Amish myths.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I just read a 500 page book written by a young woman who lived Amish most of her life. It's a sad tale really because her abusive stepfather made her dress Amish first and pretended to be Amish, but made her live with him and Mom and Sis on a deserted mountain while he abused her in every way and told her that the police won't help her because the police don't believe that the Amish do anything wrong. When she did go to the police, that's exactly what she was pretty much told.

    Now this family was not really Amish. They just were forced to dress Amish and read about the Amish so that they would be disguised as Amish if the authorities ever visited their deserted mountain home where they were all so badly abused by stepfather and their own mother. Amish clothing and claiming "this is our way/our religion" got the stepfather out of much trouble and he never did pay for anything he did, and he did a lot, not only to her, but to her sister, his mother and his sister-in-law, all who lived with him and his crazy wife who just wanted to collect SSI on the people who lived there. It worked.

    Then the stepfather decided to really punish them and this girl and her sister were actually sent to live with the Amish. Stepfather thought of it as a punishment, but the girls actually liked it better there than with him so they never returned. But they did see some atrocities in Amishville too and I wanted to share what the writer of this memoir disclosed as it shocked me. Not sure why.

    That was the interesting part.

    The Amish do the same horrible and good things all people do. The difference is that even crimes such as murder are never reported to the authorities. The church may put a six week Baan on the offending member, but it is up to the others to "forgive" no matter how severe the crime.

    Men are dominanat. If they sexually abuse a woman, the woman is seen at fault and nothing happens to the main and nobody EVER trusts or goes to the authorities. They are brainwashed into being terrified of anything English an d also are brainwashed to think that if they disobey the church or become anything except staying Amish they will go to hell and they really believe it. They are surrounded by like-minded people.

    The idea that the Amish get to try English living as a teen, to my surprise, is only done in a few Amish sects. Most never allow their kids to mix with the English. So the idea that this is common is false. The sect this woman and her sister were sent to never allowed their members to leave and mingle with the English unless they needed, say, a ride to a flea market to sell their wares.

    They did not take deathly sick children to doctors. Many kids died, but they were not documented and did not even have social security numbers. They were buried quietly with nobody knowing they died at all, except the Amish. One could be murdered and the same fate would be theres.

    The men cheat all the time, but the women have to forgive them and divorce is forbidden. In the family this young woman lived with, the man was poisining his wife and wanted to marry the young woman visitor and his only way out of a marriage was to murder her. When the young woman told the wife what her husband was doing, he confessed and the deacon forgave him and the wife still stayed with him saying, "I forgive him." HE HAD TRIED TO POISON HER AND ADMITTED IT!

    This young woman, at the very end of the book, did get away and leave the Amish, afraid she would now go to hell, but she thinks it was a good decision. She did go to the police about the man who tried to k ill his wife (and he had also raped HER), but they had already left the country and were somewhere in Canada with the Amish there.

    The Amish are also cruel to animals. One of the boys and his father loved to torture the pigs and when this young woman protested, the man told her to, "Shut up. It is just an animal. It is not human. It is not important."

    Really opened my eyes. When the young woman went to the cops the second time, and they were afraid to violate the Amish religious beliefs and told her that they never had any complaints from or about the Amish, the young woman asked, "They murder people and get away with it. Have you ever heard of an Amish family doing an autopsy?"

    The cop admitted he had not.

    All this talk about living off the grid prompted me to write about this book that had me enthralled. I had never thought of the Amish the way they were presented in this book. Of course, some were very nice, but in general the women have no voice and anything bad can happen there and the Amish do not involve the police and the police do not really make it their business to find out what is going on amongst the Amish.

    I will never think, "Life would be so easy to be Amish" again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2015
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a cousin who runs an Amish gift shop and gives tours of Amish country. She even just finished up a book about them. She has always had only good things to say about them.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I doubt they would show this side of their life to English people. This is pretty much kept in the homes of the people. I believe it. That doesn't mean they aren't very nice people, especially when in public. We would not know about what happens behind closed doors.
    This particular young woman says they are human and have the good an d bad of all humans, only they are not held accountable if they break the law. Makes sense to me.

    People are people, after all.
     
  4. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    Keep in mind, there are many different sects and many different settlements. Not all would be as "forgiving" of say, attempted murder. I have read of abused women going to the Bishops and the husband being forced to atone and threatened with shunning if they do it again. There are some who will call the police for serious crimes. For serious infractions with no real repentance, they'll basically cast someone out entirely.

    I think the animal thing is more a farming mentality. There are many Amish puppy mills. We think of it as horrible, a dog kept in a little cage, but they don't see them as pets, they see them as just livestock.

    It all does seem idyllic though, doesn't it? Living a simple life. But the truth never quite adds up to the stories.

    Speaking of stories - what's the title of the book? Sounds interesting.
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    "Silenced" by Misty Griffin.

    Excellent book.
     
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Whew!
    I am not surprised.
    As MWM said, People are people.
    And some sects are worse or better than others.
    And yes, they do shun. And people "defect."
    I have to say, you did such a good job of reviewing the book, I feel no need to read it. Plus, it sounds really depressing!
    I need something lighter. A home decorating magazine or a kid's coloring book ...
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It is depressing, but I was curious about the Amish. I always wondered if they were really THAT good because I know they run puppy mills and get away with it and I know there were rumblings about sexual abuse and them doing nothing.

    Tell you one thing. It made me think about Bart and how he can think "oh, my awful life!" when this girl has had every sort of abuse and still turned out so well.
     
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    We have quite a few where I live in rural middle Tennessee. Some are Amish, some are Mennonites. No two groups appear to be the same, some are much more traditional than others, some more liberal in what they allow. The ones here do keep to themselves but they run all kinds of businesses besides farming too. The men do construction work and demolition, they build and sell neat little backyard sheds, one family runs a wonderful plant nursery. The women sell homegrown produce, handmade baskets and other crafts, homemade breads, cakes, jellies, etc. They are known to be very strict with their children and it's definitely an old fashioned farming mentality. They run some of the biggest puppy mills and they view the dogs as "livestock" the same as cows or pigs. There is one family here that raises and trains horses and a lot of people use them to break their young horses. But a lot of people refuse to use them now because they consider their methods to be cruel. And the ones here do go to doctors and take advantage of modern medicine in cases of serious illnesses. My daughter is a nurse and used to work in the large hospital in a neighboring county. She said it wasn't unusual to have them as patients at the hospital and at visiting hours, the whole community would show up! Here you very rarely hear of any serious crimes in their communities. But if there ever was, our current sheriff who is a good friend of mine would not hesitate to be right in the middle of it. I guess the main thing you could say about them is that each group is so different and unique that you can't generalize about them.
     
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with the young woman who wrote the book. You don't hear about serious crimes because they refuse to report them, including murder.

    Apparently, there is some animosity between Mennonites and the Amish too.

    AT any rate, I think this young woman is telling the truth. The Amish will use the English for what they need them for, however they do not call the police and rarely go to the hospital. For serious things, yes, they could. Do they stick together? Yes. Are woman garbage there? Yes, they are to listen to everything their husband says. Now there is higher Amish and Lower Amish. Lower Amish are more extreme and this was lower amish so this is all I have read about. But it's true that you don't hear about Amish crime and, of course, there is crime. They are people. They just don't report it. And since they have no social security numbers and don't even make sure a birth is recorded in public records, they pretty much can do what they want. And so many people believe "the Amish are good people." Well, some are. Some aren't. Some are very good. Some are very bad. But the English folks don't know who is and who isn't. They all act nice around the English. They're not stupid. They know that if a man hauls off and lands one between his wife's eyes in public, the police will be called. They save it for their community.

    I just don't believe nothing bad goes on there. I do know women are not considered equal and that is never good.

    Regarding pets, even if the Amish think their dogs are livestock, why abuse them? Why are they not privvy to the same animal rights rules as the rest of us? Why can they torture them and get away with it? That is something I will never excuse. More and more often, we ARE interrupting this puppy mills, and I'm glad. You don't mistreat animals, even livestock.
     
  10. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    This is one woman's life. Amish are people like everyone else, good and bad. Although this sounds like a terrible story, I don't think it's possible to generalise about ALL Amish. Probably their communities are made up of all types of people, just like any other community.

    On a similar note, I think, traditionally, those in mainstream society may have ideas, sometimes untrusting or negative, about other communities that are not mainstream. I've certainly experienced that recently with my son. It's amazing how many people are 'experts' on lifestyles that they have no concept of.
     
  11. Lil

    Lil Well-Known Member

    I don't doubt this author is truthful either - as to her experience. I just think that everybody is different and that is what everyone needs to keep in mind.

    As to the livestock/puppy mills/etc...first let me say I don't think livestock should be mistreated! BUT, having grown up on a very small farm with an old-fashioned dad (he was born in 1911) I understand the mind-set.

    I'm sure some people would consider some of what we did mistreatment. No, we didn't go out and hurt them for fun, but for instance, hog castration time - no anesthesia - my dad grabbed a pig, two quick cuts with his pocket knife, pop out, cut off, toss aside, spray with antiseptic, done - next pig. Cows and pigs were kept in the barn lot in winter. I remember taking an axe to the water troughs in the lot so they could get drinks. We kept rabbits when I was a kid too for a while. They were kept pretty much like puppy mill dogs, little cages in the hutch, wire floor for poo to fall through. They were food...not pets.

    This was a very small farm...animals were only raised for food or for sale, maybe 40 head of cattle at any one time, maybe 12 sows. Our animals were treated like royalty compared to what you see in a large corporate farm. Like I said, I don't think animals should be mistreated...but unless you buy your meat from a co-op and have a first hand view of the conditions the animals are kept in, I suspect any family farm, Amish included, are less cruel than those.
     
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