The Amish and the Mormons are two ethno-religious groups in America. The Amish call themselves the Ana Baptist Christian Church and were founded by Swiss Mennonites under the leadership of Jacob Amman. The Mormons on the other hand are also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. Although other minor groups also refer to themselves as Mormons even if they do not belong to that church by virtue their adherence to the book of Mormon, to them, a companion to the Bible. Both groups have a considerable presence in America. While the Amish are largely a reclusive ultra-conservative group, the Mormons are aggressive in their missionary work to spread their faith both here and abroad.
The Mormons and the Amish are Christians, in the sense that they both believe in Jesus Christ. However, are radically different in the way they practice their beliefs. While the Mormons are very similar to average Americans in culture and social life their beliefs are radically different. Until 1890 the LDS allow pluralistic marriage. However, what really sets them apart is the source of their beliefs known as the Book of Mormon. According to their beliefs the book was written by Mormon as a chronicle of Jesus Christ’s later day ministry in America. The Mormons believe that after the Resurrection Christ came to America and preached there.
They believe that the Book of Mormon is also the word of God (Article of Faith #8). According to their faith in death Mormons will become one with God and join him in heaven. This radical doctrine sets them apart from other Christian groups since most Christian denominations hold that they will simply go to Heaven and not become one with God. By comparison, the Amish faith is not so different from most Christians. Other than their simply life that shuns modern technology, their faith is quite orthodox. They practice ana baptism, hence their name, which means that adults are baptized a second time.
Their faith is based on II Corinthians 6:14 and 6:17 which says “Be not yoked with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (II Corinthians 6:14) “Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” (II Corinthians 6:17). It is because of these bible verses and the belief that they inspire that Amish shun modern living and live simple lives away from modern life and the sins it inspires.
The Amish culture is highly conservative when compared to average Americans while the Mormon culture is pretty much indistinct from other everyday Americans. As mentioned earlier, the Amish are a very conservative and traditionalist group. The most extreme of them are the Old Order Amish who still use horses for farming and transportation. Electricity and telephones are largely taboo in Amish communities. They still wear traditional peasant dresses that would be common in a 17th century setting.
The Amish also do not join the military, accept social security or any other form of dealing with the government. It would appear that they prefer to remain in the old ways and do not wish to adapt to modern life. In recent years some progressive Amish groups have begun to accept modern life and are less conservative. By comparison the culture and social life of the Mormons are hardly distinguishable from average Americans.
In fact, other than their religious belief and their strict adherence to the code of conduct that the book of Mormon and the Bible prescribes their daily lives are not very different. The only major difference is that many Mormons participate in missionary work to spread their faith. For example, there is a strong Mormon presence in the Philippines supported financially, and logistically by the LDS church in America.
The Amish hold to very strict traditions that date back to the 17th Century while the Mormons have learned to adapt to the times. For example, Amish practice of community church meetings, living of the land and marrying only their fellow Amish are throw backs from the colonial period. Mormons do not restrict themselves to old practices and live like average members of society, most of the time.
Amish are a minority in America but then so are the Mormons. But while the Mormons are actively spreading their faith across the world and openly try to convert others to their belief. The Amish keep largely to themselves. In fact, all Amish can claim descent from one of the original 200 Amish. Both are religious groups that help us appreciate the diversity of faiths and creed in America Today.