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The various Amish (pronounced /ˈɑːmɪʃ/, AH-mish) or Amish Mennonite church fellowships are Christian religious denominations that form a very traditional subgrouping of Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt modern convenience.

The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and AlsatianAnabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann[1]. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.[2] In the early 18th century, many Amish and Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the most traditional descendants of the Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania German, also known as Pennsylvania Dutch. There are also Old Order Amish communities, especially in the American state of Indiana, where a dialect of Swiss German predominates.[3] Over the years, there have been numerous divisions among the Amish churches. The 'Old Order' Amish, a conservative faction that withdrew from fellowship with the wider body of Amish in the 1860s, are those that have most emphasized traditional practices and beliefs. As of 2000, over 165,000 Old Order Amish live in Canada and the United States. A new study, produced in 2008, suggests their numbers have increased to 227,000.[4]

Amish church membership begins with baptism, usually between the ages of 16 and 25. It is a requirement for marriage, and once a person has affiliated with the church, she or he may only marry within the faith. Church districts average between 20 to 40 families and worship services are held every other Sunday in a member's home. The district is led by a bishop and several ministers and deacons.

The rules of the church — the Ordnung — must be observed by every member. These rules cover most aspects of day-to-day living, and include prohibitions or limitations on the use of power-line electricity, telephones, and automobiles, as well as regulations on clothing. Many Amish church members may not buy insurance or accept government assistance, such as Social Security. As Anabaptists, Amish church members practice nonresistance and will not perform any type of military service. Members who do not conform to these expectations and who cannot be convinced to repent are excommunicated. In addition to excommunication, members may be shunned — a practice that limits social contacts to shame the wayward member into returning to the church. During adolescence (rumspringa or "running around" in some communities), nonconforming behavior that would result in the shunning of an adult who had made the permanent commitment of baptism may meet with a degree of forbearance.[5]

Amish church groups seek to maintain a degree of separation from the non-Amish world. There is generally a heavy emphasis on church and family relationships. They typically operate their own one-room schools, and discontinue formal education at grade eight. They value rural life, manual labor, and humility. Due to intermarriage among this relatively small original population, some groups have increased incidences of certain inheritable conditions such as polydactyly.[6]

Explaining the Amish Way of Life - VOA Story03:33

Explaining the Amish Way of Life - VOA Story

Population and distribution

A lack of detailed record keeping among the Old Order Amish, along with other factors, makes it difficult to estimate the total size of their population. Rough estimates from various studies have placed their numbers at 125,000 in 1992, 166,000 in 2000, and 221,000 in 2008, for a growth rate of nearly 4% per year.[7] From 1992 to 2008, population growth among the Amish in North America was 84%. During that time they established 184 new settlements and moved into six new states.[8] In 2000, approximately 165,620 Old Order Amish resided in the United States, of which 73,609 were church members.[9] The Amish are among the fastest-growing populations in the world, with an average of 6.8 children per family.[10]

There are Old Order communities in 27 American states and the Canadian province of Ontario; Ohio has the largest population (55,000), followed by Pennsylvania (51,000) and Indiana (38,000).[11] The largest Amish settlements are in Holmes County in central Ohio, Lancaster County in south-central Pennsylvania, and Elkhart and LaGrange counties in northeast Indiana.[12] Most Amish west of the Mississippi River live in northern Missouri, eastern Iowa, and Southeast Minnesota. The largest community west of the Mississippi is near Kalona, Iowa.[13] Because of rapid population growth in Amish communities, new settlements are formed to obtain sufficient farmland. Other reasons for new settlements include locating in isolated areas that support their lifestyle, moving to areas with cultures conducive to their way of life, maintaining proximity to family or other Amish groups, and sometimes to resolve church or leadership conflicts.[8]

A small Beachy Amish congregation associated with Weavertown Amish Mennonite Church exists in Ireland.[14]


The Amish largely share a Swiss-German ancestry. They meet the criteria of an ethnic group. However, they themselves generally use the term only for members of their faith community, and not as an ethnic designation. Those who choose to affiliate with the church, or young children raised in Amish homes, but too young to yet be church members, are considered to be Amish. Certain Mennonite churches have a high number of people who were formerly from Amish congregations. Although more Amish immigrated to America in the 19th century than during the 18th century, most of today's Amish descend from 18th century immigrants. The latter tended to emphasize tradition to a greater extent, and were perhaps more likely to maintain a separate Amish identity.[15]

There are a number of Amish Mennonite church groups that had never in their history been associated with the Old Order Amish. The former Western Ontario Mennonite Conference (WOMC) was made up almost entirely of former Amish Mennonites who reunited with the Mennonite Church in Canada. Orland Gingerich's book, The Amish of Canada, devotes the vast majority of its pages not to the Beachy or Old Order Amish, but to congregations in the former WOMC.


The Amish Mennonite movement descends from the 16th century fellowship known as the Swiss Brethren. The Swiss Brethren were Anabaptists, and are often viewed as having been a part of a Radical Reformation. Anabaptist means "one who baptizes again"; a reference to those who had been baptized as infants, but later adopted a belief in "believer's baptism", and then let themselves again be baptized as adults. These Swiss Brethren trace their origination to Felix Manz (ca. 1498–1527) and Conrad Grebel (ca. 1498–1526), who broke from reformer Huldrych Zwingli.

The Amish movement takes its name from Jakob Ammann (c. 1656 —c. 1730), a Swiss Mennonite leader. Ammann believed Mennonites — peaceful Anabaptists of the Low Countries and Germany — were drifting away from the teachings of Menno Simons and the 1632 Mennonite Dordrecht Confession of Faith. Ammann favored stronger church discipline, including a more rigid application of shunning, the social exclusion of excommunicated members. Swiss Anabaptists, who were scattered by persecution throughout the Alsace and the Palatinate, never practiced strict shunning as had some lowland Anabaptists. Ammann insisted upon this practice, even to the point of expecting spouses to refuse to eat with each other, until the banned spouse repented.This type of strict literalism, on this issue, as well as others, brought about a division among the Mennonites of Southern Germany, the Alsace and Switzerland in 1693, and led to withdrawal of those who sided with Ammann.

Swiss Anabaptism developed, from this point, in two parallel streams. Those following Ammann became known as Amish or Amish Mennonite. The others eventually formed the basis of the Swiss Mennonite Conference. Because of this common heritage, Amish and Mennonites retain many similarities. Those who leave the Amish fold tend to join conservative Mennonite congregations. [ Amish Mennonites began migrating to Pennsylvania in the 18th century as part of a larger migration from the Palatinate and neighboring areas. This migration was a reaction to religious wars, poverty, and religious persecution on the Continent. The first Amish immigrants went to Berks County, Pennsylvania, but later moved, motivated by land issues and by security concerns tied to the French and Indian War. Many eventually settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Other groups later settled in, or spread to Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Maine, and Canada.

The Amish congregations remaining in Europe slowly merged with the Mennonites. The last Amish congregation to merge with the Mennonites was the Ixheim Amish congregation, which merged with the neighboring Mennonite Church in 1937. Some Mennonite congregations, including most in the Alsace, are descended directly from former Amish congregations.

Most Amish communities that were established in North America did not ultimately retain their Amish identity. The original major split that resulted in the loss of identity occurred in the 1860s. During that decade Dienerversammlungen (ministerial conferences) were held in Wayne County, Ohio, concerning how the Amish should deal with the pressures of modern society. The meetings themselves were a progressive idea; for bishops to assemble to discuss uniformity was an unprecedented notion in the Amish church. By the first several meetings, the more traditionally minded bishops agreed to boycott the conferences. The more progressive members, comprising approximately two thirds of the group, retained the name Amish Mennonite. Many of these eventually united with the Mennonite Church, and other Mennonite denominations, especially in the early 20th century. The more traditionally minded groups became known as the Old Order Amish.

Religious practices

Congregations and districts

The majority of Old Order Amish congregations do not have church buildings, but hold worship services in private homes. Thus they are sometimes called "House Amish." This practice is based on a verse from the New Testament: "The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands…" (Acts 17:24). In addition, the early Anabaptists, from whom the Amish are descended, were religiously persecuted, and it may have been safer to pray in the privacy of a home.

Unlike evangelical, charismatic, and Baptist style church congregations whose membership is based on whoever visits, stays, and joins, the Amish congregations are based on the physical location of their residence. Contiguous properties are encircled with a congregation's physical boundary. Each congregation is made up of 25-30 neighboring farm or related families whose membership in the congregation in which their farm is located is the only congregation available for membership. Accordingly, each member is also a neighbor. There is no "church hopping" from church to church like modern Protestant churches, and relationships are assumed to be long-term. With long-term neighbor relationships as the norm, extending over time to include multiple generations as members, the implications have major impacts on relationships. Conflict resolution, gossip, grudges, neighborliness, all work to cement relationships vastly different than the socially mobile Protestant church culture. Congregations meet every other week for the entire Sunday at a member family's farm. Each member family rotates as host so that each year each member family serves as host. This practice conforms to the Biblical teaching to forsake not the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is.[16] Congregations own common property in the form of tables, chairs, and wagons to transport them from farm to farm every other week. In interleaving weeks, time is available to visit a Sunday with family, neighbors and friends in and outside the congregation of their residence and membership.

Each congregation's leadership is made up with one of the members serving as bishop, one as deacon, and one as secretary. Each congregation's leadership, over time, differs from other congregations within enjoining districts in teaching, doctrine, protocol, dress, routines. Congregation leaders meet with other congregation leaders within the same district from time to time and compare needs, problems, teachings, etc.


Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit (calmness, composure, placidity) — often translated as "submission" or "letting-be". Gelassenheit is perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward, to be self-promoting, or to assert oneself. The Amish's willingness to submit to the "Will of God", expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on community. Modern innovations like electricity might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs might cultivate personal vanity.

Separation from the world

The Amish consider the Bible a trustworthy guide for living but do not quote it excessively. To do so would be considered a sinful showing of pride. Separation from the rest of society is based on being a "chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people"(1 Peter 2:9), not being "conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2), avoiding the "love [of] the world or the things in the world" (1 John 2:15) and the belief that "friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4).[17]

Both out of concern for the effect of absence from the family life, and to minimize contact with outsiders, many Old Order Amish prefer to work at home. Increased prices of farmland and decreasing revenues for low-tech farming have forced many Amish to work away from the farm, particularly in construction and manufacturing, and, in those areas where there is a significant tourist trade, to engage in shopwork and crafts for profit. The Amish are ambivalent about both the consequences of this contact and the commoditization of their culture. The decorative arts play little role in authentic Amish life (though the prized Amish quilts are a genuine cultural inheritance, unlike hex signs), and are in fact regarded with suspicion, as a field where egotism and a display of vanity can easily develop.

Amish lifestyles vary between, and sometimes within, communities. These differences range from profound to minuscule. Some of the more conservative Beachy Amish congregations, which permit automobiles, may mandate that automobiles be painted black. In some communities, various Old Order groups may vary over the type of suspenders males are required to wear, if any, or how many pleats there should be in a bonnet, or if one should wear a bonnet at all. Groups in fellowship can intermarry and have communion with one another, an important consideration for avoiding problems that may result from genetically closed populations. Thus minor disagreements within communities, or within districts, over dairy equipment or telephones in workshops may or may not splinter churches or divide multiple communities.

Some of the strictest Old Order Amish groups are the Nebraska Amish ("White-top" Amish), Troyer Amish, and the Swartzendruber Amish.[18] Most Old Order Amish people speak Pennsylvania German in the home, with the exception of several areas in the Midwest, where a variety of Swiss German may be used. In Beachy Amish settings, the use of English in church is the norm, but with some families continuing to use Pennsylvania German, or a variety of Swiss German, at home.


Members who break church rules may be called to confess before the congregation. Those who will not correct their behavior are excommunicated. Excommunicated members are shunned to shame the individual into returning to the church. Members may interact with and even help a shunned person, but may not accept anything — like a handshake, payment or automobile ride — directly from the wayward person. Some communities have split in the last century over how they apply the practice of shunning. This form of discipline is recommended by the bishop after a long process of working with the individual and must be unanimously approved by the congregation.[19] Excommunicated members will be accepted back into the church if they return and confess their wrongdoing.

Religious services

The Old Order Amish typically have worship services every second Sunday in private homes. A minority of Old Order congregations may have 'Sunday School' on the alternate Sundays. The typical district has 80 adults and 90 children under age 19.[20] Worship begins with a short sermon by one of several preachers or the bishop of the church district, followed by scripture reading and prayer (this prayer is silent in some communities), then another, longer sermon. The service is interspersed with hymns sung without instrumental accompaniment or harmony. Many communities use an ancient hymnal known as the Ausbund. The hymns contained in the Ausbund were generally written in what is referred to as Early New High German, a predecessor to modern Standard German. Singing is usually very slow, and a single hymn may take 15 minutes or longer to finish. In Old Order Amish services, scripture is either read or recited from the German translation of Martin Luther. Worship is followed by lunch and socializing. Church services are conducted in a mixture of Standard German (or 'Bible Dutch') and Pennsylvania German. Amish ministers and deacons are selected by lot[21] out of a group of men nominated by the congregation. They serve for life and have no formal training. Amish bishops are similarly chosen by lot from those selected as preachers.

The Old Order Amish do not work on Sunday, except to care for animals. Some congregations may forbid making purchases or exchanging money on Sundays. Also, within some congregations a motor vehicle and driver may not be hired on Sunday, except in an emergency.[22]



A German hymnal

Generally, the Amish hold communion in the spring and the autumn, and not necessarily during regular church services. Communion is only held open to those who have been baptized. As with regular services, the men and women sit separately. The ritual ends with members washing and drying each other's feet.[23]


The practice of believer's baptism is the Amish's admission into the church. They and other Anabaptists do not accept that a child can be meaningfully baptized. Their children are expected to follow the will of their parents in all issues, but when they come of age, they must choose to make an adult, permanent commitment to God and the community. Those who come to be baptized sit with one hand over their face, representing humility and submission to the church. The candidates are asked three questions:

  • 1. Can you renounce the devil, the world, and your own flesh and blood?
  • 2. Can you commit yourself to Christ and His church, and to abide by it and therein to live and to die?
  • 3. And in all order (Ordnung) of the church, according to the word of the Lord, to be obedient and submissive to it and to help therein?[24]

Typically, a deacon ladles water from a bucket into the bishop's cupped hands, which drips over the candidate's head. Then the bishop blesses the young men and greets them into the fellowship of the church with a holy kiss. The bishop's wife similarly blesses and greets the young women.[24]

Baptism is a permanent vow to follow the church and the Ordnung. Since the church leaders only perform weddings for members, baptism is an incentive for young couples with romantic ties, funneling them toward the church. Girls tend to join at an earlier age than boys. About five or six months before the ceremony, classes are held to instruct the candidates, teaching them the strict implications of what they are about to profess. The Saturday before baptism, they are given their last chance to withdraw. The difficulty of walking the narrow path is emphasized, and the applicants are instructed it is better not to vow than to make the vow and break it later on.[25]

Membership is taken seriously. Those who join the church, and then later leave, may be shunned by their former congregation and their families. Those who choose to not join can continue to relate freely with their friends and family. Church growth occurs through having large families and by retaining those children as part of the community. The Old Order Amish do not proselytize, as a rule. Conversion to the Amish faith is rare, but does occasionally occur as in the case of historian David Luthy.[26]



Funeral customs appear to vary more from community to community than other religious services. The Amish hold funeral services in the home rather than using the funeral parlor. Instead of referring to the deceased with stories of his life, and eulogizing him, services tend to focus on the creation story and biblical accounts of resurrection. In Adams County, Indiana, and Allen County, Indiana, the Old Order Amish use only wooden grave markers that eventually decay and disappear. The same is true of other, smaller communities that have their roots in these two counties.

After the funeral, the hearse carries the casket to the cemetery for a reading from the Bible; perhaps a hymn is read (rather than sung) and the Lord's Prayer is recited. The Amish usually, but not always, choose Amish cemeteries, and purchase gravestones that are uniform, modest, and plain; in recent years, these have been inscribed in English. The bodies of both men and women are dressed in white clothing by family members of the same sex, with women in the white cape and apron of their wedding outfit.[27] After a funeral, the community gathers together to share a meal.

Family life


Having children, raising them, and socialization with neighbors and relatives are the greatest functions of the Amish family. Amish believe large families are a blessing from God.[28] The main purposes of "family" can be illustrated within the Amish culture in a variety of ways. The family has authority over the individual, not only during infancy and in youth, but throughout life. Loyalties to parents, grandparents, and other relatives may change over time but they will never cease. A church district is measured by the number of families (households), rather than by the number of baptized persons.[29] Families take turns hosting the bi-weekly preaching service. Parents stress their responsibilities and obligations for the correct nurture of their children. They consider themselves accountable to the Lord for the spiritual welfare of their children.


Amish man working in southeast Ohio.

Amish children playing baseball, Lyndonville NY

Amish children playing baseball, Lyndonville, New York.

The "family" provides the member with a status within the home and within the community. A person is more of a member of the family, rather than an individual. Each member has a job, a position, a responsibility, and a status. Chores within the home are normally divided by gender. The Amish traditional family provides much of the education for the child. Although the formal education ends after they finish eighth grade, the boy or girl is trained for their adult tasks. The boys will work with the father in the fields, in the barn, and around the out buildings. The girls work inside the home and garden, alongside the mother. The home and family become the school for "on the job" training. Amish youth, by and large, see their parents working hard, and they want to help. They want to learn and to be a productive part of the family.[30]

"Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. One of the greatest needs of our time is men who will assume the responsibility that God has placed on their shoulders. Not to accept that responsibility is to lie down on the job, to fail God’s will." Family Life, Amish monthly magazine.

Sports and recreation are shared by all members of the family. There are church outings and family get-togethers where activities are entered into and shared by all.

Child discipline

The Amish stress strict obedience in their children, and this is taught and enforced by parents and preachers. Several passages in the Bible are used to support this view. Their children, as do all children, may pout or resist a parent's request. However, things such as tantrums, making faces, calling another bad names, and general disobedience are rare because the child knows that those actions will result in corporal punishment. Any youthful dissatisfactions are usually verbally expressed, but profanity is never allowed because the guilty child can expect swift punishment.[31]

Youth, courting, and Rumspringa

Rumspringa (Pennsylvania German lit. "running around") is the period of adolescence that begins the time of serious courtship, and, during which, church rules may be relaxed. As in non-Amish families, it is understood that there will likely be a certain amount of misbehavior, but it is neither encouraged nor overlooked. At the end of this period, Amish young adults are baptized into the church, and usually marry, with marriage permitted only among church members. Just a small percentage of the young people choose not to join the church, deciding to live the rest of their lives in wider society and marry someone outside the community.[32]

The age for courting begins at sixteen (in some communities, the girl could be as young as fourteen). The most common event for boy-girl association is the bi-weekly Sunday evening sing, however the youth use sewing-bees, frolics, and weddings for other opportunities. The sing is often at the same house or barn as the Sunday morning service. Teens may arrive from several close-by districts, thus providing socialization on a wider scale than from a single church.[32]

On the day of the sing, and after the chores are over, the young man dresses in his for-gut clothes, makes his appearance neat, and ensures his buggy and horse are clean. A sister, or sister's friend may ride with him, but usually not his girlfriend. At the sing, boys are on one side of a long table, the girls on the other side. Each person is able to announce their choice of a hymn, and only the faster ones are chosen. Conversation takes place between songs. The formal end of the sing is about ten o'clock, after which there is a great deal of talking, joking, and visiting. The boys who don't have a girlfriend may pair up with a Maidel (girl).[32] Following this, the boy takes the girl home in his open topped courting buggy.

Marrying a first-cousin is not allowed among the Amish, and second-cousin relationships are frowned upon, though they may occur. Marriage to a "Schwartz" cousin (first cousin once removed) is not permitted in Lancaster County.

The onset of courtship is usually not openly discussed within the family or among friends. Excessive teasing by siblings or friends at the wrong time is considered invasive. Respecting privacy, or at least pretending not to know, is a prevailing mode of behavior, even among parents.[32]


Weddings are typically held on Tuesdays and Thursdays in November to early December, after the harvest is in.[33] The bride wears a new blue linen dress that will be worn again on other formal occasions. She wears no makeup, and will not receive an engagement or wedding ring because the Ordnung prohibits personal jewelry. The marriage ceremony itself may take several hours, followed by a community reception that includes a banquet, singing, and storytelling. Newlyweds spend the wedding night at the home of the bride's parents. Celery is one of the symbolic foods served at Amish weddings. Celery is also placed in vases and used to decorate the house instead of flowers.[34] Rather than immediately taking up housekeeping, the newlywed couple will spend several weekends visiting the homes of friends and relatives who attended the wedding.


When the Amish choose to retire is neither a set nor fixed time. Considerations of the person's health, the family's needs, and personal desires all play an important part in determining when retirement may occur, usually between the ages of fifty to seventy. The elderly do not go to a retirement facility; they remain at home. If the family house is large enough they continue living with everyone else. Oftentimes there is an adjacent dwelling, called the Grossdaadi Haus, where grandparents take up residence. Retired people continue to help with work on the farm and within the home, working at their own pace as they are able. This allows them independence but does not strip them of family involvement.[35]

The Amish method of retirement ensures that the elderly maintain contact with family and relatives. Loneliness is not a problem because they keep meaningful social contacts through various community events, such as frolics, auctions, weddings, holiday, and other community activities.[36]

If the aged become ill or infirm, then the other family members take up caring for them.

Lifestyle and culture

Amish lifestyle is dictated by the Ordnung (German, meaning: order), which differs slightly from community to community, and, within a community, from district to district. What is acceptable in one community may not be acceptable in another. No summary of Amish lifestyle and culture can be totally adequate, because there are few generalities that are true for all Amish. Groups may separate over matters such as the width of a hat-brim, the color of buggies, or various other issues. The use of tobacco (excluding cigarettes, which are considered "worldly")[37] and moderate use of alcohol[38] are generally permitted, particularly among older and more conservative groups.

Modern technology

Amish vs modern transportation

Modern and Amish transportation in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.

The Older Order Amish are known for their avoidance of certain modern technologies. Amish do not view technology as evil, and individuals may petition for acceptance of a particular technology in the local community. In Pennsylvania, bishops meet in the spring and fall to discuss common concerns, including the appropriate response to new technology, and then pass this information on to ministers and deacons in a subsequent meeting.[39] Because of this flat governing structure, variations of practice develop in each community.


Telephone booth set up by an "English" farmer for emergency use by local Amish families.

High voltage electricity was rejected by 1920 through the actions of a strict bishop, as a reaction against more liberal Amish[40] and to avoid a physical connection to the outside world.[41] Because of the early prohibition of electricity, individual decisions about the use of new inventions such as the television would not be necessary. Electricity is used in some situations when it can be produced without access to outside power lines. Batteries, with their limited applications, are sometimes acceptable. Electric generators may be used for welding, recharging batteries, and powering milk stirrers in many communities. Outdoor electrical appliances such as riding and hand-pushed lawn mowers and string trimmers are used in some communities. Some Amish families have non-electric versions of appliances, such as kerosene-powered refrigerators. Some Old Order Amish districts may allow the use of thermal solar panels[42].

Amish communities adopt compromise solutions involving technology that seem strange to outsiders. Petrol-powered farm equipment, such as tillers or mowers, may be pushed by a human or pulled by a horse. The reasoning is that Amish farmers will not be tempted to purchase more land to out-compete other farmers in their community, if they have to move the equipment manually. Amish farmers employ chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and artificial insemination of cows.[43]

Amish Farmhouse

Amish household

The Ordnung is the guide to community standards, rather than doctrine that defines sin. For example, the four Old Order Amish communities of Allen County, Indiana, are more conservative than most; they use open buggies, even during the winter, and they wear black leather shoes even in the hot summer.

Restrictions are not meant to impose suffering. Disabled people are allowed to use motorized wheelchairs; electricity is allowed in the home for medical equipment.[44] Those who break the rules may be given many months to resolve the problem so that they can use a computer to complete a business project or remove electric wiring from a new house.[45]

Although most Amish will not drive cars, they will hire drivers and vans, for example, for visiting family, monthly grocery shopping, or commuting to the workplace off the farm — though this too is subject to local regulation and variation. The practice increases the geographic reach of the Amish, and decreases isolation: a horse can travel only about 25 miles (40 km), and it must rest for a considerable period, restricting the Amish to a radius of 12.5 miles (20.1 km) from home. Moreover, a horse and buggy can only sustain Template:Convert/mi/h over an extended distance, and thus is impractical for emergencies.[46] Regular bus service between Amish communities has been established in some areas, and train travel is accepted.

The Old Order Amish tend to restrict telephone use, as it is viewed by some as interfering with separation from the world. By bringing the outside world into the home, it is an intrusion into the privacy and sanctity of the family, and interferes with social community by eliminating face-to-face communication. Amish of Lancaster County use the telephone primarily for outgoing calls, with the added restriction that the telephone not be inside the house, but rather in a phone "booth" or small out-building placed far enough from the house as to make its use inconvenient. These private phones may be shared by more than one family. This allows the Amish to control their communication, and not have telephone calls invade their homes, but also to conduct business, as needed. In the past, the use of public pay phones in town for such calls was more common; today, with dwindling availability of pay phones because of increased cell phone use by the non-Amish population, Amish communities are seeing an increase in the private phone shanties.[47] Many Amish, particularly those who run businesses, use voicemail service.[48] The Amish will also use trusted "English" neighbors as contact points for passing on family emergency messages. Some New Order Amish will use cellphones and pagers, but most Old Order Amish will not.[49]


In addition to English, most Old Order Amish speak a distinctive German dialect called Pennsylvania German or, much more commonly, Pennsylvania Dutch. Pennsylvania German is related to the Palatinate German of the eighteenth century. It has also been strongly influenced by American English.[50] The English term "Dutch" originally referred to all forms of German and Netherlandic languages. Pennsylvania German is distinct from Mennonite Low German and Hutterite German dialects spoken by other Anabaptist groups.

Now spoken primarily by the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites, Pennsylvania German was originally spoken by many German-American immigrants in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas, especially those who came prior to 1800. There are also several sizable Old Order Amish communities where a variety of Swiss German is spoken, rather than Pennsylvania German. The Beachy Amish, especially those who were born roughly after 1960, tend to speak predominantly in English at home. All other Amish groups use either Pennsylvania German or a variety of Swiss German as their in-group language of discourse. There are small dialectal variations between communities, such as Lancaster County and Indiana speech varieties. The Amish are aware of regional variation, and occasionally experience difficulty in understanding speakers from outside their own area.


Lancaster County Amish 02

Amish girls in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The common theme amongst all Amish clothing is plainness; clothing should not call attention to the wearer by cut, color, or any other feature. Hook-and-eye closures or straight pins are used as fasteners on dress clothing rather than buttons, zippers, or velcro. Snaps are used on everyday clothes, and plain buttons for work shirts and trousers. The historic restriction on buttons is attributed to tradition and their potential for ostentation.[51] In all things, the aesthetic value is plainness. Some groups tend to limit color to black (trousers, dresses) and white (shirts), while others allow muted colors. Dark blue denim work clothing is common within some groups as well. The Old Order Amish often sew their own clothing, and work clothing can become quite worn and patched with use.

Women wear calf-length plain-cut dresses in a solid color. Aprons are often worn at home, usually in white or black, and are always worn when attending church. A cape, which consists of a triangular piece of cloth, is usually worn, beginning around the teenage years, and pinned into the apron. In the colder months, a long woolen cloak may be worn. Heavy bonnets are worn over the prayer coverings when Amish women are out and about in cold weather, with the exception of the Nebraska Amish, who do not wear bonnets. Girls in some areas may wear colored bonnets until age nine; older girls and women wear black bonnets.[52] Girls begin wearing a cape for church and dress up occasions at about age eight. Single women wear a white cape to church until about the age of thirty. Everyday capes are colored, matching the dress, until about age forty when only black is used.[53]

During the warmer months, many children will go barefoot, even while attending school.

Men typically wear dark-colored trousers, some with a dark vest or coat, suspenders (in some communities), broad-rimmed straw hats in the warmer months, and black felt hats in the colder months. Married men and those over forty grow a beard. Mustaches are forbidden, because they are associated with European military officers and militarism in general.[54] A beard may serve the same symbolic function, in some Old Order Amish settings, as a wedding ring, and marks the passage into manhood.



Amish furniture is celebrated for its durability, simple elegance, and use of deciduous woods. Amish craftsmen utilize many of the same methods as their early-American ancestors in building furniture. There is still a demand for classic designs such as Mission, Shaker, Cottage and Queen Anne while some Amish furniture is more modern in design. Furniture construction is an expression of the Amish ethos of self-sufficiency, simplicity and functionality.

Swiss Amish

A subgroup of the Old Order Amish, known as the Swiss Amish, speak a dialect of German known as Swiss German amongst themselves instead of the more common Pennsylvania Dutch. They are found primarily in Allen and Adams County in Indiana. The Swiss Amish only use open top buggies and are more conservative than most other Old Order Amish districts. They also are the only Amish group to practice yodeling.


Amish populations have higher incidences of particular genetic disorders, including dwarfism (Ellis-van Creveld syndrome),[55] various metabolic disorders,[56] and unusual distribution of blood-types.[57] Amish represent a collection of different demes or genetically-closed communities.[58] Since almost all Amish descend from about 200 18th century founders, genetic disorders from inbreeding exist in more isolated districts (an example of the founder effect). Some of these disorders are quite rare, or unique, and are serious enough to increase the mortality rate among Amish children. The majority of Amish accept these as "Gottes Wille" (God's will); they reject use of preventive genetic tests prior to marriage and genetic testing of unborn children to discover genetic disorder. Amish are willing to participate in studies of genetic diseases. Their extensive family histories are useful to researchers investigating diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and macular degeneration.

While the Amish are at an increased risk for a number of genetic disorders, researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) have found their tendencies for clean living can lead to a healthier life. Overall cancer rates in the Amish population are 60 percent of the age-adjusted rate for Ohio and 56 percent of the national rate. The incidence of tobacco-related cancers in the Amish adults is 37 percent of the rate for Ohio adults, and the incidence of non-tobacco-related cancer is 72 percent. The Amish have protection against many types of cancer both through their lifestyle – there is very little tobacco or alcohol use and limited sexual partners – and through genes that may reduce their susceptibility to cancer. Dr. Judith Westman, director of human genetics at OSUCCC- James, conducted the study. The findings were reported in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Causes & Control. Even skin cancer rates are lower for Amish, despite the fact many Amish make their living working outdoors where they are exposed to sunlight and UV rays. They are typically covered and dressed to work in the sun by wearing wide-brimmed hats and generally wearing long sleeves to protect their arms.[59]

The Amish are conscious of the advantages of exogamy. A common bloodline in one community will often be absent in another, and genetic disorders can be avoided by choosing spouses from unrelated communities. For example, the founding families of the Lancaster County Amish are unrelated to the founders of the Perth County, Ontario Amish community.

The Old Order Amish do not typically carry private commercial health insurance. About two-thirds of the Amish in Lancaster County participate in Church Aid, an informal self-insurance plan for helping members with catastrophic medical expenses.[60] A handful of American hospitals, starting in the mid-1990s, created special outreach programs to assist the Amish. The first of these programs was instituted at the Susquehanna Health System in central Pennsylvania by James Huebert. This program has earned national media attention in the United States, and has spread to several surrounding hospitals.[61][62] Treating genetic problems is the mission of Clinic for Special Children in Strasburg, Pennsylvania, which has developed effective treatments for such problems as maple syrup urine disease, a previously fatal disease. The clinic is embraced by most Amish, ending the need for parents to leave the community to receive proper care for their children, an action that might result in shunning.

DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children, located in Middlefield, Ohio, has been treating special-needs children with inherited or metabolic disorders since May 2002.[63] The DDC Clinic provides treatment, research, and educational services to Amish and non-Amish children and their families.

Although not forbidden or thought of as immoral, most Amish do not practice any form of birth control, hence their large families. They are against abortion and also find "artificial insemination, genetics, eugenics, and stem cell research" to be "inconsistent with Amish values and beliefs".[64]

People's Helpers is an Amish-organized network of mental health caregivers who help families dealing with mental illness and recommend professional counselors.[65] Suicide rates for the Amish of Lancaster County were 5.5 per 100,000 in 1980, about half that of the general population and a third the rate of the non-religious population.[66]


Amish schoolhouse

Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1941.

Amish On the way to school by Gadjoboy2

Amish schoolchildren

The Amish do not educate their children past the eighth grade, believing that the basic knowledge offered up to that point is sufficient to prepare one for the Amish lifestyle.[67][68] Almost no Amish go to high school, much less to college. In many communities, the Amish operate their own schools, which are typically one-room schoolhouses with teachers (young unmarried women) from the Amish community. These schools provide education in many crafts, and are therefore eligible as vocational education, fulfilling the nationwide requirement of education through the 10th grade or its equivalent. There are Amish children who go to non-Amish public schools, even schools that are far away and that include a very small Amish population. For instance, there have been some Amish children who have attended Leesburg Elementary School in Leesburg, Indiana (about 12 miles (19 km) from Nappanee, Indiana), because their families lived on the edge of the school district. In the past, there have been major conflicts between the Amish and outsiders over these matters of local schooling. But for the most part, they have been resolved, and the educational authorities allow the Amish to educate their children in their own ways. Sometimes, there are conflicts between the state-mandated minimum age for discontinuing schooling, and the younger age of children who have completed the eighth grade. This is often handled by having the children repeat the eighth grade until they are old enough to leave school. In the past, when comparing standardized test scores of Amish students, the Amish have performed above the national average for rural public school pupils in spelling, word usage, and arithmetic. They performed below the national average, however, in vocabulary.[69]

On May 19, 1972, Jonas Yoder and Wallace Miller of the Old Order Amish, and Adin Yutzy of the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church, were each fined $5 for refusing to send their children, aged 14 and 15, to high school. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturned the conviction, and the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed this, finding the benefits of universal education do not justify a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

The decision of the U.S. Supreme Court quoted sociology professor John A. Hostetler (1918—2001), who was born into an Amish family, wrote several books about the Amish, Hutterites, and Old Order Mennonites, and was then considered the foremost academic authority on the Amish. Donald Kraybill, Distinguished College Professor and Senior Fellow in the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College, is one of the most active scholars studying the Amish today.

Relations with the outside world


Amish buggy rides offered in tourist-oriented Shipshewana, Indiana.

The Amish feel the pressures of the modern world. Child labor laws, for example, are seriously threatening their long-established ways of life. Amish children are taught at an early age to work hard. Parents will supervise the children in new tasks, to ensure that they learn to do them effectively and safely. Amish parents have always made the decision as to when their children are competent to perform hazardous tasks, although some instances may now be in conflict with newer child labor laws.

Contrary to popular belief, some of the Amish vote, and they have been courted by national parties as potential swing voters: their pacifism and social conscience cause some of them to be drawn to left-of-center politics, while their generally conservative outlook causes others to favor the right wing.

They are nonresistant, and rarely defend themselves physically or even in court; in wartime, they take conscientious objector status. Their own folk-history contains tales of heroic nonresistance, such as the insistence of Jacob Hochstetler (1704-1775) that his sons stop shooting at hostile Indians, who proceeded to kill some of the family and take others captive.[70] During World War I two young men held at Fort Leavenworth[71] refused to wear prison uniforms because of the buttons. They were tortured by the guards — held under cold showers until completely chilled, knocked down to the concrete floor and dragged by their hair and ears — until they relented and put on the uniforms.[72] During World War II the Amish entered Civilian Public Service.

Amish rely on their church and community for support, and thus reject the concept of insurance. An example of such support is barn raising, in which the entire community gathers together to build a barn in a single day. It means coming together to celebrate with family and friends.


Amish Acres, an Amish crafts and tourist attraction in Nappanee, Indiana.

In 1961, the United States Internal Revenue Service announced that since the Amish refuse Social Security benefits and have a religious objection to insurance, they need not pay these taxes. In 1965, this policy was codified into law.[73] Self-employed individuals in certain sects do not pay into, nor receive benefits from, United States Social Security, nor do their similarly-exempt employees. Internal Revenue Service form 4029 grants this exemption to members of a religious group that is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance, provides a reasonable level of living for its dependent members and has existed continuously since December 31, 1950.[74] A visible sign of the care Amish provide for the elderly is the smaller Grossdaadi Heiser or Daadiheiser ("grandfather house"), often built near the main dwelling. Amish employees of non-Amish employers are taxed, but they do not apply for benefits.[75] Aside from Social Security and workers' compensation, American Amish pay all required taxes.[76]

The Amish have, on occasion, encountered discrimination and hostility from their neighbors. During the two 20th century World Wars, Amish nonresistance sparked many incidents of harassment, and young Amish men forcibly inducted into the services were subjected to various forms of ill treatment. In the present day, anti-Amish sentiment has taken the form of pelting the horse-drawn carriages used by the Amish with stones or similar objects as the carriages pass along a road, most commonly at night. A 1988, made-for-TV film, A Stoning In Fulham County, is based on a true story involving one such incident, in which a six-month-old Amish girl was struck in the head by a rock and died from her injuries. In 1997, Mary Kuepfer, a young Amish woman in Milverton, Ontario, Canada, was struck in the face by a beer bottle believed to have been thrown from a passing car;[77] she required thousands of dollars' worth of surgery to her face (which was paid for by an outpouring of donations from the public).

Portrayal in popular entertainment


Peter Weir's 1985 drama Witness is set and filmed in the Amish community of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Harvest of Fire is a 1996 Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie about an FBI agent's investigation of cases of suspected arson in an Amish farming community. The 2002 documentary Devil's Playground follows a group of Amish teenagers during rumspringa, and it portrays their personal dilemma with both the 'English' world and the decision on whether or not to be baptized as adult members of the church. Michael Landon Jr's 2007 film Saving Sarah Cain shows the removing of young Amish children to the big city and realizing the life they can have with both the Amish and English world.

Some comic movie portrayals of the Amish include Randy Quaid’s Amish character "Ishmael Boorg" in Kingpin, directed by the Farrelly brothers in 1996, and the 1997 For Richer or Poorer, starring Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley, also about city folk hiding among the Amish.


Modern novels

Paul Levinson's 1999 Locus Award-winning novel, The Silk Code portrays Amish farmers involved in a science-fiction mystery about biotechnology and mysterious deaths. Jodi Picoult's 2000 novel (and 2004 TV movie) Plain Truth, deals with a crime concerning the death of a newborn infant on an Amish farm. Other novels dealing with the Amish are Lurlene McDaniel's 2002 The Angels Trilogy, Beverly Lewis's extensive series of Amish romantic fiction, and Paul Gaus's Ohio Amish Mystery series, set among the Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio.

The trilogy of Karen Harper, Dark Road Home, Dark Harvest, and Dark Angel, discuss how the Amish people forgive their tormentors and those who have done wrong to them.

Older novels

Helen Reimensnyder Martin's 1905 novel Sabina, a Story of the Amish, similar to her 1904 novel Tillie, a Mennonite Maid, so harshly depicted its subjects as to provoke cries of misrepresentation. Anna Balmer Myers' 1920 novel Patchwork: a Story of "the Plain People," like her 1921 novel Amanda: A Daughter of the Mennonites, are generally regarded as gentle correctives to the work of Martin. Ruth Lininger Dobson's 1937 novel Straw in the Wind, written while a student at the University of Michigan and receiving the school's Hopwood Award, so negatively depicted the Amish of Indiana that Joseph Yoder was motivated to correct the severe stereotypes with a more accurate book about the Amish way of life. In 1940, he wrote the gentler Rosanna of the Amish, a story of his mother's life (and his own). He later wrote a sequel, Rosanna's Boys (1948), as well as other books presenting and recording what he regarded as a truer picture of Amish culture.

Children's literature

Marguerite de Angeli's 1936 children's story Henner's Lydia portrays a tender Amish family. The author sketched many of the illustrations at the site of the little red schoolhouse still standing at the intersection of PA route 23 and Red Schoolhouse Road, just west of Morgantown, Pennsylvania. Today the building is the Amish Mennonite Information Center. The Lancaster County landscape, portrayed in the end papers of the book, can be recognized throughout the area. De Angeli's illustrations of a nearby bank barn were sketched just hours before the barn was destroyed by fire. She incorporated the incident in her 1944 Caldecott Honor book Yonie Wondernose, a story about a curious Amish boy, younger brother to the Lydia of Henner's Lydia.


The 1955 Broadway musical show, Plain and Fancy, is an early stage-play portrayal of the Amish people. Set in Lancaster County, it tells of a couple from New York who encounter the quaint Amish lifestyle when they arrive to sell off some property. This show depicted "shunning" and "barn-raising" to the American audience for the first time. Another play featuring the Amish is Quiet in the Land, a Canadian play concerning Amish struggles during World War I (1917-1918).


NBC aired, in 1988, a family drama called Aaron's Way about an Amish family who moved to California and had to adjust to a non-Amish lifestyle. Numerous other TV shows have presented episodes with Amish characters or storylines. Some of them include Pinky and the Brain, Arthur, The Simpsons, Dexter's Laboratory, Picket Fences, Murder She Wrote, MacGyver, Grey's Anatomy, Tales of the Gold Monkey and Cold Case.[78] In the summer of 2004, a controversial reality-television program called Amish in the City aired on UPN. Amish teenagers were exposed to non-Amish culture by living together with "English" teens, and at the time of the show, had yet to decide, if they wanted to be baptized into the Amish church. On Wednesday 18 February 2009, BBC2 aired 'Trouble in Amish Paradise', a one-hour documentary on Ephraim and Jesse Stoltzfus and their desire to adhere to Biblical Christianity whilst remaining Amish in culture.


"Weird Al" Yankovic's 1996 parody "Amish Paradise" and the accompanying music video was an affectionate send-up of Coolio's earlier soul song "Gangsta's Paradise", with Yankovic and former Brady Bunch actress Florence Henderson in Amish garb, and lyrics reflecting Amish themes.

Similar groups

Old Order Mennonites, Hutterites, and Old German Baptist Brethren are distinct from the Amish. They all emigrated from Europe, but they arrived with different dialects, separate cultures, and diverse religious traditions. Particularly, the Hutterites live communally[79] and are generally accepting of modern technology.[80]

Plain Quakers are similar in manner and lifestyle, but unrelated to the Amish. Early Quakers were influenced, to some degree, by the Anabaptists. Most modern Quakers have since abandoned their traditional dress.

Abuse controversy

Template:Unbalanced section

Some high-profile cases have focused attention on the sexual abuse perpetrated upon Amish children. In a few isolated areas it has been called "almost a plague in some communities."[81] Because Amish Bishops mete out punishment for sins, (generally in the form of shunning), they keep discipline within the authority of the church, thus sexual abuse may be less-often reported to law enforcement. Since men dominate their society, women and children who have been mistreated have little recourse. They themselves may be shunned for seeking outside help. Mary Byler was allegedly raped more than a hundred times between the ages of 8 and 14 by her brothers, and then she was excommunicated and shunned for reporting her abusers.[82] Another young woman claimed to have been raped repeatedly by her brother-in-law, who was eventually punished by being shunned for two-and-a-half months.[83] Some groups have also been accused of tolerating severe physical abuse of children.[84] Although the rate of physical or sexual abuse does not appear to be higher in the Amish community than in the general public, their physical and social isolation from the outside world make it more difficult for victims to seek help.

The Lancaster, Pennsylvania newspaper Intelligencer Journal published a four-part series on domestic abuse, child abuse, and child sexual abuse inside Amish (and Mennonite) families within the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. These articles suggested that abuse may be systematically silenced inside Amish (and Mennonite) churches, because of the emphasis on Gelassenheit and male authority in the church. The series, published on August 4, 2004, began with an article entitled "Silenced by Shame: Hidden in Plain Sight," and ended with an article entitled "The Ties That Bind Can Form the Noose." As the article "Beliefs, Culture Can Perpetuate Abuse in Families, Churches" makes clear, child and spousal abuse may be concealed or denied. One reaction from an Old Order woman was the following: "They made Plain women look too stupid and ignorant to know how to get help."[85]

The Amish community recently started to address the issue of abuse awareness. The Amish publisher Pathway Publishers ran several series in the magazine Family Life that touch upon the subjects of sexual and physical abuse. They have also distributed, free-of-charge, resources for abused persons, and for their families. Some Amish have objected to the articles, preferring that the subject not be raised, claiming these problems exist only among the "English".[86]


  1. Kraybill (2001) pp. 7-8
  2. Kraybill (2001), p. 8
  3. Zook, Noah and Samuel L Yoder (1998). "Berne, Indiana, Old Order Amish Settlement". Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Scolford
  7. "Amish Population Change 1992‐2008". Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  8. Kraybill, Donald B. (2000). Anabaptist World USA. Herald Press. ISBN 0836191633. 
  9. Julia A. Ericksen; Eugene P. Ericksen, John A. Hostetler, Gertrude E. Huntington (July 1979). "Fertility Patterns and Trends among the Old Order Amish". Population Studies (33): 255–76. ISSN 00324728. OCLC 39648293. 
  10. "Amish Population by State (2008)". oung Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  11. "The Twelve Largest Amish Settlements (2008)". Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, Elizabethtown College. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  13. Michael Clifford, "At ease with the alternative Amish way", Sunday Tribune, August 6, 2000.
  14. Nolt, S. M. A History of the Amish, Intercourse:Good Books, 1992, p. 104
  15. Hebrews 10:25
  16. Kraybill (2001), pp. 37 and 45.
  17. Kraybill (2000), p. 68.
  18. Kraybill (2001), pp. 131-141
  19. Based on data from Lancaster county collected. Kraybill (2001), p. 91.
  20. Based on Acts 1:23-26
  21. Kauffman (2001), p. 125.
  22. Brad Igou (1995). "Amish Religious Traditions". Amish Country News. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  23. 24.0 24.1 Kraybill (2001), pp. 116-119.
  24. The Riddle of Amish Culture | Kraybill | p. 116-7
  25. The sociology of Canadian Mennonites, Hutterites, and Amish: a ..., Volume 2 by Donovan E. Smucker, pg 147
  26. Kraybill (2001) p. 159.
  27. Kraybill (2001), p. 88.
  28. Kraybill (2001), p. 87.
  29. The Traditional Family & The Amish
  30. Amish Society{Hostetler pp.160
  31. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Amish Society|Hostetler (Fourth Edition), p. 146.
  32. Kraybill (2001), p. 148.
  33. See this page and this page for more about the tradition associating celery with Amish weddings.
  34. Amish Society|Hostetler pp.168-169
  35. Amish Society{Hostetler pp.170
  36. "The Amish vs. Tobacco." by Brad Igou. 1992. Amish Country News
  37. "Ohio's Amish seek help for underage drinking." By Amy Beth Graves (AP). Sunday, May 21, 2000. Cincinnati Enquirer [1]
  38. Kraybill (2001), pp. 98-101.
  39. The Peachey group split from the Old Order Amish in 1910 and eventually became affiliated with the Beachy Amish
  40. Kraybill (2001), pp. 197-212.
  42. Kraybill (2001), p. 313.
  43. Kraybill (2001), pp. 114-115.
  44. Kraybill (2001), p. 136.
  45. Purdue University
  46. See, for example, [Dan Morse "Still Called by Faith to the Booth: As Pay Phones Vanish, Amish and Mennonites Build Their Own"], The Washington Post, September 3, 2006, p. C1; see also Diane Zimmerman Umble's work on the subject of the Amish and telephones
  47. Kraybill, Donald Amish Enterprise: From Plows to Profits, Baltimore:Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004
  48. Howard Rheingold "Look Who's Talking", Wired, January, 1999,
  49. Smith, p. 511.
  50. Kraybill (2001), pp. 66-70.
  51. Kraybill (2001) p. 62.
  52. Kraybill (2001) p. 61.
  53. Kraybill (2001), pp 63-65.
  54. "Ellis-van Creveld syndrome and the Amish". Nature Genetics. 2000. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  55. "Pediatric medicine and the genetic disorders of the Amish and Mennonite people of Pennsylvania". American Journal of Medical Genetics. 2003-06-27. Retrieved 2008-07-02. "Regional hospitals and midwives routinely send whole-blood filter paper neonatal screens for tandem mass spectrometry and other modern analytical methods to detect 14 of the metabolic disorders found in these populations…" 
  56. Hostetler, p. 330.
  57. Hostetler, p. 328.
  58. "Amish Have Lower Rates Of Cancer, Ohio State Study Shows". Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Medical Center. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 6 January 2010. 
  59. Rubinkam, Michael (October 5, 2006). "Amish Reluctantly Accept Donations". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-03-25. 
  60. The Daily Item — Doctors make house calls in barn
  61. [2]The Irish Medical Times. A culture vastly different from the rest of America
  62. DDC Clinic for Special Needs Children
  63. Margaret M. Andrews and Joyceen S. Boyle (2002). Transcultural concepts in nursing care. Lippincott. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  64. Kraybill (2001), p. 105.
  65. The overall suicide rate in 1980 in the USA was 12.5 per 100,000. Kraybill et al. "Suicide Patterns in a Religious Subculture: The Old Order Amish," International Journal of Moral and Social Studies 1 (Autumn 1986).
  66. Dewalt, Mark W (April 10, 2001). "Amish Schools in the United States and Canada — Abstract". Education Resources Information Center. 
  67. Ediger, Marlow (1992). "Reading in Old Order Amish Schools — Abstract". Education Resources Information Center. 
  68. Hostetler, p. 188.
  69. Nolt, pp. 66-67
  70. Two Hutterites were tortured to death at Leavenworth.
  71. Smith, p. 545.
  72. U.S. Code collection
  73. "Application for Exemption From Social Security and Medicare Taxes and Waiver of Benefits" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service. 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  74. Kraybill (2001), p. 279.
  75. Kraybill (2001), p. 273.
  76. "Amish girl hit with beer bottle"
  77. Brad Igou, "The Amish in the Media," Amish County News, 2001/2005
  78. "Hutterites". Britannica Online. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  79. Laverdure, Paul (2006). "Hutterites". Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  80. Legal Affairs — The Gentle People
  81. ABC News: Sexual Abuse in the Amish Community and ABC News: Sex Abuse Case Shocks Amish Community
  82. Amish Deception 1: Learn the truth about the Swartzentruber Amish community in Ohio: Chapter 5 Page 3
  83. Amish Abuse: Amish Deception
  84. Kraybill, D.B. and J.P. Hurd (2006). Horse-and-Buggy Mennonites: hoofbeats of humility in a postmodern world. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, p. 159-160.
  85. Rensberger, Susan. (2003) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding the Amish. New York, Alpha Books (Penguin Group), p. 181 - 183


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