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How can I become Amish? – Amish FAQ Series #1

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How Can I Join the Amish Community?

 

Of all the questions we receive here at LancasterPA.com, by far the most popular are questions about how an outsider can join the Amish community.  Often the writers express frustration with our fast-paced, modern society. They long for what has often been glamorized as the peaceful, simple ways of the Amish lifestyle.

While the Amish do lack many of the modern enhancements of our current lifestyle, their lives may not actually be all that simple. Often, the lack of modern conveniences can mean more work. And being baptized into the Amish faith means you are making a lifelong commitment.

I once interviewed a single man who had joined the Amish church years before. His initial comment to was that most people wouldn’t be able to make the transition to become Amish. It would mean giving up modern conveniences such as cars and electricity, giving up your driver’s license, and learning a whole new language (Pennsylvania Dutch is spoken within the Amish community). It would mean a total commitment to living a biblical lifestyle as interpreted by the local Amish bishop. He said it was hard enough making the change for him as a single man. He thought it would be harder yet for a couple, and extremely difficult for a family to make that transformation.

As an alternative option, many suggest that people unhappy with their current life look closer at the Christian lifestyle presented in the Bible by Jesus Christ and His followers. After all, Christianity is what the Amish faith and lifestyle are based upon. As Christ said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)  That might be an easier option than trying to become Amish. Almost every community has one or more sound Bible-centered churched that preach the gospel and Christ’s teachings.

 

Below are the answers some of our local “experts” offered:

 

 

From Brad Igou of Amish Experience

People sometimes “think” they want to become Amish because they see aspects of the lifestyle they like. But Amish is a religion. You can’t pick and choose the parts you like. A few people have joined, but it is rare. Assuming you can accept all the beliefs and aspects of the lifestyle, you’d need to learn Pennsylvania German, the language Amish speak amongst themselves and use at worship. Very often if someone is serious, they live with a family for quite a while to be sure this is for them. Once you get baptized, it is considered a lifelong promise and commitment to the faith and the community. If you see aspects of Amish life that they like, simply apply them daily to your own. It may be easier said than done!

 

Roy Bender of Mennonite Information Center

When I get correspondence from people expressing interest in becoming Amish, I suggest that they find an Amish community near them and ask to speak with a pastor or bishop. Becoming Amish is a process and requires much discernment. I recommend reading the book, Becoming Amish. It is about a family that joined the Amish but eventually left after finding it was most difficult to fit it. The Amish are quick to say that one can take their values and apply it to their own way of life without becoming Amish.

 

From a local Amish man associated with Old Windmill Farm

It is a very hard transition because if you didn’t grow up with all the modern conveniences you won’t miss them if you never had them. It would be easier to join a conservative church that speaks English. To join the Amish you would be expected to wear plain clothes and most importantly have solid Christian values, give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, commit to the church and adhere to the articles of a Christian life which were written in the dark ages of the 1500’s. Of course, the Ordnung prohibits driving a car, electricity and many other conveniences.  The goal is to be separate from the world.

 

Learn more about the Amish here.

Do you have a question about the Amish or their lifestyle or faith?  You can ask it here. We can’t promise we’ll get to every question, but we’ll see how many we can answer.

You can also find a list of additional Amish questions that have been answered.

 

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