S1Ep10: Elam Zook on Finding His Way, Himself, and His Purpose; the Lesbian Mother Who Helped Him Own His Amish Identity; and Why "Ex-Amish" Is a Problematic Term


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Elam Zook is a deeply devoted Amish advocate of our community and is altering the compass for a culture swept off-course. He is an Amish activist, writer, critical thinker, and self-taught-scholar on how the Amish religion intersects with modern society. He is also a consultant for the course The Amish at Franklin & Marshall College—a rare position given that he has no degree—and is co-writing a book with renowned Professor of Anthropology, Prof. Michael S. Billig, at Franklin & Marshall and just submitted a paper with Prof. Billig for publication in an academic journal. Elam believes that the worst betrayal is not in leaving the church but to not bring enlightenment principles to our own people. As founder and co-creator of The Amish Adrift Project, Elam’s vision is to wrestle with the dichotomy of precisely what the Amish faith’s call to be separate and apart originally intended, and how it plays out in Amish daily interactions with today’s modern society.


  • That one’s purpose in life isn’t always something we plan or even can plan; sometimes amazing things just happen for us and we only realize what our purpose is after the fact
  • How Elam’s lesbian “soulmate”’s fierce determination to claim her identity within a fundamentalist conservative community helped him own his identity
  • Elam and Torah’s debate on the problems with the term “ex-Amish” and the need for us to come up with terminology that accurately represents us Amish who are outside the church; the challenges of finding a term that is useful, productive and not cumbersome (“non-compliant”?, “non-conforming”?, “non-practicing”?, “cultural Amish”?)
  • Elam’s views on the God question and what “heathenism” actually is (it’s not what you thought)
  • How Christianity was spread through cities, towns and cultural centers
  • The Jewish interpretation of the loaves and fishes story
  • Elam’s journey on owning his Amish identity—how he found his way and where he is now
  • Elam’s guiding principle: an intrinsic DNA that bends him toward the light, like a plant growing in the sun
  • Elam’s activism on behalf of the Amish and the greater community such as fighting against the pipelines


  1. Find Elam on Facebook: www.facebook.com/easyEZ
  2. The Amish Adrift Project: www.amishadrift.wordpress.com/a-new-north-star
  3. Marriage and Love Counseling (a new model for building healthy romantic relationships that gave Torah permission to love again and believe that it’s possible to experience a love story she dreams of; “To heal war in the world we have to heal the war between the sexes”): www.evolvinglove.us
  4. Grief Recovery Method (for physical and emotional losses, to find grief support groups and for a free ebook for info on the various kinds of grief): www.griefrecoverymethod.com
  5. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): www.rainn.org; 800-656-HOPE; live chat. Get help 24/7. Free and confidential. Call/chat if you’ve been violated.
  6. Prof. Michael S. Billig, Professor of Anthropology, Chair of Anthropology at Franklin & Marshall College: www.fandm.edu/michael-billig
  7. See S1Ep9: Elam Zook on Fighting for My People, Amish Issues Perpetuated By Academia, and Models for Amish Evolution for why we should not relinquish our claim to Amishness and why the church neither has the right nor actual ability to deny us our Amish heritage
  8. See S1Ep7: Sovilla and Lucinda Coblentz on Trauma and Marriage, Grief Recovery and Amish Childhood Sexual Abuse for the painful but rewarding results that came from working through their traumatic pasts

50 episodes available. A new episode about every 6 days averaging 26 mins duration .