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Emma Gingerich: Breaking Amish interview


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This is a great article. Just goes to show what kind of uphill battle the kids of fundies face if/when they do make a go of it on their own.

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It was an interesting read. I know there are many different Amish sects that vary greatly in restrictiveness. I have a close friend who is Amish and her group seems to have less restrictions than the woman in the article. Rachael has a phone (out in the barn); some of her siblings work outside the community. Their community participates in Rummspringa and some young people do leave. They are not shunned and are welcome visitors, since they had not officially joined the church. Rachael enjoys car rides and we make frequent visits into the city to visit museums. She enjoys Chinese food.

Yes, she only has an 8th grade education, but she is smarter then a lot of people I know, as are a lot of the members in her community. Rachael owns her own business (a small grocery store) and has some technology exposure (she has used the internet at the library and has used my smart phone.) 

 Most of the ones who choose to leave their community here don't have much trouble studying for and acquiring a GED and continuing to high education. One if her nephews left several years ago and is now a nurse. 

Sorry this is long. I just wanted to offer a different view to show that not all Amish are so restrictive and that not all struggle when choosing to leave.

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Interesting.

 

This caught my attention because for a second I thought she was one of Ed Gingerich's daughters. Google him sometime - Amish man who legit murdered his wife Katie. There's a great book about it - Crimson Stain.

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22 minutes ago, QuiverDance said:

This thread sent me on a 30 minute bed courtship research distraction.  That is some seriously worrisome and disturbing shit right there.

I was going to google that after I read the comments. I thought perhaps I didn't understand what I was reading.

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My mother was raised Amish and I was raised Amish Mennonite (aka Beachy Amish, a more progressive but still very distinctive strain of Amish) with a side of IBLP. (It was as lovely as it sounds.) I'm curious about this article and will be back to offer my two cents after I've read it. 

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Props to Emma for making a break for it at 18 instead of waiting for 21 like I did. As media reports about the Amish go, this was a pretty good one, although it's always frustrating to pick up on disconnects in communication. For example, it seems the reporter understands Emma to be talking about the culture as a whole at times when it's pretty clear to me she is talking about the particular church/community she was raised in. 

My husband and I moved to Missouri in 2005, and hearing about her departure about the same time reminds me how much I wish I could help others trying to leave. But since I wasn't raised in the Midwest, I don't have strong connections to the Amish around here (now in Iowa). Even the Amish farmers we buy pork and chicken from have no idea about my background and that I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch. I wish there were a way for ex-ers to send a "safe space" signal to those who are unhappy there. 

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Props to Emma for making a break for it at 18 instead of waiting for 21 like I did. As media reports about the Amish go, this was a pretty good one, although it's always frustrating to pick up on disconnects in communication. For example, it seems the reporter understands Emma to be talking about the culture as a whole at times when it's pretty clear to me she is talking about the particular church/community she was raised in. 

My husband and I moved to Missouri in 2005, and hearing about her departure about the same time reminds me how much I wish I could help others trying to leave. But since I wasn't raised in the Midwest, I don't have strong connections to the Amish around here (now in Iowa). Even the Amish farmers we buy pork and chicken from have no idea about my background and that I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch. I wish there were a way for ex-ers to send a "safe space" signal to those who are unhappy there. 

I'm assuming the author is from a Schwartzendruber group? I'm under the impression OOA and other higher groups no longer practice the bed courtship.

In your experience did clot of Amish stay only because they weren't sure or afraid of making a go of it in English society?

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1 hour ago, Peas n carrots said:

I'm assuming the author is from a Schwartzendruber group? I'm under the impression OOA and other higher groups no longer practice the bed courtship.

In your experience did clot of Amish stay only because they weren't sure or afraid of making a go of it in English society?

Her description matches up with characheristics of Schwartzendruber groups, although to my knowledge those groups are primarily in Ohio. That said, it's very possible similar groups exist in Missouri too. 

As for how many want to leave, it's really hard to say because at the same time they might look wistfully at something "out there," there's likely an even greater apprehension about the evils and dangers out there too. On top of that is the very real fear of losing close relationships with family and friends--the only meaningful ones you've ever had. So even if someone wants more education or chafes against what feel like silly restrictions, it has to be an incredibly strong desire to overcome the accompanying fears. 

This is where exposure to evangelical fundamentalism has been very useful to leadership in the circles I was raised in because it gave them the language of hyper- spirituality to use in imposing their preferences on underlings. Where at times the tradition can be a little flexible depending on the family you find yourself in, the diagrams of IBLP helped the rigid become even more so. And anyone wanting to leave that "umbrella of protection" was now not just afraid of practical matters of survival, but also afraid of pissing off the almighty God of the universe. 

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Emma seems like a very smart, thoughtful, and compassionate young woman. When she spoke about her father, specifically, that broke my heart a bit - for both of them. For Emma because she had to learn such horrible truths about her grandfather and for her father for what he may be blaming himself for.

I'm glad she seems to have found happiness and some sort of peace. Leaving seems like it would be such an excruciating choice to make - even if she's allowed to see her family still. I hope she keeps being true to herself.

Edited by VelociRapture
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Does anyone else think the "tourist photo" is a little weird? What are the chances that a tourist would happen to submit a picture that has her in it, especially of that quality?  This is the days before iphones, that picture would have been taken with a serious camera, not some disposable kodak.  Tourists dont usually mail their pictures in where people can retrieve them, especially when every print cost money!

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I dont know, maybe it was a profesional photographer?? in her instagram and blog she has photos of her sister and other family members also found on the internet...i guess a lot of tourist go photograph the amish. She also has photos she takes herself with her sister, and is clearly the same person, so its obviously not a fake.

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2 hours ago, Buzzard said:

Does anyone else think the "tourist photo" is a little weird? What are the chances that a tourist would happen to submit a picture that has her in it, especially of that quality?  This is the days before iphones, that picture would have been taken with a serious camera, not some disposable kodak.  Tourists dont usually mail their pictures in where people can retrieve them, especially when every print cost money!

I'm familiar with the part of Missouri she's from and the Amish community there is very small-- hell, the population in general is very small. If someone had a picture of "Amish children in Eagleville, MO," the chances that it's her or someone close to her are pretty good.

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2 hours ago, Buzzard said:

Does anyone else think the "tourist photo" is a little weird? What are the chances that a tourist would happen to submit a picture that has her in it, especially of that quality?  This is the days before iphones, that picture would have been taken with a serious camera, not some disposable kodak.  Tourists dont usually mail their pictures in where people can retrieve them, especially when every print cost money!

I think it's unusual that she would have that pic, however, there definitely are journalists and rubber-neckers who take pictures that get published and filter back. And honestly, it's not so much that they are offended that someone is taking their picture, but more that they don't feel they should pose for the cameras. 

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12 minutes ago, Rhetorica said:

I think it's unusual that she would have that pic, however, there definitely are journalists and rubber-neckers who take pictures that get published and filter back. And honestly, it's not so much that they are offended that someone is taking their picture, but more that they don't feel they should pose for the cameras. 

For some reason I thought that they were not allowed to be photographed.  Somewhere in my 4th grade field trip memories is an explanation that they felt the picture stole their soul.  

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9 hours ago, Rhetorica said:

Even the Amish farmers we buy pork and chicken from have no idea about my background and that I can speak Pennsylvania Dutch. I wish there were a way for ex-ers to send a "safe space" signal to those who are unhappy there. 

What do you think the reaction would be if you spoke PA-Dutch to the Amish around you?

There are several large Amish communities within one hour of where I live, sometimes I get the feeling some talk in PA-Dutch so us Englishers don't know what they are saying.

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55 minutes ago, Buzzard said:

For some reason I thought that they were not allowed to be photographed.  Somewhere in my 4th grade field trip memories is an explanation that they felt the picture stole their soul.  

I've always heard that they consider photos to be "graven images."

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1 hour ago, Buzzard said:

For some reason I thought that they were not allowed to be photographed.  Somewhere in my 4th grade field trip memories is an explanation that they felt the picture stole their soul.  

From what I understand, it's a mixed problem between "don't make graven images" and "if you are in a picture, that is very worldly and helps to foster your vanity, that you look all nice and pretty". 

Have heard that Amish kids, when confronted by English photographers who INSIST on photos (English=people in the world), are told to stick their tongues out to the sky.  (If you put your tongue out to the English, you are being very rude, and that is ugly. The sky does not mind tongues or feels rudeness, and it does not make a nice picture, so the English will probably not take the photo.)

Here in Southern Maryland, FWIW, farmers do not seem to mind terribly if English park their cars and stare all entranced for half an hour at men and boys plowing with horses---but we're not whipping out cameras, because ugly.

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2 hours ago, Buzzard said:

For some reason I thought that they were not allowed to be photographed.  Somewhere in my 4th grade field trip memories is an explanation that they felt the picture stole their soul.  

Not quite off topic, but I was watching a PBS show on Netflix recently about different ways of producing food that are better and more sustainable for the environment (if I can remember or find the name, I'll add that info because it was a really interesting series).  Anyway, one of the segments included a voiceover by an Amish farmer who said he declined to be filmed because of his religious belief that it would take part of his soul.

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3 minutes ago, EmmieJ said:

Not quite off topic, but I was watching a PBS show on Netflix recently about different ways of producing food that are better and more sustainable for the environment (if I can remember or find the name, I'll add that info because it was a really interesting series).  Anyway, one of the segments included a voiceover by an Amish farmer who said he declined to be filmed because of his religious belief that it would take part of his soul.

Graven images = bad

recorded voice = ok

Good for them for recognizing that the bible didnt anticipate audio recording!

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