Meet the Hutterites: Was bringing King Colony to the masses a mistake?

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Meet the Hutterites is supposed to be a glimpse into the world of the Hutterites, but not everyone seems to appreciate the attempt to make the views of this religion more public.

Meet the Hutterites came to the National Geographic Channel promising an insider’s view to the colony’s way of life, which seemed like an interesting chance for viewers to learn more about the religion and “meet” some of the members of the faith. But, not everyone is seeing things eye-to-eye regarding the “reality” presented in the early episodes.

Some Huliq readers, claiming to be Hutterites themselves, commented on why King Colony may have agreed to do the show:

  • Anonymous: “I am a Hutterite living on a colony in Manitoba...The reason they are doing this? It could be more or less because they want to get the message and perspective out of who and what Hutterites really are. No; don’t color us all with the same brush, but personally, for me, I enjoy showing and telling the outside world who and what I am. There is nothing freakish about our trends or rituals; everything we have and do is sensible, even if outsiders would not necessarily agree with it. I sometimes feel like outsiders get the wrong impression about us, maybe because of a bad influence one or more of my fellow members might have somewhere...But I still like to do my part in showing who we really are.”
  • Anonymous: “Are they doing it for the sake of becoming Hollywood Television stars? Yes, I have an issue with that; exploiting my heritage for fame and fortune, even by a member of my own kind, would in my opinion by doing something for the wrong reason. Having said that; it has been done before. There are a few documentary productions that have been made where outsiders are invited to come into the community for a week or two. As far as I'm concerned, I think it answers a few questions, and clears a few opinions outsiders have about us.”

However, following the airing of another episode, just a few days later, one of the anonymous commenters posted the following:

“I take back my words: I was on the impression that these folks might be doing it for a better reason than they obviously are...The show is an embarrassment to Hutterites and the Hutterite lifestyle. Shame on King Colony and National Geographics. Total disgrace.”

And, other readers, also calling themselves Hutterites, were angered by the show, as well:

  • Herb: “These people are a disaster!!! I call them HINO's, Hutterites In Name Only!! Shame, shame, double shame!!! Making a mockery of themselves and the lives they are supposed to be living!! They have no class, no character, pitiful!!! As for Natgeotv, they are classless, characterless clowns who are purposefully and knowingly perpetrating a mockery and a lie to further there sick and perverse agenda. They did limited research on their subject because they are not interested in the truth. As a true Hutterite it angers me!! God have mercy on them.”
  • Anonymous: I am a Hutterite living on a colony in Manitoba...What a disgrace, a shameful disgrace. This show is entertainment, but that is it. These folks have absolutely no resemblance to Hutterites other than having a similar dress-code. Morals, ethics, lifestyle...theyre gone. Just gone. No wonder they're not accepted by one of the 3 Hutterian Churches. These aren't Hutterites; simply entertainment. When is the next show coming out? I can't wait.”

Does King Colony Regret Meet the Hutterites?

Following some of the not-so-glowing comments, this anonymous message appeared:

“This community temporarily lost sight of who they are and allowed themselves to be swayed by a secular organization who were obviously on their own agenda, with seemingly no thought that an entire people are hurt by this. King Ranch leadership now deeply regrets their actions, and know that the money they got was not worth what they're experiencing now. I'm praying some good will come of this, but I can't imagine what it might be.”

Although this anonymous commenter spoke with authority about King Colony, it is not confirmed that, indeed, this individual was speaking for the colony or those involved with the show. However, it does raise the question, did the Hutterites of King Colony understand what they were opening themselves—and other Hutterites—up to when they signed on to do this National Geographic reality television show?

One reader may have summed up the situation perfectly:

“Wrong title, it should be ‘Exploit the Hutterites.’”

Will viewers agree? And will they keep coming back to Meet the Hutterites?

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Ex-Hutterite gives personal testimony about colony life

Meet the Hutterites airs on Tuesdays on the National Geographic Channel at 10 p.m E/P.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Comments

Submitted by jamiesumner56 (not verified) on
What is it that the King Colony hutterites have done that has so angered the rest of the hutterite community? I am surprised by how easy it is to relate to the characters on the show. The only issues I can imagine would be the drinking and the VERY light swearing. Hutterites, that isn't what should embarrass you, condemning King Colony for such trifles is something to be ashamed of. Striking a balance between change and tradition is a problem faced by all social groups on all levels. And at least the King Colony teenagers aren't exposed having sex (i am not naive enough to think that any group of teenagers doesn't, but be thankful it isn't on the show) and they aren't smoking pot, and its just a shame that the already small world of these people might be made smaller when they get shunned by the rest of you for not putting on a harder front.

Submitted by christine from ... (not verified) on
I am SO elated that sumone FINALLY!,got the point of what I have been saying:):)you hit the whole thing right on the head of the nail,hurray,for you.You couldnt be more right,im not a hutturite&good graciouse I hate seeming like im labeling them(a hutterit)i will never understand why people are so angry with them.why?because they have a "colony"excuse me,in the english world we are seperated by way more,we have "neighborhoods","gated COMMUNITIES",h.o.a's,and so on & so on,if any one were to open their life to the world WE are called a reality show where they script what we have to say,at least the hutterites keep it real. I read what the producer said.so they dont show the negative things,so what,but they do explain to the world what happens if those laws are broken.thats what makes this enlish life so sick,it's that kind of stuff that excites them

Submitted by Renee Tschetter/Ray (not verified) on
As a Ex-Hutterite I am So disappointed in the way the members of King colony Portrayed the Hutterite church as a whole. What a disappointment and embarrassment! The members of king colony had the Opportunity of a lifetime To show how the Hutterites live and whats important to their belief. The picture they painted about the Hutterites and their culture is completely contradicted in the show.

Submitted by christine from ... (not verified) on
I am sorry to hear of you'r dissapointment as an ex-hutterite,please explain how king colony portrayed their church so negativley.with all do respect, I am confused,all ive seen is how their church does not allow for an unwed couple to be together before marrige/baptism,as well as their belief in going to school beyond a certain age I appre,iate your comment very much,and would like to say thank you once again.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Christine, might I say you seem to have to much time on your hands? You are not allowing anyone to have a point of view other then yours and you have a egotistical need to reply everywhere. Also, your grammar and typing skills certainly need some polishing....it's hard to read or take seriously with all the misspelled words, overuse of commas and lack of proper spacing. Just saying....

Submitted by christine from ... (not verified) on
This is in response to the annonomys posting directed to me at the end of last month,titled,to much time on your hands.if I may start out by saying that I am sorry for giving such negative opinions about me,i never meant for it to seem as though no one elses opinions matter,as for having to much time on my hands,you are so right,i couldnt agree more,you see ive just spent the last two years of enduring horrific abuse,being locked up,not "allowed" to talk to anyone,having to wake up in the morning and answer if I want to be slapped or punched as my punishment for the day,& if I didnt give an answer ad soon as I opened my eyes,then I got it both,the fear of knowing I tried escaping the wrath of his hands many times,he found me & literally drug me out while everyone watched,then the faitful day came when he tried to kill me,i waited a long time to go to trial only to find out in the long run he beat the system & was released on 5 yrs probation,so yes annonomys I do have to much time on my hands because once again im locked up in my world,afraid of going out,being hhome alone. Just one more thing,as I know that some of my words are misspelled,im simply only using a smart phone,maybe its time I should just continue to read, and not respond anymore,i am deeply sorry if I have given anyone the same view

Your point of view is as important as anyone's on Huliq, and we want to welcome you to continue posting; we would hate to see you leave. Please feel free to click on my name and drop me a line directly, and we can discuss, if you like. Much respect--Mechele

Submitted by christine from ... (not verified) on
I am sorry to hear of you'r dissapointment as an ex-hutterite,please explain how king colony portrayed their church so negativley.with all do respect, I am confused,all ive seen is how their church does not allow for an unwed couple to be together before marrige/baptism,as well as their belief in going to school beyond a certain age I appre,iate your comment very much,and would like to say thank you once again.

Submitted by Danny (not verified) on
I feel so bad for the women of the colony, the men should thank god they have such wonderful ladies to put up with them, any one I know wouldn't. To tell a lady that she is good only to breed with, cook, clean and make a home for the man is wrong on so many levels. I thought god saw all of us as equals? I am married to a very educated lady that has a career, and she takes care of me too. I am a disabled veteran with no hip, but still do most of the house work. I would not think for a moment that my wife should work all day then come home and cook, clean house, and do the laundry. I would be so bored if I was a woman in this colony! Those men should listen to the ladies a lot more, I just love Ms Bertha. I pray for you and your family. I was so sadden to learn Bertha's husband died by his own hand, hope it was not because of some close minded elders remarks and judgements! Bertha, your hair looks great!!! Keep doing what your

Submitted by christine from ... (not verified) on
As we all respect the opinion of another,lets try to remember that we all have our own beliefs,sometime's all we have to do is look through our eyes,& understand that its ones way of life they are accustome in their beliefs to. I can say that unfortunatley my father also took his own life,it's a horrible issue to deal with,it was veru kind of you to address your kindness.

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