Monday, April 18, 2011

Answering Questions ~ Part One

Since leaving the Amish have you made a lot of changes in how you decorate the house?

By looking at how our house is decorated it could still very well pass for one of the plainer Amish homes. There were blinds at the windows when we moved in and so far I still haven't found the curtains I want, and other than calendars and clocks the walls are basically bare.
Do you homeschool your children? Will they go to school through high school? How do you feel if they chose higher education, or is that an option?

Our children will have at minimum a high school education and if they want a higher education that is an option.

I guess this is actually two questions, so feel free to only answer one! I read Beverley Lewis' novels of Amish life obsessively, and I was wondering if you're familiar with them and how accurate they are. Because they are my only real exposure to the Amish, I noticed that you use the names Mom and Daddy in your blog; her characters always call their parents Mamm and Dat. Is there a lot of variation from family to family or community to community in what children call their parents?

In the entire Somerset County Amish community there are very few families who call their parents Mamm and Dat. There are variations from family to family and from community to community.  Daddy, Papa, Dad, Dat, Pap, and Pop are all used as well as Mom, Mama, Mamm, and Mem.

A good thing to remember when reading Beverly Lewis books is that they are fiction and there will be things in every book that are not 100% accurate. I don't begrudge anyone the joy of reading those books though.

I read many Amish books both fact and fiction. We have lived our lives plain in comparison to the average person. What are ways that you see that would benefit us that we could learn from the Amish ways.

We want to have more friends and community, more peace and less drama in our lives. Can you list things that you see that some could change and make a better life for themselves. Thank you for helping.

One of the biggest things that we still think add value to life that we were raised and trained in practising is, forgiveness. Being able to forgive people freely whether or not they "deserve" it makes a huge difference in the amount of peace and drama in your life.

I understand that there are a number of different groups of Amish with the majority affiliated with four orders: Swartzengruber, Old Order, Andy Weaver, and New Order Amish. Old Order Amish are the most common and Swartzengruber the most conservative. In which order were you raised, Mary Ann?

There are two orders of Amish. Old and New. In those orders especially the Old Orders there are huge differences among communities from Swartzentruber and Swiss being some of the most conservative, to the way more liberal communites. I don't think I can even begin naming all the different types of churches among the Old Order.

I was raised in Old Order. Specifically, what the Amish refer to as Somersetah.

Have your brothers left the Amish? They come for visits from time to time to see your family, so they must've left. Their clothing doesn't look Amish. Are they also being shunned by your parents?

Two of my brothers have left the Amish, and yes, they are also shunned by my parents.


  1. Thank you for sharing with us, I love your answer about forgiveness and having less drama, I think that is so true for anyone, regardless of being Amish or not:)

  2. The idea of "shunning" one's own children is bizarre to me.

  3. Great post! I've enjoyed reading other's questions and your answers.

  4. Thank you for being so open. I have enjoyed learning more about the Amish through visiting your blog.

  5. I enjoyed reading your answers to these great questions.

    I have a question that I probably would know if I read way back - WHICH I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO DO PERIODICALLY - but what caused you and your brother's to leave the Amish Faith??? I can see one but several in one family - was there a difference in your family than in others or was it the Faith, Church...what????

    P.S. I read the Amish Fiction daily - they are my most prized books. I do knw that the 'story line' is fiction but the facts are researched very carefully. I enjoy the reading so much and I have found (fiction or not) that it has caused me to think differently in my daily life and my actions. For this I am so very grateful.


  6. Thank you for sharing your answers, and teaching us truthfully about the Amish. So many of us have had false ideas, and it's good to have those ideas lovingly changed.

    How sad that parents must shun their children because their choices and beliefs are different from one another. It must be awfully hard and hurting for both sides.

  7. It's interesting that the Amish church places a high value on forgiveness...except when it comes to their own members who make a different choice as to how to live. Then there is NO demonstration of forgiveness unless the people come back to the Church's way of thinking. It's one of the few things I just don't GET about the Amish faith. I love most of what I know about the way Amish folks live--the simplicity--the closeness of family. But that thing----just can't fathom it.

  8. How does shunning line up with forgiveness? An oxymoron if ever there was one.

  9. I recently have found your blog and have been reading it from the begining. I am really enjoying your memoirs. You have a God given gift for story telling, and I agree with everyone should publish them. I am almost to your wedding in my reading, and have a hard time tearing myself away from the computer to do anything else! I must go get something else done, though, so I can get back to your story. I really am enjoying it!

  10. Thanks for sharing more of your life with us. I love the forgiveness attitude that you have. How much happier we all would be if everyone did that.

  11. Thank you for being so open and willing to share your life with us! Looking forward to so much more.

  12. Hi! Thanks for being so honest and open about things. As far as the shunning goes (for everyone else who commented) it is not about being mad or not forgiving someone who leaves. It is about teaching that there are consequences for your choices. The consequence for leaving the church is that you do not get to have those special relationships with your family anymore. I am not saying it is easy or right or that I could ever do that, but isn't that what it is about?

  13. The questions & answers are all so interesting. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Your blog is one of the best I have visited.

  14. As somebody above mentioned, I am also wondering what made you decide to leave in the end, did you inform people of your plans, did you just up and go? I don't know much about Amish, but enjoy learning so much from your blog.

    Here in New Zealand (and I think in the States and Australia) there are the Exclusive Bretheren and I've read books from people who left and they too shun family and friends who choose to leave. In those situations because they have lived such sheltered lives and everything was provided for them - jobs and so on, they are suddenly in a world that they believed to be evil, without any kind of support and then need to suddenly learn and find ways of getting back on their feet. There have been times where a mother or father chooses to leave, and the church will convince the children to stay behind and shun their parents. I cannot even begin to imagine how very hard that must be.

  15. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Keep up the great work! :)

  16. I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate your openness. I can relate to a lot of it, having been shunned myself, though from a different group. I was also part of a Old Order Mennonite community for awhile too, but was not permitted to join.
    Anyway, just wanted let you know you touch others.

    I have awarded you the Kreativ Blogger Award.

  17. I enjoyed reading your answers and the answer about forgiveness is so true. Not easy sometimes but when you do it makes life easier.

  18. Ah! Forgiveness but no reconciliation. So very sad. I feel for you, Mary Ann, and your brothers.

  19. If you are still answering questions would you mind telling me if/ or what you find foolish or frivilous about the way people live? I'm not asking you to get in trouble I was was just curious. By "people" I mean non- Amish

  20. Shunning is nothing new in Catholicism, my cousin married outside the “faith” and we were told to have nothing to do with him. Most of the cousins stuck together and we continued to see him without permission because we never asked. The sad part was that my cousin was not allowed at his father’s funeral and most of us thought that was just plain wrong. In Catholicism, shunning is about causing the “sinner” to reflect on their actions and come back to the “right” way of thinking. The trouble comes when church tradition overrides the Word of God, and shunning is more about traditions than the Word of God. The other problem comes when the elders discourage individual studies in the Word of God because they believe God only speaks to them. It is this way in many denominations and that is what causes apostasy. It is why Paul admonished us to each study the Word of God and rightly divide the truth of it.
    Mrs. J.


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