Response from John L. Ruth, a leading historian and author.

Written by: Paul Wipf on Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Last week, alerted by both Mennonite and Hutterite friends, I viewed two episodes of National Geographic’s currently running television series on the Hutterites.  While finding it humorously entertaining, I didn’t know whether to laugh or scoff.

I understand this is in the recently evolved mode of  “reality TV,” a genre of entertainment.  But what kind of “reality” can be expected from producers choosing a dysfunctional colony by which to present what they call “the very first glimpse inside” Hutterite life?

Actually, an hour-long documentary, “The Hutterites: To Care and Not to Care,” produced by Burton Buller and myself with the counsel of scholar John A. Hostetler, ran on the PBS network in the United States thirty years ago, and has since been repeatedly screened on the Discovery Channel.

In the two National Geographic episodes I watched there was almost nothing of the deep-rooted spiritual dream alive in the twenty Hutterite colonies I’ve visited.  While they weren’t perfect, and they did have serious issues, none of them would have countenanced much of the behavior presented in this series.  In fact, if that behavior were typical of the Hutterite fellowship in general, it would be coming apart at the seams.

Turning the life of an unrepresentative colony into entertainment for a secular audience betrays the larger and historic reality of the group’s life.  Rather, National Geographic’s “success” here is in making the subject entertaining.   Their producers deploy the same “reality” genre in depicting rebellious members of the Amish.  For me, a search for colorfully edgy margins of minority groups who work hard to maintain a countercultural spirituality is no promising sign of  balanced insight.   I expected something with more integrity from policy-makers at the prestigious National Geographic.  To use a group’s soul-issues to boost TV ratings is a commentary on what’s at the heart of commercial television.

I’m not opposed to documentarians doing insightful exposes.  There are dysfunctional colonies and Amish and Mennonite communities with colorful behavior that embarrasses their parent bodies.  In a sense they are fair game to secular documentarians and their audience.  But this tightly edited series is something else.  Characters obviously quote teleprompter-type lines written for them, which are then edited in between takes when they are speaking  extemporaneously.  Scripted scenes are juiced with a music track.  Obviously imposed plots that would be laughed out of court by most Hutterites include episodes such as a “jerky contest,” girls riding off while the colony boss can’t stop them, or a waitress taking a scripted pratfall, etc., etc.  Some interchanges make even the rehearsed “actors” smile wryly.  If only the quality of the camera work were matched with subtlety of spiritual insight.

One more thought.  Years ago I was surprised to hear a wise Amish preacher say of a book his people deeply resented, “Well, even in any book there can be something good.” So while it surely brings a community pain to have its difficulties used to titillate an audience, there is another interesting reality here.  Even through the distorting lens of the producers will gleam genuine motifs of the Hutterite faith tradition.  Thus the wounding media event could ironically cut two ways.  Some of the viewers whose attention is so cheaply snagged may well become curious enough to pursue the subject beyond entertainment.  If they do, they could be genuinely touched by the noble testimony of Christian community, as bits of it appear on the YouTube of the Internet.  For serious people, unpopular spiritual truth becomes more interesting and enduring than the sarcasm that entertains for a moment.

John L. Ruth, June 30, 2012


Narrator and producer of two Documentary Films

Amish : The Amish; A People of Preservation.

Hutterites: To Care or Not to Care.


Showing 105 comments

Daniel said:
On: 2nd Jul, 2012 at 05:00

I’d recently been assigned a project on the Hutterites for a Comparative Religions class at the local university. I am extremely grateful that you took the time to reject the modern, entertainment oriented, portrayal of the Hutterite community in lieu of posting an, albeit slightly older version of the group. My concern’s though rest upon this very era of modern communication: the internet, social media, etc. I wonder, as you do not reject technology outright, as many of the Anabaptist groups have, do you seem to find many individuals desiring to leave the community as a result of such technology

    Ian said:
    On: 16th Jul, 2012 at 14:53

    Thank you for your question Daniel.
    You ask if Hutterites leave because of technology. That is somewhat of a hard question to answer. The only good answer would be to say some do and some don’t. Really, it all boils down to the individual persons convictions about living in community. If they really don’t see living in community as something they want, then they might leave in order to pursue some personal interest (technology/sports/travel/etc). This decision might be technology related but just as easily not.
    Maybe a better way to frame the question would be to ask do people working with modern or cutting edge technologies in colonies have a higher tendency to leave then those who don’t. That some do is true but I will venture to say that this is not true for the majority.
    For instance, in our colony, grade 12 is compulsory. We are a colony that relies on manufacturing to make a living. We ship manufactured goods all over the world. Our members do quite a bit of international business travel as well. Because of our manufacturing machines, our young people need to be highly trained. They take drafting courses in the local community college as well as onsite training courses. They receive training to run multiple machines such as laser cutters, computerized press breaks/shears, milling machines, red-tag welding licencing, etc. Lot of these machines are using cutting edge technology. With any of these skill sets, they could/should be able to land really good jobs if they decided to leave the community.
    One of our biggest challenges is keeping our young people challenged. We expect a lot from our young people. I believe that when the community values innovation and creativity, it creates a positive environment in which people feel they are an integral part of the whole. If people feel valued, they are less likely to leave (I believe this is true for any organization).
    I hope I have answered your question.

vanessa said:
On: 2nd Jul, 2012 at 14:29

I agree with your assesment of the National Geographic series. You were also right that it may inspire some intellectual inquiry. I see Daniel’s question below has yet to be replied to, so I am hope mine is not too off color for a response. My query is: How does racial diversity collerate with the Hutterite’s understanding of Christ. Do they account for his Galilean Jewish roots?

Dan said:
On: 2nd Jul, 2012 at 21:54

Thanks for your blog. I borrowed a piece of this post for my blog:
My question is this: Are these actual Hutterites that are being shown on TV? If so, why would they be such horrible actors and why would they allow Hutterites and their beliefs to be trashed so badly? Is it the money or the fact they will be on TV?

    Ian said:
    On: 16th Jul, 2012 at 16:01

    Yes, these are actual Hutterites. Why is the acting bad? I guess they probably skipped all the drama classes in highschool. lol Regarding trashing of their own belief system, that is a question one would have to address to them. It would be easy for me to be judgmental about their motives, but in all fairness, this is an answer best answered by the principle characters in the show. I will only say that many Hutterites are deeply hurt and saddened by this show.

      pam said:
      On: 17th Jul, 2012 at 21:06

      I am sorry to read that many Hutterites are deeply hurt by this TV show. I for one find it very interesting to see how they live and work,just think of all the problems we have out here in this world. Kind of makes me think they have the answers, and once we out here ruin our finish ruining our world, who will suvive? It will be the Hutterites, amish and such because they know how to work the land and live off of it. Anyway, my question is, does this meen that this colony will get in trouble by the rest because of the show or did they get an “ok” from the Elders to do this show?

        Ian said:
        On: 18th Jul, 2012 at 01:31

        Thanks Pam,
        I would just caution, that even though this program might be interesting it does not represent Hutterite colonies well. It is quite obvious that specific scenarios were created to try and create conflict. If you enjoy it, fine! But remember where it is coming from. And as far as I know, Hutterite in other colonies knew that a documentary was being filmed at King Colony, but they did not know the nature of the final product. Will get in trouble for this, that is really up to that conference of Hutterites and their elders to decide.

Michelle Coupland said:
On: 3rd Jul, 2012 at 22:30

I was shocked with a show the american colony Hutterites. I could not watch the whole show as I was becoming upset with how the men thing and treat the women of there community. I have been a successful, independent woman of 45 years running and owning businesses and have raised a child with little or no help from men.

I understand these are “age old ways from on generation to the other” but life evolves, and if we try to stifle and not evolve, then we are left behind while the strong survive. the youth of that community’s COULD never make it today in the real world if they had to!

    Adam7e said:
    On: 5th Jul, 2012 at 22:51

    In your many years of success, had it ever occurred to you that the “real world” in which you operate, isn’t real after all? It’s a failing social construct whereby people are born into a system to which they must contribute in order to survive… Just like the Hutterites, right? Your “real world” (I live there too) is busying itself and using its best and brightest to “evolve”, certainly. But evolve what? Cell phones? How many versions of this relatively vetted devices does society need? There are literally thousands of iterations, and we crank out dozens of new models every quarter… costing billions and polluting our planet (not to mention sucking focus away from the REASON for these devices which try to keep us connected). Our most developed nations are so far removed from the simple innate components of living that we can barely recognize events of soulful significance until we’re approaching our deathbeds. I get the sense from reading your post that you might feel as though Hutterites are ignorant to a grand truth that the real world has taught you.. I hate to be rude, but your grammar and limited grasp of what I think of as reality, seem to suggest that it is they who could teach you a thing or two. This sounds silly, but try going camping. Go ahead and pick a campground, or bring an RV, but at least once go off on your own and be alone in a wilderness area. Think for a while about how for thousands of years people lived and died here without most of the hoopla that you do in your daily. Think about the very best moments of your life, and recognize that they’re likely inter-personally focused… What most Americans do every day is focused on appearance, status, and convenience. These religious ‘weirdos’ are stubbornly clinging to a way of life that brings to focus some of the best parts of being person on Earth. Our will to take care of one another, to share love, and to appreciate the gift of life.

    Oh.. and the whole “no help from men” thing… C’mon now. You’re a big girl, right? Your businesses paid their taxes? Almost everything you consider “yours” was dreamed up, gathered, designed, manufactured, or otherwise made by somebody else. The most involvement you have in the things that define you are that you “picked them out”, paid for them, and call them your property (which is another social construct which means that everyone else recognizes your claim to not share it). In fact, everything you have is also mine. I live here on Earth, and those are just as much my resources as they are yours. You stand on the shoulders of those who came before you, and you stay up there because your fellow man allows it. Don’t go taking all the credit.

      pam said:
      On: 17th Jul, 2012 at 21:29

      You tell them Adam!!!! AMEN!!! Even though i am not a Hutterite,i do believe and see liveing in this world that you seem to have it right! Just think, what will happen when all this ” modern” stuff breakes down for good ? ( excuse my english as it is my secound languadge) Back to what i was saying though, who will be able to continue to live??? certenly the Hutterites will be part of the once suviveing! If we want salad or milk, where do we go? To the super market. Most of us ” out here” dont know how to garden or built anything out of wood or make clouths, soooo, who has it right???

Kathleen said:
On: 4th Jul, 2012 at 03:16

I watched Nat Geo’s show on a Hutterite Colony for the first time this evening. Although in the past, I have enjoyed Nat Geo documenteries, I am not impressed with their delve into the reality tv genre. I was glad to find this website with information directly from Hutterites. Although I am not a Hutterite, I am an on fire Christian! It was distressing to see the petty arguments, the cursing, and the alcohol consumption! It was such a juxtaposition to what I believe the Hutterites embody. Nat Geo is a VERY secular station, and thus, the Hutterites Christian beliefs were never even brought up. They decided, instead, to pick out the dysfunction which will exist in any community or group of people, and exploit this story line. Very disappointing.

    Roni said:
    On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 00:28

    We as people have an understanding where we can pick out reality from made for TV. I would have never known about the inside of these colonies if not for the series which my husband and I watch every week.

    It shows us an insight on a colony of people I would have never known existed. The part that engages me is the way they try to stick to their traditions and way of life. I see the structure and the family ties that have gone into creating this colony. We just have to thread through the things that makes them human to the understanding of what they do as a colony of people for over 130 years.

    We are trying to analyze and fit us into their way of life. We are trying make them into what we want them to be. We are examining without feeling what it means to be in a culture that is changing. We are not involved in the creation of this colony so we should not be the ones to pass judgement.

    I am a woman who has accepted Christ Jesus as my savior. One of his desires is that we do not judge each other. We are all God’s children and fall short of God’s expectations. So we should not sit in judgement of each other. Yes we are disappointed in the actions of our brothers and sisters but we are all not in the position to pass judgement on others.

    I feel we should accept each other for our differences. I have been put out of homes, dismissed from jobs and left due to my being “different.” so I understand what it feels like to be shunned and judged. Instead of shunning those who are different from me. I try to focus on the good things about them. Such as this show.

    The elders/leaders are trying to protect a culture that they were raised in. I understand their anxiety about the dissolution of a micro society so vast at one time now as a result of over 130 years not serving them as well. They see their families going out into the world and taking their place among the English. I know that must hurt.

    Then you have the Bosses that are trying to continue with a tradition of doing the work of their ancestors so long ago. The Bosses bring order to the colony. They make sure that the money is financing the colony so it will flourish. They are making sure that the colony eats as well as have a meal after they leave the fields. They make sure there is food provided to cook for all. They provide clothing and shelter for each other. So the order is impressive. The way things operate are extraordinary and have a life-legacy of over 130 years.

    They work hard and do not understand why anymore. They want selfish needs and wants that does not include the colony. They want to break off and leave the only home known because the elders do not understand the evolution of the of the young people and their desire not abandon their beliefs and their culture. Just to explore the vast new world blooming around them. Yet they are shunned and family members are forced to pay for their transgressions. Their youth are being forced to live a life the same way it was done over 130 years and it is frustrating. So they fall to heartbreak and sorrow at a place that should bring about pride and togetherness.

    This is their way and it should not be overlooked due to the worldly way things appeared on the televised showing of the Hutterites. They are struggling to survive in a vast and changing society while holding on to tradition and a way of life that served them well. I can not see me mocking something I do not understand. I will not judge them due to the portrayal of their lives on television. We all know exaggeration when we see it.

    Look at this segment again and use spiritual eyes this time. Maybe you will be compelled to pray for the plight of this colony like so many others who are struggling in a world that does not understand them.

Magnus said:
On: 4th Jul, 2012 at 12:48

Thank you for this post. I too have been dismayed by both the National Geographic programs on Hutterites and Amish. These programs are base, pander to secularism and prove that the once respectable reputation of the National Geographic organism no longer exists. The leadership in NG has become irresponsible to good sociology and cultural studies.

It was obvious that the “rebellious” actors were prompted and scripted. I quit watching both of the series after only two episodes each. You’re right, we can only hope that there are those who will be able to see the falsity and be encouraged to explore these faith groups through reputable sources of expertise.

Cathy G said:
On: 4th Jul, 2012 at 21:37

Goodness Michelle, I don’t know what you watched that I didn’t see. The fact that National Geographic so blatantly twisted the culture for the sake of reality ratings and you DON’T see that tells me all that fighting you did to “make it without a man and on your own”‘ may have left you embittered. Colony life reminds me of the old neighborhood life and “it takes a village” type life of life with family and unity, which is sorely missed in today’s world.

I didn’t see any women being treated poorly or disrespected, but I did see plenty of head bobbing while these folks tried to read scripted lines…..which is not reality. I, like others, are saddened to see such a respected name as NG playing to this modern fakery. Now I’m starting to wonder if perhaps NG isn’t the original reality show creator. All these years of bringing us what we thought was “real” life pictures of different lives and cultures may in reality just been all posed and scripted.

Shame on the Producers for threatening to sue this colony if they didn’t play their part after signing ont the dotted line. Is this how NG treated the families from Africa, Latin America or the American heartland in the magazines we cherished growing up? Now I’m wondering.

    Nila Jackson said:
    On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 20:56

    Your kidding!

Michael grisham said:
On: 4th Jul, 2012 at 22:36

Is it possible for a christain outside the colony’s to join a colony I long to live a traditional lifestyle and be surrounded by good god fearing people and live together as god intended it

    Amanda said:
    On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 08:35

    I was wondering the same thing.

tom gillion said:
On: 4th Jul, 2012 at 22:55

” may well become curious enough to pursue the subject beyond entertainment”. That was me. I really couldn’t believe that there was a society religious or not that could be depicted this way in the 21st century. The show was pure entertainment or reality tv at its worst. While I do still watch the Amish show after I saw that Mose was a producer I put less credibility in it.

Valenchia said:
On: 5th Jul, 2012 at 05:40

I agree with the author of this blog, although I knew nothing of the Hutterites before watching the show National Geographic aired. I expected less drinking and swearing and more spiritual behavior. I enjoy watching good, Christian values on TV and love it when I can understand more clearly others views on their beliefs as well. I’m a little disappointed with the show and wish there was something truer to the real Hutterite lifestyle.

Suzy Smith said:
On: 6th Jul, 2012 at 06:23

I think you all are missing the deeper point. They are showing the King Ranch Colony as real people, people who have hopes, dreams, issues, problems, yet, still a deep enough faith to live on a colony and do what their ancestors have done.

I am impressed by the fact that this group of people are staying together, and working through issues. It seems to me that it is more the elders of the communities that have an issue with the show, as they have an issue with the young members of the colonies receiving a full education.

Are you all afraid that people will leave the colonies if they see that there is more to the world than the colonies?

I am enjoying learning more about the Hutterites, but the issue with the KRC showing how life really is makes me wonder what you all are hiding.

penny mcfarland said:
On: 7th Jul, 2012 at 17:56

I would like to further mention that not all of the viewing public need drama, poor behavior, and profanity to enjoy a program. We that tune in to a television show in order to watch the daily lives of such groups do not require staged episodes or behavior. We view to learn not be “entertained….” Also I was wondering, the first episode which depicted the young people at the wedding in Canada., two of the young people were engaged to be married. Now they are showing the young lady involved laughing and giggling w/Claudia about another young man. What happened to their engagement

    Kari said:
    On: 7th Jul, 2012 at 19:33

    You don’t want ENTERTAINMENT but you want to know what happened to the engagement???????

    That’s quite funny!

Kari said:
On: 7th Jul, 2012 at 19:22

Mr. Ruth’s blog covers every thought I’ve had since following the Hutterite story. However, without Natgeo’s efforts, people like me would have never heard of the Hutterites. I would hope that since ‘reality’ tv has been around for a while now that most people would realize it is somewhat scripted and offers multiple prongs for the viewer. I mean, seriously….. does “Snookie” REALLY exist? Of course not!

What this series is doing is educating people like me and from this level of ‘entertainment’ I can do my own research and learn more, such as I have been doing over the last 90 minutes. I’ve learned a lot and appreciate the Hutterite’s worth more that I did less than 24 hours ago.

I don’t think it’s accurate or fair (in fact, it appears kind of like selfish bitterness) to say that NatGeos success is only in entertainment. For decades NatGeo has been educating the world about all life—animals, plants, people, the universe — and while we’ve enjoyed decades of NatGeo’s entertaining documentaries, we’ve also been given a wealth of education from this entertainment — and, a FREE wealth of education, at that! NatGeo’s ‘reality’ series into the lives of the Amish and now the Hutterites is in keeping with their mission to educate, and what people choose to do with this education is for them to decide.

    Carol said:
    On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 14:57

    Kari, you use the word FREE so freely. My father subscribed to National Geographic for as long as I can remember. I do not remember it ever being Free. I have watched the National Geographic channel since it became available on cable and cable has never been free. As far as the NG specials prior to cable TV, we all know that we paid and continue to pay for TV programs through advertisers, it is never free.

    I , personally, do not think this show is not good enough for NG. I think that NG has succumbed to societies thirst for the drama that these so called reality TV shows bring. Is Snookie real? Maybe, maybe not. But to compete with MTV, Bravo (NJ housewives) and TruTv (Lizard Lick Towing) NG has had to change the shows that they air too..

    I for one, and from what I have read there are others, would have enjoyed a show that depicted the actual life in the Hutterite community. Like you, I have also been researching the Hutterite community. I wanted to learn more about the community than what I saw on the TV show. In the past NG would have shown me what the true Hutterite community was like. Today that is not the case. The competition out there is tremendous, and like other cable networks, NG is in the same ratings competition.

    It all has to do with ratings, ratings and more ratings and I am not within the correct ratings age group to keep a show like this on the air. NG has always sought to make money with their magazine and with their TV programs, not just to educate society. Adults, age 18-34, especially between the hours of 9-11pm is what they are looking to entertain, not educate, entertain. I suppose we can say that this age group is looking to be entertained with high drama.

Veronica C. Jefferson said:
On: 11th Jul, 2012 at 18:24

I know about editing and how situations are exaggerated to boost ratings. However, I have a heartfelt understanding of the colonies no matter who they are. We are all God’s people no matter what we call Him.

If we are all pointing fingers at each others faults, then when do we have the time to pray for one another? Finger pointing leads to nothing but contempt and fault finding of our neighbor. These people are trying to survive in a world that has shunned them and cancelled them out. They do not need any more condemnation from others who feel superior. That is not being Godly-like. That is not His will.

If we all feel that way, how can we be the people we are supposed to be according to the Bible? That is what some calls stinkin-thinkin. We can all boast about being righteous and holy set apart but can we do that in love and not in judgement. “Judge ye not less ye be judged.” Who are we to put put ourselves above all others and judge them who are under God? lf we start judging each others thinking are saying that we know the mind of God. That makes us no better than Satan! Remember Job when he had three friends to side against him? Job had to make atonement for the sins of them who judged against him. This is why colonies are dying out and and bitter feuds rage against those who left. Two wrongs does not make it right. We shun our family and judge them more harshly than the Lord ever would.

I say accept the changes. You may not like them but accept them. Live the life you want to live. Do not pass that judgement on others. You do not have time to do that if you are living your own lives. If others If the colony has rules and regulations then those who choose not to accept them should be able to mover on. Those who want to visit should be allowed to do so and we leave our judgement and condemnation at the door. AMEN?

    John said:
    On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 05:34

    Veronica said “Judge ye not less ye be judged”

    We love all sinners but we despise the sins. Some would accuse us of judging for our position. We judge no one. When we tell our children it is wrong to speak unkindly of/to anyone or that it is sin to steal or that God hates lying, are we informing them that we judge or hate them? Of course not! When the Scriptures condemn something, is it I who am judging? Such thinking is foolishness. God’s standard does not change, and the Bible is God’s standard. The Bible is our benchmark by which we measure all things, and it is the only way by which we can ever know right from wrong. Not by your rules, not my rules, not the church’s rules, not society’s rules but only by God’s rules can we know what is right or wrong. There is no neutral position with respect to good and evil. In Matthew 12 we are taught that a spirit lives within all of us. That spirit living within us is either the spirit of God, or it is the spirit of Satan. There is no neutral ground. There is no “safety zone” exempt from God’s rule. Either we are working for God wherever we are, or we are working for Satan. Without exception, our allegiance is with one or the other.

      Nila Jackson said:
      On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 20:46

      Right on John!

    Nila Jackson said:
    On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 20:50

    Who knows what God intended? Read your bible…..

Nila Jackson said:
On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 20:28

I’m a Christian, and I wanted to watch something good on t.v. the men’s behavior was so hypocritically, the cussing, the drinking, the selfishness. they kept reminding the women to dress as the bible says.

The bible also says we are not to use bad language. I started seeing it for what it is, FAKE. You can watch their eyes as they follow their script. I’m sure the true Hutterites are not perfect but they would not behave like this.

On: 12th Jul, 2012 at 23:02

After viewing several episodes of King colony I was happy to find this website about the Hutterite lifestyle. I felt that the show did not depict the true spirtual nature of Hutterite life in a colony. So I find it refreshing to view an open dialogue contained in your various blogs from both Hutterites and non-Hutterites. Hopefully someone will present a more balanced look at colony life in any future documentaries if your elders allow for it.

    Maria said:
    On: 1st Aug, 2012 at 05:47

    This morning, my son wanetd to know more about lions. So I went to Netflix and put on what I thought would be an educational documentary about the big cats. It was by National Geographic, right? Well, it was no Mutual of Omaha production. We had SENSATIONALIZED narration that sounded more like a promo for the Jerry Springer show than something remotely intended for the classroom setting. So then tonight I’m surfing channels on DISH and come across this NatGeo garbage about the Hutterites and Amish which they are trying to pass off unbiased here-at-home-in-America anthropology. Bullpucky. This stuff is liquified crap prepared to prejudice the masses and further point the finger of scorn at professed followers of Christ. I am just disgusted. As a Latter-day Saint, I’m just wondering when they’re going to do an American Outlier show on people on my faith, and what apostate oddball family they will use to push their agenda. Elder Boyd K. Packer nailed it on the head when he told the BYU student body that LARGELY BECAUSE OF TELEVISION the youth of today live IN the Great and Spacious Building [of the prophet Lehi’s dream in the Book of Mormon.] The Great and Spacious Building represents the pride of the world, which points the finger of scorn at the true and humble followers of Christ. If National Geographic had any credibility left with me, they just lost all of it today. Makes me start to wonder about all the filmstrips I saw in school with naked natives jumping around and people from India cross-dressing and worshipping snakes. Were they really respectful portrayals? Or were they just more of the sensationalized s**t with an agenda like I just witnessed tonight?

Jackie White said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 03:43

My family and I just watched the two episodes and were very curious because we had never had heard of this group! It shows no matter what religion or creed we all have the same problems. With our children, money and family!! I am happy to stumble upon this documentary and to have shared it with my children. I love to try to expose my children to cultures other than our own (we are American Native Indians from northern Wisconsin) so they can see how many wonderful and different cultures there are in the USA. And also, to teach them to be accepting or aware of all the different people that make up this country of ours!! 🙂 On a lighter note, I have jokingly said I wished we had lived in a colony that supports itself within and all people help on another…I now know that there ARE peoples that do this and have done so for 100’s of years! If only we all could come together and support our neighbors and friends like they do!

Chris said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 04:21

I watched a few minutes of this show tonight (couldn’t stand it) – and I’m glad it prompted me to find out if any of what I was seeing was true. There was nothing ‘religious’ about this colony – the young people don’t seem to have any morals (drinking alcohol?) and don’t seem to have any intelligence whatsoever. And the part were the wife was angry at her husband because he was out there working almost blew me away. Did she want him to stay home all day/night and not do anything? I just wanted to hit her. (like I said – couldn’t stand the show – it was making me angry and getting violent thoughts.) As to how the women are ‘treated’ in this male dominated colony – has anyone heard ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’? You don’t have to have a title to make a difference … and women have always made that difference – whether it’s this colony or in the bigger society – some just don’t know the power they have.
I’m glad I found this site – really wish that the National Geographic would show the ‘real’ Hutterites.

    ab said:
    On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 09:50

    You wanted to hit her? What are you, 12?

      Heidi said:
      On: 16th Jul, 2012 at 21:53

      Any one who get’s violent thoughts after watching king’s colony Hutterites is probably in need of real help/guidance.

      So many people seem to take issue with the moderate drinking and cussing portrayed.

      Frankly I found the Hutterites to be infinitely ‘more human’ for using a little off colored language and for allowing their young people to have a bit of fun. These people aren’t robbing, stealing, murdering, having casual sex, doing drugs, partaking in violence etc. They live a clean and exemplary communal lifestyle. Cursing, it should be noted allows people to deal with hard, painful or enraging situations without violence. It is the pacifist’s way of coping. An example: Instead of hitting you, i just call you an ass and walk away.

      That woman that you ‘wanted to punch’ (which, by the way I would like to add is a good deal less ‘christian like’ then either cursing or drinking. Even Christ drank in moderation but he NEVER hit a woman!)

      That woman that you wanted to punch clearly loves her husband, dotes on him and wanted him to take a small time to spend with her. She wasn’t asking for a vacation on a cruise ship or him to just left the farm fall to pieces in his absence. She wanted one weekend with her beloved husband. He recognized her need and complied. The downside: he lost a few hours of work that he undoubtedly made up for, the upside? He pleased his wife and strengthened their marital bond by showing his value of her.

      I am not a Hutterite. I am an atheist that lives fully immersed in modern America. The elder’s of the Hutterite church and people like yourself Chris, may find this show in poor taste and even offensive.

      But for an outsider like me this documentary was a foggy window into living a healthy, loving, communal life in Christ. Never before has Christianity been a temptation to me but it is now. I would give up all my scientific knowledge about the universe and our planet just to simplify my existence and live the happy peaceful life that the Hutterites enjoy.

      I will be sad when The NatGeo show comes to an end and that foggy window is forever closed to me.

        katie lunberg said:
        On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 03:09

        i thouht you were an atheist heidi ? myself,i cannot comprehend the idea of ,not believing in our “creator”…but,.i felt very humbled by these people.what strength and and stamina they have! they have MORAL is hard to see that in this world seems like sooo many people value money,sex,greed,and power instead….this show is so refreshing.these people don’t walk around in thongs,or their breasts thrusting out,or having some kind of fit on the stage,when they are “entertaining “people,….but then again, god is good & forgives all evil.

Marty Teeters, Fairbanks, AK said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 11:25


I am not a Hutterite. I live far from any colony. I am, however, a Christ-Ian. I am 55 and have seen the evidence of young people seeking the knowledge over the last 55 years: rising crime, lowered educational levels, children born out of wedlock ( a sin defined by the Word of G*d), forced acceptance of a deviant lifestyle – homosexuality (before you say it, please know that as Christ-Ians [practicing-not just claiming] we know how to love a human who says they are homosexual and hate the lifestyle to which they espouse), and many other instances of shredding the morality of our Nation. This knowledge of which you speak is as helpful to youth as handing them a loaded revolver at age 10 – somebody…usually the youth – is going to get hurt. The Hutterite lifestyle may not be for everyone, BUT they are trying to live in a way that is pleasing to their Maker. Will we never learn the lesson of 1st & 2nd Kings and 1st & 2nd Chronicles: a nation (substitute Israel or the United States depending on whether you choose history or today) followed the heart of G*d, they begin to prosper and turned their hearts to their own desires – not G*d’s, the nation entered moral decay (if you don’t know what that is look back a couple of sentences), and they were conquered or crushed by other cultures, then the nation turned from their wicked ways and called upon G*d and began to live as He taught, and they begin to prosper and eventually win their freedom. Then the cycle repeats – if memory serves me correctly….66 TIMES!!!!!!! We’re they stupid….or are we (America) in that cycle and at 236 years of age are we looking at our soon to be societal demise? This is not some sort of doomsday talk. Don’t head for a cave or survivalist compound. HIT YOUR KNEES AND PRAY that soon people may take a lesson from The Hutterites and turn their hearts and yours back to G*d. One last thing….before I get bombarded for preaching remember the (paraphrased) Word: 1) Don’t forsake the fellowship. 2) Faith without deeds is dead. 3) Judge note LEST YE BE JUDGED BY THE SAME RULE (Yup!! The period doesn’t come after the first two words.) As such, if you were in church this last weekend AND/or Wednesday night, your knees have callouses or your pants have wear marks at the knees, your Bible (Torah, Quran, etc) is well worn and dog eared, and your day planner includes things like working at the food bank, delivering meals to shut-ins, and visiting the sick (not just sick relatives)…then please comment away.

    Amanda said:
    On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 09:20

    Marty, Marty, Marty…

    Your reply amuses me. It is, afterall, your biased opinion of what a “true Christian” is, anyway. Why you spell it ‘Christ-Ian’ is beyond me, but that’s moot. Why you cannot type the word GOD makes me curious as well. God spelled any other way (G*d) is still God and hiding it behind an asterisk does nothing to prove your point.

    Back to your so-called point…which is….??

    I’ve read and reread your reply and I get more and more confused each time. I know you say, Judge not, lest you be judged by the same rule, but isn’t that a counterdicition to your OPINION on homosexuality, criminals, ignorance, and illegitimate children?

    Your beautiful, lesson-laden, scripture about turning to God and prospering, while well-intended, is lost on deaf ears [internet ears=eyes]. Look at this morally decaying habitat and ask yourself one question. Where is GOD now?

    My mother and her siblings were victimized by a so-called CHRISTIAN church who turned its back on them after they were orphaned because they no longer paid their tithes. The message they received was exactly this: “In light of your recent loss, we send our sincerest sympathies. We appreciate your patronage at ________ Church and would love your continued attendance here. Enclosed, you will find an envelope with which to send your contribution to the collection plate.”

    It may as well have said, “Sorry your parents are dead, but, can you give us money so we can get new carpet?”

    Since then, our involvement with any form of organized crime, err, religion has been watered down to say the least. For seven years, however, we faithfully went to Catholic services to appease my step-father (oh, gasp, my mother got, not one, but two divorces; she must be hell-bound).

    After growing my own brain and thinking ability, I decided I would NOT be a member of any one belief. I believe in the Almight Lord, Christ is King, Jesus is my Savior, I shall not want, etc…. but I do NOT believe in categorizing people based on religion, sexual preference, gender, race, color, creed, handicap, or other discernible measures the way you “holier-than-thou” bible-thumpers like to do.

    While my knees are clean and my bible sits in my headboard with not so much as a crease in the binding, I can safely say I am Heaven-bound. And may God damn anyone who wants to say otherwise.

      Mike said:
      On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 08:33

      The sin of that church against you is sad, ugly, and callous. It’s no wonder you’ve dropped faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and turned inward to self-assurance. You may find the sermons on encouraging and educational. They have been very good for me. Please look at the Proverbs, 1&2 Peter, and Doctrine series. Proverbs is 8 lectures, Doctrine is about a dozen sermons, and 1&2 Peter is about 25 sermons. The pastor there has great insight for situations like what you faced with the loss of your parents.

      I’m sorry for your loss.

        Mike said:
        On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 08:41

        Sorry, I meant “your mother’s loss.”

      Carol said:
      On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 15:44

      Amanda, I can understand your dismay at Christianity based on your experience with the Catholic Church. However, you should not condemn Christianity because of it. Christianity is not only the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church and Rome use Canon law. I am Lutheran, Martin Luther was was a German monk and a professor of theology who was an iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. His theology challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church by teaching that the Bible is the only source of divine knowledge. I was raised Catholic and my transfer to the Lutheran church was due to the same complaints of Martin Luther.

      Leslie Driver said:
      On: 28th Jul, 2012 at 15:37

      OH my was that really necessary? I am sure you could have chosen a better and less offensive word.

B.Z. Dick said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 16:00

I really enjoy watching the NatGeo show. I can relate to Bertha and her daughter. I have gained a deep appreciation of these folks who honestly struggle to maintain their beliefs and communal lifestyle while having contact with the outside world.

I certainly do not see NG “trashing” the group. This show depicts the Hutterites as much more empathetic than religious groups who reject the world outside of their colonies and totally reject members who left and are searching to find a place. I see a degree of independence (slight though it might be) among the individual members. I respect those who search for their place in the colony and in the world and I respect the members who accept this searching. I am inspired to learn more about the theology and history of the group.

    Jonathan said:
    On: 1st Aug, 2012 at 06:32

    Well I’m still undecided on the Amish doimuentarces. My wife finds them very interesting. I’m not sure I buy all the drama though.I question Mose’s motives for wanting to help all the Amish children find a way out. It’s almost like he is out scouting for deserters. Most of the Amish girls and boys I have met seem to be quite happy with their Amish way of life. But I suppose location does play a part in the way different Amish communities raise the children. As far as the Hutterites are concerned, I think sixty five per cent of that show is scripted. The Hutterites in my opinon is just more reality TV. Which for the most part I find some’what boring and stupid. Although I must admit I watch Storage Wars and American Pickers. No plug for either show intended.

Rick said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 22:26

Bravo National Geographic!

Although I have not been able to watch the series yet apparently it is making us all put on our thinking caps as to what God’s will for our lives truly is, whether it be life in a colony such as the amish or hutterites or some other form of christianity as well as to how we are to conduct our life. Even if there intention may be strictly for entertainment little do they know they are spreading his message however little it may be.

Mark S said:
On: 13th Jul, 2012 at 23:22

Yes indeed. The show has made me more quirous about Hutterites and thier beliefs.

cynthia said:
On: 15th Jul, 2012 at 21:25

also its funny how they can drink, swear, have cell phones, but yet they can’t wear decent clothes. really you can live in a colony and still live in the real world you already except all the other comforts of life its a bit hypocritical wouldn’t you say

    Carol said:
    On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 15:12

    I think anyone would take offense at your use of the phrase “decent clothes”. Personally I think the clothes that they wear are more Decent than the clothes I see worn in society today.

Ann said:
On: 16th Jul, 2012 at 15:53

Are there any non white people of this religion? If not why?

    Benjamin said:
    On: 6th Aug, 2012 at 16:18

    The Answer is there are. Here Quoted from the Website. “In May of 1992 the 450 year old white monopoly of the Hutterian Church was broken when Inno Idiong was baptized, thereby establishing an African Hutterian Church. Palmgrove Hutterian Community, southeast of Lagos, Nigeria, is a community of native-born Africans who live a Christian Communal life.” Here is a link to this.

Michael B. Sims said:
On: 17th Jul, 2012 at 22:54

I suppose if the “reality” show had any value at all, it was to spur me to find out who the Hutterites really are. I agree completely that NGC’s entertainment agenda and manipulation to achieve it were clear, at least to me. I hope others have the presence of mind to look further than their television set for information.

    Saryas said:
    On: 1st Aug, 2012 at 06:00

    I thought the whole thing a bit stgarne mainly because I didn’t understand the mixture of old ways vs cell phones and the like. So I agree with the scripted part. I also wondered about the culture because they refer many times to being so religious yet the language was rather rough and certainly not appropriate for little one’s ears funny nobody else mentioned that. The slaughter didn’t bother me all that much because I grew up on a farm and am now a farmer’s wife myself, however we do take our animals to the meat market to be slaughtered in a more clean, healthy manner. If you eat meat you have to know at some level that what you are eating has that in it’s history! I would really hope that they will shed more light into the history of the colonies, religious beliefs, and such. That would certainly give more depth to the program! We shall see.

Phyllis Ramirez said:
On: 18th Jul, 2012 at 00:01

I am one of those who has become intrigued enough to “pursue my knowledge beyond entertainment”, where I admit, I did not begin watching the series for entertainment purposes. I am a very spiritual individual and where I can admit, much to most people’s dismay, that I am not a Christian, but I do have some deep rooted Christian beliefs. I am, in fact, a pagan. I have always been enamored of the Amish and admittedly knew nothing of the Hutterites until I stumbled across the series on National Geographic. I was quite taken aback simply because I was not aware a lot of what I have seen on television was even allowed in most “colonies” which I assumed their belief system was based on. I would very much like to learn more, but I would like to learn the truth. So, if you would be so kind as to direct to me a more creditable source, since I know these communities to be very private and not wanting to allow visitors, so that I might learn more. I really would love to learn their ways, their customs, their beliefs. I am really in awe of their ability to stay so grounded in such a time and am quite jealous in reality. I’m sure they still have their problems and issues, but to have them so simplified and so easily remedied by faith in themselves, their community and their beliefs is such a tremendous accomplishment. I would actually love to live with them for a time, to learn from them, what I am almost positive our society has lost long, long ago. The sense of community and the safe feeling that must come from unwavering commitment and dedication. I’m not even a very good Pagan, I lack conviction. I believe in a higher power, but I get so wrapped up in myself that I forget my own beliefs. Which is my purpose for commenting to you. I’m hoping within my search within, not only my own beliefs, but the beliefs of others, I might find what I myself and lacking.

Steve said:
On: 19th Jul, 2012 at 14:01

I love the show . . . even though it’s obviously staged like most reality TV. The fact that it is a Hutterite Colony may be embarrassing for Hutterites, but it’s not why I watch the show. The colony (at least the way it’s edited) is a dysfunctional group of people who make me laugh . . . and who doesn’t need a good laugh these days?

The old lady kills me every time she says “de ewlders are gonna be mad” . . . I love that accent. Watching those dumkoffs trying to build a bed was funny . . . you always think of the Amish/similar groups as expert craftsman . . . and these guys couldn’t even measure a piece of wood.

I think a little exposure, even if it’s on a silly show, is good for you folks. Heck, I’d never even heard the term “Hutterite” prior to show, and now I’m on the internet learning more about your beliefs and ways off life.

Carl McGinnis said:
On: 19th Jul, 2012 at 20:11

I have seen every show of the Hutterites on the National geo channel. I have to say i am more than impressed by what i see. I am 60 years old and I would have loved to be a part of a community like this. thank you for sharing with the rest of the country this wonderful community of people. I had no idea this even existed. Its so funny because i watch them and consider them all my friends. Not every family is perfict in the hutterite world or my world. Thank you for sharing your world with me. you are very fortunate to have each other and your beliefs.

Cye said:
On: 20th Jul, 2012 at 02:56

As a christian I was disappointed by the series. The swearing and fighting of the boys and the drinking of the men was terrible. Where was their belief in God? Where did you see their faith at work? I think this would deter people from Christianity by watching this. not something I would recommend.

    Amanda said:
    On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 08:45

    Do you honestly believe that someone who fights or swears or drinks has no belief in God? God drank wine. The deciples all cursed (in ancient-time language). And, you can bet a tail on a dog they all fought…. where was THEIR belief in God.

    How closed-minded of you!

    Hania said:
    On: 1st Aug, 2012 at 07:21

    I did watch it. I had some interest bescuae an ex-hutterite had visited our church a few years back to ask for help for people who had left the colonies and were pretty lost now. He was from a colony that had moved from Canada to the U.S. and some of what he had to say (and show with pictures) was very dismaying. I agree with you that this does appear to be scripted. In addition from what I’ve seen of some of the previews (i.e. them shooting a cow) there are some shock scenes that will be include that are both unnecessary and inappropriate for children as well as some adults who just don’t care to see that.

faith rivera said:
On: 20th Jul, 2012 at 04:29

I was disappointed when I watched the hutterites show. It is quite obvious that much if not all of it is fake. I hope the real Hutterite traditions can be portrayed in some way soon.

Marie B. said:
On: 20th Jul, 2012 at 04:29

I think what we non-Anabaptists can appreciate about the Nat’l Geog. “Meet the Hutterites” TV show is that it highlights the difficulty of maintaining Hutterite traditions in a rapidly changing society. It seems logical that there would be struggles over whether to modernize. What I have found disappointing is not the struggles, but the lack of visible spirituality. I’d like to see the people following scripture to resolve their differences. I’d like to know that they really love our Lord and are not merely following traditions. Nat’l Geog. seems to be omitting spirituality from the show altogether. This is what led me to read your blog–feeling that I’m not getting a full picture of Hutterite life. What I do see, though, in spite of the conflicts, is a deep love for each other in the colony. Many Americans have lost that sense of community.

Joanne said:
On: 20th Jul, 2012 at 16:19

I too feel that there is a lot of TelePrompTer reading…in fact even a child could see that really. Why they went that rout is beyond me. I am surprised to see that on that channel…seems everyone is going the cheap “unreality” road.

Diane Winter said:
On: 21st Jul, 2012 at 20:33

After watching several episodes of Nat Geo “Hutterites” today, we did some Googling on Hutterites and found your column–thank goodness! This TV series makes the Colony living appear quite sinful and disrespectful, especially by the younger folks. Your July 1 blog should be displayed at the end of each show, so viewers understand the TV series is not a good example of Hutterite living, but simply a stab by Nat Geo at attracting viewers . Kudos to you for your excellent explanation on Hutterite living. The communal way of living, along with good values and morals sounds very attractive compared to each family trying to make it on their own.

Suzy said:
On: 21st Jul, 2012 at 20:53

Honestly, I love watching the Hutterite “Reality” series on National Geo Channel. I am 61 and I find it refreshing to see the mystery taken away from religious groups that I always believed were elevated above the rest of humanity. It is nice to see that we are all mostly the same with the same wants, desires and problems.
All things in moderation is what I was taught. Much of your doctrine is very similar to the Catholic Church to which I belong. I became a Christian and was baptized in 2007. I kinda believe in the baptism taking place when we are old enough to make that choice. We study the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is over 600 pages long before we can be accepted in the Church. We believe in modest dress too, however, we also hope that this comes from the heart of the church member instead of trying to force believers to wear certain clothes. We also do not believe in divorce but in the “English” society one cannot always rely on what the other person in the marriage will do in order to keep their vows. We believe in putting Jesus first and also missions to encourage others to Christianity. It is very important in my mind, that none of us take the “holier than thou” attitude over anyone in order for all of us to exist as brethren. Therefore, I hope that the Hutterite colonies continue to flourish in their ways and allow their children to continue college educations in order to further the goals of the colonies and each individual. I think it is important for Hutterites not to take themselves so seriously as to alienate themselves from other Christians who are not so unlike them.
As for living off the land, not everyone is destined to be a farmer. In “English” society we must have doctors, mathematicians, scientists, and other professionals in order for society to flourish as a whole. If it were not for “English” education, I doubt any people of any colony would have plumbing, electricity and other modern things most of us depend on for quality of life. Because population has become so large, it is important to remember, I think, that the whole world is our bretheren not just small communities or colonies. We of the whole world depend upon each other.

Suzy said:
On: 22nd Jul, 2012 at 01:39

As far as drinking goes. even Jesus and his disciples drank alcoholic beverages. Who are you to dictate morals? Each of us must follow his or her own conscience.
Hitting someone because you disagree with them is not ever the solution to the disagreement. It is far more generous and praiseworthy to be tolerant of other’s beliefs.

Believe it or not most religions have clear ideals of what a man’s role is and what a woman’s role is in their communities and in some cases in society in general.

First of all, I was a Buddhist for nearly thirty years and the roles of women were very much the same as in most religions. It is and was the role of most women to be supportive of husbands and men senior in faith. It is the same in most Christian religions. This means to many, having and raising children and keeping the home. It also means many chores not mentioned here.

I ask you, if women did not fulfill the role of having children (which is hard enough), taking care of the home and all that pertains to running a household, who will do it? Men? Men have their hands full providing food and clothing and shelter for their families.

There are, wonderful women who can take care of a family and work outside the home too but that is a lot to ask to ask someone to work 24/7 when a man can go to his outside job and come home and do nothing while the woman continues to work until she goes to sleep.

I find the Hutterite society very equitable that woman are not expected to do the heavy work of ranching and farming but support the whole colony in other home bound endeavors which are just as important.

I understand that the young people want an education and they should have it. I found the Hutterites to be very intelligent, by the way, and understand that several have completed college. These children having seeking minds and I think it is to their credit to want to be better people and more valuable to the colony because of the knowledge they will gain. Children and young adults have evolved to the point that a simple life is much too boring and stultifying for them. As one ages learning never gets old and one’s lifestyle does become more simple. In time, the wisdom that often comes with age will benefit everyone involved. For the time in between, I think the elders are trying to keep people focused so that there will be Hutterites to carry on the legacy of their ancestors and retain the lifestyle that is so important to being a Hutterite.

    Amanda said:
    On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 08:50

    I highlighted a paragraph of yours and would love to create an image for use on facebook. Please email me with the permission (or not) to do so.

Shirley-Ann Ingeborg said:
On: 22nd Jul, 2012 at 05:30

I have been reading through this whole website. The show on National Geographic is what lead me here trying to find out more. I found the show itself interesting. Yes some parts do feel very scripted but in this day and age I dont expect a colony to just be about the spiritual side. Things evolve with time even colonies. Ich persönlich habe kein Problem gesehen mit dem Bier. Ihr seit deutsch , Kann mir nett vorstehlen das dar ein deutscher gibt der nett ein Bier trinkt . ich habe aber eine frage , kann man die colony verlassen wen man will ?

    Ian said:
    On: 26th Jul, 2012 at 15:02

    Ja, jeder hat die Freiheit die Gemeinschaft zu verlassen.

leanne said:
On: 22nd Jul, 2012 at 05:43

Absurd to compare a modern colony to others you recorded thirty years ago. Regardless of preference, times and people DO change. It is through humor, adaptability, common sense, respect, and intelligence that they can succeed while still retaining their beliefs and healthy, strong sense of community. Instead of being critical, why not just enjoy history in action and support these people?

Matt Son said:
On: 22nd Jul, 2012 at 06:47

I’ve only suffered through one of the National Geographic episodes, it was readily apparent that show was scripted and much of the conflict was staged for dramatic effect. I’m not certain which is more unfortunate, that your culture was publicly misrepresented merely for the sake of ratings and their associated profits or that there is an audience for such things.

As Ruth pointed out, this situation does, indeed, provide some redeeming qualities, which may even outweigh the negative. I read that the elders of your faith initially allowed the show to be filmed due to National Geographic’s “stellar reputation.” The New York Times also used to have a stellar reputation, as did The Washington Post. Those days are over and are indicative of a greater systemic decay in this country that appears to be irreversible. Thus, while King Ranch’s brush with capitalism run amok may well have been humiliating, it provided a striking reminder of how significantly our culture has deteriorated. After seeing morality dictated by profit margins in action, it’s difficult to envision a better affirmation of your beliefs and culture.

Mary Trujillo said:
On: 22nd Jul, 2012 at 17:12

Good day,
I just wanted to let u know that a large majority of Americans know that reality TV is only about 10% reality and 90% editing by producers to create falsehoods for ratings. It does start the conversation, research and education. I watched the show, knew immediately that it was a misrepresentation and went online to educate myself. I don’t believe the colony on TV is dysfunctional at all, just victims of corporate television and editing for ratings.

Fred Rheingold said:
On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 01:01

The TV show tells more about National Geographic and its fall from its once-great reputaion than about the Hutterites. However, it did stir me to find out about the Hutterites and brought me to your blog. Right after the show about the Hutterites, there was a National Geographic show about the Gypsies, pretty much committing the same mistakes- highlighting conflict and showing little else.

Amanda said:
On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 08:17

I liked your blog entry, John. And, as you say, I have become quite curious about the Hutterites and their ways of life. I may not agree with the style or rules of dress, but I kind of live in the communal way. There are three separate families in one home. Two adults (one woman, one man) work outside of the home to earn the wages. One woman stays home to rear the children and run the house. Another adult (woman) is nearly disabled from crippled bones and does not provide much income.

English people are not all bad and some of us can read between the lines. While it is humorous to watch the struggles of teens wanting to be “normal” and their parents struggling to get a hold of them, I am able to see the foundation of the Hutterites as simple, God-fearing individuals.

Congratulations on keeping this way of life alive for 150 years!

Your English-person friend,

gary kaalberg said:
On: 23rd Jul, 2012 at 18:28

as a friend of several amish i agree. national geographic does a big disservice to everyone. Sadly it seems that anyone who attempts these days to establish and maintain a relationship with God is a target of derision by the minority of those who are non believers. The Amish,Mennonites and hutterites who in my mind are national treasures and are profiled as being less than normal by the secular world. As a combat veteran who struggles with the reality of war, the time i sprnd with my amish friends helps me find some peace in my resolution. main line christianity lacks the conscience of gods law many seek.

Gertrude G. Maxon said:
On: 24th Jul, 2012 at 19:26

I think we outsiders know that reality television doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. We know what we see is edited and may be somewhat contrived. I knew nothing of the Hutterites before I saw the National Geographic show. Personally, I think your group is a national treasure. By sticking to tradition and beliefs you show the world that in the US, we are what we stand for: freedom to worship and live according to your conscience. Even though most of us on the outside would not choose to live as you do, I think we should be proud to call you fellow Americans.

Bryan said:
On: 25th Jul, 2012 at 02:42

How is it going over there Hutterites? When fishing what kind of rods do you guys use, modern or old school? Also ever been deep sea fishing?

Tina said:
On: 25th Jul, 2012 at 05:16

I appreciate your commentary on the National Geographic series. I am one of those people you refer to that saw an episode and was prompted to learn about the Hutterite Community. I know nothing about your community, but even I could recognize how stilted and forced the “reality” of the show is. Something didn’t sit well with me, but it made me want to know what the reality is.

Michelle P. said:
On: 25th Jul, 2012 at 06:02

My friends have been commenting about it and I have tried to explain that other hutterites are not like that! I feel badly that the hutterites are getting a black eye of sorts.

Nancy said:
On: 25th Jul, 2012 at 14:51

This culture certainly DOES NOT seem to hold the women of the Colony as equals and for that alone it should be considered very shameful. From what I’ve read about their elections of their ministers etal it appears that only the MEN even have a say – in this day and age that is just plain WRONG. These MEN need to remember that if not for their MOTHER (horrors, a WOMAN) giving birth to them they wouldn’t even be here. Also, any kind of religion that does NOT promote family TOGETHERNESS – especially at the dinner table – is not a valid religion (at least not in my eyes). It should be ALL about family togetherness but the fact that the men/women sit apart just seems to add weight to the premise that the men and women are not considered equals.

Tammy Hoefer said:
On: 25th Jul, 2012 at 18:05

I have been watching the national geographic show. I must say I had never heard of Hutterites before this,,now I can’t study the lifestyle enough. This is the exact life we should all be living I realize some of you are probably upset about the show at times. Personally though as a Christian woman my husband and I have talked about your way of life and as we have studied it we are more and more intrigued. We find your way of living to be the proper way as stated by the bible and by our lord. I pray that more people will come to this conclusion as they see the show as well. May God bless all of you abundantly with health and happiness. Dan and Tammy Hoefer.

Sarah said:
On: 26th Jul, 2012 at 23:44

I just wanted to state my support of your way of life. Being from the east coast I have never heard of Hutterites until seeing the show. I am a Christian however and your way of life really encourages and inspires me. I wish I was born a Hutterite!

Elizabeth said:
On: 27th Jul, 2012 at 06:25

I find the show very interesting. Not for the reality TV moments because the do seem a bit staged, but I enjoy seeing the colony work, eat, and live together. It’s very nice to see people that are so close knit. However, I was curious about a few things: Do Hutterites drink alcohol? Do Hutterites use profane words? Being African American, I’ve wondered if someone of a different race wanted to practice the faith and lifestyle, would they be welcomed?
Thank you and God bless.