Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Hutterite Review Of "American Colony - Meet The Hutterites

 The message from the first episode and limited clips I've seen seems to be this;

   "Hi there World,  we are The Hutterites, a quaint and interesting folk.  We have a unique lifestyle with different customs, traditions, and foods. We have hurts and struggles just like anybody else,  but deep down our goals in life are to have a good time.  We are no angels and neither  do we proclaim to be. We lead our  life the way we do because that's  the way it's always been done.  We are Hutterites  because we always have been. We have a vague idea how we got here, and a vaguer one on where we are heading. We live in the 21st century now. Why should we be held accountable to the elders? Why should anyone tell us what we should and shouldn't  do?"

 Rebellion and disrespect seem to be at forefront in this series. Also very little respect is shown for the Third Commandment in Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

  Jesus commands his followers in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

  Well, this light is very dim, some would say extinguished in American Colony.

 The only positive I can find is that young Hutterites  who watch this series can see the fruit of a rebellious and disrespectful attitude, and treat these episodes as a wake up call and a testament of how far we have and can fall.

 And folks, Hutterite (communal) life without Jesus  Christ as the founder,  leader and centerpiece  of our faith  is not sustainable. It is as empty and  meaningless as a rusted out 5 gallon pail.


  1. Louie Vetter,

    I totally agree with your philosophy. However that this movie could have been filmed in any number of colonies and portray rebellion and lawlessness is astounding!

    I really don't know what to make of your blog. Are you saying that many or some colonies are not what they seem like? I find this in Matthew 7:16 By their fruit you will recognize them.

    Men's language discloses what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are so is their evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others.

    Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted, don't you think? What means do Hutterites use to separate good from evil?

    1. Thank you for your response.

      I have since deleted that part of my blog post because it had the potential to be misunderstood.

      What was meant by the part I deleted was that no matter where you go, you will always find rebellious and disrespectful souls (albeit the minority) especially amongst the immature generation who haven't figured out what they want out of life. And if a film maker potentially were to single them out and give them lead roles in a film, then that wouldn't be an accurate portrayal of that colony and for sure not of Hutterites in general.

      That all colonies and members are picture perfect is a stretch. We are all human and therefore prone to fail at times. But the key is to get up when we fall. And always strive to be an example and inspiration to your brethren and to the next generation.

      The Hutterite church is designed by default to help and aid the weak in flesh and faith. It is each members responsibility to admonish evil words and actions.

      I am currently working on a blog post that will hopefully answer your questions in greater detail.

  2. how do hutterites watch this if they don't have tv?

    1. My guess is that your'e a Hutterite!
      What should concern you is the skewed image that the public may now perceive of what the Hutterite Faith and Culture is like. As an outsider my perception is, if this is what some colonies call Worshiping God is like, please stop and let me off, I would want no part of that God.

      If this is not indicative of what you believe in then you need to walk the talk, refute it, stand up and defend your faith as Louie Vetter does.(have met many a Hofer, Waldner, Kleinsasser but never a Vetter?) He for one seems to understand what Hutterianism is about, Its people like him that you need in the public telling us what it means to be a Christian Hutterite, and some how I can sense his concern and sincerity.I presume he is a leader at his colony.

      Why do the colonies allow non Hutterites to show their culture and way of Life, your forefathers I'm told have recorded a thousand page Chronicle 500 years ago. Where are your scholars or theologians let them speak and not some spoiled kids.

      I understand very well that people will be people and God will be God. However I'm totally in awe from the lack of respect for Elders as well as the ill manners displayed by the youth on this Colony.

      Will you please invite me to your colony, I want to get to know you, your culture, your religion the reason that you live communally, what it is that you believe in, why you wear head covers, black pants and come back here and say it is not at all like the NG 'American Colony'?

      Just my humble opinion.
      Sincerely yours,

    2. Hi, if you are interested in visiting a colony, you would be quite welcome to come visit ours. While it isn't perfect, it bears little resemblance to the way Hutterite life is portrayed/betrayed in 'American Colony.'

    3. You are quite welcome to come visit John. Our colony is far from perfect, but neither is it much like the one in the show.

  3. I have not seen it, asked a none Hutterite to tape it for me, but she said," I will not, I don't want you to get hurt, by watch;g it, " so it must be really bad,

  4. Have not seen it but can it be any worse than HSN and what Jerry Wipf did to that culture?

    1. HSN (Hutterite Social Network) was an open forum, and Jerry Wipf was quite fair in letting the Hutterites who participated express and defend their faith to all who expressed interest in it.

    2. First of all Jerry Wipf had an agenda with elders and their leadership and used his abilities to bring these issues out in the open, while staying on the sidelines and letting everything unfold.

      Second, the young man who the elders were not willing to let him get a proper education was right when he said "they (the elders have too much power).

    3. Maybe JW could have taken his beef up with his Dad instead of generalising and dragging a lot of us and our families through the gutter. A lot of us grew up in colonies and left and turned out to be quite normal, so what is his hangup really, makes you wonder.
      So what happened to HSN? Why did so many Hutterites/good people leave or stop posting if it was such a Hutterite/people friendly site? I always though it was a poorly run site with JW's "friends" causing most of the problems and driving people off.

  5. The young lady that challenges the men and their power over the womenfolk should be given a medal for courage. Not only does she realize that she has a mind of her own, she is smart enough and brave enough to use her mind and follow her heart!

    From what I can gather the father committed suicide. These kids are not stupid. They know they are pegged by the elders as someone who these elders can use to take a stranglehold over the rest of the people. Basically it seems to have the makings of a cult.

  6. It would be interesting if National Geographic would be allowed to enter into the lives of the other side of the coin and film the lives of the people who call this a rebel colony and say all of this filming is staged.

  7. It would be really interesting if National Geographic was to be given a chance to spend time with the head minister of all three groups of Hutterites and bring forward and understanding of the reality that these elders see from their perspective. This would shed a light on some of the major hurdles the Hutterite culture faces in today's society, and would give everyone a chance to communicate their point of view. Some think the Hutterite culture is misunderstood. It might be, but that is mainly due to lack of proper education, disrespect towards different cultures by the Hutterites themselves, and a very narrow minded and unrelenting attitude towards their own people by a good majority of the elders themselves. Basically what it comes down to is nobody wants to be the bad guy, so the balance of spirituality, health and living in harmony together is being neglected.

  8. I truly do not understand how the men of the colony can purchase equipment that costs thousands of dollars, yet the women have to make the soap from lye and lard. If you can pay thousands of dollars for a four wheeler, tractor, truck, etc., surely you can purchase soap.

  9. As a Hutterite lady, I have to say that I would not want to be without homemade soap. It is far superior to any store-bought soap for stain removal, grease fighting, and general cleanliness. We use it every day, and would hate to have the men say we can't cook soap anymore and bring is the storebought stuff to use.
    It is a rather archaic method, however it is interesting work, a seasonal job job (in spring and fall) that gives the women a chance to do something different, and bond over the soap kettle. The men are always present for the heavy stuff, lifting in the pails, and then pouring the soap out in forms to dry. (Staying downwind of the kettle and having the men do the heavy work is what most Hutterite ladies do, but I realize that wouldn't have been as interesting viewing as the American Colony version)
    There is also a certain feeling of connection to all the women who have come before us who have done this very same thing,cooking soap for their families using their leftover lard,a sense that we have come into a rich heritage and that we are continuing the traditions of thriftiness and cleanliness. Hutterites were green long before it was cool to be so.
    Some colonies cannot use the soap because of hard water problems, and I have heard their ladies say that one of their dearest wishes would be to be able to use that good old homemade soap again.
    But to show you the other side, one of our ladies' newest toys is a German made Self-cooking centre which costs about as much as a small car and has the very latest technology in cooking. 85% of the European hospitality industry uses these models, as compared to only 15% in North America, with top-end restaurants and Hutterite colonies leading the trend. So these ovens are operated by certified chefs and Hutterite ladies.
    I hope this answers your question.

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