Some Personal History
My Mum was from England. Dad was “A Yank”, but not just any old yank. His Dad was a “smith” and a Smith. Ran a smithy ( the place where a smith makes stuff at a forge) on his farm and there was this girl… She was the “forbidden fruit”. An Amish Girl from the other side of the river…
So dear Grandpa did a fair amount of work for the Amish, making horse shoes, shoeing horses, repairing ploughshares and more. Until they were married and set up a farm in Iowa. An Irish Catholic / German Smith and an Amish girl. Talk about your religious “mixed marriage”. But by keeping a largely Amish style farm, they were not rejected by the Amish community. (Not hard to do in the late 1800’s as the tech was largely the same for everyone). He kept the smithy running on his farm, largely for the Amish friends and family, until he could work no more. Grandpa passed in his ’90s, on the farm, when I was about 3 years old, so he was working through W.W.II era.
So Dad’s Mum was Amish. Somewhere along the line I absorbed a fair bit of their attitudes. At about 8 years old I was straightening Square Nails used to make the “garage” on our 1/4 acre lot home. We took it apart to pour a new floor. Dad explained that straightening old was better than making new… and he also taught me to save wood in a wood pile and to do all sorts of Amish like things. We drilled a well and I pushed a hand plough through a 50 x 20 foot garden for several years. (We poured cement for a floor in this 1800’s era “garage” and reassembled it using said square nails and wood). FWIW, last time I looked, it was still standing…
Not a full on farm experience, but enough to assure I knew how to operate one if the need ever arrived.
So despite my being a Computer Guy, the Amish run in my blood…
The Amish and Chinese Wuhan Covid
So this link from The True Nolan caught my eye:
I have wondered how the Amish were doing with COVID. According to this popularly written article they are just a good or better than the sky-is-falling crowd.
Both because many of them are my relatives, and because they are a very good Control Group.
Probably that ancestral value set also explains why I dress plain (not as plain as full on Amish, so I have buttons, but just dull off the rack clothes and colors heavy on blues and greys. I like a manual transmission, prefer crank windows, and think GMO is just wrong.
The article is well worth the read. These are folks who work in the Sun, eat close to the land, and a lot, and typically live a rustic long life of work.
Correcting A Misdirection In Some Articles
When looking at some articles, they talk about the “Mennonite Amish”. IMHO, that’s ignorance. The Amish split from the Mennonites. Often an Amish who leaves will join the Mennonites. The Amish often think the Mennonites too “modern” and too willing to adopt the ways of the “English”. Mennonites often have a telephone or drive a car, for example. To call a doctor, for example, an Amish may run to a Mennonite neighbor and ask them to make the call.
Conflating those two is a very “English” POV. (Anyone not of the German Amish culture is typically referred to as “English”, regardless of actual heritage). While there is a shared root, they are very different groups in their organization, religious rules, and beliefs. It would be like calling both Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics “Catholics”. Close, but not quite right. Or calling Lutherans and Methodists Presbyterians. They are all Protestants, but of a different sort. You just don’t have a Lutheran Presbyterian.
Both the Amish and the Mennonites are anabaptists, but they are not the same.
Anabaptism (from Neo-Latin anabaptista, from the Greek ἀναβαπτισμός: ἀνά- “re-” and βαπτισμός “baptism”, German: Täufer, earlier also Wiedertäufer) is a Christian movement which traces its origins to the Radical Reformation.
Among the Anabaptist groups still present are mainly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites and Mennonites. In the 21st century, there are large cultural differences between assimilated Anabaptists, who do not differ much from Evangelicals, and traditional groups like the Amish, the Old Colony Mennonites, the Old Order Mennonites, Old Order River Brethren, the Hutterites and the Old German Baptist Brethren.
The early Anabaptists formulated their beliefs in a confession of faith called the Schleitheim Confession. In 1527, Michael Sattler presided over a meeting at Schleitheim (in Schaffhausen canton, on the Swiss-German border), where Anabaptist leaders drew up the Schleitheim Confession of Faith (doc. 29). Sattler was arrested and executed soon afterwards. Anabaptist groups varied widely in their specific beliefs, but the Schleitheim Confession represents foundational Anabaptist beliefs as well as any single document can.
Anabaptists believe that baptism is valid only when candidates freely confess their faith in Christ and request to be baptized. This believer’s baptism is opposed to baptism of infants, who are not able to make a conscious decision to be baptized. Anabaptists are those who are in a traditional line with the early Anabaptists of the 16th century. Other Christian groups with different roots also practice believer’s baptism, such as Baptists, but these groups are not Anabaptist. The Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites are direct descendants of the early Anabaptist movement. Schwarzenau Brethren, River Brethren, Bruderhof, and the Apostolic Christian Church are considered later developments among the Anabaptists.
The name Anabaptist means “one who baptizes again”. Their persecutors named them this, referring to the practice of baptizing persons when they converted or declared their faith in Christ even if they had been baptized as infants, and many prefer to call themselves “Radical Reformers.” Anabaptists require that baptismal candidates be able to make a confession of faith that is freely chosen and so rejected baptism of infants. The New Testament teaches to repent and then be baptized, and infants are not able to repent and turn away from sin to a life of following Jesus. The early members of this movement did not accept the name Anabaptist claiming that infant baptism was not part of scripture and was therefore null and void. They said that baptizing self-confessed believers was their first true baptism:
These groups grew out of the Anabaptist movement at the time of the Protestant Reformation (16th century).
The Hutterites, also known as Hutterian Brethren, originated from German, Swiss, and Tyrolean Anabaptists led by Jacob Hutter in the 1520s
The Swiss Brethren, the name Swiss Anabaptists used from 1525 until their split into Amish and Mennonite groups in 1693
The Mennonite Brethren, originated among Russian Mennonites in 1860
So for about 300+ years the Amish and Mennonites have been distinct.
Just keep that in mind when reading articles that say “Amish Mennonites” or similar such “English” POV imprecision.
So when someone tells me there’s some “Vaccine Mandate” I’m going to just channel my Inner Amish and say “No Sir. It is not in The Bible and so will not be in me.” I’m very happy to know my Amish kin are doing well with their choice. (As I am doing well with mine).
There’s a lot of Old Wisdom kept alive by the Amish and the Mennonites and other Old Order groups. I find it interesting that an Amish dressed for Church is often similarly dressed to an Orthodox Jew dressed for Temple. A bit of difference in the sideburns is sometimes about all you notice. Preserving Old Wisdom is good for all of us, and destruction of Old Order practitioners of any sort is unacceptable.
Then again, I like to save old books on how to build steam engines, how to run a smithy, what plants and herbs have medicinal uses… all sorts of Old Knowing. History is very much your friend. Study the Old Ways, as you just might need them some day; and they can often be helpful even now.