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Third Hour

Young, Wild, and Free: Should We Adopt An Amish Practice?

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The Amish are a minority religious sect that abstains from anything that comes from the modern world. They also espouse strict Christian morality. This article isn't a history on the Amish but rather seeks to be an exploration of one of their practices. Rumspringa is a term derived from German that loosely means "running around outside the bounds." When Amish youth reach 16 they are free, if not encouraged, to run wild. Religious and community laws relating to sexual morality, substance abuse, entertainment, and other Christian principles are temporarily rolled back as youth decide whether or not they would prefer to live the Amish lifestyle. It is a period of permitted debauchery that is justified as a method to try the youth's desires. If they really want to live according to the dictates of their religious consciences then they will reject what the outside world has to offer. If they desire riotous living, then they are free to abandon their families, church, and faith. What if The Church of Jesus...

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The rest of the article is missing. The link doesn't work and I can't find it on the site.  

No I don't think that is a good idea. Besides every parent knows that kids make their own choices eventually. Ban video games in thome, they might just go play them at a friend's house. Make your daughter change her outfit, she might just change it again at school. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't have rules and enforce them. I'm just being realistic. Hopefully we are able to pass on our values to our children so they choose to follow what we have taught. 

So, no we don't need to follow the tradition of the Amish...we have our own less pronounced version already--like it our not--each of us make our own choices about whether or not we will follow God.

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Down the memory hole, it seems.  Darned shame—I’d like to know which latter-day libertine was behind this.  Perhaps it’s finally starting to dawn on MGF that some of its authors actually don’t like the Gospel very much?

Just going off the blurb:  the author seems to forget that the commandments are not just a bunch of arbitrary hoops that God put in place to see if we could jump through them.  Sin is inherently damaging—that’s why we don’t do it—and it doesn’t become less damaging just because you indulge in it at a very young age.  As @james12 has astutely noted in these fora, the act of sinning changes who we are.

You don’t teach a kid about power tools by handing him a chainsaw and saying “have fun with this, and if you feel like it, come find me when you’re eighteen and I’ll teach you how to use it safely.”

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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I'm quite curious about this article. What did it say? Who authored it? What was his/her conclusion? Was someone in a position of responsibility suddenly overcome with a flash of good sense, and that's why it was pulled? Or are other forces at work here? So many questions...

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I like it, it makes a ton of sense to me. After all, why not encourage our children to make massive, gigantic mistakes that may permanently damage their testimony, lead to unwed pregnancies and spread STD's, and create severe and crippling addictions to drugs and alcohol? After all, we all know God winks at sin and that the commandments are just hide bound rules that we put in place to make life miserable.

This is sarcasm just to be clear.

There have been articles I have disagreed with before on Third Hour, but this is the first I've seen openly advocating violating the commandments of God. It's like saying you never know if staying sober is healthy unless you spend 2 weeks getting wasted first. 

Having just finished the article, the author steers around and says it wouldn't work. But it almost sounds as if they are disappointed about it. It was really weird to structure the article that way.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Um...


Just for the record, Rumspringa isn't a big deal in a lot of Amish communities. We think they go out have have sex with dozens of people while snorting cocaine at clubs. In reality, that almost never happens.

With all due respect, this column is way off base (almost to the point of being slightly offensive to the Amish) and the author doesn't really have a firm grasp of what Rumspringa really is. 
 

Common myths about Rumspringa:

  • Amish youth leave home to live in the city-most Amish live at home while adolescents
  • Amish parents encourage their youth to “break the rules”-Amish parents, like any other, want their children to behave morally
  • Rumspringa is “time out” from being Amish-most Amish youth live at home and attend church during Rumspringa, and are subject to community influences, though may bend and break guidelines of the Ordnung as they are not yet church members
  • Rumspringa is typically a time of experimentation with sex and drugs-some portrayals of Rumspringa have depicted the time as one of wild partying, though this is the exception rather than the norm

    http://amishamerica.com/what-is-rumspringa/
     
Edited by MormonGator

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37 minutes ago, SilentOne said:

The link is working for me now. Interesting.

I can get it just fine. 

ThirdHour might want to consider taking it down just because it's premise is naturally flawed-Rumspringa is not what the author thinks it is by any stretch of the imagination, and anyone with a basic knowledge of Amish culture (outside of that whey show on TLC) would know this.

I apologize if I sound harsh, and 99% of the time I think ThirdHour has great articles. However, this one would be like if a Catholic website started a column with "You know that guy who started Mormonism? Heber Grant? Yeah, here's what he got right."  

Edited by MormonGator

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49 minutes ago, SilentOne said:

The link is working for me now. Interesting.

I'ts working for me now as well.  All I saw before was the introductory paragraph shown in the OP.

I'm now finding Tanner's complete article to be thought provoking.  I believe we both came to the same conclusion (i.e. - NO!!!).  But we came to it for slightly different reasons. 

Among other things, the primary point Tanner made seemed to center on the timing of a the Baptismal Covenant.

I believe it was more about the nature of Amish v.s LDS separation from "The World".  The nature of the Amish separation is mostly about technology.  The LDS separation is about morality and achieving free agency.  Apart from technology there are plenty of close cultural parallels (if not exact equivalencies) between Amish and the Saints of God .

Amish Rumspringa is to allow their sheltered children to learn what the rest of the world is like.  With Latter-day Saints, we already know what is going on in the world.  We simply teach our children to choose the right.

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I'm surprised that I enjoyed the article. Perhaps @MormonGator is right and Tanner's description of rumspringa is off the mark, but I have heard many people over the years express each of the sentiments he brings up: Children must be "allowed" to "explore" their "free agency" (as if any power in the universe could roll back that divine decree) and thus be "free" to sin without parental correction; we should not give our children rules lest we spoil their ability to exercise that sacred agency (someone almost always said by people who don't have any children); the best missionaries/members/spouses/friends are those who have committed serious sins, because those who are forgiven much love much (which means that murderers are, like, the best people you can hope to know); and so forth. It's enough to make you despair and wonder if an IQ of 100 is not actually a great deal stupider than you had been led to believe.

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5 hours ago, MormonGator said:

I apologize if I sound harsh, and 99% of the time I think ThirdHour has great articles. However, this one would be like if a Catholic website started a column with "You know that guy who started Mormonism? Heber Grant? Yeah, here's what he got right."  

The difference is that Tanner uses rumspringa as a framing device to introduce the central idea of his article. He isn't really writing about the Amish; they're just some unusual, mysterious group with practices that we can use to reflect on ourselves. If you're right about Tanner's mischaracterizations (and I assume you are), then I agree the article would have been better had it portrayed the practice with better accuracy. But in the end, it's a springboard for discussion and thought.

(And I think your percentages are backward. :) I wouldn't say that 99% of TH articles are awful, but the gold-to-dross ratio has been unusually low of late. This article is a breath of fresh air, especially by comparison.)

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The problem(s) with the logic of the friend mentioned in the article as it relates to the theoretical idea of rumspringa as described in the article (which, despite Mormon Gator's protests sounds pretty darned close to what I had explained to me the last time I visited an Amish market) are two fold. (Or more...two come to mind at this time.)

First, the idea of rumspringa seems to be that the requirement for repentance is temporarily suspended. Which means that if the church adopted something like that the youth wouldn't learn how to repent at all.

Second, if sinning and then repenting is such a valuable experience then why isn't that the example Christ set for us?

Yep. I liked this article. 

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19 hours ago, Vort said:

The difference is that Tanner uses rumspringa as a framing device to introduce the central idea of his article. He isn't really writing about the Amish; they're just some unusual, mysterious group with practices that we can use to reflect on ourselves. If you're right about Tanner's mischaracterizations (and I assume you are), then I agree the article would have been better had it portrayed the practice with better accuracy. But in the end, it's a springboard for discussion and thought.

(And I think your percentages are backward. :) I wouldn't say that 99% of TH articles are awful, but the gold-to-dross ratio has been unusually low of late. This article is a breath of fresh air, especially by comparison.)

I'm with you totally. In fact, I go a step further. When the overall narrative is something I agree with , than I ignore the facts or they become irrelevant to me as long as the big picture is correct. When I disagree with the overall narrative, facts had better be iron clad. So I'm with you 100%. Truth is contingent totally on my already held views. 

Edited by MormonGator

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I'll admit that I do not know much about rumspringa..  But I thought it was more about the Amish cultural restrictions being removed... Not about saying Sin is OK..

Or to put it in our context... We have kids born into the church they are raised in the church and taught... then when they come of age then they are told "You are no longer a member unless you choose to be."  If they are not a member then the church can't do much about any sinful behavior... which is wildly different then saying that behavior is not sinful.  If they engage sinful behavior for awhile but then choose to stop and return... Well that is Repentance and Repentance is Good.  They are not getting away with Sin or being given a free Pass to Sin.  They are being given a very clear chance to make a choice on which Master they are going to Serve and the framework that service will be against.  That setup strikes me a being reasonably wise if not entirely workable with our cultural set up.

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13 hours ago, estradling75 said:

I'll admit that I do not know much about rumspringa..  But I thought it was more about the Amish cultural restrictions being removed... Not about saying Sin is OK..

Okay.  Mormongator is correct that this article is off the mark on rumspringa.  I lived in this tiny town in northeastern Ohio for almost 3 years that is adjacent to the Amish community.  The cleaning ladies that come to the house once every 2 weeks are Amish, we buy our groceries from the Amish, we hire Amish to build the shed, I learned to curb road rage from having to drive behind a buggy on a 2-lane highway... etc.  You can't compare LDS tradition to Rumspringa unless you portray rumspringa accurately.  Rumspringa is not a free pass to sinful behavior nor do they encourage their youth to "run wild".  That's not the purpose of rumspringa.  Basically, rumspringa is that phase between graduating out of your parents' testimonies and finding your own.  In Amish tradition, 16 years old is that phase where your parents stop making decisions for you. 

There are things that are not necessarily sinful but you make covenants to avoid them.  The sin, therefore, is not because you partook of something, the sin is because you broke your covenant.  A good example in LDS tradition is drinking coffee.  It is not sinful to drink coffee.  But, once you make your baptismal covenant, then drinking coffee becomes a sin.  This is the exact same thing with the Amish and things such as the use of electricity.  It's not sinful to use electricity if you did not make a covenant to avoid it.  So, an Amish kid before he is 16 years old avoids electricity because of the covenants his parents made.  When he reaches 16 years old, his parents, by tradition, will not hold the kid anymore to the parents' covenants.  So, he can choose to go buy a computer, hook it up to a solar energy array and an internet service provider, bring it into his parents' house where he resides, and take an online course from the Public High School or something.  This is not considered a sin if you didn't covenant to avoid using electronic equipment.  Amish people don't go telling non-Amish they are sinners for using electricity just like LDS don't go telling coffee-drinkers they are sinners for drinking coffee.  But once the kid makes his baptismal covenant, then he makes that covenant to avoid using electricity and gives away his computer - more than likely to another kid who is starting his rumspringa.  A lot of Amish kids on rumspringa get together like how we have Mutual in LDS, and use electricity for their activities - like blasting a stereo and hold a dance party.  Very normal teen-age stuff that are not sinful unless you make a covenant to avoid it.

But there are certain things that Amish consider sinful even for those that are not under the covenant.  Murder, for example, is a sin regardless of covenant. Fornicating is a sin regardless of covenant.    Etc. etc.  This is the same in LDS belief as well.  So no... Amish kids on rumspringa don't go about murdering and fornicating thinking they're "exempt" from its consequences or they can just repent later when they decide to get baptized.  That sin is on their heads even without a baptismal covenant.

So, the article is dumb because the premise is broken - Young, Wild, and Free is not an Amish practice.  You can't adopt something that does not exist.  So, you say, well, just the practice of being Young, Wild, and Free then - unrelated to the Amish.  Still dumb.  We are born Young, Wild, and Free.  It's the natural state of mankind.  We make covenants to discipline our natural state.  It is not dependent on age nor parental permission.  

Edited by anatess2

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My great-grandpa was an Amish minister.  I spent my summers visiting visiting Amish country, hanging out in their family history center, learning, eating great food, etc.  And with that, I will very much say that @anatess2 and @Mormongater nailed this thread.  

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13 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

My great-grandpa was an Amish minister.  I spent my summers visiting visiting Amish country, hanging out in their family history center, learning, eating great food, etc.  And with that, I will very much say that @anatess2 and @Mormongater nailed this thread.  

Thanks @Jane_Doe

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