and painted her nails, and God had to punish her.

A man had left the Amish and allowed himself to become baptized again, but after a few years his eyes were opened and he wanted to return to the Amish. On Sundays when it was time for him to join the preachers in their meetings while the rest of the church was singing he would freeze on the bench unable to move a muscle. He had committed an unforgivable sin allowing himself to be baptized again, and now God kept him from ever being able to repent and join the Amish church again.

One of the weirdest stories involved a man growing to a stump he was sitting on and when they tried to cut the stump it bled. For the rest of his days he had to sit there. They built a shanty over him to protect him from the weather, and his wife used to bring him his food to eat. I don't remember what his sin had been, but I do remember being afraid of tree stumps for quite a while.

31 comments:

  1. YIKES !!!! Such scary stories that were told ....... I always find it strange when Christians try to scare others with stories of revenge and a punishing God !!! Soooo the opposite is HE !!! A very Gracious, LOVING Lord we serve that continually loves, greets us with warm open arms, always showing us mercy and forgiveness each day, and the amazing part is that we just need to go to him in prayer, ask for forgiveness and seek HIS face !!! NEVER, EVER leaves or FORSAKES us ....... A truly, always loving father is HE !! God is GOOD ........ continuing here, to always seek and follow HIM !!!
    Again, you share the most interesting details of your former faith ........ love your shares :) :)
    Have a happy summer day in HIS sunshine xoxo

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    1. So happy we now know the goodness of God!

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  2. Did you struggle with fear when you first left or had the Lord already shown you Truth?

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    1. No.

      We were born again before we left the Amish so we didn't believe any of these stories any longer.

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  3. Very good examples, but not confined to the Amish. And they are always someone's father-in-law's cousin's wife's uncle - or suitably distantly related that no one remembers who or when. So very grateful that God's truth sets free.

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  4. When asked what's the difference between Quakers and Amish, my answer usually includes "we don't preach about damnation" somewhere after "I'm a computer programmer."

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    1. "I'm a computer programmer." - that made me laugh.

      It's always amazing to me how little people know about different religions - including, often, their own!

      :)
      Lea

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  5. Well, the Amish don't have a corner on "eternal damnation". The Roman church is also very good at that sort of thing, although I do think Francis has actually read the Bible and knows we serve a loving and forgiving God.

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    1. I'm beginning to realize a lot of people use some sort of scare tactics.

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  6. Wow! Those are scary stories. But as one of your friends said, it's not only the Amish to use scare tactics. I know I'm so very happy our God is a loving, caring Father.

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    1. It is a great comfort knowing He loves and cares for us!

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  7. Very interesting stories. I can imagine them striking fear into the hearts of those that hear them. God is indeed merciful and loving, but we must not forget either that he is a jealous and just God too. I'm glad that you've found that Heavenly Father.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  8. Definitely the Amish aren't the only ones to try to scare the flock to keep them in line. Some sects are worse. A friend was raised Pentacostal. His stepfather was diagnosed with incurable cancer, and in a moment of anguish and despair, took his own life. At the funeral, the so-called Preacher made sure to tell the congregation in detail as to just how hot the fire was that the poor man was roasting in for eternity, because of one choice. I have no patience for those who use fear to control their members. Seems to me that God is a great deal bigger and kinder than we mortals give Him credit for.

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    1. Oh my, that sermon must have made a tragic event so much harder for his loved ones.

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  9. I went to a Catholic school for 1st and 2nd grade, and while I don't remember stories quite like these, the nuns did tell us some strange stories.

    1. Once there was a boy who was curious about the consecrated host (the bread used in Communion). He secretly hid his away at the Communion service. When he got home, he stuck a fork in it - and it bled.

    (Clisby, even at the young age of 6-7: I call BS on that. I credit my engineer father for instilling in me a sound sense of logic.)

    2. Once, during WWII, the Nazis invaded a convent and demanded that the nuns give up the host. They refused. They were all killed. They were valiant! They were martyrs!

    (Clisby, even at the young age of 6-7: Lady, if you think I'm giving up my life for the host, you can think again. The Nazis can have it.)

    Later, when I actually knew more about Catholicism, I wondered: what would be the big deal about the host at a convent? Unless it's been blessed by a priest, even to devout Catholics it's just a piece of bread. (OK, more like a piece of styrofoam, but I digress.) I don't think you're supposed to leave consecrated hosts just lying around in a convent - but who knows what went on in the 1930s/1940s?

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    1. You have to wonder where these stories originate!

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  11. Anne:
    Yes, I know there are plenty of denominations that preach damnation, though as a former Catholic I never really did hear much about Hell in Mass or in religion classes in school. We were a very Sermon-on-the-Mount congregation. But when people hear what my religion is now, the very absolute first thing out of their mouths is, "wait, is that like Amish?"

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    1. We used to get the question whether or not we were Quakers. Most people really don't know the difference.

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  12. The reason we Catholics didn't focus on hell was because there was a fixation on purgatory. It really was universalist, as we all seemed to think we could eventually pray and buy ( masses) everyone out of purgatory eventually. I was disturbed in about 1st or 2nd grade when our nun teacher told us that there was no real Adam and Eve and that the OT was allegory. I rejected that even though I had no understanding as to why I felt that way. That was not scary, though, in the same sense as what Mary Ann is speaking about

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  13. These stories are told because the Amish teach that salvation is through the Amish church, not through faith in Jesus Christ. Since they don't have the truth, sometimes they must resort to scare tactics. The Catholic Church (not saying all Catholics necessarily believe this) teaches salvation through the Catholic Church, also. As long as you are Catholic, you are "safe". Catholic and Christian are synonymous. This is according to Vatican II, not what I have heard or assumed. Vatican II also supports the claim of Thomas Aquinas that once the host is blessed by a priest, it becomes the literal body of Christ and if you don't believe this, you are a sinner damned for hell. This is in both Vatican II and the canon of the Catholic Church. Just rely on John 3:16, that's all that is needed for salvation, the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ.

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    1. So glad when Jesus said, "It is finished," He really meant it.

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  14. the Salvation Army is no different. Salvation is through works and if you sin once you are no longer saved. the Salvation Army is a works based church and the only way to Salvation is to wear their uniform and never sin. while always remembering that you can loose your salvation. i know this as truth because i am a what they call a senior soldier ( in other words the ones that wear uniform ). i no longer belong to the Salvation Army and have gone back to my Baptist roots where salvation does not come by works. it is free if we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and forgive us of our sins.

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    1. When we were Amish we never realized just how many different views there are on Christianity. To us it was either Amish or English.

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  15. I just want to clarify that when I said "we Catholics" I meant we former Catholics, as we left that church many years ago and are Quakers..

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  16. Fear is such a terrible thing. Isn't it lovely that God has not given us a spirit of fear...but of power, love and a sound mind. Blessings and sunshine, Valerie

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    1. Love that verse, and also: Perfect love casts out fear.

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  17. What a shame to use fear tactics to keep people in line. Did people actually believe these stories? They sound fables to me. God doesn't slap people down or punish us like that when we sin. Because of His love, grace and mercy, He does provide a way out through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ and has said that once we're His no one can pluck us out of His hand. Because of Christ's finished work on the cross I don't have to work my way to heaven. It truly baffles me when I hear that it's prideful to believe in assurance of salvation when it's so much more prideful to think that any of my works can earn my salvation!

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    1. We wouldn't have dared question the validity behind these stories for fear something similar might happen to us.

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