By Kevin Williams
Time for our weekly glance at anything and everything Amish in the news.
Let's get the ghastly done with first. I've not posted a ton about this since it initially happened just because it's an unpleasant topic and I didn't want to have to think about it everything time I posted it. But since the perpetrators are now headed for prison, here's an update:
KIDNAPPERS SENTENCED: Two Upstate New Yorkers had the book thrown at them by a judge. This twisted duo kidnapped two Amish girls from a vegetable stand last summer, abused them and then released them when they got spooked by the media attention. Now they will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Click here to read how it all unfolded.
MILLIE OTTO IN A BUGGY BIND: On a far lighter note, read about Illinois Amish columnist Millie Otto's buggy troubles as she went into town on a recent day. Click here to read.
275 POUNDS LATER..: I first saw this story in People Magazine but a few things struck me as "off" so I did a little digging and found a better, more thorough, story to share. The story that People Magazine reported, in short, was Old Order Mennonite woman joins Weight Watchers chapter, loses 275 pounds and leaves church. And that was pretty much it. Bunch of things jumped out at me. First clue: the woman's name is Jennifer Butters. Now I do not profess to know every Old Order Amish surname out there but in 25 years of studying Plain cultures I had never encountered the name "Butters." Then there's the joining a group like Weight Watchers. Very unusual for an Old Order member. Such associations are typically frowned upon. And then there's being 275 pounds overweight in the first place. While there are certainly overweight - and even obese - Plain people, they are a decided minority. Also, People Magazine showed several pictures of Jennifer Butters and her husband dressed in Plain attire, these pose-type photos would be very unusual. So, turns out, Jennifer and her husband joined the Old Order Mennonites back in 2002 as converts who never really quite fit in. This fact doesn't make the story any less compelling (maybe it makes it more compelling), but it does make more sense. Would love to know how they chose to move from Indiana to Pennsylvania. If I were going to convert, there'd be plenty of places in Indiana I'd have looked at first.....Anyway, click here to read the whole story. As an aside, kudos to the woman for losing 275 pounds. I'm simply trying to lose 30 and can't see to make progress!
PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH POT PIE: The Boston Globe printed what seems like a very authentic, straight-from the farm recipe for true Pennsylvania Dutch Pot Pie. For me, pot pie was - and still is - what it was while I was growing up: a frozen, Swanson pie filled with veggies and chicken that came out of the oven way too hot to eat for awhile. You had to vent the crust with a fork to try to let some of that heat escape unless you wanted your mouth burned to a crisp. But pot pie means something totally different in Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch culture. Read the Globe article and recipe here.
BREAKFAST CASSEROLE: Breakfast casserole recipes are a dime-a-dozen in Amish cookbooks and they basically all follow the same formula. Ah, but the New York Times recently dissected the breakfast casserole. Oh, man, after reading this article I wanted to whip up a breakfast casserole, this article tells you exactly what to do with the bread, etc (all in the snooty tone of the NYT, really, who calls the egg in breakfast casserole "custard" other than some elitist East Coast food writer?) Anyway, click here to read a great article.
Isn't it amazing what some people write as truth? Even more amazing, isn't it amazing what some people read and believe as truth???
Hi, interesting thought. About 5 stories in that thread. Which article were you referring to, B Fall?
Was browsing the internet due to a surge of publications sharing my 275 pound weight loss and life transformation story, and came across your article. Thought I might clarify 'for the record' that my husband and I (along with our 5 children) were *not* members of an Old Order Mennonite group- we were however members of an ultra conservative Mennonite group you may have heard of, that being the 'Eastern Pennsylvania Mennonite' group. 🙂
Besides that, I also thought I might elaborate a little... 1) your certainly correct in conservative Mennonite groups frowning on their members being a part of/member of an organization outside the Church... that would be their stretching of being 'unequally yoked', so when I decided needed some support and accountability in order to lose 275 pounds (from 410 lbs. to 135 lbs.), I knew attending and joining Weight Watchers was going to *have* to be done in secret, and I chose a meeting location well away from *ANY* Mennonite or plain groups, and drove further away to attend out of fear of being told I couldn't be a 'member'. Yes... they are truly that controlling.
2)We most certainly *did* look into plain groups and Mennonite groups in Indiana first- and in fact attended a Beachy Amish church a couple hours away from us for a spell before finally making our decision to move to PA to become Eastern PA Mennonites. The style of dress (solid colors, suspenders, etc...) came from our time with the Beachy group, and we maintained those convictions even though the Eastern PA Mennonite group did not make it mandatory. We were OFTEN confused as being Amish or Old Order Mennonite because of our very plain attire. 🙂
3)Maybe you could visit some of the Eastern PA Mennonite congregations if you haven't seen very many morbidly obese plain people... because you'd find plenty in their midst... so I was most definitely in 'good company' and not quite in the minority.
Anyway... hope this helps fill in the gaps! lol! We are quite happily settled in a non denominational Christian Church these days (we left the Mennonites 3 years ago), and I am healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually than I have ever been. God *IS* good! 🙂
I was invited to appear on the Today Show the end of November... a very nice experience, and besides People magazine, my story has been shared most recently (today in fact) in 'First For Women' and 'Woman's World' magazine as well.
p.s. Imagine introducing yourself with the last name of 'BUTTERS' at every Mennonite gathering... that was always 'fun'! I am sure you have heard of the 'Mennonite game' being spending the first 15 minutes of meeting someone new by trying to see who you are related to or know... we were pretty boring in that game! 🙂
p.s.s. I also have a Facebook weight loss group with well over 15,000 followers these days, sharing HOPE for those needing to go through a difficult weight loss journey or life transformation, etc... 'Jennie's Journey Of Faith Losing Weight And Gaining Spiritual Insights'
Jennifer, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your story...fascinating, I'll link out to it today so people can read more of what you have to say....The mainstream media just sort of runs with the "Mennonite/Amish angle" and leaves a lot out in the process, so your comments help a bunch and congrats on the weight loss....I'm not doing so well trying to shed a simple 30 pounds! - Kevin, Editor