Season 7 of TLC's popular reality series Return to Amish is in full swing with a few new additions to the show. We're used to meeting Amish kids who are curious about the "English" world. However, we rarely meet someone who wants to break with tradition because they have removed their rose-colored indoctrinated glasses. Fannie Schmucker is one such person. Here's what we know about her desire for a better life.
Let's get to know Fannie Schmucker from 'Return to Amish'
Fannie Schmucker was born into a particularly tough part of the Amish community which doesn't bode well for her future plans. "Old Order Amish is a very strict community. You can't really have or do all that much before you get in trouble," she says. Despite this, Fannie says she was quite content being Amish. "I was baptized into the Amish church. I had a fiancé, and we were in love."
Sadly, love doesn't conquer all and that includes the desire to be part of the always-changing English world. Like a lot of 20-year-olds, Fannie has a side of herself she usually keeps hidden. "My whole life was mapped out for me. And then a few days ago, I told him about my secret cell phone which we're not supposed to have in our community." Unfortunately, her fiancé is a snitch.
When Fannie refused to hand her cell phone over so that her fiancé could destroy it, he took things to a higher power and we don't mean God. "I wouldn't do it so he went and told the bishop about it. I thought I love him but...how can I marry someone I don't trust?" Fannie is asking all the right questions and we hope she gets the answers she needs. "Now that I got caught with my cell phone, they're gonna shun me and condemn me to hell."
OK, that's not great.
What does it mean to be shunned?
"When you're baptized into the church and you get shunned, you have to confess your sins in front of the whole church, in front of people who might like you and people who hate you," Fannie explains, describing our worst nightmares. "That whole process is humiliating. Then I have to drop to my knees and say that I wanna do better and that I want their forgiveness." At this point the church votes on whether or not Fannie "deserves forgiveness."
If Fannie is forgiven she can return to the church but if not, it's straight to shun city. Worst case scenario, what happens when one is shunned? "Everyone will ignore you, and you have to eat by yourself. By that time you're just broken inside and you just feel sad. At that point you just don't care. You just wanna leave," said Fannie. But, this is when we learn that Fannie is a feminist hero.
"I feel that the Amish women can barely do one little thing wrong. We're expected to be perfect and we're expected to follow the rules," Fannie angrily says. "There's no one that's going to be able to live perfect. That's not possible." This is what pushes Fannie over the edge and leads her to declare she's done. Will it stick? We'll keep watching to find out.
Return To Amish airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on TLC