Meet the Hutterites

Is anyone else but me watching MTH on Nat Geo?

I live in Montana and occasionally interact with Hutterites and find them more approachable than Amish or other Mennonites groups.

I hope it survives another season, but I doubt it will. It appears to be at least partially scripted, and these people are clearly not actors, which doesn’t help.

Does anyone else watch it, and if you do, what do you think about it?

I haven’t seen it, but some locally have, and it’s not going over well. From our local paper: Hutterites upset over television documentary. From the link:

Like I said, I haven’t seen the show, so I can’t comment. But it would appear that there is some disagreement as to its portrayal of Hutterites.

It’s clear that folks have been asked to re-enact scenes for the camera, and that the crew have chosen a particularly dysfunctional family to center there attention on.

All that said, it’s also clear that these folks are in need of some fresh influence.

I’m only aware of its existence because of the backlash.

We saw it b/c it was on right after the Amish show and Mose’s kindness is as addictive as he is plain in thought. But I have a hard time having empathy for the Hutterites; the speech is stilted and unnatural, makes it hard to believe anything I see is real but the gingham. It may as well not have any Hutterites in it for as fake as it feels.

I thought of watching it because I enjoy the one about the ex-Amish so much but I haven’t yet. One thing that Amish: Out of Order has shown me is that, no matter how weird and backward and oppressive I personally find their way of life, the Amish raise decent people. Even the ones who take up drinking, carousing and-- horrors! --boxing seem to be kind.

If there were cameras and microphones following me around all day my talking might sound scripted too… it’s as if the producers told them to create some drama even though there probably isn’t much… because their are Hutterites.

The most interesting part is the dynamic between the elders and the teenagers about finishing high school versus working in the Colony (for free). The kids that want to go to public school are considered outsiders since they are exposed to things like iPads and cell phones.

It seems that either you should be closed off from the secular world or you should allow your followers to embrace it if they so choose. It seems like they want it both ways, but would prefer that the members be ignorant and unschooled for the most part.

Like any insular group, if a member finds more personal value outside of it they’re unlikely to stay. Keep them ignorant and they’ll never leave.

I thought that was odd too; why don’t they just run their own schools like the Amish do?

The Amish also stop education at around the eighth grade. Most insular or “fundamentalist” communities consider education to be intrusive.

The colony that I visited as a kid (near Saskatoon, not sure which one) had its own grade school. I don’t know about a high school, though.

In theory at least Hutterites, who are anabaptists, oppose the imposition of religion by coercion or misinformation. Anabaptists, on the whole believe that to follow Christ you must do so of your free will. This is the reason for the Amish practice of Rumsprigga, though as far as I can tell the Hutterites don’t share the custom.

The Hutterite opposition to high school is more that it is a luxury, taken at the expense of the community. Hutterites have a totally communal economy so anyone who is capable of working, who is not working, is selfishly freeriding (in their opinion).

I just started watching, having accidentally caught a few minutes of it earlier and decided to record the first few episodes. I was intrigued because Bertha sounds exactly, I mean exactly, like my grandmother. Gramma’s in her 90s and living in Texas; although she was a farmer, she’s no Hutterite. She did, however, come from Czechoslovakia in the late 1920s, possibly the same region as some Hutterites, so maybe that explains the accent.

I was really shocked to watch an old episode and find that a Mother had been shunned for refusing to pull her son out of High School. Wow. The young man’s Father had committed suicide 6 years before, and high school sports were the first thing that had really made him happy since then.

Two of the members (Claudia and Wesley) mentioned in various ways that the Elders felt staying in school would lead kids to leave the colony. Both of those who said this had actually finished school in themselves. It really does seem that ignorance is used as a weapon to prevent people from feeling they could “make it” in the outside world.