The Amish and The Mennonites Who are they and what's the difference? by TiffanyCraig


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									                                     The Amish and The Mennonites
                                 Who Are They, and What’s The Difference?

                                      Tiffany T.J. Craig and Zoe A. Craig

                              Copyright 2011 Tiffany T.J. Craig and Zoe A. Craig

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      Like most of us, you probably know very little about the Amish and Mennonite people, save that they wear
‘funny-looking’ clothing, ride in horse-drawn buggies, and seem to be stuck in the past.
      In an effort to help people understand these gentle and soft-spoken people, I present to you a brief history
of their religion, and of their culture.
      In the 17th century, during the religious revolutions in Europe, which historians now call ‘The
Reformation’, many groups of like-minded people split away from the Roman Catholic Church. One such group
was the Anabaptists, who believed that baptism should be the result of an adult decision to follow Christ in
every aspect of life, and should not be used upon children in order to induct them into the Catholic religion
before they were able to understand the true meaning of such a ceremony.
      As expected, many Anabaptists were put to death as heretics by the Catholic and Protestant Churches, but
others escaped the mass prosecutions, and joined a group led by Menno Simons (1496-1561), a former Roman
Catholic Priest, to form their own religion. These people soon became known as ‘The Mennonites’, but a
dispute occurred in the community over the teachings of Jacob Ammon (1645-1730), who taught that any
church member who lied to the church should be excommunicated, and shunned by other church members. This
was not a popular belief within the Mennonite church, so Ammon and his followers broke away to form their
own church. These people soon became known as ‘The Amish’.
      During the 18th century, Amish and Mennonite communities sprang up in Switzerland, Alsace, Germany
and Russia. In the 19th century, many Amish and Mennonite groups immigrated to North America, settling first
in Pennsylvania, then spreading slowly across the United States and into Canada.
      In the late 19th century, the Amish church itself was faced with a parting of the ways, when a group of it’s
members chose modernization over tradition, and left to form the ‘New Order Amish’ Church, which gave
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