by Shawn David Shelhamer
Can you become Amish?
Other religions and ways of life in the modern world openly accept anyone that has the desire to learn that way of life or abide by that faith.
Can someone who was brought up in the modern world be taught by the Amish both spiritually and their ways of life? Like when the Amish are teenagers they have a choice to leave... do outsiders have a choice to join?
**************************************************** The answer in short is yes, you can become Amish, but it is very rare for someone to do so and be successful at it.
The Amish stick to themselves and deliberately stay away from anyone who is not Amish so as not to taint their faith and beliefs. Anyone who is not Amish is known as an "Outsider".
There are some Amish, however, who will take in "Outsiders" and allow them to live with them on their farms. I suggest you do this for a year or so and immerse yourself in the Amish faith, culture and lifestyle.
You will need to dress and behave like them, help out on the farm and where needed, as well as go to church every Sunday. However, you cannot just go to an Amish church without someone vouching for you and introducing you to the congregation.
If after a year of living as an Amish, you can then ask to learn the ordinances of the Amish faith and ask to be baptized.
The Amish elders will hold a meeting to decide whether they think that you are eligible to enter the Amish fold, and if they do, then you are expected to leave your old life behind completely.
Amish call "Outsiders" who want to become Amish "Seekers". But on a personal level for some it is extremely difficult to become Amish once you have been brought up conventionally in the mainstream world.
This is because in becoming an Old Order Amish you have to give up everything that you have taken for granted: your mobile phone, car, TV, going to the movies, listening to music, radio, electrical goods, even your social security, pension and personal insurance.
Secondly, you would have to learn Pennsylvania Dutch, as this is the language used between the Amish.
If this lifestyle is attractive to you, but you would prefer an Amish order that is less restrictive then I suggest that you seek out the Mennonites rather than Old Order Amish.
If you are still interested in becoming Amish I suggest you read a book called: "The Amish of Holmes County" by Donald Beam who was an Englishman who successfully joined the Amish and wrote about his experiences. It's a very old book, and probably out of print now, but I am sure you will be able to track it down in your public library.
Good luck with your quest, and please let us know what you finally decided to do.