The Mennonite/Amish cultures have many traditions that separate them from the normal Christian faith. 400 years ago, many European Christians were killed and tortured for their belief in adult baptism. Adult baptism is referred to as Anabaptism, meaning “re-baptizer.” One Anabaptists belief is that members of the church should be baptized during adulthood rather than infancy (Robinson 2002). Amish adult baptism gives members of the church the freedom, and the adult conscious choice to find their faith through a tradition called Rumspringa. Rumspringa means “running around” in the Amish Dutch language. Once a child turns 16, they are free to experience the world from an American standard. This means they are allowed to use electricity, watch television, listen to music of their choice, and wear normal clothes. This also means they are allowed to drink, smoke, and sometimes use drugs and/or experience sexual relationships. Rumspringa can last from a week to several years. A child can make the decision at any time to rejoin, or not to rejoin, the Amish faith and community. If the child rejoins the faith, he must surrender the many pleasures that he was allowed during Rumspringa, and return to the simple lives the Amish lead. If the child decides not to join the Amish faith, he is shunned from the community and his family, and his soul is thought to be lost forever. Surprisingly 90% of the young adults do return to the Amish faith (Pinsker 2002). Literature Review:
Devil's Playground is a documentary on Amish children in the Rumspringa stage. The movie shows the lives of kids who were debating whether or not to rejoin the church. Devil's Playground centers on mainly 2 main characters and their interactions with others in and out of the Amish community. The main character is a boy named Faron Yoder, and 18 year old preacher's son. Faron was heavily involved with drugs and dated an “English” girl in the beginning of the documentary. He was later arrested for drugs and involved in a set up to avoid his jail time. After he was revealed to be involved with the set up, he had to break up with his American girlfriend and move back in with his Amish family. He cleaned up and found an Amish girlfriend, Emma. Emma decided not to rejoin the church and moved to an Amish community in Florida. Faron and Emma broke up at that point because Faron wanted to rejoin the church. Faron, then, gets back into drugs and partying. He later moves to Florida to be with Emma and clean up. The couple's fate is unrevealed. Another main character was Velda. She felt very depressed during Rumspringa and did end up returning to the Amish church. After returning she decided that the Amish life was not for her and she left. She was shunned from her family which she believes was their last way of showing her that they loved her. She lives on her own, works for herself, and was accepted into a Christian college in Texas. Velda is very involved with the Christian Religion, but claims that the rigid Amish life depressed her. She does not have much contact with her family, but she does not regret leaving the church. The movie shows many other kids experiencing Rumspringa, and involving themselves in wild parties, drugs, unsupervised relationships, drinking, smoking, and other “American” activities. One girl was baptized back into the church and refused to be interviewed any further. In the deleted scenes of the movie an Amish couple, experiencing Rumspringa, had a big controversy because the boy did not want to return and the girl did. She decided not to return to be with her boyfriend. Some of the kids lived in a trailer away from their parents, while others stayed within the community. Typically boys wore more “American” clothing, while girls stuck to the traditional dress code. Also, the boys had driver's license and cars, while the girls did not. On some occasions Amish adults were interviewed saying that...
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