Mapleton Man Adapts to New World After Leaving the Amish Community

John Shrock has 11 other siblings. He was the only one to leave the Amish lifestyle behind him.


FARGO, N.D. — When members of the Amish community turn 17, they become a part of the church.

A Mapleton man instead decided to change his fate.

KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us why it meant the now 24–year–old would have to leave the only life he has ever known behind him.

There is no snapshot of the moment John Shrock was born, his first day of school or any other milestone from his childhood.

That changed when he turned 17.

“It was my third day being out of the Amish when I had my first photo taken,” Shrock said.

Shrock grew up on a dairy farm in an Amish community in Wisconsin, where he says he was constantly trying to live up to perfection.

“If you want to go to heaven, you have to be a good Amish kid. So I tried to be the best,” Shrock said.

His best never seemed to cut it especially with his father.

“He was offended because I called him prideful. He just walked away but later that day, he was like well, since you know everything now, you have to punish me. So I had to spank him with a whip,” Shrock said.

That made him realize feeling emotionally tortured just wasn’t worth it anymore.

“I was like, ok, I for sure have to leave,” Shrock said.

On July, 11, 2011, Shrock wrote a simple note for his family: “I left.”

He slept in an abandoned barn that night.

A farmer then drove him to Hillsboro, Wisconsin and eventually Shrock met his adoptive family.

His adopted father knew his story as too well.

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

His new siblings and parents would be exactly what he needed to survive the modern world.

“I was almost like a small kid again. I didn’t know anything about this world and they were there to teach me no, you don’t do things like this or say things like this,” Shrock said.

Shrock eventually learned even more while attending Fargo’s Master’s Baptist College in August 2012.

But his friends would also show him the acceptance he had been longing for his whole life.

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

He still doesn’t take many photos.

“I’m not a selfies guy,” Shrock said.

It’s being able to enjoy the small things he never experienced.

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

That continue to make his decision to leave all worth it.

Shrock says because Pennsylvania Dutch is his first language, the hardest part about leaving the Amish was learning English.

He says the second was ordering food at a restaurant.

Categories: Community, Local News, North Dakota News