Accepting My Parent’s Religion

I grew up in Pennsylvania in a small Amish community before moving to Florida, then New York City. The question I’ve been asked lately is: Why do I try not to talk badly about Amish people and the Amish church, especially considering that I personally hated being Amish? A short partial answer: my parents accept me, so I accept them and their beliefs. In a much longer, more accurate answer:

When I first left the Amish community, I was angry, upset and hurt. I never fit into the culture. I was free-spirited, independent and didn’t like the rules. I had no problem talking about how much I hated the ministers of the Amish church, and the way they wanted me to follow their idea of how I should live my life. I wanted to leave and never go back except visit my family.

Since I left, a lot of people have questioned me about the Amish lifestyle, and how I feel about it. I still feel the same way I felt when I left. But I don’t feel right talking badly about the religion, because I know it’s a very personal feeling. It’s because of who am and who I want to be. The reason I didn’t want to be Amish is because it simply wasn’t for me.. It’s not because being outside the church is a better life, it’s because of my own experiences and personal life journey. Yes, there are LOT of practices and habits that I don’t admire or agree with, but there are just as many that I do agree with. I find that’s true with every church and culture. Human nature has a way of making even good intentions go wrong.

For all the things that I hated, there are things that make the Amish lifestyle work for many people- The community of support, the firm understanding of what’s expected, the peaceful way of life. I have friends and family that are still living in the Amish community. They are happy, content and feel like they are where they belong. They made the choice to stay in the community. That’s where they think they will be happiest. They all had the option to leave, but they chose not to.

Would I go back? No!! But not because I don’t respect the culture. I understand why most of my friends stayed in the Amish community. The reason I left is because I realized that I couldn’t pursue the life I wanted if I stayed. I personally don’t want to live in the Amish community. I want to travel, build the Kate Stoltz NYC fashion line and then create art in my spare time. I want a college education, and I want to pursue a career in my field. I want to help make the world a better place by dedicating my time to charity, and help Developing Faces succeed in helping to give precious children better lives. I want to listen to music and celebrate life in different parts of the world. I see the value in education, in learning about different cultures, in exploring new places and opening up your mind to different ideologies and cultures. I wanted something different and that’s why I chose the path I did.

I’m always unconsciously and consciously reevaluating my life based on my current situation and opportunities. In fact, we are all constantly making choices about what to bring with us and what to leave behind. My parent’s religion sounds a little more extreme than most, but religions in general all have very similar qualities. I have people reach out to me all the time, telling me of similar experiences they had with their own parent’s religious beliefs. No matter the case, there’s a constant ‘weeding’ process that goes on in everyone’s life. Certain things can take years to change or improve, such as a work situation, living situation, etc, but it’s all possible.

The life we chose doesn’t have to be adventurous, glamorous, confined or anything in particular. It can be whatever suits our individual personalities and ambitions. I strongly think that if our intentions aren’t harmful to other humans, and makes the world a safer and better place, and of course, considers the laws of the states, then we should pursue what we think is right for ourselves. Anyone reading this has global access to information about different cultures, religions, ideas and lifestyles. We have to choice to choose what we want to be, then pursue it with all of our heart. As a friend once told me when I was doubting myself as a fashion designer:

“Decide what you want to be, then become it. No excuses.”

 

 

30 comments

  1. Love your honesty and sincere heart. Keep being YOU!! You are a great example how to keep healthy boundaries; knowing what to share and when… Wishing great success! Love seeing your creations and listening to your insights.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Felix,
        There are a few African American Amish and Mennonites. I also know a Puerto Rican Mennonite. Since Amish only date people from their own community, there is not much diversity. Some Amish couples have adopted children from other ethnic groups, but other than that, everyone is a direct descendent of the original founders.

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      • Thank You! for responding so quickly. I love you in the LOVE of Our LORD & Savior; JESUS CHRIST! The author and finisher of our faith. Continue steadfastly in GOD’S Word; the B-I-B-L-E- Acknowledge HIM in all your ways and HE shall direct your path; AMEN! GOD ❤ U; & so do I! 🙂

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  2. Very well said Kate.
    I know there is good n bad in the show but w/out it, no one would have ever met any of you. One of the biggest things I do not like is the fighting and horrible language. You always seem to be the calm, mature one. Hang in there, continue to seek out your dreams, you have God given talents n gifts. Be strong and courageous, you’re never alone.

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  3. My husband and I are both English but have many Amish friends. I would not want to live their lifestyle nor would they choose to live ours. With that being said, we have a healthy respect for each other and in spite of our differences, we are loyal and true friends to each other. Nothing can ever change that. I completely “get” Kate’s feelings on the culture she was raised in. Live and let live and we will all be happier for it. Thank you so much, Kate, for sharing these thoughts with us.

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  4. Kate… You are a beautiful person and I have seen your designs & they are wonderful. We live among the Amish in Adams county. They are a peaceful God fearing people. I respect them very much. However, if you read your Bible, you’ll see that Jesus Christ did not bring a religion to this earth. He did not say that you must wear your hair a certain way or dress a certain way. Those are man’s rules. He told us about loving God and loving one another! I wish you continued success in your career! Love & hugs…
    Darrell & Judy Delseno

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  5. You are so right! God has given you a wonderful talent and I admire your work ethic and your independent way of thinking. Although I’ve never met you I am so proud of you! You go girl and God bless!

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  6. Proud of you Kate for leaving it all and following your dreams. You get 1 shot on this Earth, and you must live it making it your way. Cultures/Religion can be taken along with you on your journey to finding whO you are and what you want to be.
    Designed By Kate-

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  7. I have just recently heard about u, wen i stubbled over the tv show return to amish, u have inspired me alot me alot already, i personally grew up amish as well until i was 7 years old, we were banished from the church, just want to let u kno keep doing wat ur doing and you will go far!

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  8. Well stated. Yet, I still cannot get past the part of this religion that feels so free to banish their own.
    Love is God. God is Love.

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  9. Kate, this is such a nice commentary, very well said. I’m happy to hear your parents respect your choice and that you are able to accept their choice staying Amish. You can still have a personal relationship with Jesus as your Saviour without being Amish. Continue to honor your parents and above all honor God in everything you do. Best wishes for a success in all your endeavors. God bless you Kate.

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  10. Kate I love your personality, you have a very sweet spirit,you are honest, beautiful & kind to everyone. I don’t think you have a mean bone in your body. just because you don’t agree with the Amish don’t give up on God. Find a good Bible believing church to attend. Good Luck & GOD Bless you.

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  11. Perfect. Exactly what I knew you knew and exactly why I’ve so enjoyed knowing you by you letting us know you. God continue to bless you to go from strength to strength and give you revealed goodness physically & spiritually.

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  12. Very well said, Kate! I also agree with Daniel C. Keep grounded in your family and Jesus, and your life here will be rich. Always do your best and give God the glorify. Nothing on this earth can be as wonderful as spending eternity with Jesus! All the best to you, Kate!

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  13. I’ve never heard that saying before, but it’s right! I feel the need to post it in my room to remind me that there are no excuses for being what I want to be! Thank you!

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  14. Kate, I have watched you. I know the few minutes of what I see is fully true of who you are. I read this post and honestly, haven’t read a lot of stuff you’ve said. This I relate to. I want to honor others and love Jesus. We all have freedom of choice. I don’t choose religion but I attend church and love worshipping with other believers. I believe each of has a purpose and plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and I believe God makes good of every experience we get to live. I’m your elder with a lot if live to give and a proud mommas heart for you doing what God leads you to. ❤️💗

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  15. Thanks for sharing. Your beautiful inside and out. Keep up the great work. I hope I get to meet you one day. Your so soothing and inspiring. 🙂 I wish you nothing but success and happiness.

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  16. I like your clean and classic style of your line. What do you include in every piece to make them stand out as yours? Perhaps there is a finishing technique you use? We’d all like to see the label that you use for your brand. Just a suggestion.

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  17. Too much restraint is just as bad as to little. Unbridled hedonism may sound good but it leads to disaster. Be your own self -judge using your conscience as a guide.

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  18. I am wonderIng if there is any chance you will write a book in the future? I love the Amish lifestyle and simplicity of it. I became very sick five years ago and retired as a police/ probation officer. So after seeing so much bad for so many years I became addicted to Amish fiction books and the Amish culture. I now have Amish friends and visit a few communities as often as I can. They have helped me learn to love a simple life and I am more happy than I have ever been.
    I would love to read a book of your life as a child, teen and adult leaving to pursue your dreams. The Amish I have meet are strong people full of wisdom and intelligence. They have so many less conveniences than I and accomplish so much more.
    I am happy to hear you still have ties to your family and I pray you find new ways to stay close to God while in the big city!
    I will be watching for the book 😉

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  19. Well said, Kate. As someone who watches the show, I think the network only shows us a piece of your life. A lot of what is said or done during filming is edited to make a “plot” more dramatic or whatever. I’ve always felt like you are the most respectable and “real” person of the group. It is very admirable that you’ve been able to build a career for yourself and do what you want to do in your life. You have so much talent to share with the world 😊

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  20. Love seeing you pursue your dreams! I think many people feel as you do about religion. While I do go to a “mainstream denomination, I don’t always agree with everything that denomination believes in. For me, God wants to have a relationship with us much more than a regimented religious lifestyle. HE only made one YOU, and he has a plan and a purpose for YOUR life! I can’t wait to see all the places you will go and things you will do!

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  21. I too left the church (organizational rules), but held onto a respect. I still reflect on the spiritual rules I learned from church as they seem more important to me than certain rituals. Fortunately, I felt love from my family also.

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