AP NEWS

North Dakota man finds acceptance after leaving Amish family

June 2, 2019

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota man who grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm in an Amish community says he’s found the acceptance he’s been searching for after leaving his family.

John Shrock was 17 when he decided to flee his Amish community in Wisconsin after facing the pressure of “constantly trying to live up to perfection.”

“If you want to go to heaven, you have to be a good Amish kid,” Shrock, now 24, told KVRR-TV . “So I tried to be the best.”

He also walked away in part because he felt emotionally traumatized by his father.

Shrock left on July 11, 2011, and he slept in an abandoned barn for a night. A farmer drove Shrock to Hillsboro, Wisconsin, and he was eventually taken in by a man who had also left his Amish community.

“He had left 15 years before me and someone had taken him in as well,” he said. “So I guess he was just doing it for me now the same way they had done it for him.”

The man and his family adopted Shrock, and taught him how to navigate the modern world. He later attended Master’s Baptist College in Fargo.

Shrock, who now lives in Mapleton, said he’s found the acceptance he’s been longing for from his adoptive family and his friends.

“I can be honest about who I am and never put on a show,” he said.

Shrock said the most difficult part about leaving the Amish community was learning English. Pennsylvania Dutch was his first language.

Shrock also said that he’s enjoyed trying new activities that he had never experienced before.

“You can just do fun things,” he said. “Going bowling ... I didn’t know what bowling was.”

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Information from: KVRR-TV, http://kftv.com

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