About the Amish

A “Peculiar People”

The Amish people live primarily in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, an area coincidentally known as the birthplace of the Mormon “Restoration.” Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and a reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. As with many early american immigrants, they came to this country seeking religious freedom.

The Amish began as a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships. They share many similarities with the Mennonites. Both religions began with the “Anabaptist” movement of 16th century Europe, primarily in Switzerland and spreading to other northern European countries. Anabaptists opposed the infant baptisms which were common in the Catholic church at that time. They were seen as the radicals of the Swiss Protestant Reformation.

The characteristic simplicity of the Amish people is exemplified in the following biblical passage:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I John 2:15-16

The Amish live side by side with the English, but maintain the lifestyle of their 16th century European ancestors. Although most still live on the farm, there are many who have other occupations, such as woodworking, cabinetry and carpentry, while others are blacksmiths, buggy and carriage makers, and own repair shops. Others run different types of businesses that appeal to the many tourists, such as quilt shops, handmade baskets, etc.