Amish Facts & Questions I’m Frequently Asked:
How did the Amish religion begin?
The Amish people are direct descendants of the Anabaptists of sixteenth century Europe. Anabaptism is a religion that came about during the reformation era. The term Anabaptist first started out as a nickname that meant re-baptizer, because this group rejected the idea of infant baptism, since an infant doesn’t yet have the knowledge of good and evil. The Anabaptists were seen as a threat to Europe’s religious and social institutions and were therefore persecuted. The Amish religion is actually a branch of the Swiss Mennonites. The group received its name from its founder, Jacob Amman. In the Netherlands an influential leader of the Anabaptists was Menno Simons. He became such an advocate for Anabaptism that many Anabaptists came to be known as Mennonites. The Amish division came about as a result of particular reforms Amman wanted to make that turned into disagreements with other Mennonite leaders. As a result, a new religious division known as the “Amish” was formed under the leadership of Jacob Amman.
How do Amish communities often differ from each other?
Many of the differences are subtle: Different style of hats for the men and prayer coverings for the women; length and color choices for the women’s dresses; type of suspenders for the men’s trousers; scooters ridden in some communities, while bicycles are used in others; and differences in the size, shape, and color of Amish buggies. Some of the stronger differences include: How and whether phones are used — some have phone sheds or shanties outside the home; some, who own businesses, are allowed to use cell phones; some have no phones at all. Some can have tractors; some cannot. Some are allowed rubber tires, others only iron wheels. Some Amish places of business are allowed to use electricity, and even computers, while others use only gas and battery-operated lights and cash registers. Most Amish homes have indoor plumbing, but there are a few of the older, stricter communities where outhouses are still in use. The rules for each district are governed by what their bishop and ministers will allow, and what’s considered right according to the Ordnung, church rules.
Why do the Amish dress in plain clothing?
Amish men and boys wear dark coats without lapels, suspenders, dark trousers, white or plain-colored shirts, and black or straw-brimmed hats. Women and girls wear plain, solid-colored dresses with long full skirts, long or three-quarter-length sleeves, and high necks. They also wear prayer coverings on their heads, in obedience to I Corinthians 11:2-16. The head covering is a symbol of subjection to God. When going out, they’ll often wear a large black bonnet on their heads, put on over the top of their prayer coverings. The Amish wear no jewelry of any kind. They believe that modest, simple clothing is essential to Christian discipleship. This belief is based on a number of scriptural principles. The Amish believe that how they live their lives reflects their faith, and that the clothes they wear are an extension of their faith.
What inspires your novels?
Sometimes a certain verse of Scripture inspires me to write a particular story. Other times my inspiration may come from someone I know or have met. Or, a story might pop into my head after someone has shared with me about a tragedy or triumph that’s happened in their life. Although I’ve never written a story specifically about anyone’s personal life, I have used snippets of many people’s lives, including my own.