Some participants left the show after finding the Amish lifestyle difficult to adjust to
There’s something a little ironic about the idea of setting up a film crew in the middle of a remote Devonshire farm in a bid to ask whether modern technology is doing us harm.
But that’s just what new Channel 4 reality show The Simpler Life has done, allowing viewers to watch participants struggle to get by without the most basic modern tech on their plasma screens and laptops.
The show sees 24 Brits learn to live like the Amish, with the guidance of Amish family, the Millers – Lloyd, Edna and their six children and seven grandchildren.
But what does it mean to be Amish, is it a religion, and what exactly does the lifestyle involve?
What religion do Amish people follow?
Amish people are a group of traditionalist Christians who are known for their self-sufficient rural lifestyle and simple living.
The Amish religion is a branch of Anabaptist Christians, developed in Switzerland in the 17th century.
In the 18th century many Amish people migrated to Pennsylvania, partly to escape religious persecution, and later migrations settled in Ohio and other midwestern states.
Today there are just over 340,000 Amish people living in the US.
What does it mean to be Amish?
Most Amish people generally don’t use electricity, telephones, or cars, and adhere to strict codes of dress.
The main reason for their shunning of electricity is that it offers a connection to the outside world that can bring with it temptation that may separate members from their community.
The Amish follow traditionalist gender roles, with men in charge of providing food and shelter, and the women responsible for domestic tasks.
Amish families build their own homes and furniture, and many run businesses selling their wares.
Typical Amish clothing for men and boys include broad-brimmed black hats, dark suits, straight-cut coats, broadfall trousers, suspenders, and black socks and shoes.
Amish girls and women tend to wear bonnets, long full dresses with their shoulders covered, shawls, and black shoes and stockings.
Amish people also believe in non-resistance and are exempt from military service for this reason.
Additionally, Amish families provide education for their children – usually in one or two-room private schools – up to the eighth grade (the equivalent to year nine in the UK).
Do Amish people vote?
Only about 10% of Amish adults take part in elections but they have become more politically active in recent years.
Several Amish rallies for Donald Trump were held in 2020, and Holmes County, Ohio which has the highest Amish population in America voted overwhelmingly for Trump that year.
Who are Amish family the Millers?
The Millers run a dairy farm in the state of Ohio which is home to the largest Amish community in the world.
Given that the Amish priorities independent living and don’t fly, it’s likely that the Millers traveled to Devon by boat.
The Millers said that they got involved with the program because they wanted to show the rest of the world the benefits of their lifestyle.
Lloyd Miller said: “I hurt for the younger generation, who are so isolated and plugged into technology – there is nothing like a physical handshake or eye contact.”
We’re the Millers would have been a very different film had it starred this family – for one thing the road trip south of the border would have been slowed by their reliance on a horse and cart.
When can I watch The Simpler Life on Channel 4?
Episode one of The Simpler Life will air on Channel 4 at 9.15pm on 22 March. The episode will follow participants through their first two weeks living an Amish lifestyle.
Episodes will be released weekly at the same time on Channel 4 and will be available to watch on streaming service All 4 shortly after they are first broadcast.
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