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Breaking Amish: Five young people learn how cold Amish society can be

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Breaking Amish is promising to give viewers an inside look at Amish and Mennonite societies on TLC.

Breaking Amish premiered on TLC Sunday, introducing five young people to TLC viewers and demonstrating just how cold and unforgiving Amish and Mennonite societies can be when one decides to chase his/her dreams.

It is hard to understand how a community, much less a parent, sibling or spouse-to-be, can just turn their backs on loved ones just because they have a dream that does not conform to the limited standards of the group, but that’s what the Amish do. If one tries to go his/her own way, they will be shunned, to try and force them back into line. It is an interesting—and cruel—tactic, to show your “caring” or “love” for a person by refusing to acknowledge their very existence, but that appears to be the Amish way. It's pretty amazing, in fact, how they are able to just toss their family members out without a second thought.

Tough love?

The toughest.

Jeremiah: Adopted and bitter

Jeremiah’s case was particularly interesting. At age 32, he is not really a “young person,” but, like all life-long Amish, he is naïve to the English world around him. He wants a car—wants to drive for a living. But, of course, the only thing he’ll ever drive is a horse and buggy, as long as he is Amish. But, being adopted, he was not “born Amish,” and is definitely bitter about having been taken into this closed community—and he’s not shy about saying so:

“Being Amish, we can’t do nothing. We do everything the hard way. First of all, I was adopted and got thrown into this Amish crap. It’s not cool.”

Jeremiah has an idealized view of the English world—like so many of us, the grass is always greener wherever we are not. But, he is correct about one thing: As long as he remains Amish, he will never be able to settle those “what ifs” that are keeping his soul so unsettled. Recognizing this, he speaks with his girlfriend, Iva. The two were supposed to be married in the fall, but when he tells her he plans to go to New York City, she appears to have no emotion about it whatsoever—just tells him she’ll probably never see him again, and walks away, appearing as cold as ice.

“For once in my life, I’m going to do something for me,” Jeremiah tells her.

And, she just leaves.

And, when the Bishop’s wife rides by on her bicycle (Did anyone else have flashbacks of the old woman from the Wizard of Oz, by the way?) and sees him with the camera crew (not allowed in Amish society), Jeremiah decides to just seize the moment and go, as he knows there is going to be trouble, anyway.

It will be interesting getting to know each of these young people from their closed societies, and finding out not just how they handle the outside world, but how they are accepted—or not—by their families and communities.

Stay tuned.

Breaking Amish airs on TLC on Sunday nights at 10/9c.

UPDATE: Could Breaking Amish be a fake?

UPDATE: Alliances begin to form in NYC

Want to read more about Breaking Amish? Search "Breaking Amish" right here on Huliq!

Image: TLC

Video: TLC/Breaking Amish

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