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 Post subject: Amish converts shunned
PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2012 11:08 pm 
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I have a TBM friend in the Midwest who told me about some Amish families joining the church in their mission area. These families are now shunned by their community. I am thinking this may be similar to the JW shunning...if anyone knows?
My friend tells me how much she feels the spirit when the new converts testify of the restored gospel and eternal families.
I know very little about Amish beliefs.
My heart is breaking for these Amish families.
I can only imagine there are those who feel trapped or brainwashed, and are more easily swayed to lds beliefs, then they have to make the huge decision of staying where they feel trapped, or facing the shunning for a new way of life.
Anybody know of this situation?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Jenny wrote:
I have a TBM friend in the Midwest who told me about some Amish families joining the church in their mission area. These families are now shunned by their community. I am thinking this may be similar to the JW shunning...if anyone knows?
My friend tells me how much she feels the spirit when the new converts testify of the restored gospel and eternal families.
I know very little about Amish beliefs.
My heart is breaking for these Amish families.
I can only imagine there are those who feel trapped or brainwashed, and are more easily swayed to lds beliefs, then they have to make the huge decision of staying where they feel trapped, or facing the shunning for a new way of life.
Anybody know of this situation?

Jakob Amman (from which the name Amish arises) broke from the Mennonites principally over the issue of shunning. He strongly advocated shunning for those who betray the faith. Hence, shunning is an absolute principle in the Amish tradition -- the Amish converts to mormonism should not be surprised: they agree upon entering into adulthood that should they stray, they will be shunned.

What's funny is that teenagers are allowed some playing about: "rumspringa", and some behavior that might result in adult shunning is allowed to some extent. But once an adult, it's serious.

The Amish are probably as close to a Zion society as we have ever been: they care for one another, they understand forgiveness in a way that shocks us. i wouldn't judge them, and i certainly would NEVER try to convert them. Their example in the wake of a tragic Amish School Shooting in 2006 shows a culture that is closer to the teachings of christ than we will ever be.

JW's probably got the idea from the Amish.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:52 am 
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Oh, I had always wondered the difference between Amish and Mennonites. My ancestors were Mennonites. Apparently several Amish families have become lds, all from the same close area, like it is just spreading from one family to the next.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:38 pm 
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The ceremony in which this punishment is meted out is simple. The highest-ranked Amish Elder crosses his or her arms in front of his or her chest, and turns his or her back on the recipient, while others follow suit one by one until almost all Amish have their backs turned. The speed of this gesture varies, from formal ceremonies which are done slowly to summary punishments which can occur as quickly as the Amish in judgment can move.

Wait a minute, can't remember if this is an Amish procedure or the one used by the Glendale 2nd Ward. Nevermind.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:41 pm 
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This thread topic is why you shouldn't screw with other peoples culture & beliefs. All it does it break up families. How is that enriching someones life by adding more "truth" to what they already know? Its very dangerous to mess with other peoples way of life. I guess this is why 19 year olds are the ones sent to do it.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Jenny wrote:
Oh, I had always wondered the difference between Amish and Mennonites. My ancestors were Mennonites. Apparently several Amish families have become lds, all from the same close area, like it is just spreading from one family to the next.


They must see joining mormonism as an acceptable escape from things they do not like about being Amish. Are the younger Amish becoming part of the outside culture? Seems I've read something about that... Anyway, this is probably a good transition for them. Going straight to non-secular beliefs might be a bit of a shock.

And there is at least some compatibility with their former beliefs. Dress code, health and dietary restrictions, living in a bubble, importance of family...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:48 am 
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EternityIsNow wrote:
They must see joining mormonism as an acceptable escape from things they do not like about being Amish. Are the younger Amish becoming part of the outside culture? Seems I've read something about that... Anyway, this is probably a good transition for them. Going straight to non-secular beliefs might be a bit of a shock.

And there is at least some compatibility with their former beliefs. Dress code, health and dietary restrictions, living in a bubble, importance of family...

Their retention rate among youth may be as high as 90%, iirc. Whether there is compatibility, the reality is that they are a closed culture, and each time someone leaves, it degrades the survival of the culture and traditions. Personally, I believe the world is a better place with the Amish in it, and find in morally repugnant to foist a new belief system on them -- yes they are controlling, and so are LDS. yes they have weird beliefs, and so do LDS. to trade one for the other is no advantage -- let them enter the next world intact as a culture.

Even when I was Ward Mission Leader, I felt strongly that someone should come into the church only if there is an advantage in this life to do so. I don't believe that a strong catholic, jew, amish, muslim, or buddhist should ever really consider converting if they would be turning their back on family and friends. I think it would be far better to celebrate our respective traditions and help them become better at who they choose to be. If they want to convert, fine, but only after fully understanding the impact, and as well, full disclosure of all LDS beliefs and challenges.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:21 am 
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wayfarer wrote:
EternityIsNow wrote:
They must see joining mormonism as an acceptable escape from things they do not like about being Amish. Are the younger Amish becoming part of the outside culture? Seems I've read something about that... Anyway, this is probably a good transition for them. Going straight to non-secular beliefs might be a bit of a shock.

And there is at least some compatibility with their former beliefs. Dress code, health and dietary restrictions, living in a bubble, importance of family...

Their retention rate among youth may be as high as 90%, iirc. Whether there is compatibility, the reality is that they are a closed culture, and each time someone leaves, it degrades the survival of the culture and traditions. Personally, I believe the world is a better place with the Amish in it, and find in morally repugnant to foist a new belief system on them -- yes they are controlling, and so are LDS. yes they have weird beliefs, and so do LDS. to trade one for the other is no advantage -- let them enter the next world intact as a culture.

Even when I was Ward Mission Leader, I felt strongly that someone should come into the church only if there is an advantage in this life to do so. I don't believe that a strong catholic, jew, amish, muslim, or buddhist should ever really consider converting if they would be turning their back on family and friends. I think it would be far better to celebrate our respective traditions and help them become better at who they choose to be. If they want to convert, fine, but only after fully understanding the impact, and as well, full disclosure of all LDS beliefs and challenges.


This. We live in an area with some significant Amish population. My wife and I were introduced to an individual who hand made our bedroom furniture for us for a wedding present. He has introduced us within that community. While I can't say that we are considered "friends" we are definitely social. Our children have played with their kids, been on buggy rides, etc. While I may not agree with them on everything, they have my utmost respect.

-Lost

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:46 am 
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I am so happy to hear these viewpoints. I absolutely agree with wayfarer. Lost, I think that is so cool. EIN, it really makes you wonder. Trading one control set for another.
I wonder what would happen if our youth had a rumspringa. Would they come back at the 90% rate?
How do the Amish have such confidence in their children's return?
I don't believe our LDS culture would ever in a million years show that kind of confidence in our youth returning to the LDS culture after a period of freedom from it.

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 Post subject: Amish converts shunned
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:25 pm 
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While I want to agree, i wonder if we aren't being a bit hypocritical in our esteem for the Amish culture. We often deride the LDS culture for dividing families when there is a change of faith. The LDS don't officially shun people. We nag them, guilt them, pull back from relationships, but only rarely completely cut them off. Amish parents, by the rules of their religion/culture, literally won't talk to their very own children if they choose a different faith path in life.

I wonder what the Amish would score on the cult score website that's being discussed on another thread. Does anybody think they'd score any better than Mormonism? If I had to choose between being reincarnated as an Amish or a Mormon I would most definitely choose the latter, especially as a woman. Would anyone here choose Amish? We complain about the role of women in the LDS community, but their religion/culture is at least as gender biased as ours unless I'm misinformed.

I think their 90% retention rate is at least in large part the result of their youth being trapped. They don't have the education or the life skills to make an easy road of leaving their religion. And it means a COMPLETE loss of the only friends and family they've known. How many of us NOMs feel trapped by our family ties. The sacrifice for the Amish is far greater.

Are we cutting them slack because they're charming, quaint, and make good tourist attractions? I'll defend anyone's right to practice the religion of their free choosing, but I abhor culture that uses coersion to oppress the individual in favor of the group.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Jenny wrote:
I am so happy to hear these viewpoints. I absolutely agree with wayfarer. Lost, I think that is so cool. EIN, it really makes you wonder. Trading one control set for another.
I wonder what would happen if our youth had a rumspringa. Would they come back at the 90% rate?
How do the Amish have such confidence in their children's return?
I don't believe our LDS culture would ever in a million years show that kind of confidence in our youth returning to the LDS culture after a period of freedom from it.


Clearly the brethren agree (meaning the LDS brethren). Although maybe not as dramatic as the Amish view, sending LDS children to college is a small scale rumspringa isn't it? At least in some cases. The rumspringa of a year of college has just been taken off the plate for the young men. And the young women now have just one year rumspringa instead of three. I expect eventually the young women will be allowed to go on missions at 18 as well.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:35 pm 
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wayfarer wrote:
Even when I was Ward Mission Leader, I felt strongly that someone should come into the church only if there is an advantage in this life to do so. I don't believe that a strong catholic, jew, amish, muslim, or buddhist should ever really consider converting if they would be turning their back on family and friends. I think it would be far better to celebrate our respective traditions and help them become better at who they choose to be. If they want to convert, fine, but only after fully understanding the impact, and as well, full disclosure of all LDS beliefs and challenges.


What about Amish whose shelf has fallen? Their faith is not tolerant enough to become cafeteria Amish, or new order Amish. So is it really better for them to stay with their traditions if they believe their traditions are harmful? Shunning and denying individual free will is harmful, particularly for creative or thinking people.

But I think you raise a good point though that there should be more full disclosure up front.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:39 pm 
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wayfarer wrote:
The Amish are probably as close to a Zion society as we have ever been: they care for one another, they understand forgiveness in a way that shocks us. i wouldn't judge them, and i certainly would NEVER try to convert them. Their example in the wake of a tragic Amish School Shooting in 2006 shows a culture that is closer to the teachings of christ than we will ever be.

JW's probably got the idea from the Amish.


If I remember correctly, a GA used this story in a conference talk once. I would agree that their method of forgiveness is quite shocking.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:46 pm 
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wayfarer wrote:
EternityIsNow wrote:
They must see joining mormonism as an acceptable escape from things they do not like about being Amish. Are the younger Amish becoming part of the outside culture? Seems I've read something about that... Anyway, this is probably a good transition for them. Going straight to non-secular beliefs might be a bit of a shock.

And there is at least some compatibility with their former beliefs. Dress code, health and dietary restrictions, living in a bubble, importance of family...

Their retention rate among youth may be as high as 90%, iirc. Whether there is compatibility, the reality is that they are a closed culture, and each time someone leaves, it degrades the survival of the culture and traditions. Personally, I believe the world is a better place with the Amish in it, and find in morally repugnant to foist a new belief system on them -- yes they are controlling, and so are LDS. yes they have weird beliefs, and so do LDS. to trade one for the other is no advantage -- let them enter the next world intact as a culture.

Even when I was Ward Mission Leader, I felt strongly that someone should come into the church only if there is an advantage in this life to do so. I don't believe that a strong catholic, jew, amish, muslim, or buddhist should ever really consider converting if they would be turning their back on family and friends. I think it would be far better to celebrate our respective traditions and help them become better at who they choose to be. If they want to convert, fine, but only after fully understanding the impact, and as well, full disclosure of all LDS beliefs and challenges.


Very ecumenical and well said, Wayfarer. The missionary mindset of many TBMs seems to me like a blatant contradiction of Article of Faith 11. Even as TBM I never felt comfortable sharing the Church's teachings with anyone, mostly because I was too afraid to and also because I never felt comfortable imposing my religion on anyone else. This view plus my self-inflicted guilt were the main reasons I never served a mission. It almost seemed like I would be "selling" them the gospel, and that felt wrong to me.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:03 pm 
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Shrugged wrote:
While I want to agree, i wonder if we aren't being a bit hypocritical in our esteem for the Amish culture. We often deride the LDS culture for dividing families when there is a change of faith. The LDS don't officially shun people. We nag them, guilt them, pull back from relationships, but only rarely completely cut them off. Amish parents, by the rules of their religion/culture, literally won't talk to their very own children if they choose a different faith path in life.

I wonder what the Amish would score on the cult score website that's being discussed on another thread. Does anybody think they'd score any better than Mormonism? If I had to choose between being reincarnated as an Amish or a Mormon I would most definitely choose the latter, especially as a woman. Would anyone here choose Amish? We complain about the role of women in the LDS community, but their religion/culture is at least as gender biased as ours unless I'm misinformed.

I think their 90% retention rate is at least in large part the result of their youth being trapped. They don't have the education or the life skills to make an easy road of leaving their religion. And it means a COMPLETE loss of the only friends and family they've known. How many of us NOMs feel trapped by our family ties. The sacrifice for the Amish is far greater.

Are we cutting them slack because they're charming, quaint, and make good tourist attractions? I'll defend anyone's right to practice the religion of their free choosing, but I abhor culture that uses coersion to oppress the individual in favor of the group.

yes, we're being totally hypocritical and inconsistent. I, for one, see the world as a better place because of Mormonism, even if I am completely weary of the control structure. I see the world as a better place with the Amish. Not everything has to be governed by purely objective reason -- in fact, the purpose of the religious community is to provide something biologically necessary as a result of evolution: the tribe.

I would love to see a modern structure of society where the tribe is no longer necessary. However, as tribes become larger, they become horrible in their rolling over the rights of its members, imo. Amish are a very small tribe, that has captured some of the finest principles of christian culture. It is not rational to forgive a mass murderer and then take care of the murderer's family. Who does this type of thing? Mormons? no. Only the Amish.

Many of us who come into disaffection wish for a world that is perfectly rational. It isn't.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:21 pm 
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I watched a movie about Amish shunning a few months ago, creatively called
"The Shunning."
"The Shunning." Don't know how accurate it was, but after the shunning of the young woman (played by Danielle Panabaker) was announced, even her own family would not talk to her or acknowledge her existence. They didn't actually kick her out of the house--she hung around long enough to come to some sort of decision what to do--but they pretended she wasn't there, not setting a place for her at the table, etc. The store owners wouldn't do business with her, and so on. However, there was one Amish lady who disregarded the shunning and talked with her, anyway. I liked that the movie didn't demonize the Amish, but did show that the shunning was hard and made viewers want the Amish to be softer on the young woman. It reminded me of the Jewish practice of cherem (excommunication).

While social disapproval can be a useful means of convincing people to mend inappropriate behavior, I think this particular practice goes overboard. Unless, perhaps, a person engages in something particularly heinous!

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:51 pm 
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Leukarktos wrote:
I watched a movie about Amish shunning a few months ago, creatively called
"The Shunning."
"The Shunning." Don't know how accurate it was, but after the shunning of the young woman (played by Danielle Panabaker) was announced, even her own family would not talk to her or acknowledge her existence. They didn't actually kick her out of the house--she hung around long enough to come to some sort of decision what to do--but they pretended she wasn't there, not setting a place for her at the table, etc. The store owners wouldn't do business with her, and so on. However, there was one Amish lady who disregarded the shunning and talked with her, anyway. I liked that the movie didn't demonize the Amish, but did show that the shunning was hard and made viewers want the Amish to be softer on the young woman. It reminded me of the Jewish practice of cherem (excommunication).

While social disapproval can be a useful means of convincing people to mend inappropriate behavior, I think this particular practice goes overboard. Unless, perhaps, a person engages in something particularly heinous!


My DW has some Mennonite clients and I was talking to one of them. He said there are a couple of Mennonite congregations in our town and the more conservative congregation shuns him and his family because they are part of the liberal congregation. I think what makes them liberal is they don't always wear the traditional clothes. If he sees someone from the other congregation on the street they won't acknowledge his presence.

I don't have a lot of patience for this kind of crap, it seems to stem from fear and ignorance, and seems childish. I don't know if I think the world is a better place with all of these weird distinct little tribes everywhere. I think it's horrible that the Amish will forgive a f******** mass murderer, but not forgive a child that decides to leave the fold. And I understand they think they are helping the child, but the whole thing just seems bass ackwards.

I am with you shrugged, I would take being mormon over amish any day.

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 Post subject: Amish converts shunned
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:18 pm 
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We would take Mormon over Amish because we are used to mormon customs. For am Amish, our customs are strange as well.

It is all about tribe.

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 Post subject: Amish converts shunned
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:54 pm 
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wayfarer wrote:
We would take Mormon over Amish because we are used to mormon customs. For am Amish, our customs are strange as well.

It is all about tribe.


I don't think it's about tribe or customs in this case. It's about an innate desire to choose my own path in life. To choose for myself between a domestic role and an education and career. To choose for myself who and how I worship. How many kids I have. It's about the human need for freedom IMHO. I choose the option with greater freedom and a mormon birth provides a much greater degree of freedom despite our many complaints.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:16 pm 
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wayfarer wrote:
What's funny is that teenagers are allowed some playing about: "rumspringa", and some behavior that might result in adult shunning is allowed to some extent. But once an adult, it's serious.


It's actually after baptism, which is normally done when would-be members are of marriageable age. There's no specific age, but no one can get married in an Amish community without being baptized first.

wayfarer wrote:
Their example in the wake of a tragic Amish School Shooting in 2006 shows a culture that is closer to the teachings of christ than we will ever be.


I was actually horrified by how the community's brainwashing of its members played out DURING the shooting. Nobody tried to intervene at all -- the girls lined up obediently against the wall to be slaughtered and the adult teachers didn't lift a finger to try to stop the crazed shooter, nor did the couple of boys in the class who were in their early teens (and presumably quite strong and fit from manual labor). One of the teachers ran off to tell someone what was happening, but what was the point? Anybody who would have gotten there before the slaughter wouldn't have lifted a finger against the shooter either. Unfortunately, in many Amish communities, the same extreme "turn the other cheek" ideology has allowed fathers to sexually abuse their daughters with impunity. The girls have been taught never to resist any wrongdoing against them, and even when they tell somebody about it, they're just ordered to forgive their abuser, who "repents", and usually goes right back to doing the same thing. And no matter how many times a girl reports being abused at home, the father can just "repent" again, and the girl is required to forgive again, and submit again . . .

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