The Amish are a group of ethnoreligious individuals who are famous for their strict adherence to centuries of tradition.
This tradition is based on living a simple and faith-centric life, focusing on family, patriarchy, work, and penance.
As a result, the Amish famously shun pride in all of its forms — personal appearance, living situations, lineage, and more.
So this begs the question: Do the Amish use mirrors?
We’ll answer that question (and several others) in this blog. Like many other questions about the Amish, it’s best explained with both a short and long answer.
Short Answer: Do the Amish Use Mirrors?
In short, yes, the Amish use mirrors.
Because while mirrors are often used as symbols of pride and vanity, they also serve pragmatic purposes.
The Amish may use mirrors for the purposes of bathing or preparing for the few social interactions that pepper their calendars.
Spot-checking clothes for stains, brushing teeth, repairing clothing, and other reasons could all lead to an Amish person or family owning mirrors.
So while the Amish may not use mirrors to ensure they’re proud of how they look (or claim as such, anyway), there are a wide range of practical reasons why the Amish would own mirrors.
This could result in Amish households having mirrors in bathrooms, bedrooms, and more.
Still, there’s more to this topic than just a simple question and answer.
We should also discuss why this question exists in the first place.
Why Do People Ask Whether the Amish Use Mirrors?
The big reason why people ask about Amish and mirrors is because the Amish are reputed for shunning pride in any and all of its forms.
While this may not be representative of every single Amish person who’s ever lived, it’s still part of the Amish fame — particularly in America.
This idea goes all the way back to the founder of the Amish, Jakob Ammann, and his crusade against what he believed to be any number of sins that warranted excommunication from the church.
Known for his inexplicably harsh consequences for minor perceived offenses among his congregation, Ammann eventually caused “the schism” of the Swiss Brethren by excommunicating his fellow elders and they excommunicating him at the same time.
In a nutshell, this disagreement happened because of arguments over how the church should proceed and work with its members. Ammann departed the meeting with his own denomination — who eventually called themselves Amish — and ensured they followed his doctrine for generations to come.
(This is also part of the reason why the Amish could be considered a cult.)
In summary, knowing Ammann’s hardline beliefs against sins like pride and the extreme lengths to which he went to punish them could easily lead someone to think that the Amish would never be allowed to use mirrors.
However, it’s also important to understand that the concept of mirrors as instruments of pride (and, as a result, sin) is something that belongs to the greater part of society — not necessarily the Amish themselves.
This is crucial to understand because the Amish are, in a very real way, detached from modern society in several significant areas.
For example, Amish education only mandates that students learn up until eighth grade. After that, they’re released to their families for the opportunity to work and help support them.
Up until that point, the Amish are taught by members of their community who inherited the position from members of the community before them.
Amish children learn arithmetic, reading, and writing — and very little else.
As a result, the idea of literary symbolism, like mirrors being totems of pride, doesn’t have an opportunity to exist, much less engage with the religious thinking of Amish bishops.
So while mirrors may be tied closely to the idea of pride in mainstream society, it’s unlikely that the same concept has made its way into Amish communities or belief systems.
Instead, mirrors serve more pragmatic purposes — at least in theory.
In practice, who can say? The Amish are only human after all, and everyone breaks a few rules every once in a while.
And, much like someone who may attend a church of a conventional Christian denomination, some Amish may only be going through the motions.
However, from a standpoint of beliefs and pragmatism, mirrors hold no value of pride to the Amish as a group.
Even so, we can take this question one step further.
We mentioned earlier that the Amish may use mirrors as a way of grooming or preparing for social events.
In addition, it’s a fact that the Amish practice conventional marriage.
So if the Amish are preparing for major events like weddings, isn’t it a form of pride to make sure they look good for those days?
Good question — let’s talk about it.
Could Mirrors Make an Amish Person Feel Pride?
In short, yes — the Amish may use mirrors at any point to feel some form of pride.
This goes back to what we mentioned earlier where individual Amish people may not always adhere to the tenets of their faith 100% of the time.
After all, everyone falls short of their own expectations every once in a while.
And, naturally, there could be any number of Amish people who are also narcissists or otherwise self-centered to the point of feeling pride in themselves.
It’s also true that non-mirror objects, like watching a child walk for the first time, could stir a sense of pride in Amish people, just like feeling proud of their appearance before they go to walk down the aisle or court a future spouse.
In other words, there are any number of objects, occasions, or people who could spur a sense of pride in the Amish.
So while the Amish theoretically wouldn’t use mirrors for the purpose of vanity, there’s also nothing that could explicitly stop them.
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