Why I Left the Amish Part II

If you haven’t read Part I of this post, please click here.

So through all of that, I really started looking for a way out. I started looking up and trying to find someone’s phone number who I knew would help me. But of course, who would help me? I didn’t know and I had no way of contacting anyone. However, earlier that year, someone had dated my sister, but then my dad had gotten involved and the man ended up leaving the Amish. That really put a bad taste in the mouths of the entire Amish community and especially me and my siblings towards my dad. We really didn’t like our dad much at all at this point. I had really looked up to this guy that had been dating my sister, and so this is the person that I tried to get a hold of. I tried to get a hold of him by using the neighbor’s phone to call a friend of his seeing if somehow I could reach him.

Through all of this, I began to realize that my parents were going to find out because I was up at the neighbor’s several times using their phone. I was so scared because I knew that it was against the rules to make phone calls unless it was an emergency, and this did not qualify as an emergency at all. Not only that, the fact that I wanted to leave and the fact that I wanted to talk to someone that had left meant that if I stayed, I was sure to get into giant trouble. In their minds, if you leave the Amish, you are going to hell. So to them, I was trying to talk to someone who had chosen to go to hell. At that point, I knew that if my parents found out, the church was going to start getting involved and they would play lots of emotional mind games to play with me and to punish me that way. I just couldn’t stand that.

I can even think of a time when I was just so super depressed, when I went to work for my uncle, and he would yell at his children for things that I had done. For example, I may have done something that I thought that I should do, like plant a field a certain way, and it wasn’t how he wanted it and he would yell at his son right in front of everyone. He would just tear into his son so hard, and it just ate away at me. This happened one time, and later that day when I went home, I remember telling my mom that I was sick of everything that was going on and I just didn’t want to live. She just brushed it off and told me not to think like that. Through all of that, I felt like I wasn’t loved and they didn’t need me to be there anymore.

Another thing that would happen is that at dinnertime, I would always dish myself out a bunch of food, and then my parent would tell me that I was eating too much and take it away from me. Different things like that irritated me all the time and I felt like I was under constant pressure. There are many other things that I could mention that all contributed to and led up to me leaving.

So all of this came down to June 28th, the day before my 17th birthday, I decided that I was totally done with it all and I had to leave. A couple of days later, went over to the neighbors to try and contact that man again, but still without being able to reach him. I waited a week and tried again, but still could not reach him. I knew that my parents were going to find out, so on July 11th, my brother’s birthday, I tried to reach the man who had left one last time. At this point, I had decided that if I could not reach him, I would have to leave anyway.

That night, I ran out. I ran almost 14 miles that first night and ended up sleeping in a barn. A ton of crazy things happened, and you can read more about that by clicking here.

Thank you so much for reading this post! Please comment below, and also check out our Facebook page, as well as our video on this on our YouTube channel. Keep asking questions! I appreciate every question that I get.  I have more answers coming next week, so please stay tuned for that! Thank you for all the support that you have given in helping me make this a success!

John Shrock

Why I Left the Amish Part I

Welcome back to JohnShrock.com! Thank you so much for all of your support through YouTube, Facebook, and my website here.

One of the questions that someone asked me was why I left the Amish. Well, that is a pretty broad question and I could talk about that for quite a while, so I will do this in two parts: part I this week and part II next week.

It goes back a ways to probably when I was around 15 years old, right before I turned 16. At this time, I had just started working for this one family that I really grew to love and thought was super awesome. About the same time, I started becoming more of a rebel and testing the rules. For example, the Amish have rules about how much you can bend your hat, among other things, and so I would bend my hat just a little bit more back than was allowed. There were just various little things like that that I would do to show that I was being a little rebellious. Of course, my dad started blaming the neighbors that I worked for and saying bad things about them, and this would really make me angry and caused me to not like my dad so much. It just irked me a lot that my dad didn’t show support for this family and was against them. Then, this family’s mom was diagnosed with cancer, and I found out that she was going to die. All of that really made me sad and I started to feel lonely, and every time my dad would say something negative about that family, it was really hard on me. This really made me start hating my dad.

There were a few incidents where my dad and I had fights and my dad would not want to apologize, even though he knew that he was wrong. I wouldn’t demand an apology, but it still irritated me. There was this one incident that he told me to go out to the shed and fetch something for him, and so I went to look and could not find it. I came back and told him that I could not find it, and he told me to look again, so I did. I still could not find it, and when I told him that it wasn’t there, he started yelling at me for being blind and not being able to find it. I told him that I had looked twice and asked him to show me where it was at. He went out to look, and could not find it either and suggested that possibly the neighbors borrowed it. So I went over to the neighbor’s shed, and sure enough, it was in there. I came back and told my dad that it was over there and his response was, “Well I told you it was in the shed.” Incidents like that where he would get angry and not admit to any wrong started to happen more and more and started making me mad. On top of that, being a rebel, I really did not like it at all.

So I started playing with the idea of leaving, and began thinking and asking questions about it. At first, I could not even believe that I was entertaining the idea of leaving. I couldn’t believe that I was that horrible of an Amish person that I would even consider leaving and how awful of an Amish that made me. Still, I kept playing with the idea and even mentioned it to a couple of my cousins, but they didn’t take me seriously. I knew that they would not have taken me seriously, but if they would have mentioned it to anyone, I would have gotten into so much trouble. My parents would have started watching me, and I really don’t know how I even dared to mention it to even my cousins.

There was another incident when I was plowing out in the field and I hit a rock, so the plow jumped and it didn’t plow very well during that little section. My dad was watching right behind me and told me how he could have done a much better job than that. Of course, he is my dad and he should be able to do a better job than I could, but that just made me really mad, so I replied in Amish “grosskopp”, which means “big head”, but it also has more of an offensive cultural connotation to it as well, and it is especially bad coming from a son to a father. Dad did not say anything and just left, but later that day, he met me out in the barn. He had a belt in his hand, and he said, “Okay, you know everything. You need to whip me.” My response to this was confusion, but he insisted, “No you have to whip me.” So I just did a little bit, not doing it very hard, but he said, “No, you have to whip me harder than that.” It played so much on me emotionally, and it was awful. I couldn’t take it and was beginning to be so done with everything. Between all the rules and getting in trouble every Sunday that I would go out and end up doing something stupid, I just couldn’t take it. What I did never seemed to be good enough.

 

I thank you so much for reading! Please come back next week for the rest of this story on why I left the Amish. If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave a comment here, on our Facebook, or on our YouTube channel. You can also see our newest video by clicking here.

 

John Shrock

Our First Video and More!

Hi! I’m John Shrock from johnshrock.com. Thank you for checking us out! I just want to tell you a little bit about our company and then we will also get into a little bit about how I left the Amish. I left the Amish, and I want to write about that as many people have encouraged me to do. This is where I need your input by asking me questions so that I know what to write about! To do this, I am going to start blogging and also video blogging to know where I am going to go with the book. What I am asking from you guys is to leave comments asking me questions that you yourself have about the Amish.

As far as me leaving the Amish, it truly is a very crazy story. I will begin by explaining a little bit about what the Amish that I came from are like just in case you do not know. The ones that I came from had no technology as far as electricity or cell phones and the like. We could use some battery powered things such as flashlights, but really it was very 1800’s style. We used horses and buggies to drive around and we even had tons of rules about what color the buggies could be and things like that. It was a very strict Old Order Amish where I come from.

I honestly didn’t hate being Amish until I was about 16 years old. It was then that I decided that I was sick of not being good enough and was going to leave. I mean there was no way possible that you could be good enough because of the thousands of rules that you constantly had to listen to and think about every day, especially with the fact that I was getting a little rebellious. I was starting to ‘think like a teen’ and didn’t want to stay within all the rules.  My dad and I got into a pretty big fight and from that, I decided for sure that I was done and I was leaving. Of course, the only problem with that was where to go and what to do. I really had no idea what this outside world was like. We had always been told stories about how horrible it was and that it was bad, but I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. Of course now, I am thankful that I left. This world is amazing, comparatively speaking.  Then also, I am not ungrateful for some things that the Amish have as well. They have amazing food (my mother was an amazing cook), and they also have a better sense of being together as a community where they do things together and you feel more a part of everyone there. I still miss some of those things now, but one thing I knew when I was leaving is that doing that would immediately cut off ties with my family. I knew that if my family caught me and they knew that I wanted to leave that I would get into serious trouble. Honestly, I was scared.

It was June 28th when I decided that I was leaving for sure. They had talked about a person who had left about 6 months before, and he happened to be a person that I looked up to, so I decided that I would try and get a hold of him. I had no way of knowing how I was going to do this, but I knew a friend of his and I found his phone number in the phone book and tried to call him several times, but he would not answer the phone. I knew that my parents were going to find out eventually that I was up at the non-Amish neighbors using their phone, and I didn’t want to get in trouble, so I just left. This is why you see “I Left” in the title of my company and you will hear me joke about it all the time. This comes from me leaving my parents a note that said “I Left”. That is all it said. It had no explanation or goodbye, just those two words on it. I ran out that night.

I hid in the woods for a couple of hours, and then went up to the neighbor’s house one more time to try and make one last attempt at phoning this man, and when he didn’t answer, I ran out and slept in a barn the first night. You can read more about this by clicking on ‘My Testimony’ tab in the menu.

A family took me in and shared the Gospel with me and took me to church, I became a Christian, and I am now attending Bible College and starting johnshrock.com and John Shrock I Left, LLC in hopes that I can reach out to others. I hope to write my book eventually, and will probably also entitle that  “I Left”, with the vision to help many, especially Amish boys my age that want to leave the Amish. With that, I am going to be going to Wisconsin trying to do some recruiting and seeing if I can have people up there help direct people my way. These big plans mean that I need your help, especially as far as writing my book! English is not my first language, and while my speaking has gotten much better, I still am a little shaky with the writing, and so I need your questions that I can talk about and reply to because then I can write on those questions better. Please ask me questions either in the comments below, on my Facebook, my Twitter, or my YouTube channel. Thank you so much for reading! And if you leave a funny comment on “I Left”, I will love it!

Thank you for your interest and support!

John Shrock

Launching of JohnShrock.com

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Thank you so much and blessings to you!

The Staff at JohnShrock.com