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Breakaway Amish : Growing Up with the Bergholz Beard Cutters
by Johnny Mast and Shawn Smucker


Overview -

"I am the grandson of Bishop Sam Mullet, who was arrested for the Amish beard-cutting attacks. This is my story."

Beard-cutting attacks on Amish people in the middle of the night. Five incidents. Nine victims. How could members of a Christian tradition known for peace and forgiveness enact such violence?  Read more...


 
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    Breakaway Amish (Hardcover)
    Published: 2016-07-01
    Publisher: Herald Press (VA)
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More About Breakaway Amish by Johnny Mast; Shawn Smucker
 
 
 
Overview

"I am the grandson of Bishop Sam Mullet, who was arrested for the Amish beard-cutting attacks. This is my story."

Beard-cutting attacks on Amish people in the middle of the night. Five incidents. Nine victims. How could members of a Christian tradition known for peace and forgiveness enact such violence? What could make members of one Amish group turn against other Amish? In Breakaway Amish, Johnny Mast tells in riveting detail how his Amish community became increasingly isolated from other Amish people, and how the wishes and edicts of his grandfather, Bishop Sam Mullet, overtook daily life in the group. Over time, members became convinced that cutting their own hair was a sign of repentance and remorse. When that conviction led them to cut off the beards of those outside their community, however, it was more than a strange religious ritual. It was a crime.

Here is an eyewitness account of the disturbing events at Bergholz, an Amish community gone awry. Yet redemption dwells even here, in the bravery and conviction of one who chose to break free.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781513800219
  • ISBN-10: 1513800213
  • Publisher: Herald Press (VA)
  • Publish Date: July 2016
  • Page Count: 174


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Religious
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-05-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

Mast, who grew up in a small Amish community in Bergholz, Ohio, under the leadership of his grandfather, tells the story of his community’s spiral into spiritual abuse and violence, specifically the forcible cutting of beards and hair of other Amish who had left the community. The book is both a coming-of-age story—with Mast gradually perceiving more truth about his environment and choosing to leave—and a cautionary tale about religious and familial authority run amok as his grandfather commands increasingly abusive actions with complete autonomy. The story could be used as a template of warning signs for cults everywhere. Unfortunately, Mast chooses a flat, no-nonsense tone and avoids diving deep into his or anyone else’s motivations, even as he goes from helping to cover up an attack to testifying against the attackers. Some readers will be interested in the light this shines on the Bergholz community’s history and its deviance from the values the Amish are known for, but such a fascinating topic deserves better writing and more psychological insight than this book provides. (July)

 
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