What’s Next for Bergholz “Amish”?

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The New York Times had an interesting and deep-delving piece about the state of the Bergholz, Ohio Amish splinter group now that their leader, Sam Mullet is behind bars.  The central issue, to me, has always been: were the crimes “hate” crimes or not?  A jury in Ohio decided that the beard-cuttings that gained such media attention were, in fact, hate crimes.  Sentencing is February 8.  Is this a dangerous cult that needs to have the book thrown at them? Or is this just a wayward group executing an internal religious feud?  I think one can make compelling arguments on both sides. Read the New York Times piece here.  Most Amish I have met view Sam Mullet’s group with disdain, pity, or as the punchline to a joke.  He’s definitely far out of the mainstream, perhaps so far that he should no longer really be considered Amish.  Not sure. What do you think? Photo credit:Michael Melroy, New York Times…children play outside the schoolhouse in Bergholz

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The Discussion


  1. I believe that this is what happens when one man is allowed to do all of the thinking and decision-making for a group of people. They all just tend to follow him blindly with disregard for what is right and what is wrong….Kind of like that old expression, “lead astray like lemmings to the sea.”

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    • Well said…

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      • Barb Wright says:


        I agree. Just goes to show that there are “bad apples” everywhere that will take advantage when given the chance…

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  2. I agree with A.Marie – some people (lots, really) seem to like the easiness of letting someone else do the thinking and deciding. That never has a good outcome.

    I also get very irritated at the idea of “hate crimes.” Is someone less of a victim if they aren’t part of a targeted group? Aren’t all crimes hate crimes?

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    • I agree with you, Wendy. While well intention, I don’t think “hating” (an emotion) should be against the law…ACTING on that emotion in a harmful way SHOULD be a crime, but it already is…so creating a separate class of crimes based on a person’s emotions seems dangerous…
      Kevin recently posted..What’s Next for Bergholz “Amish”?My Profile

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  3. Norita Knowles says:


    My god what kind of Amish clan is this sounds more like a crazed cult. I live in a area with Amish folk and aint never seen of them acting like this.. Put these people away and brake the clan up or it will get worse when these men get out. And in the Amish community the women are to be quiet not undertake this type of activity with the men. Heck there not Amish at all unless there part of that new show on tv Amish Mafia.. This is crazy……. Bust the whole clan up

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  4. Cindy Linn says:


    I live in the Geauga settlement which is where Sam Mullet was born and raised. My neighbor across the hall who was Amish for a number of years knows Sam Mullet. Many of my Amish friends either know him or are in some way related to him. They all say the same thing – put him away so that he cannot hurt anyone else. He is not Amish. And I agree with them. Amish are peaceful God fearing individuals who do not harm others or make threats. Mullet’s ways were not approved of by the other bishops and he was told that. He didn’t like it and he moved out of the settlement.

    Bottom line though is that the acts were criminal and left lasting emotional scars. And while he may only have been responsible for that of a few individuals, his actions have had far reaching consequences for my friends and extended family.

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  5. Ditto to all comments. It’s called choices. These folks need to pay the penalty in full for their disgusting degrading choices. Such a shameful thing to happen.

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