Former Amish Testimonies
Rhoda Brubaker| October 20, 2017
My name is Rhoda Brubaker, and I was born and raised in an Old Order Mennonite community; most might know my community best as the Black Bumper Mennonites. Growing up, I learned about the Word of God, was taught to “walk my talk,” and knew that following God was important. Unfortunately, however, both of my parents were mentally ill. Although they did their best, my siblings and I were emotionally neglected because of their illness. I always blamed my problems on my Mennonite upbringing, but it wasn’t until I was thirty years old that I realized my problems were not Mennonite related, but rather, the result of human ailments. Surprisingly, my Mother did validate my relationship and walk with God. Because of her mental state, I can see that the validation was truly a gift from God.
Dennis Stutzman| October 13, 2017
I didn’t really take time to consider what I liked about the Amish culture while growing up in it, but now, looking back, I realize that I enjoyed the closeness of my Old Order community; everyone helped each other out when a need arose. I also farmed and appreciate the fact that I was taught the importance of work ethic. Growing up, I can’t say that my relationship with my parents was good, but it wasn’t bad either. In our family, there wasn’t anything that I would call closeness; we pretty much just lived and worked. I eventually decided to leave the only culture that I knew because I noticed that some of the things the Amish were practicing went directly against scripture. In addition, certain scriptures were also being overlooked and not practiced at all.
Emma Beechy| August 21, 2017
When I was a young girl, my father left the Amish and took me with him. He felt that the Amish culture was too staunch and that the tradition and doctrine of men was not of God. Instead, he believed that Jesus was the answer. We joined a Mennonite church, which I didn’t care for. I felt that this church was too strict and too focused on the outward whereas God cared about and looked at the heart.
Eli Lee| July 11, 2017
I was born and raised in the Amish culture. Growing up, I don't ever remember desiring not to be Amish. I sincerely thought that being a part of the Amish was the only way I would have a chance to go to heaven one day. When I was twenty years old, I married my wife, Leah. God then blessed us with eight wonderful children. As an Amish man, I was very zealous about my religion and tried my best to live according to the rules and what I understood of God's Word. I was involved in enforcing the excommunication of several people in my community because they claimed they could be sure that if they would die, they would go to Heaven. These people believed that salvation had nothing to do with following the Amish rules, which was not a permissible way of thinking.
Aaron Swartzentruber| March 15, 2017
My name is Aaron Swartzentruber, and I grew up in a very strict Schwartzentruber Amish community. I liked living in a culture where I could work when I wanted to and was taught as a young child how to build things. I also appreciated the culture’s stress on the importance of forgiveness. I had a good relationship with my parents as long as I “walked the line” and obeyed all of the rules and guidelines. The problem is that I wanted to explore. I had an issue with the Amish rules and therefore wanted to leave the Amish.
Sam Byler| March 3, 2017
I am writing my testimony in hopes of helping those who have left the Amish. In addition, I hope that it is a help to those that had a rough childhood as well. I have noticed that many young people grow up in rough and unpleasant home situations. As a result, they leave their homes and start a new life with hearts filled with bitterness toward their parents, and in some cases, also towards other Amish that they grew up with just because they feel that everyone wronged them in some way.
Carl Miller| February 7, 2017
My name is Carl Miller, and I was born and raised in an Old Order Amish community. When I think about my childhood and what I appreciated most about the culture, I automatically think of the closeness I got to experience with my family and the hearty Amish meals I got to enjoy on a daily basis.
Lovina Mast| February 3, 2017
I got married to Leroy Mast at the age of 19, and we had 5 children. Before the fifth child was born, Leroy got discouraged with the Amish lifestyle and drifted away from me, but kind of stayed on until the baby was born; then he left me and lived with another woman. He always came back to see us whenever he wanted. I stayed Amish because I thought I had to in order to get to heaven! After six years, our oldest three children decided that they wanted to live with their father, and so they also left, which caused me even more heartache.
Jerry Mast (Lovina's Son)| February 3, 2017
As I sit here in my cell, I am actually happier then I have been in all of my life. So many don't see or know what their purpose is in this life. If I think about it, if a person doesn’t have Christ in their hearts, they probably do have trouble finding purpose. I look back on my life, and the only thing I wish is that I would have become a born-again believer sooner.
Katie Yoder| January 30, 2017
My name is Katie, and I grew up in a typical Old Order Amish community. I appreciated certain aspects about the culture I experienced growing up; some of these aspects included the culture’s honesty and good food. I did notice some flaws within my culture and home as I grew older, though. I felt many of my relationships with friends, family, and the community were closed and strained. In addition, I could never get any answers as to why we did the things that we did.
Vernon Martin| January 17, 2017
I am currently in an Old Order Mennonite church where rules are religion. I am getting sick of people relying on the preacher to be their god. They believe if you question any of their rules, you are being nothing shy of rebellious.
Moses Shetler| November 18, 2016
I left the Amish when I was eighteen years old. Looking back, I now realize that one of the biggest things I missed out on when I left was being there to experience memories with my family. I have been so focused on myself for the past eight years that I almost completely forgot about my little brother. It wasn’t until I recently visited my brother and got to help him a little bit around the farm that I realized this loss and the regret of not getting to be there for him. He was just ten years old when I left the Amish, but now he is eighteen years old, which is the same age I was when I left.
Mission Ambition| July 28, 2016
From the time I was a young Amish boy, I thought that I wouldn't mind being a preacher. In my early teens, I memorized large portions of scripture in German, and practiced quoting them as I heard them in church, imitating my favorite preachers. As I grew older, the desire to do something for God grew stronger. I wanted to rise above the ordinary, dull life I seemed to be destined for.
Ernie (Stoney) Burkholder| July 1, 2016
I was born and raised in a Beachy Amish community. I didn’t really think much about growing up in the Amish culture; it seemed normal to me. My father was always very preoccupied and distant, but my mother was different; she was loving and very understanding. Considering that my mother had eleven children and still made each of us feel special always made me feel like I had the perfect mom.
Sam Troyer| June 1, 2016
I was born to Amish parents in Geauga County, Ohio in 1982. When I was six years old, we moved to a new community in Hart County, Kentucky because my parents didn’t like the partying and immoral behavior going on among the youth in our previous community. I remember getting the impression that we were better than those in the old community.
Sarah Anne Borntreger| May 31, 2016
I grew up Amish and was raised in a good family. I am the oldest of seven. Growing up, I always had questions and tons of them: "Why do we do certain things? Why are our clothes all to be of darker colors? If God created so many different colors why was it wrong for us to have them and not others who lived in more liberal communities?" The answer was usually the same: "Because that's what our forefathers did. That's how they were raised, and if it was good enough for them it's good enough for us." That answer never satisfied me.
Sarah Gingerich| March 3, 2016
It was a lot of fun to grow up on an old-order Amish farm! Feeding livestock and watching things grow was exciting, and being outdoors was something I enjoyed a lot. Going to church was something I also looked forward to; I always enjoyed seeing friends and having a good time. Growing up in a family of fourteen had its challenges, and I never really felt a strong connection between myself and my parents. Even though attention was often divided, I still had heart to heart talks with my parents sometimes.
Nora Garrett| February 12, 2016
My name is Nora Garrett, and I have kind of a unique story because I was only Amish for the first four years of my life. Even though I was really little when we left, I still remember loving visiting my grandparents every Saturday night and taking rides in my grandma’s buggy. My best friend at school was Amish, and we also had many fun conversations in Dutch at school and church.
Andrew Slabaugh| February 5, 2016
I enjoyed growing up in an Old Order Amish home. I had a big family with lots of brothers and sisters, and I was also really close to many of my cousins. I am an outdoors-man, so I also really enjoyed all of the time spent working outside. As a young child, I had a decent relationship with my parents, but when I reached my teenage years, things went downhill fast. Our relationship was very strained during this time in my life. Because of the tensions at home and because I genuinely felt that I was going to hell no matter what, I eventually made the decision to leave the Amish behind in order to pursue a life in the English culture.
Ray Miller| January 7, 2016
Ray enjoyed growing up in the Amish, and he loved his heritage for some of the same reasons that many people are drawn to the Amish today. The characteristics of solid family values, simple lifestyles, and strong religious roots stood out to Ray as he was growing up. His relationship with his family, however, was not overly close. Most of the time, he didn't feel comfortable opening up to them and sharing. He did know deep down, though, that his parents tried to have his best interest in mind, and he always knew that he was loved and cared for by them.
Polly Girod| November 3, 2015
I was born in Nunnelly, TN. Then, we moved to Homer, MI, Granger, MN, Downing, MO, and Keytesville, MO. We seemed to move about every five years! When I was seventeen years old, I took instruction classes and joined the Amish church. I enjoyed being with the other young folks, and so Sundays were always the highlight of my week.
Daniel Beechy| November 3, 2015
I grew up in the Amish and lived with my parents until I was nineteen years old. At the age of seventeen, I was majorly depressed and suicidal. I had a job that involved farrier work, and one of my customers was a drug addict. One day, I told my customer that I wanted to kill myself, and he said, “don’t kill your-self; ask God what you should do.” I just blew it off thinking “Whatever; that’s weird” because my Dad had taught me growing up that reading the Bible could lead to crazy ideas.
Laura| October 20, 2015
I grew up in an Old Order Amish community. My childhood consisted of lots of wonderful fellowship and friendship among the Amish, open buggy rides in the summer, and tasty Amish cooking! I enjoyed being able to grow up in such a relaxed and friendly environment. My relationship with my parents was what you might expect from any typical child-parent relationship. We shared good memories, but we also had stressful times of disagreement and tension. Growing up, I would have never dreamed of not being Amish. However, as I grew older, as wonderful and as peaceful as my childhood was, I began to feel led by God to take some steps toward leaving the Amish.
Samuel Yoder| July 31, 2015
My name is Samuel Yoder, and I grew up in an Old Order Amish community. Most people associate the Amish with good food, big families, and large groups of friends that make for a great sense of community. It was for these three qualities that I loved growing up Amish.
Letter to the Amish Churches| July 7, 2015
This letter was written in January of 2015, and later sent to area ministers in Northern Indiana; We write to you today concerning an issue in our Amish churches.
Martin Miller| April 27, 2015
I was born and raised in an Old Order Amish community in Ohio. I loved growing up Amish and valued and learned much from the closeness of community, the importance of a good work ethic, and the value of family. My Dad passed away when I was sixteen. I never really had a very close relationship with him because I always thought that he was too strict. My Mom was a huge part of my life, but I never had a close relationship with her, either. Unfortunately, I could never really express my inner feelings to my parents.
Ora Jay Eash| April 7, 2015
I had a very fun and adventurous childhood! Growing up in my Old Order Amish community, I got to experience things that many do not get to experience, and I got to try things without always being told to be careful. I also appreciated the work ethic and family life that I was blessed with; I knew that my parents cared about me and what I did, and this meant a lot to me! As a married young man, I began working for an English couple and helped them remodel their house. One day, the family left me by myself to work on their house with the television on. As I was working, I heard an evangelist begin to speak and ask people to pray with him to accept God. At the time, I didn't know what that meant, but I was very drawn to it.
Naomi Julien| March 9, 2015
My name is Naomi Julien, and I grew up in an Old Order Amish community. The Amish culture does a great job of teaching the importance of being responsible, being respectful, and appreciating even the small things in life, and for that, I am very glad to have had the opportunity to grow up in the culture. In addition, I had a really good relationship with my parents right up until I decided to leave the Amish, and I enjoyed all of the time we had together. I ultimately decided to leave the Amish because I wanted my life to be of higher quality, and I wanted to be able to serve God as opposed to constantly being forced to obey man-made rules. Plus, my older sister had already left the Amish, and I knew she would be there to help me start out by guiding me and showing me which steps to take to start out my new, non-Amish life.
Benjamin Beachy| December 19, 2014
My name is Benjamin Beachy, and I was born and raised in an Old Order Amish community. Growing up, I loved to train horses and play volleyball, and I appreciated that I was taught the value of working hard. I knew about Christ at a very young age. I remember thinking that if He died on the cross for us, why did we have to do all this other stuff? Why did we have to follow all these lists of rules? If we still had to work our way into heaven, did He not die in vain? I had a Christian non-Amish family that pretty much adopted me since I was about twelve years old, and they would talk about Jesus. They will never know how much they impacted me.
Rachel Gingerich| September 15, 2014
I was born into the Schwartzentruber Amish sect, which is the strictest Amish group. I enjoyed many benefits from growing up in the Amish culture. I liked the strong sense of community that the Amish have, and it was a great experience growing up on a farm and helping to take care of the garden and the animals. I loved having chores and helping out around the farm. As with most families, my relationship with my family had its ups and downs, although for the most part we had a good, strong relationship with one another. There were, though, definitely certain subjects about which we disagreed and argued.