Can you become Amish?

by Shawn David Shelhamer
(Northampton Pennsylvania)

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?

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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.

Regards
Countryfarm Lifestyles

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Nov 16, 2014
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Reply Of My Decision
by: Shawn David Shelhamer

After mulling it over and seeking out some Beichy advice and visiting a Mennonite church in Allentown PA & Egypt PA, I've decided that if I do make a change in your direction it will be towards the Old Order Amish.

A lot has been changing fast in my life in the last 5 or 6 years and one thing I could never leave behind are my two young children and the Internet (there is so much to learn about in this life) so I have decided to make my own path for now, disregarding my spiritual calling to an organised faith and seeking one of my own uniqueness under the sanctity of God.

There are more ways than one. I have found a new love since writing you last, she is definitely not interested in learning a different way of life such as Mennonite or Old Order Amish. But I can say this, if things between she and I "go south" (take a turn for the worse, if we "break-up") and I can find guidance in the Old Order Amish faith without having to leave my children behind, you may just have a new outsider-seeker on your hands.

Regardless of what may come or what has changed, I am still very interested in finding the book you recommended. It is proving difficult, perhaps you could shed some light on where I might find a copy to borrow or purchase.

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Shawn, I am very glad to hear that you have a new lady in your life, and I hope things work out between you. Love is like a flower. You have to constantly tend to it, nourish it, and encourage it to grow. All women want is to be loved, and all men want is to be respected. And of course compromise is also key.

With regards to the book, keep checking on a site called Alibris. www.alibris.com as when the book comes up for sale, you would more than likely find it here.

Regards
Kathryn

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