Why I Left the Amish Part I

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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

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