Table of Contents
1. Why Not Electricity?
2. How Do You Light a Room Without Electricity?
3. Lanterns and Lamps
4. How Do You Cook With a Wood Stove?
5. The Amish Kitchen
6. How Do You Get Hot Water Without An Electric Pump or Heater?
7. Amish Plumbing
8. How Do You Keep Warm Without Centralized Heating?
9. The Home Fires
10. How Can You Wash Clothes Without an Electric Washer and Dryer?
11. Doing the Laundry
12. How Do You Make Clothes Without an Electric Sewing Machine?
13. Tailoring and Sewing
14. What Do You Do for Entertainment If You Don't Have TV?
15. Social Activities
16. How Do You Communicate When You Don't Have a Phone?
17. Staying In Touch
18. How Do You Get Around Without a Car?
20. How Can You Farm Without a Tractor?
21. Amish Agriculture
22. How Can You Run a Dairy Farm Without Electricity?
23. Milk and Cheese Production
24. How Do You Run a Woodworking Shop Without Electricity?
25. Power For Manufacturing
26. Mennonite and Brethren Practices: A Short History of the Amish
Excerpt from Chapter one; subtitle "A Connection with the World"
What makes the Old Order Amish unique is not that they get along without electricity, but that they choose to do without it when it would be readily available. Most Amish see a link with electric wires as a connection with the world--the world that the Bible tells them they are to be "strangers and pilgrims" in. Unlike many North Americans the Amish value simplicity and self-denial over comfort, convenience and leisure. So they try to discern the long-range effects of an innovation before deciding whether to adopt it.
Early in this century, the large majority of Amish leaders agreed that connecting to power lines would not be in the best interest of their communities. They did not make this decision because they thought electricity was evil in itself but because easy access to it could lead to many temptations and the deterioration of church and family life. For similar reasons, the Amish refuse to own cars.
Forbidding electricity has prevented the need to make decisions on individual electrical devices, especially those used for entertainment. Radio and television promote values that are directly opposed to those of the Amish. These influences cannot easily come into the home if the usual door of entrance is not present.
Copyright 1990 Good Books