How to Join the Amish

Thứ bảy - 27/04/2024 01:13
It is very uncommon for people who were not brought up in an Amish community to become Amish. Yet despite popular belief, the Amish do not have any rules or bylaws that prohibit membership by "Englishers", and people have successfully...
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It is very uncommon for people who were not brought up in an Amish community to become Amish. Yet despite popular belief, the Amish do not have any rules or bylaws that prohibit membership by "Englishers", and people have successfully joined before. Be aware that joining the Amish will take perseverance, determination and, above all, a strong desire to live a simple, virtuous life which places God and family values above all else. If you are interested in joining the Amish, this article will outline the practical steps you'll need to take.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Researching Amish Communities

  1. Step 1 Learn as much as you can about the Amish.
    Before deciding to join the Amish, it is imperative that you learn as much about their religion, history, and lifestyle as possible. The Amish communities of today are descendants of Swiss Anabaptists who emigrated to the United States in the early eighteenth century.[1] There are approximately 250,000 people living in Amish communities across North America.
    • The largest Amish community is in Holmes County, Ohio; although there are other sizable Amish populations in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Indiana and smaller communities across the Eastern and Mid-Western states, as well as in Canada.
    • Amish is a stricter branch of the Mennonite Anabaptist Church, with which it shares many beliefs and practices. The Amish, with other Anabaptists, reject infant baptism in favor of adult baptism, giving an adult the right to choose their religion and commit to joining the Amish community.
    • The Amish refer to themselves as the "plain people" and to anyone outside of the Amish community, regardless of religion or race, as "Englishers" or "high people".
    • There are many informative websites and books available that cover every aspect of Amish life.
  2. Step 2 Visit an Amish community.
    You should do your best to visit an Amish community as part of your research. This will give you some insight into what the day-to-day life of an Amish person is like. Despite popular belief, there are no restrictions on "English" people visiting Amish communities. You can visit Amish businesses and converse with the people, most of whom will be willing to answer any questions you might have.[2]
    • It may even be possible to stay in a bed and breakfast run by a local Amish family. This will give you an even closer look at the Amish way of life, which places God and family above all else.
    • If possible, try to visit several communities on your trip, as different Amish communities will vary slightly in terms of their customs, traditions, and level of strictness and you will need to find the one to which you are best suited.
    • If you cannot travel to an Amish community, you may be able to set up correspondence with an Amish person to gain an insight into their beliefs and way of life. The Amish do not allow computers or, in most cases, telephones, so communicating by post will be your only option.
    • Remember to respect their beliefs and do not take any identifiable photographs of them (the Second Commandment, Exodus 20:4 - "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image..."). They may allow you to take pictures of their buggy or farms if you ask politely, however.[3]
    • Be aware that some may not feel comfortable (especially women) with talking to outsiders extensively about their faith or lifestyle since they are taught to be modest in everything they do.
  3. Step 3 Decide if you still wish to join.
    After visiting one or several communities, you need to decide which community you would like to join. Once you have developed a short list of about 3 to 5 communities, you should begin contacting the leading bishop of each community to gauge whether you would be welcome to join their church. Finding the leading bishop should not be too difficult; if the community is on your short list, you have probably already visited it and hopefully developed some contacts there who can help you.
    • Although the Amish do not have any rules forbidding outsiders from joining, it is highly unusual and typically not encouraged, so contacting the bishop is a good way to judge what the community's reaction to a newcomer is likely to be.[4]
    • If the bishop is open to the idea of you joining their community, he will invite you for an interview, where you can put forward your reasons for wanting to become a member of the Amish. You will need to demonstrate the strength of your faith, your willingness to renounce the ways of the modern world, and your commitment to the Amish way of life.
    • As long as your motives are pure and you are fully aware of what life in an Amish community entails, there should be no objection to you coming to live in the community.
  4. Step 4 Move into an Amish community.
    Once you have made your decision and you have received the bishop's permission, you may begin your new life as a member of the Amish. You will first be placed with an Amish family, where you can learn their ways and participate in the household duties. During this time you must prove yourself to the Amish by living according to their religious principles and becoming a productive and valuable member of the community. Once you have done this (there is no set time period), you may be voted into the church and become a true member of the Amish community.
    • Unless you are coming from another branch of the Anabaptist Church with a very similar lifestyle, you are likely to find the transition to Amish living somewhat difficult. Living without electricity, cell phones and motor vehicles is a lot harder for someone who is used to having these luxuries, than it is for people who were brought up in the Amish community and don't know any differently.
    • Although some Amish may be very welcoming and helpful to you as you make your transition, others may be more distrustful of you and not expect you to last very long. Give them time. Once you prove your faith and commitment, they will grow to trust and accept you.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Adjusting to the Amish Way of Life

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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Embracing Amish Religion

  1. Step 1 Study the most important aspects of the Amish religion.
    The Amish believe the best way to express their religious beliefs is to practice the teachings of the Bible in their daily lives. They do not rely on ostentatious or elaborate religious ceremonies and rituals. They live by the biblical instruction "be not conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2) which informs their practice of living humbly, separate from the modern world. Two of their most important abiding principles are those of Demut which means humility, and Gelassenheit, which entails calmness, gentleness and surrendering yourself to God's will.[11]
    • The Amish place great importance on individual study of the Bible, which is considered to be the only source of religious authority. However, you should also get your hands on a copy of a book called "Martyr's Mirror", a highly respected publication that chronicles the history of the Amish people and honors those who die for their faith.
    • It should also be noted that although the Amish place utmost importance on living according to the teachings of the Bible, they do not believe that this is a guaranteed path to salvation. They believe that any claim to be "saved" is an expression of pride and is therefore forbidden.
  2. Step 2 Attend and host church services.
    Amish Church service are held every second Sunday, at the home of one of their community members. Each Amish family is expected to host their friends and neighbors for Church about once a year. Every Church district owns a collection of wooden benches, which is transported by wagon to the home of the church family and set up in their house and barn. Seating is arranged with men and boys on one side and women and girls on the other. The service lasts approximately three hours and is followed by a light lunch.
    • The service is said by 3 to 7 ministers and bishops, with the scriptures being read in High German. The main themes preached by the ministers include living a humble and virtuous life in the eyes of God and the idea of "judge not lest ye be judged". Personal prayer time is also included, with the congregation kneeling on the floor in silent worship.
    • Although musical instruments are not permitted by the Church, singing is an important part of every Amish service. The congregation sings from a special hymnal called the Ausband, a High German songbook which dates back to the 16th century. The singing is always done in unison, never in harmony.
    • The Amish receive Holy Communion twice a year.
  3. Step 4 Get married.
    Members of the Amish community can only marry once they have been baptized and are required to marry other Amish, though a couple may come from two different Amish communities. Most of a couple's courtship is done in secret, with the engagement only being "published" several weeks before the marriage. Most weddings occur in the fall, after the autumn harvest and are a joyous occasion, celebrating the union of two baptized adults, who promise to continue living according to Amish traditional values and to pass their faith on to their children.
    • An Amish wedding ceremony is quite different from that of the "English". No rings are exchanged, there are no flowers or music, and the bride traditionally makes her own dress, which is blue or purple. In fact, the ceremony is very similar to a regular church service, except there is a greater emphasis on the ordinance of marriage, which is taken particularly seriously, as divorce is forbidden by the Amish church.[9]
    • After the ceremony, a huge feast is held at the home of the bride's parents, with as many as 200 to 300 guests. The guests are often served in separate sittings, followed by the singing of hymns. The couple's honeymoon period is spent visiting all of their relatives over the course of several weekends, at which point they will also collect their wedding gifts.
    • Once an Amish man is married, he will begin to grow his beard - the symbol of a married man. The couple will usually be ready to move into a home of their own by the spring following their wedding.
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  • Be cautious when reading about the Amish. The most accurate information will come from an Amish writer or one who has a close relationship with them.
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  • Don't expect every community to be receptive. They are widely varied and some groups are hostile to outsiders while others are open and friendly.
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  • Do not be too hasty to take pictures in your visits. The Amish do not allow cameras and might look askance at a potential convert who is photographing them.
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  • Remember, many Amish communities speak either German, or a dialect of German called Pennsylvania Dutch in their day-to-day and church goings. In many communities, you will have to learn the language to be truly accepted.
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