History and Origins:
The Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther sparked the formation of
radical "Anabaptists" branch of Christianity in the sixteenth century, many
eventually fled religious pressures and persecution in their countries of
resettled in the Americas, while others found relative safety in Russia.
many of the Russian Anabaptists sought refuge in the United States by the
World War I, too.(1)
Many of the later Anabaptist immigrants to America came from
and Germany, and they retained most of their cultures of origin, such as
dialects and cuisine. Many more communities or sects developed within the
Mennonite Anabaptists, totaling more than one million, in the Americas,
and in Europe, their land of origin.
Mennonites took their name from a converted Dutch priest by the name
Menno Simons (1496-1561) who provided Anabaptism with his leadership in
Century Holland. The appellation "Anabaptist" refers to their practice of
adult believers.(2) Subsequent philosophical differences led to the
splintering off of
stricter, more orthodox Mennonites l
Education: Mennonite schooling varies primarily in conjunction with the degreeoforthodoxy of the community. In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court upheld their right to do so,because thisaspect of Amish life is considered central to their religious beliefs andpractices. (7) Other tenets shared by Mennonites generally include a focus onscripturalinterpretation and the importance of living within a Christian communityandhonoring the teachings of Christ. Unmarried men are clean shaven, whilemarriedmen are required to grow their beards. This "Plain Living" is a central tenet of Mennonites and Amish, as well asto Churchof the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, and the Hutterites. (14)Social Customs and Roles: All Mennonite sects are based on strict religious observance andinterpretationof scripture. Consequently, theirfarming activitiesusually consist of crops such as grasses (for cattle feed), corn, hay,wheat, tobacco,potatoes, and vegetables, some of which are used for marketing in sectswhich allowcommercial exchange with the surrounding communities. Contemporary Mennonite societies haveestablishedhigh schools as well as colleges and seminaries outside their communities,because 10. The range of social rules varies so widely, that manycontemporary sectsallow the use of electricity (as well as computers) and even the ownershipof cars,while Orthodox Mennonites sometimes prohibit the use of batteries. (6) All Mennonites hold sacred the teachings of Christ, and the generalnotion of"living" their faiths, rather than merely "believing". What are Amish Mennonites Anabaptists (2002) Pagewise Inc. The focus on living in harmony with nature and with God's physicalearthbrings most Mennonite cultures into an agrarian lifestyle, but ContemporaryMennonites employ modern farming equipment and techniques, whereas OldOrdersects use only horse drawn equipment and metal wheels, rather than 20thCenturytechniques and industrial products like rubber.