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Here Are Some Of The Strict Rules You Must Follow When You're Amish

Updated September 23, 2021 180k views13 items

What with being such a private, insular community, many people are curious about the Amish lifestyle and beliefs system. Leaving the Amish faith is extremely hard on any individual who decides to become "English" (the Amish term for everyone who isn't Amish), but, fortunately, ex-Amish stories have provided us with a fascinating glimpse into the Amish way of life. To put it simply, people living in mainstream America would consider Amish laws and punishments to be harsh, but it’s important to note that not all Amish follow the same rules. There is some bending and even breaking of typical Amish traditions. That being said, most Amish rules are laid out in the Ordnung – an set of guidelines that governs all aspects of an Amish person’s life. So, if you’ve ever wondered what it's like to be Amish, this list is for you.

  • Kids Have To Play With Creepy Faceless Dolls

    Photo: Sima shimony / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Amish children are allowed to have some simple toys, one of which is a creepy faceless doll. There are a couple of lines of reasoning as to the purpose behind the faceless doll. In the Bible, the Book of Deuteronomy forbids the creation of “graven images,” which means that people cannot create an idol with human characteristics, as only God can make humans. Another belief is that a doll with a face (a pretty face, at that) will make the child vain. Vanity is severely looked down upon in the Amish community. Also, the Amish believe in equality among members of their community. A faceless doll lacks any particular identity, and it can therefore not be considered better than the rest. But, nowadays, many faceless dolls are made to satisfy an English demand for Amish crafts.

  • The Amish Have More Beard Rules Than Any Hipster Guys

    Photo: Ivan McClellan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Just like a woman’s hair is sacred in the Amish community, so is a man’s beard. Not all Amish men will sport a beard, though. Unmarried men must remain clean shaven, and only when a man has wed is he allowed to grow out a beard to signify his transition into manhood. Amish men do shave above their lip. The Amish are pacifists, and mustaches at one point were associated with military men. But, in bizarre acts of punishment, there have been incidents where Amish will cut off the beard of another man they disapprove of to bring shame upon him.

  • An Amish Child Can Not Get More Than An Eighth Grade Education

    Photo: Irving Rusinow / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Amish parents only let their children go to school until eighth grade. Amish children learn reading, writing and basic math, as well as Pennsylvania Dutch. This is done out of practicality. The Amish are a community that prioritizes agricultural and vocational trades, so a loftier education tends to threaten their simple way of life. Their schooling policy eventually conflicted with the American set standard for education, which makes school mandatory until the age of 16. A lawsuit was brought to the supreme court in 1972, in Wisconsin vs. Yoder, over the issue. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the Amish, stating that forcing them to go to school past eighth grade was a violation of their First Amendment rights.

  • They Must Shun Technology... But Found Ways To Get Around That

    Photo: Ardyiii / flickr / CC BY 2.0

    As many people know, the Amish typically shun electricity and technology because they are “worldly.” But, living without technology in the Western world is nearly impossible in the modern age, and many Amish will find ways around this rule. More progressive communities will use solar panels to power electrical appliances. They are also known to employ wind turbines to generate electricity, while remaining off the grid.

    They also find ways around getting around, like hiring Mennonite drivers. They are also allowed to accept rides, which is a nice loophole.