Elin wrote: Would Rebecca perhaps like to tell us a bit what it has been like this far to be out of the Amish? It must be a very emotional experience, both good and bad, at least I would guess so myself.
Rebecca says, “Yes, it is emotional.” She describes one example of something good has been hanging out with her young friends in West Hartford. She says she enjoys the music, especially the first time she was in a bar, when she heard a live band. There are also times when she misses her family, so those are the difficult times.
Magnolia Tea wrote: I have a question for Rebecca, and I’d also appreciate if you would answer my question, too, Saloma: Which was held in higher esteem in your church district, the Bible or the Ordnung?
Rebecca and I talked about this, and we had a hard time deciding which would be true. At first, Rebecca said she thought it would be the Ordnung. Then I said, “But the Amish do think their Ordnung is based on the Bible.” She said, “That’s true. So maybe they are about the same.” I think this is a very good point. Some time ago, I was asked at one of my book talks, “Is the Amish religion faith-based or works-based?” My answer was, “Both. They believe that Jesus died for our sins, but they also believe that people need to follow their conscience to do the right things.” So I would agree with Rebecca that the Amish regard the Bible and the Ordnung at about the same level.
Katie Troyer wrote: My question is always the same, what was the reason for leaving the Amish?
Rebecca had an English boyfriend, who she was writing to for several months. She had been living with a sister and her family until her sister found out about the correspondence and took it to their parents. Rebecca had to move back to her parents’ house, where her freedom was going to be restricted. She decided to leave. She had other reasons for leaving. She said, “My father was so mean to my mother. Each day it seemed like he came up with new ways to put her down. I couldn’t face that, so I decided to leave.” It did not work out to connect with her boyfriend, and she realizes now that this was a blessing.
Christina wrote: I would like to know why Rebecca decided to leave the Amish. I’m curious to know whether it was similar to your reasons. This is a question for both of you: How much do the Amish know about the “English” world?
Christina, please see the reason why she left from the answer to Katie Troyer’s question above. How much the Amish know about the “English” world all depends on how much exposure a person has; this varies from one community to another, and from one person to another. I would say most people in my community had more interactions with English people than the Amish in Rebecca’s community. But this varies as much as how much English people know about Amish life.
Monica wrote: How is it going with your family? Are you allowed to go back and visit yet? And do you have any other siblings who are out?
Rebecca has exchanged letters with various family members, but she is so newly out of the community that she doesn’t really know what her relationship with each person is at this point. She thinks she would be allowed to go back for a visit, but maybe not be allowed in the house. No, she does not have any siblings who are out of the community.