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By John Andrew Hostetler

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In Switzerland, Alsace, and Germany they excelled as farmers. Already in the seventeenth century they practiced rotation of crops, indoor feeding of livestock, meadow irrigation, use of animal fertilizer, and raised new varieties of clover as a means of restoring soil fertility. These productive practices have been effectively transmitted for generations. Managing a farm, as understood by the Amish, requires a high degree of commitment by the husband, wife, and children. Children grow up helping both parents.

From a renewed study of the Bible, they held that membership in the Christian church should be voluntary (adult instead of infant baptism), that church and state should be separate, that believers are required to practice the teaching and example of Christ in a disciplined community. Their reforms were greeted with deportation and death. They suffered as heretics at the hand of church and state, being burned at the stake and tied to wagon wheels. Many were placed in sacks and thrown into the river or tortured in other cruel ways as described in their book of martyrs.

Postcards are mailed to distant relatives. The bride and groom wear new garments to their wedding, made in the same style as their best Sunday clothes. Blue is a typical color for a bride's dress. On the wedding day a regular church service is held Page 30 which begins in the morning and ends at noon. The couple is attended by a bridal party of two unmarried couples, usually their own younger siblings. The bishop performs the marriage ceremony near the close of the service. After the formal service the invited guests are seated at tables for the wedding meal.

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Amish Life by John Andrew Hostetler


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