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The Hutterites: Beyond Bonnets and Buggies

A review of 'I Am Hutterite', Mary Ann Kirkby's memoir of growing up in a radical Anabaptist community.

Most evangelicals know a bit about horse-and-buggy driving, technology-shunning Amish and conservative Mennonite communities. But unless we've grown up in the Dakotas or on the Canadian prairie, we likely don't know much about their Anabaptist cousins, the Hutterites. The Hutterites have the same spiritual heritage (the radical wing of the 16th-century Reformation), but are distinguished from other Anabaptist groups by their distinctive communal lifestyle. Community members share a common purse and do not own individual property, and community leaders make all the financial decisions.

Canadian author Mary Ann Kirkby's memoir, I Am Hutterite (Thomas Nelson, 2010), is her account of life in the Fairholme Hutterite colony in Manitoba, Canada—and how her life changed after her parents uprooted the family when she was 10 to join the "English" (non-Hutterite) world. The book offers a fascinating glimpse into a world typically closed to outsiders.

Kirkby's childhood impressions of the nurture ...

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