Can You Become Amish?
Since starting my blog about the Amish, I frequently come across people wondering how to become Amish.
I follow a few Amish pages on Facebook, etc. And occasionally I see the questions come up, " Can an Outsider Become Amish?" or "Can I Become Amish?"
And while I grew up Amish and am wondering why anyone would want to join them, I also understand that it can look attractive from the outside.
In a fast-paced and stressful modern world, the simplicity and laid-back lifestyle of the Amish seems peaceful and intriguing.
Sometimes we get tired of the chaos and stress that our modern world seems to bring, with all its technology and distractions, and we long for a simpler life.
So the answer to the question of whether you can become Amish is "Yes." Almost anyone can become Amish if they are desperate enough.
It would take sacrifice, dedication, and a lot of hard work.
And I will never portray a picture that makes it look like it would be easy to join the Amish because it definitely would not be easy. But impossible, No.
So what do I do if I want to join the Amish?
First of all, if you want to become Amish, I recommend that you start living more like the Amish to see if you can handle it. I have a few tips on how to live like the Amish in another post. (Go read that.)
And then, if you've tried living simpler, going without electricity, your computer, and TV, and you still think you would enjoy that lifestyle; I recommend that you find an Amish community that you like and go live there. (Perhaps there would be a family that would let you come live with them.)
How Do I Become Amish?
The first thing you would do to join the Amish is to become friends with an Amish person or family. (It's your only way in the door.)
Visit an Amish place of business and start a conversation. Don't be pushy, and don't ask too many questions about their religion until you've gotten to know them a bit. Keep going back to their business, buy from them, and be friendly.
It will take patience to get close to them, but you should soon be able to tell if they are open to becoming your friend or not. If they seem like they'd rather see you leave, you may need to find another community.
Once you've found a friend, you could express to them your desire to become Amish, and they may help you to get started in the process.
Converting to Amish
Before you could join an Amish church, you would need to talk to the preachers. And they would probably ask you to live in their community, come to church every Sunday, and live as they do for a while.
After you've done this and been part of their group for about a year, if you are still serious about joining them, you would need to take instruction classes.
You'd have to give up your worldly comforts, commit to keeping all their rules, dress like them, become an active member of the church, etc. And if you commit to everything they ask of you, they will take a vote in the church to see if everyone is okay with having you as a member.
Then, if they decide to accept you, you can be baptized and become a member of the church. (More about Amish baptism here.)
Do I Have to Believe a Certain Way to be Amish?
Yes, you would have to believe as the Amish do. Converting to Amish is not only accepting their way of life but also accepting their religion.
Everyone in the church must be in unity on what they believe. Obviously, there may be minor differences in their beliefs, but overall you would have to agree on almost every Biblical principle.
Learn the Amish Language
To join the Amish, you would have to learn their PA Dutch/German language.
The Amish can also speak English, but their first language is a dialect of German/Dutch. And this is what they speak at home and to each other.
Their church services are in German and PA Dutch, so you would have to learn their language to be able to understand the sermons.
And as hard as it would be to give up your vehicle, electricity, TV, etc., I think one of the hardest parts of joining the Amish would be to learn their language. It would certainly take time and lots of dedication.
Can I Join the Amish if I Have Been Divorced and Remarried?
If you have been divorced and remarried, you may as well not bother trying to become Amish.
Growing up in the New Order Amish church, we had a family that was coming to our church for a little while. And they decided that they wanted to join our church.
But when the ministers found out that they had been divorced and remarried, they told them that they would have to separate if they wanted to become members. Never mind that their kids were all from the second marriage.
Since remarriage is a forbidden sin in Amish circles, their family would have had to split up for them to join the Amish.
Can You Become Amish if You Have Tattoos?
Tattoos are very frowned upon by the Amish people.
I can't say for certain that they would make a huge deal about it depending on where the tattoo was, etc. But if they would accept you, you would probably have to keep the tattoo covered at all times.
Which Amish Community Should I Join?
If you visit different Amish communities, you will soon notice that some Amish groups are a lot more friendly toward outsiders.
I would not advise anyone to join a strict Amish community such as Swartzentruber Amish, Schwartz Amish, Nebraskan Amish, etc.
The Old Order Amish are a bit more lenient, and typically you will find them more accommodating to outsiders.
But if you want to join the Amish, my highest (and only) recommendation to you would be to find a New Order Amish group. They are the most progressive Amish, and some of them even have electricity (so that would be one less thing you have to give up).
There are several New Order churches in Holmes County, Ohio. As well as small groups scattered throughout several other states.
Would an Outsider Ever Fit in With the Amish?
There is a difference in Amish groups. And as stated, some are more open and welcoming than others.
Over the years, a few "English" people have joined the Amish, and they loved it. But far more have tried it and decided they didn't like it after all.
It's truly hard to fit in with the Amish if you weren't born into an Amish home. And most of them have a hard time accepting outsiders as one of their own.
Sadly, I even see this with adopted kids in plain circles. They often get treated differently.
So even if they would welcome you as a member, you might still struggle to actually fit in as one of them.
Should I Join the Amish?
If I'm being completely honest with you, I would not recommend joining any Amish group. It's just too hard to give up your vehicle, etc.
If you want to join a plain group, I would encourage you to join the conservative Mennonites (Beachy Amish/Mennonites) instead.
They hold to a lot of the same traditional values as the Amish. They have the same family values, community spirit, and work ethics. But they are not as strict. You could keep your car, and you wouldn't have to learn another language to join them.
My Personal Recommendation
My number one recommendation is, don't join any kind of religious church that tells you what you may or may not do. You can serve and follow God without religious man-made rules.
Religion and man-made rules only put you under bondage and lots of condemnation.
Live A Simple Life Without Being Amish
Just because you live in a modern fast-paced world, does not mean that you have to keep up with it. You don't have to live like the Joneses and keep up with all the latest.
Step back in time and do some homesteading. Grow and preserve your own food and live off of the land. Get rid of your computer and TV. Use a bike to get around. Get out and work hard.
You can start living more like the Amish without having to join them.
Note: According to the 2013 book The Amish by scholars Donald Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven Nolt, only 75 people have joined an Amish church and stayed since 1950.
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