This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

Amish free to choose

It is puzzling to me why Bluff­ton University would look to Saloma Furlong for answers about Amish life (“Author Dispels Amish Misinterpretation at Bluffton,” Oct. 24). I am Amish and work at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center as a tour guide. I also wrote a book, Our Amish Values: Who We Are and What We Believe, published by Harvest House Publishing.

Furlong, unfortunately, grew up in an Amish setting that is far from ideal, plus her family life was also lacking. To imply that Amish children are taught that to leave the Amish is to lose their salvation is simply not true in many Amish settings. We are not the “only church.” Amish children have freedom of choice. We are not a cult, as was Sam Mullet’s group, so the prominent researcher who said they were not Amish was right on.

To imply that tourists only see the good face of the Amish is also not completely true. Here in Holmes County, Ohio, I meet tourists from all over the world. They sometimes observe practices that should not be among us. Some of us do not live up to what we Amish believe and teach. We are a diverse people, and not all who claim to be Amish or carry the Amish name are really followers of Jesus Christ. Sometimes the light of Jesus shines brightly through us. We praise God for that and pray that all those who profess to know Jesus would also walk as he walked.

Lester Beachy
Sugarcreek, Ohio

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