In the stern, self-regulating world of the Amish, those who act out time and again by wearing the wrong clothing, going to movies or otherwise flouting the church’s doctrine can find themselves utterly alone.

Fellow Amish in rare instances won’t break bread with them at the same table, won’t work with them and won’t worship with them under the religion’s centuries-old practice of shunning. In stricter settlements, shunning can break apart families, cutting off all contact between parents and their children.

Saloma Furlong was shunned, or ex-communicated, after she left her church the first time over a family issue, and she was barred from attending her cousin’s wedding after she returned home. “It was a very lonely two weeks,” said Furlong, who eventually left behind her home in northeast Ohio for good and was permanently shunned.

The Amish take the tradition so seriously that most churches won’t accept someone who has been shunned until they make it right with those who’ve disciplined them.

Continue Reading on stage.newser.com