Amish Culture Project

This Forum will be describing and analyzing the Amish Subculture in America. By Lauren, Cecilia, Judith, and Stephen.
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 Amish Background

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Join date : 2017-11-12

PostSubject: Amish Background   Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:04 pm

The Amish are a Christian group presently located across the United States and Canada. They originated in the late 17th century after they split from other Mennonites in the 1690s. The split occurred due to difference of opinion in how to follow their strict discipline. The discipline covers various things, including dress and the use of technology. The Amish follow the bible teaching that states, "Do not be conformed to this world." Jakob Amman was a Mennonite elder who believed anyone who didn't follow the discipline should be excommunicated. Amman's teachings included that members should dress uniformly and that they should not attend services in state churches. Many Mennonites thought the punishment of excommunication was too harsh and decided not to join the Amish religion.

Life in the United States and Canada

The first Amish communities were formed in Switzerland, Germany, Holland, and Russia, but those communities soon vanished from Europe as the Amish started to emigrate to the United States in the early 18th century. The first Amish settlement in North America was formed in Pennsylvania. A large group of Amish members remain there to this day. Other Amish settled across the Midwest, including Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri. After 1850, division occurred within the Amish religion. There was tension between the "new order" Amish and the "old order" Amish. The "new order" accepted social change and technological innovations while the "old order" Amish did not.

Most Amish families work and live on a farm. They prefer to grow and provide food for themselves instead of buying it from grocery stores. They wear simple clothes that are mostly self-made. Women are not allowed to cut their hair or wear jewelry. Men grow beards, but they cannot have mustaches. Old Order Amish members are not allowed to use technology and they ride in bikes or buggies pulled by horses instead of using cars. The use of electricity is avoided, because it allows them to more easily conform to the world. Some electrical appliances including heaters and electric fences are used.

In the early 21st century there were about 250,000 Amish living in more than 200 Old Order Amish communities in the United States and Canada. Many of these communities are found in Pennsylvania, Maine, and various states in the Midwest. The communities are divided into church districts, which have around 75 baptized members. When the communities grow much bigger than 75 members they are divided. This is due to the services being held in homes and barns not in church buildings. Each church district has 1 bishop, around 3 preachers, and 1 elder.

Anyone who wants to join is admitted into formal membership after they are baptized. This is around the age of 17 to 20 years old. After baptism members are required to follow the strict discipline, but before baptism they usually are not required to. Religious services in Old Order Amish communities are conducted in a dialect of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch, while they are conducted in English in New Order Amish communities. Holy Communion is celebrated twice a year in the Amish Religion. Foot washing is also practiced among members. Amish members don't practice bible study or theology, because they believe study symbolizes the sin of pride.  

"Amish." Britannica Academic
"Amish." The Encyclopedia of World Religions
Horse and buggy. Image. Britannica Academic
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