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Frequently asked Questions about Hutterites (FAQs)

FAQs

Who owns what in a Hutterite Community?

Goods are owned communally in the community, i.e., all moneys earned from different businesses belong to everyone on the colony. If members need different items, they ask for it and if it is a necessary item, it is bought for them. In addition, all colony members are given an set allowance every month which can be used for purchasing personal effects.  The amount varies greatly from colony to colony.

Most items are given out according to the need (Acts 2:44-47; Acts 4:32-35). Things like farm equipment, vehicles, etc, are bought and paid for by the colony and used by whoever needs or is responsible for them.

Among some Hutterite colonies, personal spending money is sometimes earned on the side. Some colonies oppose this staunchly, while others are very lenient to the point of looking the other way when members work off the colony to earn extra spending money.  Of course, this is not right and goes against the very principals of community of goods. Any kind of Aagnutz (Eigennutz, any method of earning personal spending money) is frowned upon and greatly discouraged, especially by some colonies the Schmiedeleut branch.   The example of Ananias and Sapphira is often sited as proof that aagnutz is a vice that ought to be avoided (Acts 5:1-11).

 

How do the Hutterites follow the command of Jesus to “be fishers of men”?

The Lord commanded his people to “go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost” (Mat. 28:19).

Every year hundreds of young Hutterites join the church. Once baptismal candidates have made their baptismal commitment to the trinity and the Church, they are considered full members.

However, very few outsiders have joined Hutterite colonies. It does happens occasionally though.

The Schmiedleut branch of the Hutterites have had mission fields in Africa for the past 20 or so years. Currently, they are involved in a mission field in Nigeria, Africa. Many of our ministers and other members and others have been in Nigeria, living with the natives and teaching them about Christ and the community. One such community is called Palm Grove and about 300 members live there. Their has been lots of spiritual and economic struggles, but the outlook seems promising as these Nigerians are slowly learning. In addition, they need support to sustain themselves and the Brethren have been involved in helping them to become self-sufficient.

The Dariusleut established the Owa community in Japan populated with ethnic Japanese.  There is limited contact with this group, and the group does seem to be dying out.

 

Can a non-Hutterite join a Hutterite colony

A question that is often asked is whether or not an outsider can join a Hutterite colony.
It has happened that outsiders or non-Hutterites join a Hutterite colony, but it is quite rare.  Few Hutterite colony are open to outsider joining, but there are a handful who would consider it, depending on the candidate and the willingness of the candidate to adopt to the Hutterian norms.
Over the year’s many people have attempted to become full members of the Hutterite community, but haven’t been successful for a variety of reasons.  For one, Hutterites speak Hutterisch which is a Carinthian-Tirolean dialect. This language change is a boundary for many. For another, all Hutterite use the same German sermons, and although most have been translated to English, almost all Hutterite ministers preach in German.

Cultural boundaries and traditions also provide an obstacle for anyone attempting to join.  Changes in attire, ways of doing things, and other traditions would have to be adopted.

Another issue, divorce, could be a roadblock because Hutterites don’t accept divorce among their members, nor would they allow a divorcee who has married another person to join. If a divorcee were to join, that person would not be allowed to marry anyone except their original marriage partner. Of course, marriage is defined as the holy union between one man and one woman.

Finally, most who are not used to the lifestyle would find that giving up their own free will, their careers, and their personal property, and other freedoms too great to overcome.

So can a person join? Yes. If a person is really sincere about becoming a Hutterite, he or she could potentially join if he or she is willing to overcome the obstacles above. Of course, one would first have to live on a Hutterite Colony for a time to ensure that they really do want to join. A serious candidate would obviously have to fully support and agree with the doctrine of the Hutterian Brethren Church and be willing to give up all personal ownership and a lot of free will. After a period of successful probation, the person could ask from baptism, and upon being baptised, he or she would be considered a full-fledged Hutterite.

 

What languages do Hutterites speak?

Hutterites speak a German dialect called Hutterisch or Hutterite German.  More specifically it’s a Astro-Bavarian dialect, a dialect they picked up from the Carinthian province in Austria. Hutterites originated in southern Austria and northern Italy (the area of Tyrol) and Carinthia.

Hutterites actually speak three languages: Hutterisch, their German dialect; German, standard German which they learn in school; and English.