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article imageReview: ‘How to Get to Heaven with the Hutterites’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Mar 9, 2013 in Lifestyle
Everyone has heard of the Amish; the Hutterites are nowhere near as well known, but although in some ways just as reclusive, their lifestyle has fundamental differences.
This BBC 2 documentary is currently on iplayer, but won't be for much longer, so if you can't grab it now, watch out for it on YouTube. A BBC team screened a documentary on the Amish last year. Although the Canadian Hutterites share many of the Amish beliefs, including regular communal worship and their own hymns, there are two big differences between the two. Unlike the Amish, the Hutterites embrace technology, at least as far as work is concerned; they don't use television, but they maintain their own website. And unlike the Amish, they live communally, ie in one building.
Maple Grove, the community the BBC visited has just under a hundred members, which is the regular size. Not only do they pray together, but they eat together in a dining room; the men sit together; the women together; the girls; and the boys. Although there is a hierarchy with the elders making the decisions, no one is considered more important than anyone else. The kingpin here is the avuncular Zach Waldner, who explained the Hutterite philosophy, that if you live a good communal life on Earth, you will go to Heaven.
The Hutterites dress modestly, although not as uniformly as the Amish. Hutterite women know their place - some men would consider that Heaven - and Hutterite men know their place too. The women do women's work - which includes the cooking, and the men work in the Hutterite industries, which are naturally predominantly farm-based.
Although there is no alcoholism, drug abuse or crime of any sort in these communities, the Hutterite lifestyle is clearly not for everyone, including for the man known as the Hutterite Photographer. And this place would clearly be Hell for Ayn Rand, but "communism" practised by these people is based on entirely different concepts from that foisted onto the world by monsters such as Stalin and Trotsky, which is why relatively few choose to leave the colony. "Communism is forced", says Zach; there is no compulsion here. Nor though is there any individualism. Horses for courses, but if you were at one with the Hutterite lifestyle, you wouldn't be reading this.
More about Hutterites, hutterite, zach waldner, maple grove
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