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Very sad. Several friends of friends are Mennonite (the conservative kind), and I've been told that there are many in their congregation who left the Amish and have been shunned for doing so. They find the Mennonites far more accepting but with many of the beliefs they still value.

 

The level of physical abuse allowed can vary. Excommunication/total shunning is nearly universal and information control and undereducation especially of females is nearly universal across sects. Phone access as well though some sects will allow a phone that is put on a pole outside for business purposes to be used to call 911 in an emergency. But the local bishop does not allow this and in the past five years four children and three adults have died from readily treatable injuries due to lack of phone access.

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You may not consider them Christian, but there are plenty of cults that consider themselves Christian, read and quote the Bible, etc.   Clearly Biblical literacy is not a guarantee against cultism.

What floors me is how a guy who was basically a very resourceful science fiction writer could dupe so many people even after his death.    

If this were true we would not have top-down, controlling, Christian cults.   Also, as far as I can tell, cults are not more common in non-Christian cultures than in Christian ones.   It seems the

The local Mennonite church has been very compassionate to the shunned and running teens. For the minors who have run, they have a policy of taking them in and helping them. It isn't easy because most were home birthed with no birth certificate, no social security number, no identity, math and reading skills only commensurate to about 6th grade because the Amish school only meets about 5-6 months per year and instruction in English begins late so fluency is an issue. Most have no experience with powered appliances, power tools, electronic devices, anything modern so they are nearly unemployable except for gardening and barn work. The girls cannot be hired for cooking or serving because they do not read English quickly, do not understand health codes, do not know how to operate a mixer, an eletric oven, a microwave, etc. It might not sound like a big deal, but the girls in particular have been raised to not work with unrelated males, to not make eye contact with men unless they have worked in a family business in which this was required, and so forth. You cannot just plug them into a McDonald's job or have them work with a licensed caterer. Many, many, many of the things our high schoolers know just drom living in the world these kids do not. It is very scary for them. The Mennonite Community offers them a more gentle transition than most communities can offer.

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Article about the horrific, widespread, ongoing rape and incest in Old Order Mennonite colonies in Bolivia: The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia.
 
In addition to the horror of the rapes themselves, which were (are) carried out by men within the colony, the 130+ victims were denied access to any kind of counseling or therapy. Some of the youngest girls who were raped while drugged and unconscious have never even been told they were raped or given any explanation for the experience of awakening with torn pajamas, bloodstained sheets, and terrible pain between their legs.  "Why would they need counseling if they weren't even awake when it happened?" [said] Manitoba Colony Bishop Johan Neurdorf.
 
:crying:   :cursing: 
 

ETA: Not to imply that all, or even most, Mennonite groups are like this. In fact, when the situation was first reported, the more progressive Mennonite groups in the US and Canada were the ones offering assistance and counseling, but it was rejected by the men of the colony without even consulting the victims, who were discouraged from even talking about it with each other.

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I have not seen evidence that Mennonite Communities in general behave as that of Manitoba Colony, but unfortunately the evidence against the Amish for harboring rapists and pedophiles is huge.

 

The Gentle People - belief net

The NY Times, Sept. 2, 2010

 

The Dark Side - amish blogspot (several good quotes from law enforcement)

 

Mapministry.org - Jan. 24, 2005 - the case of Mary Byler - one of the few successfully prosecuted cases because the young woman left the community and pursued help.

 

ABCnews Dec.10, 2004

Primed for abuse - patheos June 28th, 2013

 

Mary deMuth in her book on helping sex abuse victims talks about a virtual plague of abuse within the Ohio Amish.

 

Escaping Amish by Tim Ferris (blogspot of former Amish young man)

May 2013 - amishamerica.com WMPT Fox Pennsylvania

 

Women under siege project - June 20, 2012 (Title of that story, "Swept Under the Pew")

Tears of the Silenced: Amish's Silenced Rape Victims

 

And Elizabethtown College, PA has an Amish Studies class, and uhm...I know two people who took the course which is to say that based on the documentation provided, the RCC priest scandal look like bizarrely mild. Add the extensive animal abuse and wanton disregard for public health issues including polluting waterways with animal waste, well, I honestly can not understand why this cult continues to get a free pass in society. There are approximately 25,000 scientologists in the US but 300,000 plus Amish. The Amish group is a greater threat to child safety than scientology, and believe me, I would love to see scientology go the way of the T Rex and friends!

Edited by FaithManor
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As far as Scientology goes, what are they all doing?  I realize some people have regular jobs?  But the Sea Organization? The show talks about these people working around the clock for years.  What are they doing?  What is the work of Scientology?  Is it all just producing and managing the materials and public relations?  What is keeping all these people busy working so hard?

 

The whole thing is fascinating and horrifying.  

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Well, this Old Order Mennonite and Amish stuff is profoundly horrifying. I don't even know what to say. But as painful as it is to read about, I do appreciate you, Correlano and Faith, bringing it to my attention -- our attention. And since I had a little rant about JWs I feel like I should say that while they do have their problems, very serious ones, it is nothng like that. That's just a whole other level of . . . well, I don't even know what to call it.

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The Amish are a cult as well. Though they have a patina of kindness and gentleness, they are in fact very coercive and abusive.

 

Excommunication is total. Should a parent ever speak again to an excommunicated child, the parent is thrown out too. Shunnings, especially of young men, are often accompanied by a beating first. (Tough love as they think of it.)

 

Other practices:

Hitting and switching babies from birth to teach them not to cry which is viewed as sin. Not all parents do it but many do because babies and children crying in church is a really big no no with the Bishop.

 

Beating teens for questioning the faith. Tying them up in cellars for the same.

 

Under-educating children to make it more difficult to find employment outside the sect.

 

Significant restrictions on medical care particularly relating to prenatal and birth care.

 

Inbreeding. Shunning of outside marriage. Violations of state laws prohibiting first cousin marriage.

 

Restrictions on members filing police reports even for serious, felonious activities like rape.

 

Total information control including limiting English language instruction in the formative years to prevent "English" influence. Phone use restricted. No books except as approved by the Bishop. No internet. No radio.

 

No individual choice. Period. Clothes, house, furniture style, hair, everything 100% leader controlled.

 

And again, lots and lots of physical abuse and fear from birth up in order to create a fear controlled, docile, brain washed adult. Read stories of those that have gotten out, particularly of girls and women who have no basic human rights within the community.

 

And all of it pretty much with blanket seals of approval from state governments.

 

There have been young adults who ran away. Their stories are scary!

This is not the norm. At all.

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I live near a large Amish and old order Mennnonite settlement. In fact, my best friend's family grew up Amish and is Mennonite; my sister married a young man whose family had left the Amish church shortly after he turned 18, and the baptized members of his family were shunned. Their wedding was filled with ex-Amish guests, many of whom had turned conservative Mennonite.

 

Without fail, every single one of my friends and family who have left the Amish and Old order(horse and buggy) Mennonite communities call it a cult. Though in a different state than FaithManor, the stories I have heard from them are very similar. Now it is all dependent on their church's bishop; some are more liberal than others. I gather that many of the local Bishops here tend toward the conservative side of things.

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I wondered the same thing about the Bill Gothard organization when I real about their huge campuses and how many people worked (or slaved) for him. I mean he owns entire office parks- still, to this day from what I've read. 

 

I can tell you what I did.  I worked in an office writing for the Basic CARE Bulletin.  We warned against such dangers as allowing Cabbage Patch dolls into your home, the importance of your name meaning to the outcome of your entire life, and how to best deliver babies.  I was 17.  I also went through "training" in youth counseling at the big old complex in Indianapolis, where all sorts of abuse has been alleged.  I had no business counseling anyone, as I myself was clearly in a cult, and not the best person to turn to for life advice.

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As far as Scientology goes, what are they all doing? I realize some people have regular jobs? But the Sea Organization? The show talks about these people working around the clock for years. What are they doing? What is the work of Scientology? Is it all just producing and managing the materials and public relations? What is keeping all these people busy working so hard?

 

The whole thing is fascinating and horrifying.

I think that they very much slave to produce and maintain the infrastructure for Miscavige and other high ups,the celebs,etc. The compounds take large staffs to maintain as well. With only 25,000 ish members in North America, I would imagine there are a lot of slave labor jobs available. In the book I read on Hubbard, it took a significant number of people to keep it all churning for him.

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I can tell you what I did. I worked in an office writing for the Basic CARE Bulletin. We warned against such dangers as allowing Cabbage Patch dolls into your home, the importance of your name meaning to the outcome of your entire life, and how to best deliver babies. I was 17. I also went through "training" in youth counseling at the big old complex in Indianapolis, where all sorts of abuse has been alleged. I had no business counseling anyone, as I myself was clearly in a cult, and not the best person to turn to for life advice.

The name thing is so prevalent in these kinds of cults. Vision Forum was another that promoted the whole meaning of your name impacts your future thing. Since ole Doug Phillips was all about making America into some sort of throwback theocracy - obssessed with Jamestown which is just bizarre - his kids were Joshua, Justice, Providence, Liberty, Honor, Faith, Jubilee, and Virginia. (No joke when they announced the last one's birth on Vision Forum blog he wrote that because she had been conceived one a trip to Jamestown,she would be named Virginia which was named the virgin queen!...Ewwwwww) This naming thing was a big, big deal. His right hand boy, Peter Bradrick named his five, Knox Defender, Loyal Cromwell, Triumph Perseverance, Geneva Constance, and Michael Courage.

 

Others from within this movement include boys named Saber Truth, Arrow, girls named Virgin Love, Hopestill, and Cotton Mather.

 

Apparently it is a revived tradition of naming children for virtue you want in the next generation, an actual goal for the future (thus Saber - taking America back as a "christian nation" by force - Defender, Justice, Liberty, etc.) I think this is another form of brainwashing. Don't name your child Susie or Benjie because you like it, but show loyalty to cult goals and doctrine through naming then brainwash the child to believe that god, or the cult leader, or aliens or whatever has a special plan just for you because of your name and sticking to the plan/the cult way will insure your special snowflake status.

 

It sounds weird,but I think it again has a subtle, control purpose.

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so...random thought inspired by this thread...are all cults led by men? Are there any with women at the top?

Hmmm...googling,so far not finding a lot. Interestingly the three that popped up were very small groups. Quite disturbing thougb as two were serial murdering cults that believed in human sacrifice and had high priestesses that lead the members in their murdering ways. That seems unusual,but I am not well versed in the topic.

 

My impression, which could be completely off base so take with a grain of salt,is it seems the ones that are outgrowths of Abrahamic faiths are prone to being started by males. That said, when it comes to Gothard and company, I have seen many women being the instigators of getting their families involves because it promises perfect families, perfect kids, perfect marriages, happy homes, prosperity, etc. if only you are faithful enough, true enough, tough enough. The men in these families, near as I can tell, were not looking for a family success formula per se.

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re what differentiates a "cult" from a "religion"

I don't think it has as much to do with what a group believes as it does with whether or not one can freely decide to leave the group. From that perspective, religious organizations could at times be considered cultish.

 

 

This is for me the principal differentiator... with undereducation / depriving children fluency in English and the concomitant ability to enter the workforce frequently being a sub-issue, in that young adults who are unable to communicate or find work have very limited options outside the group.  

 

 

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I think that they very much slave to produce and maintain the infrastructure for Miscavige and other high ups,the celebs,etc. The compounds take large staffs to maintain as well. With only 25,000 ish members in North America, I would imagine there are a lot of slave labor jobs available. In the book I read on Hubbard, it took a significant number of people to keep it all churning for him.

That makes sense. They do own so much real estate and I am sure the celebrities and big players have huge support staffs. I just is so hard to understand from the outside. To think of those people working 100 hours a week for $.40 an hour...for nothing. They are being worked as slaves and they really are producing nothing, contributing nothing, earning nothing.

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so...random thought inspired by this thread...are all cults led by men? Are there any with women at the top?

Steve Hassan touched on this in that book. The vast, vast majority of cult leaders are men, but he had found one that was led by a woman. It was a Buddhist cult, which made it doubly striking to me, as I would not think of Buddhism as a religion that could be easily twisted into a cult.

 

ETA: It had started out as a legitimate Buddhist monastery, and if I remember correctly, as the abbess developed mental illness, she gradually warped it into a cult.

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That makes sense. They do own so much real estate and I am sure the celebrities and big players have huge support staffs. I just is so hard to understand from the outside. To think of those people working 100 hours a week for $.40 an hour...for nothing. They are being worked as slaves and they really are producing nothing, contributing nothing, earning nothing.

Apparently they used to work on his boat scrubbing decks and cleaning bilges and stuff - don't know if that stuff still happens. Also I read one story where the girls were running the nursery and hand scrubbing the cloth nappies etc

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re what differentiates a "cult" from a "religion"

 

 

This is for me the principal differentiator... with undereducation / depriving children fluency in English and the concomitant ability to enter the workforce frequently being a sub-issue, in that young adults who are unable to communicate or find work have very limited options outside the group.

In terms of Amish, the language issue is definitely there. They speak Low German which is a different dialect from standard German, as in my still fluent German Lutheran neighbors have difficulty understanding the Amish here when they speak to their children so not a modern dialect. It is also sometimes called Pennsylvania Dutch, but Dutch speaking people will tell you it is quite different from the Dutch language. It is basically a blend of old dialects of Dutch and German with some English thrown in here and there, some words blended from two or more languages. They speak this generally at least until "third grade" to their children with no English instruction, but many communities promote waiting to 6th grade for English and since formal education ends at 8th grade, a loose version of 8th grade because not only is written English spotty instruction, but no science, no history accept anabaptist history, and math that is in actuality on par with the 6th grade Rod and Staff math not 8th grade, most instruction still in Low German/Penn Dutch, it is a pretty poor education and especially for girls. Boys may be apprenticed out to carpenters, roofers, etc. and learn more skills on the job, but not the girls. In our area, Amish carpenters do a fine job, but they hire out their paperwork because the English forms are too complicated for their reading comprehension in English. I know several people who make money doing their office work for hire. Usually they are very good with things like making change, adding and subtracting, basic multiplication. They can be business savvy for certain, well aware of what it costs them to do business and what the mark up should be to make a specific profit, but yet cannot read the order forms for roofing materials from the local lumberyard because of the undereducation in English. They also can not read basic modern German because the isolation has caused their language to diverge so much. I have read some linguistic evaluation of Penn Dutch/Low German and there is a movement in the works to rename the language "Amish" because it is now so different.

 

So lots of isolation there. That makes control so much easier. Even for the men who are allowed to work for "the English", since they cannot read most of the literature we could offer, say like a library newsletter, and their understanding of language is rudimentary in terms of vocabulary they are allowed to be taught, the influence of others is decidedly limited.

 

Worse for girls. In the Wisconsin case in which the sheriff's office went after six Amish rapists in the community, the victims often could only say "He was bad to me." Same with the Bolivian Colony. This was because they allow no teaching of vocabulary relating to private anatomy, and allow very few negative adjectives and verbs because negative is sin. Period. So just to see a doctor, a child is not taught in English "my head hurts" but "my head is bad" or "My middle is bad" because their is no teaching of vocabulary such as "Vomit", "My stomach hurts", etc. and in the Amish language an equivalent vocabulary hardly exists now so getting a translator is not a help. Wisconsin went and found adults who had left the sect to help them better understand the victims, but in the end, though many of the victims were teenagers at that point, they simply had no frame of reference for trying to describe what happened to them in even the most rudimentary way. And for the most part they did not really even understand how wrong the perpetrators were because again not only no instruction in bodily autonomy but also no vocabulary for the horror they lived other than "bad". Several of the perps were completely taken aback that they could even be charged for such a thing. As one young man put it, being bad to a sister or cousin was normal. They all knew men who were "bad" and it was okay. Their mothers and fathers knew they were "bad", but it was normal and no boys were disciplined for being "bad" so it was accepted.

 

A close friend of ours does dental work pro bono twice a year in the local Amish community. He says it is very disturbing because one has to guess which tooth is the problem. The children have been disciplined so young not to complain that they won't even point to where the pain is. They also try hard not to flinch, grimace, make a sound, or cry because all of that is sin, and they are trained not to sin.

 

And Meriwether, this is normal. Unfortuntately, this is how cults operate, how they retain fear based, authoritarian control over every aspect of members' lives. The Amish are no exception despite the rosy, sweet veneer portrayed to us "English".

 

Coming out in February 2017 is another book on the subject, "An Amish Girl in Manhatten" which delves not only into the horror that this young lady survived but the pervasive and sickening level of abuse within the Amish Communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania in order to "retain" children/young adults within the cult.

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so...random thought inspired by this thread...are all cults led by men? Are there any with women at the top?

One more rabbit trail, along these lines... Remember that movie a couple of years ago, The Master? I always wondered if it were Amy Adams' character pulling the strings all along.

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In terms of Amish, the language issue is definitely there. They speak Low German which is a different dialect from standard German, as in my still fluent German Lutheran neighbors have difficulty understanding the Amish here when they speak to their children so not a modern dialect. It is also sometimes called Pennsylvania Dutch, but Dutch speaking people will tell you it is quite different from the Dutch language

 

german = deutsch.   so, "dutch" is, probably, an alternative pronunciation, and that has probably changed in the years they've been in the US.

Edited by gardenmom5
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german = deutsch.   so, "dutch" is, probably, an alternative pronunciation, and that has probably changed in the years they've been in the US.

 

 

There's that, and also that words can change meaning. Which can sometimes only show up when dealing with groups that have different ethnic and political histories than "normal."

 

DH's family language is a form of Low Saxon, and he's heard clips of Amish speaking and finds their language super strange. He can understand it partly, but the syntax and other things are "off" to him. Plus, he thinks they speak strangely. That could be a dialect variation, but it could also be a sign of the language atrophying.

 

 

 

As for why the Amish get a free pass - one big reason could be because of the huge subgenre of Christian Fiction for women which idealizes the Amish, most of which are written by people who have never actually been Amish. I believe a good majority of Evangelical women would never support sanctions or regulations on the Amish, especially if it came from "the government."

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There's that, and also that words can change meaning. Which can sometimes only show up when dealing with groups that have different ethnic and political histories than "normal."

 

DH's family language is a form of Low Saxon, and he's heard clips of Amish speaking and finds their language super strange. He can understand it partly, but the syntax and other things are "off" to him. Plus, he thinks they speak strangely. That could be a dialect variation, but it could also be a sign of the language atrophying.

 

 

 

As for why the Amish get a free pass - one big reason could be because of the huge subgenre of Christian Fiction for women which idealizes the Amish, most of which are written by people who have never actually been Amish. I believe a good majority of Evangelical women would never support sanctions or regulations on the Amish, especially if it came from "the government."

 

there are many dialects.  I had a friend who was danish.  she visited another danish friend - who lived in a more rural area.  she couldn't understand her friend's danish father. . . .

even in the US - you have dialects that are very different - outside of the amish.

I've a friend whose family all spoke german.  never mind they lived in a german speaking settlement in kansas.  at the start of wwi - the whole town stopped speaking german, they refused as they didn't want to be associated with germany.

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One more rabbit trail, along these lines... Remember that movie a couple of years ago, The Master? I always wondered if it were Amy Adams' character pulling the strings all along.

I have not seen or heard of the movie. Now I am curious!

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I have not seen or heard of the movie. Now I am curious!

Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams all got Oscar nominations for this film, so I thought I'd check it out. It wasn't my favorite - hard to watch - but the study of cult following is fascinating. Laura Dern was also in it.

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Joaquin Phoenix, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams all got Oscar nominations for this film, so I thought I'd check it out. It wasn't my favorite - hard to watch - but the study of cult following is fascinating. Laura Dern was also in it.

 

I saw it too.  It's a informative movie, and definitely hard to watch at times.  It is loosely based on L.Ron Hubbard and the beginnings of Scientology.  I don't think the *movie* ever says it outright because there would have been repercussions.

 

http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-master-2012

 

 

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There's that, and also that words can change meaning. Which can sometimes only show up when dealing with groups that have different ethnic and political histories than "normal."

 

DH's family language is a form of Low Saxon, and he's heard clips of Amish speaking and finds their language super strange. He can understand it partly, but the syntax and other things are "off" to him. Plus, he thinks they speak strangely. That could be a dialect variation, but it could also be a sign of the language atrophying.

Living languages don't atrophy--they change and develop into new dialectical variations and, eventually, into new languages.

 

Middle English is quite different from Old English, Modern English is quite different from Middle English. Neither is an atrophied version of its predecessor.

 

It is totally normal and predictable that language in Amish communities isolated from the region where their language originated will have developed dialectical differences from that region (the dialect of which has also likely been evolving). The only odd thing at this point in time would be if they were still identical.

Edited by maize
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Living languages don't atrophy--they change and develop into new dialectical variations and, eventually, into new languages.

 

Middle English is quite different from Old English, Modern English is quite different from Middle English. Neither is an atrophied version of its predecessor.

 

It is totally normal and predictable that language in Amish communities isolated from the region where their language originated will have developed dialectical differences from that region (the dialect of which has also likely been evolving). The only odd thing at this point in time would be if they were still identical.

 

My Dh's issue wasn't so much that it was different. Goodness,  every village here has it's own dialect of the local language, even if the village isn't big enough to have a yield sign. He found the intonation and word use weird. I don't know how best to explain it, because he wasn't sure how to explain it to me. But he's used to a lot of dialects, a lot of dialects here are odd (one local village here calls everything a "he") but he found Amish really odd, that's all. And he also noticed the lack of adapted vocabulary. If language users don't create new words for the things they encounter, even off limits things like microwaves, the language will whither, not develop.

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At what point can the govt interfere? This last Leah remini episode talked about how multiple people "escape" and are rounded up and brought back to the base. Claire headley even mentioned one person being tracked down in South Africa and brought back. How is this legal?? How can there not be enough information and personal stories for the govt to get involved?

And the Amish thing is disturbing, too. I don't understand how the govt isn't getting involved in these cults and doing "something".

It's just sad.

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My Dh's issue wasn't so much that it was different. Goodness, every village here has it's own dialect of the local language, even if the village isn't big enough to have a yield sign. He found the intonation and word use weird. I don't know how best to explain it, because he wasn't sure how to explain it to me. But he's used to a lot of dialects, a lot of dialects here are odd (one local village here calls everything a "he") but he found Amish really odd, that's all. And he also noticed the lack of adapted vocabulary. If language users don't create new words for the things they encounter, even off limits things like microwaves, the language will whither, not develop.

That just sounds to me like a language adapted to the cultural taboos of its users.

 

While I might find those taboos problematic, I still do not see this as a sign of linguistic decline, just adaptation. The language continues to be a living, working language within its own cultural context.

 

Intonations and word usage being different? Totally normal aspects of linguistic change. Just sounds like this is more differentiated than the dialectical differences he is familiar with (as someone said upthread, it is different enough for some linguists to consider renaming it as a new language).

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I am just now watching episode 5 "Golden Era". I re-watched epi 4 "A Leader Emerges" b/c I fell asleep during it b/c our schedule is nuts. 

 

It is so sad that some who leave have no skills. They certainly have no references b/c they're discredited. If anyone has seen the CoS say anything positive about a former church member, please share it. 

 

 

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Living languages don't atrophy--they change and develop into new dialectical variations and, eventually, into new languages.

 

Middle English is quite different from Old English, Modern English is quite different from Middle English. Neither is an atrophied version of its predecessor.

 

It is totally normal and predictable that language in Amish communities isolated from the region where their language originated will have developed dialectical differences from that region (the dialect of which has also likely been evolving). The only odd thing at this point in time would be if they were still identical.

 

modern english has more in common  with middle english than middle english has in common with olde english. 

just, wow . . . I looked through dd's text books . . . the words that scared her, were the ones that 'looked' familiar.  ususally they meant something completely different.

 

but it did finally explain why brits call young single women birds . . . . before the language shift (between olde and middle english) for which they still don't have an explanation for why it happened, birds were young single re: marriageable, women.  then the word shifted and changed and became bride.   that's just the one that really stuck in my mind, because I'd always wondered why they called them birds.

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That just sounds to me like a language adapted to the cultural taboos of its users.

 

While I might find those taboos problematic, I still do not see this as a sign of linguistic decline, just adaptation. The language continues to be a living, working language within its own cultural context.

 

Intonations and word usage being different? Totally normal aspects of linguistic change. Just sounds like this is more differentiated than the dialectical differences he is familiar with (as someone said upthread, it is different enough for some linguists to consider renaming it as a new language).

 

 

Okay, my DH was sharing an opinion with me of a language related to his own, and I thought it was interesting. If you want to discuss this with him detail and tell him why his opinions are misguided, be my guest.

 

Languages absolutely can atrophy. It's obsolescence. If you don't let your language adapt and change to meet the needs of the speakers it will die. If you don't encourage any higher written work and grammar study in language, it will get confused, complexity will fall out, and speakers will find it unworkable, and it will die. If the workability of a language is confined to only one context, it will die. I've worked with minority language speakers, this is a real issue. DH's family language is a minority language, they run into it quite a bit.

 

Anyway, this is totally off-topic.

 

 

 

The latest Scientology episode was really scary. Forced abortions? Because the mom wouldn't be able to work so much if caring for a baby? I thought in previous episodes sea org members said they had children while in sea org, but the children were raised mostly separately? Or am I remembering that wrong? 

 

Anyway, the line between a religion and cult. I keep noticing that there's things in Scientology that "normal" churches do, but in scientology it's just so twisted and controlling. Like the "auditing" is a lot like confession, but in confession you aren't charged $800/hr and you can choose your confessor, and you aren't stuck there and interrogated. And the sea org seems quasi-monastic, but in churches with vowed monasticism it is very rare to find actually life-professed monastics, certainly not promised for a billion years, and life profession is usually not accepted from the young, and usually there is a few years of discernment and outright discouragement to make sure that the person actually wants to do it. Scientology seems structurally designed to be disordered, which is my book moves it from a simple religion to a cult.

 

I also found it interesting that Scientology seems to operate on the principle of exclusivity. Besides the celebrities and black tie events being fancy, being a part of something "exclusive" makes people feel good. And people tend not to question the value of things that come with high price tags, if that thing makes the exclusive.

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The "no kids in the sea org" rule came about after they closed the "cadet orgs" (the organization for sea org children). They were getting a lot of flack for the horrible conditions, so they shut them down and then just said "no kids".

 

If you insisted on carrying the baby you would be kicked out of the sea org, given a "freeloader" bill (to "pay back" all of the "free" stuff you got as a sea org member) and would not be allowed to continue practicing Scientology (paying for courses) until the debt was paid.

 

Also, the father would not be required to leave the sea org, but there would be no guarantee that his assignment would be any where near by.

 

So imagine being under-educated (since often it's teens joining, and they're education stops when they do), no savings, no real job skills, pregnant, and most likely alone, and being told to either go out and face the world in those conditions, or get an abortion, keep your job, your room and board, and your family.

 

And make this decision while also being kept apart from the father, whose also being pressured to encourage you to abort.

 

There are YouTube videos with Claire Headley going into further detail about what they did to her, and how they managed to hide her second abortion from her husband for *months*.

Edited by Xuzi
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I just saw most of an episode for the first time last night. I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that people don't know that top-down tight control by leadership of people is not of God. 

 

 Jesus Himself said that those who would be great among you will be your servant (NOT your master).   And to freaking PAY for all this:  Jesus said, freely you have received, freely give (not charge them as much as possible). 

 

I'd last about 5 minutes in that gig. It was gratifying to hear about this woman that just slipped out the back door of a Walmart where she had an eye doctor appoint (that she had had to clear with FIVE people in leadership in order to attend!  What??!!)

 

They caught her in some public place and she just sat down on the floor and they did not drag her out, not wanting to make a huge scene, I guess (I was in and out of the room).

Crazy! 

 

 

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I just saw most of an episode for the first time last night. I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that people don't know that top-down tight control by leadership of people is not of God. 

 

 Jesus Himself said that those who would be great among you will be your servant (NOT your master).   And to freaking PAY for all this:  Jesus said, freely you have received, freely give (not charge them as much as possible). 

 

I'd last about 5 minutes in that gig. It was gratifying to hear about this woman that just slipped out the back door of a Walmart where she had an eye doctor appoint (that she had had to clear with FIVE people in leadership in order to attend!  What??!!)

 

They caught her in some public place and she just sat down on the floor and they did not drag her out, not wanting to make a huge scene, I guess (I was in and out of the room).

Crazy! 

 

they don't claim to be christian, so they certainly wouldn't be teaching anything about what Jesus taught.

many many people were raised with little to no religious influence of any kind, so how would they have ever learned those things? let alone he who is greatest among you is your servant.

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I just saw most of an episode for the first time last night. I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that people don't know that top-down tight control by leadership of people is not of God. 

 

 Jesus Himself said that those who would be great among you will be your servant (NOT your master).   And to freaking PAY for all this:  Jesus said, freely you have received, freely give (not charge them as much as possible). 

 

I'd last about 5 minutes in that gig. It was gratifying to hear about this woman that just slipped out the back door of a Walmart where she had an eye doctor appoint (that she had had to clear with FIVE people in leadership in order to attend!  What??!!)

 

They caught her in some public place and she just sat down on the floor and they did not drag her out, not wanting to make a huge scene, I guess (I was in and out of the room).

Crazy! 

 

Not everyone cares what Jesus said or didn't say, though. The bible isn't relevant to many people, and that's where alternative religions and cults like Scientology swoops in - it offers a *reason,* a *purpose* in a life that supposed to have reason and purpose (only because in our culture, that's what we hear so often we assume it must be true).

 

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As a Catholic , who has been told I am in a cult, there are some glaring differences. No one forces you to go to confession. Many Catholics have not been to confession since childhood. No one takes attendance or keeps track of confession. No one has ever charged me for my church services. (The exception is for some youth activities / classes but fees are nominal and always there is a way for those who can't pay). If I never gave a penny to my church no one would call me out on it. No one is encouraged to disconnect with family members that leave the church.

 

Yes, there are many rules and requirements to be officially in line with the teachings of the church but in reality it is up to you how you practice. The church isn't demanding money or requiring me to attend or practice in any particular way.

 

I guess there are a lot of rules but no one enforces them. It is up to you whether or not you follow them.

 

I am sure someone will jump in now and talk about being under surveillance by the Catholic Church or blackmailed or something. I've been Catholic a long time and attended Catholic schools and could walk away tomorrow and I doubt I would even hear from anyone besides a couple friends checking on me.

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I am just now watching episode 5 "Golden Era". I re-watched epi 4 "A Leader Emerges" b/c I fell asleep during it b/c our schedule is nuts.

 

It is so sad that some who leave have no skills. They certainly have no references b/c they're discredited. If anyone has seen the CoS say anything positive about a former church member, please share it.

I think it's interesting that all of the former members seem to live in lovely homes and appear somewhat affluent. They always speak of having nothing, not even a high school education, upon escape. I wonder what they do for a living and how they get their new lives started.

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they don't claim to be christian, so they certainly wouldn't be teaching anything about what Jesus taught.

many many people were raised with little to no religious influence of any kind, so how would they have ever learned those things? let alone he who is greatest among you is your servant.

 

Appointment, not appoint. Sorry

 

I know, but if we had the widespread biblical literacy once expected of a literate society, they would have  this basic knowledge to support any uneasiness they felt, and I can't imagine they didn't, when being controlled like this.

 

I mean, come ON.  Five approvals to go to the eye doctor?  How does anyone think this is remotely normal? 

 

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I just saw most of an episode for the first time last night. I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that people don't know that top-down tight control by leadership of people is not of God. 

 

 Jesus Himself said that those who would be great among you will be your servant (NOT your master).   And to freaking PAY for all this:  Jesus said, freely you have received, freely give (not charge them as much as possible). 

 

I'd last about 5 minutes in that gig. It was gratifying to hear about this woman that just slipped out the back door of a Walmart where she had an eye doctor appoint (that she had had to clear with FIVE people in leadership in order to attend!  What??!!)

 

They caught her in some public place and she just sat down on the floor and they did not drag her out, not wanting to make a huge scene, I guess (I was in and out of the room).

Crazy! 

 

 

Scientologists don't follow Jesus.  He isn't part of their mythology or belief system.  They have no set dogma and no deity.  They do have a rather.... interesting... creation myth, though, which you can read here   (don't miss the part about the Space Opera and Xenu). 

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As a Catholic , who has been told I am in a cult, there are some glaring differences. No one forces you to go to confession. Many Catholics have not been to confession since childhood. No one takes attendance or keeps track of confession. No one has ever charged me for my church services. (The exception is for some youth activities / classes but fees are nominal and always there is a way for those who can't pay). If I never gave a penny to my church no one would call me out on it. No one is encouraged to disconnect with family members that leave the church.

 

Yes, there are many rules and requirements to be officially in line with the teachings of the church but in reality it is up to you how you practice. The church isn't demanding money or requiring me to attend or practice in any particular way.

 

I guess there are a lot of rules but no one enforces them. It is up to you whether or not you follow them.

 

I am sure someone will jump in now and talk about being under surveillance by the Catholic Church or blackmailed or something. I've been Catholic a long time and attended Catholic schools and could walk away tomorrow and I doubt I would even hear from anyone besides a couple friends checking on me.

 

Catholicism is not a cult and it most definitely does not control you.

 

I have some pretty up-close and personal experience there for many years, though I am not Catholic. 

I take issue with a couple teachings, most particularly the "Mary is the co-redemptrix with Christ" thing, but the lack of control and micromanagement would suggest that it isn't a cult, even if you knew nothing else about it. 

 

 

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Scientologists don't follow Jesus.  He isn't part of their mythology or belief system.  They have no set dogma and no deity.  They do have a rather.... interesting... creation myth, though, which you can read here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientology#Body_and_thetan (don't miss the part about the Space Opera and Xenu). 

 

I know they don't believe in (nonmythological) Jesus, but simply some conversant knowledge of biblical matters as all used to have in society would have raised questions about tight top-down control.   Maybe fewer would get involved and have to escape. 

 

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Appointment, not appoint. Sorry

 

I know, but if we had the widespread biblical literacy once expected of a literate society, they would have  this basic knowledge to support any uneasiness they felt, and I can't imagine they didn't, when being controlled like this.

 

I mean, come ON.  Five approvals to go to the eye doctor?  How does anyone think this is remotely normal? 

 

 

 

many abused spouses will deny they are abused and/or controlled.  even to that extreme. they do come to regard it as normal.

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I know they don't believe in (nonmythological) Jesus, but simply some conversant knowledge of biblical matters as all used to have in society would have raised questions about tight top-down control. Maybe fewer would get involved and have to escape.

 

If this were true we would not have top-down, controlling, Christian cults.

 

Also, as far as I can tell, cults are not more common in non-Christian cultures than in Christian ones.

 

It seems there are always people who want to control and people susceptible to control.

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I know they don't believe in (nonmythological) Jesus, but simply some conversant knowledge of biblical matters as all used to have in society would have raised questions about tight top-down control.   Maybe fewer would get involved and have to escape. 

 

 

If this were true, then Christian-based cults, like People's Temple, Branch Davidians, FLDS, Gothard, etc. (and many many small cult groups, like the one last year that beat a boy to death for trying to leave), would never exist. Not to mention the Amish and Old Order Mennonites — I'm pretty sure they would argue that lack of biblical understanding is the reason everyone else isn't Amish or Mennonite. 

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If this were true, then Christian-based cults, like People's Temple, Branch Davidians, FLDS, Gothard, etc. (and many many small cult groups, like the one last year that beat a boy to death for trying to leave), would never exist. Not to mention the Amish and Old Order Mennonites — I'm pretty sure they would argue that lack of biblical understanding is the reason everyone else isn't Amish or Mennonite. 

 

Yes, and this same, exact reason in bold is being blamed for everything wrong about America in another thread.  Seems just about anyone can use it.

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If this were true we would not have top-down, controlling, Christian cults.

 

Also, as far as I can tell, cults are not more common in non-Christian cultures than in Christian ones.

 

It seems there are always people who want to control and people susceptible to control.

 

That is an oxymoron. 

 

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That is an oxymoron.

 

You may not consider them Christian, but there are plenty of cults that consider themselves Christian, read and quote the Bible, etc.

 

Clearly Biblical literacy is not a guarantee against cultism.

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My experience with the Amish (well, one group of families) is so limited and passive, but it weighs on me.  I have a difficult time communicating with the adults, though they're more than pleasant enough.  The children, however, won't speak to me except to answer specific merchandise questions.  Not even about the crummy weather or extra large crowds.
None of them, at any age, have "normal" math skills, and struggle even with calculators.  I can never tell if I'm paying what I'm actually supposed to be paying.  (I mean, I can add, but I don't know the weights of my foods in advance, and I still can't tell exactly what they're putting in those calculators!)  For two weeks, a sign for a large garage/storage building said it was $3,500.00.  I was in disbelief, but also trying to figure out if I could scratch up $3,500!!!  It was eventually corrected to $35,000.00.

 

I just can't accept there being a "right" to sentence a community to little more than 1st grade math skills.

 

Also, I hate to break it to anyone, but they (at least, these families) don't have any regard for sanitary food practices.  I've watched men eat chicken legs with filthy hands, then lick them to weigh produce and exchange money.  My favorite breakfast bread is ruined after the couple told me about how they can't keep their cat from the loaves as they sit outside to cool.  Look, my household methods probably wouldn't all pass a health department inspection, but I do expect certain standards as a customer.

 

I think it pulls at me because I want the beautiful picture to be real.

 

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The book "The Multicultural Mystique" does a really good job of discussing cultural isolation and the damage created by allowing cultural freedom, often in the guise of religion, when it is allowed to be an excuse to oppress others to prevent members from leaving or assimilating into society to trump law.

 

I have a huge issue with Wisconsin vs. Yoder and 100% agree with the dissenting justice who could see how giving an entire culture a free pass on a huge number of laws (education is not the only one though that is what was being specifically tried) simply based on the idea that since they seem so nice and sweet and non violent then it will all be okay to let them trample the rights of their children and others.

 

For instance, they are a serious danger on the road here. No turn signals, no lights, going out on unlit roads at night with nothing more than reflectors, children riding on the top of hay bales in wagons on busy, busy roads. People have hit their buggies in the dark which results in a lot of dead people. Hitting a horse is like hitting a brick wall! The sheriff ordered them off the roads after dark. They go out anyway. Totally defiant. Do not care. Somebody dies, must be god's will. The sheriff doesn't go after them because he figures he will look bad. It is the same reason social services here does not intervene despite the rampant physical and sexual abuse, cases of horrible neglect, babies with untreated burns because they are not properly supervised around cookstoves, fires, lanterns,... They are nearly untouchable because the unwritten rule is they do not have to follow the law due to religious exemption. So many things "English" would be fined or arrested for are given total free passes for the cult. The horror stories are numerous, disturbing, revolting and it virtually state snactioned. Same with CoS, same with Gothard and many more.

 

At some point in this country we need to have a rational discussion of where the free exercise of religion ends and basic human rights of the child, the rights of fellow citizens begin.

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