As a devout Christian, I became interested in learning how other Christians around the world conduct themselves in their communities. The Amish way of life especially drew me as they observe a simple lifestyle with strict rules. I wanted to know more about them, so last summer, I took a trip to Lancaster County, where several Amish communities live, to learn more about their way of life. I spent two weeks in one of the communities before returning home with some interesting and surprising discoveries. Last Sunday, in one of my online forums, some members wanted to know what happens when Amish leave the community. Having lived among the Amish, I had the answer to this question. So, what happens when Amish leave the community?
When a member of an Amish community leaves the community, they are normally excommunicated or shunned from the community if they have been baptized. However, if the person is a teenager on rumspringa, they can leave without consequences. But in some cases, members of their family, especially the parents, might have a hard time accepting their decision.
So, join me till the end as I delve into this topic. In this article, I will discuss whether the Amish allow people to leave the community, how to leave the community, and the consequences of leaving the community. If you want to find out this and more, read on to the end.
Do Amish leave their community?
Yes, Amish leave their community in one of two ways. The first is accepted and required by the church. When Amish teenagers reach sixteen, they must go for rumspringa. Rumspringa is a period in which the Amish youth can experiment with the “English” way of life. During this period, teenagers can leave the community and go into the world to see and explore their way of living. However, these teenagers do not leave the community completely; they still return home and live with their parents. Teenagers who decide to leave the Amish community before joining the church are not shunned as they would be if they decided to join the church.
The second way Amish can leave their community is if an adult leaves the church after being baptized. Amish allow people to leave the church by choice; however, it doesn’t come without consequences. If an Amish adult decides to leave the church permanently, they are shunned by community members, which sometimes also includes family members. When a member is shunned, they have to leave whichever community they are from and stop any form of communication with them.
How do you leave the Amish community?
Leaving the Amish community is looked down upon by many in the community; however, it is not unheard of for a few members to leave the community. Here are some of how you can leave the Amish community. The first and easiest way to do this is by leaving before you are baptized as a church member. As stated earlier, Amish teenagers usually have the chance to explore the outside world during a period called rumspringa. The teenagers have to choose whether to complete rumspringa and go back and get baptized as a member of the church or to go away and live the “English” life.
Secondly, for older members of the community who choose not to continue the Amish way of life after being baptized, they can choose the leave the community. People who choose this path are shunned or excommunicated from the entire community. They won’t be able to reach any of their family members who are still Amish. The Amish people do this since they consider that you have broken a promise you made to God and the church; hence you can no longer be a part of them.
Finally, you can leave an Amish community by joining another one. If you decide to move to another region but still want to continue with the Amish way of life, you can join another community. This is becoming more common recently as the number of Amish has continued to increase.
Where do Amish people run away when they leave their community?
Many non-profit organizations take in Amish people who have decided to leave the Amish community. One such organization is Mission to Amish People. This organization mostly supports women who have decided to leave the Amish community. They have apartments that they offer to women leaving Amish communities. This organization helps these women acquire jobs through several agencies in the United States. They allow women to acquire skills that will enable them to get better-paying jobs in industries. They also help women get skills essential to life, such as financial management and budgeting.
The organization also helps them to get their social security numbers as well as birth records and documentation since the Amish do not have them. For Amish men, it is easier to integrate into the community since they have skills that can be used to get casual jobs, especially in farming and industries.
What is it like to leave the Amish community?
Leaving the Amish community is not as simple as it sounds since it comes with many serious consequences that many community members are afraid to deal with. A person can leave the Amish community in two ways, as stated earlier in the article. However, both these ways come with a wide range of challenges. Some of which affect the person significantly.
When planning to leave the Amish community, you must first involve your parents and family in the decision-making process, as sometimes it is a long process. For many people wanting to leave the Amish community, family is the biggest hindrance since, after leaving, you have very little interaction with them, especially if you have already been baptized. On top of that, you have to deal with all the challenges of integrating into a new world.
Are people who leave the Amish allowed to come back?
Yes, people are allowed to come back to the Amish community. However, you must go before the Amish church and repent of your transgressions before being allowed back into the community. If you were baptized before leaving the community, the shunning stops, and you are allowed back into the community. However, members who left while on rumspringa are easily allowed back into the community since they did not make any promises to the church.
How hard is it for a woman to leave the Amish community?
Leaving the Amish community is significantly harder for women, majorly in two ways. First, they face a lot of resistance from their parents, especially the male parent, some of whom do not forgive them years after deciding to leave the Amish community.
Secondly, the transition from Amish to “English” life is more challenging for them since most of them have no skills that will enable them to earn a decent living. Hence it becomes more challenging for them to settle down in their new life.
Consequences for leaving the Amish Church?
The Amish have stringent rules which every member of the community is required to follow. One of the most enforced rules is that no Amish is supposed to leave the community, and if they do so, serious consequences will follow. One of the consequences is excommunication. Excommunication is when an individual is not allowed to be in touch with community members. This happens in more strict groups. Some even go to the extent of being excommunicated from their families.
Shunning is another consequence those who leave the Amish community have to face. Shunning takes different shapes and forms in many different Amish communities. Shunned individuals may not be allowed to eat at the same table as other members during gatherings.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.