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Ex-Hutterites Speak Out In New Book

March 4, 2014, 5:55 PM by Matt Holsen

Ex-Hutterites Speak Out In New Book
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

While modest clothing on women and suspenders on men might come to mind when thinking about Hutterites, there's much more to the lifestyle. That lifestyle is what is leading some to leave.

They're known as "The Nine." Nine ex-Hutterites came together to tell their stories in 169 pages about what it was like to live in a colony.

"The misconception is that everybody is there free will. They want to give everything up. They're there under their own free will but really they never had a choice. Most everybody was born there. They never had anything to give up," Jason Waldner said.

Waldner left his parents behind to pursue freedom from colony leaders near Grand Forks, North Dakota, and hasn't looked back. Since he left, he met his wife Karen, another ex-Hutterite from Canada. She says the group decided to write the book to let current Hutterites know there are other options. 

"That what they're going through, they're not alone in it. They're not alone in those struggles and there's also a way out," Karen said.

"The Nine" have found their way just fine since getting out through construction work and a cleaning business. The book has helped too. 10,000 copies were printed initially and another 10,000 have been ordered. On top of that, the group now has a national distributor. Jason says it's all an effort to get the word out about life as a Hutterite.

"Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to have possessions; that's the constitution but their constitution is everything belongs to the colony. Their own words is all your time, labor, energies, has to be given for the colony and for what they dictate. That's totally not fair," Jason said.

Jason went on to say many workers are paid $3 to $5 dollars a month for their work.

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