Amish People Share What Happened To Them After Experiencing Rumspringa
The Amish are a people the rest of us never seem to understand. They have rules that seem so arbitrary. And laws that just sound ( I'm sorry Amish) completely hard to leave by. Who doesn't use electricity? On purpose! But the laws go deeper than the peripheral. Take it from the people who were able to escape!
JUST A TOUCH OF THE AMISH...
So as a farmer who lives in Holmes County, Ohio I can give you some answers. The idea you know as rumspringa is highly romanticized. Children are rebellious and do what they want. As long as their parents don't know they do whatever. As long as the church is fine with it the parents will do as they please. So the entire idea of being Amish is following the church but using every loophole possible to get as much luxury as possible. That's important to know because the idea of a rumspringa is a giant loophole. The kids can buy a truck and other stuff the family can use that they otherwise couldn't. And when you have 12 kids spaced out that's could be 36 years worth of loopholes you can take advantage of. Most of the Amish who leave the church don't do it because of their rumspringa. They are doing it on their own. The rumspringa idea is just a loophole that helps families stay Amish. My friends who left the church are completely shunned and ignored by their families and friends still in the church. When they leave the church, they almost 100% become Mennonite. Which is essentially softcore Amish. Stuff like the women don't wear Amish gowns but pants or Jean skirts.
My mom housed some Amish kids on Rumspringa back in the 70's. They really liked a lot of stuff, but left with only a fish tank (complete with a ton of fish) and a lot of garden tools.
So they didn't leave the church, but they liked the fish tank.
BUGGIES TO THE SIDE PLEASE!
Growing up in Northeast Ohio, we ran into plenty of Amish but not to many giving rumspringa a try. They could/can drink beer and fight in some bars in Middlefield like nobody's business, wicked strong too.
Plenty of drunk driving incidents, got love the fact that mister horse can pull your drunk ass home automatically (original AI).
Best is passing a buggy on the road riding my motorcycle and getting a huge smell of weed.
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio is a great place to encounter Amish kids on rumschpringe. Usually a (relative) ton of them there. I waited in line for a roller coaster with three of them last summer and they said they had no real intention of leaving the community, but were really stoked their community basically paid for a two month long vacation for them.
GOD BLESS PIE!
My SIL father grew up Amish. When he turned 18 he "jumped the fence." This is the term commonly used when an Amish leaves the church and starts living "English." Dad ran away from home and had only minimal contact with this family since. When his dad died 50+ years later, he went home to attend the funeral. He was not permitted to sit with the family, he ate the funeral meal in an outside barn with non-relative mourners. Most Amish don't leave the church after Rumspringa because in most cases it literally means cutting off all ties with everyone you know. Mother, father, siblings, grandparents, neighbors, friends, aunts, uncles... It's not just their immediate family that will disown them but all the other families in the church will also refuse to speak to them or help them. Most who leave don't leave because of some forbidden fun they experienced during Rumspringa. They typically leave to pursue something the church forbids (education) or because their family is abusive.
The technology that is permitted varies from church to church. The Bishop of the church determines what/if any modern conveniences the church will allow. For example, I have an Amish girl that comes to clean my house. She used to have a cell phone for business purposes. But their Bishop changed the rule and now forbids cell phones. Now only a phone that plugs into the wall is permitted for business use.
For transportation, many Amish hire drivers to take them wherever they want to go. For work (construction amish bosses), shopping (to Wal-Mart, the malls, etc), to appointments (medical, lawyer, etc.), they'll even hire drivers to take them on trips. The Amish actually travel often. Niagra Falls, white water rafting, Florida, etc. My Amish cleaning lady went to Switzerland about 6 months ago. When she is at my house, she uses my vaccuum, listens to the radio or turns the TV on to a music station. (But she usually picks a christian music station)
Church for the Amish is not held in the same building (church) each week like traditional religions. Different families take turns hosting the service in their barns. So church is always in a different place. The sermons/services are very long.
Another tidbit, all siblings will usually have the same middle initial. Their middle name will start with the first letter of their father's name. So if the father's first name is Joseph, his kids middle names might be Jacob, Jennifer, Jonas, Jonathon and Jack.
Also they make amazing fry pies. If you are ever driving down a road there is an Amish buggy sitting there selling fry pies. Stop! You won't be sad.
AMISH TAKE THE WHEEL!!
I was just driving through the heart of Lancaster amish country yesterday and it occurred to me that the novelty of the amish not driving cars or having electricity can only be about 100 years old. Before that, other than their dress and moral code, you'd probably hardly notice that they were different at all.
My cousin was born to an ex Amish woman. My uncle seduced an Amish woman who had already been baptized into the church, got her pregnant, and she got shunned from the community and her family. I call her my _"aunt." S_he still goes and visits her Amish family all the time without the church knowing. They have found out about a few visits and the church threatened her family often that they would punish them, however they never did anything as far as I know. I go and visit them sometimes as well as they are a lot of fun and very laid back Amish people. My uncle never married my "aunt" but as far as I know, she lives a good life.
ICE FOR US ALL!!
It seems like no one in this thread has mentioned the Amish in Tennessee. Always use horse and buggy and absolutely no electricity except for old engines they use in their sawmills for some reason. They are good neighbors that will occasionally ask for ice if someone is sick.
TELL YOUR TRUTH!
As someone who is from the most densely populated Amish hotspot in all of the United States, I think you should know that the majority of people who go through Rumspringa come back to the church, and that's speaking from experience interacting with many Amish and a few ex-Amish people I know. Also, this idea of Rumspringa is not what most think it is, it's pretty bland. The Amish and Mennonite people who do the"wild" stuff, start doing it before their Rumspringa period hits. In fact, one of my former neighbors is an old-order Mennonite and he got pulled over for speeding and the cop proceeded to notice two ounces of herb on the floor beneath his passenger seat, this was just after the kid got his license.
Also, ex-Amish people rarely talk about their previous time being Amish. It's hard for their families to come to terms with it and its often a big adjustment getting acclimated to everything the rest of the world experiences. Amish people are also some of the most strong-willed people out there. For example, when Amish Mafia blew up the Amish community didn't say word to the media despite how false that show was. They don't give a crap how the world sees them, they just want to live their lives and be left alone.
Sorry for the rant, but growing up around them it gets frustrating when people find them to be such an amusing community. They're people.
WRONG IS WRONG!
While I did not grow up Amish, I am ex-Mennonite. The final straw for me was the fact they do not see Christians outside of their own church as Christian, and a particular person at my church who said women in skimpy clothing are essentially asking for it. I might do an AMA about my Mennonite past some day.