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The Amish are a splinter group of the Mennonite religion which started in Europe in the 1500s. The Mennonites, who believed in adult baptism, had broken away from the Catholic Church, which practiced infant baptism. Then a spilt occurred among the Mennonites over a practice of shunning those members who had sinned. In the 1600s Jacob Amman, a man who believed in strict shunning, lead a group of followers away from the Mennonite faith and they adopted the name Amish. Due to persecution and rising land costs, they decided to migrate to America in the 1700s where they settled in Pennsylvania. They formed small family farms and were able to live isolated, self-sufficient lives. They gradually expanded into adjoining states, reaching Iowa in the 1840s. There are five Amish settlements scattered across the eastern half of the state. Kolona, near Iowa City, two near Bloomfield in southeast Iowa, one in Buchanan County and one near McIntire in northeast Iowa.
Their religious beliefs govern their entire lives.
We have much scriptures that says we should watch our environment. If we are born again we do not just walk in sin we try to guard against these things. We try to abstain from all appearance of evil. Now don’t get the idea we are trying to live in isolation because we’re not. We are living in the world so we should be an example of faith. That is what we are trying to be.
They believe they should remain separate from worldly ways, adopting plain dress, traveling by horse and buggy and farming as their forefathers have done for generations. They believe in adult baptism so members can make mature decisions to commit themselves to the Amish principles. They believe in nonviolence and refusal to bear arms. And they refuse to swear oaths of any kinds expect to God.
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