Trouble in Amish Paradise

Trouble in Amish Paradise

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Ratings: 8.24/10 from 50 users.

Trouble in Amish ParadiseAn extraordinary insight into the secretive world of the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When two radical Amish men, Ephraim and Jesse Stoltzfus, start to question some of the most fundamental aspects of their Amish culture, they face excommunication from their church and total rejection by their friends and family.

The Amish arrived in America 300 years ago and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, today home to around 30 000 hardworking Amish whose lives revolve around their church, families and land.

As well as a strictly plain dress code, they don't use cars, electricity and eschew modern technology. This program follows two men who let us into their private world because although their Christian faith is strong they begin questioning the all-powerful bishops' authority and rules. They are ultimately excommunicated for not following strict Amish law, but that's not the end of the story.

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Stupid Man
Stupid Man
8 years ago

All these nice comments from people who just don't get it at all.

Stupid Man
Stupid Man
8 years ago

Now know that Jesus came teaching these things good and Holly to the city dwellers and money exchangers/users and for talking against the religion of profit the rich and powerful brutally made an example of him just as the IRS does with those whom oppose the war tax. All i m sure off is this. There can be no evil in heaven and that includes your hearts desire . think long and hard about everything you have , what harm it has done to the mother earth and her inhabitants making it distributing it and using it. If you are a contributor to her death you are also in bed with satan. That goes for most of humanity from the beginning to the day the lord Christ Jesus opens the book of life on the wicked and they destroy themselves before the eyes of God and his saints.if you don't know what you do to get by is wicked, there is no hope in you walking away from it.

Stupid Man
Stupid Man
8 years ago

Our father in heaven had no intention for anyone to use any tools machines,electricity or the power of money. Nothing that can or does harm his beautiful creation will be allowed into heaven or in paradise. The omish half way practice a perfect harmonious life style. how ever, its the other half of there mind set that is as evil as anyone else's in the world. Even the most remote people in the world war against there kind so not even the ignorant are saved. If you love your father in heaven more than you love Satan and his knowledge. You abstain from using anything that belongs to him and live as the bird does. How else can I piss of a Christian today.

I.
I.
10 years ago

Amazing family! God bless them and keep them safe and healthy. Encouraging to know that we are not the only ones who have been completely shunned by family and friends over our Christian faith. Blessings to Ephraim and Jesse and their families!

faberm
faberm
10 years ago

What an amazingly brave soul this Ephraim is. May I be as bold about my Christian faith as he is! It made me think of Jesus' words "You shall know the truth and it will make you free." He and his wife are now free. God bless them all.

bringmeredwine
bringmeredwine
10 years ago

This was a refreshing doc about the Amish because it wasn't exploring an individual's desire to leave the order to pursue all the sinful world has to offer; rather it follows a couple of Amish who want to follow the bible to the letter.
I wasn't aware that their bible was written in old German and none of the Amish could even understand it. I also had no clue that the Amish weren't allowed to even discuss the bible amongst themselves and were ordered to only listen to their church elders (Bishops?)
I was rooting for Ephraim at the beginning. He was a hardworking man and appeared to be a wonderful father.
Didn't like him harassing folks though and starting to live his entire life based on his English bible. I thought he was "losing it".
I did find it wonderful how in the Amish community, children helped out their parents from the time they could walk, and spent many hours just hanging out with each other during all the daily tasks.
In the first part, Ephraim's youngest son was always hanging around playing with whatever tools his parents were using.
These kids may have a separate way of life from the "world" but its better than living in a world of gimme gimmee gimmee, and being glued to a video screen or a cell phone, day and night.
Didn't see any fat kids.
I am very curious to know how Ephraim and Jessie's families have turned out. Especially their darling, intelligent children.

Chris Grooms
Chris Grooms
10 years ago

those of you questioning his work ethic, he IS doing what the bible says to do, throw away all worldly possessions and spend your time relying on God and trying to convert people to your religion, that is the core of Christ's message, which is why it is not a moral message.

Eventually charity will run out, and he will have to except the cold hard fact that there is no god, nothing happens when you die, and if you do not work and rely on others for rent/food/bills then eventually their kind nature will run out.

He is correct though, having no education he would of been better off killing his family and himself than leaving the Amish order, sad to say but i bet if we check on with him in 20 years we are not going to find a happy man.

Chris Grooms
Chris Grooms
10 years ago

sounds like all religion to me, do what your told and do not question.

ShilohMarie
ShilohMarie
11 years ago

I don't see any difference between the "new Fundamental Christian faith" that the excommunicated Amish decide to practice and/or the Fundamentalist Christianty family's such as the Duggar's' or the 'Bates' (except in the amount of children in the families) I felt so bad for Elsie and Jesse's ;oss of their baby and I would really like to know how Marie is. I would love another follow-up.

PepsiAdikt
PepsiAdikt
11 years ago

He tries really hard not to have to work, says he wants God to provide. God helps those who help themselves. If the guy put all that energy he uses trying NOT to work into a job his family wouldn't have to do without. And let's all be honest, taking her off chemo to try faith healing was all about money, I think he wanted her off because if she stays on he might have to actually get a job. Gods work STARTS by taking care of your family.

Kristin Nichole Warner
Kristin Nichole Warner
12 years ago

I live in western pa, amongst many many amish. I cant say this about all the amish because lets face it, I dont know every single one obviously. What I can say however is that a large majority of them have come into the photo lab that I work with wanting to get film developed. On that film Ive seen them lounging in sweats, Ive seen them at concerts in "regular" clothes, Ive seen them using ipods. Not all amish are truely amish. I think a large majority around where I live do it for tax breaks etc. There is a local bar here called the hilltop and its known for being the place that the amish go to change clothes and have nights out on the town as normal civilians. Haha. Go figure.

Altus Pienaar
Altus Pienaar
12 years ago

This must be one of the most heartbreaking stories I've seen in a while.
Isn't it ironic that although the Amish church would shunt them for going to hell because of their choices, they would end being in a hell of their own as soon as they left the Amish ways.
The reasons for the ridiculous rules of the Amish elders is very clear when you come from a lifestyle of capitalism, consumerism and individualism. It becomes very dangerous when members start to question those rules when they themselves have not enough knowledge and understanding about these rules.
People always seams to get hurt when there are those from outside that believe they have the answers for a better live.
Ebrhaim and his family were so much better of living the Amish life, milking their cows. I am sure he would disagree with me though.

His Forever
His Forever
12 years ago

I didn't realize most Amish were non-Christian. It's time for a change---if you have to choose between following your "leaders" and the Bible, then surely choose the Bible!

Rachelnico
Rachelnico
12 years ago

god will not give you rent money! If he did life would be much easier for everyone!

Alyosha
Alyosha
12 years ago

Also, does anybody else get the impression that Ephraim is more openly kind and loving (at least on the surface) to his family prior to his conversion? Seems he is more stoic and cold afterwards.

Alyosha
Alyosha
12 years ago

Such an interesting dilemma. At first, you see Ephraim thinking independently, studying his bible, and it appears as such a positive thing. But I get this uneasy feeling that his new life, though he is driving a car and wearing modern garments, is somehow more disturbing than that of the Amish. There is a big advantage to the institutional organized religions (versus evangelical ones) and that is the members are rarely TRULY 100% committed fanatically to EVERYTHING that is set down in the rules. When a person creates an extreme religion VOLUNTARILY for themselves and lives by it, they must be a fanatic. There is no moderation in being an evangelical, while it is completely commonplace to be a moderate Catholic, for instance. By moderation I do not mean a half-hearted faith. I just mean that the people will take some of the more bizarre and extreme rules with a grain of salt, even if they do observe them because on the whole, they feel they belong in this culture and church. Also, the Amish might be right in their statement that Ephraim's evangelizing is pride. It most certainly is. One thing that I totally sympathize with in the institutional religions' aversion to individual preaching and bible interpretation, is the very good sentiment of "Who am I, a mere normal person as enlightened and inspired as anyone else, to decide the will of God for myself and for people? The doctrine of the church may be wrong, but who am I to know better?" Being accepting is humble, which is the most basic and intuitive Christian teaching. If one believes in God and Christ, and is a humble individual, and is good to other people, that should be good enough. From a Christian standpoint.

Meaghen :P
Meaghen :P
12 years ago

I had been under the impression that most Christians followed the idea of God doing for those who do for themselves first.

Vlado Deric
Vlado Deric
12 years ago

You wont have a whole life to become a grown up, bible stories are OK till you are up to an age of 12-13, after that you have to face life for what it is.

You Do Not See Me
You Do Not See Me
12 years ago

Foolish Man..... not reading his Bible very well... Im no christian but Sitting on your butt all day "In the Name of Jesus" is not a good plan for your life or your family. Darn Fool ........

KittieGirl
KittieGirl
12 years ago

Ephraim is just hoping God is going to do everything for him...
That's just not going to happen .He has to put in the work too,you can't just pray and "EXPECT" miracles. I think he is going a little overboard.

skijor
skijor
12 years ago

Martin Luther went through similar events. He was accused of not following the church's traditions. If nothing else read Luther and learn from him. He has a great devotional, "Faith Alone". You can get it through Zondervan Publishers.

skijor
skijor
12 years ago

I feel bad for these people. They are being forced to live as the Judaizers were trying to force the early Christians to live the Jewish law. I was raised Mormon and I was forced to live according to their rules.

Follow Jesus and live in the Christian freedom He offers.
I pray for these people. God bless you!

Dukilein
Dukilein
12 years ago

I am really sorry but you all people who make comments and believe in the Bible may tell me one thing: Every religion tells that it is the way to reach heaven right? So, in africa the people have different gods. The islam is different, budhism is different, Hinduism and so on and so on are all in a way different. It is very obvious to me that if "god" even exists, which i personally not really believe in, but anyway, if god exists and christians rely on the bible and that god is endlessly good and a loving god, than please tell me somebody how can you think that all others will go to hell? You know, in the US you have people saying the word "Jesus" so many times that you forget that there are so many peoples and religions that this can not be the only way. This is impossible. People who live in the jungle and for 100% never heard of jesus or buddha or anything like that will for sure go to hell in your way of thinking???? This one thing about the religious stuff i really can not believe. Bible says many things, but it is a book which was translated i dont know how many times from languages many people dont know and over the decades it is a matter of fact that much in this book is not translated 1:1.
I really want for all of you only the best, but to think that there is ONE way to reach heaven is pure nonsense. And it shows clearly somebody is stuck in his or her surroundings and the area. By understanding science and speaking for example to a buddhist monk and a priest of katholic or evangelic church or to an Imam in Islam, you get different anwsers. So if there is the way of the Bible, some christians go to heaven and ALL OTHERS go to hell. Well, i dont want that god. My god takes everyone, also the 9 year old taliban child which blows itself up in a crowd. Because the action and the human being behind it are 2 different things. A murder is a human being in "my gods" eyes. The Action is without a doubt horrible, but the human being is still a human being, Consider that and think about it in a quiet time. Best wishes to everyone!

Winston Smith
Winston Smith
12 years ago

What delusions people have. It is not that some kind of creator mind/god may not exist but that it is just patently insane to postulate barbaric man as it's prototype! As the ideal for that which has created and creates billions of galaxies, billions of years old. ? its just absurd. Anyone who look is serious at the issues of good and evil will see it is not so clear cut as one might first assume. in fact its completely arbitrary. That chicken dinner was good for you not so much for the chicken.
Explore yourself that is all. do not interfere in display of consciousness and do not pretend to know the will of 'god.'
You gave away all that hard-earned money to help strangers and your child gets blood cancer soon afterwards, What a loving rewarding god. Im sure many of their Amish friends considered it god's wrath for their disobedience. How pathetic

Mary Miller
Mary Miller
12 years ago

Sad, really. I thought that Ephrim would have wanted more religious freedom rather than being literal in the bible. I feel so sad for these folks, as I had lived in a faith where leaving was the "kiss of death". I wish them all peace.

candyflippin
candyflippin
12 years ago

and of course a few months after they give away their whole life savings, their daughter gets cancer. Ephrim is so G.

candyflippin
candyflippin
12 years ago

I did not expect them to be so 'real' or 'straight up' as we americans say.

"I think jesus would have been specific about certain things. As the church leaders say you must drive a horse with a green harness or you'll go to hell." what a trip

Gadea
Gadea
12 years ago

It's an excellent way of life.
Healthy emotionally and mentally.
Those that do not agree, should just leave.

KsDevil
KsDevil
12 years ago

The ability of humans to deceive themselves sees no bounds and restricts their abilities when offered alternatives. Leaving one deception only to seek another.
Perspective is frightening until you reach the other side....if you make it that far.

Nakor420
Nakor420
12 years ago

Poor baby has cancer. :( That breaks my heart.

Nakor420
Nakor420
12 years ago

Nice to see they are starting to wake up.

Marion Bruns
Marion Bruns
12 years ago

.... good that they are thinking for themselves, not so good, in my eyes, that they are trading one deceit for another. Life is so easy, but we make it so difficult.

GoughLewis
GoughLewis
12 years ago

I loved this film.

L0LAW0NKA
L0LAW0NKA
12 years ago

I will pray to the Lord that He send an Amish ignoramus so he could donate all his life-saving to my NEEDY bank account. O' Lord hear my prayer!!!!

stievstigma
stievstigma
12 years ago

Though I've been around here watching for a long time, I seldom post. I just finished watching both films back-to-back. Throughout my spiritual journey, severing ties with the southern baptists, diverting my inquiries into more esoteric practices, then finally settling into an atheistic/taoist/satanic view; I found both films to be very moving and profound without a hint of bias (as a documentary should be).
(Possible spoiler) I found myself rooting for Ephraim in the first film. His courage and willingness to challenge his own indoctrination was very inspiring. However, in the following film, his devolution into proselytizing evangelism was unsettling and I saw a bit of the same madness in his eyes I experienced during those trying spiritual times. I hope the best for him and his family.
Bottom-line: If there is some greater being that spawned the universe, it has far worse problems to deal with than one person's mortgage. If there is no specific being that created the universe, we're left to make the best decisions we can while we're here. Enjoy the time you have.

Barzee
Barzee
12 years ago

Oh my god, Why didn't I ever think of this before!?...Let the lord provide for me!! Yes its so simple. I just stop taking my medicine for diabetes and let him cure me! quit my job and stop paying rent and utility bills and let him provide me financially. The earth was created in just 6 days and thats the way it is no questions, because an Amish person whos been indoctrinated all his life by both the Amish and then the Christians says so...well how could I ever argue with that...it must be true! You know what, while I'm at it someone pass me a brick and I'll swallow that as well. Did I hear that right? God sacrificed a new born child to bring families closer and break down the barriers. That women can try to rationalize it any way she wants to but the fact remains she lost her child and will never forget it or see it as an act of god. Guilt, heartache, despair, emptiness, loneliness is written all over her face.

To be serious for a minute, I did feel sorry for her and Jessie, They looked like lost souls once they were out of the Amish community. Wondering around not knowing what to do because people told them all their life what to do. Picking out clothes was even an hard thing to do for them. It just really goes to show how deep this belief is set into them at such an early age. Then once they become adults who are ex-communicated they are thrown into a world they know nothing about, cant make decisions for themselves, have just about the level of education a 14 year has (sometimes less!) That one women said she had trouble doing problems in her daughters school book (Her daughter was 7) All this because they choose a life to obey blindly and never question the "elders" or the reasons why things are they way they are. Tough as humans are, we have fragile minds.

Amish and Christians alike, are both as bad as each other.

magarac
magarac
12 years ago

Lord give me the van with less mileage for less money. Amen!

And all remember: don´t stay in the wicked place for too long!

AlfBeta
AlfBeta
12 years ago

@ SaintNarcissus, your long reply to Waldo, I was thinking about it, but there were so many pellets lying about, and I couldn't be bothered doing the work, I'm tired, and sick of answering the same lazy lame conceited superficialities of the supposedly objective and penetrating thought processes of atheism enthusiasts. But I'm happy to spend a fiftieth of the energy I could have put into Waldo's plight on congratulating your effort, and to say I'm glad someone had the energy. You covered every blur that I had targeted for deconstruction, and then some. I liked what Az said about day and night too. I too am very interested in science, and dreams and other knowledge.

curious_tomcat
curious_tomcat
12 years ago

They follow their convictions and leave the Amish fold; they give away their entire life savings to other people in need; and to wrap it up their daughter is diagnosed with cancer. Some of the comments below are too quick to question this family's faith and too slow to commend their actions... God or no God!

Roberta
Roberta
12 years ago

It would be a crying shame if the Amish disappeared and were replaced by the blood sucking, money grubbing evangelicals. Too many of these are looking for someone to take care of them, rather than be a part of a large group that becomes interdependent.

Justin_Funski
Justin_Funski
12 years ago

Great Doc. Very few Christians would give away their savings to someone in need. While his faith is admirable, if the decision were left up to him he would discontinue his daughter's treatment for leukemia and let God heal her. This is magical thinking and is dangerous. Like anything else, faith must be balanced with reality.

princesspatricia
princesspatricia
12 years ago

"Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is LORD". What a beautiful testimony to the love and grace of GOD. "For GOD so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but yet have eternal life in the kingdom of Heaven with GOD the father". The light and love that surrounds each moment of the lives within this documentary, bears witness to something more powerful than our own understanding and that my friends .......... is the love of GOD.

Sebastien Astoul
Sebastien Astoul
12 years ago

steve jobs at 45:30 and Massive nose picking at 53:00

Sieben Stern
Sieben Stern
12 years ago

"darwin is in hell"
what a miserable thought that the brightest minds of our time are nothing but damnation fodder for those folks that have little or no education. e_e why should people show such pride in ignorance and slander intelligence is beyond me!

SDAR100
SDAR100
12 years ago

In first part: That man said it right at about 10 minutes in; if the leaders go against the word of God, you should not listen to the leaders. if the leaders of the community did in fact Know and Follow the word of God correctly, this Amish society would have been successful. then even i would like to live there.

but that's a long way. even the modern day gospels are saturated with contradictions and ambiguities. and there is controversy over who actually is Mark, John, Luke, and Paul; and have any of them actually met Jesus.

SDAR100
SDAR100
12 years ago

Near the ending of second part: it is unfortunate that they have misinformation about who God is, and what the purpose of living is. God gave you a body, hands and feet; use these to get what you need instead of questioning why you aren't getting money. you can't expect to get money if you choose not to work when you were given the ability to work. i would recommend that they read the Quran.

alans
alans
12 years ago

They have to keep unity, and that is the reason for repercussions. The Amish will fare better during an economic crisis than mainstream culture, because they work their own land, produce their own goods, and grow their own food, unlike all of us who depend on someone for our electricity at home, depend on someone to provide us drinking water, depend on someone to grow our food for us, depend on someone to provide us a job so we can pay our bills and etc... That's something we can all learn from. There is nothing wrong with following rules for the sake of unity. It is a choice. That is the price you pay to stay in a community, and enjoy all that it provides, and its worth it, if you are willing to pay that price. They don't hold anyone hostage. The Amish understand very well there is no such thing as a free lunch, unlike what many of us have been accustomed to.

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Here I see locked behind the bars of religion, a man and a woman who have a brillance of love for the earth they walk on. I think they forget to look at the stars and wonder what does science say about this?
Religion is an unbending ruler created by others. Science is a bending ruler created by all of us.

Religion is you dreaming of a GOD outside of you during the day.

It may be that science is for the day and spirituality for the night. It "may be" that a good mixture of both energies creates harmony in one's life.
It may be that spirituality should be left for the night when the self is free to experience that "nonbeing physically". Than God would be what IT is, whatever your within makes it be.

My god is a game, it is life itself, it is a dog barking at me from all directions. It is a game of self i play in life with my i. The pi of i and 1 is a never quite ready story, a boundless scroll of revolving thoughts, a mega alpha game of letters spoken from a to z passing by way of "m and w" or "me and we".

Let GOD dream you. A lot has been discovered upon waking up by the best minds.
(re-edited and still)
az

Guest
Guest
12 years ago

Just finished watching the first part.
I see beautiful family values, respect for the land, raising of children based on participation. Here are some people who may not be expert in world issues and scientific knowledge because of their lack of formal education but they are expert on life basic values. "In a way" i envy them to be living in such healthy environment.
The religion may be a way for the elders to keep those values strong, but it is cracking at the seam, the world is pushing very different values on them.
Will see with the second part for more thoughts.
az

SaintNarcissus
SaintNarcissus
12 years ago

Another misconception which I'll be keen to see how or if they explore - a few minutes in, they are appearing to preserve the much more fascinating than reality picture or notion that these people live in an enclave unto themselves. The truth is they are actually totally integrated into modern society in most ways. they do business all the time with everyone else. Some of them are wealthy contractors who own 30,000 pickup trucks which they hire their non-Amish employees to drive from job-site to job-site because they are not allowed to. They don't live on some lost-in-time island, but in an otherwise normal Pennsylvania region interacting in much the same way the rest of the area's rural community does. I live on a city street and frequently hear an Amish buggy clip-clopping by my window at night as someone returns to their farm after having sold produce at our market or doing some other downtown business. I also ride the bus with Amish folks all the time. So, while this personal story looks to be quite interesting, don't believe the fantastic picture of isolation the doc seems to be painting. If anything, modern mega-church suburban evangelicals in Lancaster County live in more of a bubble than the Amish do.