Mormon vs Amish
Are the Amish the same as Mormons, or are they two distinct groups? To the uninitiated, the Mormon and Amish communities appear to be very similar. But while there are some similarities, there are also big differences that set them apart.
Due to their self-induced seclusion from modern society, the Amish are a very misunderstood community, And this is further complicated when they are confused with other conservative and fundamentalist groups. To better understand them, read this guide to the Mormon vs Amish people.
We examine the differences in their beliefs, origins, appearance, and lifestyle habits. And you’ll learn that each group has some pretty unique traits.
What this article covers:
What are the Differences Between the Amish and Mormons?
Their separation from society means that many people don’t get to know much about the Amish. This is the main cause for much of the confusion surrounding Amish vs Mennonite vs Quaker cultures, And this confusion extends to the Seventh-Day Adventists, Dunkards, Puritans, and Mormons, too.
Are the Amish Puritans? Are Dunkards Amish? And what about the Mormons? The truth is, there are small similarities between all these groups. They are all religious sects that have made their home in America. Each has its own cultural identity. And sometimes, there are common traits between them.
For example, both the Amish and the Hutterites have their origins in the Anabaptist movement, and both communities prefer to live separately from others. But the Hutterites differ from the Amish in that they live in completely isolated compounds whereas Amish are happy to have non-Amish neighbors nearby.
Likewise, the Mormons and Amish are both religious groups that are often misunderstood and misrepresented to the rest of society. But that is where the similarities end. Because there are distinct differences between the Mormons and the Amish. Let’s look at them now.
Differences in Religious Doctrine
The Amish and Mormons differ greatly in their religious doctrine and beliefs. You may be thinking, “But aren’t they both conservative Christians? What’s the difference then? Are the Amish Catholic?” No, the Amish are protestants, originally from the Anabaptist movement in Europe.
You’ll quickly see their kinship when you look into any Anabaptist vs Amish research. There are, however, minority Catholic groups who live very simply and that may be where this misunderstanding arose. Catholic monks, too, live humble lives. But Amish are protestants, albeit ultra-conservative ones.
On the other hand, the more accurate way to describe the Mormons is as restorationists. Restorationists yearn to restore the Christian faith to an ancient form of the religion’s early origins. Technically, they too aren’t Catholics, but they are very different from other protestant groups.
This is where differences arise, such as the practice of polygamy (more about that in a bit).
Differences in Other Beliefs
The differences between Mormons And Amish don’t end at religious doctrine. Their attitudes to other institutions also differ widely.
Attitude toward Government
The Amish are not, contrary to popular belief, anti-government. But they place their trust, faith, and devotion to God’s Laws above that of secular laws and man-made governments. They consequently don’t serve on jury duty, nor do they vote.
Mormons are not opposed to jury duty or voting. They are also open to taking up government office positions, while the Amish aren’t.
Some progressive members of New Order Amish communities may have slightly more lax attitudes to voting if the issues being voted on affect them directly. However, the Amish don’t serve in public office nor do they take to the courts to settle their disputes.
Attitude toward Marriage
This is perhaps one of the biggest Amish and Mormon differences. The Amish, like most of society and especially conservative religious groups, believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman.
Mormons originally practiced polygamy, with several wives allowed for each man. They believed that this allowed more people to be born into the Celestial Kingdom. According to Mormon religious beliefs, the celestial kingdom is the highest of the three degrees of kingdoms in heaven.
Most modern Mormons no longer practice polygamy, but some Mormon offshoots like the FLDS church still do. Several TV series and documentaries have detailed these polygamous lifestyles. The Amish take their marriage vows very seriously, and are saddened when outsiders assume that they, too, are polygamous.
Attitude toward Military
Amish do not serve in the military, nor do they support, in any way, the glorification of the armed services. They are pacifists and believe deeply in non-resistance. The men don’t even wear mustaches because of their historical connection to the military.
The Mormons don’t have this aversion to the military and what it represents. They aren’t forbidden from serving in the military, although like the Amish, they’re also a very peace-loving community.
Differences in Origins
The Amish share a common heritage with many of the smaller conservative Christian groups. But this is one of the differences between the Amish vs Puritans The Puritans derive from a splinter group of the Church of England and not the Anabaptists like the Amish, Dunkards, and Mennonites.
But are the Mennonites and Dunkards Amish? No, they’re all distinct groups with their own cultural identity. They do, however, retain several similarities because of their shared origins. The Mormons, however, were never a persecuted group that had to flee Europe. They didn’t originate in the Anabaptist movement.
In fact, they didn’t splinter off from any other church or religious movement like all the others mentioned thus far. The Mormon Church was established in America, and have led a peaceful life practicing their particular doctrine ever since.
History of Mormonism
The history of Mormonism begins in 1830 when Joseph Smith founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Joseph Smith claimed to have had visions from God. In one of these visions, he had been called by God to restore the church that Jesus Christ had established.
More commonly known as the Mormons, his followers can still be found in America today, mostly in Utah.
History of the Amish
Contrast that with the history of the Amish. They came to America in the 1700s to escape religious intolerance and persecution, after breaking away from their Anabaptist roots. Following their leader Jakob Amman, for whom they are named, the Amish chose to set up communities in the ‘New World’.
They settled on donated land given to them by a generous and sympathetic benefactor, practicing agriculture and traditional woodworking crafts.
They chose to live their lives and practice their faith closer to the biblical commandments. Thanks to centuries of seclusion, the Amish culture is alive and well. Today, most Amish still live in Pennsylvania, where they originally settled.
Differences in Appearance
Appearance is another area where big differences can be seen between Mormons vs Amish people. This relates to their physical appearance as well as their mode of dress.
Mormons are allowed to wear modern dress, and the men may shave their beards. None of this is allowed amongst the Amish.
Men in Amish communities grow out their beards as soon as they get married, and never cut them. The women wear their hair long but pinned up under a traditional bonnet. And both men and women are expected to dress very modestly.
Mormons don’t wear the traditional clothes, bonnets, and hats that the Amish do. However, Mormon women also don’t cut their hair.
Differences in Lifestyle
Lifestyle differences are also rather apparent because of the differing attitudes to technology and social integration.
Attitude toward Modern Technology
The Mennonites and the Amish also share a common Anabaptist heritage, and can even dress similarly. Sometimes, the only way to tell the difference as they pass by is in the Amish vs Mennonite buggy. Both groups avoid technology, but the Mennonites don’t usually practice a total ban on the technology.
The Mormons are similar to the Mennonites, and different from the Amish, in this respect. While the Amish avoid technology completely, as far as is possible, the Mormons have no issue with technology as long as it doesn't pose a threat to their religious or cultural beliefs.
Attitudes Toward Education
Amiss children attend school until the eighth grade only, in specially built Amish schoolhouses. The rooms are simple, and the walls are lined with handmade hanging folder baskets. There are no computers or modern conveniences there.
Mormon children often attend secular schools, pursue secondary education to the end and even go on to college.
These aren’t the only differences between Mormon and Amish children. Mormon children generally play with modern toys, unlike the handmade Amish dolls that Amish children spend their playtime hours with. Although Amish kids don’t have quite as much free time as Mormon kids do.
Amish children help out in the home, where there’s always so much to be done because of the ban on technology and convenient appliances.
Attitude toward Isolationism
Isolationism is a very important part of Amish culture. It’s how they have survived for so long, and yet managed to keep their traditions and customs intact with almost no change. In most cultures around the world, their eventual assimilation is just a fact that they have to accept. Not so with the Amish.
Amish people love all other cultures and races and are content to live beside non-Amish neighbors. But the more orthodox Old Order Amish families tend to avoid mingling with outside (or the ‘English0 as far as possible. They believe that their isolation in their own self-sufficient communities is what has preserved their traditions for so long.
Mormons also believe in self-sufficiency, and like their Amish counterparts, they don’t watch television or indulge in any activities that conflict with their beliefs. But they are free to listen to popular music (the Amish aren’t) and live lives very similar to most people in modern society the Amish don’t).
As you can see, there are a wide array of differences between Mormons and Amish. So although they are both peace-loving and devoutly religious groups, they live very different lives.
This is especially evident in the differences between their favorite pastimes, and most time-honored traditions. Besides their religious practices, the Mormons lead very similar lives to non-Mormons. The hobbies are similar. And they don’t have very many unique customs that set them apart.
But the Amish have many customs and traditions that have allowed them to prosper as a people. These crafts passed on from each generation to the next, have provided them with an income stream too. We’re talking about their woodwork, quiltmaking, and basket weaving, of course.
Amish Baskets - A Touch of Amish Culture for Your Home
And it is the latter that has made this person, so devoted to seclusion, a household name. Because Amish Baskets can now grace the tables, shelves, and kitchen counters of your home, too. You’ll enjoy giving them as gifts or using them yourself.
Take the wicker harvest basket, the perfect fresh produce vessel for trips to the grocers or the local farmer’s market. How about the rustic bread box, the most charming and eco-friendly addition your farmhouse-style kitchen will ever need?
Need to get outdoors and get some fresh air and exercise? Take a tip from the Amish lifestyle and ditch the car in favor of a bicycle. Make it even more practical with a handy wicker bike basket.
Or take the dog for a walk in the park. And when you get home, let him relax in his all-natural rattan dog basket. Not a dog lover? Don’t worry, these baskets are just as perfect for your cat.
Like the Mormons, the Amish have their own approach to Christianity. However, when it comes to doctrine, the Amish (perhaps surprisingly) have more in common with other protestant Christian groups.
That being said, the Amish are more than just a faith system. The Amish people form a cultural group in their own right. And like all cultures, they have distinctive traits that set them apart from the rest.
Both the Amish and Mormon communities are a part of the glorious cultural melting pot that makes up American life.
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