Ohio Amish say there's no 'Amish Mafia'

8:36 PM, Dec 13, 2012   |    comments
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By Sara Shookman

MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio (WKYC) - Amish culture is known for its simplicity and its mystery. Now that a new reality show promises to show a wilder side, some local church members say that's not reality.

Discovery Channel's Amish Mafia preview shows guns, violence and criminal dealings. It's far from the accepted image of old-world Amish life.

But show producers says -- despite re-enactments -- this story is true.

"Never. Never heard of an Amish Mafia," said James Miller, who lives in Middlefield.

"Kind of like an oxymoron. An Amish Mafia. They aren't Amish anymore at that point. If they have Mafia in their head, they are probably excommunicated or are not Amish."

Miller keeps his face off camera for his religion, part of the same Christian teachings that keep life simple, family oriented and low profile.

"Kind of puts chills up your back. It's not really what we're standing up to be, as a Christian," he said. "Mafia just doesn't belong in our vocabulary, or even belong named to us."

The Church denies the Amish Mafia's existence, but the show presents an organized religion that shares characteristics with organized crime.

"It's just a lot of propaganda," Miller said.

Convicted beard-cutter Sam Mullet and his crew, who carried out their own punishments on other Amish, are featured in week two.

"He's not an example of the Amish at all. He's excommunicated, as far as I know, from most of the Amish churches," Miller said, of Mullet. "It's just not, it's not the way you do."

While it's true the Amish are self-reliant, Miller says his community abides by outside, or "English" law.

"They're not better than anybody else. If they get in trouble, they need to do the time," he said.

Miller wants the Amish to be known for their work ethic and Christian behavior.

"Known as good people, not Mafia and gangsters and stuff like that."

The show Amish Mafia premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.


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