Rumspringa: A tradition within the Amish community

Essay by vgreigHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2012

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To be or not to be Amish is one of the most important and difficult decisions a young teenager brought up in the Amish faith will ever face. To go ahead and join the church and enter a way of life that someone has been raised in since birth, or turn their back and start a new life for themselves without the help and support of their family. According to some "Englischers" rumspringa appears as if it is all fun and games, but in reality, it is the most influential time in the Amish's young adult life as they chose between baptism in the Amish church or being shunned from the only family they have ever known.

The Amish faith developed out of the Radical Reformation in the 16th century Europe. Amish communities began to appear in Switzerland, Germany, Russia and Holland. In the early 18th century, many of the Amish began emigrating to North America mainly to avoid religious persecution.

They first began to settle in Pennsylvania and have to this day branched out to many other parts of the country, including Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas. Today, no Amish remain in Europe.

Through the Radical Reformation, the Amish agreed with the Anabaptists on many of their beliefs. However their beliefs differed greatly from those of the mainstream Protestant church. The Amish reject all church authority and believe that the church should only consist of baptized believers, yet they reject the idea of infant baptism. They believe that as a young adult, and individual should come to the church on his or her own terms to be baptized and become a member.

The Amish, sometimes called Amish Mennonites, are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination, who are especially known for their separation from society and rejection...