Did You Meet The Hutterites?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

“Meet The Hutterites” is Nat Geo’s latest series exploring “American outliers”, groups that live on the margins and don’t get a ton of publicity.  The series debuted Tuesday evening.

Sheesh…what a show.  Whereas the companion series “Amish: Out Of Order” focuses mainly on ex-Amish, this show delves into an actual Hutterite colony. The first episode centers around a 52-year-old widowed mother, Bertha Hofer and the struggles she faces raising her three children in an increasingly modern world while balancing the age-old traditions of the Hutterites.  Not an easy balancing act!  Bertha Hofer steals the show with an absolutely endearing mix of gruff grumpiness and tenderness towards her children. She was great! One of Bertha’s daughter,s 19-year-old Claudia, acts as the second show stealer with her precocious rebelliousness.  The series will probably pivot around these two and their interactions and decisions.

I think the show is worth watching because it does provide some great teaching moments (such as when Bertha described the various colonies and how they ascribe to varying levels of strictness in their theology and lifestyle).  My only real criticism isn’t a criticism it’s a “buyer beware.”   There are almost 350 Hutterite colonies in Canada and about half that in the US…the series focuses on a handful of people from one colony who have agreed to be filmed, I’m not sure how representative they are of Hutterites as a whole.  I’m not saying they are or aren’t, just saying I’m not sure.  And – spoiler – I refuse to believe that some of this isn’t scripted.  For instance, at the end where Bertha Hofer pulls out her cell phone and sees a text saying “The Elders are Coming.”  That just seemed a bit contrived and if there’s too much of that, you begin to wonder what else is contrived.     That’s more of a problem with the “reality show” (docu-tainment) genre in general, though. Does anyone really think MTV’s Jersey Shore is completely unscripted? Now before people jump on me as a sourpuss, I’m not…I’m just raising questions. It was an enjoyable show and I look forward to more episodes!  Did you watch it, what did you think of the program?

EDITOR’S GRADE FOR THE SHOW: B+

Join Our Newsletter

Join over 7,000 people who get free and fresh content delivered automatically each time we publish.

Sign Up

The Discussion

  1. Kathleen Salinas says:


    I did watch it. I had some interest because an ex-hutterite had visited our church a few years back to ask for help for people who had left the colonies and were pretty lost now. He was from a colony that had moved from Canada to the U.S. and some of what he had to say (and show with pictures) was very dismaying. I agree with you that this does appear to be scripted. In addition from what I’ve seen of some of the previews (i.e. them shooting a cow) there are some shock scenes that will be include that are both unnecessary and inappropriate for children – as well as some adults who just don’t care to see that.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  2. Loretta says:


    Kevin, I don’t have the stomach nor the desire to see animals slaughtered.
    I REALLY don’t have the stomach for it. I was going to watch this program but I had to turn it before two minutes were up.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • Loretta, I agree with you and Kathleen…i thought that was a very poor way to begin the programming…Butchering is definitely a part of Hutterite culture, but showcasing that in the first five minutes was a turn-off…

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  3. Did they say which colony it was, and where?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  4. lorraine stoddard says:


    I did watch and enjoyed it very much. I can’t wait for Tuesday to arrive.
    I also didn’t like the part of butering the pig. On the ex-Amish…..I always did wander if they did join anothe church. In the one scene an ex-Amish was being baptized,yet he was dressed like the Amish.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • It’s not uncommon for an ex-Amish person to retain their Amish dress, at least for a period of time after leaving. My Mennonite friend married a man who was formerly Amish. Many ex-Amish join a Mennonite church. It’s not uncommon for ex-Amish or Mennonites to join some type of charismatic or pentecostal denomination. The belief that their church is the only true path to salvation is so ingrained that many do not attend church at all, whether it is a rejection of all religious trappings or the feeling that no other church can measure up in preaching the “truth.”

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
      • lorraine stoddard says:


        Interesting. Thank you.

        VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
        Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  5. I really don’t have the stomach to see animals slaughtered either, although I believe there are more humane ways to slaughter an animal. Most people are so out of touch with the source of their food supply that I would consider this a valuable reminder of where that food comes from. The Hutterites derive their living from farming, so that’s an accurate portrayal of their lifestyle.

    I have visited a Hutterite colony in South Dakota in the past where a friend taught in their school. Although it was about 10 years ago, their living quarters were very spartan. Those featured on the show were quite “fancy” in comparison. I have heard many things about the dismal life a Hutterite faces when they leave. It was relatively simple for me to leave a Mennonite group that I had joined as an adult after 10 years. The group think and limited horizons were very much a part of my decision to leave as I wanted my children to have the same opportunities that were afforded to me when I was young.

    I befriended a former Hutterite who has successfully made the transition to life outside the colony. It appears from anecdotal evidence that the constricted lifestyle and limited personal wealth leads to a number of problems in the colony such as intermarriage, public drunkenness, shoplifting, and a high degree of depression, especially among women.

    The people featured in the program were very easily led and coached even if they weren’t actually “fed lines” as the producer of the show claims. This show should be considered a representation of a microcosm of all Hutterites. The official representation of the Hutterites can be found here: http://www.hutterites.org. For an ethnography and a more balanced view: http://www.sunstar-solutions.com/Hutterites.htm

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  6. Helen Christensen says:


    I knew about the Amish because have Amish living in our area. But don’t quite understand about the other groups like the Hutterites and how they started. But found the program interesting. didn’t care for the butchering part. It is interesting to see how other people live.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  7. Patricia Williams says:


    I had really looked forward to this show,but I was very disappointed. I felt the majority of the show was scripted. The slaughter of the pig was atrocious. I will give it another chance, but I wil not waste my time if the show continues to be scripted.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • They all sound as if they are reading from cue cards. At one point, Toby spoke without the “accent”. As did Claudia during the snow mobile scene. Its fake. Good show,not great. It will do for now until something else comes along.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  8. Becky Martin says:


    I agree that it seems scripted at times. I had to look away when they butchered the pig. I didn’t know what to expect about the show. I was surprised they had to bleep some stuff and was shocked by the beer drinking. I don’t know quite what to think about them. I will continue to watch, however, I like the Amish of of Order show MUCH better (so far, any way)

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  9. I thought the whole thing a bit strange mainly because I didn’t understand the mixture of “old ways” vs cell phones and the like. So I agree with the scripted part. I also wondered about the culture because they refer many times to being so “religious” yet the language was rather rough and certainly not appropriate for little one’s ears…funny nobody else mentioned that. The slaughter didn’t bother me all that much because I grew up on a farm and am now a farmer’s wife myself, however we do take our animals to the meat market to be slaughtered in a more clean, healthy manner. If you eat meat you have to know at some level that what you are eating has that in it’s history!

    I would really hope that they will shed more light into the history of the colonies, religious beliefs, and such. That would certainly give more depth to the program! We shall see.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  10. Kathy Lorenzini says:


    I forgot to watch! Maybe they’ll replay the first episode before I watch the 2nd one. I’m still trying to decide if I like Amish: Out of Order!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  11. I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one that felt the show was heavily scripted. I didn’t care for it and won’t watch another episode.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  12. Kathleen Salinas says:


    I’ll probably watch another episode because I am interested in other lifestyles, however I DVR it and fast forward past the slaughter scenes. We all know that an animal must give its life for us to eat it, but if I wanted to see that I would go to a slaughter house! BTW, this colony sounds NOTHING like the one described to us by the gentlemen who came to our church in Tennessee.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  13. June Hunte says:


    Kenin,
    I watched as I never heard of Hutterites before. But, a pit too much blood, and very scriped. I want to know more about the group and how they live!! I will continue to watch a few more times.
    Thanks Kevin

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  14. Dawn Rumsey says:


    I really enjoy Amish, out of order. I feel that Mose is really trying to heal his own heart and sole, to be the kind of person the younger people can really look up to and turn to. I really respect him for that. And as for The Hutterites, wow. I love Bertha, I’d like to just give her a hug from one Mom to another. I really respect her and feel so bad for her . She wants the best for her kids, ( school & sports ) , yet has the need to follow her life style. GOD bless Bertha & Mose.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  15. Dan Dumont says:


    Well I’m still undecided on the Amish documentaries. My wife finds them very interesting. I’m not sure I buy all the drama though.I question Mose’s motives for wanting to help all the Amish children find a way out. It’s almost like he is out scouting for deserters. Most of the Amish girls and boys I have met seem to be quite happy with their Amish way of life. But I suppose location does play a part in the way different Amish communities raise the children. As far as the Hutterites are concerned, I think sixty five per cent of that show is scripted. The Hutterites in my opinon is just more reality TV. Which for the most part I find some’what boring and stupid. Although I must admit I watch Storage Wars and American Pickers. No plug for either show intended.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  16. we watched this only wondering 1st their “christain example” and then how much of the drama is because of monies provided for this if any. But really sounds like the cares of the world are heavy on their heads and they need the prayers of the brethern blessings linda

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  17. This morning, my son wanted to know more about lions. So I went to Netflix and put on what I thought would be an educational documentary about the big cats. It was by National Geographic, right? Well, it was no Mutual of Omaha production. We had SENSATIONALIZED narration that sounded more like a promo for the Jerry Springer show than something remotely intended for the classroom setting. So then tonight I’m surfing channels on DISH and come across this NatGeo garbage about the Hutterites and Amish which they are trying to pass off unbiased here-at-home-in-America anthropology. Bullpucky. This stuff is liquified crap prepared to prejudice the masses and further point the finger of scorn at professed followers of Christ. I am just disgusted. As a Latter-day Saint, I’m just wondering when they’re going to do an American Outlier show on people on my faith, and what apostate oddball family they will use to push their agenda. Elder Boyd K. Packer nailed it on the head when he told the BYU student body that LARGELY BECAUSE OF TELEVISION the youth of today live IN the Great and Spacious Building [of the prophet Lehi's dream in the Book of Mormon.] The Great and Spacious Building represents the pride of the world, which points the finger of scorn at the true and humble followers of Christ. If National Geographic had any credibility left with me, they just lost all of it today. Makes me start to wonder about all the filmstrips I saw in school with naked natives jumping around and people from India cross-dressing and worshipping snakes. Were they really respectful portrayals? Or were they just more of the sensationalized s**t with an agenda like I just witnessed tonight?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  18. I would like to watch the show about the Hutterites but like others have mentioned, I cannot stand to watch the butchering of animals. And why is that necessary? Why can’t they just show them going into the barn and then stop? I don’t have the stomach for it. Almost every episode they show them killing something; a pig, cow, geese, chickens. I have to turn the channel. So, while I’d love to watch, I can’t because the producers aren’t sensitive to the fact that some of us can’t stomach that. Oh well…

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  19. I love the show. I find it odd how people find the butcheting to be repulsive. Where does your meat come from? I’m assuming they are not vegetarian. Also, most slaughter houses are not any cleaner. Just saying.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • I agree. I am surprised that so many people are put off by the butchering of animals. I have never lived on a farm, yet I didn’t think twice about it. I hope that someday the world will not eat meat, or will eat much less, but that day is not here.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

    • Thank you Katie, all those who commented about the slaughtering of animals being uncalled for are spoiled – they want to eat the steak, they don’t want to know that it had a name(or a number) or ate grass or breathed the same air as they do. I did object to shooting the cow in the group of cows – this is not good husbandry and upsets the herd needlessly.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  20. sherene says:


    Claudia is 19 not 15 years old.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  21. Ricky Moore says:


    I think Claudia is a very beautiful woman and I hope she gets a college degree

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  22. I enjoy the show and hope for the best for the Hutterites. Bertha deserves a big hug for her kind patience with raising her teenage children and still trying to remain loyal to her faith, tradition and values. Claudia, equally as an up and coming woman, needs to find her nich in her own world to bring her happiness. I hope she doesn’t make a big mistake by leaving, only to discover that outside of the closeness of her “Hutterite” lifestyle, she can’t find the happiness she seeks. The show is great. I am sure some of it is contrived by National Geographic producers, but most of the show is an actual portrayal of their lifestyle. I give it a thumbs up.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  23. Can you tell me if Claudia gets to go to college. How long has she been going now.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
  24. Clinton Entz says:


    I am an ex Hutterite that left 11 years ago I have no problem with the scene starting buy butchering an animal that is a way of life that happens around the world where do you thing you get the meat from in the groceiry store i dosnt just appear some has to go through the work to prepare it people need to know, the proble I do have is the rest of the show, it is not even close to being right what colony life is realy about, trust me i was one, where i grew up women did drive tractor and still do, i feel bad for the colony the way it presented them and its not even close, to being right but that is what most people want to see wheter its real or not,I believe the scenes were staged ahead of time what they were going to shoot with different character names and totaly misses the point, People the show is a phoney trust I know, I laughed when I watched its not even close to being acurate and true and should be removed, what do you thing has kept them togather for so many centuries if you think its what you are watching they would have lasted a month but they have and they are growing. its is their love for each other, their believe and for their way of life that ansd their commitment to each other that has kept them togather not what you are watching, thats not true and a joke, its plain stupid, I know i grew up a hutterite, and I am proud of my background and culture and proud to say so.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  25. I love both of these shows! i have great respect for Bertha and I’d love to meeet her and hug her! I can see where Claudia gets her rebellion from lol; I loved it that she went and got her hair cut and dyed.Even dabbed on some makeup. Im looking forward to new seasons for both of these shows!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Speak Your Mind

*


+ 4 = six

CommentLuv badge

css.php